The Hill's Morning Report - McConnell pressures Dem leaders to follow Biden's infrastructure lead

The Hill's Morning Report - McConnell pressures Dem leaders to follow Biden's infrastructure lead
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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths each morning this week: Monday, 603,967; Tuesday, 604,115.

President BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE spent the weekend reassuring Republicans that passage of the bipartisan infrastructure package was not tied to passing a reconciliation bill. Now, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP should grab the chance to upend Pelosi's plan on reconciliation We don't need platinum to solve the debt ceiling crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble MORE (R-Ky.) wants more. 

McConnell on Monday made his long-awaited infrastructure play, calling on Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats press Schumer on removing Confederate statues from Capitol Democrats' do-or-die moment Biden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan MORE (D-N.Y.) and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Sunday shows preview: Pelosi announces date for infrastructure vote; administration defends immigration policies GOP should grab the chance to upend Pelosi's plan on reconciliation MORE (D-Calif.) to follow his lead and delink support for the infrastructure deal worth $1.2 trillion over eight years from a sweeping Democratic-only blueprint. He added that if they don’t, Biden’s reversal was nothing but a “hollow gesture.”  

“Unless Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi walk-back their threats that they will refuse to send the president a bipartisan infrastructure bill unless they also separately pass trillions of dollars for unrelated tax hikes, wasteful spending, and Green New Deal socialism, then President Biden’s walk-back of his veto threat would be a hollow gesture,” McConnell said in a statement. “The President cannot let congressional Democrats hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process” (The Hill). 

The comments represented the first from the GOP leader since Biden last week did a full walk-back of his remarks, which were only furthered by the two Democratic leaders. In addition, McConnell himself has yet to throw his support behind the bill, which adds consternation to the whole infrastructure process, though at least 11 Senate Republicans were part of the Group of 21 negotiations for the bipartisan bill.  

“I haven’t decided yet,” McConnell said during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. “But I’ve certainly encouraged our members to talk to the Democrats. … We need to get a score, so we need to see whether the proposal is credibly paid for” (The Hill). 

The bottom line: Despite Biden’s comments over the weekend, this bill has a long way to go to pass. Expect many more twists and turns in the coming weeks, especially with the Senate out of town until July 9, leaving lawmakers to do little but talk until then. 

The Associated Press: Biden working to get infrastructure package back on track. 

CNN: Moderate House Democrats are uneasy over Pelosi's infrastructure strategy. 

As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton writes, the framework legislation put together by 21 senators presents a conundrum for the Kentucky Republican. Some within the GOP believe it would be shrewd for McConnell and Republicans to work with the president to pass the bill in an attempt to show that the party is not simply one of obstructionists who are trying to derail Biden’s agenda. 

However, doing so could have political consequences, as McConnell’s top priority is flipping the Senate next year. Namely, it would put feathers in the caps of a number of key Senate Democrats who are up for reelection in 2022, including Sens. Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanKoch-backed group launches 7-figure ad blitz opposing .5T bill Overnight Hillicon Valley — Majority supports national data privacy standards, poll finds Senator calls on agencies to take action to prevent criminal cryptocurrency use MORE (N.H.), Mark KellyMark KellyFive takeaways from Arizona's audit results Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Afghan evacuation still frustrates Overnight Defense & National Security — Congress begins Afghanistan grilling MORE (Ariz.) and Raphael WarnockRaphael WarnockTrump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Trump stokes GOP tensions in Georgia The Memo: Trump's Arizona embarrassment sharpens questions for GOP MORE (Ga.). 

The Hill: Biden, Pelosi on collision course.

Biden previewed the main points he wants the public and members of Congress to hear in an op-ed published by Yahoo News on Monday evening. In it, the president stressed infrastructure needs, potential new construction jobs and his intention to get his climate change agenda into law using the budget reconciliation process later this year. 

The president today will be in La Crosse, Wis., to promote the infrastructure framework he is urging Congress to pass while visiting the community’s public transit center. The White House says he’ll venture from Washington this summer to encourage support from the public and lawmakers who remain skeptical of a bipartisan measure for roads, bridges, airports, ports, passenger rail and broadband. Traveling with Biden today will be Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackTom VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE, both of them eager to talk up the infrastructure needs in rural economies and the agriculture sector, the White House said last week.  

Biden’s attention to his domestic agenda continues on Wednesday with a White House event that assembles Cabinet members and governors to discuss the heat wave in the Pacific Northwest and risks of drought and wildfires in the West. Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert Inslee Washington state extends eviction protections through end of October Washington governor to Idaho officials: Stop 'clogging up my hospitals' Seattle area to require COVID-19 vaccine to enter indoor venues MORE (D), whose state has experienced record high temperatures this month, plans to participate by phone because COVID-19 restrictions are still in place there. 

