The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP torpedoes election bill; infrastructure talks hit snag

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"I Voted" stickers are ready at the US presidential election at Powderhorn Park Community Center in Minneapolis

 

 

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 each morning this week: Monday, 601,825; Tuesday, 602,092; Wednesday, 602,462.



The Senate rejected Democrats’ signature voting rights and election reform bill on Tuesday, delivering a blow to President BidenJoe BidenOvernight Defense: Senate panel adds B to Biden's defense budget | House passes bill to streamline visa process for Afghans who helped US | Pentagon confirms 7 Colombians arrested in Haiti leader's killing had US training On The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks MORE and the Democratic agenda as lawmakers and negotiators concurrently push to reach a bipartisan deal on an infrastructure package. 

 

Senate Democrats were unable to overcome a filibuster by Republicans on the wide-ranging For the People Act, a sweeping elections bill that was loudly opposed by all corners of the Senate GOP, a culmination of weeks of partisan bickering and behind-the-scenes talks across the upper chamber (The Hill).

 

“Make no mistake: Democrats will not let this go,” said Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden administration stokes frustration over Canada Schumer blasts McCarthy for picking people who 'supported the big lie' for Jan. 6 panel Biden's belated filibuster decision: A pretense of principle at work MORE (D-N.Y.), arguing that Senate Republicans “signed their names” alongside former President TrumpDonald TrumpNew Capitol Police chief to take over Friday Overnight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Michael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip MORE and his push to overturn the 2020 election. “This will not be the last time that voting rights legislation comes up for a debate in this Senate.”

 

The result was never in doubt. Senate Democrats never had a prayer of getting the needed 60-votes to start debate. Instead, the main question surrounded whether they would have their entire conference on board. That was clinched Tuesday afternoon when Schumer announced that Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOvernight 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 Senate panel advances controversial public lands nominee in tie vote MORE (D-W.Va.) would vote with his party after a last-minute deal where his amendment to the legislation would have been brought up first if they had gotten the needed votes to break the filibuster.

 

“The right to vote is fundamental to our American democracy and protecting that right should not be about party or politics,” Manchin said in a statement, criticizing Republicans for not even allowing debate on the issue. 

 

In a show of importance for the White House and Democrats, Vice President Harris was on hand to preside over debate. In a statement, Biden lauded Democrats for remaining united “for democracy.”

 

They stood against the ongoing assault of voter suppression that represents a Jim Crow era in the 21st Century. Unfortunately, a Democratic stand to protect our democracy met a solid Republican wall of opposition,” Biden said. “I’ll have more to say on this next week. But let me be clear. This fight is far from over — far from over. I’ve been engaged in this work my whole career, and we are going to be ramping up our efforts to overcome again — for the people, for our very democracy.”

 

The Washington Post: Senate Republicans block debate on elections bill, dealing blow to Democrats’ voting rights push.

 

Hanna Trudo, The Hill: White House draws ire of progressives amid voting rights defeat.

 

Nate Cohn, The New York Times: A bill destined to fail may now spawn more plausible options.

 

 

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D)

 

 

The setback comes as GOP state legislatures around the country have debated and passed new voting rules, piling pressure on congressional Democrats who believe trying to counteract those restrictions is a top legislative priority.

 

Tuesday’s vote was always considered a showpiece by the Senate majority because even the most moderate GOP senators panned the bill. Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiBiden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor Schumer sets up Wednesday infrastructure showdown MORE (R-Alaska) labeled the legislation “wholly partisan,” while 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) criticized Democrats for their “over the top” rhetoric on the subject (NBC News). 

 

The Hill: 'Killibuster': Democratic angst grows as filibuster threatens agenda.

 

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, top White House officials huddled with Senate moderates Tuesday afternoon while lawmakers plow ahead toward a bipartisan deal on an infrastructure proposal. The negotiators met in Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaBipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor CBC honors Black women advocates amid voting rights battle GOP blocks infrastructure debate as negotiators near deal MORE’s (D-Ariz.) office to try to hammer out differences over how to pay for the package, which would cost $974 billion over five years, and $1.2 trillion over eight years (The Hill). 

 

White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Biden administration stokes frustration over Canada White House blasts China's 'dangerous' rejection of coronavirus origins study MORE labeled the sit-down a “productive meeting,” adding that more work needs to be done and that more meetings are expected in the coming days (The Hill). Among those is one between White House officials, Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe, eyeing new GOP reinforcements GOP's Banks burnishes brand with Pelosi veto Meghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' MORE (D-Calif.) and Schumer later today (Politico).  

 

However, the pay-fors remain the sticking point in discussions. Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneOn The Money: Senate braces for nasty debt ceiling fight | Democrats pushing for changes to bipartisan deal | Housing prices hit new high in June Transit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal Senate braces for a nasty debt ceiling fight MORE (S.D.), the top GOP vote counter, said that the White House rejected many of the G-21 group’s suggestions on how to fund a potential bill. 

