The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats await Manchin decision on voting rights bill



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 Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Tuesday! 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 each morning this week: Monday, 601,825; Tuesday, 602,092. 

The Senate is set to vote today on whether to advance a sweeping bill that would overhaul the election system and voting rights, with all eyes on Senate Democrats as they try to project unity around the entirety of their expansive agenda.


The For the People Act, a wide-ranging bill and a top priority for congressional Democrats, has zero chance of passing later today, as Republicans have refused to entertain the bill, with GOP lawmakers decrying it as a power grab. Among other things, the bill would set national voting standards, change the composition of the Federal Election Commission, overhaul campaign finance, place new rules on congressional redistricting, and introduce new ethics guidelines for presidents and vice presidents. 


However, the top priority for 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 (D-N.Y.) is to have all 50 Democrats on the same page and back the bill when it hits the floor. Enter Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSunday shows preview: Delta concerns prompt CDC mask update; bipartisan infrastructure bill to face challenges in Senate Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Top Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure MORE (D-W.Va.), with whom Democratic leaders have been negotiating for weeks in hopes of uniting Democrats behind their spotlight on Republican opposition. 


As of Monday afternoon, top Senate Democrats were unsure how Manchin would vote, according to The Hill’s Jordain Carney. Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinCongress should butt out of Supreme Court's business Inmates grapple with uncertainty over Biden prison plan Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire MORE (D-Ill.), the top Democratic vote counter, told reporters that he was “hoping” the West Virginia centrist would jump on board.


“I just don’t know yet,” Durbin said. 


Schumer indicated on Sunday that they were still trying to reach a deal with the West Virginia centrist, who floated a compromise package. The proposal was received warmly 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, who huddled with Manchin on Monday at the White House.  


“We don’t expect there to be a magical 10 votes, but just two weeks ago there were questions about whether Democrats would be aligned. We certainly hope that will be the case tomorrow,” White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine House adjourns for recess without passing bill to extend federal eviction ban Hunter Biden blasts those criticizing price of his art: 'F--- 'em' MORE said at Monday’s briefing. “This has been a 60-year battle to make voting more accessible, more available to Americans across the country. … And our effort, the president’s effort to continue that fight doesn’t stop tomorrow at all. This will be a fight of his presidency” (The Hill).


The New York Times: Democrats’ expansive voting rights bill is headed for a roadblock in the Senate.


Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) in a Washington Post op-ed: We have more to lose than gain by ending the filibuster.


The Hill: Former President Obama: Voting rights bill must pass before next election.


With the voting rights bill set to stall out, progressives have become increasingly worried that many of their big-ticket policy priorities have little shot of advancing through the upper chamber. As The Hill’s Hanna Trudo writes, liberals at the state and federal levels have temporarily shifted work away from climate change and health care to push hard for so-called democracy reform to try to maintain momentum for the rest of an ambitious legislative agenda.


The Associated Press: GOP ready to block elections bill in Senate showdown.


The Washington Post: Activists gear up for battle as Senate Republicans prepare to block voting rights bill.


The Hill: Senate panel delays war authorization repeal after GOP push.


Manchin was not the only one who sat down with Biden on Monday as he also hosted Sinema to discuss the state of infrastructure negotiations. According to Axios, White House officials are encouraged with how talks are coming along, with discussions taking place on how Biden may support the $1.2 trillion blueprint. 


“The president thanked each senator for their engagement toward making historic investments in economic growth, middle class jobs, and the clean energy economy, and told them he was encouraged by what has taken shape but that he still has questions about the policy as well as the means for financing the bipartisan group’s proposal,” a White House official said of the pair of meetings. 


Bloomberg News: Senators say they're nearing agreement on infrastructure plan.


Politico: Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure deal nears its big reveal.


Elsewhere on the left, Senate Democrats are tossing multiple ice cubes into the scalding-hot cup of coffee that is the progressive chorus calling for Associate Justice Stephen BreyerStephen BreyerSenate panel votes to make women register for draft Biden's belated filibuster decision: A pretense of principle at work Klobuchar: If Breyer is going to retire from Supreme Court, it should be sooner rather than later MORE to retire this summer from the Supreme Court to allow Biden to nominate and the razor-thin Senate majority to confirm his successor. 


In recent weeks, progressive pleading for Breyer to retire hit a crescendo. However, as The Hill’s Alexander Bolton writes, that hasn’t extended to Senate Democrats, who have little appetite for a confirmation fight this year. Any court vacancy creates a circus-like atmosphere on Capitol Hill, and the Democrats’ ambitious legislative agenda is already jammed through a fall calendar.  


