The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Can Cheney defy the odds and survive again?

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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths as of each morning this week: Monday, 577,045; Tuesday, 577,523.



The situation between House Republicans and House GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.) is reaching a breaking point as allies of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate After police rip Trump for Jan. 6, McCarthy again blames Pelosi Capitol Police asked to arrest the maskless MORE (R-Calif.) are preparing to oust her from her position in leadership in the coming weeks.

 

Rank-and-file GOP lawmakers have reached the end of the line with Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, after contradicting McCarthy at events on multiple occasions over the presence of former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE. Members argue that she has undermined the party in its effort to retake the lower chamber next year. 

 

“There is no way that Liz will be conference chair by month’s end,” one key McCarthy ally told The Hill’s Scott Wong and Mike Lillis on Monday. “When there is a vote, it won’t be a long conference [meeting]; it will be fast. Everyone knows the outcome.

 

A second McCarthy ally added that the House minority leader is “as fed up as the rest of us” with her continued remarks about Trump, which many in the conference consider harmful to their 2022 efforts to flip the House. Cheney has maintained that the path back to the majority is by moving on from a party centric on one person and focusing on policy.

 

The push comes as Cheney has grown vocal about Trump and his impact on the GOP. Last week, the Wyoming Republican granted multiple interviews during the GOP retreat in Orlando, Fla., all of which made news for Trump-centric remarks that have grated on members in the three months since she overwhelmingly survived a vote to oust her from leadership. That vote was 145-61. The congresswoman’s critics would need to flip more than 40 votes in the secret ballot. That is a lot of votes but entirely plausible. 

 

Her back-and-forth with Trump continued on Monday as she lampooned him for his claim that he lost the 2020 election due to mass voter fraud, an idea that has been debunked.

 

“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” Cheney tweeted on Monday. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”

 

Trump released a statement calling Cheny a “warmonger,” and asserting she is already finished in her home state: They never liked her much, but I say she’ll never run in a Wyoming election again!”

 

The House is in recess this week, but a vote could be held as soon as next week on her future as conference chairwoman once lawmakers return to Washington. As Axios notes, It would take up to a two-thirds vote of the 212 House Republicans to replace her, assuming they once again use a secret ballot. 

 

Whether she is right or wrong, her comments displeased some of her previous backers. Sources indicate that McCarthy, who came out in force to support her ahead of the January vote following her vote to impeach Trump, has no plans to do so again. House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseRepublican governors revolt against CDC mask guidance House to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance What you need to know about the new COVID-19 surge MORE (R-La.) also backed Cheney in early February.

 

“She’s made things worse and worse over the last few weeks with unforced comments and actions,” a third GOP lawmaker told the Morning Report. “McCarthy held people back from ousting her last time; I don’t think he’ll do it this time.” 

 

“I think she wants to be ousted,” the lawmaker added.

 

The bottom line: For McCarthy, the entire exercise of the GOP conference involves rowing together: If you aren’t moving toward a common goal (in this case, winning back the majority), you are considered a liability. This is his constant refrain. McCarthy’s comments during the GOP retreat last week are a clear indication how he believes Cheney in this battle.

 

When asked about the McCarthy-Cheney dynamic, the minority leader’s spokesman, Matt Sparks, mentioned only that McCarthy is appearing in Georgia today to “meet with small business owners about how woke corporate America is hurting them.”

 

A Cheney spokesman declined to comment.

 

A question being asked about a potential successor: Who? Cheney is the only female in leadership, so she is likely to be succeeded to be another female. Sources told The Hill that Reps. Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikStefanik calls Cheney 'Pelosi pawn' over Jan. 6 criticism GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger GOP's Banks burnishes brand with Pelosi veto MORE (N.Y.), Jackie WalorskiJacqueline (Jackie) R. WalorskiGOP's Banks burnishes brand with Pelosi veto Stefanik shake-up jump-starts early jockeying for committee posts Loyalty trumps policy in Stefanik's rise, Cheney's fall MORE (Ind.) and Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerRepublicans hammer HUD chief over sluggish rental aid Trump unhappy with Guilfoyle backing Greitens: report Giuliani to stump for Greitens in Missouri MORE (Mo.) are possibilities. The third GOP lawmaker also noted that Reps. Ashley Hinson (Iowa) and Kat Cammack (Fla.) could also be options despite being first-term members, adding that the lack of a clear alternative is reason enough to keep Cheney in the position.

