The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Citizens' Climate Lobby - Biden, Capito meet today as deadline looms

                     Presented by Citizens' Climate Lobby

A presidential podium outside the White House

 

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Wednesday! 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 each morning this week: Tuesday, 594,568; Wednesday, 595,213. 



Back when 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 was a Capitol-loving senator and later a vice president, his legislative deal-making reputation was built on a deceptively amiable and simple question: “What do you need to get to ‘yes’?”

 

He asked it of GOP leaders, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse Democrats grow frustrated as they feel ignored by Senate Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines Has Trump beaten the system? MORE (R-Ky.), and he approached leaders in his own party with the same practical query. Biden did not lecture colleagues about their motives or wisdom or threaten them with political annihilation. The legislative equation most often came down to problem-solving and math: Which policies could line up which votes, and who had the most potent public argument in an increasingly incendiary political atmosphere?

 

With the most audacious chunk of his announced policy agenda hanging in the balance, Biden’s patient and largely off-screen approach to pursuing an infrastructure deal with Republicans has the added benefit of satisfying moderate Democrats who advised the president to make a sincere attempt.

 

Biden may not arrive at a compromise that simultaneously attracts 10 Republicans votes and plaudits from a sufficient number of Senate Democrats. But placating two or more wavering Democrats before “going big” with a major legislative lift without Republicans is the challenge of the summer, according to Biden’s Senate allies. In truth, it may be the alchemy challenge for just one more week.

 

Biden will sit down again this afternoon with the Republican senator who leads a GOP group that has spent weeks trading counteroffers with the White House. The conservative wish list is more traditional in scope and ambition, paid for within a 10-year budget window and less than half the size of what Democrats originally proposed.

 

 

President Biden

 

 

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.) (pictured below), the top infrastructure negotiator for a small band of moderates, has described the negotiating process with Biden and his team in optimistic terms, suggesting over the weekend that both parties could still find a path to get to “yes.”

 

White House officials believe patience paired with diminishing returns is a waste of valuable time, which is why Transportation Secretary Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegJD Vance takes aim at culture wars, childless politicians Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary The Hill's Morning Report - High-profile COVID-19 infections spark new worries MORE said Sunday that the administration needs to have “clear direction” on infrastructure by next Tuesday, when senators return to Washington to get back to work (The Hill). In the background, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is itching to move ahead. It plans to mark up surface transportation legislation on June 9. House Republicans last month introduced a competing surface transportation bill.

 

The Associated Press: Biden, GOP senator to meet as infrastructure deadline looms. 

 

Hanging in the balance among some Democrats is the fate of federal spending to combat climate change. They have warned the White House that if such provisions are extracted from the president’s original infrastructure proposal as a way to compromise with Republicans, they will block the result. Those climate-conscious Democrats, whose votes are needed, could wind up in conflict with coal-state champion and Senate Energy Committee Chairman Joe ManchinJoe ManchinWhy Biden's Interior Department isn't shutting down oil and gas Overnight Energy: Senate panel advances controversial public lands nominee | Nevada Democrat introduces bill requiring feds to develop fire management plan | NJ requiring public water systems to replace lead pipes in 10 years Transit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal MORE (D-W.Va.), reports The Hill’s Alexander Bolton

 

 

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)

 



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LEADING THE DAY

ADMINISTRATION: Biden on Tuesday became the first president to travel to Tulsa, Okla., to shine a spotlight on a once-hidden period of racial injustice and mass killings 100 years ago in a thriving community known as Greenwood. 

 

“The history of what took place here was told in silence, cloaked in darkness,” Biden said in remarks about the deaths of an estimated 300 Black Tulsa residents at the hands of a white mob that destroyed 35 city blocks of the area once referred to as “Black Wall Street,” taking down more than 1,000 homes and raiding several more. “But just because history is silent, it doesn't mean that it did not take place.”

 

“And while darkness can hide much, it erases nothing,” he continued. “Some injustices are so heinous, so horrific, so grievous, they can't be buried no matter how hard people try” (The Hill).

 

The Associated Press: How land ownership was a key economic ingredient for Blacks in 1921 Tulsa.

 

Biden unveiled federal anti-discrimination housing measures that had been rolled back during the Trump years and announced plans to expand policy measures aimed at benefiting minority-owned businesses.

 

The president drew connections between the racial hatred of 1921 and more recent racial killings by white extremists and disgruntled Americans, including deadly demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., which he said spurred his decision to seek the presidency. 