Breyer has not shown any indication he is ready to retire at the end of this term.


The Boston Globe: Breyer, feeling pressured to retire, takes the long view.


Financial Times: Politics class: Breyer under mounting pressure to relinquish Supreme Court seat.



Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer



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POLITICS: New York City voters head to the polls today for the Democratic mayoral primary for which early voting began on June 12 and ended Sunday. Thirteen Democrats, of which eight have emerged as leading candidates, plus two Republicans, are vying to succeed Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioBiden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement Biden rolls dice by getting more aggressive on vaccines The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge MORE (D). Because the majority of New Yorkers are Democrats, today’s primary is seen as the election ahead of November’s general election votes (The New York Times).


Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former police captain, leads among the Democrats heading into primary day, according to the latest Ipsos poll (The Hill), but ranked-choice voting means the race is far from decided. Civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley has been in close contention with Adams, according to recent surveys.


The New York Times: The city’s experiment with ranked-choice voting gets its first major test today. Announcement of a winner in that process may be delayed until mid-July as absentee ballots are counted. 


Tech entrepreneur and former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew YangAndrew YangPoll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary Kings launch voting rights effort honoring John Lewis Eric Adams to meet with Biden on curbing gun violence MORE, whose name recognition initially boosted his standing, even as a candidate who has never held elective office, said Monday that his campaign received donations from nearly 24,000 individuals. Yang’s campaign said it surpassed the previous donor record of 23,287 set by David Dinkins (D) in 1989 when he was running for mayor against Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiCapitol insurrection hearing exposes Trumpworld delusions DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's riot lawsuit Bob Dole: 'I'm a Trumper' but 'I'm sort of Trumped out' MORE (R). Dinkins won that race by slightly more than 2 percentage points (The Hill).


The Hill’s Tal Axelrod unpacks five things to watch today in an unusual contest to lead America’s largest city, which is home to more than 8.3 million people. 


Politico: Mayor de Blasio’s long walk to peace with his city. 



New York City mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia hands out campaign information



More in politics … The Pennsylvania Senate is moving closer to launching an Arizona-style election audit. State Sen. David Argall (R), who heads the Senate State Government Committee that has oversight of election administration, said Monday that he supports another look at the Pennsylvania results. The call comes after he was publicly pressured to do so by 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 in a recent press release (The Hill). … Despite being banned from Facebook, Trump is once again fundraising on the platform. The Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, a joint account between Trump’s Save America leadership PAC and his Make America Great Again PAC, has spent $3,506 on Facebook ads to promote the former president’s Saturday rally in Wellington, Ohio, and to raise monies for the group. In a statement, Facebook said there’s been no change in Trump’s status with the social media behemoth. “President Trump is suspended from Facebook so he can't post at all. … Groups affiliated with the former president are not barred from posting on Facebook so long as they are not posting in his voice” (Politico).




CORONAVIRUS: Here is a positive news headline for morning readers: U.S. COVID-19 deaths dipped below 300 a day for the first time since the early days of the pandemic in March 2020 (The Associated Press). As one example, Maryland reported no deaths over the weekend from COVID-19 for the first time since the pandemic began (The Washington Post).


> But dark clouds are forming. COVID-19 infections are rebounding in Southern states where vaccination rates are lower, more people shun the inoculations, younger people are winding up in hospitals with the virus and the infectious delta variant is a worry (Bloomberg News).



A nurse wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) communicates through a glass door while attending to a patient in a Covid-19 intensive care unit



> U.S. vaccine donations: The White House on Monday shared details about the logistical challenges of dispatching 55 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine already pledged by the United States to other countries. The administration had previously said it would “send” 80 million doses abroad by the end of June, but on Monday, it said it would “allocate,” but not necessarily have the shipments on their way by that time. Asked about the delay, Psaki said logistical hurdles, not the supply of doses, is at issue. About 41 million will be shared with COVAX, run by the World Health Organization. Another 10 million doses are destined for Africa, in coordination with the African Union, and 14 million vaccine doses will be shared outside of COVAX with "regional priorities and other recipients," including Colombia, Argentina, Haiti, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq (The Hill). 


> Nursing homes: Deaths from COVID-19 increased fatalities recorded at nursing homes in 2020 by a heartrending 32 percent, based on Medicare data, according to a report by the inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department. Researchers were quick to say the surge in the death toll at nursing homes did not reflect fatalities in the elderly that would have been expected to occur in the absence of the coronavirus (The Associated Press).  


