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President Joe Biden announced Tuesday that his administration will extend a pause on federal student loan payments while the White House fights a legal battle to save his plan to cancel portions of the debt.

“It isn’t fair to ask tens of millions of borrowers eligible for relief to resume their student debt payments while the courts consider the lawsuit,” Biden said in a video posted on Twitter.

The moratorium was slated to expire Jan. 1, a date that Biden set before his debt cancellation plan stalled in the face of legal challenges from conservative opponents.

Now it will extend until 60 days after the lawsuit is resolved. If the lawsuit has not been resolved by June 30, payments would resume 60 days after that.

Biden’s plan promises $10,000 in federal student debt forgiveness to those with incomes of less than $125,000, or households earning less than $250,000. Pell Grant recipients, who typically demonstrate more financial need, are eligible for an additional $10,000 in relief.

More than 26 million people already applied for the relief, with 16 million approved, but the Education Department stopped processing applications this month after a federal judge in Texas struck down the plan.

The Justice Department last week asked the Supreme Court to examine the issue and reinstate Biden’s debt cancellation plan. By extending the pause, the administration says it’s giving the court a chance to resolve the case in its current term.


Even before Republican legislators this summer made Indiana the first state to pass an abortion ban since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Democrats started urging angry voters to take their revenge at the ballot box.

Indiana Democrats haven’t let up on that push in the final days of this year’s elections, although a limited number of competitive races on the Nov. 8 ballot for the currently Republican-dominated Legislature leave them with slim chances of being able to do much about abortion access that is also being debated during campaigns across the country.

Indiana Republicans, meanwhile, argue that voters are more worried about other issues such as inflation and crime — concerns widely believed to favor the GOP.

Democratic candidate Joey Mayer said the abortion ban has remained a top issue as she’s talked with voters in a northern Indianapolis suburban district where she’s challenging a four-term Republican House member who voted in favor of the ban when it passed in August.


Just three years ago, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democrat, stood side by side, promising to push together for gun control proposals after a gunman killed nine people and wounded more than two dozen in the city’s nightclub district. It was a short-lived pledge.

Allies then, DeWine and Whaley are now facing each other in a partisan governor’s race defined by events that neither could have predicted at the time: the coronavirus pandemic and a U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade.

They no longer see eye-to-eye on guns either. Their gun control proposals never came about, and since the Dayton mass shooting DeWine signed legislation loosening gun restrictions — including a so-called stand your ground bill eliminating the duty to retreat before using force and another making concealed weapons permits optional for those legally allowed to carry a weapon.

“The politics got hard and Mike DeWine folded,” Whaley said this year.

Both candidates survived contested primaries to face each other in November. DeWine overcame two far-right opponents who criticized him for his aggressive decisions early in the pandemic, including a business shut-down order and a statewide mask mandate. Despite more than four decades in Ohio politics, DeWine failed to secure 50% of the primary vote.

Whaley easily defeated former Cincinnati mayor John Cranley and is now trying to regain a seat last won by Democrats 16 years ago.

Since the primary, Whaley has hammered DeWine for signing those gun bills and for his anti-abortion positions, including his 2019 signing into law of Ohio’s anti-abortion “ fetal heartbeat bills.”

But despite criticism that DeWine took from members of his own party over his approach to the coronavirus and Democratic furor over the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling, most polls show DeWine comfortably ahead. Ultimately, that still comes down to DeWine’s long years in Ohio politics, said Tom Sutton, a political science professor at Baldwin-Wallace University.

Sutton noted that a September Marist poll found that 42% of adults statewide had either never heard of Whaley — who also ran briefly for governor in 2018 — or didn’t know how to rate her. Meanwhile, DeWine has previously won statewide races for lieutenant governor, U.S. senator, attorney general and governor.


A federal appeals court on Sunday agreed to temporarily put on hold a lower court’s order requiring that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham testify before a special grand jury that’s investigating possible illegal efforts to overturn then-President Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia.

A subpoena had instructed the South Carolina Republican to appear before the special grand jury on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May last Monday denied Graham’s request to quash his subpoena and on Friday rejected his effort to put her decision on hold while he appealed. Graham’s lawyers then appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Sunday, a three-judge panel of the appeals court issued the order temporarily pausing May’s order declining to quash the subpoena. The panel sent the case back to May to decide whether the subpoena should be partially quashed or modified because of protections granted to members of Congress by the U.S. Constitution.

Once May decides that issue, the case will return to the 11th Circuit for further consideration, according to the appeals court order.

