The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Hopes dim for bipartisan compromise on Biden agenda

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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported Monday: 589,893.


As of this morning, 49.2 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 39.2 percent is fully vaccinated, according to the Bloomberg News global vaccine tracker.

The chances of reaching a bipartisan, wide-ranging infrastructure deal have dimmed significantly as lawmakers, facing a loose deadline imposed by President BidenJoe BidenTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Republicans focus tax hike opposition on capital gains change Biden on hecklers: 'This is not a Trump rally. Let 'em holler' MORE, continue to bicker over its price tag and how to pay for it with few signs of progress. 


One week out from the administration’s deadline for progress, talks have gone in reverse in recent days. Republicans on Friday publicly panned the White House’s $1.7 trillion counteroffer on Friday, a slimmed-down bill from the initial $2.3 trillion plan. That could send Democrats back to the drawing board if a bipartisan bill is out of reach, forcing them to pass any bill via budget reconciliation and without GOP votes. 


“He wants a deal. He wants it soon, but if there's meaningful negotiations taking place in a bipartisan manner, he's willing to let that play out. But again, he will not let inaction be the answer. And when he gets to the point where it looks like that is inevitable, you'll see him change course,” said White House senior adviser Cedric RichmondCedric RichmondBiden walks fine line with Fox News Critical race theory becomes focus of midterms Democrats look to flip script on GOP 'defund the police' attacks MORE in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union.” 


“But for now, we're engaged in a — what we want to be — a bipartisan infrastructure bill that invests in the backbone of this country, the middle class, and our future,” Richmond added (CNN).


The Hill: Biden adviser: Infrastructure counterproposal shows “willingness to negotiate in good faith.” 


The Wall Street Journal: No bridge in sight for Biden infrastructure plan.


However, the current Biden plan isn’t moving any Republicans, including those who would be ripe for the picking for a bipartisan package to move through Congress. Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsTransit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - Infrastructure vote fails; partisan feud erupts over Jan. 6 panel Senate falling behind on infrastructure MORE (R-Maine) said that the continued banter between the two sides about the fundamental question of what constitutes “infrastructure” remains a major sticking point between the two sides. She indicated that until that question is resolved, compromise is difficult. 


“I think negotiations should continue, but it's important to note that there are some fundamental differences here, and at the heart of the negotiations is defining the scope of the bill. What is infrastructure?” Collins told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “We, Republicans, tend to define infrastructure in terms of roads, bridges, seaports and airports, and broadband. The Democratic definition seems to include social programs that have never been considered part of core infrastructure” (The Hill).


The Sunday Shows: Infrastructure, Jan. 6 commission dominate.


The New York Times: Hopes for bipartisan deals on Biden’s priorities dim.


Politico: Summertime scramble: Dems sweating a pileup of big votes on Biden's agenda.


The most recent GOP proposal is $568 billion, one-third of the cost of the Democratic plan, with the party intent on keeping its proposals focused on traditional infrastructure programs. A spokesperson for Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoOfficials warn of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in water systems Graham, Hawley call on Judiciary Committee to hold hearing on US-Mexico border GOP senators urge Biden to keep Trump-era border restrictions MORE (R-W.Va.), the GOP’s lead infrastructure negotiator, said on Friday that the new White House offer was “well above the range of what can pass Congress with bipartisan support.”


Upshot: Any bipartisan infrastructure deal was going to take time and a lot of work. Is this a bump in the road or a permanent problem? Only time will tell.


The Washington Post: Biden’s big agenda stalls in Congress and a debt fight looms.


The New York Times: Defying critics, Biden and the Fed insist the economic recovery is on track. 


The other question facing lawmakers: How to pick up the tab for a potential bipartisan bill? As The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda writes, Democrats continue to focus on raising the corporate tax rate from its current 21 percent and increased tax enforcement against corporations as the means to do so. Republicans, meanwhile, believe a fee on electric vehicles and repurposing unspent federal funds, such as from previously enacted coronavirus relief laws, could be the ticket to fund such a bill. 


