Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Today is Monday! 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 co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!
Total U.S. coronavirus deaths as of this morning: 572,200.
President Biden took office amid big fears and bigger promises while handing the American people a yardstick and a calendar. He invited them, at 100 days, to use as their guide his administration’s progress against the coronavirus and an economic crisis measured in vaccine doses and U.S. workers and students helped by fiscal interventions. If science and the government are performing well, he said, voters should have confidence in what’s to come.
It’s been a familiar conceit since the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt.
Biden will mark his official 100 days with a rally in Atlanta on Thursday, taking advantage of a benchmark that allows him to enumerate promises made and promises kept.
The Associated Press: Where Biden stands on some of his key promises for domestic and foreign policy.
His visit to Georgia targets an electorate that helped put him in the White House, delivered two Democratic senators and could help Democrats retain their narrow majorities in Congress after next year.
On Tuesday, Biden is scheduled to speak about COVID-19, and on Wednesday night in the Capitol, he will address Congress and the American people, noting the first joint session since the Jan. 6 Capitol siege. Audiences will see Biden flanked by the first female House Speaker and the first female vice president.
The president will issue some ambitious calls for new legislation over the next three months. The touchstones in his remarks largely poll well among Democrats and Independents, but continue to get lower marks from Republicans.
NBC News: Poll: At 100 days, Biden’s approval remains strong. Can the honeymoon last? The president gets his highest marks on handling the pandemic and his lowest on the situation at the southern border.
Fox News poll: Nearing 100 days, Biden gets lower marks than former Presidents George W. Bush and Obama but stands ahead of former President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE at the same point.
CBS News poll: Biden’s approval rates high days ahead of his congressional address.
While recapping Democrats’ success in nudging $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 relief into law, Biden will remind Americans that he seeks $2.3 trillion for infrastructure and clean energy jobs and tell them in greater detail why another $1 trillion for federal programs could help working families. He’ll add that the richest Americans and corporations should pay higher taxes. The nationally televised speech at 9 p.m. ET will be part campaign rewind, part State of the Union-style address and akin to a fireside chat.
The president sees his first 100 days in office as a disciplined playbook for what’s possible in order to rebuild U.S. prosperity, competitiveness and a better world.
Soon after he was sworn in, Biden promised that his administration could deliver 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by Thursday. Then he upped his pledge to 200 doses. He exceeded both pledges ahead of his deadlines. His economists advised him that a vaccinated public, together with federal stimulus infusions, could trigger an astonishing economic rebound. Those predictions are materializing in sectors of the economy and in many states, including those led by Republican governors.
Biden continues to focus on the future. On Jan. 27, a week after his inauguration, he spoke about “1 million new jobs in the American automobile industry — 1 million. And we'll do another thing: We'll take steps towards my goal of achieving 100 percent carbon-pollution-free electric sector by 2035.”
“Transforming the American electric sector to produce power without carbon pollution will be a tremendous spur to job creation and economic competitiveness in the 21st century, not to mention the benefits to our health and to our environment,” he added three months ago.
White House chief of staff Ron KlainRon KlainBriefing in brief: WH counters GOP attacks on planned SCOTUS pick Biden's first year: A mirage of gender parity Over 80 lawmakers urge Biden to release memo outlining his authority on student debt cancellation MORE on Sunday tweeted data points the West Wing is emphasizing at the 100-day mark: “more new jobs than any Pres; 200m+ COVID shots; $1400 checks to 85% of US; action on climate, guns, race.”
Jonathan Allen, NBC News: “Help is here”: 100 days of the Biden doctrine (with photos).
The Associated Press: Here’s a look at some defining numbers drawn from Biden’s early days in office, from the coronavirus and vaccines to migrants at the border.
The Associated Press: More action, less talk, distinguish Biden’s 100-day sprint.
Lawmakers are braced for a bitter fight over Biden’s tax plan, which the president’s speech is expected to detail, reports The Hill’s Niv Elis. Taxes and inflation will be key themes for the markets in the final week of April (CNBC).
Niall Stanage, The Memo: Biden tries to flip the script on taxes.
The Hill: National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerSupreme Court declines GOP challenge against House proxy voting Mask rules spark political games and a nasty environment in the House Swalwell slams House Republican for touting funding in bill she voted down MORE (R-Minn.) predicts vulnerable Democrats who vote to raise taxes will lose in 2022.
