The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden detours on infrastructure ahead of June vote


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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 597,628; Tuesday, 597,952; Wednesday, 598,326.

Senators from both parties on Tuesday described the status of infrastructure negotiations as “running into a brick wall,” hitting “a significant roadblock” and being just plain maddening. That was moments before President BidenJoe BidenSchumer vows to advance two-pronged infrastructure plan next month Biden appoints veteran housing, banking regulator as acting FHFA chief Iran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says ‘nothing is agreed' MORE declared weeks of discussions with Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoSenators say White House aides agreed to infrastructure ‘framework' Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 COVID-19 long-haulers press Congress for paid family leave MORE (W.Va.) and other Republicans as at an end, an outcome she described as disappointing (The Hill).

 

The White House immediately shifted its search for either 10 Senate Republican votes for a bill, or 50 Democratic votes for a reconciliation strategy to pursue Biden’s vision for federal infrastructure and job creation investments worth at least $1 trillion. What's most likely? The latter, as we have been noting for months in The Morning Report.

 

The president will continue talking with a separate bipartisan group that includes Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySenators say White House aides agreed to infrastructure ‘framework' Trump clash ahead: Ron DeSantis positions himself as GOP's future in a direct-mail piece Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs warn against sweeping reform to military justice system | Senate panel plans July briefing on war authorization repeal | National Guard may have ‘training issues' if not reimbursed MORE (R-Utah), Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaSenators say White House aides agreed to infrastructure ‘framework' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden is keeping the filibuster to have ‘a Joe Manchin presidency' Sanders says he's ‘tired of talking' about Manchin, Sinema MORE (D-Ariz.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanSenators say White House aides agreed to infrastructure ‘framework' White House digs in as infrastructure talks stall White House advisers huddle with Senate moderates on infrastructure MORE (R-Ohio), Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSchumer vows to advance two-pronged infrastructure plan next month Senators say White House aides agreed to infrastructure ‘framework' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden is keeping the filibuster to have ‘a Joe Manchin presidency' MORE (D-W.Va.) and Bill CassidyBill CassidyWhite House digs in as infrastructure talks stall Portman: Republicans are ‘absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting MORE (R-La.), with whom Biden spoke on Tuesday. Biden will confer with those lawmakers while in Europe, a trip that will conclude on June 16 with a summit in Geneva with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinIs America Back? A view from Europe Russia says warning shots were fired at British destroyer in Black Sea Russia deems Bard College program a threat to ‘order and security' MORE.

 

The senators indicated they hope to release a compromise proposal by the end of the week. According to The Hill’s Jordain Carney, the group is preparing a bill worth roughly $880 billion. With a blessing from the White House, Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats urge Biden to extend moratorium on student loan payments White House draws ire of progressives amid voting rights defeat Murkowski to vote ‘no' on voting rights bill MORE (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday that a vote on infrastructure will happen one way or another by the end of the month.

 

“The president is committed to moving his economic legislation through Congress this summer, and is pursuing multiple paths to get this done,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiSenators say White House aides agreed to infrastructure ‘framework' On The Money: Biden to fire FHFA director after Supreme Court removes restriction | Yellen pleads with Congress to raise debt ceiling Biden emphasizes investment in police, communities to combat crime MORE said in a statement, indicating that passing it via reconciliation remains an option for the majority party.

 

News of a breakdown in talks between Biden and Capito came following a five-minute conversation between the two negotiators and a day after the West Virginia Republican lamented the downturn in talks in recent days. 

 

“While I appreciate President Biden’s willingness to devote so much time and effort to these negotiations, he ultimately chose not to accept the very robust and targeted infrastructure package, and instead, end our discussions.” Capito said in a statement. “After negotiating in good faith and making significant progress to move closer to what the president wanted, I am disappointed by his decision.”

 

The Washington Post: White House infrastructure talks with Capito collapse, leading to finger pointing as Biden shifts strategy.

 

Politico: Biden ends infrastructure talks with Senate GOP, starts engaging bipartisan group. 

 

Bloomberg News: Democratic, GOP House members propose new, $761 billion infrastructure plan.

 

> Middle Manchin: What does Manchin want? That’s a question Senate Democrats are trying to answer this week as they move forward with the party’s agenda for the coming months and acknowledge that his vote cannot be taken for granted. 

