“Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), a crucial centrist vote in the Democratic caucus, is signaling to colleagues that won’t derail a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that contains many of President Biden’s legislative priorities,” The Hill reports.
“Senate Democrats say Manchin has indicated he will not stand in the way of the measure moving forward and will be generally supportive as long as he’s kept in the loop on his top concerns: how to pay for the bill and a clean energy provision.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said the House will “realign” some of the priorities in a $3.5 trillion Senate Democrat budget blueprint to expand the proposal’s social and environmental programs, Bloomberg reports.
Said Pelosi: “What is in there is something we agree with. But it is imperative that we take the next step in reconciliation to make it all greener and more family, family friendly.”
Punchbowl News: “So why the power play by Schumer? The calendar.”
“Schumer is facing an increasingly intense time crunch. It’s already the middle of July. The Senate is supposed to be out of session for most of August,
“How long it would take committees in both the House and Senate to turn that huge package into actual legislative language is unclear, but it’s going to be months.”
“Schumer will need weeks of floor time as well to clear the bipartisan infrastructure bill — if it ever gets finished. Meaning he has to force the bipartisan group to cut a deal, or move on.”
New York Times: “Huddling with four other Democrats and five Republicans, Mr. Warner has been trying to nail down as rich an infrastructure package as he can get.”
“On the Budget Committee, he is a crucial moderate emissary for Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, trying to rein in the social spending ambitions of the committee’s irascible socialist chairman, Senator Bernie Sanders. And on the Finance Committee, Mr. Warner has been a pro-business voice working to devise the tax increases needed to pay for all that spending.”
Said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) of Warner’s role in both negotiations: “He really is the linchpin.”
“Talkers both, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders stayed for an hour in the Oval Office, just two former rivals for the White House now acting as potential partners, negotiating a compromise both could live with,” the AP reports.
“The centrist president listened as the liberal senator spoke. Sanders passionately made his case that Biden’s big infrastructure investment should go even bigger — and include his own longtime goal of dental, hearing and vision benefits for older Americans on Medicare. The president gave his full backing, according to a senior White House aide and another person familiar with the private session, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting.”
“Top Democrats, with the support of the White House, are planning to tuck a handful of immigration measures into their forthcoming $3.5 trillion spending bill,” Politico reports.
“The tactic — which just months ago seemed like a long shot even to liberals — is now widely seen as President Joe Biden’s best shot at confronting one of Washington’s policy leviathans and delivering on a decades-long party promise.”
Playbook: “The most glaring obstacle here is the Senate rulebook. To pass muster, the immigration reforms would have to significantly impact the federal budget — by generating revenue or deepening the deficit — rather than merely being a side effect. Even raising the minimum wage failed to make the cut under that criterion earlier this year.”
“Democrats are looking to set aside $120 billion for a pathway to citizenship for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, farm workers, essential workers and people with Temporary Protected Status,” CNN reports.
“It’s an untested question whether immigration reform will meet that criteria.”
Said former Senate parliamentarian Alan Frumin: “I understand arguments are made that there are budgetary effects when you change immigration law. But I think there’s probably a strong argument that those effects are secondary.”
Susan Glasser: “There were two ‘nightmare scenarios,’ Milley told associates, for the period after the November 3rd election, which resulted in Trump’s defeat but not his concession: one was that Trump would try ‘to use the military on the streets of America to prevent the legitimate, peaceful transfer of power.’ The other was an external crisis involving Iran. It was not public at the time, but Milley believed that the nation had come close—‘very close’—to conflict with the Islamic Republic.”
“This dangerous post-election period, Milley said, was all because of Trump’s ‘Hitler’-like embrace of the ‘Big Lie’ that the election had been stolen from him; Milley feared it was Trump’s ‘Reichstag moment,’ in which, like Adolf Hitler in 1933, he would manufacture a crisis in order to swoop in and rescue the nation from it.”
Former President Donald Trump “has complained that he should have ordered the White House flag flown at half-staff for Ashli Babbitt, the U.S. Capitol rioter and QAnon believer who was fatally shot while attempting to break into a refuge for lawmakers fleeing a pro-Trump mob,” the Daily Beast reports.
“As recently as in the past two weeks, Trump had mentioned that one reason Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, deserved such an honor was because of her nearly decade-and-a-half service in the military.”
Politico: “Privately, former administration officials and top campaign aides have shared concerns about Conway’s upcoming tell-all in particular. The ex-president’s loyal former counselor is expected to give a hold-no-punches account of her time in the White House and those she worked alongside. Conway herself sat down with Trump for her book at Mar-a-Lago.”
“Donald Trump is having trouble selling advance tickets for his upcoming speaking tour with conservative pundit Bill O’Reilly,” Politico reports.
“Two men have been indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple charges in connection with an alleged plot to attack the Democratic Party headquarters building in Sacramento after last year’s presidential election,” NBC News reports.
Daily Beast: “The pro-Trump internet went wild on Wednesday for the Freedom Phone, a $500 smartphone that comes stocked with conservative apps and promises to liberate anyone else who buys it from Silicon Valley censorship.”
“Despite being lauded by some of the right-wing media’s leading figures, though, the Freedom Phone’s buyers could be getting less than they expect for its $500 price tag. That’s because the Freedom Phone appears to be merely a more expensive rebranding of a budget Chinese phone available elsewhere for a fraction of the Freedom Phone’s price.”
Freedom Phone appears to be a rebranded Umidigi A9 Pro which you can buy for $120.