The New York Times editorial board: Why are Democrats pushing a tax cut (federal tax deduction for state and local taxes) for the wealthy?
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyRhode Island state treasurer running for Langevin's seat in US House McConnell aims to sidestep GOP drama over Trump House Republicans bash Democrats' China competition bill MORE (R-Calif.), speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” said Biden’s first 100 days were “bait and switch” (The Hill).
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMcConnell: I'm going to give Biden's Supreme Court nominee 'a fair look' The Hill's Morning Report - Who will replace Justice Breyer? Breyer retirement throws curveball into midterms MORE (R-S.C.), a staunch Trump ally who wants to see his party retake the Senate majority after the 2022 midterm elections, said he disapproves of Biden’s agenda to date. He suggested moderate suburban Republicans who voted for Biden in 2020 may show up in droves for conservatives next year.
“I think he’s been a very destabilizing president,” Graham said during a “Fox News Sunday” appearance. “And economically, he's throwing a wet blanket over the recovery, wanting to raise taxes in a large amount and regulate America basically out of business.”
History suggests that Biden’s job approval in November 2022 will impact the number of House and Senate seats Democrats retain or forfeit (Gallup).
The Hill’s overview of the Sunday talk shows: Biden’s first 100 days and police reforms dominate.
More in administration: Vice President Harris early this week will direct her attention to migrant challenges in Central America and how the United States can help Guatemala and other countries address economic strife, violent criminal gangs and other “root causes” of population flight. During a Sunday interview on CNN, the vice president said, “I come at this issue from the perspective that most people don't want to leave home” (The Hill). CNN’s analysis is that Harris’s border crisis portfolio cements her role inside Biden’s inner circle. Other observers suggest the border challenges are a political stumbling block with voters for the president and vice president, according to recent polls, not easily remedied by without major legislation and U.S. spending. … The Hill’s Rebecca Kheel reports on the legal status of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. At least two prisoners who have been challenging their detention there have updated their efforts to secure release by including Biden’s recent announcement that U.S. troops will be out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11. As was the case with the Obama-Biden administration — which failed to close Gitmo because of that administration’s poor preparation, GOP congressional opposition, and legal and diplomatic trip-wires — Biden’s team says the U.S. goal is to close the prison. Officials say about 14 men were held in the formerly secret Camp 7 but recently were moved to another location on the base. There are 40 prisoners at Guantanamo (The Associated Press).
LEADING THE DAY
CONGRESS: Last week, the U.S. was consumed with the murder conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The coming weeks will be different as lawmakers and activists argue that more needs to be done in the name of racial justice and push to pass new reforms on Capitol Hill.
Chauvin’s conviction on three charges last week was viewed as the end of a period of discontent launched early last summer by the deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. However, coinciding with the end of the Chauvin trial was the fatal shootings of Daunte Wright in Minneapolis and Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus, Ohio, who was killed the day of the conviction.
As The Hill’s Marty Johnson writes, the Bryant shooting brought a reminder to the forefront: the racial justice fight is nowhere close to being over.
“I use that as just an illustration of the persistent and systemic nature of this violence. It is beyond individual officers. At this point, this is a systemic issue,” said Amaka Okechukwu, a sociology professor at George Mason University who specializes in race, ethnicity and social movement, referring to the Bryant shooting.
On the legislative side, Biden is using the bully pulpit in order to highlight his support for police reform, all-the-while leaving the talks on potential legislation to those on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue. As The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant and Brett Samuels write, the White House’s strategy is meant to give lawmakers space to come up with a bipartisan reform measure that can pass the Senate, with Biden ready to step in at the appropriate time.
The Hill: Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsDemocrats say change to filibuster just a matter of time Headaches intensify for Democrats in Florida These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 MORE (D-Fla.): Officer in Bryant's death appears to have “responded as he was trained to do.”
The Hill: Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley — Presented by Cisco — Feds forge ahead on internet 'nutrition labels' Senate set for muted battle over Breyer successor Hillicon Valley — Biden celebrates 'right to repair' wins MORE (D-Minn.): Chokeholds cannot be “considered legitimate” tools by police.
The issue’s tentacles are also expected to extend into the political side as the two parties prepare for policing to become an issue in the coming months and in the lead-up to the 2022 midterm elections.
As The Hill’s Julia Manchester points out, the Democratic push for reforms is also colored by political circumstances, as they are wary about being tagged with backlash following the “defund the police” moniker that stuck with many candidates in 2020, especially in House races.