 

Instead of criticizing the moderate senator, his Democratic colleagues are meeting with him behind closed doors in a quest to figure out what his heart desires. However, some question whether the West Virginia Democrat even knows what he wants (The Hill). 

 

 

 

 

Manchin held a meeting with civil rights leaders, which he said was “constructive” but left him unmoved from his opposition to the For the People Act (The Hill). 

 

The Wall Street Journal: Democrats consider changes to voting bill amid Manchin opposition.

 

Politico: Inside Biden and Manchin's Joemance.

 

The Hill: In shot at Manchin, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSchumer vows to advance two-pronged infrastructure plan next month Senators say White House aides agreed to infrastructure ‘framework' Tim Cook called Pelosi to say tech antitrust bills were rushed MORE (D-Calif.) calls for the Senate to strengthen voting rights.

 

Matt K. Lewis, The Daily Beast: The problem isn’t Manchin. It’s Democrats’ delusions.

 

> Senate action: The Senate passed sweeping legislation aimed at combating China's competitiveness on Tuesday, handing Schumer a big win after making the bill a top priority and overcoming several last-minute snags.

 

The measure, which passed 68-32, now goes to the House, where it faces uncertain prospects because House members have been backing their own measure. The vote divided Republican leaders while Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenators say White House aides agreed to infrastructure ‘framework' Briahna Joy Gray: Biden is keeping the filibuster to have ‘a Joe Manchin presidency' On The Money: Biden to fire FHFA director after Supreme Court removes restriction | Yellen pleads with Congress to raise debt ceiling MORE (I-Vt.) was the only member who votes with the Democratic caucus who opposed it (The Hill). 

 

The Hill: Senate crafts Pelosi alternative on drug prices.

 

 

 

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LEADING THE DAY

ADMINISTRATION: As the centerpiece of his domestic economic agenda teeters in Washington, Biden departs for the United Kingdom today, an inopportune moment to be away on his first foreign trip as president (The Hill). 

 

The Associated Press: During Biden’s first trip abroad as president, he believes the West must publicly demonstrate it can compete economically with China as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The New York Times: To fly to Europe today to accompany the president, White House correspondents found themselves unexpectedly delayed, eventually on a different plane and with a different pilot. Why? Because hordes of cicadas filled the engine of the first aircraft.

 

As Biden departs, Vice President Harris wrapped up the first foreign trip of her tenure, returning from Mexico and Guatemala after two days of meetings focused on Central American immigration during which her message to migrants was blunt — “Do not come” — and her press reviews were not good (The Hill).

 

The Hill: Impatient with an interview question from NBC anchor Lester Holt about why she has not visited the U.S. southern border to see migrant conditions for herself, Harris responded that she and the president are aware of what is taking place there. “At some point, you know, we are going to the border,” she said. “And I haven’t been to Europe,” she added, dismissing the question.

 

The Hill’s Niall Stanage writes that Harris, who has experience with immigration controversies from her years as a progressive San Francisco prosecutor and later a senator, was tasked by Biden with focusing U.S. attention on the “root causes” of Central American migration to the United States and with tamping down assertions of a border crisis, instead stirred controversy during her trip. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezHouse Democrats unveil spending bill to boost staff pay, maintain lawmaker pay freeze Five takeaways from New York's primaries Ocasio-Cortez says she ranked Wiley first, Stringer second in NYC mayoral vote MORE (D-N.Y.) and some advocates for migrants and asylum-seekers assailed Harris for her “Don’t come” message to migrants who are fleeing their countries for a better life. Harris’s spokeswoman put out a statement Monday night that the vice president’s remarks were consistent with previous remarks by the president and Cabinet officials.

 

ABC News: A Biden administration task force finds (in a report not yet made public) that 3,900 migrant children were separated from their parents and relatives at the U.S. border by the Trump administration between 2017 and 2021, consistent with news media accounts. About 400 children were returned to their home countries. About 62 family reunifications are in the works.

 

 

 

 

> National Institutes of Health: Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFlorida hackers change highway sign to read ‘Arrest Fauci' The Hill's Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – GOP torpedoes election bill; infrastructure talks hit snag White House admits July 4 vaccine marker will be missed MORE is navigating escalating attacks coming from former President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says ‘nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE and his GOP allies, who seized on a Washington Post report describing some of his official emails, as well as the global interest in the origins of the coronavirus. Fauci’s defenders say the conservative campaign is meant to divert attention from the Trump administration’s failures during the pandemic. Health experts warn attacks on Fauci stoke mistrust in science at a time when the government seeks to boost the national vaccination rate against COVID-19 and residents of red states evidence more vaccine hesitancy than populations in blue states (The Hill).

