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The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Israel-Hamas carnage worsens; Dems face SALT dilemma

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A ball of fire erupts from a building in Gaza City's Rimal residential district

 

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Monday, and it is Tax Filing Day! 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 reported as of Monday morning, 585,970.

 

As of this morning, 47.4 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 37.1 percent is fully vaccinated, according to the Bloomberg News global vaccine tracker. (To locate three sites near you with available vaccines, text GETVAX 438829).



A potential second week of destruction, death and violence in Gaza prompted new international efforts to achieve a cease-fire as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE signaled during a national address on Sunday that the fourth war with Gaza’s Hamas rulers would not cease (The Hill).

 

In a televised address, Netanyahu said the attacks were continuing at “full force” and would “take time.“ Israel “wants to levy a heavy price” on the Hamas militant group, he said, flanked by his defense minister and political rival, Benny Gantz, in a show of unity. The Israeli air assault early Sunday was the deadliest single attack since heavy fighting broke out between Israel and Hamas nearly a week ago, marking the worst fighting since the devastating 2014 war in Gaza (The Associated Press).

 

Netanyahu defended Israel’s decision to destroy a 12-story building in Gaza occupied for 15 years by The Associated Press bureau as well as Al Jazeera and other news media, claiming the United States shared intelligence showing that Hamas operated in the same building. When asked to verify any such intelligence sharing, the Biden administration told The Intercept, “No comment.”

 

The Associated Press in Washington  on Sunday called for an independent investigation, and the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders asked the International Criminal Court to investigate. Israeli military gave AP journalists and other tenants about an hour to evacuate before the building was brought to the ground. Video is HERE.

 

The Associated Press: United Nations officials seek to end the conflict in Gaza as President BidenJoe BidenMellman: Trump voters cling to 2020 tale FDA authorizes another batch of J&J vaccine Cotton warns of China collecting athletes' DNA at 2022 Olympics MORE’s National Security Council team held an emergency meeting and the president spoke on Saturday with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

 

The Wall Street Journal: Israel rules out cease-fire for now.

 

The Hill: 28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas cease-fire.

 

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

 

 

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City flattened three buildings and killed at least 42 people on Sunday, the heaviest single-day death toll thus far. Hamas also pressed on, launching rockets from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel.

 

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-GreenfieldLinda Thomas-GreenfieldUS ambassador to UN to travel to Syria border town amid debate over humanitarian aid Harris, Hispanic Caucus meet on Central America The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Israel-Hamas carnage worsens; Dems face SALT dilemma MORE said the United States “has been working tirelessly through diplomatic channels” to try to end the conflict and warned that the current cycle of violence will only put a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict further out of reach. Israel’s U.N. ambassador called Hamas rocket attacks against Israel “completely premeditated” to gain political power and replace the Palestinian Authority as the leader of the Palestinians.

 

Reuters: Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenDemocrat says he won't introduce resolution to censure Greene after her apology Biden expanding program for allowing young Central Americans into US US, EU establish trade and technology council to compete with China MORE discussed Gaza in calls with Qatari, Egyptian, Saudi foreign ministers.

 

Axios: Tor Wennesland, United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, spoke on Sunday to Israel’s national security adviser, Meir Ben-Shabbat, and other senior Israeli security officials as well as Hamas officials and Egyptian intelligence officials in an effort to restore peace.

 

The New York Times: Questions of war crimes follow fighting between Israel and Hamas.

 

The Jerusalem Post: Iran nuclear deal talks continued in Vienna over the weekend.

 

 

President Biden

 

 

More Biden administration headlines: Does the United States need new laws to deal with the rise of domestic extremism? (The Hill).In Biden’s America, Democrats see competence, Republicans see chaos (The Washington Post).



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LEADING THE DAY

CORONAVIRUS: Confusion is cropping up across the U.S. in the aftermath of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidance that fully vaccinated individuals can forgo wearing masks in almost all settings.

 

Although last week’s federal decision to encourage vaccinated people to eschew masks was welcome as the government urged unvaccinated Americans to get inoculated, the new direction caught many off guard, The Hill’s Alex Gangitano, Nathaniel Weixel and Sylvan Lane write, raising questions about how new policies are to be implemented.

