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Update on federal-state relations in the Biden era

Mike McCartney

20th July 2021

Great article in today's paper about how Republican held states are ploughing a furrow that deviates from the objectives of the POTUS

OK, the article says as much about the different directions America's two main parties are going in, but it does reveal a lot about the nature of federalism in the USA.

If yo are not familiar with the topic, here is a link to a chapter in an excellent online US resources:

As a flavour of the article:

Read this:

"Across a vast swath of the American heartlands, the anti-Biden backlash is being replicated in Republican-controlled statehouses in what Ronald Brownstein has described in the Atlantic as a “collective cry of defiance”.

In some instances, the challenge to Biden is explicit. At least nine Republican-controlled states, Texas included, have passed laws banning the enforcement of federal firearms statutes in a blatant attempt to frustrate the president’s ambition to tackle the nationwide scourge of gun violence.

Twenty-six states have put a stop to the extra $300 a week in unemployment support that the federal government has extended through the pandemic, suggesting that they care more about resisting Biden’s economic agenda than about giving a helping hand to their own. The latest to do so, Louisiana, has the worst poverty rate in the US bar Mississippi – with one in five of its citizens below the poverty line.

In other cases, Republican-dominated legislatures have invested in hot-button social issues, aggressively targeting minority communities and other groups for attack. At least 15 states have between them enacted 90 measures to restrict access to abortions – a record number. Thirty-three states have pumped out 250 anti-LGBTQ+ bills, and five have allowed firearms to be carried without a license in a major loosening of gun laws.

The backlash so far this year has also involved virulent rightwing efforts to suppress the vote of Democratic-leaning demographics, especially people of color. In the first six months of the year, about 17 states have enacted 28 new laws that will restrict access to the ballot box, according to the Brennan Center, and more are certain to follow."

It's certainly an interesting time to study what can be quite a dry topic.

Mike McCartney

Mike is an experienced A-Level Politics teacher, author and examiner.

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