 

“What happened in Greenwood was an act of hate and domestic terrorism with a through line that exists today still,” Biden added.

 

The president met Tuesday with survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre, including Viola Fletcher, age 107 (pictured below), who says she was deeply saddened to see pro-Trump rioters storm the citadel of democracy in Washington on Jan. 6. “Mother Fletcher said when she saw the insurrection at the Capitol … it broke her heart,” the president said. “A mob of violent white extremists, thugs” (The Hill).

 

 

Tulsa massacre survivors

 

 

> Voting rights: Biden said Tuesday that Vice President Harris will lead the administration's push to protect voting rights as federal election reform legislation faces steep hurdles in the closely divided Senate (NBC News).

 

> Cyber: The White House on Tuesday blamed Russia for a cyber ransom attack on meat producer JBS, a Sao Paulo-based company. The attack forced the shutdown of all of the company’s U.S. beef plants, which account for almost a quarter of American supplies. All other JBS meat packing facilities in the country experienced some level of disruption (The Hill and Yahoo News). The company said it expects to restore most operations by today (The Associated Press). 

 

> Energy: The Biden administration said on Tuesday it will suspend all Trump-era oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The decision is a setback for the state government, which had hoped opening the enormous refuge would help revive its declining oil industry. During his campaign, Biden pledged to protect the 19.6 million-acre pristine habitat for polar bears, caribou and migratory birds and to further wean the United States away from fossil fuels toward alternative forms of energy and policies to combat the risks emerging from a warming planet (Reuters).

 

> Middle East: The relationship between the United States and Israel is poised for change as political momentum builds in Israel to oust longtime Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE. Coalition talks between the conservative firebrand Naftali Bennett and the center-left Yair Lapid are working to break a four-election stalemate and Netanyahu’s grip on power, reports The Hill’s Laura Kelly.

 

> U.S. - Southeast Asia: Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the most senior U.S. official to visit Cambodia in years, on Tuesday expressed concern about China's military presence there and sought clarification about the demolition of some U.S.-funded buildings, the State Department said. She urged Cambodia’s leadership to "maintain an independent and balanced foreign policy, in the best interests of the Cambodian people” (Reuters). 

 

> U.S. budget: The Hill’s Niv Elis contrasts Biden’s budget document, released on Friday, with the more moderate fiscal positions he took as Delaware’s former senator. … The Wall Street Journal highlights how the Biden budget takes aim at modernizing the government’s antiquated tech. 



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS & STATES: Democrat Melanie Stansbury defeated Republican Mark Moores (R) in the special election Tuesday to fill the House seat vacated by Interior Secretary Deb HaalandDeb HaalandSecretary Haaland, Colorado's epic drought highlights the need to end fossil fuel extraction Why Biden's Interior Department isn't shutting down oil and gas We have a moral obligation to learn Native American history MORE in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District.

 

The contest, which was called by The Associated Press shortly after 10 p.m., was considered an early test of both parties’ strengths ahead of the 2022 midterms. Stansbury, an environmental consultant who was elected to the state House in 2018, leaned heavily on her science background to cast herself as a champion for New Mexico’s natural resources. 

 

With all precincts in, Stansbury defeated Moores by more than 22,000 votes (25 percentage points).

 

The win also gives House Democrats a little more breathing room in passing legislation, bringing the overall tally to 220 Democrats and 211 Republicans. Four seats remain vacant (The Hill).

 

The Washington Post: Stansbury wins House race in New Mexico.

 

> 2022 watch: The Florida governor’s contest became more crowded on Tuesday as state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried officially tossed her hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination and to take down Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Florida asks Supreme Court to block CDC's limits on cruise ship industry Noem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event MORE (R) next year.

 

Fried, the lone Democratic statewide office holder in the Sunshine State, launched her bid and immediately framed herself as a proven crusader against corruption, vowing to “break the whole rigged system.” 

 

“Listen, this won’t be easy. Those in power will do whatever harm it takes to stay there,” Fried said in her announcement video. “But I’ve spent my whole life taking on the system. I’m unafraid. I’m tested. I’m ready. And I know you’re ready for something new too.” 

 

Fried joins Rep. Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristPressure mounts for DeSantis in Florida Biden takes steps to review Cuba policy after protests 2020 GOP candidate announces primary bid to replace Crist in Florida MORE (D-Fla.), a former GOP governor from 2007 to 2011, as the preeminent Democrats in the race (The Hill).

