The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel

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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 585,970; Tuesday, 586,359; Wednesday, 587,219; Thursday, 587,874.



The House on Wednesday voted to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and report findings and recommendations to Congress by the end of the year. 

 

Thirty-five Republicans bucked their leaders to help pass the measure by a vote of 252 to 175. The legislation, backed by the White House but opposed by a majority of Republicans as well as 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, faces an uncertain future in the narrowly divided Senate (The Hill).

 

The vote came after a wave of opposition from Republican leaders, including 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 (Calif.) and 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 (La.), who panned the bill. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonHouse members will huddle Friday to plot next steps on Jan. 6 probe Budowsky: Liz Cheney, a Reagan Republican, and Pelosi, Ms. Democrat, seek Jan. 6 truth The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Officers recount the horror of Jan. 6 MORE (D-Miss.) said on Wednesday that the measure, negotiated with Rep. John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoGOP brawls over Trump on eve of first Jan. 6 hearing Senators introduce bipartisan bill to secure critical groups against hackers House erupts in anger over Jan. 6 and Trump's role MORE (R-N.Y.), the panel’s top Republican, had been understood to have McCarthy's agreement before the minority leader changed his position (The Hill). 

 

Upshot: The Wednesday vote was another indication of how intensely the House Republican Conference wants to keep Jan. 6 and questions about Trump’s involvement in the party’s rearview mirror.

 

Katko spoke out forcefully on the floor in support of the bill despite being brushed aside post-negotiations by McCarthy. Katko, a moderate who voted to impeach Trump in January, pleaded with his GOP colleagues to support the commission compromise, invoking the members of the Capitol Police who were killed and injured following the riot. 

 

“I urge all of you in the body, all of you on both sides — not just my side, not just your side, all of us — to set aside politics just this once ... and pass this bill,” Katko said. “Imagine being a family member of these officers who do this. So let's take a deep breath and think about what's really important here. These people every single day are willing to lay down their lives for us. They deserve better.”

 

