The Hill’s Morning Report — Democrats decry GOP migrant transports
Democratic mayors and governors of both parties on Thursday scrambled to assemble services, food and shelter for migrants seeking asylum who were shipped to Washington, D.C., and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., by Republican governors in Texas and Florida to demonstrate their opposition to President Biden’s immigration policies.
News of the transports quickly went viral and sparked caustic reactions at the White House and among Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Biden, speaking on Thursday night to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, accused Republican governors of “playing politics with human beings, using them as props,” arguing their actions underscored why “we have to win this off-year election” (The Hill).
The president called on Senate Republicans to work across the aisle on immigration reforms to “provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, those on temporary status, farmworkers and essential workers.”
The asylum seekers, many of whom made long treks from their home countries with small children, have made it into the United States, but their waits for immigration court hearings will be long and their futures uncertain. In the meantime, the U.S. immigration system remains a divisive and complex political weapon wielded by both parties.
Janet Constantino, a therapist and nurse practitioner working at the Martha’s Vineyard service center when 50 Venezuelan migrants unexpectedly showed up on Wednesday, told the Cape Cod Times that the families she was assisting had been through a lot. State officials were considering setting up a temporary shelter with humanitarian services at Joint Base Cape Cod on Thursday for the asylum seekers, who under U.S. law are considered legal immigrants during an evaluation process.
“We COVID-tested them all. Everyone was negative. A little girl had a temperature, so we separated her with her family. A lot of them were shell shocked and afraid,” Constantino told the local paper.
▪ The Hill: Democrats’ blood boils over treatment of migrants.
▪ The New York Times: With faraway migrant drop-offs, Republican governors are doubling down.
The White House used the phrase “disrespectful to humanity” on Thursday to describe the use of buses from Texas, which deposited immigrants near the U.S. Naval Observatory, otherwise known as Vice President Harris’s residence, and the chartering of two planes from Florida to fly Venezuelan asylum seekers from Florida to the tiny Massachusetts island (The Hill). The pro-immigrant group America’s Voice called the flights “racist stunts.”
Critics on social media, reacting to the headlines, called the governors’ actions “human trafficking.”
CNN: “They were just literally dumped like human garbage in front of the vice president’s house. That’s un-Christian un-Texan, un-American, and something that should not be allowed,” Domingo Garcia, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, told reporters in Washington on Thursday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was eager to take credit for the Martha’s Vineyard flights. He said during a press conference on Thursday that the dozens of asylum-seekers he flew north using state funds were not welcome in Florida. “We take what’s happening at the southern border very seriously, unlike some, and unlike the president of the United States, who has refused to lift the finger to secure that border,” he said.
NPR: Migrants flown to the island say they were told they were going to Boston.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who like DeSantis is viewed as a potential presidential contender, boasted on Twitter about his decision to send 101 asylum-seekers to the vice president’s address (Masslive).
“VP Harris claims our border is “secure” & denies the crisis. We’re sending migrants to her backyard to call on the Biden Administration to do its job & secure the border,” he wrote on Thursday.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) last week declared a public emergency and announced a reorganization of services to address the needs of migrants sent by GOP governors to the nation’s capital without coordination. The National Guard previously declined Bower’s request for assistance.
Senate Democrats said there is little they can do to stop the interstate transit of migrants to the nation’s capital, New York City, Chicago and other progressive-leaning locales, reports The Hill’s Alexander Bolton. Republicans, meanwhile, are reveling in the Democrats’ discomfort over the arrival of migrants, which contribute to strained social services and new costs, and plenty of attention-grabbing news coverage.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) on Wednesday said Texas dropped off migrants in Chicago in the “dead of night.” He asked the National Guard to help and issued a disaster proclamation to speed up the availability of state money and resources to deal with what he called a crisis (ABC7).
New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) said Thursday that the city is required to — and will continue to — provide shelter and services to migrants transported from Texas who seek asylum, but the city says it is reassessing a services system that has begun to fray with the influx of 11,000 migrants (New York Post, NewsNation, Fox5 NY).
▪ ABC7 NY: Tracing the steps of asylum seekers as they settle in New York.
▪ CNN: By the end of August, Texas had bused nearly 9,000 migrants to New York City and Washington, D.C.
▪ Max Greenwood, The Hill: DeSantis migrant flights underscore his national ambitions.
▪ The Hill and NewsNation: California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) urged the Justice Department to probe “alleged fraudulent scheme” to send migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
▪ The Wall Street Journal: Transfers of migrants have Democratic leaders scrambling for solutions.
▪ Bloomberg News: White House calls GOP governors’ migrant treatment “cruel” and “shameful” political stunt.
▪ Bloomberg News: New York mayor commits to providing shelter for 11,000 migrants seeking asylum.