 

 

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.)

 

 

Elsewhere in the state, DeSantis on Tuesday chose the first day of Pride Month to sign a bill that would ban transgender females from women’s and girls’ sports. The measure, which passed the Republican-controlled Florida legislature in April, prevents transgender females from playing women’s and girls’ school sports if they do not identify with the sex assigned on their birth certificate. 

 

We believe, in the state of Florida, [in] protecting the fairness and integrity of women’s athletics,” DeSantis said at a bill-signing event in Jacksonville. “I can tell you that in Florida, girls are going to play girls’ sports and boys are going to play boys’ sports” (WFLA).

 

Reid Wilson, The Hill: Texas walkout sets up epic battle over voting rights.

 

The Associated Press: Texas GOP to revive voting bill, Democrats plot next move.

 

Niall Stanage: The Memo: The pre-Trump “normal” is gone for good.

 

“The Ezra Klein Show,” for The New York Times: Former President Obama explains how America went from “Yes We Can” to “MAGA.”

 

The Hill: “If this thing qualifies, I’m toast”: An oral history of the Gray Davis recall in California.

 

*****

 

CORONAVIRUS: The COVID-19 headlines on Tuesday primarily made a splash abroad. In the United Kingdom, experts expressed fears of a third wave of the virus and said a planned June 21 reopening may have to be pushed back. The government will reassess conditions on June 14 — the same week the Group of Seven leaders meet in Great Britain (BBC).  

 

In Israel, officials ended the nation’s Green Pass system, effectively returning life to normal as both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals have been granted full access to restaurants, sports events and cultural activities. Capacity restrictions on all types of gatherings were also lifted. Restrictions on the sizes of gatherings have also been lifted (The New York Times).

 

Reuters: Israel sees probable link between Pfizer vaccine and myocarditis cases.

 

Israel is not the only place vaccines have brought normalcy to. In Serrana, a city in the Sao Paulo state of Brazil, only one patient is currently in intensive care after the area was used by Sinovac, a Chinese pharmaceutical company, for a COVID-19 trial. As The Associated Press writes, the city of 46,000 is largely COVID-19-free while much of the region continues to struggle mightily (The Associated Press). 

 

 

A homeless man makes the shape of a heart with his hands after being inoculated with the CoronaVac vaccine against COVID-19 during an immunization campaign for people on the streets in Sao Paulo, Brazil

 

 

To the north of the U.S., Canadian health officials on Tuesday said that individuals who received the AstraZeneca shot for the first dose can receive jabs by Pfizer or Moderna for the second shot. The news affects roughly 2 million Canadians who received a dose of AstraZeneca’s vaccine before multiple provinces halted its use due to blood-clotting concerns (The Associated Press).

 

The Wall Street Journal: Mixing and matching COVID-19 shots in fully vaccinated people is subject of new study.

 

The Associated Press: Japan’s push to administer more COVID-19 vaccines ahead of the Olympics appears to be too late.

 

> Vaccine lottery: West Virginia became the latest state to offer incentives for individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Unlike other states, it is doing so through a lottery to win firearms and a number of other items. 

 

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) announced that the vaccine lottery will be in place for anyone who gets a shot between June 20 and Aug. 4. Among the items to be won are full scholarships to any West Virginia school, new trucks, weekend getaways to state parks, custom hunting rifles and shotguns, and lifetime hunting and fishing licenses (WTRF and The Hill).

 

The Washington Post: Anthony FauciAnthony FauciDemocrats question GOP shift on vaccines GOP Rep. Cawthorn says he wants to 'prosecute' Fauci The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi considers adding GOP voices to Jan. 6 panel MORE’s pandemic emails: “All is well despite some crazy people in this world.” 

 

 

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

It was much more than Tulsa, by Eugene Robinson, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/2SRUg0A 

 

Why so many pandemic predictions failed, by Derek Thompson, staff writer, The Atlantic. https://bit.ly/3c6y9Ko 

 

Naomi Osaka and the power of “nope,” by Lindsay Crouse, opinion writer, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/3wRxqVy 



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WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets on Friday at 9:30 a.m. for a pro forma session. Lawmakers resume legislative work in the Capitol on June 14.

 

The Senate will convene on Thursday at 11 a.m. for a pro forma session.