 

“It’s gotten more complicated with the pay-fors,” Thune said. “There’s a number of things they ruled out previously, and there’s even a bigger hole now” (Politico).

 

Alexander Bolton, The Hill: White House digs in as infrastructure talks stall.

 

Axios: Progressives draw infrastructure red lines.

 

The Hill: Democrats fear they are running out of time on Biden agenda.

 

 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki

 

 

More in Congress: Pelosi found herself in a swirl of confusion on Tuesday when sources said she told Democratic colleagues she would create a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. She later stepped out of her office to deny it, saying, "No, I did not make that announcement. Somebody put out a false report." The downside of such a panel would be that its findings would be perceived as partisan following Congress’s failure to adopt legislation to establish a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission (The Hill). ... The House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee is under pressure today to slow down a bill that targets tech giants, with industry groups, Amazon and a group of moderate Democrats calling for more hearings to weigh proposals ahead of a committee markup (The Hill).



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LEADING THE DAY

POLITICS: Early returns this morning in the New York City Democratic mayoral primary show Eric Adams, a former police captain, leading while far short of a majority, followed by Maya Wiley, a former counsel to Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de Blasio43 percent of NYPD employees vaccinated: report The Hill's Morning Report - Infrastructure vote fails; partisan feud erupts over Jan. 6 panel Israeli politician calls on Ben & Jerry's to 'rethink' ban MORE (D), and Kathryn Garcia, a former sanitation commissioner, in third place. Andrew YangAndrew YangKings launch voting rights effort honoring John Lewis Eric Adams to meet with Biden on curbing gun violence Adams victory in NYC reignites Democratic debate on crime, policing MORE, a tech entrepreneur and former presidential candidate, dropped out. New York City’s ranked-choice voting system and June 29 absentee ballot deadline mean the primary winner will probably not be announced for weeks. Curtis Sliwa won the Republican primary for mayor (The New York Times).

 

 

New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams

 

 

> Critical race theory: The culture war being waged by Republicans has a new leading subject as lawmakers and officials seek to ban critical race theory from being taught in schools and plan to use the topic as a wedge issue ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. 

 

As The Hill’s Reid Wilson writes, Northern Virginia has taken hold as the epicenter of the debate ahead of the state’s gubernatorial contest in November. Politically active parents in wealthy Loudoun County, Va., including some professional GOP strategists, are leading a recall effort against school board members there and have earned the attention of Fox News and other conservative news outlets. 

 

While GOP nominee Glenn Youngkin has used his opposition to the theory to paint himself as a defender of traditional American values, Democrats dismiss the debate as a right-wing creation. 

 

“That’s another right-wing conspiracy,” former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said in audio apparently recorded by a tracker and reported by Fox News. “This is totally made up by Donald Trump and Glenn Youngkin. This is who they are. It’s a conspiracy theory.”

 

The Texas Tribune explainer: What is “critical race theory”? It emerged in the 1970s and 1980s with a focus on racial inequities and why they persist in the United States. Last year, conservative activist Christopher Rufo began using the term to denounce anti-racist education efforts. Since then, conservative lawmakers, commentators and parents assert that children are being taught in history and other courses that the United States is a racist country. Educators deny that children in grades K-12 are taught critical race theory in school. 

 

The Hill: GOP governors embrace culture wars with White House in mind.

 

> 2022 watch: In Arkansas, Chris Jones is a Democratic entrant in a governor’s race dominated by Sarah HuckabeeSarah SandersTrump expected to resume rallies in June Andrew Giuliani planning run for New York governor Trump appears at Sarah Huckabee Sanders campaign event MORE Sanders (R). Jones received some favorable press and Twitter chatter after he introduced himself in a video released last week (Arkansas Times and The Hill).

 

Politico: Trump fuels Herschel Walker Senate hype in Georgia.

 

*****

 

CORONAVIRUS: Biden on Thursday will visit Raleigh, the capital of battleground state North Carolina, to echo messages from Harris, first lady Jill BidenJill BidenThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Goldman Sachs — House temperature rises over Jan. 6 select committee The Hill's Morning Report - Infrastructure vote fails; partisan feud erupts over Jan. 6 panel Jill Biden takes starring role at difficult Olympics MORE, Cabinet officials and public health experts who are encouraging Southerners to get COVID-19 shots. The president set a Fourth of July goal to see at least 70 percent of U.S. adults inoculated with at least one dose of vaccine. It’s a goal the nation will not meet, but the president wants to show he’s using his megaphone in a state he hasn’t visited since his election.

 

News & Observer: The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports that as of June 18, just 55 percent of adults in the state have received a dose of the vaccine.