 

“That’s partly why I don’t think it’s smart to ditch Liz,” the lawmaker said. “Her getting ousted doesn’t solve the problem, doesn’t bring us together. Plus, Trump will move on to other targets.”

 

New York Post: Cheney’s leadership post on shaky ground. 

 

Niall Stanage: The Memo: Trump's critics face wrath of GOP base.

 

The Associated Press: Whose “Big Lie”? Trump’s proclamation a new GOP litmus test.

 

The Hill: Trump celebrates Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators The 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill MORE (R-Utah) being booed during speech to Utah Republicans: “Stone cold loser.”

 

> Infrastructure: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire MORE (R-Ky.) said on Monday that he expected no Republicans would support President BidenJoe BidenThe Supreme Court and blind partisanship ended the illusion of independent agencies Missed debt ceiling deadline kicks off high-stakes fight Senate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session MORE's sweeping infrastructure,, child care and tax package, indicating Senate Republicans are open to a roughly $600 billion proposal. 

 

“I think it's worth talking about, but I don't think there will be any Republican support — none, zero — for the $4.1 trillion grab bag which has infrastructure in it but a whole lot of other stuff,” McConnell said in a press conference in Kentucky, referring to Biden’s $2.3 trillion jobs package and $1.8 trillion families blueprint.

 

As The Hill’s Jordain Carney notes, the proposal includes money for roads, bridges and broadband, it also expands into manufacturing, in-home care, housing, clean energy, public schools and manufacturing. To pass the entirety of their plan, Democrats would need to pass it using budget reconciliation and with a simple majority. Senate Republicans have laid out a $568 billion package, with Biden meeting with Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoBiden to return to pre-Obama water protections in first step for clean water regulations The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (R-W.Va.), the architect of the offer, last week. 

 

The Hill: Biden, GOP set to find out if US wants activist government.

 

The New York Times: Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate infrastructure talks spill over into rare Sunday session Senate holds sleepy Saturday session as negotiators finalize infrastructure deal An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done MORE (D-N.Y.) readies a Plan B to push immigration changes unilaterally. Proponents are increasingly worried that Democrats may squander a rare opportunity to legalize broad swaths of the undocumented population while their party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House.

 

The Hill: Democrats confront difficult prospects for midterms.

 

Alexander Bolton, The Hill: Trump muddles Republican messaging on Afghanistan.

 

 

The U.S. Capitol

 

 

More in politics and Congress: The Hill’s Reid Wilson says that Democrats should see warning signs ahead after their candidates put forth a poor performance in this weekend’s special election in Texas’s 6th Congressional District. Democrats got shut out of a runoff election, showing that the Trump air is rapidly going out of the balloon and that you can't run the same election twice in a row … In 2024 watch, former Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceOfficers' powerful Capitol riot testimony underscores Pelosi's partisan blunder RealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Want to improve vaccine rates? Ask for this endorsement MORE is appearing next month in New Hampshire to headline the Hillsborough County GOP’s annual Lincoln Reagan awards dinner, a major event and fundraiser for the party, on June 3 in Manchester (Fox News). … Florida Republicans rushed to curb mail voting after Trump’s attacks on the practice. Now some fear it could lower GOP turnout (The Washington Post). … The GOP won it all in Texas. Then it turned on itself (The New York Times).



A MESSAGE FROM EMERGENT BIOSOLUTIONS

 

 

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LEADING THE DAY

CORONAVIRUS: The president (pictured below at a community college in Virginia on Monday) today will make remarks about the upside of the U.S. COVID-19 vaccination rate, aware that the next phase of administration’s coronavirus efforts will focus on the unvaccinated — that is, millions of Americans who hear the term “herd immunity” and picture lemmings mindlessly leaping over cliffs.

 

Experts worry that U.S. immunity to COVID-19 and its known variants — immunity of 70 percent or more of the population — will be slow to be achieved, resulting in continued health risks, societal workarounds and perhaps annual vaccine boosters. In that scenario, disease outbreaks continue, travel and mobility are altered and those who have been vaccinated gain opportunities to live and work in ways that some who shun COVID-19 vaccines may forfeit.

 

COVID-19 is likely to be an endemic, “manageable threat” circulating in the United States and globally for years to come, experts predict (The New York Times). 