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS: Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) overwhelmingly took home the state’s gubernatorial primary nod on Tuesday night, setting himself up for another crack at the governorship beginning next year.  

 

McAuliffe won with 62 percent of the vote, topping the second place finisher by a whopping 43 percentage points, having immediately turned his attention to GOP nominee Glenn Youngkin during a victory event in Tysons Corner, Va. 

 

“We cannot let Glenn Youngkin do to Virginia what Donald Trump has done to our country,” McAuliffe said, hitting Youngkin over social issues in particular. “We are a different state than we were eight years ago and we are not going back. … I can tell you this, folks. There is not one business that wants to move to Virginia where they have a governor who is putting a social agenda on us” (The Hill).

 

The Hill: Virginia set to elect first female lieutenant governor after Delegate Hala Ayala wins the Democratic nod.

 

In New Jersey, Republican Jack Ciattarelli won the GOP primary in the gubernatorial contest Tuesday, topping two other Republicans who had aligned themselves more closely with Trump. 

 

Ciattarelli, a former state assemblyman, won 49 percent, defeating Phil Rizzo, a Baptist minister, and businessman Hirsh Singh, who garnered 26.2 percent and 21.4 percent of the vote, respectively. Ciattarelli had called Trump a “charlatan” in 2015 and had looked to distance himself from the former president’s personality while embracing some of his policies (The Hill).

 

Nevertheless, Ciattarelli is facing daunting odds in November against Gov. Phil Murphy (D) in the deep blue state. 

 

> AG two-step: Gazing at the primary season, a pair of key Trump allies are motoring toward a dual to serve as Texas attorney general. Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush is challenging state Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is expected to run for a third term in 2022. 

 

The race is shaping up as the Lone Star State's most intriguing primary of the 2020 cycle, with both men aggressively pursuing an endorsement from Trump, who could tip the scales in either candidate’s direction. Trump has teased making an endorsement “in the not-so-distant future” but has offered no hints as to which candidate he’s leaning toward (The Hill).

 

It's hard to envision Trump endorsing a Bush, most notably the son of Jeb. But he's not ruling it out. And remember, Trump endorsed Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzNew Jersey governor tweaks Cruz on Cancun over moving truck quip Hirono tells Ted Cruz to stop ‘mansplaining' Senate Republicans: Newly proposed ATF rules could pave way for national gun registry MORE (R-Texas) for reelection after harshly criticizing in personal terms Cruz's wife and father. 

 

> Trump defense: Democrats are angered after the Justice Department announced this week that it will continue to defend Trump from rape allegations made by writer E. Jean Carroll (The Hill). House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerTech industry pushes for delay in antitrust legislation Senate on collision course over Trump DOJ subpoenas Black Democrats press leaders for reparations vote this month MORE (D-N.Y.) and committee Democrats on Tuesday sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandBiden emphasizes investment in police, communities to combat crime Watch live: Biden, Garland deliver remarks on gun crime prevention Energized Trump probes pose problems for Biden MORE urging the department to reverse its decision (The Hill). 

 

*****

 

CORONAVIRUS: Americans eager to travel abroad are encouraged to consult the international advisories about COVID-19 put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the CDC has eased its classifications of risk, and not because some countries are doing so much better with their virus infection rates, The New York Times reports. Among the 56 countries deemed to be the safest for travel, because they have the lowest levels of the coronavirus are Australia, New Zealand (pictured below), Israel, Vietnam, China, Rwanda, Liberia and Laos. The U.S. government still urges travelers to be fully vaccinated before traveling to those countries, and many impose restrictions on travelers.

 

 

 

 

More coronavirus news: COVID-19 vaccines for young children are moving ahead in testing (The Wall Street Journal). … Millions of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine doses are at risk of expiring this month (The Wall Street Journal), and the government said on Tuesday that a “small fraction” of Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses will be unused in states. The administration is working on strategies to extend the shelf life of the doses (The Hill). … The Mastercard Foundation says it is donating $1.3 billion spread out over three years to boost Africa’s coronavirus response to COVID-19 (The Washington Post). … A Wisconsin hospital pharmacist who pleaded guilty to tampering late last year with COVID-19 vaccine doses was sentenced to three years in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $84,000 in restitution to the hospital where he had worked (The New York Times).

