Cup of Joe – 6/30/21

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said that “he’s supportive of going forward with a larger, Democratic-only infrastructure bill, but that it shouldn’t be linked to a separate bipartisan framework,” The Hill reports. Said Manchin: “We’re going to have to work it through reconciliation, which I’ve agreed that that can be done. I just haven’t agreed on the amount, because I haven’t seen everything that everyone is wanting to put in the bill.”

President Joe Biden pitched the bipartisan infrastructure deal as one “American people can be proud of” in a Yahoo News op-ed, while admitting there was a long way to go before it could pass. Biden also made clear that he was not satisfied that the bill is missing some “critical initiatives on climate change” — responding to criticism from Democrats that he had caved. He said he would push these in a separate budget reconciliation bill.

Wall Street Journal: “Democratic Party progressives are pushing President Biden to include in his infrastructure agenda stringent measures to address climate change, including policies designed to end the nation’s reliance on natural gas as a fuel source.”

“That is a political headache for moderates such as Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D., Texas), who in 2018 flipped a Republican-held House seat. Ms. Fletcher’s Houston-area House district ranks second in the nation for employment tied to the oil and gas industries.”

“President Joe Biden planned to spend a peaceful weekend at Camp David — but instead, he spent two days working to salvage the bipartisan infrastructure plan he had imperiled with a stray comment to reporters as he celebrated the announcement of the deal,” CNN reports.

“The 48-hour chaos exposed Biden’s continued ability to throw his agenda for a loop with a few misplaced words — and his skill, borne from ample practice, in cleaning them up quickly. The quick work, through calls to GOP senators and the careful drafting of a fresh statement walking back the off-the-cuff remarks at the White House, reinforced a lesson learned over the years cleaning up Biden’s remarks: Speed is essential. Allowing loose comments to fester, former aides say, usually just aggravates the problem.”

So here is the state of play:

  • McConnell’s preference is to block any infrastructure bill. He’s 100% committed to denying Biden his agenda.
  • McConnell has given tepid support to the bipartisan bill but only because he thinks it might anger progressives, divide Democrats and ultimately derail the bigger reconciliation package. There’s no way McConnell wants to give Biden a bipartisan win, but he’ll settle for that if he can split Democrats over the broader bill.
  • If McConnell sees Democrats unifying around a reconciliation bill filled with progressive priorities, he will quickly pull the plug on the bipartisan bill. He’ll do this in hopes of prying away moderate Democrats from supporting the broader bill.

McConnell’s motivations have never been more obvious. The bipartisan bill is simply a lever he can use to split the Democrats. It has the added benefit of burning up valuable legislative time. McConnell has no other policy objectives except blocking Biden’s agenda and using that failure to help him win back the Senate. If Democrats want an infrastructure bill, their best hope is — and always has been — through a Democrats-only budget reconciliation package.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “amplified her plans to link a bipartisan infrastructure agreement to a second package of Democratic economic priorities, rebuffing an appeal from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to decouple the two bills,” The Hill reports.

“Pelosi said her initial strategy — to withhold a House infrastructure vote until the Senate passes a larger, partisan families plan — remains unchanged.”

Said House Budget Committee chairman John Yarmuth (D-KY): “What the Speaker has said, and I totally agree with her, is that we’re not going to vote on one until the Senate sends us both. That’s not changed.”

NBC News: “Covid-19 kept candidate Joe Biden off the campaign trail last July Fourth. But this year, the White House and the Democratic National Committee are launching a campaign-style blitz as Americans get set to celebrate Independence Day, aiming to ensure the president sees a political boost for the nation’s return to pre-pandemic life.”

The minute-long ad declares that the U.S. is “coming back” after a more-than-year-long fight against COVID-19.

“The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed a federal moratorium on evictions imposed in response to the coronavirus pandemic to remain in place,” USA Today reports.

New York Times: “The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Brett Kavanaugh in the majority.”

A federal judged ruled that Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) “will not be required to unblock a former state lawmaker from her personal Twitter account,” the Colorado Sun reports.