LEADING THE DAY
➤ RAILROADS, UNIONS & ECONOMY
Freight rail companies and union representatives late Wednesday reached a tentative agreement that avoided what experts warned would have been an economically devastating strike. Administration officials became involved in the talks weeks ago, The Hill’s Alex Gangitano and Amie Parnes report, urging both sides that “the stakes were too high” for a strike.
“It’s a big political risk,” an industry source with knowledge of the discussions told The Hill. “If it all blew up, the administration was going to be left holding the bag.”
Bidenspoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on the situation around 7 p.m. Wednesday (The Washington Post). He then called into negotiations around 9 p.m., saying a strike was unacceptable, a White House official told The Hill. Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh led all-night negotiations while Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg manned the phones.
The deadline to avoid the strike was 12:01 a.m. Friday, after which the transportation of grain, fuel, lumber, car parts and other goods would have ground to a halt. Unions must now approve the deal, but have agreed not to strike in the interim.
After the tentative deal was struck, Biden, a vocal union supporter and Amtrak devotee, on Thursday greeted rail negotiators in the Oval Office before heading to the Rose Garden to say the agreement, if ratified, would benefit both workers and companies (The New York Times).
“This agreement is a big win for America,” Biden said. “And this is a great deal for both sides, in my view.”
The Hill’s Karl Evers-Hillstrom outlines what’s in the brokered rail deal, from time off for medical appointments for employees to pay increases and other benefits.
▪The Hill: Amtrak on Thursday worked to reschedule canceled customers after news of averted rail strike.
▪ NPR: A deal to avert a rail strike is on track, but it won’t fix U.S. supply chain issues.
▪ Bloomberg News: Biden loves labor unions but blue-collar union workers don’t love him back.
▪ The Wall Street Journal: Rail shippers applaud labor deal, seek rapid ratification.
▪ The Associated Press: Biden, Democrats both see political, economic wins in rail deal.
The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose above 6 percent for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, according to federal data released Thursday (The Hill). High inflation numbers are pushing rates up, said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist (CNN).
Biden on Thursday also signed an executive order that increases the federal government’s ability to block Chinese investment in U.S. technology and limit China’s access to private data on citizens, The New York Times reports. The order is likely to heighten tensions with Beijing and reflects a growing unease about China’s ability to access personal information from mobile apps and other services. The congressional Committee on Foreign Investments, whose actions are targeted by the order, is said to already be scrutinizing the video-sharing platform TikTok.
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday praised the possibilities inherent in the $80 billion funding boost afforded to the Internal Revenue Service as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act, The Hill’s Tobias Burns reports. The agency is working to deliver a report to Congress on how to implement a free, direct e-filing tax return system. Under the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRS has nine months to finish the report.
“Tax filing should be simple,” Yellen said. “I recently came across a statistic that it takes an average American 13 hours to file a tax return. Compare that with Sweden. There, some taxpayers can file simply by replying to a text message. We can and must do better.”
The Senate will hold off holding a vote on a bill to codify same-sex marriage into law until after the midterms as lawmakers struggle to win the support of 10 Republicans to advance it.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) told reporters on Thursday afternoon of the decision, which increases the chances the bill will ultimately get across the finish line with the requisite number of GOP votes. However, it means that Republicans will not be put on the record ahead of the November elections.
Shortly after Baldwin’s announcement, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) threw his support behind the timing. He had planned on holding a vote on the legislation on Monday.
“Because Leader Schumer’s main objective is to pass this important legislation, he will adhere to the bipartisan group of Senators’ request to delay floor action, and he is 100 percent committed to holding a vote on the legislation this year before [Justice Clarence Thomas] has a chance to make good on his threat to overturn Obergefell,” a Schumer spokesman said in a statement.
At the moment, there are only three hard yes GOP votes for the bill — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Thom Tillis (N.C.).
As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton notes, Baldwin’s announcement came shortly after retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a key vote, said it would be much more likely for the bill to win 10 Republican votes if it were considered after Election Day.
“If I wanted to pass that and I was the majority leader and I wanted to get as many votes as I could possibly get, I’d wait until after the election to have the vote,” Blunt told reporters.
The proposal passed the House in July with the support of 47 Republicans, which opened the door to its potential passage in the upper chamber.
Politico: To fight, or not to fight? Progressive Caucus warily eyes Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) energy deal.
On the investigatory side, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the Jan. 6 select committee, said that panel members will meet today to discuss when to hand over its findings and evidence to the Department of Justice.
“We have a meeting on Friday. I plan to bring it up,” Thompson told reporters earlier in the week. “I think now that the Department of Justice is being proactive in issuing subpoenas and other things, I think it’s time for the committee to determine whether or not the information we’ve gathered can be beneficial to their investigation.”