The Hill: Environmentalists see infrastructure as a crucial path to climate goals.


The Associated Press: As Congress returns to funding earmarks, who will benefit?


USA Today: Biden stays surprisingly on message as president.





More in Congress: The U.S. Postal Service is at an inflection point after a year of withering scrutiny and questions about the direction of the critical agency. Bipartisan legislation in the Senate and the appointment of three new board members by Biden have given the Postal Service a path to modernize and cut costs after its finances and operations were a focal point during the 2020 election (The Hill). … U.S. security assistance to Israel is increasingly finding itself in progressive lawmakers’ crosshairs after the recent conflict in Gaza. Despite the two-week ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, progressives are likely to continue questioning a staple of U.S. foreign policy: funding for Israel (The Hill). … The National Guard is ending its deployment in Washington, D.C., more than four months after troops were called to the District following the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. More than 2,000 National Guard troops will return to their home bases this week after the Department of Defense did not request that the force extend its mission to help protect the nation’s capital past Sunday (The Hill).



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ADMINISTRATION: Tuesday marks one year since George Floyd’s death on a street in Minneapolis, surrounded by police and bystanders. Biden will mark the day with remarks and by hosting Floyd’s family at the White House. The president is expected to voice his support once again for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which is stalled in Congress. Biden had previously set the anniversary of Floyd's death as the deadline for the bill's passage, and he left deliberations largely to lawmakers (ABC News 11).


Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerKavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law JD Vance takes aim at culture wars, childless politicians Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary MORE (D-N.J.), who drafted the Senate version of policing reform legislation passed by the House in March, said on Sunday that negotiators are making “meaningful progress,” including on the question of qualified immunity, which currently shields some officers from prosecution (The Hill). “To me, we need this to create real accountability,” the senator said on CNN. “So, I'm at the negotiating table fighting for that. We have to have a nation where when you do wrong, again, not the good officers, but when folks have done wrong, violated someone's fundamental constitutionally protected rights, that there is not a shield in the judicial system but true, true accountability where they are not above the law.” 


The Hill’s Amie Parnes revisits how Biden reacted to Floyd’s death in 2020. Those around the president now say the shocking videotape of Floyd’s killing under the knee of a police officer — who was found guilty last month on all counts of murder and manslaughter — left an indelible mark and became a turning point for some of his policies. “I think for him, it sort of made it more real, like it did for a lot of Americans," said one longtime adviser, “to see a black man killed in public, to see the inhumanity.”


The Associated Press: Floyd’s killing prompts some states to limit or ban chokeholds.


The New York Times: Amid rising crime in U.S. cities, there’s a push to add more police officers.


The Washington Post: Minneapolis remains scarred and divided a year after Floyd’s killing.


Richmond, Va., Mayor Levar Stoney wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times’s section on Floyd and America titled, “I needed to lead my city. But I needed to apologize first.” He wrote: “There are two epidemics in America: COVID-19 and racism. One is now 14 months old, the other over 400 years old. Both are lethal. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to cure those issues that day.”





> Immigration: Biden's efforts to dismantle former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump hails Arizona Senate for audit at Phoenix rally, slams governor Arkansas governor says it's 'disappointing' vaccinations have become 'political' Watch live: Trump attends rally in Phoenix MORE's immigration legacy, including visa restrictions, are being hamstrung by a State Department still operating with limited capacity and maneuvering room due to the coronavirus (The Hill).


> Financial regulations: Interest in cryptocurrencies has surged over the past year and policymakers are scrambling to catch up. Investors have rushed into major digital currencies like bitcoin, and a growing industry of financial products tied to them, prompting regulators to lay out new rules for a rapidly growing and sparsely regulated world (The Hill).





POLITICS: Republicans are having trouble at all turns at keeping their attention on the Biden administration as they repeatedly are being forced to confront the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, a political issue they seem intent on moving away from. 


As The Hill’s Scott Wong and Mike Lillis write, Democrats are plowing ahead with plans for deep-dive investigations into the attack on the Capitol, with some GOP members attempting in recent weeks to whitewash and downplay the deadly incident. 


