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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each day this week: Monday, 607,156; Tuesday, 607,400; Wednesday, 607,771; Thursday, 608,115; Friday, 608,400.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Thursday he’ll play some legislative hardball next week with a bipartisan infrastructure outline he and 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 want senators in both parties to support. Most senators, however, are in the dark about detailed legislative language, proposed offsets to cover the costs, and an official “score” gauging how $1.2 trillion for roads, bridges, ports, airports, rail and broadband add up.
Schumer announced he will look for at least 60 votes next week to take up the plan, a breathless pace that is intended to hasten the final drafting while also limiting the period in which detractors can do damage.
“Today I'm announcing that I intend to file cloture on the vehicle for the bipartisan infrastructure bill on Monday of next week,” Schumer said, speaking to colleagues on the Senate floor.
Schumer on Monday is expected to file a shell bill that senators will later swap for the eventual bill language. The majority leader needs at least 60 votes to clear Wednesday’s filibuster hurdle to take up debate. Assuming all Democrats jump on board, the measure would need backing from at least 10 Republicans. The unknowns and speedy timetable in Schumer’s strategy irritated some colleagues as they left Washington on Thursday.
“Senators will have until Wednesday of next week before the initial vote on cloture on the motion to proceed. Everyone has been having productive conversations and it's important to keep the two-track process moving. All parties involved in the bipartisan infrastructure bill talks must now finalize their agreement so that the Senate can begin considering that legislation next week,” Schumer said.
The Associated Press: Top Senate Democrat sets infrastructure vote, pressures lawmakers.
Politico: Senate nears pivotal vote on bipartisan infrastructure deal that’s still unwritten.
Schumer’s decision to put an hourglass on proceedings upset some Senate Republicans who complained that the New York Democrat is trying to jam negotiations.
“It’s a bad idea if the bill’s not ready. ... Our guys aren’t going to vote for a bill they haven’t seen,” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSchumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B GOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican (The Hill).
The Hill’s Jordain Carney: Senate negotiators scramble to defang GOP criticism.
Jim Tankersley, The New York Times: Democrats push a budget to fulfill Biden’s aggressive economic ambitions.
Absent completed legislative text, the Congressional Budget Office cannot explain its effects on spending, revenues and debt. The infrastructure negotiations from the outset have been complicated by the search for ways to offset spending acceptable to a magic number of Democrats and Republicans.
As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports, a bipartisan group of 22 senators now wants to jettison a White House proposal to invest $40 billion in new funding for the IRS, which the administration calculated could net $100 billion in revenues through enforcement of tax laws. Conservatives object, which means negotiators have been looking elsewhere for consensus ideas that would not raise taxes on corporations or on middle-income taxpayers.
“Just got to find a pay-for, that’s it,” said Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterThree dead, dozens injured after Amtrak train derailed in Montana The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B MORE (D-Mont.), a member of the group.
The Wall Street Journal: Infrastructure talks stall over expanded IRS powers.
The New York Times: Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerPanic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Democrats surprised, caught off guard by 'framework' deal Schumer announces Senate-House deal on tax 'framework' for .5T package MORE (D-Va.), a “business guy” Democrat, lands back in the fray.
The Associated Press: Once rivals, Biden and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersIn Washington, the road almost never taken Don't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble MORE (I-Vt.) are now partners in power.
Notably, Wednesday is also Schumer’s deadline for Democrats to “move forward” on a separate and massive budget resolution that would need a simple majority to pass. Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinCongress needs to gird the country for climate crisis Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Poll from liberal group shows more voters in key states back .5T bill MORE (D-W.Va.), whose vote is crucial to move the resolution forward, called it a “challenge” for all 50 members to come to agreement on $3.5 trillion for what Biden calls “human infrastructure” — education, Medicare, child and elder care, climate change policies and more (CNN).
Nevertheless, Senate Democrats remain confident that the West Virginia centrist will advance the reconciliation package. Manchin says he wants to weigh in on provisions he opposes if they would compel his state to transition away from coal or other fossil fuels to alternative energy sources that are embraced by the White House and progressives in Congress.
In all, Manchin’s status is a good sign for Biden and Schumer (The Hill).
Bloomberg News: 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.) says the House will “realign” elements of the Senate’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation plan.
The Hill: GOP senators invite Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenWe 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 Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill MORE to brief them on debt ceiling expiration, inflation.
Bloomberg Law: Biden’s road to clean energy meets West Virginia coal country.