The Republicans who voted aye: Reps. Don Bacon (Neb.), Cliff Bentz (Ore.), Stephanie Bice (Okla.) Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyPhotos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris Jordan acknowledges talking to Trump on Jan. 6 Stefanik calls Cheney 'Pelosi pawn' over Jan. 6 criticism MORE (Wyo.), John Curtis (Utah), Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisHouse rejects GOP effort to seat McCarthy's picks for Jan. 6 panel Banks blames Pelosi for Jan. 6 'breakdown of security' Sunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe MORE (Ill.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickGyms, hotels, bus companies make last-ditch plea for aid Democrats seek to calm nervous left Biden's corporate tax hike is bad for growth — try a carbon tax instead MORE (Pa.), Jeff FortenberryJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FortenberryOvernight Defense: Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill | House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors | US increases airstrikes to help Afghan forces fight Taliban US delegation departs Haiti after reports of gunshots at ex-president's funeral Biden announces delegation to attend Haitian president's funeral MORE (Neb.), Andrew Garbarino (N.Y.), Carlos Gimenez (Fla.), Tony Gonzales (Texas), Anthony GonzalezAnthony GonzalezSix takeaways: What the FEC reports tell us about the midterm elections Pro-impeachment Republicans outpace GOP rivals in second-quarter fundraising Governors' races see flood of pro-Trump candidates MORE (Ohio), Michael GuestMichael Patrick GuestDHS considering asylum for migrants whose cases were terminated under Trump I visited the border and the vice president should too The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel MORE (Miss.), Jamie Herrera Beutler (Wash.), French HillJames (French) French HillTop Democrat leads bipartisan trip to Middle East The Hill's Morning Report - Bidens to visit Surfside, Fla., collapse site On The Money: Pelosi rebuffs McConnell on infrastructure | White House mounts full-court press on infrastructure deal | Supreme Court leaves CDC eviction moratorium intact MORE (Ark.), Trey HollingsworthJoseph (Trey) Albert HollingsworthGOP gambles with Pelosi in opposing Jan. 6 commission The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel Hillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump campaign tweet of Biden clip as manipulated media | Democrats demand in-person election security briefings resume | Proposed rules to protect power grid raise concerns MORE (Ind.), Chris Jacobs (N.Y.), Dusty Johnson (S.D.), Dave Joyce (Ohio), Katko, Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerSunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate Biden asks Pentagon to examine 'how and when' to mandate COVID-19 vaccine for troops Stefanik calls Cheney 'Pelosi pawn' over Jan. 6 criticism MORE (Ill.), David McKinleyDavid Bennett McKinleyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court rules that pipeline can seize land from New Jersey | Study: EPA underestimated methane emissions from oil and gas development | Kevin McCarthy sets up task forces on climate, other issues Bipartisan lawmakers back clean electricity standard, but fall short of Biden goal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel MORE (W.Va.), Peter MeijerPeter MeijerFormer longtime Sen. Carl Levin dies at 87 Michigan GOP executive director quits under pressure from Trump allies Cheney, Kinzinger are sole GOP votes for Jan. 6 select committee MORE (Mich.), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Iowa), Blake Moore (Utah), Dan NewhouseDaniel (Dan) Milton NewhouseBiden administration stokes frustration over Canada Cheney, Kinzinger are sole GOP votes for Jan. 6 select committee Progressives nearly tank House Democrats' Capitol security bill MORE (Wash.), Tom ReedTom ReedThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel Lawmakers brace for battles with colleagues as redistricting kicks off Hundreds of businesses sign on to support LGBTQ rights legislation MORE (N.Y.), Tom RiceHugh (Tom) Thompson RicePro-impeachment Republicans outpace GOP rivals in second-quarter fundraising Cheney, Kinzinger are sole GOP votes for Jan. 6 select committee The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE (S.C.), Maria E. Salazar (Fla.), Mike SimpsonMIchael (Mike) Keith SimpsonRivers, hydropower and climate resilience The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel Overnight Energy: Biden reportedly will pledge to halve US emissions by 2030 | Ocasio-Cortez, Markey reintroduce Green New Deal resolution MORE (Idaho), Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithLawmakers form bipartisan Uyghur Caucus to highlight abuses Bipartisan congressional commission urges IOC to postpone, relocate Beijing Games The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel MORE (N.J.), Van TaylorVan TaylorShakespeare gets a congressional hearing in this year's 'Will on the Hill' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel House Republicans ask Pelosi to reschedule Biden's address to Congress MORE (Texas), Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonEquilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — West Coast wildfires drive East Coast air quality alerts OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Western wildfires prompt evacuations in California, Oregon| House passes bill requiring EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Granholm announces new building energy codes House passes bill requiring EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water MORE (Mich.), David ValadaoDavid Goncalves ValadaoPro-impeachment Republicans outpace GOP rivals in second-quarter fundraising Cheney, Kinzinger are sole GOP votes for Jan. 6 select committee Progressives nearly tank House Democrats' Capitol security bill MORE (Calif.) and Steve WomackStephen (Steve) Allen WomackFunding fight imperils National Guard ops Overnight Defense: 6B Pentagon spending bill advances | Navy secretary nominee glides through hearing | Obstacles mount in Capitol security funding fight GOP gambles with Pelosi in opposing Jan. 6 commission MORE (Ark.). 

 

The New York Times: House backs Jan. 6 commission, but Senate path dims. 

 

Politico: GOP defections over Jan. 6 commission deliver rebuke to McCarthy.

 

Trump early this week advised House Republicans to vote against a commission. The most notable critique came Wednesday when 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.) panned the legislation. 

 

“After careful consideration, I've made the decision to oppose the House Democrats slanted and unbalanced proposal for another commission to study the events of Jan. 6,” McConnell said from the Senate floor.

 

The GOP leader argued a commission is unnecessary, pointing to ongoing months-long probes by the Justice Department and Senate committees. McConnell also objected to the potential limits on the commission’s scope and echoed McCarthy that any commission should also examine instances of political violence before and after the Jan. 6 attack.

 

The Kentucky Republican’s decision cast a shadow over the legislation’s future. Ten Senate Republicans would need to break ranks to pass the measure through the upper chamber (The Hill). Seven Senate GOP members voted to convict Trump in January. Among others who could potentially throw their weight behind the commission’s formation are retiring GOP senators — Sens. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet On The Money: Justice Department says Trump's tax returns should be released | Democrats fall short of votes for extending eviction ban Photos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris MORE (Ohio), Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Senate passes .1 billion Capitol security bill Democrats ramp up pressure for infrastructure deal amid time crunch MORE (Ala.) and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon passes on Senate campaign MORE (Mo.).