The Washington Post: Georgia 2020 election inquiry may lead to prison sentences, prosecutor says.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
➤ POLITICS & INVESTIGATIONS
A federal judge on Thursday was officially selected to serve as a special master to examine classified and sensitive documents seized at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
Judge Aileen Cannon tapped Judge Raymond Dearie to fill the role as requested by the former president and agreed to by prosecutors. Dearie has until Nov. 30 to complete his review of the materials — a shorter deadline than Trump’s legal team had originally requested.
In addition, Cannon also denied the Justice Department’s motion to access the classified records stored at Mar-a-Lago. The move came in response to the department’s request for a partial stay, which called for prosecutors to be able to review more than 100 classified documents taken during the search.
The Department of Justice is currently appealing Cannon’s initial special master decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (The Hill).
The two rulings by Cannon also came hours after Trump said in an interview that he “can’t imagine being indicted” over his handling of classified documents or a scheme to put forward alternate electors after the 2020 election. The former president added that even if he was, it would not deter him from running for president in 2024.
“I can’t imagine being indicted. I’ve done nothing wrong,” Trump told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. “I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it. … And as you know, if a thing like that happened, I would have no prohibition against running. You know that” (The Hill).
▪ Philip Bump, The Washington Post: There is not a bipartisan urgency among voters for preserving democracy.
▪ The New York Times: Democrats buoyed by abortion issue and Trump, Times/Siena College poll finds.
■ Britain 3, America 0, when it comes to female leaders, by Gail Collins, opinion columnist, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/3U86i0V
■ Climate disaster isn’t a game. When will the U.S. stop pretending it is? by Ricia Anne Chansky Sancinito, opinion contributor, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3LmlhQH
WHERE AND WHEN
The House meets on Monday at noon.
The Senate convenes on Monday at 3 p.m. and will resume consideration of the nomination of Florence Pan to be a circuit judge for the D.C. Circuit.
The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:30 a.m. Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at 2:15 p.m. (The Associated Press). The president will also meet with the families of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan (The New York Times). Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), a former Energy secretary during the Clinton administration, traveled to Russia to try to gain release of the two imprisoned Americans. His efforts have been publicly rebuffed by the White House (The Hill).
The vice president will host a breakfast with Ramaphosa at 9:30 a.m. She will depart for Chicago at 11:25 a.m. and attend a roundtable on reproductive rights at 12:50 p.m. CST. She will also attend a political event with Pritzker at 4:05 p.m. CST before returning to Washington.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi at the State Department at 10 a.m. He will participate in a memo of understanding signing ceremony with Safadi at 10:55 a.m. Blinken and Safadi will speak to the press at 11 a.m. The secretary will join the president at 2:15 p.m. during Biden’s meeting with the South African president.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will meet today in Washington with Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. Together they will speak with the press.
The White House daily briefing is scheduled at 1 p.m.
🖥 Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv, on YouTube and on Facebook at 10:30 a.m. ET. Also, check out the “Rising” podcast here.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met Thursday with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a summit in Uzbekistan, conceded Xi had “questions and concerns” about Russia’s war with Ukraine (Reuters).
“We highly appreciate the well-balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis,” Putin said.
Putin thanked Xi during a meeting while blasting what he called Washington’s “ugly” policies. His sit-down with summit leaders followed a major setback for Russian forces on the battlefield and he is aware of China’s concerns about the impact of rapidly shifting oil prices and global economic uncertainty that have resulted from the seven-month war (The Associated Press).
▪ CNN: Putin concedes China has “questions and concerns” over Russia’s faltering invasion of Ukraine.
▪ The New York Times: Chinese support for Putin’s war looks more shaky after a summit.
Russia tortured Ukrainian detainees, often to death, a Ukrainian volunteer medic said in Washington on Thursday. Yuliia Paievska, who was captured in Mariupol in March and held by Russian and pro-Russian forces for three months, spoke to lawmakers with the Helsinki Commission, a government agency created in part to promote compliance with human rights internationally. Russian captors made Ukrainian prisoners remove their clothes before the Russians set to bloodying and tormenting them, she said. Prisoners lingered in pain, screaming, for weeks before dying (The Associated Press).
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), co-chairman of the Helsinki Commission, underscored that the conditions Paievska described for civilian and military detainees violated international law. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), called Putin a war criminal. Before she was captured, Paievska had recorded more than 256 gigabytes of harrowing bodycam footage showing her team’s efforts to save the wounded in the besieged city. She got the footage to Associated Press journalists, the last international team in Mariupol, on a tiny data card.
The journalists fled the city on March 15 with the card embedded inside a tampon, carrying it through 15 Russian checkpoints. The next day, Paievska was taken by pro-Russian forces (The Associated Press).
