On Politics: The Biggest Stories of the Week

From Mexico to the United Kingdom, it’s been a busy week in American politics. Here are some of the biggest stories you might have missed (and some links if you’d like to read further).


President Trump backed off his plan to impose tariffs on all Mexican goods, announcing on Friday night that a deal had been reached with Mexico to reduce the flow of migrants to the southwestern border. The tariffs would have rippled through the United States, with consumers paying more for cars, televisions, jeans, beer, fresh vegetables and other products.

In a contentious meeting at the Capitol on Tuesday, Senate Republicans had told senior White House officials that they were prepared to overturn the tariffs if Mr. Trump pushed forward.

Realistically, though, under Mitch McConnell, the Senate has become focused almost exclusively on confirming conservative judicial nominations. So there was little chance that the Senate would have blocked the tariffs.

Trump’s Twists on Confronting Iran Confound Allies in Europe

Joe Biden confirmed his disagreement with his party’s base and many of his 2020 rivals on Wednesday, when his campaign said that he still backs the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for abortion with exceptions involving rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in danger.

But on Thursday night, the former vice president reversed his position. Mr. Biden has often been at odds with the Democratic Party on issues of abortion rights, and his support for the amendment had become a major target for his primary opponents.

His sudden turnaround on an issue he had spent decades trying to straddle illustrates a larger challenge as he seeks the White House for a third time: With his long legislative record as a Washington moderate, he is running headlong into an energized base.

Additional Reading

Democratic Candidates Go After Joe Biden, but Not by Name

What Is the Hyde Amendment? A Look at Its Impact as Biden Reverses His Stance

Biden’s First Run for President Was a Calamity. Some Missteps Still Resonate.

A disaster relief package that has been delayed for months will finally go to Mr. Trump for his signature. It allocates billions of dollars in relief for continuing recovery efforts across the country, including funds for Puerto Rico, which Mr. Trump had resisted.

With an increase in domestic terrorist attacks, including in Charleston, Pittsburgh and San Diego, a debate has emerged over whether the F.B.I. has enough tools to fight racially motivated mass shootings and other attacks.

House Democrats planned a vote next week to hold Attorney General William P. Barr in contempt over his refusal to provide lawmakers with the Mueller report’s full text and underlying evidence. The Justice Department offered to renew negotiations over access to the report.

A group challenging North Carolina’s state legislative maps says documents from the files of Thomas Hofeller, a deceased political strategist, show that Republicans misled a federal court to avoid a special election.

The Department of Veterans Affairs will start allowing a broad swath of its nine million enrollees to seek medical care outside of traditional V.A. hospitals. Veterans groups and lawmakers are concerned.


Today’s On Politics briefing was compiled by Isabella Grullón Paz in New York.

Is there anything you think we’re missing? Anything you want to see more of? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at onpolitics@nytimes.com.

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