“We have a deal.” — President Joe Biden, quoted by NBC News, announcing a deal on a bipartisan infrastructure package.
Playbook: “Well, we’ll be damned. Joe Biden appears to have all but secured that elusive bipartisan infrastructure deal that both parties have been prattling on about for years. The core group of 10 Senate centrists working on the proposal emerged from a meeting with White House officials Wednesday night and declared that they had a working framework.”
“While lawmakers draft up the text, expect the White House to start leaning on Democrats to get in line. We know that so far at least 11 Senate Republicans have agreed to back this plan, but just as many Democrats have expressed reservations, creating tricky math for leadership.”
Punchbowl News: “But this is very far from a done deal. The lights are going down, and the band is just taking the stage.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) on CNN: “That deal has 20 votes — not 60 votes.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi told her caucus that the House will not pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless the Senate also sends over a budget reconciliation bill with the “human infrastructure” investments proposed by President Biden, Punchbowl News reports. Said Pelosi: “There ain’t no infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill.”
President Biden back up her threat this afternoon after announcing a deal on the bipartisan bill: “If this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing. It’s in tandem.”
This was as clear a message you could send to Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) that if they want their bipartisan bill to pass, it’s contingent on them backing a massive reconciliation bill too. That bill will require all 50 Democrats to be on board.
Earlier this morning, Manchin waffled, telling CNN: “We have to see what’s in the other plan before I can say, ‘Oh yes, you vote for this and I’ll vote for that.’ That’s not what I have signed up for.” To make sure she was not mistaken, Pelosi added that the House would not take up the bipartisan deal until it also receives budget reconciliation bill. Biden backed her up on that threat too.
There’s no guarantee the strategy will work, but every Democrat now knows what is required to get an infrastructure deal passed.
“My party is divided, but my party is also rational.” — President Biden, quoted by CNN, on getting Democrats to back the bipartisan infrastructure package along with a separate reconciliation bill.
Walter Shapiro: “On one hand, these Democrats rightly believe that their progressive agenda on climate change, voting rights, and immigration is strongly popular with the voters. But on the other hand, many of these same Democrats fear that if far-reaching legislation is not somehow rammed through Congress this summer, it will never happen in their lifetimes.”
“What Democrats have failed to realize in their despair is that their short-term political future seems far rosier than their downcast demeanor would suggest.”
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi is challenging rank-and-file Democrats to get more aggressive in selling voters back home on President Biden’s economic agenda, specifically touting a provision providing thousands of dollars to working families through child tax credits,” The Hill reports.
“Calling the tax credit ‘Social Security for kids’, the Speaker pressed fellow Democrats to become better messengers for both the benefits they’ve already enacted this year, and the additional relief they’re fighting to adopt under the president’s enormous infrastructure proposal.”
Said Pelosi, in a closed door meeting: “If you’re offended by me asking you to do more, then be offended.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. could run out of room to keep paying the government’s bills some time during Congress’s August recess unless lawmakers raise or suspend the federal borrowing limit before then, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Hill: “Democratic senators are starting to say the August recess, or at least part of it, should be in peril as the party falls further behind on its legislative agenda.”
Politico: “Efforts to forge a bipartisan gun control deal in the Senate have fallen apart. A sweeping Democratic elections reform bill has failed. A self-imposed White House deadline for a police reform bill has come and gone. And while there was a breakthrough on infrastructure talks on Wednesday evening, the fate of that legislation remains unclear.”
“Five months into the post-Trump era, the promise of Democrat-occupied Washington is crashing into reality. Donald Trump may be gone, but the sense of hope that permeated the Democratic Party’s rank-and-file after his defeat — and the accompanying capture of Congress — is being replaced by a haze of disillusionment that threatens the party’s prospects of generating enthusiasm in the run-up to a critical midterm election.”