 

The White House acknowledges it will miss key vaccination benchmarks as the government worries about the spread of the highly infectious delta coronavirus variant, which could be the dominant strain in the U.S. in two to three weeks (The Wall Street Journal). The government says the U.S. reached a 70 percent vaccination threshold for those age 30 and older and expects to meet it for those age 27 or older by the July 4 holiday (The Hill). Biden and his team want to get more teens vaccinated, in part because younger people infected with COVID-19 are now showing up in hospitals in greater numbers (The Associated Press).

 

> COVID-19’s origin: Director of National Intelligence Avril HainesAvril HainesDemocrats call for DOJ, FBI to declassify 9/11 intelligence related to Saudi Arabia The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - GOP torpedoes election bill; infrastructure talks hit snag FBI warns lawmakers of violence from QAnon conspiracy theorists MORE says it’s possible the intelligence community will never have “high confidence” or a smoking gun on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. The director told Yahoo News in a Monday interview that the administration has tasked dozens of analysts and intelligence officials with searching for an answer to whether the pandemic began when COVID-19 leaped from an animal to a human and began to spread in China or when the coronavirus escaped a laboratory research setting in Wuhan, which might also involve a leap from an animal to a human (a lab worker). 

 

“I don’t know between these two plausible theories which one is the right answer,” Haines said. “But I’ve listened to the analysts, and I really see why it is that they perceive these two theories as being in contest with each other and why it’s very challenging for them to assess one over the other.” 

 

The findings of a Biden-ordered 90-day review of available intelligence, due at the end of August, will be made public.

 

 

Julius Irvin, a student athlete on the football team, receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic on the University of Washington campus

 

 

More coronavirus headlines: Vaccines can ensure that adult deaths from COVID-19 are “at this point entirely preventable,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, COVID-19 vaccines in the United States have been effective against the known variants of the coronavirus. Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Writer: Fauci, Paul clash shouldn't distract from probe into COVID-19 origins S.E. Cupp: 'The politicization of science and health safety has inarguably cost lives' MORE, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned on Tuesday of “localized surges” in COVID-19 infections in areas with low vaccination rates and populations unwilling to be inoculated (The Hill). … Americans living abroad in certain countries are either waiting months for a COVID-19 vaccine, requesting the United States send doses to citizens abroad, or risking travel back to the United States to get shots ASAP (The Hill). … The Hill’s Karl Evers-Hillstrom reports on the survival of the cruise industry despite receiving no revenue during the worst of the pandemic and losing out on help from Congress. … Delta says it will hire 1,000 pilots as part of its recovery as the flying public begins to crowd onto airplanes again (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

ADMINISTRATION: Biden today will unveil a mixing bowl of policies aimed at responding to a hike over the last year in the worst sorts of crimes by bolstering police departments and training, and cracking down on America’s illegal gun trafficking. 

 

The administration’s strategy, meant to respond to a sharp upward trajectory in murders and violent crimes, navigates the political touchstones for many Democrats of fewer guns, better policing, and federal support for troubled neighborhoods.  

 

The president today will describe how he will tap available federal funds to “put more police officers on the beat – with the resources, training, and accountability they need to engage in effective community policing – in addition to supporting proven Community Violence Intervention programs, summer employment opportunities, and other investments that we know will reduce crime and make our neighborhoods safer.” 

 

One element of Biden’s policy, announced by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Tuesday, will create “multijurisdictional firearms trafficking strike forces” to try to halt illegal guns crossing state lines. In New York City, for example, nearly 9 in 10 firearms come from out of state.

 

The president will say the administration wants to “support local law enforcement” to “put more police officers on the beat” with improved training and resources. His call for additional police and expanded police departments will not sit well with some progressives but is a direct rebuke to criticism that Democratic lawmakers and the administration seek to “defund” police departments to shift funds to community-based programs.

 

Conservative news media outlets assert a loss of public order under Democrats, especially involving some of America’s largest cities in blue states. The president and members of his party worry that increased murders and violent crimes will cost them politically, writes The Hill’s Niall Stanage. Democratic voters living under the same roof are often divided about crime and safety, depending on their generation and race, where they live, their view of policing and guns, and the roles of the federal government and Congress in addressing causes of violent crime. 

 

Biden is navigating an activist base that argues for policing reforms while remaining skeptical about "law and order" sloganeering by politicians, Stanage reports. The president's authorship as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee of the 1994 crime bill, now blamed for aggravating a trend in mass incarcerations, drew criticism during his campaign last year and remains a sore point with many left-leaning activists.

 

According to 2019 FBI data on violent crimes, more than twice as many murders and manslaughters occurred in the South, the most populous region of the country, than in the Midwest or the West. There were more than four times as many murders in the South in 2019 than in the Northeast.

 

The New York Times “The Daily” podcast: Policing and the New York mayoral race.