All the while, Trump has continued to press his case that the election was stolen by corrupt officials, repeating the lie that inspired the Jan. 6 riot. His continued comments have made it nearly impossible for GOP leaders to turn their criticisms on the opening four months of the Biden agenda.


His nonstop remarks have also allowed Democrats to make the case for the Jan. 6 commission and use it as a political weapon in their bid to defy the odds and keep hold of the House in 2022. As Max Greenwood writes, the commission may not come to fruition as GOP leaders have come out en masse against it and argue that it’s “too early” to launch one, but that has only given Democrats more ammunition to use looking ahead to next year’s midterms. 


The Hill: “QAnon Shaman” attorney is “advocate” with “big mouth.”


The Associated Press: The mob made me do it: Rioters claim Jan. 6 crowd at fault.


The Hill: Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré: Jan. 6 “could have been totally different” if there were a quick reaction force.





> Abortion politics: Both parties are gearing up to make abortion a major campaign issue ahead of next year’s elections as the Supreme Court prepares to hear a case that could diminish Roe v. Wade. 


As The Hill’s Julia Manchester reports, the issue is already impacting races, including in Virginia, where Democrats and pro-choice groups are hitting GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin for his anti-abortion stances ahead of the general election this November. Also on the political target list for Democrats and abortion rights groups is Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who on Wednesday signed legislation that would virtually ban all abortions in the state once a fetal heartbeat is detected. 


Alexander Bolton, The Hill: Democrats: Roe v. Wade blow would fuel expanding Supreme Court.


Dan Balz, The Washington Post: A changed Democratic Party continues to influence the Biden presidency.


The Washington Post: Republicans struggle to define a new governing coalition as Trump closes his grip on the party.




CORONAVIRUS: Let’s start the week with some good news on the coronavirus front. 


Infections with the virus in the United States are at the lowest level since last summer (The New York Times). And the United States is an inch away from achieving the inoculation of half the population with at least one dose of vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those adults who are now fully vaccinated account for 40 percent of the population.


Nonetheless, 50 percent is not 70 percent (a goal for an approximation of herd immunity). States are increasingly turning to lotteries and potential cash winnings as a way to try to get hesitant people inoculated to roll up their sleeves. New York and Maryland announced vaccinated people would have the chance to win prize money this week, following Ohio's move earlier this month. More states could join the incentives bandwagon to increase the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations (The Hill).


Which states have already jabbed 70 percent of their adult populations? Rhode Island is the latest. The others passing that magic threshold: Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Vermont (CNN).


U.S. families are just beginning to vaccinate their children and young teenagers. The CDC, which said coronavirus vaccines are safe for young people beginning at age 12 (based on clinical data), is investigating several dozen reports that teens and young adults may have developed myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscles, after vaccination. Whether COVID-19 vaccines caused the cardiac condition has not been determined (The New York Times).





Former President Obama and actor Eva Longoria are joining a social media chat today about COVID-19 vaccines, hoping to reach women, particularly women of color. Made to Save, the United State of Women, Supermajority, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are hosting the event on Facebook Live. Obama issued a similar video message for HHS on May 14 encouraging vaccinations while appearing in Greenbelt, Md. HERE.


The Associated Press: The value of testing for COVID-19 has diminished with the rising U.S. rate of vaccinations. The federal government not only eased its mask guidance but also instituted another major change: Fully vaccinated Americans can largely skip getting tested for the coronavirus. People who have been vaccinated can still catch the virus, but they face little risk of serious illness from it. Positive test results can lead to what many public health experts now say are unnecessary worries and interruptions at work, home and school, such as quarantines and shutdowns.


> Coronavirus variants: The Pfizer vaccine is effective against the COVID-19 variant found in India, according to British experts (The Hill). … The variant found in the United Kingdom and identified as B.1.1.7 was the dominant strain of the virus identified in Los Angeles County in the past week (NBC 4 Los Angeles).  


> Where did the novel coronavirus come from? A meeting of the World Health Organization’s decision making body during a second phase of investigation is expected to highlight new recommendations from the United States and other nations to sharpen the depth of evidence gathered about COVID-19’s Chinese ’s origins, The Wall Street Journal reports. 