 

However, as The Hill’s Jordain Carney writes, blocking the bill would create potential political headaches for some Senate Republicans, as it would put them in a politically awkward spot of blocking a probe of an attack many condemned vociferously. Instead, lawmakers are more interested in moving past the Jan. 6 debacle and have indicated that they prefer to focus on committee-level inquiries.  

 

According to Blunt, a forthcoming report by the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection is expected to be released by June 8 (The Hill).

 

Axios: The Jan. 6 commission's Senate graveyard.

 

The Hill: 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’s brother, Rep. Greg PenceGregory PenceBiden jabs at McConnell for highlighting bill he voted against Five big questions about the Jan. 6 select committee Biden needles GOP touting rescue plan they opposed: 'Some people have no shame' MORE (R-Ind.), voted against the Jan. 6 commission.

 

Politico: Anonymous statement on Capitol Police letterhead roils Jan. 6 riot commission debate.

 

The Hill: Capitol Police Board signals resistance to reform.

 

 

 

 

More in Congress … Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassScott: 'There is hope' for police reform bill Biden: Republicans who say Democrats want to defund the police are lying Omar leads lawmakers in calling for US envoy to combat Islamophobia MORE (D-Calif.), chief architect of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, said Wednesday that a sweeping police reform bill won’t be ready for a vote by the May 25 deadline set by 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 that coincides with the first anniversary of Floyd’s murder (The Hill). … 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’s (D-N.Y.) tactics on the China competitiveness bill are revealing his broader trade strategy (The Hill). … A goal of overhauling the troubled U.S. Postal Service has bipartisan support, judging from a Senate bill introduced on Wednesday (The New York Times).



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LEADING THE DAY

ADMINISTRATION: Biden on Wednesday spoke again with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE, urging “significant de-escalation” of Israel’s continued bombardment of Gaza (The Hill). Hours later, Netanyahu responded that Israel was “determined to continue” to weaken Hamas and its attacks against Israel, and more strikes against Hamas targets, including homes, occurred Thursday (The Associated Press).

 

The prime minister said he “greatly appreciates the support of the American president, but said Israel will push ahead “to return the calm and security to you, citizens of Israel.” He added that he is “determined to continue this operation until its aim is met” (Fox News).

 

The Hill: A spokesman for Israel’s military said on Wednesday that there is no end in sight to violence in Gaza. During an MSNBC interview, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the trend is heading in the opposite direction.

 

Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, the deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, said Wednesday evening that he anticipated a cease-fire agreement within days, Israeli media reported. Earlier, an Israeli political official confirmed that Israel was heading toward a cease-fire agreement with Hamas through Egyptian mediation, according to Haaretz.

 

“I think a ceasefire mediation will work. The equation was clear if they escalate, we escalate. If they stop firing at Gaza we’ll stop firing at Tel Aviv. Israel’s actions in Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah have caused the al-Aqsa Brigades to enter the campaign,” he said. “Any negotiations for a cease-fire must address that” (The Jerusalem Post). 

 

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he hoped to fly to Israel for talks Thursday with Israelis and Palestinians about ending the conflict. “My plan is to fly to Israel tonight and hold talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah,” Maas told reporters on Wednesday (The Associated Press).

 

Losing patience with Israel, some House Democrats moved Wednesday to introduce a resolution seeking to block a $735 million sale of precision-guided weapons to the country, a symbolic response to the conflict meant to publicly showcase lawmakers’ concerns about alleged human rights violations by Israel against Palestinians (Reuters and The Hill).

 

The Associated Press: Biden and Netanyahu, who have known each other for decades (pictured below in 2010), face a rough early test of the U.S.-Israel relationship, a test the president had hoped to avoid.

 

For Netanyahu, war is a political career-booster (The Associated Press).

 

 

 

 

> U.S.-Russia: Biden on Wednesday called off key sanctions on a Russian gas pipeline as 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 holds his first bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart. The decision drew criticism from Russia hawks in Congress who want the United States to block the multibillion-dollar Nord Stream 2 project because they say it gives Moscow leverage over U.S. allies in Europe (The Washington Post).

