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Of the 2,002 people who have served in the Senate, two have been Black women. The 2024 election may add at least one more.
Black Democratic women are strong early competitors in Delaware, Maryland, and California. A couple others are underdog candidates vying to succeed retiring Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
That such a small cohort is noteworthy after 234 years of Senate history shows what a colossal challenge top statewide elective offices have been for ambitious politicians who are Black women.
“A lot of people I talk to are shocked when I tell them that, one, there are no Black women in the Senate, and two, that there only have been two since 1789,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the only Black woman among the major candidates for the seat of retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D). And if two seems like a low number, consider how many Black women have been elected governor of a US state: zero.
Despite gains in downballot races, the top jobs have been more difficult to achieve. Black women hold 374 seats in state legislatures, making up 5% of state lawmakers nationwide, according to Black Women in American Politics 2023, a report by the group Higher Heights and the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
One of the dynamics that distinguishes the 2024 campaign cycle is the strength of the candidacies of Black women candidates. That wasn’t the case in 2022, when there were four Black women Senate nominees, the most ever. All four were Democrats in uphill contests. All four lost.
In Florida, then-Rep. Val Demings (D) was defeated by Sen. Marco Rubio (R) in a landslide election year for Republicans. In North Carolina, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley (D) fell to Rep. Ted Budd (R) in a close race.
The 100-member chamber has had no Black woman since Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) ascended to the vice presidency in January 2021 after four years in the Senate.
“We should never be in a situation where there are zero Black women in the US Senate ever again,” said Glynda Carr, co-founder and president of Higher Heights, which advocates for more Black women in political office. Read more from Greg Giroux.
- President Joe Biden delivers remarks commemorating the first anniversary of the PACT Act expansion of veterans’ benefits at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah shortly after 1 p.m.
- Biden attends a campaign reception around 3:30 p.m. in Park City, Utah.
- Biden returns to the White House around 9:20 p.m.
Biden Signs Narrow China Investing Rules
Biden signed an executive order limiting US investment in some Chinese firms, part of a push to restrict the country’s ability to develop next-generation military and surveillance technologies that might threaten US national security. The order, announced yesterday, would regulate US investments in some Chinese semiconductor, quantum computing, and AI firms.
Biden administration officials said the order targets Americans who look to acquire equity interests in restricted Chinese companies via mergers, private equity, and private capital, as well as by joint ventures and financing arrangements. It doesn’t cover passive investments, and Treasury is weighing exemptions for US investments in publicly traded securities, index funds and others. Companies will have 45 days to comment on the proposal. Read more from Jenny Leonard.
In and Around Congress
Biden intends to submit a supplemental funding request of at least $25 billion to Congress, setting up a possible showdown with Republicans less willing to provide further financial support for the war in Ukraine.
A bipartisan group of four senators wants the IRS and Treasury Department to investigate whether nonprofit hospitals are abusing their tax-exempt status.
Politics, Probes, and 2024
At 26 years old, Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.) is the only member of Gen Z to ever serve in Congress. He tells Bloomberg Government that he tries to focus on issues that affect his district and cares about electing members of Congress with those priorities, no matter the age.
Republican frontrunner Donald Trump said he will announce next week whether he will attend the first GOP presidential debate, but insisted he will not sign a required pledge to support the party’s nominee.
Trump wants a judge to allow him to use a dedicated space at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida to discuss classified evidence in the criminal case against him over the handling of government records, a move prosecutors oppose.
Biden restated he never discussed business with Hunter Biden’s associates, responding to testimony from one of his son’s former partners that he listened in on their calls and dined with them.
Biden said his policies are creating a US manufacturing renaissance, seeking to rally skeptical Americans behind his economic agenda on the first anniversary of the passage of one of its pillars.
Abortion rights supporters are working to put reproductive rights directly to voters in 2024, part of an effort to boost turnout and buoy Democratic candidates after a string of state-level victories on the issue.
What Else We’re Reading
Biden will host Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese for an official visit on Oct. 25, including a state dinner, in the latest sign of close relations between Washington and Canberra.
Biden endorsed efforts to provide federal assistance to people affected by the 1945 Trinity nuclear test recently portrayed in the film “Oppenheimer”. The Senate-passed version of annual defense authorization legislation would expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to include New Mexicans and members of the Navajo Nation.
Comments flooded the Federal Register on Tuesday for the EPA’s latest round of power plant emission rules, giving a glimpse of the prolonged legal battle likely on the horizon once the agency finalizes the standards.
Proterra, the electric bus maker touted by Biden that filed for bankruptcy this week, was the recipient of millions of dollars in US Covid-relief government aid.
A new analysis puts a dollar figure on the cuts Americans could see to Social Security benefits in 2033, when analysts expect payroll taxes that flow into the program won’t be enough to cover monthly payments to retirees.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kayla Sharpe at email@example.com