Dan Balz: “Even if Democrats can agree on the overall shape of a reconciliation package, raising revenue could be a sticky issue, especially for those lawmakers who face competitive races in 2022. But Democrats believe that many of the potential revenue sources for the reconciliation package — a higher corporate rate or a higher top rate for individuals or higher capital gains taxes — are politically popular and therefore more palatable to the public and wavering lawmakers.”
“This debate could be influenced by the revenue assumptions in the bipartisan plan. The first look at what those negotiators outlined drew lots of criticism from outside analysts, who suggested there was a fair amount of fuzzy math involved. If that were to remain the case, Democrats might feel more emboldened to engage in some fuzzy math of their own in the reconciliation measure.”
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) told Politico he’s pushing the White House to support a filibuster workaround that would allow Senate Democrats to pass a sweeping voting rights bill.
The idea is to create a carveout for legislation that applies to Constitutional rights, like voting.
Associated Press: “As congressional Democrats gear up for another bruising legislative push to expand voting rights, much of their attention has quietly focused on a small yet crucial voting bloc with the power to scuttle their plans: the nine Supreme Court justices.”
“Democrats face dim prospects for passing voting legislation through a narrowly divided Congress, where an issue that once drew compromise has become an increasingly partisan flashpoint. But as they look to reinstate key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a landmark civil rights-era law diminished over the past decade by Supreme Court rulings, they have accepted the reality that any bill they pass probably will wind up in litigation — and ultimately back before the high court.
“Several Republican lawmakers were secretly filmed imploring conservative activists to flood a pair of centrist Democrats with messages of gratitude for holding firm on the filibuster, a 60-vote threshold that most bills need to clear the Senate,” Insider reports.
Said Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL): “All of you in this room, people at home on Zoom, let me tell you right now, if you want to do one thing to keep the republic afloat, call Joe Manchin’s office, call Kyrsten Sinema’s office.”
“A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was hoisted away from its place of prominence in Charlottesville on Saturday and carted off to storage, years after its threatened removal became a rallying point for white supremacists and inspired their violent 2017 rally that left a woman dead and dozens injured,” the AP reports.
“The Trump administration began separating migrant families along a remote stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border months earlier than has been previously reported — part of a little known program coming into view only now as the Biden administration examines government data,” the Washington Post reports.
Associated Press: “The new [Biden Administration] directive, announced Friday, does not bar Immigration and Customs Enforcement from initiating proceedings to deport women who are pregnant, nursing or have given birth within the past year. But they generally would no longer be detained pending the outcome of their cases except under ‘exceptional circumstances,’ the agency said. The practice of detaining pregnant migrants has been condemned as a threat to maternal and fetal health by immigrant and women’s advocacy groups critical of medical care at detention centers.”
Politico: “Administration voices join a growing chorus of top congressional Democrats and advocacy groups pushing the White House to continue pandemic benefits for more than 40 million student loan borrowers. The White House has not yet made a final decision.”
“But Education Department officials have suggested to the White House that the administration extend loan relief one final time, through the end of January.”
“Haiti’s request for U.S. troops to help stabilize the country following the assassination of its president presents President Biden with a difficult choice: send forces to help a neighbor even as he is trying to pare down America’s military footprint overseas, or refrain and risk allowing the chaos unfolding there to escalate into a refugee crisis,” the New York Times reports.
“Thus far, administration officials have expressed caution about any deployment to Haiti, reflecting the fast pace of events since attackers killed President Jovenel Moïse in his home on Wednesday, but also a broader shift in American attitudes toward military interventions as the 20-year war in Afghanistan winds down.”
New York Times: “After 24 hours of wild gun battles with suspects in the assassination of Haiti’s president, the nation’s authorities announced the arrests of 20 people and called on the United States to send troops to help protect crucial infrastructure.”
“Haiti’s remarkable request for military assistance from the U.S., a former colonial overlord that has repeatedly intervened in the nation’s affairs, is a measure of how deeply shaken the nation has been by days of chaos and intrigue.”
Miami Herald: “The operation that led to Haitian President Jovenel Moise’s middle-of-the-night assassination was in the planning for at least a month, and came together during meals around Port-au-Prince and at a home where most of the men accused of the slaying were staying
Politico: “Now president himself, Biden has not only unapologetically reaffirmed his plan to get troops out of the country after a record-breaking two decades, he has aggressively expedited their withdrawal. His move makes good on a pledge he made to himself to end a war that he has long viewed as unwinnable. It also implicitly acknowledges the rapidly shifting politics around American military intervention abroad.”
