The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems, GOP dig in on police reform ahead of House vote

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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Thursday. We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the daily co-creators, so find us @asimendinger and @alweaver22 on Twitter and recommend the Morning Report to your friends. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 119,977. Tuesday, 120,402. Wednesday 121,225. Thursday 121,979.

House Democrats today want to legislate a ban on police chokeholds and make other changes that would show the party is in solidarity with progressives’ protests over race, criminal justice and law enforcement heading into the November elections.


The Hill: House to pass sweeping police reform legislation. 


Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a GOP-sponsored policing measure, complaining it was too weak and setting the stage for one of the most potent political clashes in a year already filled with them. Sens. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who faces a tough reelection battle in a red state, Joe ManchinJoe ManchinIRS data proves Trump tax cuts benefited middle, working-class Americans most Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems press drillers over methane leaks Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake MORE (D-W.Va.) and Angus KingAngus KingAmazon, Facebook, other large firms would pay more under proposed minimum tax, Warren's office says Senators look to defense bill to move cybersecurity measures Energy information chief blames market for high fuel prices MORE (I-Maine) voted with Republicans to take up the bill.


The majority party in the Senate on Wednesday fell five votes short of the 60 needed to proceed with a measure crafted by South Carolina’s Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottHow expanded credit data can help tackle inequities Dems erupt over GOP 'McCarthyism' as senators vet Biden bank watchdog pick Why Democrats' prescription drug pricing provision would have hurt seniors MORE, the only African American senator in the GOP conference. His bill proposes federal incentives to compel police departments to implement best practices, train personnel to de-escalate clashes, and end controversial tactics by penalizing departments and officers. His measure would not ban police chokeholds or end immunity protections for police misconduct.


The setback all but closed the door on Congress's efforts to respond legislatively in the wake of a Minneapolis police officer’s killing last month of George Floyd (The Hill).


Railing during a speech on the Senate floor against a “broken process,” Scott said it was “one of the reasons why communities of color, young Americans of all colors, are losing faith in the institutions of authority and power in this nation, because we are playing small ball. … We’re playing for presidential politics.”


The Congressional Black Caucus had urged Senate Democrats to block Scott’s measure, calling it a “completely watered-down fake reform bill.” (Scott is not a CBC member by choice.) Republicans, meanwhile, accused Democrats of obstructionism and of seeking to defund or eradicate police departments altogether.


President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania ​​Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE, speaking in the Rose Garden alongside visiting Polish President Andrzej Duda, said Democrats are looking “to weaken our police. They want to take away immunity. … We won’t do anything that’s going to hurt our police.”   


Trump, pointing to Chicago, Detroit and Seattle, said 20 of the “most dangerous” American cities are “run by Democrats,” and he compared crime risks in some U.S. urban areas to two violence-torn countries, Honduras and Afghanistan. His comments revived an assertion he made last year about Baltimore, which PolitiFact determined to be misleading and “half true” because the president compared one city’s statistics to those of the countries of Afghanistan, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. 


If policing reform legislation stalls this year, “it’s one of those things,” the president added. “We have different philosophies.”


Earlier this week, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPhotos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level MORE (D-Calif.) said Senate Republicans had floated an “unsalvageable” approach that would do “nothing” to adequately respond to Floyd’s killing.


"For something to happen, they're going to have to face the realities of police brutalities, the realities of the need for justice in policing and the recognition that there's many good people in law enforcement but not all and that we have to address those concerns," she told CBS News Radio on Tuesday.


"When they admit that and have some suggestions that are worthy of consideration, but so far they were trying to get away with murder, actually — the murder of George Floyd," she added.





After the police bill foundered, the Senate immediately turned to a massive defense policy measure (The Hill).


Ahead for both chambers next month is what could become a bipartisan decision to either expand economic rescue programs signed into law in March or allow the expiration in July of federal lending for businesses and federal unemployment boosts that help tens of millions of people who lost their jobs and are in limbo during a pandemic.


As The Hill’s Sylvan Lane reports, the Senate’s direction may be influenced by next week’s jobs report for June.


The Hill: The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Trump’s 200th judicial nominee.


The Hill: A bill recently passed by the Senate and slated for a House vote next month would provide $900 million in annual funding, mostly from offshore oil and gas revenues, for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The measure is supported by environmentalists.


The Daily Beast and Government Executive: Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinJan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth House progressives urge Garland to intervene in ex-environmental lawyer Steven Donziger's case Trump allies leaning on his executive privilege claims MORE (D-Md.), long frustrated by his inability to get some information from the Trump administration about the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), is among lawmakers concerned to learn that the Justice Department determined a year ago that a White House plan to dismantle OPM was illegal — information the White House withheld from Congress while moving ahead with the plan anyway, according to an investigation by the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight. The Office of Legal Counsel opinion was delivered in an April 2019 phone call rather than in writing, according to the report. An administration spokesman denies such an OLC “opinion” was issued.