Axios: “Tourism, mostly from Canada and Europe, dried up along with the hard currency it provided.”
“Mismanagement of the island’s state-run economy, already under a U.S. embargo since 1962, sent Cuba’s GDP crashing by 11% last year, its worst showing since the former Soviet Union stopped subsidies in the early 1990s.”
“Chronic power cuts and shortages of food and medicines have been more acute, while the nearly quarter-million people who have had coronavirus have had to seek treatment from a healthcare system on the verge of collapse.”
“There’s a clear message that is coming through — this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”— CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, quoted by CNN. Walensky noted that 97% of hospitalizations for COVID-19 are for the unvaccinated.
The White House released a video this morning featuring Olivia Rodrigo and Dr. Anthony Fauci reading tweets about themselves while promoting vaccines.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta told his CNN audience this week that there will be just two types of Americans now: The vaccinated and the infected. He said that if you’re not vaccinated you almost certainly will eventually get infected. And if you get infected, a high percentage will get very sick and may die.
“Emergency authorization for Covid-19 vaccines in children under 12 could come in early to midwinter, a move that could bring relief to many parents who have been unable to vaccinate their children,” NBC News reports.
Ed Yong reports on the pandemic in Missouri, where ICUs are filling with more younger patients in their 20s, 30s, and 40s than before, including many with no underlying health problems.
“In part, that’s because elderly people were more likely to get vaccinated, leaving Delta with a younger pool of vulnerable hosts. While experts are still uncertain if Delta is deadlier than the original coronavirus, every physician and nurse whom I spoke to in Missouri told me that the 30- and 40-something COVID-19 patients whom they’re now seeing are much sicker than those they saw last year. Unlike last year, nurses are watching families navigate end-of-life decisions for young people who had no advanced directives or legal documents in place.”
“Almost every COVID-19 patient in Springfield’s hospitals is unvaccinated, and the dozen or so exceptions are all either elderly or immunocompromised people. The vaccines are working as intended, but the number of people who have refused to get their shots is crushing morale. Vaccines were meant to be the end of the pandemic. If people don’t get them, the actual end will look more like Springfield’s present: a succession of COVID-19 waves that will break unevenly across the country until everyone has either been vaccinated or infected.”
“New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is scheduled to meet this weekend with the lawyers leading the state attorney general’s inquiry into sexual harassment allegations against him,” NBC News reports,
New York Times: “The lawyers have spent months gathering hours of testimony from several women who have accused Mr. Cuomo of sexual misconduct or harassment. The lawyers have also in recent weeks interviewed senior administration officials in preparation for questioning the governor.”
Wall Street Journal: “In an advisory to be issued Friday, the Biden administration warns businesses and individuals working for them that they are subject to a restrictive national security law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong a year ago.
“The advisory cites the risks of electronic surveillance without warrants and of having to surrender corporate and customer data to the government.”
CNBC: “The Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2022 could be 6.1% due to inflation.”
“That would be the biggest increase since 1983.”
“President Biden will nominate Jane Hartley, a former ambassador to France, to serve as ambassador to the United Kingdom,” the Washington Post reports.
“The ambassador to the Court of St. James’s is considered — along with Paris — as among the most prestigious postings for an American president to fill. Of the two plum spots, each with a lovely historic mansion in the heart of two of Europe’s great cities, the London position is usually considered the more consequential job because of the close diplomatic, military and historical relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.”
Former Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) is President Joe Biden’s pick to be ambassador to New Zealand and the Independent State of Samoa, Politico reports.
“Africa is now in the deadliest stage of its pandemic, and there is little prospect of relief in sight,” the New York Times reports.
“The Delta variant is sweeping across the continent. Namibia and Tunisia are reporting more deaths per capita than any other country. Hospitals across the continent are filling up, oxygen supplies and medical workers are stretched thin and recorded deaths jumped 40 percent last week alone.”
“But only about 1 percent of Africans have been fully vaccinated. And even the African Union’s modest goal of getting 20 percent of the population vaccinated by the end of 2021 seems out of reach.”
Bloomberg: “Manchin said he wouldn’t carve out an exemption to the chamber’s filibuster rule for voting rights legislation, effectively dashing chances that Democrats could maneuver around Republican opposition to overhauling the nation’s elections laws.”
“A witness in the New York investigation against the Trump Organization has told prosecutors that Donald Trump personally guaranteed he would cover school costs for the family members of two employees in lieu of a raise—directly implicating the former president in an ongoing criminal tax fraud case,” the Daily Beast reports.
“The explosive claims come from Jennifer Weisselberg, the ex-wife of a longtime company employee, during a teleconference call with investigators on Friday, June 25, according to two sources who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity.”
“The Biden administration announced sweeping protections for Alaska’s Tongass National Forest on Thursday, including an end to large-scale old-growth logging and a proposal to bar road development on more than 9 million acres,” the Washington Post reports.
“The changes mark a major shift for a region that has relied on felling massive trees for more than a century, reversing one of former president Donald Trump’s biggest public land decisions and halting a significant source of future carbon emissions. The Tongass, part of one of the world’s last relatively intact temperate rainforests, is the only national forest where old-growth logging still takes place on an industrial scale.”
The Biden administration is reversing a Trump-era rule approved after the former president complained he wasn’t getting wet enough because of limits on water flow from showerheads, NBC News reports.
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday Canada could start allowing fully vaccinated Americans into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel and should be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September,” the AP reports.