 

The guidance sent states and cities scrambling to determine whether to change their own rules to match the new federal advice. Health experts, business leaders and labor groups said the new recommendations are too ambiguous and too wide-ranging. The administration says it will not take a federal position on “vaccine passports,” leaving the question of proof of vaccination up to businesses and industries. The CDC promises to update its specific recommendations for workplaces, restaurants, schools, summer camps and other settings and circumstances.

 

“Millions of Americans are doing the right thing and getting vaccinated, but essential workers are still forced to play mask police for shoppers who are unvaccinated and refuse to follow local COVID safety measures. Are they now supposed to become the vaccination police?” Marc Perrone, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers union, said in a statement.

 

Axios: CDC mask guidance sparks confusion, questions.

 

The Wall Street Journal: Health officials seek to clarify COVID-19 mask guidelines.

 

Backing up last week’s announcement, CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyStudy: Older Americans saw larger declines in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths after vaccine became available Overnight Health Care: Biden 'very confident' in Fauci amid conservative attacks | House Dems press Biden on global vaccinations | CDC director urges parents to vaccinate adolescents New York plans to loosen school mask rules as soon as Monday MORE appeared on four Sunday shows, maintaining that vaccine mandates are not the right way to go, all the while imploring unvaccinated Americans to get a jab sooner rather than later (or never) (The Hill).

 

“If you are not vaccinated, you are not safe,” Walensky told “Fox News Sunday,” saying that the science surrounding past recommendations that fully vaccinated people wear masks only weeks ago has “evolved” (The Hill).

 

The Hill’s Sunday shows update: CDC guidance reverberates.

 

The Washington Post: Confused Americans grapple with CDC’s new mask rules: “It caught us off guard.”

 

The Wall Street Journal: Firms ponder speeding up plans for return to offices.

 

 

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky

 

 

A major question continues to swirl around children as the vast majority remain unvaccinated after the CDC greenlighted those aged 12 to 15 to begin receiving Pfizer’s shot. Walensky told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the status quo remains for unvaccinated children and that they should continue to wear masks.

 

“We recognize the challenge of parents who can't leave their kids at home,” Walensky said, adding that children “should be masked in those settings and to the best of their ability to keep a distance.”

 

“The recommendations for those settings have not changed," she continued (The Hill).

 

Justine Coleman, The Hill: Schools face new pressures to reopen for in-person learning.

 

The Associated Press: Some aren’t ready to give up masks despite new CDC guidance.

 

The Hill: NIH’s Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: US surpasses 600K COVID-19 deaths | Federal watchdog to examine NIH grants, likely including Wuhan funding CDC labels highly transmissible delta strain a COVID-19 'variant of concern' Federal watchdog to examine NIH grants, likely including Wuhan funding MORE: Vaccinated people become “dead ends” for the coronavirus.

 

The Washington Post: India’s coronavirus vaccination drive is faltering just when the country needs it most.

 

The Associated Press: Great Britain yet to decide on Pfizer offer to vaccinate Olympians.

 

*****

 

CONGRESS: Today is tax filing day for 2020, and the coming weeks will be crucial for Democrats on the tax front as they determine how to potentially pay for their proposed $4.1 trillion infrastructure and jobs package going forward.

 

As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton writes, Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve GOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' How Biden can get the infrastructure bill through Congress MORE (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrat says he won't introduce resolution to censure Greene after her apology Democrats weigh next steps on Jan. 6 probe 21 Republicans vote against awarding medals to police who defended Capitol on Jan. 6 MORE (D-Calif.) face an uphill battle on the issue as their top priority — restoring the state and local tax (SALT) deduction — faces opposition from corners of the Senate Democratic conference.

 

Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersProgressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC Zombie Tax punishes farmers to fill DC coffers Progressives threaten to block bipartisan infrastructure proposal MORE (I-Vt.) and Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetPast criticism of Trump becomes potent weapon in GOP primaries Hillicon Valley: Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC | Lawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cyber during summit with Putin | TSA working on additional security regulations following Colonial Pipeline hack Senators introducing B bill to help narrow digital divide MORE (D-Colo.) have both signaled their opposition to reinstating it, while others, including Sens. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsBiden prepares to confront Putin Concerns grow over China's Taiwan plans Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema MORE (D-Del.) and Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineThis week: Democrats face fractures in spending fight Democrats mull overhaul of sweeping election bill Overnight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US MORE (D-Va.) are lukewarm on the idea. A full restoration would cost as much as $500 billion, or more than the amount of revenue that would be collected by raising the corporate tax rate to 25 percent.