ADMINISTRATION: The president and Democrats in Congress are working to boost awareness of the child tax credit benefits that take effect July 15 under provisions of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law enacted in March, reports The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda. Democrats want to champion the achievement while seeking to further expand the tax benefits for five more years.


As CBS News reported, in a few weeks, about 36 million American families will start receiving monthly checks from the IRS as part of the expanded Child Tax Credit. Eligible families will receive up to $1,800 in cash per month through December — however, the tax credit has a complication that may prompt some families to opt out. 


“Through tax credits and food assistance and housing assistance and healthcare coverage and direct checks, the American Rescue Plan — and here's the drumroll —  the American Rescue Plan will lift half of America's children out of poverty,” Vice President Harris said during a visit to Pittsburgh on Monday with Labor Secretary Marty WalshMarty WalshPoultry plant fined M over 'entirely avoidable' deaths of six workers The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots On The Money: Inflation spike puts Biden on defensive | Senate Democrats hit spending speed bumps | Larry Summers huddles with WH team MORE.


> Biden will speak about urban crime on Wednesday with a focus on his administration’s strategy to keep “cities and neighborhoods safe” (The Hill). Overall U.S. crime is down, but the 2020 murder rate is expected to have risen by about 25 percent, the largest increase in U.S. history, according to projections for last year and records dating to 1960. That equates to roughly 20,000 murders in 2020, The New York Times reported last week, and it is already a midterm elections issue among GOP candidates. Issues of poverty, mass shootings, policing, homelessness, affordable housing, mental health and pandemic stress, along with high unemployment, continue to be top-of-mind challenges for state and local officials as well as members of Congress. … In Northeast Washington, D.C., an NFL rookie with roots in the District was one of four people wounded during a shooting on Monday evening. Jaylen Twyman signed with the Minnesota Vikings last month (The Washington Post). 


> Medicaid enrollment jumped by 10 million Americans through January during the pandemic, according to a report released on Monday. The Affordable Care Act transformed Medicaid, for which costs are shared by states and the federal government, from a targeted health care benefit meant to help certain groups of people — expectant mothers, for example, and those with disabilities — to a wider program that provides largely no-cost coverage to most people who fall below a specific income threshold. The exceptions are 12 states, mostly in the South, that have resisted expanding Medicaid under the health law to cover all adults with income up to 138 percent of the poverty level, which would be $17,774 for an individual this year (The New York Times).


> Evictions: Biden is considering a one-month extension of the federal freeze on rental evictions, which will sunset at the end of this month and was enacted as part of the government’s response to the impact of the pandemic and high unemployment (The New York Times).

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Supreme Court term limits might box in Democrats, by Ramesh Ponnuru, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. 


In trying to pressure Biden, the Catholic bishops forget the lessons of JFK, by Karen Tumulty, columnist, The Washington Post. 


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The House meets at noon. The House Coronavirus Crisis Subcommittee at 2 p.m. will hear from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell about the central bank’s response to the pandemic.


The Senate meets at 10 a.m. and will resume consideration of Christopher Fonzone to be general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 a.m. will examine the federal sentencing for crack and powder cocaine and the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986.


The president and Vice President Harris receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10:15 a.m., and have lunch together at 12:30 p.m. Biden will meet with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell and deputy national security advisor Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall at 1:45 p.m.


The White House briefing will take place at 1 p.m. The White House COVID-19 response team will brief reporters at 12:30 p.m.


INVITATION TODAY to The Hill’s Virtually Live discussion about “Mental Health, Addiction & the COVID-19 Pandemic,” at 1 p.m. with Rachel LevineRachel LevineDelta variant raises fears of worsening mutations Biden nominates first openly-gay woman to serve as US ambassador Biden: 'Pride is back at the White House' MORE, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services; Rep. Jahana HayesJahana HayesBipartisan lawmakers highlight COVID-19 impact on mental health, addiction Overnight Health Care: White House acknowledges it will fall short of July 4 vaccine goal | Fauci warns of 'localized surges' in areas with low vaccination rates | Senate Finance leader releases principles for lowering prescription drug prices The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats await Manchin decision on voting rights bill MORE (D-Conn.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congress’s Youth Suicide and Mental Health Task Force; Rep. David JoyceDavid JoyceBipartisan lawmakers highlight COVID-19 impact on mental health, addiction The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats await Manchin decision on voting rights bill Porter urges increased budget for children's National Parks program MORE (R-Ohio), co-chairman of the House Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus; 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.), co-chairman of the Mental Health Caucus; and more. Information is HERE.