On Friday, the president, whose job approval hovers close to 53 percent, returns to economic issues to tout the release by the Labor Department of June’s employment statistics. On the eve of the Fourth of July on Saturday, Biden will be in Traverse City, Mich., with Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerWhitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll Michigan developing electrified road to wirelessly charge EVs, Whitmer says Michigan GOP governor hopeful says he would support state abortion ban: recording MORE (D) to applaud U.S. vaccination rates, although the nation overall will fall short of the 70 percent goal he set for inoculation of adults with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by Independence Day. Michigan has a vaccination rate of 46.6 percent and Whitmer took a pounding from Republicans in her state and from former President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE for mask mandates and other pandemic restrictions she imposed.

The Washington Post: Biden tries to move beyond flubbed rollout of infrastructure deal.

The Associated Press: Biden taking bipartisan infrastructure deal on the road. 

More in Congress: The House, following in the Senate’s footsteps, passed two bills on Monday that would boost scientific research in an effort to make the U.S. more competitive with China (The Hill). … Pelosi is “seriously considering” including a Republican among her appointments to the new select committee to probe investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, an aide said Monday. Under the resolution to create the panel, Pelosi would appoint eight members, while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Fifth House Republican comes out in support of bipartisan infrastructure bill Watch live: McCarthy holds briefing with reporters MORE (R-Calif.) would name five. The House is expected to vote Wednesday on the resolution to create the committee (The Hill). 

 

Washington Monument

 

LEADING THE DAY

POLITICS: Trump’s legal team on Monday said that the Manhattan district attorney’s office said it is currently considering charges against the Trump Organization and individual employees — but not on hush money allegations or potential fraud regarding property valuations at this time.  

Attorney Ronald Fischetti told Politico that Vance's team said in a meeting last week that it was weighing possible charges against the organization and employees over allegedly not paying taxes on company benefits, but not against Trump himself when the first indictments are brought. 

“They just said, ‘When this indictment comes down, he won’t be charged. Our investigation is ongoing,’” Fischetti said. 

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. had reportedly given attorneys for the Trump Organization until Monday afternoon to provide an argument as to why the company should not face criminal charges.  

The Hill: Trump lashes out at New York prosecutors as his lawyers argue against criminal charges.

The Washington Post: Trump attorneys meet with New York prosecutors to argue that his company should not be criminally charged over its business practices.

Niall Stanage: The Memo: Trump faces legal and political peril. 

Elsewhere on the Trump front, the 45th president is preparing for his Wednesday trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, where he will undoubtedly tout his administration’s work on immigration and slam Democrats on the issue, especially on the heels of Vice President Harris’s trip to El Paso, Texas, last week.  

As The Hill’s Scott Wong notes, Trump will be joined by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and two dozen members of the Republican Study Committee. The Lone Star State is  Trump’s latest political stop amid a busy summer of campaign rallies, speeches and flirtations with a 2024 presidential bid. Trump will hold a rally in Sarasota, Fla., on Saturday.  

> Pence trouble: Former Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence says he hopes conservative majority on Supreme Court will restrict abortion access Federal judge to hear case of Proud Boy alleged Jan. 6 rioter seeking release from jail The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems attempt to tie government funding, Ida relief to debt limit MORE is facing strong resistance from members of his party's pro-Trump base as he weighs a 2024 White House bid of his own, due in large part to his role in certifying the Electoral College results on Jan. 6. 

Pence is set to appear at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa next month alongside other high-profile Republicans, as The Hill’s Tal Axelrod points out, and is reportedly working with high-profile GOP politicos amid speculation he's mounting his 2024 bid.  However, the Jan. 6 move to certify the results and break with Trump has complicated his path. 

“He is unfortunately, for having done the right thing by following the constitutional duties of his office, committed an unforgivable sin to Trump, and therefore to his most loyal supporters,” said Doug Heye, a GOP strategist and former communications director for the Republican National Committee. 

 

Former Vice President Pence

 

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

ADMINISTRATION: Biden on Monday defended airstrikes he ordered against Iranian-backed militia weapons facilities in Iraq and Syria. “I directed last night’s airstrikes, targeting sites used by the Iranian-backed militia group responsible for recent attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq, and I have that authority under Article II,” he said in the Oval Office. Biden’s action has revived debate among Democratic lawmakers about presidential war powers, reports The Hill’s Rebecca Kheel.  

> Housing: Millions of people in the United States who have been protected during the pandemic by a federal moratorium on rental evictions continue to struggle for financial footing and may face homelessness when the ban is lifted July 31 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The administration said it extended the moratorium in June for the final time (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

Three things that could still blow up the bipartisan infrastructure deal, by Catherine Rampell, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3h2mLlN  

What’s dividing the Supreme Court’s conservatives? by Noah Feldman, columnist Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/3xZBtQ4

WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at 10 a.m. The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a virtual hearing at 9:30 a.m. to question Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswall about FEMA’s preparedness. Criswall over the weekend visited the site of the Surfside, Fla., building collapse. House Republicans are holding a separate forum at noon about the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.  

The Senate convenes for a pro forma session at 11 a.m. on Thursday; senators are out of Washington through July 9.

The president receives the President’s Daily Brief at 9:30 a.m. Biden begins a summer travel itinerary to promote a bipartisan infrastructure bill with a visit to La Crosse, Wis., alongside the Mississippi River. He will tour the La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility at 12:30 p.m. and speak at 1 p.m. before returning to the White House. 