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U.S. & CORONAVIRUS: The coronavirus continued to spread as the nation experienced the largest single-day number of confirmed cases since the outbreak started late last year.


According to The Atlantic’s tracking numbers, 38,672 Americans tested positive for the virus — thousands more than the previous daily high in April — as numbers continue to soar. In California, more than 7,000 confirmed cases were reported as numbers have spiked across Western and Southern states. 


Arizona, Florida and Texas have seen reported cases of the coronavirus skyrocket over the past two weeks, leading their Republican governors to urge citizens to wear masks in public after not issuing mandates weeks ago. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called the rise in cases across the state “unacceptable” (The Hill). 


"We have several strategies to reduce the spread without shutting Texas back down, but it is up to all of us to do our part to protect ourselves and others,” Abbott said on Monday. “We need all Texans to follow the safety protocols developed by our team of medical experts, including staying home if you are sick or at risk, sanitizing your hands, social distancing, and wearing face coverings or masks.”


Reid Wilson, The Hill: Houston is on the verge of crisis amid surging COVID-19 cases.


WFLA-8 (Tampa): Florida coronavirus: State adds record 5,500 cases in a single day.


Reuters: No mask, no gambling at Caesars casinos.


The worries that the virus is not under control in Southern and Western locations led New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoChris Cuomo: 'This is not how I want my time at CNN to end' Chris Cuomo terminated by CNN over efforts to help brother DOJ investigation of Cuomo includes probe into possible discrimination, retaliation from office: report MORE (D) to issue a two-week quarantine requirement for those visiting the Empire State from nine different states, along with New Yorkers returning from those states. Failure to quarantine in New York could result in fines in the thousands of dollars. The order asks those visiting New Jersey and Connecticut should also quarantine, but there is no enforcement from local officials at this time.


The joint travel advisory impacts those traveling from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington (The New York Times).


“We now have to make sure that the rate continues to drop. A lot of people come into this region and they could literally bring the infection with them. It wouldn’t be malicious or malevolent, but it would still be real,” said Cuomo, who was joined on the call by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D).


The New York Times: Pandemic may force New York City to lay off 22,000 workers.


The Hill: Trump “not withdrawing support” from COVID-19 testing sites, official says.


The Washington Post: Trump’s indoor Tulsa, Okla., rally on Saturday resulted in the self-quarantine for two weeks of dozens of U.S. Secret Service agents who worked the event after two colleagues tested positive for COVID-19. 


The New York City Marathon tentatively scheduled for November was canceled on Wednesday due to the coronavirus. The New York Road Runners made the announcement after deciding that the largest marathon in the world would pose too many health and safety concerns for runners and all others involved. Last year, 53,640 runners finished the race (The Associated Press). 


The Hill: Disneyland reopening delayed.





> ObamaCare: The Trump administration is expected by Thursday to urge the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act, even as COVID-19 cases mount across the country and historic unemployment levels have forced millions to lose employer-based health coverage. 


When the justices agreed in early March to take up a Republican-led challenge to ObamaCare, the United States had fewer than two dozen confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Since then, about 2.3 million people in the U.S. have been infected, the unemployment rate has reached its highest point since the Great Depression and an estimated 27 million people have lost job-based health plans. Still, as The Hill’s John Kruzel writes, the Trump administration is expected to continue to back Texas and other GOP states in a push to repeal former President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, which is credited with expanding Medicaid for poorer Americans and making private health plans affordable for lower-income families.


POLITICS: Republican businessman Madison Cawthorn's upset victory over the preferred congressional candidate of the president and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsJan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth Holding defiant Trump witnesses to account, Jan. 6 committee carries out Congress's constitutional role Prosecutors say North Carolina woman deserves prison for bringing 14-year-old to Capitol riot MORE, who formerly held the North Carolina House seat, is creating some awkward dynamics as the 24-year-old candidate received a boost by someone close to the West Wing.


As The Hill’s Scott Wong reports, Cawthorn's operation received help from Bill Smith, a close confidant of Vice President Pence who previously served as his chief of staff in the Indiana governor's mansion and on Capitol Hill. The White House and other top Republicans are now rallying behind Cawthorn, who will be the youngest member of Congress in history if he wins the November general election, but his surprise victory is creating some tensions in a White House that values loyalty to Trump.


"That certainly would not be a good look for internal dynamics at the White House," said one GOP strategist familiar with the race.


Smith wrote in a Facebook post that the Sheridan Strategy Group, his new political consulting firm, played a key role in propelling Cawthorn to his Tuesday night win. The outcome was the second in recent weeks where a Trump-backed candidate lost as Rep. Denver RigglemanDenver RigglemanCheney calls out Fox over new Tucker Carlson promo House Democrats select Riggleman as Jan. 6 committee adviser Virginia Democrats seek to tie Youngkin to Trump's election claims MORE (R-Va.) lost his primary after he incurred backlash from conservatives over officiating a gay wedding.