 

> UFOs: U.S. intelligence agencies will testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee next month about government sightings of flying crafts moving at incredible speeds. The Pentagon has been interested in UFOs because they could pose threats to national security and has established the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force to investigate and “gain insight” into the “nature and origins” of unidentified flying objects. In 2019, the department declassified three videos taken by Navy pilots — one from 2004 and two from 2015 — that showed mysterious objects flying at high speeds across the sky. A separate leaked Navy video, captured in July 2019, showed a sphere-shaped unidentified object flying over water near San Diego. The footage, obtained by a documentary filmmaker and shared with NBC News, appeared to show the mysterious object flying for a few minutes before disappearing into the water (NBC News). A report to Congress next month is the result of a provision in the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief law and an appropriations bill that Trump signed last year calling for a “detailed analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena data and intelligence” from the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force and the FBI.

 

> VEEP: The Hill’s Amie Parnes writes that four months into Vice President Harris’s tenure, she is still sorting out how to make a mark. “I don’t think it’s been as seamless as it appears,” said one Democrat who has spoken to aides in the White House about the matter. Biden put Harris in charge of immigration problems at the U.S. southern border, tasked her to conduct outreach to constituencies, including Black and Asian Americans, and said during a joint address to Congress that she would supervise the government’s drive to bring high-speed internet to all communities.  

 

*****

 

CORONAVIRUS: Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyUS vaccinations tick up as delta variant spreads Public health expert: 'Biden absolutely declared a victory too soon' Delta variant raises fears of worsening mutations MORE, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told a Senate subcommittee on Wednesday that mask policies can be guided by the federal government but should be customized by local communities to reflect their COVID-19 infection rates and populations of fully vaccinated residents.

 

In testimony before an Appropriations subcommittee about her agency’s budget, she defended last week’s shift in CDC recommendations that announced most vaccinated Americans can eschew masks indoors and out. 

 

“We moved at the speed science gave us,” she said, noting that new research had confirmed that the vaccines are working in the real world, that they are working against the variants that are currently circulating in the United States, and that they prevent not only illness but also transmission of the virus. “That scientific data was enough for us to move forward” (The Boston Globe).

 

Daily Beast: Walensky keeps changing her story.

 

CNN: McCarthy effort to lift mask rules for the House floor fails.

 

NBC News: Confusing rules, loopholes and legal issues: College vaccination plans are a mess.

 

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, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, added on Wednesday that Americans do not have a full understanding of the latest CDC guidelines.

 

“I think people are misinterpreting, thinking that this is a removal of a mask mandate for everyone. It's not,” Fauci told Axios on Wednesday. “It's an assurance to those who are vaccinated that they can feel safe, be they outdoors or indoors” (The Hill). 

 

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Emergent BioSolutions CEO Robert Kramer told members of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis that its embattled plant in Baltimore could resume manufacturing doses of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine “within a matter of days.”

 

“We have made significant progress against all of those commitments, we are very close to completing them, and I would expect we would be in a position to resume production within a matter of days,” Kramer said.

 

As The Hill’s Nathaniel Weixel notes, Kramer told lawmakers that there are more than 100 million doses of J&J’s vaccine on hold, the first time the company has disclosed how much of the vaccine has been affected. The company’s chief added that unsanitary conditions, including mold, were present at the facility, noting that staff was inadequately trained at the locale. 

 

Kramer also said that Emergent BioSolutions has been in communication with the Food and Drug Administration and is close to correcting the issues cited by the agency.

 

Reuters: The United Kingdom begins “booster” shot trial of seven different COVID-19 vaccines.

 

The Associated Press: Pennsylvania voters impose new limits on governor’s powers.

 

The Associated Press: Spain, in bid to rally its economy, wants tourists to visit within weeks.

 

 

 



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS: Trump on Wednesday lashed out at state and local prosecutors in New York after they announced that two offices are conducting a joint criminal investigation into his company. Trump in a lengthy statement dismissed the criminal probe as a politically motivated effort to attack him.

 

The Hill: Trump’s woes are mounting in criminal probe.

 

The Washington Post: Seven questions about New York’s investigations of Trump.

 

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. (D) obtained Trump's tax returns in February after a protracted legal battle with the former president that reached the Supreme Court twice. During the court case, the office's prosecutors hinted at the contours of their investigation, citing media reports about purported tax schemes at the Trump Organization.