“Biden’s now-it’s-my-turn-moment … was met with resignation from a large swath of the foreign policy community that has come to believe that withdrawal was, in the end, a defensible decision even if the ripple effects are unknown.”
NPR: “The war in Afghanistan has lasted nearly 20 years. One of its key architects, former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, died last month. And this week, President Biden said the U.S. military operation there will end on Aug. 31, just shy of the twentieth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”
“So what does that mean for Gitmo? After all, the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was created to hold enemy fighters captured in Afghanistan and the so-called War on Terror. If the Afghanistan conflict ends, what happens to its prisoners of war?”
“Pfizer is expected to brief top U.S. government health officials in the coming days about the need for a coronavirus vaccine booster shot after an unusually public spat between the pharmaceutical giant and federal officials over whether a third shot will be necessary,” the Washington Post reports.
“The US has surpassed 20,000 new Covid-19 cases for the fourth day in a row as the highly contagious Delta variant persists in its track in being the most common form of the coronavirus in the country,” CNN reports.
“The last time the country had back-to-back days of cases topping 20,000 was in May, according to the data.”
“Millions of Americans have rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated against Covid-19, but one group is well behind: young adults,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Their reluctance is a significant part of why the U.S. missed the Biden administration’s goal of getting 70% of the adult population a first dose by July 4, and it is impeding efforts to develop the communitywide immunity sought to move past the pandemic and fend off Delta and other variants.”
“Now government health authorities are dialing up efforts encouraging 18- to 29-year-olds to get vaccinated. The outreach will have to overcome the hesitancy of many young adults who don’t see the urgency given their relatively low risk of severe cases, are spooked by confusing information on social media and generally feel invincible.”
Washington Post: “The Biden administration is working to move past the pandemic without a permanent leader for the agency that authorizes drugs and vaccines. Democrats are decrying Republican-led efforts to restrict the right to vote, but President Biden has yet to nominate a solicitor general to represent the government on voting rights and other issues that could come before the Supreme Court.”
“And the Office of Management and Budget has only an acting director, even as the president seeks a sweeping budget resolution in Congress that would enable his ‘human infrastructure’ plan to pass, one of his top goals.”
Doyle McManus: “Eight months after he lost convincingly to President Biden, Trump and his followers are studiously maintaining an alternative reality — and having remarkable success keeping the fiction alive.”
“Almost two-thirds of GOP voters told pollsters in one recent survey that they’re still convinced the election was stolen — a number that hasn’t changed much since November.”
“This isn’t a harmless exercise in political puffery; it deepens the polarization of American politics and weakens democracy. The charge that the election was stolen doesn’t merely flatter Trump; it’s also an attempt to delegitimize Biden.”
Wall Street Journal: “For many districts accustomed to tight budgets, the influx of a historic level of federal funding has created a high-stakes opportunity to develop new learning opportunities and, many leaders hope, forge long-term change with short-term funding.”
“The Education Department has required administrators to ask parents, teachers, students, organizations and community members for input before many must submit spending plans in August. Common requests include more time for learning—either through a longer school year or school day, or after-school tutoring. Some communities are pushing for increased mental-health resources, such as added counselors … Others want smaller class sizes or new enrichment activities.”
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) said that the Biden administration’s immunization drive sounded more to him like a plot to begin confiscating firearms and doing away with religion.
Said Cawthorn: “Now they’re talking about going door-to-door to bring vaccines to the people. Think of the mechanisms they would have to build to be able to actually execute that massive of a thing. Think about what those mechanisms could be used for. They could then go door-to-door to take your guns, to take your Bibles.”
President Biden plans to nominate Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve as ambassador to India, the Washington Post reports.
More abortion restrictions have been enacted across the U.S. this year than in any previous year, NPR reports.
“A 19-year-old woman was charged Friday with a hate crime accusing her of stomping on a pro-police sign and throwing it in the trash — all in front of an officer who had just given her friend a speeding ticket,” the Deseret News reports.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) continued her feud with Taylor Swift in a Breitbart interview, warning her that if we have a “socialistic government,” the state would have to “approve her music,” and won’t “allow women to dress, or sing, to be on stage, or entertain.”
Former White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany declared on Fox News that “all of” America’s founding fathers were “against slavery.” Said McEnany: “The haters never take a day off from hating, that is clear. And they never take a day off from getting the facts wrong. We know most of our forefathers, all of our main Founding Fathers were against slavery, recognized the evils of it.”