LEADING THE DAY
CORONAVIRUS: Erroneous information about COVID-19 and vaccines — spread innocently or purposely on social media, on TV and radio and in partisan political ads — is a deadly hazard all its own. “Health misinformation is an urgent threat to public health,” U.S. Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyCDC director partially overrules panel, signs off on boosters CDC panel authorizes COVID-19 vaccine boosters for high-risk people, those over 65 FDA authorizes Pfizer COVID-19 booster shot for older and high-risk Americans MORE said in a statement on Thursday as the Biden administration works to overcome vaccine hesitancy in adults and young people (The Hill).
“It can cause confusion, sow distrust, and undermine public health efforts, including our ongoing work to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” Murthy said.
The government’s 22-page statement, the first issued by the surgeon general during the Biden administration, calls for a range of sectors to take action. For example, the administration asked journalists to “avoid amplifying misinformation,” expand credible sources beyond national scientists and public health experts to include trusted local medical authorities, and “consider headlines and images that inform rather than shock or provoke.”
As the U.S. vaccination rate declines because people refuse doses, believe they are not at risk or prefer to wait to assess how the new vaccines work, administration officials and public health advisers fear that myths and malarkey are taking hold and are hard to refute, especially if prominent politicians and partisan personalities invent exaggerated warnings for ideological reasons.
A recent Biden remark about “knocking on doors” to help people get vaccinated was repurposed by some conservatives as a warning that federal officials would go door to door looking for guns. CNN fact-checked the controversy, pointing to confusing statements on the subject by administration officials and clearly invented statements made by critics of the administration.
Hopkins Medicine: Myth vs. fact, COVID-19 vaccines.
And what about the investigations into speculation that COVID-19 escaped from a virology lab in Wuhan, China? The World Health Organization, which tried to conduct the first international examination in China of the origin of COVID-19, believes it is “premature” to rule out the lab-leak theory (The Hill). Biden ordered U.S. intelligence to redouble efforts to identify the origins of the novel coronavirus and he requested a report by the end of August.
> Which employees are required to get COVID-19 shots? St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a major Memphis employer, is the latest medical facility to announce its employees must be vaccinated (Local24). … In June, dozens of hospitals and medical groups in Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere began issuing vaccination requirements. Mandates are seen as a legal means for employers to bolster a safe, COVID-19-free environment (Stateline).
Los Angeles Times: Residents of Los Angeles County must wear masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of their vaccination status, beginning at 11:59 p.m. Saturday. The resumption of restrictions is prompted by a worrisome spike in COVID-19 infections.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
ADMINISTRATION: Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday at the White House vowed to work together to defend against Russian aggression and stand up to anti-democratic actions by China (Reuters). Merkel after 16 years in office is not seeking reelection in September.
> Cyber security: The United States is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information that can identify or locate malicious cyber actors working on behalf of a foreign government to target critical U.S. infrastructure (CNN). Believing hackers are motivated by money, the State Department is offering to trade dollars for IDs.
> Child tax credits: On Thursday, Biden hailed the start of monthly federal payments to an estimated 35 million U.S. families with children. The payments will last through the end of the year while Democrats seek to make the benefit permanent under the law (The Hill).
> Haiti: Biden on Thursday said he will not send U.S. troops to Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. "We’re only sending American Marines to our embassy to make sure that they are secure,” he told reporters. “But the idea of sending American forces into Haiti is not on the agenda at this moment" (The Hill). … Eight FBI agents are in Port-au-Prince assisting an investigation involving Haitian and Colombian officials who say former Colombian soldiers, security officials and businessmen conspired to kill Haiti’s president in a plot that spanned three countries (The Wall Street Journal).
POLITICS: The New York attorney general’s office is expected to question New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Arizona recount to show Trump's loss by even wider margin Former co-worker accuses Chris Cuomo of sexual harassment in NYT essay NY health chief criticized over state's COVID-19 response resigns MORE (D) on Saturday as part of its investigation into multiple allegations of sexual harassment against the governor.
According to The New York Times, Joon Kim and Anne Clark, the two outside lawyers hired by Attorney General Letitia James (D), are expected to question the governor in Albany. Cuomo has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
The questioning will take place four months into the investigation, with the two outside lawyers set to announce their findings in a report at its conclusion. It remains unknown when the probe will wrap up as there is no deadline for a report to be produced. Last month, James said that the investigation “will conclude when it concludes.”