 

In the United States since Dec. 14, more than 246,780,000 doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered. More than 105,523,000 people are fully vaccinated, or about 31.78 percent of the population (The Washington Post). 

 

There are many specific examples of adult vaccine skeptics who change their minds, reports The Washington Post. Every instance of persuasion is different.

 

Expanding the U.S. vaccinated population without mandates can occur with inoculation of young teens. The Food and Drug Administration is set to authorize the Pfizer vaccine to people ages 12 to 15 by early next week (The New York Times). 

 

 

 

 

> Cities & states: Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoUniversity of Michigan says all students, faculty, staff must be vaccinated by fall term Cuomo signs legislation making baseball the official sport of New York CNN's Cuomo tells restaurant owner: 'You sound like an idiot' for denying service to vaccinated customers MORE (D) says New York City subway service, which was curtailed during the worst of the pandemic and lockdowns, will resume around-the-clock on May 17. … New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will allow many businesses to fully reopen in mid-May (The New York Times). … Florida, under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisFlorida reports record 21,000 cases in single day, highest since start of pandemic Sunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate Meadows says Trump World looking to 'move forward in a real way' MORE, on Monday suspended all local public health edicts tied to COVID-19 (CNBC). “We are no longer in a state of emergency,” he said. Under the governor’s executive order, private Florida businesses can require masks and enforce social distancing and other protective measures. … New Orleans offers a preview of a possible summer travel boom, reports The Wall Street Journal. “It’s like being reborn.

 

> International: The European Union proposes to allow vaccinated U.S. tourists, their children and other travelers from outside the bloc to enter Europe by the end of June (The Washington Post). The vast majority of countries in Europe remain closed to nonessential travel.

 

In Africa, vaccine hesitancy is slowing the continent’s inoculation drive against COVID-19. Health experts there worry that public scepticism about taking the relatively small number of doses African countries have battled to procure could prolong the pandemic (Reuters).

 

The United States today begins implementing travel restrictions on visitors from India. Experts are pressing the administration for a travel strategy in the context of India’s dire situation (The Hill). Meanwhile, many countries, including the United States, are flying relief supplies to airports in India .

 

The Associated Press: “Horrible” weeks ahead as India’s virus catastrophe worsens. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party has countered criticism by pointing out that the underfunding of health care has been chronic.

  

Pfizer and Moderna in early data are effective vaccines against the contagious variant detected in India. The situation there poses a danger to the United States (The New York Times).

 

India and Pfizer are talking about expediting the approval of its version of the COVID-19 vaccination to combat a vaccine shortage in a country with 1.4 billion people (Fox News).

 

The Biden administration has been asked by lawmakers to approve a patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines, or take other action to share vaccines more widely with the world, including with India (The Hill).

 

Germany: Oktoberfest is kaput again this year because of pandemic precautions (Yahoo News).

 

 

Workers load medical aid to be flown in a three-flight cargo Qatar Airways aircraft convoy directly to destinations in India

 



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

ADMINISTRATION: Biden on Monday set a cap on the number of refugees who can enter the U.S. at 62,500 this year, reversing a strict limit set by the Trump administration and fulfilling a pledge he made during his campaign. The president said the United States would not actually welcome that many refugees this fiscal year.

 

The announcement took place after several weeks of internal deliberations about whether the government could handle that number while also dealing with a surge of migrants at the border.

 

“Today, I am revising the United States’ annual refugee admissions cap to 62,500 for this fiscal year,” Biden said in a statement following weeks of intense lobbying by advocates for immigrants and refugees. “This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees.” 

 

“It is important to take this action today to remove any lingering doubt in the minds of refugees around the world who have suffered so much, and who are anxiously waiting for their new lives to begin,” Biden added (The Hill).

 

The administration announced in a separate memorandum that of the 62,500 slots technically available, 22,000 would be allocated to refugees coming from Africa, 13,000 to those fleeing from the Middle East and South Asia, 6,000 to those from East Asia, 4,000 to refugees from Europe and Central Asia, 5,000 to those from Latin America and the Caribbean and the remaining 12,500 slots would remain unallocated.

