On today's episode of the 5 Things podcast: Biden vows to codify Roe if Democrats expand their majority
White House correspondent Joey Garrison explains. Plus, Biden plans to release more oil from emergency reserves, Florida's U.S. Senate candidates hit the debate stage, environmental reporter Kyle Bagenstose checks in with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and Netflix will soon charge extra for sharing passwords. Mobile Phone Charging Dock
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Good morning. I'm Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Wednesday, the 19th of October, 2022. Today, Biden's vow to codify Roe V. Wade, plus a look at Florida's US Senate debate and more.
Here are some of the top headlines:
President Joe Biden said yesterday that reinstating abortion protections of Roe V. Wade would be the first bill he sends to the next Congress if Democrats expand their majority in the Senate and keep control of the House in this fall's midterms.
That's why in these midterm elections are so critical, elect more Democratic senators to the United States Senate and more Democrats to keep control of the House of Representative. And folks, if we do that, here's the promise I make to you and the American people. The first bill that I will send to the Congress will be to codify Roe V. Wade.
Producer PJ Elliott spoke with White House correspondent Joey Garrison for more.
Well, essentially what President Biden wants to do is codify abortion as a nationally protected constitutional right across the country. So essentially, if he were able to do this, and there are a lot of ifs there, this would essentially be a national law that would overturn a lot of these state restrictions on abortion, allowing any woman and any person in any state to undergo an abortion.
Now what that looks like, of course, could maybe differ from state, but the overriding thing would be any American, regardless of the state they're living, would have that constitutional right to an abortion.
Joey, this isn't anything new. President Biden has said before that he'd like to codify Roe. So why is he making this announcement now?
Really what this is an attempt to do, this is coming three weeks before the midterm elections. Democrats need to have abortion as a front and center issue in the minds of voters. And there's evidence right now that it has slipped quite a bit from over the summer. You recall, of course, Roe was overturned in June and it immediately turned into a galvanizing issue for a lot of voters. But since then, the economy and fears about inflation have again risen in polling as the top issues for voters. That puts Democrats and Biden in a bad position because Republicans are getting higher marks right now on the economy, on inflation. But if they can make Democrats, the election, about abortion, that's a winning issue for them. That's been proven. You had in Kansas for even a very conservative state which voted in a special referendum to oppose an abortion ban. So there's evidence already out there that that can energize Democrats.
Joey, real quick, what has been the GOP response to the President's speech?
Anti-abortion rights advocates, as well as Republicans immediately slammed President Biden's speech, calling it out of step with how most Americans, their position on abortion. Ronna McDaniel, the RNC Chairwoman, said anything Biden does to try to distract voters away from historic inflation and other things that she predicted that will ultimately doom Democrats in the midterm elections. And other anti-abortion rights groups urged Republicans to contrast their positions with Democrats, again, calling what Biden laid out as something that would be extreme and against the will of the people.
You can read Joey's full story with a link in today's show description.
President Joe Biden will announce today that he's releasing 15 million barrels of oil from the nation's emergency reserves. It's one of the few actions Biden can take before midterm elections to show voters he feels their pain at the pump. The move wraps up Biden's March order to release 180 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the largest sale in the Reserve's nearly 50 year history.
Biden's move also comes just weeks after OPEC and its oil exporting allies said it would cut oil production by two million barrels a day to boost prices. The national average pump price for a gallon of gas has dropped since the summer, but has ticked up since September and is still higher than it was last year.
Debate season rolled on last night, this time as Florida Republican US Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings met on the stage. One of the night's big issues, similar to many races around the country, abortion.
I'm a hundred percent pro-life, not because I want to deny anyone their rights, but because I believe that innocent human life is worthy of the protection of our laws. That said, every bill I've ever sponsored on abortion, every bill I've ever voted for, has exceptions. Every one of them does because that's what can pass and that's what the majority of people support. Now, before us today in Congress, that you talked about Lindsey Graham's bill, that's a four month ban, okay? That is more lenient than every country in Europe except for two. The extremist on abortion in this campaign is Congresswoman Demings.