First lady Jill BidenJill BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Biden to host Quad leaders in sign of refocused Asia policy First Lady visits schools to discuss COVID-19 MORE visits a COVID-19 vaccination site at Emmett J. Conrad High School in Dallas this afternoon. She will remain in Texas overnight. 

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenDefense policy bill would require 'forever chemical' testing at military sites Biden criticizes treatment of Haitians as 'embarrassment' Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs MORE is participating in the Group of 20 foreign affairs ministers meeting in Matera, Italy (Reuters).

INVITATION TODAY to The Hill’s Virtually Live event, The Future of Missile Defense,” which begins at 12:30 p.m. Speakers include Reps. Jim CooperJim CooperOn The Trail: Census kicks off a wild redistricting cycle Biden emboldens establishment Democrats with ballot box wins Overnight Defense: Military justice overhaul included in defense bill | Pentagon watchdog to review security of 'nuclear football' | Pentagon carries out first air strike in Somalia under Biden MORE (D-Tenn.), House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces chairman, and Mike TurnerMichael Ray TurnerLawmakers, Biden official call for bipartisan action on opioid addiction The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Government shutdown fears increase as leaders dig in GOP hopefuls fight for Trump's favor in Ohio Senate race MORE (R-Ohio), the subcommittee ranking member; John Hill, director of the U.S. Defense Department Missile Defense Agency; and retired Gen. Lori Anderson, former commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. Information is HERE.  

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

MIAMI TRAGEDY: The death toll in Surfside, Fla., has risen to 11 with 150 people still missing following the partial collapse of a high-rise, oceanfront condo building early Thursday (The Associated Press). Crews continue to search through concrete rubble and twisted metal for possible survivors and human remains (The Hill). Biden supports an investigation into the building’s structural failure, although the authority that would head up such a probe remains a question mark, according to White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden does not plan to shield Trump docs in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Arizona recount to show Trump's loss by even wider margin Watch live: Psaki, Homeland Secretary Mayorkas hold press briefing MORE (The Hill).

➔ COURTS: Facebook avoided a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general on Monday when a federal judge dismissed antitrust lawsuits (The Associated Press). … Supreme Court Justice Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasClarence Thomas warns against 'destroying our institutions,' defends the Supreme Court Supreme Court returning to courtroom for arguments The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand MORE said Monday that because of the hodgepodge of federal policies on marijuana, federal laws against its use or cultivation may no longer make sense. "A prohibition on interstate use or cultivation of marijuana may no longer be necessary or proper to support the federal government's piecemeal approach," he wrote. The conservative justice’s views came as the court declined to hear the appeal of a Colorado medical marijuana dispensary that was denied federal tax breaks that other businesses are allowed (NBC News). … The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a Virginia school board’s appeal to reinstate its ban on transgender bathrooms. Over two dissenting votes, the justices left in place lower court rulings that found the policy unconstitutional. Gavin Grimm, 22, who filed a federal lawsuit as a 15-year-old public high school student when he was told he could not use the boys bathroom as an alternative to the restroom designated for his biological sex (female), tweeted, “Now it’s over. We won.” (The Associated Press). 

 

Bathrooms

 

STATE WATCH: North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein (D) announced on Monday that Juul will pay $40 million to settle a lawsuit for allegedly marketing its products to children. Stein in May 2019 sued the company for its role in the surge of youth vaping, becoming the first state attorney general to do so as the company faces lawsuits in at least a dozen other states. In response, Juul products must be sold behind the counter at stores and no individual under the age of 35 will be used in its marketing and promotional materials (The Hill).

LOBBYING: Broadcasters and music artists are tuning up for a Capitol Hill battle. A new coalition represented by former Rep. Joe CrowleyJoseph (Joe) CrowleyProgressives eye shift in strategy after high-profile losses Ocasio-Cortez doesn't rule out challenging Schumer Cynthia Nixon backs primary challenger to Rep. Carolyn Maloney MORE (D-N.Y.) is lobbying Congress to change a century-old law that states radio stations don’t need to pay artists to play their music. The influential National Association of Broadcasters is pushing back, arguing that the law would put radio stations out of business (The Hill).

THE CLOSER

And finally …  Grass means summer, and it also means Wimbledon is back. The oldest tennis tournament in the world and arguably the most prestigious has returned for a fortnight after the championship was canceled last year for the first time since World War II because of the pandemic. 

The second day of play today features Roger Federer, the No. 6 seed, and Serena Williams, who is chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title plus world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and men's No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev. No surprise: Several matches on Monday were carried over because of rain (Eurosport.com). 

ESPN: Wimbledon 2021 winners and losers of the draw.

The Associated Press: Welcome back, Wimbledon: Slam returns to rain, fans, upsets. 

The Guardian: Supermarkets sell out of strawberries. Pimm’s flows freely. Ace! It must be Wimbledon.

 

Wimbledon is underway

 

 

Desert and tea