A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the Week
Some of the biggest names in the Republican Party gather in Washington, D.C. on Monday (July 25) for the Young America’s Foundation National Conservative Student Conference and America First Policy Institute summit. The two gatherings feature remarks from potential 2024 presidential candidates including South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Notably, Mike Pence and Donald Trump are speaking at separate events as Pence continues to distance himself from his former boss as a potential 2024 matchup approaches.
Topics of discussion are likely to include President Joe Biden’s handling of the economy and high inflation rates, the fight against abortion rights and gun control, and the upcoming midterm elections. The conferences come on the heels of a damning primetime hearing held by the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack, which demonstrated Trump’s persistent refusal to intervene and admit electoral defeat even as the scene became violent. The committee also revealed that Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a supposed ally of Trump’s, repeatedly called on him to stop the violent protestors. Both Trump and McCarthy are set to speak on Tuesday (July 26) at the America First summit, along with other one-time Trump critics Senators Lindsey Graham and James Lankford.
On Wednesday (July 27) the Federal Reserve is set to announce yet another big interest rate hike as part of its continued efforts to tackle inflation before it becomes ‘entrenched’ in the US economy. Despite the rapid series of interest rate rises this year, consumer spending remains relatively high, and inflation reached 9.1% in June, its highest point since 1981. The persistent combination of supply chain issues, increased demand for goods, the war in Ukraine, and the lingering impact of the pandemic has resulted in a strain on consumer confidence and fall in real incomes, contributing to increasingly low approval ratings for Biden. The Fed has indicated that a 0.5-0.75-point rise is being debated this month, but a 1.0 point increase remains a possibility.
Pope Francis embarks on a ‘penitential pilgrimage’ to Canada this week aimed at healing the Church’s relationship with indigenous peoples who were victims of the country’s residential schools system. The visit was announced last year as part of reconciliation efforts after over 1,100 bodies were discovered in three months in unmarked graves at former schools, many run by the Catholic Church. Ahead of the trip, Pope Francis told crowds in St. Peter’s Square last week that some Christians and members of religious orders had ‘contributed to the policies of cultural assimilation that in the past gravely damaged native populations’. Over 150,000 children were forced into residential schools between 1831 and 1996; many faced physical or sexual abuse, and thousands are believed to have died in what the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission called a ‘cultural genocide’.
The Pontiff spends Monday and Tuesday (July 25-26) in Edmonton, where he meets with First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples and holds a Holy Mass at the Commonwealth Stadium, before travelling on to Quebec on Wednesday (July 27) to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. On Friday (July 29), the Pope heads to the northern city of Iqaluit for ‘a particularly significant moment’ in the trip, holding a private meeting with former residential school students.
But the Vatican’s hopes for a ‘healing’ visit that will help survivors move on may be premature: indigenous activists pointed out that the Pope’s formal apology in April fell short of acknowledging the Church’s institutional role in the abuses, focusing instead on individual actions. As Pope Francis continues his tour this week, he’ll come under increasing pressure to acknowledge the outstanding demands from victims, including the return of land, documents and artefacts and a large-scale investigation into church abuses past and present.