Graham’s representatives did not immediately respond Sunday to messages seeking comment on the appellate ruling. A spokesperson for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis declined to comment.

Willis opened the investigation early last year, prompted by a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. During that conversation, Trump suggested Raffensperger could “find” the votes needed to overturn his narrow loss in the state.


Democrats in many parts of the country are facing a potentially grim political year, but in California no one is talking about the liberal stronghold changing direction.

California’s largely irrelevant Republican Party could field only little-known candidates for governor and U.S. Senate, and the GOP appears to have only isolated chances for upsets even under what should be favorable conditions for the party.

Mail ballots are already going out for the June 7 primary election that will set the stage for November runoffs. The election is taking place within a cauldron of dicey political issues: the possible repeal of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion, widespread frustration with a homelessness crisis and with residents suffering pocketbook stress from galloping inflation and soaring home costs — the state’s median price hit a record $849,080 in March.

President Joe Biden’s popularity has sagged — even among some of his fellow Democrats — and the party in the White House typically loses congressional seats in midterm elections. California Democrats showed up in historic numbers in 2020 to defeat then-President Donald Trump in landslide, but turnout next month is expected to tumble with little drama at the top of the ticket: Gov. Gavin Newsom and U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla, both Democrats, face only token opposition.

But none of that adds up to a threat to the state’s Democratic supremacy. Republicans haven’t won a statewide election in California since 2006, and Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by nearly 2-to-1 statewide. Democrats are expected to maintain their supermajorities in the Legislature.

The GOP picked up four U.S. House seats in 2020 but Democrats still dominate the congressional delegation, holding all but 10 of the 53 House seats, with one vacancy.

At a state Republican Party convention last month, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield said he’d be holding the chamber’s gavel in January, not Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco. He predicted more House upsets in California would tip the balance of power in the chamber, but the GOP faces tough races to hold its ground.

Recent history isn’t encouraging for the GOP. Last year, Newsom appeared vulnerable but then easily defeated a recall effort driven by critics of his handling of the pandemic.

“We don’t have a real race for governor. We don’t have a real race for senator,” said Claremont McKenna College political scientist Jack Pitney, who cited the lopsided recall election as evidence of faded GOP prospects, even as Democrats are on the defensive nationally.


The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Friday adopted Republican-drawn maps for the state Legislature, handing the GOP a victory just weeks after initially approving maps drawn by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

The court reversed itself after the U.S. Supreme Court in March said Evers’ maps were incorrectly adopted, and came just as candidates were about to begin circulating nominating papers to appear on this year’s ballot without being sure of district boundaries.

Democrats would have made some marginal gains under Evers’ plan, but Republicans were projected to maintain their majorities in the Assembly and Senate, according to an analysis from the governor’s office.

Evers’ map created seven majority-Black state Assembly districts in Milwaukee, up from the current six. The map from the Republican-controlled Legislature had just five. The Wisconsin Supreme Court had adopted Evers’ map on March 3, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned it on March 23. The high court ruled that Evers’ map failed to consider whether a “race-neutral alternative that did not add a seventh majority-black district would deny black voters equal political opportunity.”

Evers told the state Supreme Court it could still adopt his map with some additional analysis, or an alternative with six majority-Black districts. The Republican-controlled Legislature argued that its map should be implemented.


The Ohio Supreme Court has rejected a third set of Ohio Statehouse district maps that Republicans insisted reflect the state’s partisan breakdown — and sent them back for a fourth try even as final ballots were being prepared for the May 3 primary.

In yet another 4-3 ruling late Wednesday, the court found the Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission’s latest maps again failed to pass constitutional muster. No Democrats have supported any of the three plans, and commission member Republican Auditor Keith Faber joined Democrats in opposing the third plan.

It ordered the panel to reconvene and to submit a set of legal maps to Secretary of State Frank LaRose, the state’s elections chief and a member of the commission, by March 28. The plan must be filed with the court by March 29. The plan, outlining Ohio House and Ohio Senate districts, remains subject to objections and another court review.

As circumstances became more urgent, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, a moderate Republican who has repeatedly joined court Democrats to invalidate the maps, chose to write the majority opinion herself.

“Substantial and compelling evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that the main goal of the individuals who drafted the second revised plan was to favor the Republican Party and disfavor the Democratic Party,” she wrote for the court.

Of particular concern was the fact that Republicans have all three times drafted the plan approved by the commission without input from Democratic members of the bipartisan commission.

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