The Hill: Conservative Club for Growth unleashes financial juggernaut for 2020 races.


Across the aisle, Jamaal Bowman, a progressive and former middle school principal, declared victory over longtime Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelLawmakers pay tribute to Colin Powell NYC snafu the latest flub from a broken elections agency Cynthia Nixon backs primary challenger to Rep. Carolyn Maloney MORE (D-N.Y.), although the race is still considered too early to call by most outlets.  


Bowman leads Engel by nearly 27 percentage points, but has not been declared the winner, as all mail-in ballots will not be tabulated until June 30. In a statement, the Black progressive argued that he was successful because his message resonated across the 16th Congressional District (The Hill). 


“From the very beginning, we anchored our campaign in the fight for racial and economic justice. We spoke the truth — about the police, about systemic racism, about inequality — and it resonated in every part of the district,” Bowman said. “The results show that the people of NY-16 aren’t just ready for change — they’re demanding it.”


The Associated Press: Election results are delayed again. Get used to it.


Politico: Engel's looming defeat sets up fight for House Foreign Affairs gavel.


The Associated Press: Mail-in ballots thrust Postal Service into presidential race.





> Convention planning: The Democratic National Convention revealed plans on Wednesday night to shift its nomination convention in Milwaukee to a smaller venue and asked state delegations not to travel for the national confab.


Convention planners, mindful of coronavirus risks, said on Wednesday that the convention will shift locales, moving from the Fiserv Forum, home to the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, to the Wisconsin Center, a smaller convention center in the city. 


“Leadership means being able to adapt to any situation. That’s exactly what we’ve done with our convention. Unlike this president, Joe Biden and Democrats are committed to protecting the health and safety of the American people,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom PerezThomas PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE said in a statement (The Hill). 


The Hill: Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE, Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown Harris's office undergoes difficult reset The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden to announce increased measures for omicron MORE among Democrats set to hold virtual events for Biden.


The Hill: GOP: Trump needs a new plan. 


The New York Times: Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthOvernight Defense & National Security — Austin mandates vaccine for Guardsmen Biden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans Wisconsin senators ask outsiders not to exploit parade attack 'for their own political purposes' MORE (D-Ill.) Is battle tested. Could she help Biden in his biggest mission?


Politico: Dems warm to Biden’s bunker strategy.

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Why do we pay so many people so little money? by Thomas B. Edsall, columnist, The New York Times. 


Our national sports withdrawal is agony, by George F. Will, columnist, The Washington Post.  


How Facebook is preparing for the US 2020 election


— Tripled safety and security teams to 35,000 people
— Implemented 5-step political ad verification
— Providing greater political ad transparency
— Launching new Voting Information Center


Learn about these efforts and more.


The House will convene at 9 a.m. to vote on a policing reform bill. Pelosi will talk with The Washington Post Live at 1 p.m. for a live-streamed event.


The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. and resume consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2021. 


The president and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpBidens to attend Kennedy Center Honors following Trumps' absence The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden's message on the 'omicron' variant Jill Biden unveils traditional White House holiday décor MORE will lay a wreath at the Korean War Veterans Memorial at 11:10 a.m. He then heads to battleground Wisconsin to tape a town hall discussion with a live audience at 1:30 p.m. at Austin Straubel International Airport. Moderated by Fox News’s Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityRittenhouse says he's destroying gun used in fatal Kenosha shootings Dr. Oz expected to run for Senate in Pennsylvania as a Republican: reports Vigilantes are not patriots MORE, the conversation will be broadcast at 8 p.m. Trump will also visit shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine at its facility in Marinette before returning to Washington (Green Bay Press Gazette).


The vice president will travel to swing-state Ohio today to speak at an electric truck event at Lordstown Motors in Warren. Pence will later address local law enforcement and community leaders before returning to Washington. 


Economic indicator: The Labor Department will report jobless claims for the week ending June 20. Filings for unemployment insurance benefits have exceeded 1 million for 13 weeks, and while the dramatic shedding of jobs has slowed, U.S. recovery remains unpredictable while 20 million people navigate daily life without jobs. On Wednesday, the International Monetary Fund sent markets reeling with a report that the U.S. contraction in 2020 is likely to be deeper at 4.9 percent than initially expected (The New York Times).


