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House Democrats return to advance Biden's agenda in face of crises | Five lawmakers to watch ahead of key House budget vote | Afghan soldier killed in firefight at Kabul airport gate | Harris says administration 'singularly focused' on Afghanistan evacuation
NEWS OF THE MORNING
Via The Hill’s Scott Wong and Cristina Marcos, “House Democrats are interrupting their summer recess and returning to Washington on Monday to advance President Biden’s ambitious domestic agenda as his administration struggles to contain a foreign policy crisis in Afghanistan and the raging COVID-19 pandemic.” https://bit.ly/3y5lzmZ
Why they’re doing this: Democrats can’t afford to have two key parts of Biden’s agenda — a sweeping $3.5 trillion spending package and $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill — stall out and lose momentum, especially at a time when the White House is under fire for the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
Easier said than done: House Democrats aren’t exactly unified here. A group of nine moderate Democrats are threatening to tank the $3.5 trillion spending plan unless party leaders allow a vote on the infrastructure package first.
House Democratic leaders and progressives, however, want to approve the budget blueprint first, a move that would effectively pave the way for the party to pass a spending bill in the Senate without a single Republican vote.
Not backing down: Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is sticking to her plan to pass the budget resolution first. “In doing so,” Scott and Cristina note, “Pelosi is effectively daring the so-called ‘Moderate Nine’ to be blamed for killing the Biden agenda that rank-and-file Democrats, especially vulnerable centrists, will need to run on to keep their jobs in the increasingly difficult 2022 midterm elections.”
FIVE LAWMAKERS TO WATCH AHEAD OF KEY HOUSE BUDGET VOTE:
Via The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda: https://bit.ly/3goazLa
It’s Monday! We’re Julia Manchester and Max Greenwood, filling in for Cate today with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com — and follow along on Twitter @juliamanch and @kmaxgreenwood and on Facebook.
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Trouble continues in Afghanistan:
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a news conference on Monday that he believes the Pentagon has been able to evacuate “several thousand Americans” since Aug. 14. Additionally, Kirby said that this U.S. would "absolutely consider the views of our partners and allies" in moving the evacuation deadline past August 31.
Via The Hill’s Joseph Choi, “At least one Afghan soldier was reportedly killed in gunfire that broke out at the Kabul airport early Monday. Citing officials from Germany's military, Reuters reports that the incident occurred near the Kabul airport's north gate when Afghan guards exchanged gunfire with unidentified gunmen. Both U.S. and German forces were also involved in the exchange of gunfire and three other Afghan soldiers are reportedly being treated at a field hospital near the airport.” https://bit.ly/3kjyi0s
Monday’s development comes as thousands of Afghans, U.S. citizens and U.S. military allies try to escape Afghanistan amid the Taliban takeover. The British military reported that at least seven Afghans were killed near the Kabul airport on Sunday.
President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race On The Money: Democrats get to the hard part Health Care — GOP attorneys general warn of legal battle over Biden's vaccine mandate MORE will face significant questions about the path forward in Afghanistan this week at a virtual meeting of G7 leaders.
Via The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant, “The international community has pressed Biden on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, particularly the difficulties getting Afghan allies of the war effort out of the country amid threats from the Taliban. British lawmakers have been openly critical of the U.S. strategy, and [French President Emmanuel] Macron told Biden it was a ‘moral responsibility’ for the U.S. to get Afghan civilians out of the country, according to a French readout of the call between the two leaders.” https://bit.ly/3B7JN1U
Vice President Harris faced questions about the situation in Afghanistan during a news conference in Singapore on Monday.
“I think there's going to be plenty of time to analyze what has happened and what has taken place in the context of the withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Harris said. “But right now, we are singularly focused on evacuating American citizens, Afghans who worked with us, and Afghans who are vulnerable, including women and children.” https://bit.ly/2Wh4kCd
LATEST WITH CORONAVIRUS
FDA grants full approval to Pfizer vaccine:
Via The Hill’s Justine Coleman, “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday granted the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine full approval in a highly anticipated move that’s expected to boost vaccinations and spark more mandates nationwide.” https://bit.ly/2WjP9rH
Why it matters: The Pfizer vaccine had previously been given under an emergency use authorization by the FDA. By granting the vaccine full approval, the FDA and public health officials are hoping to quell the concerns of some reluctant Americans who have so far refused to be vaccinated because the shot lacked full regulatory approval.
The move will also trigger vaccine requirements by colleges, hospitals, corporations and other organizations.
Of note: For the time being, the FDA’s emergency use authorization will remain in place for those between the ages of 12 and 15, as well as for the new third vaccine dose that has begun to go out to the immunocompromised.
PENTAGON MANDATES VACCINE FOR MILITARY:
The Pentagon announced on Monday that it will release guidance making the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for servicemembers now that the FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine. https://bit.ly/2Wjb7Lx
Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 37,718,408
U.S. death toll: 628,564
Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y
Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 362,657,771
Seven-day average of doses administered: 889,158
For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.
Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH
IN NEW YORK
Cuomo's last day as gov:
Today marks New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s last day in office as governor of the Empire State. At midnight, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will be sworn in as governor, making history as the state’s first female governor.
Cuomo released a pre-tape farewell address on Monday and doubled down on his criticism of Attorney General Letitia James's investigation into the sexual misconduct allegations against him.
"The attorney general's report was designed to be a political firecracker on an explosive topic, and it worked," the outgoing governor said, describing the investigation as "unfair and unjust."
He went on to tout his own legacy along with the importance of masks and vaccines in the fight against COVID.
But Cuomo’s not out of the woods yet … New York State lawmakers announced last week that they plan to continue their investigation into Cuomo and release a report after. https://bit.ly/3khmZpr
"In doing so, the committee will take all appropriate steps to ensure that this effort does not interfere with various ongoing investigations by the United States Attorney concerning nursing home data; the attorney general concerning the governor's memoir; and local law enforcement authorities in five jurisdictions – Manhattan, Albany, Westchester, Nassau and Oswego – regarding possible criminal incidents of sexual misconduct," said New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine.
5 p.m. EDT: The House will meet to take up a $3.5 trillion budget resolution and the John LewisJohn LewisHarris, CBC put weight behind activist-led National Black Voter Day Budowsky: High stakes drama for Biden, Manchin, Sinema Stacey Abrams backs Senate Democrats' voting rights compromise MORE Voting Rights Act.
WHAT TO WATCH:
2 p.m. EDT: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will hold a briefing at the White House. https://bit.ly/3zcy9lG
3 p.m. EDT: Members of the House Freedom Caucus will hold a news conference about infrastructure proposals. https://bit.ly/3mn1BBX
4:30 p.m. EDT: House Democrats will hold a press conference about infrastructure proposals. https://bit.ly/3y7Y9ND
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:
Today is National Cuban Sandwich Day!