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


SUPREME COURT: Justices on Monday ruled unanimously against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in a dispute over limits placed on certain compensation that student-athletes can receive (The Hill). The decision, written by Associate Justice Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchNo reason to pack the court Democrats under new pressure to break voting rights stalemate Trump 'very disappointed' in Kavanaugh votes: 'Where would he be without me?' MORE, will allow the NCAA to increase more academic-related benefits for student-athletes, such as post-graduate scholarships, internships, computers and science equipment. Separately, the fight over the name, image and likeness of student-athletes is happening on Capitol Hill and at the state legislature level (CBS News). … The Supreme Court on Monday issued a fragmented ruling that more than 200 administrative patent judges in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office must be subject to greater supervision by the agency director in order to comply with the Constitution’s appointments clause (SCOTUSblog).


INTERNATIONAL: The European Union imposed a new round of sanctions on Monday on a number of officials and organizations in Belarus in an attempt to increase pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko. Specifically, the new sanctions target individuals accused of electoral improprieties and responsibility for the police crackdown that followed Lukashenko winning a sixth term in August that many deem to be fraudulent (The Associated Press). … Taliban fighters took control of a key district in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz province Monday and encircled the provincial capital, police said, as the insurgent group added to its recent battlefield victories while peace talks have stalemated (The Associated Press).


➔ U.S. CATHOLIC BISHOPS: Hypocrisy is one word critics are using following an overwhelming vote among U.S. Catholic bishops involving eligibility to take holy communion — a decision that could deny Biden the Eucharist because of his support for reproductive rights and a U.S. constitutional right to abortion. Biden and John F. Kennedy, both of Irish descent, are the only Catholics to hold the presidency (The Hill). … Flouting the Vatican and targeting Biden, conservative Catholic bishops on Friday advanced a controversial communion plan that takes aim at his politics more than his devotion to his faith. “It reveals a uniquely American Catholicism increasingly at odds with Rome and Pope FrancisPope FrancisEx-Cardinal McCarrick charged with sexual assault of teen The faith community can help pass a reparations bill Pope encourages audience to take a break from stresses of modern life MORE,” reports The New York Times. Psaki declined to comment on the bishops’ decision, saying that Biden does not view his Catholicism “through a political prism” (Politico).  



 A chalice and communion cups stand on an altar during a Catholic outdoor mass



And finally … A picture is worth a thousand words, and so are the timing and location of every new portrait hung in the White House collection. Biden plans to host a ceremony this year for the unveiling of Obama’s official portrait at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., often a gracious and bipartisan tradition that Trump did not host for his predecessor before his departure in January, but which former Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush carried off with humor and generous words for their predecessors during their terms (NBC News).


In 2004, Bush and then-first lady Laura Bush welcomed Clinton and former first lady Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote MORE to the East Room to unveil their portraits and praise their public service and career trajectories. Since then, Clinton, Bush and Obama have occasionally joined forces in their post-presidencies to advocate for public and international causes. 


“I was particularly struck by the story of a nun at St. John's School in Hot Springs who decided that Billy Clinton should get a C in deportment,” Bush told a laughing VIP audience 17 years ago. “That was a rare grade for the future Rhodes scholar and president. So Bill's mother gave the nun a call to see what was wrong. The sister replied, ‘Oh, nothing much. But let me tell you, this boy knows the answer to every question, and he just leaps to his feet before anyone else can.’ She went on, you know, ‘I know he'll not tolerate this C, but it'll be good for him. And I promise you, if he wants to be, he will be president someday.’” 


The White House portraits are not to be confused with works commissioned to depict presidents and first ladies and displayed by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The popular images of the 44th president and former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama to Simone Biles: 'We are proud of you and we are rooting for you' Obama setting up big bash to celebrate his 60th Poll: 73 percent of Democratic voters would consider voting for Biden in the 2024 primary MORE are currently on tour, including at the Art Institute of Chicago.


A photographic portrait of Trump seated at the Resolute Desk hangs in the National Gallery while the Smithsonian finalizes details involving works to be painted of the former president and former first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpOnly Trump can fix vaccine hesitancy among his supporters Trump discussed pardoning Ghislaine Maxwell: book Jill Biden appears on Vogue cover MORE (People).