The Hill: Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) stressing best practices, transparency in police reform talks.
The Hill: Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight Health Care — ObamaCare gets record numbers On The Money — Economy had post-recession growth in 2021 Progressives apply pressure on Biden, Senate to pass Build Back Better MORE (D-W.Va.): “I'm not a roadblock at all.”
More in Congress: The GOP effort to censure House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersRemedying injustice for the wrongfully convicted does not end when they are released McCarthy says he'll strip Dems of committee slots if GOP wins House A presidential candidate pledge can right the wrongs of an infamous day MORE (D-Calif.) could have repercussions as Democrats are filing resolutions of their own, ranging from censure to expulsion, against Republican lawmakers. As Cristina Marcos notes, most of the resolutions are aimed at false claims made about election fraud ahead of the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6. Rep. Jimmy GomezJimmy GomezSixteen Hispanic House Democrats ask EPA for tougher methane rule Pressley offering measure condemning Boebert Democrats livid over GOP's COVID-19 attacks on Biden MORE (D-Calif.) circulated a letter urging Democrats to sign onto his resolution to expel Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneGOP efforts to downplay danger of Capitol riot increase The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's meeting with Trump 'soon' in Florida MORE (R-Ga.) — which already has more than 70 cosponsors. House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerClyburn calls for full-court press on voting rights Biden talks climate and child care provisions of Build Back Better agenda with top CEOs The Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Russia attack 'would change the world' MORE (D-Md.) warned that the GOP vote on Waters makes it “harder” to justify not taking similar action against Republicans in the future. … The expulsion chatter also serves another Democratic purpose: to keep the events of Jan. 6 in the limelight as they keep up their calls for an independent commission to probe the tragic events of that day. The current battle over the 9/11-style commission is over the scope of a potential investigation being centered on the events of Jan. 6, as Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBriahna Joy Gray discusses Pelosi's 2022 re-election announcement The Hill's Morning Report - Who will replace Justice Breyer? House Republicans bash Democrats' China competition bill MORE (D-Calif.) has called for (The Hill). … McCarthy skirts questions about phone call with Trump amid riot (NBC News). ... The New York Times’s Mark Leibovich dives deep on McCarthy’s relationship with Trump, the tightrope he’s walking in a push to become speaker and how he’s still on the defensive about Jan. 6.
CORONAVIRUS: Health experts on Sunday expressed optimism regarding the U.S.’s COVID-19 trendlines, as daily infections continue to decline and vaccinations have picked up once again in recent days.
For the first time in a month, the seven-day average of the U.S.’s daily infection count registered at less than 60,000 cases following an uptick in recent weeks, with Sunday’s reported infections marking the single lowest total since early September (The Washington Post). The news on the vaccine front also improved after a midweek slog in shots administered, with the country doling out more than 3 million shots daily from Thursday through Sunday. The developments gave experts hope that the country is heading in the right direction.
“I think we are seeing a hopeful trend across the country,” former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told “Face the Nation.” “The past trends, when we saw cases start to decline, we were somewhat skeptical because we knew a lot of those declines were a result of behavioral changes, people pulling back more, taking more precautions. And then as soon as we sort of let our guard down, we saw cases surge again.”
“Right now, the declines that we're seeing, we can take to the bank,” Gottlieb added (CBS News).
The New York Times: European Union set to let vaccinated U.S. tourists visit this summer.
Despite the positive news, the situation remains grim in some parts of the country, including in Michigan, which continues to confront a COVID-19 variant that has spread like wildfire. As The New York Times notes, the state’s COVID-19 hospital wards are filling up and caseloads are rising, with patients becoming younger and sicker.
The state’s hospitals are now admitting about twice as many coronavirus patients in their 30s and 40s as they were during the fall peak, according to the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. Public health experts say the outbreak — driven by the B.1.1.7 variant of the virus out of Great Britain — is spreading rapidly in younger age groups.
I am putting more patients in their 20s and 30s and 40s on oxygen and on life support than at any other time in this pandemic,” said Erin Brennan, an emergency room physician in Detroit.
Additionally, states are being forced to deal with a separate vaccination issue: Getting individuals to return for their second dose. More than 5 million Americans — nearly 8 percent — have skipped their second doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines (The New York Times).
The Associated Press: Michigan became a hot spot as variants rose and vigilance fell.
Peter Sullivan, The Hill: Local doctors seek a bigger role as vaccinations enter a new phase.