 

The president cautioned that it would take time to rebuild the infrastructure needed to absorb and support tens of thousands of refugees. He committed to a cap of 125,000 refugees during his first full fiscal year in office. The next fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

 

> Air travel: The Federal Aviation Administration reports that incidents of unruly commercial air passengers are up compared with previous years. The FAA is now taking a “zero-tolerance” approach to poor behavior: Unruly passengers face potential criminal charges, fines up to $35,000 or lifetime bans on certain airlines. “It is not permissible and we will not tolerate interfering with a flight crew and the performance of their safety duties,Stephen Dickson, the administrator of the FAA, said. “Period” (NBC News).

 

> Climate: The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Monday that it will begin its first rulemaking to curb by 2036 the climate pollutants known as hydrofluorocarbons, which are greenhouse emissions that are thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide and often used in refrigeration and air conditioning. The EPA is following the bipartisan will of Congress, which agreed last year in a spending law to reduce the potent pollutants by 85 percent by 2036 (The Washington Post).

 

> Oversight hangovers: The Justice Department has been slow to resolve some court cases that it inherited from the Trump administration concerning congressional demands for executive branch information. Under former Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump called acting attorney general almost daily to push election voter fraud claim: report Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote Native Americans are targets of voter suppression too MORE, the department had taken a hard line in defending Trump against inquiries from House Democrats, making maximalist legal arguments that the executive branch has the authority to essentially ignore congressional subpoenas and information requests. The early months of the Biden administration have shown that it will be difficult to disentangle itself from some of those holdover cases, reports The Hill’s Harper Neidig.

 

> FLOTUS: The president often introduces himself to audiences as “Jill Biden’s husband,” a bit of folksy humility honed during decades as a candidate accompanied by his wife. First lady Jill Biden, who understands grassroots glad handing (and female voters) – who is a champion for military families, cancer research and education – is visiting towns and cities with and without her spouse to help explain his agenda. 

 

As The Hill’s Brett Samuels reports, the first lady is widely viewed as an effective communicator and White House asset – a working spouse, mom and grandmother, an educator and wife (who recently surprised National Guardsmen at the Capitol with a basket of cookies and used a split-second blocking maneuver last year to stop protesters who stormed her husband’s stage). The first lady will visit Utah, Nevada and Colorado this week to help sell the president’s proposals to invest in infrastructure and green jobs. Joe Biden lost Utah in 2020 but won Nevada and Colorado.



The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 



OPINIONS

Businesses could sorely use guidance on bringing workers back to the office. Where’s the CDC? By Shantanu Nundy and Marty Makary, opinion contributors, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3vChrKe 

 

Getting personal on Biden won’t work for Republicans, by Ramesh Ponnuru, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/2RqltX9 



A MESSAGE FROM EMERGENT BIOSOLUTIONS

 

 

At Emergent, we make things you never thought you’d need. A treatment to counteract an opioid overdose. Protection from anthrax, smallpox and botulism. And now, we’re in the fight against COVID-19. Learn more.



WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session. Members return to legislative work on May 11.

 

The Senate will hold a pro forma session on Thursday at 4 p.m. 

 

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10:15 a.m. Biden will deliver remarks about the coronavirus and efforts to increase the country’s vaccination rate at 2:30 p.m.

 

Vice President Harris will deliver virtual remarks at 9:35 a.m. to the 51st annual Washington Conference on the Americas, co-hosted by the State Department and the Council of the Americas. The conference theme this year: “Democratic, Prosperous and Secure: Restoring a Partnership for Sustainable Growth.” Harris will travel to Milwaukee to visit clean energy labs at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 1 p.m. She will participate in a roundtable discussion at 1:50 p.m. focused on research and development investments proposed by the administration. The vice president will return to Washington this evening.

 

The White House press briefing is scheduled at 12:30 p.m.

 

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenBiden ramps up pressure on Iran as it grapples with protests Bipartisan governors press Biden administration on Canadian border restrictions More than 180 local employees working at US embassy, consulates in Russia laid off MORE is traveling in London through Wednesday while participating in the Group of 7 foreign and development ministers’ meeting.

 

The Supreme Court today concludes scheduled oral arguments for the 2020-2021 term (SCOTUS Blog). The court generally releases the majority of its decisions in mid-June.

 

Economic indicator: The Bureau of Economic Analysis at 8:30 a.m. will report on the U.S. trade deficit in goods and services in March. Preliminary data already shows the trade gap for goods at a new high as demand for foreign-made products surges.