 

> The Hill’s Laura Kelly reports on the latest efforts by the Biden administration and Canadian officials to improve bilateral ties following the unpredictability of the Trump era; trade and border squabbles; Biden’s rejection of the embattled Keystone XL pipeline, which was to originate in Canada’s tar sands and stretch 1,200 miles to U.S. refineries; and the effects of the pandemic.

 

> Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinPentagon chief to restore advisory panels after purge of Trump loyalists Senators hail 'historic changes' as competing proposals to tackle military sexual assault advance Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief defends Milley after Trump book criticism | Addresses critical race theory | Top general says Taliban has 'strategic momentum' in war MORE on Tuesday said the Pentagon will work with Congress to amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice, removing the prosecution of sexual assaults and related crimes from the military chain of command, letting independent military lawyers handle them instead. It was the first time the secretary said he will support such a move and comes after he received the final recommendations and complete report of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment (The Hill). 



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! 



OPINION

The Democrats’ dead end on voting rights, by Russell Berman, staff writer, The Atlantic. https://bit.ly/3vWeJPG 

 

The bishops, Biden and the brave new world, by Ross Douthat, columnist, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/3d1yjmY 



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WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at 10 a.m.

 

The Senate meets at 2 p.m. and will resume consideration of the nomination of Deborah Boardman to be a U.S. district judge for the District of Maryland. FBI Director Christopher Wray will testify before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies at 2 p.m. about the president’s 2022 budget request and other topics.

 

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:50 a.m. Biden and first lady Jill Biden will attend a funeral at Washington National Cathedral for former Sen. John Warner (R-Va.). Biden will deliver remarks at the service at 11 a.m. The president and Harris will have lunch at the White House. Biden and Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandBiden administration moves to withdraw death penalty requests in seven cases Federal gun trafficking strike forces launched in five cities Garland restricting DOJ contact with White House officials MORE will meet with stakeholders at the White House at 2:15 p.m. to discuss crime and safety, and Biden and Garland at 3:30 p.m. will describe an administration crime strategy focused on reducing firearms used in violent crimes and bolstering police departments and police training.

 

Second gentleman Doug EmhoffDoug EmhoffThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Bezos completes first all-civilian space trip, deboards in cowboy hat Tom Brady to Biden: '40 percent of the people still don't think we won' The Hill's Morning Report - Will Schumer back down on his deadline? MORE will travel to Chicago to visit a vaccination site and encourage people to get COVID-19 vaccine doses as soon as possible.

 

The White House briefing will take place at 12:45 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

INTERNATIONAL: Incoming Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi rejected a key U.S. goal of expanding on the nuclear deal if negotiators are able to salvage the old one. At the same time, Raisi is likely to raise Iran’s demands for sanctions relief in return for Iranian compliance with the deal, as he himself is already subject to U.S. human rights penalties. The Associated Press reports that Iran’s election of a hard-liner president severely complicates the Biden administration’s goal to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. On Tuesday, the United States blocked several dozen websites linked to Iran, including Iran’s state-owned Press TV (The New York Times). … In France, the trial of former President Nicolas Sarkozy concluded on Tuesday, and a verdict will be announced on Sept. 30. Sarkozy, who denies wrongdoing, was alleged to have committed campaign finance violations during his 2012 campaign (The Washington Post). 

 

ECONOMY: Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday that high U.S. inflation is temporary and will “abate” (The Associated Press). The Fed is facing growing pressure from Republicans to pull back some of the central bank’s monetary buffer as inflation rises (The Hill). Although consumer prices rose 5 percent in May compared with a year earlier, Powell’s view is that prices fell at the onset of the pandemic last year, which makes current inflation figures appear much larger in comparison.

 

 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies

 

 

STATE WATCH: Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) on Tuesday signed legislation legalizing recreational marijuana for adults, becoming the 18th state to embrace the policy change. Recreational marijuana in Connecticut will be legal for all adults aged 21 and older starting July 1 (The Hill).



THE CLOSER

And finally … Doing laundry in space has been a distinctly human problem without a solution. NASA can perform the miraculous calculations to get astronauts to the International Space Station, but the astronauts have to wear the same apparel, over and over, until the revolting clothes are discarded in receptacles to be burned up in the atmosphere. 

 

Enter Procter & Gamble, maker of Tide, which said on Tuesday that it has some detergent and stain removal experiments up its sleeve for the space station this year and next (The Associated Press). 

 

With billionaires now space-bound and colonized bases planned for the Moon and dusty red Mars, resolving the clean-underwear conundrum seems an absolute must.

 

A 2013 NASA YouTube video in which astronaut Karen Nyberg demonstrated squirting and rubbing her dirty locks in lieu of shampooing underscored the challenges in space of scarce water supplies and the absence of gravity.

 

 

Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong's right foot leaves a footprint in the lunar soil