The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Citizens’ Climate Lobby – Clock winding down on bipartisan infrastructure deal
Presented by Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Tuesday — the first of June! 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 Monday morning: 594,568.
The national percentage of COVID-19 tests that came back positive over the past 7 days was less than 3 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of this morning, 50.5 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 40.7 percent is fully vaccinated, according to the Bloomberg News global vaccine tracker.
It’s still infrastructure week.
President Biden and Republican senators vowed to keep talking as June begins in search of a potential bipartisan accord to support somewhere between $1 trillion and $1.7 trillion in spending on infrastructure.
An informal Memorial Day deadline established weeks ago came and went in a slow-motion series of offers, counteroffers and more skepticism than optimism in official Washington. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says next Monday is the newest deadline to figure something out.
“I think we are getting pretty close to a fish-or-cut-bait moment,” Buttigieg told CNN on Sunday, adding that the continued talks have been “healthy.” “There’s a lot of conversations going on among members of Congress who have come forward with a lot of different ideas in addition to the discussions that we have had with the group led by [Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), pictured below]. So we believe in this process but also very much agree that this can’t go on forever.”
“This can’t go on in terms of the condition of our infrastructure. Therefore the negotiations can’t go on forever, either,” the secretary added (The Hill).
Politico: What Biden wants from this week’s critical infrastructure talks.
As The Hill’s Brett Samuels and Morgan Chalfant write, the White House is at a crossroads as negotiations plow on toward a potential package, with the timing set to determine how much of the Biden agenda could be implemented ahead of next year’s midterms.
Talks with the Capito-led group could represent Biden’s last true chance to score a key bipartisan win, but doing so could have unintended consequences. Namely, it could jeopardize the possibility of nabbing a deal on climate change, education and voting rights, among other things.
NBC News: The next three months could shape Biden’s next three years in office.
The Hill: Capito optimistic that “real compromise” can be reached with an infrastructure plan.
The Washington Post: As a negotiator, Biden leaves GOP senators unsure how far he will go.
On top of the infrastructure negotiations, Democratic lawmakers are the subject of renewed pressure surrounding the filibuster after the Senate GOP nixed a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
As The Hill’s Jordain Carney reports, Friday’s vote has cropped up new concerns that large swaths of the Democratic agenda will be dead on arrival in the upper chamber unless the 60-vote threshold is scrapped. Democrats are unlikely to go nuclear over the Jan. 6 bill, but acknowledge talk within the caucus is ramping up even as they are still short of the votes.
NBC News: For Democrats, GOP filibuster of Jan. 6 commission raises a haunting question.
The New York Times: Push for voting overhaul in Congress falters.
A MESSAGE FROM CITIZENS’ CLIMATE LOBBY
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LEADING THE DAY
ADMINISTRATION: Biden will be in Tulsa, Okla., today for the 100th anniversary of the infamous racist attacks in 1921 on the city’s thriving Black community. White mobs descended on Tulsa’s Greenwood District, also known as Black Wall Street, burning it to the ground and killing close to 300 people (The Hill). By sunrise on June 2, Greenwood lay in ruins in one of the worst acts of racial violence in American history, according to a detailed reconstruction of events by The New York Times.
The Associated Press: Today, the president will honor forgotten victims of the 1921 massacre and announce new measures to help narrow the wealth gap between Blacks and whites, particularly in housing, and to reinvest in underserved communities.
The Hill: Biden calls for “day of remembrance” in a proclamation.
Reuters: Survivors remember Tulsa race massacre.
> Biden on Sunday and again on Monday honored the sacrifices of America’s war dead as well as veterans with Memorial Day tributes, including a wreath-laying event at Arlington National Cemetery. In his remarks, the president saluted voting rights, a free press and other hallmarks of the nation’s democratic system.
“Democracy thrives when the infrastructure of democracy is strong,” Biden said. “When people have the right to vote freely and fairly and conveniently” (The Hill). “Liberation, opportunity [and] justice are far more likely to come to pass in a democracy than an autocracy,” he added.
The Hill: Biden honors “legacy” and “sacrifice” of fallen soldiers.
> U.S.-Russia: Ahead of a summit between Biden and President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16, Russia said that it wants to send “uncomfortable” signals in the direction of the United States. Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Monday that Russia plans to bolster its military presence at its western border.
“The Americans must assume that a number of signals from Moscow … will be uncomfortable for them, including in the coming days,” Ryabkov said. Russia is prepared to respond to Biden’s remarks on Sunday calling on Putin to respect human rights, Ryabkov added (The Hill).
> U.S. federal workforce: Biden’s budget, released on Friday, proposes a 2.7 percent pay raise for civilian workers in fiscal 2022 (Federal News Network).
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
POLITICS: The House membership will in all likelihood grow by one today as the special election to fill the seat vacated by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District takes place.
Democrat Melanie Stansbury is the heavy favorite to emerge victorious over Republican Mark Moores, with Democrats having held the seat dating back to 2008. According to the Cook Political Report, Democrats perform 9 points better in the district than the national average.
In November, Haaland won reelection by more than 16 points before being tapped to join the administration. Biden won the district last year by nearly 23 points, but Democrats didn’t do well in the last special election, which was in Texas in May, so New Mexico is seen as a must win for Ds.
The Associated Press: Special House election will measure the political pulse post-Trump.
CNN: What New Mexico’s special election can tell us about the midterms.
