Special session gavels in

Special session gavels in

Louisiana lawmakers returned to the Capitol for a special session on Monday. The session is supposed to focus on the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and Hurricane Laura. But the legislative majority’s chief objective seems to be curbing Gov. John Bel Edwards’ executive powers. But as Nola.com | The Advocate’s Sam Karlin explains, some lawmakers who want to rein in the governor have trouble explaining the orders they disagree with: 

Bills filed by the two legislative leaders would create a committee of lawmakers to be informed about emergency declarations if they last more than 30 days. It would also allow the Legislature to nullify a public health emergency through a petition of both houses. Currently, one house can end the emergency through a petition on its own. Asked what specific components of Edwards’ coronavirus restrictions he objects to, [Senate President Page] Cortez said merely that lawmakers want a “seat at the table.” Republicans have railed against a host of the rules, including restrictions on bars and restaurants and visits to nursing homes. 

There are several bills seeking to give the Legislature more emergency powers, along with a petition that’s circulating that would cancel the governor’s emergency declaration if it gets signed by a majority of either chamber. 

The petition is seen by many Republicans as a way to hold leverage as the session goes forward. The GOP doesn’t have the votes on their own to override an Edwards veto in the House, so the petition could hang over the governor’s head as he decides whether to sign or veto a bill. “If legislation fails, including by veto, we have an avenue to do something,” Bacala said. 


Where’s Trump’s health care plan?
If she is confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court by the Senate next month, Amy Coney Barrett could quickly be the deciding vote on a case that seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act. President Donald Trump has been promising for years to produce a comprehensive health care plan that protects people with pre-existing conditions, but has failed to do so. Instead, he issued an executive order on pre-existing conditions that is far less than advertised. Sabrina Corlette of Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center on Health Insurance Reforms explains: 

Effectively, the President’s order says it will be the “policy” of the United States to “ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions can obtain the insurance of their choice at affordable rates.” That’s it. That’s all it does. No mention of how the government will restore coverage to the 21 million slated to lose it if the ACA is struck down. Or how they intend to limit the ability of private insurance companies to deny people health insurance policies, or charge them more, based on their health status. No mention of how they will restore no-cost preventive services, seniors’ drug benefits, or coverage for young adults forced off their parents’ health plans. Nothing about how they will stop the projected 82 percent increase in uncompensated care costs for providers. In short, the Trump administration has no plan, or even a semblance of a plan.

Margot Sanger-Katz, writing for the New York Times’ Upshot blog explains why Americans can’t take the president at his word when he says he’ll protect people with preexisting conditions: 

His policies to date have slightly weakened the Obamacare framework, providing some escape hatches where healthier customers can buy unregulated, cheaper insurance. Because Obamacare is also on the books, people with pre-existing conditions can buy plans, too. But President Trump has repeatedly pressed to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. The Justice Department filed a brief asking for the wholesale erasure of the law as recently as June. 


Resuscitating Covid relief
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House officials will meet Tuesday to discuss another Covid-19 relief bill, in what will be their most extensive engagement in more than a month. The latest plan offered by Democrats includes renewing the expired $600 weekly unemployment benefits through January, another round of $1,200 stimulus payments and aid to state and local governments. The Washington Post’s Erica Werner breaks down the new developments: 

Democrats described their new offer as an updated version of the $3.4 trillion Heroes Act the House passed in May, which the White House and Senate Republicans dismissed as far too costly. Senate Republicans and Mnuchin have also said $2.2 trillion is too much to spend, but Mnuchin has said he is open to negotiations. It was not immediately clear whether the talks would bear fruit or whether Democratic leaders would use the bill to provide political cover for moderate House Democrats, who have grown increasingly anxious over Congress’s recent inaction on pandemic relief legislation.


A rising tide doesn’t lift all boats
A strong economy failed to reduce racial disparities in Americans’ income and wealth from 2016 to 2019, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve. While Black and Hispanic families reported higher gains than white households, those gains still weren’t enough to reduce racial gaps. The AP’s Christopher Rugaber explains: 

The typical white family possessed eight times the wealth of Black families and five times the wealth of Hispanic families in 2019, the Fed said. While the report shows increases in income and wealth for lower-income and Black families, many economists worry that the pandemic has reversed those gains. Job losses this year have been concentrated among lower-income workers in the restaurant, hotel, retail and travel industries. Those workers are disproportionately non-white.

The Wall Street Journal’s Te-Ping Chen looks at another disturbing racial trend in corporate America – the lack of Black CEOs and what’s causing it: 

“Opportunity is not equally distributed,” says Ron Williams, the Black former CEO of Aetna who has served on 14 boards over his career and currently sits on the boards of Boeing Co. and American Express Co. Too many promotions in companies are informally decided before jobs are ever posted, leaving Black people and more marginalized talent without the chance to compete, he says. “People don’t get the chance to work their way into a position where they are a reasonable candidate for a role,” he says.

Number of the Day
4 – The number of Black chief executives out of America’s top 500 companies. (Source: The Wall Street Journal