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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*
*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha--breaks down crying hysterically.
Cue the Jeopardy theme song:
We are a day away from the scheduled House vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the bill’s fate is still *very uncertain.*
Dems are burning the midnight oil: “With the reality setting in that the long-touted figure of $3.5 trillion is not going to be the top line — a blow to progressives who already viewed it as a compromise — Democratic leadership and the White House are now actively trying to figure out what their competing factions can live with.” https://bit.ly/2XXFTKH
The unofficial deadline — Thursday: Democrats are hoping to agree to a topline number by Thursday when the House is scheduled to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. If a deal is not reached by then, progressives are likely to tank the bipartisan bill because their social spending package may not be obtainable.
More on what needs to happen, via The Hill’s Jordain Carney: https://bit.ly/2XXFTKH
Via The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Scott Wong, “Liberals on Tuesday fired a shot across the bow at Democratic leaders by warning that a bipartisan infrastructure bill cannot pass the House as long as Senate centrists remain noncommittal on the larger social benefits package at the heart of President BidenJoe BidenMcAuliffe holds slim lead over Youngkin in Fox News poll Biden signs bill to raise debt ceiling On The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan MORE's agenda.” https://bit.ly/2WlVenE
THE KEY TO FINALIZING THE PUZZLE — YOU CAN GUESS ‘EM!:
Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Schumer, McConnell headed for another collision over voting rights Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Climate divides conservative Democrats in reconciliation push MORE (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaOn The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Climate divides conservative Democrats in reconciliation push Pelosi on addressing climate through reconciliation package: 'This is our moment' MORE (D-Ariz.) do not support spending $3.5 trillion on the social spending plan, but so far they haven’t indicated the number they would support. That’s holding everything up.
Why Sinema and Manchin won’t give that figure: Let’s say their figure is so low that progressives will never agree to it. Progressives would then be agreeing to the bipartisan bill without the supplemental reconciliation package.
THE BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE DEAL’S LAST HOPE MAY BE WITH REPUBLICANS:
Via The New York Times’s Jonathan Weisman, “Business groups and some Senate Republicans — working at cross-purposes with Republican leaders in the House — have mounted an all-out drive to secure G.O.P. votes for a bipartisan infrastructure bill ahead of a final vote on Thursday.” https://nyti.ms/3zQjGv9
It’s Wednesday. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to email@example.com — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.
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LATEST WITH THE DEBT CEILING
So, there’s some wiggle room? That’s what I’m hearing??:
Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate to vote next week on Freedom to Vote Act To Win 2022: Go big on reconciliation and invest in Latinx voters McConnell-aligned group targeting Kelly, Cortez Masto and Hassan with M ad campaign MORE (D-N.Y.) said this morning that the debt ceiling will not be included in Democrats’ sweeping social spending bill. https://bit.ly/3umUUla
Why that would be an option: 60 Senate votes are needed to suspend the debt limit. Republicans are not on board, and Democrats are working on their 51-vote reconciliation bill anyway. Some argue the debt limit could be snuck into that package.
Schumer’s reasoning: "Now in solving this crisis, this body cannot and will not go through a drawn-out unpredictable process sought by the minority leader. ... To do this through reconciliation requires ping-ponging separate bills back from the Senate and the House … It's uncharted waters.”
FROM THE AFGHANISTAN HEARING
What a mess:
The Senate Armed Services Committee grilled top Pentagon officials yesterday on the messy withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Who testified: Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinDefense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals Navy releases guidance to discharge sailors refusing COVID-19 vaccine A dangerously distracted Pentagon MORE, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and U.S. Central Command head Gen. Frank McKenzie
The biggest revelation we learned: President Biden said last month that top generals did not advise him to keep any troops in Afghanistan. But McKenzie and Milley both testified that they recommended leaving 2,500 troops in the country.
- “Officials predicted Afghanistan would collapse, but not that fast”
- “US might put troops on the ground again”
Other takeaways — and details for each: https://bit.ly/3kSmkMG
THE SAME TRIO IS TESTIFYING AGAIN TODAY:
Here’s the C-SPAN livestream: https://bit.ly/2WqCIe0
LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS
In the misquoted words of Eleanor Shellstrop, ya banned!:
Via The Hill’s Chris Mills Rodrigo, “YouTube announced Wednesday that it will ban several prominent accounts that spread false information about vaccines, a move that is part of an expansion of its medical misinformation policies.” https://bit.ly/2ZCfVgp
The banned accounts: “The accounts of Robert F. Kennedy’s Children’s Health Defense Fund, alternative medicine influencer Joseph Mercola and vaccine critic and physician Sherri Tenpenny will all be removed.”
Via The Hill’s Karl Evers-Hillstrom and Olafimihan Oshin, The NBA is struggling with some of the league’s stars refusing to get the vaccine — and being very vocal about it. https://bit.ly/2Y1e8AU
What percentage of the NBA players are fully vaccinated: Around 90 percent
Is there a mandate?: “The NBA sought to require all players to get vaccinated for the upcoming season, but that sparked strong pushback from the National Basketball Players Association, which called a vaccine mandate a ‘non-starter.’ ”
‘IVERMECTIN DISINFORMATION LEADS TO NEW KINDS OF CHAOS’:
Via The Hill’s Justine Coleman: https://bit.ly/3EZtPcK
Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 43,243,904
U.S. death toll: 693,261
Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y
Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 391 million shots have been given.
Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 701,422 doses
For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.
Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH
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IN DC NEWS
Whooooa, Post Pub reopened!!:
Via Popville, the popular D.C. pub that closed in June 2020 after 43 years, is reopening in a few days under new ownership. What we know: https://bit.ly/3B7tXop
^Also, that would be quite the expensive switcheroo.
The House and Senate are in. President Biden and Vice President Harris are in Washington, D.C.
The House’s full agenda today: https://bit.ly/3omBb47
9:30 a.m. EDT: President Biden received the President’s Daily Brief.
Noon: President Biden attends the memorial of former Indiana first lady Susan Bayh at Washington National Cathedral.
2 p.m. EDT: Vice President Harris meets with small business owners to discuss the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better agenda.
WHAT TO WATCH:
2 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion DeSantis pledges to sue Biden administration over vaccine mandates Biden likely to tap Robert Califf to return as FDA head MORE briefs. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3D13ZDv
7:05 p.m. EDT: The Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3AYdwKQ
IN LIGHTER NEWS:
Today is National Coffee Day!!
Via USA Today, here’s a list of where to get free coffee today to celebrate. Starbucks and Dunkin’ even have free coffee today. The list of coffee deals: https://bit.ly/3CYdvXM
DCist’s Rachel Kurzius gives an in-depth analysis to the question, “Could The Escaped Zebras Survive Roaming Around Prince George’s County Forever?” https://bit.ly/3ulnoMi
And because you read this far, here’s a bunny having a relaxing day: https://bit.ly/3kTk4oE