Invitation: The Hill Virtually Live hosts a Pride Month summit on Tuesday at 11 a.m. to discuss civil rights in America with a focus on the LGBTQ+ community. Olympic medalist Adam Rippon, Rep. Sharice DavidsSharice DavidsAbortion rights group endorsing 12 House Democrats Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Vulnerable House Dems push drug pricing plan Vulnerable House Democrats warn not to drop drug pricing from package MORE (D-Kan.), Chasten Buttigieg, Alphonso David, Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandEx-officials voice deep concerns over new Pentagon UFO unit Paid leave advocates ramping up the pressure on Manchin and Schumer Gillibrand, bipartisan lawmakers push to keep military justice overhaul in NDAA MORE (D-N.Y.) and more join Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons. Register HERE


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Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube.


International: U.S. lawmakers have differing views about plans by Israel’s government to annex parts of the West Bank and Jordan Valley outside of negotiations with the Palestinians by a July 1 deadline (The Hill). … Because of the high rate of U.S. COVID-19 infections, European Union countries are considering a ban on travel from the United States, but not from China, where the coronavirus is under control (The New York Times). … Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Wednesday that it is “very probable” he will meet with Trump in Washington next month to commemorate the start of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and called on Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauCanadian senator dies after being hospitalized for COVID-19 Photos of the Week: President Biden, Kenosha protests and a pardon for Peanut Butter The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay MORE to also attend (Reuters). … Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi and nine other former separatist fighters were indicted Wednesday on a number of humanity and war crimes charges after an investigation into their actions against ethnic Serbs and others stemming from Kosovo’s 1998-99 independence war with Serbia (The Associated Press).


➔ Courts: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Wednesday directed a federal judge to drop a criminal case against Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI, handing a victory to the Justice Department and effectively ending the politically charged case. A three-judge panel in a split decision ruled in favor of Flynn and the Trump administration in preventing U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan from exercising his discretion on whether to grant the department's motion to clear Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty (Reuters).





DACA: During an interview with The Hill, NAACP President Derrick Johnson on Wednesday likened the president’s order to overturn the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to the infamous 1857 Supreme Court Dredd Scott decision that said Black Americans had fewer rights than whites. "There was a decision in 1800 called the Dred Scott decision. And it was in that decision where the Supreme Court held that Blacks had no rights that whites were bound to uphold," said Johnson in an interview with The Hill. "We've seen this administration's reversal of [DACA] in that same light," added Johnson. The NAACP was among the litigants that successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to do away with Trump's 2017 order to rescind DACA, an Obama-era program that protects from deportation nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants. (The Hill).


➔ What could possibly go wrong? There’s a battle brewing over wildfire and COVID-19 risks posed by Trump’s campaign plans to celebrate Independence Day with a pyrotechnics show and large crowds at Mount Rushmore on July 3 (The Washington Post and The Associated Press). And it’s time to mention that the the air over U.S. Southern states may go gritty and dark in the next week because a giant plume of Saharan dust is blowing across the Atlantic Ocean and is headed this way. It’s considered a health and environmental hazard, and it’s so gigantic, it can be seen from space (NBC News).


And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by Vice President Joe Biden’s search for a female running mate, we’re eager to test how closely you’re following events and the veepstakes.


Email your responses to and/or, and please add “Quiz” to subject lines. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.


In U.S. history, how many Democratic or GOP nominees ran on a presidential ticket with a woman?


  1. Zero
  2. One
  3. Two
  4. Three


Who publicly removed herself this month from Biden’s search for a running mate? (The wording of this question provides a clue.)


  1. Hillary Clinton
  2. Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson Obama'Car guy' Biden puts his spin on the presidency Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Son gives emotional tribute to Colin Powell at service MORE
  3. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenBiden administration resists tougher Russia sanctions in Congress GOP holds on Biden nominees set back gains for women in top positions Sununu setback leaves GOP scrambling in New Hampshire MORE
  4. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSunday shows preview: Multiple states detect cases of the omicron variant Biden should seek some ideological diversity House passes bipartisan bills to strengthen network security, cyber literacy MORE


The Biden campaign added which woman to its VP vetting list this week, according to news accounts?


  1. Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassFor Democrats it should be about votes, not megaphones Proposed California maps put incumbents in jeopardy Bass calls 'Black pastors' comment during Arbery trial 'despicable' MORE
  2. Former Rep. Donna EdwardsDonna F. EdwardsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems, GOP dig in on police reform ahead of House vote The Memo: Strife turns up heat on Trump Democratic Senate candidate blasts own party for racial 'foghorn' MORE
  3. Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun
  4. Mayor Muriel Bowser


Which of these women under consideration by Biden’s campaign to seek the vice presidency alongside a 77-year-old nominee-to-be, according to news accounts, has the least experience running for, winning and serving in elective office? 


  1. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisJoe Manchin should embrace paid leave — now The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden defends disappointing jobs report Harris's office undergoes difficult reset MORE
  2. Susan Rice
  3. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren calls on big banks to follow Capital One in ditching overdraft fees Crypto firm top executives to testify before Congress Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker won't seek reelection MORE
  4. Stacey Abrams