▪ Reuters and The Associated Press: Ukraine’s new discovery of 440 buried corpses adds to evidence of Russian war crimes, Ukrainian officials say.
▪ Reuters: Biden on Thursday announced in a memo to the State Department a new $600 million arms package for Ukraine.
▪ The Hill: How U.S. weapons and intelligence helped Ukraine’s recent rout of Russian forces.
▪ The Hill: Putin faces toughest challenge yet as Russian leader.
The late Queen Elizabeth II will be buried on Monday, but her passing sharpens all kinds of questions, writes The Hill’s Nigel Stanage: about Britain’s role in the world, the legacy of its colonial history and the hereditary monarchy. In addition, the United Kingdom itself is under pressure from separatist movements in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The monarchy does, of course, have huge institutional strengths — but King Charles III may struggle to unify the nation in the way his mother did.
Meanwhile, Biden will meet with British Prime Minister Liz Truss while in London for the queen’s funeral (Bloomberg).
The Associated Press: Report: Chinese delegation barred from queen’s coffin.
The Hill’s Jordan Williams reports that democratic divisions are on display over legislation that would increase U.S. military and diplomatic support for Taiwan despite the U.S.’s longstanding One-China policy — with some fearing what Beijing would do if it concluded the bill did too much to support Taipei.
➤ HEALTH & PANDEMIC
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha will visit a D.C. Health Department COVID center today in order to publicly get a booster shot tailored to the BA.5 omicron variant as a way to encourage the get-boosted national message. He will be accompanied for the public jabs by second gentleman Doug Emhoff, the White House said.
Zeynep Tufekci, The New York Times opinion: There’s terrific news about the new COVID boosters, but few are hearing it.
Politico interviewed White House monkeypox adviser Demetre Daskalakis, described by some conservatives on social media as a Satanist because he has a pentagram tattoo. For the record, the public health physician confirms he’s not a Satanist. “I wish I were that interesting.”
Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported as of this morning, according to Johns Hopkins University (trackers all vary slightly): 1,052,939. Current average U.S. COVID-19 daily deaths are 357, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
🎾 Tennis great Roger Federer, 41, announced that he will retire after playing one more tournament next week, putting a bow on a dominant career that included 20 Grand Slam titles and a record eight Wimbledon men’s singles championships. Federer had been hoping to make a return to competitive play, but struggled to return from a number of knee operations over the past year. The Swiss great will retire after taking part in the Laver Cup next week. Rafael Nadal, Federer’s longtime rival, said in a statement that he wished “this day would have never come.” Federer’s 20 Grand Slam titles sits third all-time on the men’s side, trailing only Nadal (22) and Novak Djokovic (21) (ESPN).
Jason Gay, The Wall Street Journal: Roger Federer isn’t going anywhere.
➤ Today’s Morning Report is the last issue to be co-written by The Hill’s Al Weaver, who is shifting his focus to cover the Senate and Congress, a beat he knows well. A thousand thank-yous for his newsletter smarts and good humor, and wishing him every sizzling scoop hiding in the Capitol. Morning Report is delighted to welcome reporter Kristina Karisch, who says she may soon own two alarm clocks for this new job. Welcome aboard! – Alexis
And finally … 👏👏👏 Congratulations to the winners of this week’s Morning Report Quiz, who guessed or Googled some trivia about the late Queen Elizabeth II.
👑 We crown these puzzle experts, who went 4/4: Matt McDonald, Paul Harris, Tom Chabot, Peter Spofera, Jeremy Serwer, Amanda Fisher, Richard Fanning, Richard Baznik, “Kunukia,” Blair Marasco, Fran Tankersley, Manley Glaubitz, Linda Alberty, Candi Cee, David Hatcher, Don Swanson, Fred Lewis, Daniel Bachhuber, Ki Harvey, Shirley McDaniel, “Bruce,” Mary Anne McEnery, Harry Strulovici, Patrick Kavanagh, Barbara Golian, Bill Grieshober, Mark Roeddinger, Eric Chapman, Richard Anderson, Clare Millians, Cheyenne MacMasters, Jenni Pruneda, Jim Hay, Randall Patrick, Robert Bradley, Steve James, Emily Tavino, Luther Berg, Jack Barshay, Jaina Mehta, Pam Manges, Lesa Davis, Kathryn James and Greg Wilson.
They knew that in 1953, the queen ascended to the throne with her coronation.
Bees under the monarch’s care had to be informed about her death, according to royal protocol.
At the time she was Princess Elizabeth, she contributed to the World War II effort as a truck driver and mechanic for the Auxiliary Territorial Service.
Queen Elizabeth’s childhood nickname was Lilibet.
We want to hear from you! Email: Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. Follow us on Twitter (@alweaver22 & @asimendinger) and suggest this newsletter to friends!
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