 

And New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has taken the company to court over the past year to obtain internal documents and testimony in what was then a civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization had inflated the value of its assets to attract investors and favorable loans (The Hill).

 

> In Georgia, embattled Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says he is running for reelection, despite facing a GOP primary challenger, Georgia Rep. Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceHouse at war over Jan. 6 inquiry, mask mandate Georgia secretary of state calls for Fulton County elections officials to be fired One-third of GOP candidates have embraced Trump election claims: report MORE (The Hill). Last month, a handful of county Republican groups in the state voted to censure Raffensperger and Georgia Gov. Brain Kemp (R) for refusing to overturn Trump’s loss last year. Raffensperger has defended his stance, saying he upheld the rule of law in the face of efforts to undermine it. In an interview with The Hill last month, he said that his actions had resonated with “commonsense Republicans.”



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

Meet four kinds of people holding us back from full vaccination (and how health officials can target strategies with them in mind), by Sema Sgaier, opinion contributor, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/3f6YIRP

 

Vaccine certificates could help avoid a chaotic post-pandemic world, by The Washington Post editorial board. https://wapo.st/3u6X7PY



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WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at 9 a.m.

 

The Senate will convene at 10:30 a.m. and resume consideration of the Endless Frontier Act.

 

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:30 a.m. Biden at 2 p.m. will sign the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act into law in the East Room. He and Harris will speak. 

 

First lady Jill BidenJill BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge First lady leaves Walter Reed after foot procedure Biden backs effort to include immigration in budget package MORE and Fauci will visit the vaccination clinic at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., at 1:15 p.m. The first lady will also deliver live remarks at TheDream.US virtual commencement at 7 p.m. 

 

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

   

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: The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee in April signaled an eventual shift from easy-money pandemic policies, according to minutes of the meeting, released on Wednesday. Fed officials want to begin planning for tapering from the central bank’s bond-buying program (The Wall Street Journal). … Surprising U.S. economic data about inflation coupled with disappointing jobs numbers last month put economists in some limbo about the economy’s true trajectory coming out of a pandemic-induced slumber. The uncertainty surrounding monthly data may not lift for months (The Hill). The New York Times’ “The Daily” podcast discusses this phenomenon with journalist Ben Casselman HERE.  

 

STATE WATCH: The Florida legislature on Wednesday approved a plan that will allow the Seminole Tribe to operate sports betting at casinos, horse races and online. The state House voted 97-17 to approve the bill, which came after the tribe reached an agreement last month with Florida 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 (R). The vote came a day after the state Senate approved the bill. The Seminole Tribe will also be able to add roulette and craps to its seven casinos, with the state receiving about $2.5 billion over the next five years. The 30-year deal is expected to rake in $20 billion for the state (The Associated Press). … The legislative package will dramatically expand gambling in the state and set the stage for Trump to pursue a casino license at his Doral golf resort (The Washington Post). … Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday signed legislation creating a ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, one of the nation’s most restrictive such laws because most women are not aware they are pregnant at six weeks. The law permits any private citizen to sue doctors or abortion clinic employees who perform or help arrange for the procedure (The New York Times).

 

 

 

 

SPACE DEFENSES: A 197-foot-tall United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, tipping the scales at 950,000 pounds at liftoff, left Cape Canaveral Space Force Station atop a plume of exhaust on Wednesday carrying a billion-dollar early warning satellite that can detect missile launches from Earth’s orbit (CBS News).



THE CLOSER

And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by the recent 23rd anniversary of the “Seinfeld” finale’s airing (which is very contentious), we’re eager for some yada yada yadas about the show about nothing’s nine-season run.

 

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

 

Which of the following characters made the most appearances during the course of the show? 

  1. Susan Ross 
  2. J. Peterman
  3. Morty Seinfeld
  4. Uncle Leo

Who provided the voice for then-New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner?

  1. Jerry Seinfeld
  2. Larry David
  3. George Steinbrenner
  4. Billy Crystal 

Which character coined the phrase a “show about nothing”?

  1. Jerry Seinfeld
  2. Susan Ross
  3. George Costanza
  4. An NBC executive

Which of the following about Elaine Benes is untrue?

  1. She dated former Mets star Keith Hernandez
  2. She’s pro-life
  3. She grew up in Baltimore
  4. She’s a bad dancer

 



 

 

--Updated at 8:11 a.m.