 

Pandemic history now: The Library of Congress recently acquired audio oral histories or diaries from more than 200 health care workers who cared for patients during the pandemic. The library says the collection, donated by The Nocturnists, a San Francisco-based independent medical storytelling community and podcast, offers “intimate, real-time stories from medical practitioners at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 

OPINION

“Faucigate” emails show nothing about a COVID lab leak, by Faye Flam, Bloomberg opinion contributor. https://bloom.bg/3v5SqGw

 

Netanyahu’s likely departure is not easing the fears of Palestinians, by Raja Shehadeh, New Yorker Daily Comment. https://bit.ly/3x7Q3Vb

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WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at 11:30 a.m. for a pro forma session on Friday. Lawmakers resume legislative work in the Capitol next week.

 

The Senate meets at 10:30 a.m. and will resume consideration of Zahid Quraishi to serve as U.S. district judge for the District of New Jersey. 

 

The president and first lady Jill BidenJill BidenBiden at Sen. John Warner's funeral: He ‘gave me confidence' The Hill's Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – GOP torpedoes election bill; infrastructure talks hit snag Biden to deliver remarks at Sen. John Warner's funeral MORE will depart at 8:10 a.m. for the United Kingdom and the first leg of a weeklong overseas trip, arriving this evening in Cornwall, England.

 

The vice president returned to Washington from Mexico early this morning. She has no public events on her schedule this morning.

 

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube

ELSEWHERE

NEWS MEDIA: Dozens of websites in the United States and Europe were offline for roughly an hour early Tuesday as a result of a software bug at Fastly Inc., a major cloud-services provider and operator of a content delivery network service. Sites including the British government’s main public services portal and several major U.S. and European news outlets, such as The New York Times and Le Monde, were inaccessible to at least some users for about an hour, beginning around 6 a.m. ET. Shortly before 7 a.m., Fastly said it repaired a service configuration problem and websites began to come back online (The Wall Street Journal). … Activists and shareholders of the Canadian tech and media giant Thomson Reuters (known for the Reuters news wire) want the company to end its contracts with the U.S. agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as a matter of human rights. They will vote today on a nonbinding proposal to review the human rights impacts of U.S. immigration policies carried out by ICE (The Hill).

 

COLONIAL PIPELINE: CEO Joseph Blount apologized to lawmakers and Americans during testimony before the Senate on Tuesday following May’s disruptions and resulting gasoline price hikes after the company opted to shut down 5,500 miles of pipeline operations because of a ransomware attack. Senators on both sides of the aisle criticized Blount, pointing out that the FBI and other agencies recommend against paying a ransom, as it can encourage criminals to carry out future attacks and the funds could be used for criminal activities. Blount said he did not consult the FBI before approving the ransom and believes it was “the right choice to make” (The Hill). 

 

INTERNATIONAL: A young man slapped French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronG-7 summit exposes incoherence of US foreign policy The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from Biden's European trip Biden says Queen Elizabeth II reminded him of his mother MORE on Tuesday along a rope line during the president’s visit to a small town in southeastern France and purportedly yelled, “Montjoie! Saint Denis!” an old royalist war cry, adding in French, “Down with Macron.” The president told reporters later, “I’m always going to meet people. … Some people express anger, sometimes disarray. … That’s legitimate anger, and we will continue to respond. Stupidity and violence, no, not in democracy” (The Associated Press). … In Canada, a Muslim family of four was slain in a hate-motivated attack this week in Ontario, and Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauCanada's woman in Washington Returning vaccinated Canadians will be exempt from quarantine Border closures with Canada, Mexico extended through July 21 MORE reacted on Tuesday with vows to fight far-right extremist groups (Reuters).

THE CLOSER

And finally … In China, a group of 15 wild elephants has been on a yearlong trek that has covered 300 miles from their home in a mountainous wildlife sanctuary in Yunnan province to the outskirts of the provincial capital of Kunming. 

 

The reason for the migration, which has been widely chronicled by the news media in China and worldwide, is something of a mystery. Some scientists theorize that the Asian elephants may have felt the need to leave their home terrain because of habitat disruption or a quest for certain foods. Perhaps the elephants are lost, some suggest.

 

The current herd includes six female and three male adults, three juveniles, and three calves, and their movements and antics have captured a huge social media following (The Associated Press).

 

 

 





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