Playbook: “In a matter of a few weeks, Congress is going to have to raise the $28 trillion debt ceiling — yes, $28 trillion and counting — around the same time that Democrats will be trying to pass Biden’s $6 trillion infrastructure-climate-family plan(s). This could prove a major headache for members like Manchin who are going to see this price tag — combined with the ever-ballooning federal debt — and flip out.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced that House Democrats “will form a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, one month after Senate Republicans blocked an effort to form an independent, bipartisan commission,” the Washington Post reports.
Politico: “A select committee allows Democrats to combine existing investigations but risks being perceived as partisan. Democrats heavily criticized Republicans’ select committee to investigate the 2012 attacks in the Libyan city of Benghazi, for example.”
Barack Obama told Yahoo News that he supports Sen. Joe Manchin’s voting rights proposal, calling it a “product of compromise,” The Guardian reports. Said Obama: “I have tried to make it a policy not to weigh in on the day-to-day scrum in Washington, but what is happening this week is more than just a particular bill coming up or not coming up to a vote.” He added: “I do want folks who may not be paying close attention to what’s happening … to understand the stakes involved here, and why this debate is so vitally important to the future of our country.”
“The filibuster is on its way out. There is no question in my mind that the filibuster is going to be a thing of the past shortly. You can’t have a democracy that takes 60 percent of the vote to get things done.” — Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), quoted by the New York Times.
Matthew Sheffield: “Not only has it made the federal government unable to address critical policy issues, it has also been the primary factor in keeping the Republican Party drifting further and further to the right. That’s because in a healthy political environment, parties advocating unpopular policies that somehow get elected pay significant political consequences if they try to enact them.”
“In the United States though, the filibuster has made it so that far-right politicians can get elected and stay in office for decades because their unpopular policies are never passed. As a result, instead of learning that voters don’t support their ideas and being forced to move toward the center, Republican voters have become increasingly radicalized by the fact that their legislators fail to make the conservative paradise of their dreams a reality.”
A New York appellate court suspended Rudy Giuliani’s law license after a disciplinary panel found that he made “demonstrably false and misleading” statements about the 2020 election as Donald Trump’s personal attorney, the New York Times reports.
Axios: “The court examined a number of instances in which Giuliani made false statements about alleged election fraud in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan. Each were found to be in violation of various provisions of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct.”
NBC News: “President Joe Biden promised this week to increase the pay of federal firefighters, some of whom make just $13 an hour to perform life-threatening work that is only intensifying as fires become deadlier and more frequent.”
Said Biden: “I didn’t realize this, I have to admit, that federal firefighters get paid $13 an hour. That’s going to end in my administration. That’s a ridiculously low salary to pay federal firefighters.”
The CDC “approved a one-month extension of the national moratorium on evictions, scheduled to expire on June 30, but administration officials said this will be the final time they push back the deadline,” the New York Times reports.
“As the national economy recovers from the pandemic and begins to take off, New York City is lagging, with changing patterns of work and travel threatening the engines that have long powered its jobs and prosperity,” the New York Times reports. “New York has suffered deeper job losses as a share of its work force than any other big American city. And while the country has regained two-thirds of the positions it lost after the coronavirus arrived, New York has recouped fewer than half, leaving a deficit of more than 500,000 jobs.”
Wall Street Journal: “Ballooning job openings in fields requiring minimal education — including in restaurants, transportation, warehousing and manufacturing — combined with a shrinking labor force are giving low-wage workers perks previously reserved for white-collar employees. That often means bonuses, bigger raises and competing offers.”
“Average weekly wages in leisure and hospitality, the sector that suffered the steepest job losses in 2020, were up 10.4% in May from February 2020 … Pay for those with only high school diplomas is rising faster than for college graduates.”
“On Tuesday, the US government said it seized 33 websites run by a branch of the Iranian government that spread disinformation in the US before the 2020 presidential election,” Ars Technica reports.
Washington Post: “The U.S. says three other seized websites were operated by the Iraqi Shiite paramilitary group, Kata’ib Hizballah, which more than a decade ago was designated a foreign terrorist organization.”
