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Midterm elections, employer abortion benefits: What to watch in D.C. this week

Yahoo Finance Contributor Kevin Cirilli joins the Live show to discuss the latest political news from Washington, D.C., this week.

Video transcript

BRIAN CHEUNG: The big story, though, for a lot of people does remain that Supreme Court ruling from Friday, which overturned Roe v. Wade that ended federal protections on the right to abortion, handing the power back to the states. And the ripple effects from the decision continuing to weigh on DC and the nation at large.

For more on this, let's bring in Yahoo Finance contributor Kevin Cirilli, joining us from the nation's capital. Kevin, what are you seeing, hearing on the ground there? Obviously, a lot of day two, day three, day four kind of follow-ups to that massive news last Friday. What do you think is the big takeaway now that we've had a few days to process all this?

KEVIN CIRILLI: Well, three things. First and foremost, all attention now turns to the midterm elections. And if you think back to 2018, I was struck by this-- 40 House seats flipped from Republican to Democrat in the 2018 midterm elections. But here's where it gets interesting. I ran the poll numbers on this before coming on air, Brian. And what you're going to notice is that ahead of the elections, just as Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed in 2018, Republicans were actually leading in those House races in 27 of those 40 districts.

And again, that Kavanaugh confirmation mobilized Democrats to get to the polls in the midterm elections, and 40 seats flipped in 2018 from Republican to Democrat. So clearly, Democrats are hoping that their coalition that they were able to put together in states like Colorado, Pennsylvania, and other states in the 2020 presidential election, including mobilizing some of those pro-choice voters, will-- that this decision will mobilize them to get to the polls in the midterm elections.

AKIKOO FUJITA: So, Kevin, you know, give us a breakdown here. What kind of numbers do the Democrats need to see come the midterms? At the end of the day, what we're hearing from a lot of Democratic lawmakers is, now, look, if we have a greater majority here, we can flip the decision that the Supreme Court made, essentially making abortion rights the law of the land.

KEVIN CIRILLI: It's a great point. And according to a May CBS news poll, 40% of Democrats said that they were more inclined to vote, should Roe v. Wade be overturned, while only 17% of Republicans said that they would be more inclined to vote should Roe v. Wade be overturned. But it's not just the congressional races that folks are watching here. It's also the governorships.

In a state like Pennsylvania, where a state legislator, Doug Mastriano, who has referred to abortion as, quote unquote, "genocide," who has expressed support for making abortion illegal as early as six weeks, this is going to draw a sharp contrast with someone like the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Josh Shapiro, the state's attorney general who has expressed support for abortion. So in a battleground state like Pennsylvania at the governor level, where now so many Americans are realizing their state legislators and their governors are really going to be-- play a crucial role in this, this is ultimately another fallout from the decision.

And then, of course, the business community reaction. This is important. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem was on CBS News over the weekend speaking to Margaret Brennan. And she was pressed about whether or not she would go against the business community. So many businesses in the last couple of days have come out and said that they would allow to provide funding, should a female want to seek an abortion in a state where it is illegal, to provide transportation in order to go and seek an abortion. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, was one of the first, if not the first, CEOs to come out.

And Governor Noem said that she was not looking to go to battle against the business community. That said, traditionally, where these issues have popped up in the past, I'm thinking, of course, of marriage equality in the state of Indiana back when former vice president Mike Pence was governor, the business community has really played a role in forcing these issues in a way, quite frankly, that sometimes Washington can't do.

BRIAN CHEUNG: You know, I guess the other question is that Washington can do something. We've heard a lot of Democrats on Capitol Hill say, look, we're going to do what we can to fight this. I mean, they could, in theory, pass legislation a the Democratic-led Congress and White House to reinstate some sort of federal protection here.

But we spoke with Representative John Garamendi from California last week. And he said, look, this is going to be a difficult thing to get through the Senate. So when they say, we're going to do everything that we can to kind of address this, I mean, how much power does the Democratic-- narrowly Democratic Congress have before the midterms?

KEVIN CIRILLI: Not much. Not much. I mean, they need a larger majority. And I think what's fascinating here to that point-- and I did-- that was a great interview with Congressman Garamendi. And what you saw in California was a coalition of states coming together in that region, Washington, Oregon, and others, to say that they were going to form some type of an alliance as it relates to this women's health issue. And so, more broadly, as it relates to where the congressional debate heads here, is, look, this is something that Republicans and conservatives have pushed for, for decades, for nearly 50 years.

But now that it has taken effect, do they have a plan? Do the states have a plan now that this has been overturned? And I think that is something specifically that you're going to see Democrats really hone in on in states like South Dakota, and of course, in battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and Colorado. Remember back in Colorado, where women's reproductive rights was front and center in 2016, and Senator Gardner was able to hold on to his seat. But again, a fascinating issue that was forced back in 2016.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah, becoming a front and center issue as we get closer to November.

KEVIN CIRILLI: Yeah, for sure.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Yahoo Finance contributor Kevin Cirilli, thanks so much. Appreciate it.