Axios: The next wave of the pandemic: Long COVID-19.
CBS News: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy ticks down, but many remain opposed.
> International: The U.S. is preparing to send COVID-19 aid to India amid an outbreak that is crippling the nation. Hospitals have been forced to turn away patients because of shortages of beds and medical oxygen.
India on Monday reported more than 352,000 cases, marking the fifth day in a row of peak infection totals, rattling the country, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a radio address.
“We were confident, our spirits were up after successfully tackling the first wave, but this storm has shaken the nation,” Modi said (CNBC).
The United States announced it will help its ally. White House national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanOvernight Defense & National Security — Inside Austin's civilian harm directive Republicans again call for Oversight hearing on Afghanistan withdrawal Biden's first year: A mirage of gender parity MORE told his Indian counterpart that the Biden administration is “working around the clock” to deploy resources to the country, including therapeutics, rapid diagnostic test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment, according to an NSC spokeswoman.
The Biden administration says it partially lifted a ban against the export of raw materials needed to make vaccines in order to help India obtain supplies to battle the coronavirus.
“The United States has identified sources of specific raw material urgently required for Indian manufacture of the Covishield vaccine that will immediately be made available for India,” the White House said in a statement on Sunday. Covishield is the India-produced version of the AstraZeneca vaccine (The New York Times).
“We really need to do more. I don't think you can walk away from that,” Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care — ObamaCare gets record numbers Fans attending Super Bowl LVI to be given KN95 masks The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Breaking: Justice Breyer to retire MORE, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC’s “This Week,” speaking about India. He said the administration is considering sending to India doses of the AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is not approved for emergency use in the United States.
The Associated Press: Virus “swallowing” people in India; crematoriums overwhelmed.
The Wall Street Journal: India’s COVID-19 surge is most ferocious yet.
CNN: In Iraq, at least 82 were killed in a massive Baghdad hospital fire over the weekend.
The New York Times: Battle of the seas: Cruise lines vs. the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
POLITICS: A comparison of the early years of the Obama administration and the opening months of the Biden White House indicate a major difference in the face of ambitious spending proposals: the lack of the Tea Party.
The Hill’s Alexander Bolton takes a trip down memory lane to detail how much the political dynamic has changed as the Biden administration and Democrats plow ahead on a $2.3 trillion infrastructure proposal less than two months after enacting a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief law. Twelve years ago, Obama mustered an $800 billion stimulus package through a Democratic-controlled Congress and shied away from a major tax increase until after his 2012 victory, when parts of the Bush tax cuts were rolled back.
The main reason for this is the lack of an outcry from conservatives as fiscal issues do not gin up the base the same way they did more than a decade ago.
Axios: World leaders brace for historic Trump Facebook ban decision.
> 2024 chatter: Former Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoSunday shows preview: US reaffirms support for Ukraine amid threat of Russian invasion Pence to deliver keynote at fundraising banquet for South Carolina-based pregnancy center Russia suggests military deployments to Cuba, Venezuela an option MORE has gone out of his way to boost his public profile in recent weeks as speculation mounts about a potential bid for the GOP nomination in 2024.
After leaving the State Department in January, Pompeo has made appearances in Iowa and New Hampshire, signed on with Fox News as a network contributor, and dived into legislative matters, particularly a GOP effort to stop Biden’s ability to lift sanctions on Iran. However, as Max Greenwood notes, Pompeo is facing the same problem any other Republican has: a potential 2024 bid by Trump, his old boss.
The Hill: Democrats move to expand voting rights for felons.
Politico: House GOP retreat to Florida fraught with peril.
Bill Whalen, The Washington Post: Why a California recall is unlikely to draw Arnold Schwarzenegger-level star power.
The Associated Press: Young adults’ relocations are reshaping political geography.
The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!
COVID-19 has been miserable. It’s also been innovative, by Brooke Sample, editor, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/2PkCdOW
There’s a step Biden can take to help workers, and he hasn’t done it, by Eyal Press, opinion contributor, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/3nn01P2
WHERE AND WHEN
The House meets at noon for a pro forma session.
The Senate will convene at 3 p.m. and resume consideration of the nomination of Jason Scott Miller to be deputy director for management with the Office of Management and Budget.
The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:50 a.m. He has no public events.
The vice president will meet virtually at 4 p.m. with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to discuss solutions to the surge of migration.
