Congress passed a temporary spending bill on Saturday to narrowly avert a federal government shutdown. The move saw House Speaker Kevin McCarthy abandon calls from his far-right flank for deep spending cuts and work with Democrats to pass a funding bill hours before a midnight deadline. While the disagreements that have led to previous shutdowns have been easier to identify, the intransigent demands of GOP hardliners makes this one different. The Times-Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate’s Mark Ballard explains

“They are on an island entirely by themselves and entirely of their own making,” Shalanda Young said about the House GOP. A Clinton native who is director of the Office of Management & Budget, Young told reporters Friday that House Republicans wanted to cut budgets by 30%, which would derail a number of services.

The child care funding cliff is here
The federal relief dollars that kept America’s child care industry afloat during the pandemic expired on Saturday. Now, more than 3 million children, including nearly 77,000 in Louisiana, are at risk of losing access to early care and education programs. States Newsroom’s Casey Quinlan explains how women workers could bear the economic brunt of America’s broken child care system. 

Katherine Gallagher Robbins, senior fellow at the National Partnership for Women and Families, said that the end of the funding is bad news for women’s labor force participation, consumer spending, and for the economy in general. Women ages 25 to 54 have played the biggest role in boosting overall labor force participation in the economic recovery, according to Brookings’ August analysis. But Gallagher Robbins said that it’s still much lower than countries with better caretaking support.“… It’s very clear that women’s labor force participation will take a hit,” she said. And, in turn, consumer spending will be affected, she said.

The cost of child care is rising nearly twice as fast as the overall inflation rate, thanks to increased demand from parents and a shortage of people willing to perform these important, difficult but low-paid jobs. 

The connection between zoning and racism
Many of America’s land-use policies are rooted in racism and continue to serve as barriers to affordable and equitable housing. While the 1968 Fair Housing Act ostensibly made it illegal to racially discriminate in housing policies, today’s regulations, such as single-family zoning, undermine those reforms. Jabari Simama, author, consultant and former member of the Atlanta city council, writing in Governing, explains the troubling connection between zoning and racism

When zoning practices largely based on race were struck down by courts, class-restrictive covenants mandating a certain lot size or price point performed the same function. The effects of those policies can be felt today in areas where homeowners protect the “character” of their neighborhoods by pressuring public officials to prevent large lots from being subdivided or multifamily housing to be built. … Some cities are addressing this problem. Arlington, Va., Charlotte, N.C., Minneapolis and Walla Walla, Wash., are among those that have eliminated or reformed their single-family zoning policies.

Blocking constituents on social media
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments over whether public officials can block constituents on social media during its fall docket that begins on Monday. Justices will consider two conflicting lower court rulings over whether blocking voters on personal social media accounts is a violation of First Amendment rights. Route Fifty’s Chris Teale reports

These cases follow several other high-profile disputes over the years about whether government officials can block constituents from personal social media accounts. Former President Donald Trump in 2021, for example, asked the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that found he violated the First Amendment by blocking people on Twitter who criticized him. The Supreme Court ultimately sent the case  back to the lower court with instructions to dismiss the case as Trump was no longer president. … Both cases are slated to be argued before the court on Oct. 31, and could be consolidated. A decision is expected sometime next year.

Number of the Day
0.19% – Percentage share of Louisiana’s workforce that are working musicians and conductors. The Pelican State is tied for second in the nation, after Tennessee. (Source: U.S. Census Bureau via the Washington Post)