First Read: “For years now, both Democrats and Republicans have relied on the courts to settle tough political issues — whether it’s abortion, immigration or Obamacare.”

“But we’re about to find out what happens when the courts decide not to take action on what appears to be a bipartisan target: regulating the social media giant Facebook.”

“Forget infrastructure. If you want to talk about a truly bipartisan issue — or target — it’s Facebook.”

“The Biden administration is developing an executive order directing agencies to strengthen oversight of industries that they perceive to be dominated by a small number of companies, a wide-ranging attempt to rein in big business power across the economy,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The executive order, which President Biden could sign as soon as next week, would direct regulators of industries from airlines to agriculture to rethink their rule-making process to inject more competition and to give consumers, workers and suppliers more rights to challenge large producers.”

Politico: “The White House is crafting an executive order aimed at promoting competition throughout the U.S. economy, a move aimed at lessening the stranglehold of dominant players in industries ranging from banking and agriculture to shipping and air travel.”

Jonathan Chait: Congressman recruits holocaust deniers into the Republican Party.

Siblings of Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) are saying he should be removed from Congress for backing former President Trump’s false claims of a stolen election and widespread voter fraud, The Hill reports.  Said Dave Gosar, one of the congressman’s 9 brothers and sisters: “I consider him a traitor to this country. I consider him a traitor to his family. He doesn’t see it. He’s disgraced and dishonored himself.”

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is hosting a fundraiser with America First PAC, a group run by young far-right operative Nick Fuentes, who has promoted white-nationalist ideas and whom the Justice Department has labeled a “white supremacist.”

Aaron Blake: “Fuentes has defended segregation and bemoaned the United States losing its ‘White demographic core.’ He has cast doubt on the millions of deaths in the Holocaust and engaged in a lengthy metaphor likening the deaths to cookies baking in an oven. He labeled the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol ‘awesome’ and the racist rally in Charlottesville that resulted in the death of a counterprotester ‘incredible.’”

A lawyer representing former President Trump in his stand-off with New York prosecutors expects the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to bring criminal charges against the Trump Organization in the coming days, CBS News reports.

“Attorneys for the Trump Organization met with New York prosecutors on Monday to argue that former president Donald Trump’s company should not be criminally charged over its business dealings,” the Washington Post reports.

One attorney told Politico that prosecutors were not considering bringing charges against Trump himself when the first indictments are brought down.

Politico: “The Biden administration, with little public fanfare, is working on plans for an organized review of thousands of cases of people who say they were unjustly deported in recent years, senior officials in charge of immigration said. The officials say that many deportations, especially under Trump, were unduly harsh, with little law enforcement benefit. They are working to devise a system to reconsider cases of immigrants who were removed despite strong ties to the United States.”

Playbook: “Watch Republicans on this, particularly anti-immigration types. Such a mass reversal is rare and would likely ensure many of the individuals would find a pathway to naturalization. The GOP has been trying to cast Biden as irresponsible on immigration issues. They’re likely to sink their teeth into this.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “introduced legislation that would create a select committee to probe the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, with an aide suggesting the speaker may include a Republican among her appointees,” the Washington Post reports.

“Republican leadership on Tuesday urged House GOP members to vote against legislation establishing a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of Donald Trump’s supporters,” the Washington Post reports.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said he supports legislation to remove Confederate statues in the U.S. Capitol, because they’re “statues of Democrats,” Mediaite reports.

New York Times: House votes to purge Confederate statues from the Capitol.

New York Times: “Even if the administration succeeds in putting the nuclear deal back together, Mr. Biden will still face the challenge of finding a way to further rein in the Iranians — a step the country’s new president-elect, Ebrahim Raisi, said the day after his election that he would never agree to.”

“In that sense, the airstrikes only underscored how many conflicting currents Mr. Biden faces as he attempts to fashion a coherent Iran policy. He faces pressures in various directions from Congress, Israel and Arab allies, never mind Tehran’s incoming, hard-line government, led by Mr. Raisi, who was placed under sanctions in 2019 by the Treasury Department, which concluded that he ‘participated in a so-called “death commission” that ordered the extrajudicial executions of thousands of political prisoners’ more than 30 years ago.”