The White House press briefing will take place at noon, including national economic adviser Brian DeeseBrian DeeseBiden seeks to save what he can from Build Back Better Momentum builds to prohibit lawmakers from trading stocks Hillicon Valley — Airlines issue warning about 5G service MORE.
Energy Secretary Jennifer GranholmJennifer GranholmBiden: A good coach knows when to change up the team Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden announces green buildings initiative Overnight Energy & Environment — Earth records its hottest years ever MORE will be interviewed at 11 a.m. by Politico. Information is HERE.
The Supreme Court at 10 a.m. hears an oral argument in Americans for Prosperity v. Rodriquez, a consolidated case challenging the constitutionality of a California requirement that charitable nonprofits disclose their big donors' names to the attorney general. At 11 a.m., justices hear an oral argument in Guam v. United States, a case on environmental law and toxic waste disposal.
INVITATIONS: Join The Hill’s Virtually Live “The Future of Jobs” on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. featuring a top-tier roster of lawmakers, economists, public policy veterans, workforce experts, union representatives, CEOs and more. Information is HERE. … On Thursday, don’t miss The Hill’s Virtually Live “Small Business Recovery Tour ~ Philadelphia” at 1 p.m. with Rep. Madeleine DeanMadeleine DeanNational progressive group labels six lawmakers 'progressive in name only' in new report Democrats start blitz to sell infrastructure House GOP campaign arm expands target list after brutal night for Dems MORE (D-Pa,), House Financial Services Committee member; Rep. Dan MeuserDaniel (Dan) MeuserREAD: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results MORE (R-Pa.), House Small Business Committee member; VestedIn CEO Jim Burnett; Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke; Urban League of Philadelphia President and CEO Andrea Custis; and Sunny Phanthavong, chef and owner of Vientiane Bistro. Registration is HERE.
➔ LAW ENFORCEMENT: Federal prosecutors appear to be zeroing in on leaders of the extremist group Oath Keepers following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, making the paramilitary group a priority among the more than 400 people who are facing federal criminal charges tied to this year’s siege in Washington (The Hill).
➔ MOONSHOT, CHINA STYLE: China will launch its next robot lunar lander in 2024, and it will carry equipment from France, Sweden, Russia and Italy. Plans call for Chang’e 6 to land near the lunar south pole and collect samples for return to Earth, the program’s chief designer, Hu Hao, said Saturday, according to the Xinhua News Agency. In December, the previous moon probe, Chang’e 5, returned lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s (The Associated Press).
➔ REDISTRICTING: The Census Bureau at 3 p.m. today will release the first results from the 2020 Census on population counts used for apportionment of congressional districts. Data quality metrics today provide information on the status of addresses in the census and how addresses across each of the data collection modes were resolved.
And finally … The long and winding road (shall we say Nomadic) to the 93rd Academy Awards concluded on Sunday night, and it was “Nomadland” that came out smelling like roses.
“Nomadland,” a film with a diminutive $5 million budget and littered with non-professional actors, took home the Oscars’ top accolade, winning best picture. Frances McDormand also scored the statue for best actress for her portrayal of “Fern,” the movie’s main character. The win put her in rarified air as one of only two women to win three best actress awards (Katherine Hepburn won four). Chinese-born Chloé Zhao (seen below) also won best director for her work on the evening’s big winner.
The big upset on the evening came when Anthony Hopkins won best actor for his work in “The Father.” Hopkins nabbed the award over the late Chadwick Boseman, who was nominated for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Boseman’s final feature film before his death in August (The Associated Press).
Not unlike most other events, Sunday night’s affair was a scaled down, socially distanced event at Union Station in Los Angeles, a far cry from the usual annual movie monstrosity that features a jam-packed red carpet and onlookers galore.
Hollywood Reporter: Zhao’s “Nomadland” nabs major win for traditional studios.
Deadline: Hopkins posts video reaction to surprise Best Actor win, pays tribute to Boseman.
The New York Times: List of Sunday’s Oscar winners.
The Hill’s Judy Kurtz on the Oscars: Tyler Perry urges Americans to reject hate and “stand in the middle” during Sunday’s humanitarian award speech.
The Hill: Zhao is the first woman of color to win the directing Oscar. Her film, “Nomadland,” also took home the Best Picture award.
✅ Separately, our apologies for missing reader Patrick Kavanagh, who aced Thursday's quiz but somehow vaporized from our published list of winners. He’s a whiz at news puzzles and can take a bow!