 

Reintroducing the SALT deduction could also spark issues among progressives, as the lion's share of the benefit goes to the rich. Fifty-seven percent of the tax cut would benefit the top 1 percent, and 25 percent would benefit the top 0.1 percent.

 

Meanwhile, as Americans race to file their taxes today, lawmakers are debating the president’s push to strengthen tax enforcement against high-income individuals and businesses, as they consider ways to reduce the amount of uncollected taxes.

 

As The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda points out, Biden has proposed providing the IRS with $80 billion for enforcement and other purposes and increasing the amount of information that banks have to report to the agency. According to the administration, the proposal would generate on net $700 billion in revenue.

 

Democrats have spoken highly of Biden’s approach. Across the aisle, GOP members are on board with ensuring that people pay the taxes they owe. However, they argue that the White House’s proposal will not generate as much revenue as it estimates and could lead to government overreach.

 

 

IRS headquarters

 

 

> Voting brouhaha: Schumer is facing big headaches in trying to get a sweeping voting rights bill through the Senate as Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinProgressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC US, EU pledge to work together on climate amid reported dissension on coal Senate to hold hearing on DC statehood bill MORE (D-W.Va.) continues to oppose the For the People Act.

 

Schumer, who is pushing to retain the slim Democratic majority in 2022, is under fierce pressure from progressives who warn that the party will face major consequences politically if it fails to pass the bill. As The Hill’s Jordain Carney notes, Schumer has shown no signs of budging, having promised to bring the sweeping bill to the floor one way or another.

 

The Hill: Push to combat sexual assault in U.S. military reaches a turning point.



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS: The Trump Party is here to stay, according to Republican lawmakers who appeared on Sunday’s talk shows to explain how voter support may continue to be former President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE’s force field inside the GOP. Conservative lawmakers say those who imagine bucking the former president as head of the party do so at their own political peril, even following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol that put members of Congress in physical danger.

 

Even Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyGOP's Stefanik defends Trump DOJ secret subpoenas McCarthy pushes back on Biden criticism of GOP at NATO Democrat Matt Putorti challenges Stefanik for NY House seat MORE (R-Wyo.), ousted last week by the House GOP from its No. 3 leadership post because of her ferocious opposition to the former president, concedes she’s outnumbered. “The majority of the Republican Party is not where I am,” she said during an ABC “This Week” interview (The Hill).

 

Cheney said she can’t ignore Trump because he “continues to be a real danger” (The Hill). She added that there’s “no question” another attack like the one on Jan. 6, or worse, could occur as a result of persistent false claims by Trump and his followers about the legitimacy of the 2020 election (The Hill).

 

Rep. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerCheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' Why the Democrats need Joe Manchin Axios CEO says GOP before Trump will not return MORE (R-Ill.), a frequent Trump critic, believes Republican lawmakers are mired in the former president’s rhetoric about a stolen election. They won’t repudiate Trump’s myth because, following his defeat, they’ve anointed him the party’s leader. "Policy doesn't matter anymore,” Kinzinger said, comparing the former’s president’s hold over his party to the autocratic rule of Kim Jong UnKim Jong UnOvernight Defense: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing North Korea calls U.S.-South Korea missile development hostile policy Biden's invisible foreign policy success MORE over the people of North Korea. “It literally is all your loyalty to Donald Trump. … No matter what policy comes out, you're loyal to the guy” (The Hill).

  

Michigan Republican Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonFauci: Emails highlight confusion about Trump administration's mixed messages early in pandemic Why Republican politicians are sticking with Trump Progressives nearly tank House Democrats' Capitol security bill MORE, appearing on CNN, said on Sunday that he cannot understand his conservative colleagues who try to downplay the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 and called efforts to gloss over what occurred “bogus.”

 

“I don't know what their motivation is, but I know that as I talked to some colleagues, even again this week, who were in the chamber, it was terribly frightening,” he said.

 

The GOP’s public debates about Trump’s influence over the party and his viability as a potential presidential contender in 2024 continue to be combustible, underscoring that as long as grassroots voters say they support the 45th president, candidates and GOP lawmakers pay heed.