Senator, how gullible do you really think Florida voters are? Number one, you have been clear that you support no exceptions, even including rape and incest. Now, as a police detective who investigated cases of rape and incest, no Senator, I don't think it's okay for a 10 year old girl to be raped and have to carry the seed of her rapist.
The nights first question centered on Hurricane Ian and the effects of climate change. Rubio largely ignored the question and talked about helping communities recover from the storm. Demings said, "We've got to get serious about climate change." And like many debates ahead of next month's midterms, the issue of election results again popped up.
We have to do everything within our power to uphold the constitution, protect the rule of law, and protect our democracy and protect each person's Republican, Democrat's and Independent's right to vote.
I've never denied an election ever, have never denied an election. I'm not like Stacey Abrams in Georgia that denied her election. I've never denied an election. I think in Florida we have great election laws, but I think elections have to have rules.
And this being Florida, immigration and the border took center stage as well. Rubio accused Demings of demonizing the US Border Patrol, while she said she wants to make sure people at borders have the resources they need. They also discussed the Biden administration invoking a Trump era policy known as Title 42, used to deny Venezuelan migrants from requesting asylum at the US border.
For more takeaways from last night's debate and a look at midterm races across the country, head to USATODAY.com/politics.
It's been almost a year since President Joe Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. It's also commonly known as the bipartisan infrastructure bill. At the time, he and other proponents said it would be the largest investment in infrastructure in a generation. So where's the money being spent? PJ Elliott spoke with environmental reporter Kyle Bagenstose for an update.
Yeah, so the bill was passed about, I believe it was last November, and the experts I spoke to said overall, it's early, right? This is a massive injection of federal funding. A lot of the programs are going to be funded over five or even 10 years. And so a lot of the first year has just been what they refer to as standing up programs. So that's kind of creating the infrastructure for the infrastructure. So for dollars that go out, new programs that were made, the federal government has to get a lot organized. They have to create the programs, the administrative staff. They have to create the rules and stipulations around how the money is going to be spent before they can basically start taking applications from states to get that money.
Kyle, are we starting to see any issues as the wheels start to get going on this project?
Yeah, so there are dozens if not hundreds of programs. So any one program, you could see one thing or the other. I get a sense from experts that generally they're pretty happy about the table setting, so they feel like the administration is doing a pretty good job in terms of creating the rules. Of the programs that have started out, there's kind of a mixed bag, I think there's been a lot of success around the electric school bus program. So those dollars are kind of just starting to arrive.
And then you've had some hiccups in areas and lead service lines where the EPA wanted to get money out the door, but they kind of only had an old funding formula based on probably not the best statistics on how to give it out. So the first round of that was being criticized as being very unequal. The NRDC did an analysis, Hawaii got like $10,000 per lead service line. Those are the pipes that actually bring water into the house and are often problematic for containing lead. And a state like New Jersey, that has massive lead problems in cities like Newark, only gets a hundred dollars per line.
Kyle, when are we expecting things to be fully functional and these projects running in high gear?
I think you're going to see a lot of funding starting to roll out this fall. That's kind of seems to be the timeline, and now you're seeing a lot of awards that I think are going to start rolling out. The electric school bus program is a big one where they basically were only going to give 500 million out the first year. They got such a great interest in that that they bumped it to just shy of a billion. So they're actually doubling up. And I believe the EPA said the awards for that are supposed to be announced this month.
Your days may be numbered if you share your Netflix password with people outside the household. The company said yesterday that it'll roll out plans globally to monetize account sharing early next year. Netflix will allow you to create sub-accounts with their own logins and profiles for more money each month. The strategy is similar to tests that Netflix has already been running in Latin America, forcing subscribers to pay an extra 2.99 for each additional home streaming the application.
The company has long been aware that its users share passwords, but it didn't do anything about it until earlier this year, after reporting its first year over year decline in subscribers. Executives estimated that over a hundred million households were streaming without paying. Netflix added 2.4 million new subscribers in the September quarter, but that was down from a year ago when it reeled in 4.4 million.
Lyte Shared Power Bank Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us seven mornings a week on whatever your favorite podcast app is. Thanks to PJ Elliott for his great work on the show, and I'm back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.