 

The president and Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10:15 a.m. Both receive a private briefing about the federal COVID-19 response. Biden and Harris have lunch together at the White House. The president at 1:15 p.m. speaks about COVID-19 and vaccinations. Biden meets with Capito at 2:45 p.m. Biden and first lady Jill BidenJill BidenUS athletes chant 'Dr. Biden' as first lady cheers swimmers Jill Biden watches Olympic basketball with France's Macron The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Tokyo Olympics kick off with 2020-style opening ceremony MORE, whose birthday is Thursday, depart the White House for Rehoboth Beach, Del., where they have a home.

   

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

INTERNATIONAL: Pope FrancisPope FrancisThe faith community can help pass a reparations bill Pope encourages audience to take a break from stresses of modern life Pope Francis reimposes restrictions on Latin Mass, reversing Benedict MORE on Tuesday changed Vatican law to criminalize priests who commit sexual abuse and non-priests who hold positions within the church. The changes are part of revisions to the criminal law section of the Vatican’s Code of Canon Law. The Vatican also criminalized “grooming” by priests of minors or vulnerable adults (The Associated Press). 

 

NEWS MEDIA: CNN faces increasing criticism, including from anchors and hosts Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperFive takeaways from the CPAC conference in Dallas Eric Adams to meet with Biden on curbing gun violence Israel offering third Pfizer dose to adults with weak immune systems MORE and Brian Stelter, for its handling of anchor Chris CuomoChris CuomoBudowsky: How Biden can defeat COVID-19 for good Matt Schlapp spars with Chris Cuomo: 'I'm not welcome at CNN' US just finished dead last among 46 countries in media trust — here's why MORE’s conflicts of interest after it was revealed he privately advised his brother, New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNYC George Floyd statue to be relocated after vandalism As Biden's America becomes less safe, the violence and crime could cost Democrats New York gun rights case before Supreme Court with massive consequences  MORE (D), about handling the media and crisis communications while the governor denies multiple allegations of sexual harassment. A retired CNN ethics executive said the cable controversy is the result of the news network’s lack of clear ethics guidelines for employees. Unlike many other news outlets, CNN does not publicly share its standards policy, reports The Hill’s Thomas Moore.  

 

NOSE WORK: Asking dogs to follow their noses won’t work anymore in states that have legalized marijuana. As Virginia prepares to legalize adult possession of up to an ounce of marijuana on July 1, drug-sniffing police dogs from around the state are being forced into early retirement, following a trend in other states where legalization has led to K-9s being put out to pasture earlier than planned. Virginia State Police are retiring 13 K-9s, while many smaller police departments and sheriff’s offices are retiring one or two dogs. Most are in the process of purchasing and training new dogs to detect only illicit drugs, including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines (The Associated Press). … Meanwhile, dogs are being trained to successfully sniff and identify humans infected with the COVID-19 virus around the world. Their detection rate may surpass that of the rapid antigen testing often used in airports and other public places, according to research (The New York Times).

 

 

A police dog belonging to a Royal Thai police special K-9 unit makes a high five with the handler

 



THE CLOSER

And finally …   A 7-year-old boy saved his father and younger sister by swimming a mile to get help after a boating accident over Memorial Day weekend. 

 

Chase Poust and his 4-year-old sister, Abigail Poust, were swimming alongside their father's anchored boat on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Fla., on Friday night. But as the two children enjoyed their time in the water, Abigail lost hold of the boat when they were caught in a strong current. 

 

“The current was so strong that my sister — she usually hangs out at the back of the boat — and she let go. So, I let go of the boat and grabbed her, and then, I was stuck,” Chase told the news station. “I felt really scared.

 

Steven Proust, their father, jumped into the water to save them and told Chase to swim to shore as he tried to retrieve Abigail, who was being carried along with the current while wearing a floatation device.

 

“I told them both I loved them because I wasn't sure what's going to happen. I tried to stick with her as long as I could,” Steven recalled. “I wore myself out, and she drifted away from me.”

 

Following his father’s instruction, Chase made a long, one-mile swim to land, alternating between floating on his back and doggie paddling. The journey, he said, lasted an hour. After he knocked on the door of the closest house he could find, it took another hour for authorities to locate his father and sister, who were safe but exhausted (WJXT and People).

 

 

This brave 7-year-old swam for more than an hour to shore after a St. Johns River boating accident