> Talking shop: 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 on Thursday sat down with 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.) to discuss the 2022 elections.
McCarthy traveled to Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., for his second in-person meeting with the ex-president since he left office in January. The two previously met at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla.
According to a source familiar with the meeting, the topics did not deviate from the planned agenda, with the two discussing the GOP’s fundraising, upcoming special elections and vulnerable Democratic targets. The source notably added that two hot-button issues were not mentioned: the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and the select committee Pelosi announced last month to probe the attack.
The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig: The inside story of Trump’s defiance and inaction on Jan. 6.
The Washington Post: U.S. seeks prison term for first felony defendant to be sentenced in Capitol breach, citing domestic terror threat.
New Jersey Globe: N.J. Supreme Court will pick tiebreaker on congressional redistricting.
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It seems odd that we would just let the world burn, by Ezra Klein, columnist, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/3hJQSii
Cuba’s counter revolution will be televised if Biden makes it so, by Hugh Hewitt, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3enPr6N
WHERE AND WHEN
The House meets at 9 a.m. for a pro forma session. Members return for legislative business on Monday.
The Senate convenes on Monday at 3 p.m. and will resume consideration of Tiffany Cunningham to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Federal Circuit.
The president will virtually participate at 7:30 a.m. in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ retreat focused on the pandemic (Reuters). Biden and Vice President Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief in the Oval Office at 10 a.m. The president and Harris will have lunch together at 12:20 p.m. They will receive a coronavirus update from their advisers at 1 p.m. Biden will depart for Camp David, Md., at 2:30 p.m. Once there, he will receive a weekly economic briefing from advisers at 3:45 p.m. The president will remain at Camp David for the weekend.
The White House press briefing is scheduled at 12:30 p.m. Senior members of the administration’s pandemic and vaccine response team will brief journalists at 11 a.m.
Economic indicator: The Commerce Department at 8:30 a.m. reports retail sales in June. Economists anticipate a monthly decline in the measure of consumer spending.
➔ SUPREME COURT: Justice Stephen BreyerStephen BreyerBarrett: Supreme Court 'not comprised of a bunch of partisan hacks' Sunday shows - Manchin says he won't vote for .5 trillion bill Breyer says term limits would 'make life easier for me' MORE, vacationing in New Hampshire, told CNN in an interview on Wednesday that he has not decided when he will retire and is especially gratified with his new role as the senior liberal on the bench. He will be 83 in August and said his main considerations are “health” and “the court.” Liberal court watchers have urged Breyer to retire to give Biden and Senate Democrats an opening to put a younger progressive on the court in case they lose their narrow majority.
➔ ECONOMY: Will Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, nominated by Trump, get the nod from Biden to lead the central bank for another term? North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenryPatrick Timothy McHenryBiden taps big bank skeptic to for top regulatory post Lawmakers introduce bill to create commemorative coins to honor working dogs Lobbying world MORE, the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee, said on Wednesday that Powell should stay. “You have earned and deserved another term as chair of the Federal Reserve,” he told Powell. “You have proven to be a steady hand throughout this pandemic or ongoing recovery.” Progressive Democrats may hope to open an avenue for the president to nominate a Democrat to replace Powell, whose term ends in 2022 (CNBC and NBC News).
➔ “HOW ABOUT THAT!”: Next week will be a first for fans of Major League Baseball. They can enjoy a game called entirely by female broadcasters. Five women will serve as the on-air crew for the Baltimore Orioles game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Women have been broadcasting baseball games on radio and television for decades, but the Baltimore-Tampa contest is believed to be the first time an all-women team will handle the entire broadcast for a major league game (The New York Times).
And finally … A big round of applause for this week’s Morning Report Quiz winners!
Here’s who aced our puzzle on sports record holders questions in honor of the 80th anniversary of Joe DiMaggio recording his 56-game hitting streak: Patrick Kavanagh, Edwin Shanahan, Chris Bodamer, Kathleen Kovalik, Steve James and John Donato.
They knew that Pete Rose’s attempt to equal DiMaggio ended at 44 games in 1978.
In his career at the French Open, tennis legend Rafael Nadal has lost three matches on Roland Garros’s famed clay court tournament.
Wayne Gretzky, who held 61 NHL records when he retired in 1999, still holds the mark for most points in a career and goals/assists in a single season. Therefore the answer is none of the above.
Finally, Henry Aaron appeared in 25 All-Star Games during his 23-year career (There were two All-Star Games held per season from 1959-62).