On the issues: Josh Harder and Tom Patti on abortion, the economy, homelessness, and more.
Here are some of the most pressing issues taking place in the news in recent weeks:
Abortion: The Supreme Court is mulling over a new set of abortion cases involving a woman with a fatal disease and an abortifacient-induced pregnancy. The court’s next hearings could come in October. Among the cases on the court’s docket: one from Louisiana, one from Georgia, and a third from Utah.
Homelessness: Nearly 1 in 5 American adults are homeless, according to the most recent figures from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in part because of “the increasing number of chronic poverty and chronic homelessness in communities across the country.” The problem is especially prevalent among people who have low-paying jobs and little economic security, with homeless people more than twice as likely to suffer from mental illness or drug addiction.
GDP growth: U.S. GDP growth slipped into the negative in the second quarter, while consumer spending rose less than initially reported. For the second quarter, GDP actually grew 0.3%, the first quarterly decline in a year. Meanwhile, consumer spending grew 1.6%.
The war on drugs: In March, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced two new initiatives to limit the sale of illegal drugs to teenagers. A 15-year-old can buy up to 2 grams of crack or cocaine at a time with a valid photo ID—up from 50 grams previously. Under the new guidelines, the DEA will also require anyone younger than 18 to sign a statement stating he or she has never been arrested or convicted of a crime before buying drugs.
Marijuana: Vermont became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana for adults over 21 years old. The move passed by a narrow 51-49 vote in the Vermont Senate and then moved to the House of Representatives. A similar vote is expected next month in the House.
Election: In a major shake-up of the 2016 presidential field, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush announced he will not seek the Republican nomination for president. He was replaced by a billionaire businessman and former Florida governor, Donald Trump.
The debt ceiling: The U.S. government plans to keep the debt