 

Recent polls, however, suggest support for Trump among Republican voters has softened since he’s been out of office. Support for the party itself and what it stands for could be on the rise (NBC News). Trump is unpopular in certain key House districts, according to recent surveys that help gaze ahead to the 2022 midterms (MSNBC, The Washington Post).

 

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Rep. Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawCotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military The hypocrisy of weeding out identity politics in the military Crenshaw trolled after asking for examples of 'woke ideology' in military MORE (R-Texas) argued that Republicans could not simply “excommunicate” Trump from party ranks, although the congressman declined to say whether he believes Trump is the “legitimate leader of the Republican Party” (The Hill). Cheney, Kinzinger and Upton voted to impeach Trump.

 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), viewed as a potential White House candidate from the GOP’s more traditional mold, described Trump as “toxic for the Republican Party and for the country.” The GOP will not win back control of the White House or Congress if it does not expand into a “big-tent party” and “appeal to a majority of people,” he said on CNN.

 

“We've got to find a way to get the Republican Party back to the party of Lincoln and Reagan, get back to the more traditional big-tent party that can appeal to a majority of people,” he added. “Otherwise. we simply aren't going to have control, we're not going to get the White House back, and we won't have control of the House and the Senate” (The Hill).

 

More politics: Republicans seize on conservative backlash against a critical race theory (The Hill). … Lawmakers are on edge following last week’s decision by 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.) to confront and taunt Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezProgressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC Wray suggests limits on FBI social media tracking a 'lesson learned' after Jan. 6 Puerto Rico's former governor stages a comeback MORE (D-N.Y.) in the halls of Congress as reporters looked on (The Hill).

 

 

A "Trump Country" sign is seen outside of a house in Haleyville, Winston County, Alabama

 



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

Israel, Hamas, Iran and Biden, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board. https://on.wsj.com/3eQtA8Q

 

Biden should fight the inflation the Fed ignores, by Matthew Yglesias, opinion contributor, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/33O8Eci



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WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at noon.

 

The Senate will convene Monday at 3 p.m. and resume consideration of the Endless Frontier Act.

 

The president returns to the White House from Delaware at 9:15 a.m. Biden and Vice President Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:50 a.m. The president will speak about the administration COVID-19 response and vaccination program at 1 p.m. in the East Room.

 

Blinken is in Copenhagen, Denmark, for a full day of meetings, including with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Queen Margrethe II and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod, with whom the secretary will also hold a joint press availability. Blinken will tour the Quantum Materials Lab at the University of Copenhagen in the afternoon and meets this evening with personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen.

 

The White House press briefing is scheduled at noon.

 

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

➔ ECONOMY: An unexpectedly sharp April increase in inflation poses a potential political problem for the White House and Federal Reserve. Biden’s critics take issue with policies they fear could have long-range impacts on inflation and interest rates (The Hill). While economists say there's no cause for alarm now, some fear the implications.

 

➔ HACKERS & EXTORTION: The decision by Colonial Pipeline to pay extortionists last week put a spotlight on the morality and the consequences of paying hackers in order to regain access to breached networks (The Hill).

 

➔ PAW PATROL: Top environmental groups and figures are calling on the U.S. to reintroduce the jaguar in southwestern portions of the country, saying that human intervention will be needed to make it happen. Experts with the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Center for Landscape Conservation and other organizations believe a 3,125 square-mile area in the mountains of central Arizona and New Mexico could support between 90 to 150 of the big cats, which have rarely been spotted north of northern Mexico. While male jaguars have been spotted in Arizona in recent decades, there is no evidence that any female jaguars are there, eliminating the chance of the cats breeding in the United States. Jaguars are present in only 19 countries (The Associated Press).



THE CLOSER

And finally … Revenge can be sweet, as Canfora Bakery in Milwaukee demonstrated after the shop was burgled and robbed last month. Thinking creatively after searching the shop’s security cameras and reporting the break-in, the owners put the suspected thief’s face on 100 unique sugar cookies and urged the community to help them identify the culprit.

 

"Come Take a Bite Out Of Crime at Canfora Bakery," owners Eric and Karen Krieg wrote on Facebook. "We invite the Bay View community to come on in and take a bite out of the thief while supplies last — one per family" (NDTV, New York Post and Food & Wine).

 

It worked. Just hours after the Kriegs posted the photo cookie, the community tips handed the Milwaukee Police Department an ID.

 

 

Bakery puts burglary suspect's photo on cookies