Federal judge Royce Lamberth said the January insurrection at the Capitol was a “disgrace” and forcefully rebuked the “utter nonsense” coming from some Republican lawmakers who are whitewashing what happened, CNN reports. Said Lamberth: “I don’t know what planet they were on.” Lamberth was appointed to the federal bench by Ronald Reagan in 1987.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said that Washington, DC police officer Michael Fanone, who was badly hurt during the January 6 insurrection and has been trying to set up a meeting with him, told CNN: “I’d gladly meet with him. We gave him the phone number to the scheduler and said we’d love to meet with you. Unfortunately he hasn’t followed up.” But Fanone told the New York Times that McCarthy’s statement was “bullshit,” and said that no one gave him a phone number.
The Washington Post reviews the extraordinary effort to save Donald Trump from COVID-19, in an excerpt from Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History.
“A five-day stretch in October 2020 — from the moment White House officials began an extraordinary effort to get Trump lifesaving drugs to the day the president returned to the White House from the hospital — marked a dramatic turning point in the nation’s flailing coronavirus response. Trump’s brush with severe illness and the prospect of death caught the White House so unprepared that they had not even briefed Vice President Mike Pence’s team on a plan to swear him in if Trump became incapacitated…”
“The doctors gave Trump an eight-gram dose of two monoclonal antibodies through an intravenous tube. That experimental treatment was what had required the FDA’s sign-off. He was also given a first dose of the antiviral drug remdesivir, also by IV. That drug was authorized for use but still hard to get for many patients because it was in short supply.”
“Typically, doctors space out treatments to measure a patient’s response. Some drugs, such as monoclonal antibodies, are most effective if they’re administered early in the course of an infection. Others, such as remdesivir, are most effective when they’re given later, after a patient has become critically ill. But Trump’s doctors threw everything they could at the virus all at once. His condition appeared to stabilize somewhat as the day wore on, but his doctors, still fearing he might need to go on a ventilator, decided to move him to the hospital. It was too risky at that point to stay at the White House.”
A Republican official in Ohio admitted to forging his dead father’s signature on an absentee ballot in the 2020 presidential election, NBC News reports. Edward Snodgrass, a Porter Township trustee, called it “an honest error.” Yeah, like forging a check is a “banking mistake.”
Associated Press: “Ohio, the state that launched the national movement to offer millions of dollars in incentives to boost vaccination rates, planned to conclude its program Wednesday — still unable to crack the 50% vaccination threshold.”
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) “said he wants to turn some of the state’s expected budget surplus into a two-month sales tax holiday. But he almost immediately faced resistance from lawmakers with other ideas for the money,” the Boston Globe reports. “No matter what lawmakers decide on Baker’s two-month proposal, the state’s annual two-day tax holiday will go forward as planned, on Aug. 14 and 15.”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) vetoed legislation that would have barred transgender girls and women from participating on sports teams that match their gender identity, calling the proposal a “solution in search of a problem that does not exist in Louisiana,” the Baton Rouge Advocate reports.
The Republican National Committee paid just over $175,000 to former President Donald Trump’s private club to host part of its spring donor retreat, CNBC reports.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) “was recently assigned protection from the Capitol Police, an unusual measure for a House member not in a leadership position,” the New York Times reports.
“National Guard and reserve soldiers are having trouble feeding their families due to a year of record deployments,” the Washington Post reports. “Hunger among Guard members and reservists is more than double the national rate.”
A group of nearly 40 House Republicans is launching a Conservative Climate Caucus on Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reports.
“The U.S. intelligence community concluded last week that the government of Afghanistan could collapse as soon as six months after the American military withdrawal from the country is completed,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“President Biden announced Wednesday that he was nominating Cindy McCain, the widow of former Senator John McCain, as ambassador to the United Nations World Food Programme, giving the post to a longtime Republican friend as he continues to emphasize the importance of bipartisanship in a deeply divided Washington,” the New York Times reports.