Politico: Biden declares Iran will never get a nuclear weapon “on my watch.”

President Trump is apparently intent on helping sell copies of Betrayal, issuing his third statement in three days on the forthcoming book:

“Jonathan Karl’s story on Slow Moving Bill Barr is made-up beyond any level imaginable. It is, in other words, Fake News! I lost confidence in Bill Barr long before the 2020 Presidential Election Scam…

Barr was a ‘swamp creature’ who was devastated when the Radical Left wanted to impeach him… He, and other RINOs (you see it all the time!), always fold…

Despite evidence of tremendous Election Fraud, he just didn’t want to go there. He was afraid, weak, and frankly, now that I see what he is saying, pathetic.”

Excerpts from three upcoming books — Betrayal by Jonathan Karl, Landslide by Michael Wolff and Frankly, We Did Win This Election by Michael Bender — “revealed previously unknown efforts by then-President Donald Trump to abuse the powers of his office to overturn the 2020 election, deploy the military against racial justice protests and prosecute his political opponents,” CNN reports.

“The excerpts also shed new light on Trump’s increasingly unstable mindset in his final year. They portrayed a president who was obsessed with self-serving conspiracy theories and surrounded by aides who knew he was delusional but were too afraid to tell him the truth.”

“In the months since former President Donald Trump left office, media companies’ readership numbers are plunging — and publishers that rely on partisan, ideological warfare have taken an especially big hit,” Axios reports.

“Outlets most dependent on controversy to stir up resentments have struggled to find a foothold in the Biden era.”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson alleged that the Biden administration was “spying” on him in an effort to “take this show off the air.”

“Countries across the Asia-Pacific region are scrambling to slow the spread of the more infectious Delta variant, reimposing restrictions and stay-at-home orders in a jarring reminder — for societies that had just begun to reopen — that the pandemic is far from over,” the New York Times reports.

Meanwhile, the AP reports Russian authorities “have reported 652 new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday — the highest daily tally in the pandemic. The new record comes as Russia struggles to cope with a surge in infections and deaths and low vaccine uptake.”

Moneybox: “There are more positions available than ever in America, and business owners couldn’t be saltier about it. They’re allegedly desperate to hire but claim it’s impossible to find workers because people are choosing to stay home on unemployment benefits rather than answer a help-wanted ad.”

“Is there any truth to that? Maybe? Probably at least a little? I mean, nobody really knows.”

“But here’s the thing: When you set aside the cacophony of complaints from America’s fast-food franchisees and think about the long-term, you kind of have to bask in the surplus of job openings. That’s a great problem to have.”

Wall Street Journal: “The number of unemployment-benefit recipients is falling at a faster rate in Missouri and 21 other states canceling enhanced and extended payments this month, suggesting that ending the aid could push more people to take jobs.”

“Other economists and many Democrats say other factors, including lack of child care and fear of Covid-19, are also keeping many potential workers out of the labor force.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) announced that she’s sending 50 of her state’s National Guard troops to Texas, Insider reports.

“While sharing National Guard troops across state lines is not unusual for governors, it typically involves a crisis such as a natural disaster in a neighboring state.”

“Another unusual aspect of Noem’s announcement is that the 30 to 60 day deployment will be ‘paid for by a private donation.’”

“U.S. home prices surged at their fastest pace ever in April as buyers competing for a limited number of homes on the market pushed the booming housing market to new records,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The home-price surge is widespread around the U.S., affecting buyers and sellers in big cities, suburbs and small towns.”

Axios: “Canada is seeing extreme heat, with the country’s June high-temperature record tied on Saturday and smashed on Sunday at Lytton in British Columbia by nearly 3°F, with a high of 116°F. This was broken again Monday, with the same location recording 117.5°F.”

According to Wikipedia, 7 out of the 10 highest temperatures ever recorded in Canada came in the past three days.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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