The annual WHO Health Assembly begins today through June 1 and will be virtual.


U.S. intelligence sources say three researchers in November 2019 who worked in China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough to seek hospital care “with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illness.” Global public health and virology experts say that to be prepared for future coronavirus pandemics, tracking the origin of COVID-19 and determining how it infected humans remains important. Chinese officials have resisted. 


The Wall Street Journal: Bosses still aren’t sure that remote workers have “hustle.”


The Associated Press: India now has the third-highest reported death toll from COVID-19 in the world. The country’s actual fatalities from the virus are thought to be significantly higher.


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


How to kill the great American highway, by Noah Smith, columnist, The Wall Street Journal. 


Seeking a cease-fire on our city streets, by the Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board.



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The House meets on Tuesday at noon for a pro forma session. Lawmakers resume legislative work in the Capitol next month.


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


The president and Vice President Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:50 a.m. He will visit the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington for a briefing about the upcoming Atlantic hurricane season and federal preparedness at 1:30 p.m.


The vice president will host a listening session on investments in the American Jobs Plan at 2:15 p.m.


The White House press briefing is scheduled at noon.


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


INTERNATIONAL: Iran’s parliament speaker, Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, said on Sunday that surveillance images of the nation’s nuclear sites may no longer be observed and accessed by international inspectors, casting doubt over the possibility of salvaging the atomic accord with a slew of world powers. As The Associated Press notes, the comments come amid hopes in the Biden administration of rekindling a deal with the Islamic Republic. further underscored the narrowing window for the U.S. and others to reach terms with Iran. … In Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko personally ordered a fighter jet to accompany an airplane carrying Raman Pratasevich, 26, a leading opposition figure and journalist, forcing the plane to land in Minsk so Lukashenko’s critic could be arrested. The plane was originally traveling from Greece to Lithuania. On Sunday, Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenBiden walks fine line with Fox News Blinken to travel to India, Kuwait next week Biden announces delegation to attend Haitian president's funeral MORE condemned the forced diversion and arrest and demanded Pratasevich’s release, adding that the United States called on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization to review the events (The Associated Press). … Fury over Lukashenko’s actions will dominate a European Union summit dinner tonight where punitive steps against Belarus are now under consideration (Reuters).


COURTS: Biden’s order to the Justice Department last week aimed at improving access to defense counsel and adequate representation has advocates hopeful it could lead to a dramatic expansion of justice in civil courts — including for those facing immigration consequences (The Hill).


STATE WATCH: Trump’s longtime chief financial officer Allen WeisselbergAllen Howard WeisselbergEx-Trump adviser Barrack charged with secretly lobbying for UAE The Memo: Trump is diminished but hasn't faded The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden backs Cuban protesters, assails 'authoritarian regime' MORE faces legal jeopardy in New York on multiple fronts over questionable financial activity linked to the former president and the Trump Organization (The Hill). 


SCIENCE: One important read (updated this month) appeared in The New York Times Magazine, which reviews in detail how humanity essentially achieved an extra life span over the past century. One reason: medical science. Another: activism. Recognition of this “extra life” holds important implications for the next 100 years. “Runaway population growth — and the environmental crisis it has helped produce — should remind us that continued advances in life expectancy are not inevitable. We know from our recent history during the industrial age that scientific and technological progress alone do not guarantee positive trends in human health,wrote Steven Johnson, author of “Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer.” Johnson is also a host of a four-part PBS-BBC series of the same title.


And finally … As CBS’s Jim Nantz put it so aptly, Phil Mickelson defeated Father Time to become the oldest golfer to win a major championship with his Sunday victory at the PGA Championship in Kiawah Island, S.C. 


Mickelson, 50, defeated Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen by two strokes at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort's Ocean Course to take home his sixth major championship, his first since his 2013 win at The Masters Tournament. Jack Nicklaus previously held the title as the oldest major winner, having won The Masters at age 46 in 1986 (ESPN).