Center for Responsive Politics: New Mexico special election is “big first test” for Democrats.
> 2022, etc.: Democrats have found themselves a new poster child for the Republican Party in the battle for control of Congress: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).
As The Hill’s Tal Axelrod writes, the incendiary first-term lawmaker has sparked new backlash following recent comments she made equating mask mandates to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust. According to Democratic aides and strategists, remarks of those kinds only aid their side as they seek to paint the entire GOP as a party of right-wing conspiracy theorists.
“I think that she is providing a huge opportunity in the absence of Trump to be a sticking point and a foil for Democrats in campaigns,” said Democratic pollster Molly Murphy. “All she stands for and represents is a walking depiction of where this Republican Party is going. And I think Democrats would be wise to invoke her and where she is trying to take that party.”
The New York Times: QAnon now as popular in U.S. as some major religions, poll suggests.
The Hill’s Julia Manchester: Nine Republicans not named Trump who could run in 2024.
Politico: Republicans fear Trump will lead to a “lost generation” of talent.
The Washington Post: After defeating restrictive voting bill, Texas Democrats send loud message: “We need Congress to do their part.”
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Tulsa has much to apologize for in the 1921 massacre and what happened afterward, by the Tulsa World editorial board. https://bit.ly/3fWVOya
A dangerous state of affairs, by Kevin D. Williamson, correspondent, National Review Online. https://bit.ly/3fTxFZc
A MESSAGE FROM CITIZENS’ CLIMATE LOBBY
It’s Time to Put a Price on Carbon Pollution
Carbon pricing will make America a clean energy leader. Learn how putting a price on carbon will incentivize innovation, transform our economy and create millions of jobs. Learn more.
WHERE AND WHEN
The House meets at 3 p.m. for a pro forma session. Lawmakers resume legislative work in the Capitol on June 14.
The Senate will convene at 11:30 a.m. for a pro forma session. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) will host a press conference at 7:30 a.m. ET at the Vilnius airport in Lithuania with Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya.
The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:30 a.m. Biden will travel to Tulsa, Okla., to tour the Greenwood Cultural Center at 1:30 p.m. and meet with surviving members of the community. He will deliver remarks at 3:15 p.m. to commemorate the 100th year since the Tulsa Race Massacre (The Hill). The president will return to the White House tonight.
Vice President Harris will appear at 6 a.m. ET on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” with Mika Brzezinski for a pre-taped interview about gender equity, careers and the importance of not imposing others’ limitations on oneself.
➔ INTERNATIONAL: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his allies have been working furiously in the past few days to keep opposition parties from forming a government that would displace him from Israel’s top political job for the first time in more than 12 years (The Washington Post). This isn’t the first time Netanyahu has been in a battle for his political survival (NBC News). … China on Tuesday reported the first human case of H10N3 bird flu, identified in the eastern province of Jiangsu (Reuters). … China’s government announced it is allowing couples to have up to three children after census data showed that birth rates plummeted (BBC). … Vietnam’s health ministry says it detected a suspected new COVID-19 variant, likely a hybrid of highly transmissible variants that emerged in the United Kingdom and India (CNN). … Allied nations routinely spy on each other, but on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron said wiretapping is “not acceptable between allies.” He has some specifics in mind (The Washington Post).
➔ STATE & CITY WATCH: On Monday, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said he would veto funding for the state’s legislature as a form of retaliation against Democratic lawmakers he accused of abandoning their responsibilities (The Hill). … Some Democratic members of the Texas House late on Sunday blocked one of the most restrictive voting measures in the United States by walking out, forcing Republican colleagues to declare the end of the session by a midnight deadline (The Associated Press). The scuttled outcome for the controversial voting measure is considered temporary (The New York Times). …. In Florida, wild manatees continue to starve to death from conditions considered a manmade disaster in the Sunshine State. As of late last week, 738 manatee deaths had been recorded this year, according to reports from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The total is nearly triple the 5-year average for the same time period (Tampa Bay Times). … In Washington, D.C., towing and parking fines resume today after months of leeway for drivers and visitors during the pandemic (The Washington Post).
➔ TENNIS: In the sporting world, Naomi Osaka, the world’s No. 2 ranked women’s tennis player, withdrew from the French Open after tournament organizers threatened to expel her because she ducked media obligations for the remaining grand slams this year. Osaka cited her mental health, adding she plans to “take some time away from the court” (Yahoo Sports). Fellow athletes in tennis and sport are rallying around Osaka (Reuters).
➔ R&R: Memorial Day Weekend showed how much most Americans have been determined to enjoy life, be entertained and be on the move after a grim year of stress and pandemic adaptations. Over the weekend, U.S. stadiums and movie theaters filled, along with beaches, restaurants and airports (CNN).
And finally … General Motors is teaming up with Lockheed Martin to produce the ultimate off-road, self-driving, electric vehicles — for the moon. NASA last year put out a call for industry ideas on lunar rovers and the space agency aims to return astronauts to the moon by 2024, a deadline set by the previous White House.
The project announced last week is still in the early stages and has yet to score any NASA money. But the goal is to design light yet rugged vehicles that will travel farther and faster than the lunar rovers that carried NASA’s Apollo astronauts in the early 1970s.
“Mobility is really going to open up the moon for us,” said Kirk Shireman, a former NASA manager who is now Lockheed Martin’s vice president for lunar exploration (The Associated Press).