 

INVITATION: Join The Hill’s Virtually Live event Wednesday during sessions that begin at 12:30 p.m. for “Future of Healthcare: Bold Bets in Health.” Some of the experts featured: U.S. Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyFauci joins YouTube coronavirus special aimed at Black community Biden walks fine line with Fox News If you care about the First Amendment, this class action is for you MORE; Anthony FauciAnthony FauciSunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate Israeli president receives COVID-19 booster shot AstraZeneca CEO: 'Not clear yet' if boosters are needed MORE, director, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Katrina Armstrong, Massachusetts General Hospital department of medicine; Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowBiden pays tribute to late Sen. Levin: 'Embodied the best of who we are' Former longtime Sen. Carl Levin dies at 87 Energy chief touts electric vehicle funding in Senate plan MORE (D-Mich.) and chairwoman of the Finance Committee Subcommittee on Health; and Rep. Brett GuthrieSteven (Brett) Brett GuthrieHillicon Valley: US, UK authorities say Russian hackers exploited Microsoft vulnerabilities | Lawmakers push for more cyber funds in annual appropriations | Google child care workers ask for transportation stipend Lawmakers push for increased cybersecurity funds in annual appropriations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - House GOP drama intensifies; BIden sets new vax goal MORE (R-Ky.), ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. Information is HERE.

 

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



ELSEWHERE

TECH: Verizon Communications signaled it is giving up on media and is selling AOL and Yahoo to the private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $5 billion. Verizon will shift its focus to its 5G network. Yahoo once dominated the front page of the internet, cataloging the furious pace of new websites that sprang up in the late 1990s. AOL in its heyday was the service most people could use online. Verizon bought AOL in 2015 for $4.4 billion and Yahoo in 2017 for $4.48 billion (The New York Times). … Kroger announced on Monday that it is jumping into the drone delivery business by piloting a program at a Centerville, Ohio, location near its Cincinnati headquarters. The program hopes it will allow the grocery store to make deliveries up to five pounds in as little as 15 minutes, with more testing at a store in California coming this summer (Bloomberg News).

 

BILLIONAIRES: Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, 90, on Monday said if anything happens to him, Greg Abel will take over the company (The Wall Street Journal and Yahoo Finance). Buffett is worth $103.7 billion as of Monday. … Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and wife Melinda Gates, who have been together nearly 30 years and lead The Gates Foundation, a philanthropic empire, are divorcing, the tech titan announced on Monday. He’s number four on Forbes' list of the wealthiest people, with an estimated net worth of more than $130 billion as of Monday. Gates said in a statement that he and his wife “no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives,” but added that their “mission” toward philanthropy will continue (Yahoo Finance). 

 

ENVIRONMENT: Kym Worthy never thought in law school that she would wind up a prosecutor. Now she's behind one of the most prominent criminal cases against public officials in the country. Worthy, the top prosecutor in Wayne County, Mich., co-leads the Flint water crisis case with Michigan Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud. In January, they rolled out a slate of charges against nine people, including accusing former Gov. Rick Snyder (R) of willful neglect of duty and charging with involuntary manslaughter both Nicolas Lyon, the former director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service and Eden Wells, former Michigan chief medical executive (The Hill).



THE CLOSER

And finally … Whoa! On Sunday, a good Samaritan who wants to remain anonymous rescued a 2-year-old strapped in a car seat after the baby was ejected from a vehicle during a car crash that occurred on a bridge. 

 

The vehicle flipped during a multi-car crash in Ocean City, Md, dangled over the bridge guardrail and the baby plunged into the Assawoman Bay. A man then leaped over the guardrail from a considerable height into the shallow bay and rescued the baby (CBS Local).

 

“The baby was face-down in the water for a short period of time, but because of the unbelievable and heroic actions of this humble hero, he was able to retrieve the child immediately,” Ocean City Fire Chief Richard Bowers said. “(The bay) is only about 4 or 5 feet at best, so it was very heroic what he did. The bottom line is he saved that child's life.”

 

According to Ocean City fire officials, the man who jumped into the water got pretty banged up but is going to recover (WBAL-TV).

 

Seven people were briefly treated and later released from hospitals. The baby was flown to Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore and remained hospitalized on Monday.

 

 

Good Samaritan jumps in the water to rescue an infant ejected from a vehicle in a bad crash