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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 613,228; Tuesday, 613,679.
Millions of Americans who are suddenly at risk of homelessness if they’re evicted from their rental housing this month may decide to blame President Biden as well as Congress for failing to extend a federal shield intended to keep landlords at bay during the pandemic.
Fearing both a national housing disaster and a political comeuppance, Biden and congressional Democrats engaged in finger-pointing, despite months of knowledge and debate before an eviction moratorium expired July 31. On Monday, a volley of sharply worded letters and statements flew from each end of Pennsylvania Avenue, with no resolution in sight. An estimated 15 million tenants are behind in their rent, and landlords have been eager to regain the leeway for eviction proceedings (The Hill).
“I am grateful to members for all they are doing to call attention to this need, as we await a decision from the administration,” Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRepublicans caught in California's recall trap Raise the debt limit while starting to fix the budget 'Justice for J6' organizer calls on demonstrators to respect law enforcement MORE (D-Calif.) wrote to her caucus on Monday. “It is unfathomable that we would not act to prevent people from being evicted,” she added, just days after the House failed to pass a bill to extend the eviction moratorium even for a few months. Some Democratic lawmakers had wanted it extended until the end of the year.
The administration argues its hands are tied without new law from Congress because the Supreme Court signaled in a June ruling that the moratorium by law would end last month (ABC 10). Pelosi says the House, now in recess until September, could return to Washington for legislative action with “24-hour notice.” In addition, House Democrats complain the administration has been too slow to funnel available rent assistance funds to tenants and landlords now in the crosshairs.
White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiWhy does Biden's vaccine mandate not apply to welfare recipients and others? Overnight Health Care — FDA panel backs boosters for some, but not all White House to host global COVID-19 summit next week MORE insisted again on Monday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which extended the federal moratorium once and warned it would be the final time, is “unable” to find the legal authority to revive the eviction moratorium. The White House now calls on states to take action (The Hill).
Psaki released a statement on Monday saying a third of the country will be “spared evictions for the rest of this month” based on state interventions, and she blamed “too many states and cities” for being slow to implement a $46.5 billion rental relief plan included in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus response law enacted early this year. “As the administration made clear last week, there is no excuse for any state or locality not to promptly deploy the resources that Congress appropriated to meet the critical need of so many Americans,” she said.
The Washington Post: Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), who slept on the Capitol steps over the weekend to protest Washington’s buck-passing and to urge a rapid solution for tenants, said Monday she met with Vice President Harris in the Capitol to urge action by the administration. Bush, who represents a district in St. Louis, describes herself as “a nurse, activist, organizer, single mom and pastor” who at one point in her life lost her housing and lived in her car with her two children.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 issues hit home on Capitol Hill when Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows Trump offers sympathy for those charged with Jan. 6 offenses Lindsey Graham: Police need 'to take a firm line' with Sept. 18 rally attendees MORE (R-S.C.) tested positive on Monday. The South Carolina Republican, who is fully vaccinated, reported that he has mild symptoms, including feeling like he has a sinus infection (The Hill).
Graham’s positive test has ramifications beyond his health. His self-isolation for the next 10 days will prevent him from casting a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, if the measure is on the Senate floor before next Thursday. Graham was among the 17 Senate Republicans who voted to open debate on the package last week.
Potentially impacting colleagues in another way, Graham was among a bipartisan group of senators on Saturday night outdoors on Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBriahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE’s (D-W.Va.) houseboat in the nation’s capital, sending the attendees scrambling for COVID-19 tests. According to reports, Sens. Mark KellyMark KellyOvernight Defense & National Security — Congress begins Afghanistan grilling Businesses want Congress to support safe, quality jobs — so do nearly all Americans GOP sees Biden crises as boon for midterm recruitment MORE (D-Ariz.), Jacky RosenJacklyn (Jacky) Sheryl RosenFormer Sen. Heller to run for Nevada governor Photos of the Week: Infrastructure vote, India floods and a bear The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions MORE (D-Nev.), Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsBiden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict Senate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' Hillicon Valley: Cryptocurrency amendment blocked in Senate | Dems press Facebook over suspension of researchers' accounts | Thousands push back against Apple plan to scan US iPhones for child sexual abuse images MORE (D-Del.) and Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellDelta variant's spread hampers Labor Day air travel, industry recovery Wyden asks White House for details on jet fuel shortage amid wildfire season Air travel hits pandemic high MORE (D-Wash.) were among those aboard “Almost Heaven,” the name of Manchin’s home in Washington. Manchin and Coons both reported that they tested negative for COVID-19, while others awaited results. All those who joined Manchin on his vessel have been fully vaccinated.
“There was no celebration. We’re just trying to keep people together and do things in a bipartisan way. That’s what we do,” Manchin said on Monday evening (HuffPost).
The Hill: Graham’s COVID-19 breakthrough case jolts the Senate.
> Vaccinations: The U.S. on Monday reported that 70 percent of adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, having reached the milestone after a slog in persuading some individuals to receive the jab.
The Biden administration had initially hoped to hit the 70 percent marker by July 4. As of Monday, the seven-day average of vaccinations administered reached 673,000 people — the highest average achieved in nearly a Monday. Adding to the positive news, the U.S. is seeing an uptick in those receiving their first shot, according to the White House.
The Hill: U.S. passes 35 million COVID-19 cases.
Politico: Tensions rise within Biden team over mask reversal.
Karl Evers-Hillstrom, The Hill: Some U.S. N95 mask makers say they're in danger of going broke.
> Mandates: The president’s rule mandating vaccinations for federal employees is expected to bolster efforts to require vaccines in the workplace, according to The Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch. However, experts believe it could also set off a legal battle that will revisit long-standing authority to impose health measures at work.
That possibility is not stopping a number of states and cities from imposing vaccine directives. New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoLetitia James holding private talks on running for New York governor: report Governors brace for 2022 after year in pandemic spotlight Tucker Carlson says he lies when 'I'm really cornered or something' MORE (D) on Monday announced that New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) workers must be vaccinated or be subjected to regular testing. The order will apply to 68,000 MTA workers and workers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who work at facilities within the Empire State, including LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy Airport, among others (The New York Times).
Meanwhile, on July 17, Cuomo was questioned under oath by state investigators in Manhattan for 11 hours regarding sexual harassment charges he faces from multiple women. He has denied the accusations (The New York Times).
The New York Times: Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioThree arrested for allegedly assaulting NYC hostess who asked for COVID-19 vaccine proof Letitia James holding private talks on running for New York governor: report Ocasio-Cortez defends attendance of Met Gala amid GOP uproar MORE (D) urges New Yorkers to wear indoor masks again but stops short of mandate.
In Louisiana, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) on Monday reinstated a mask mandate indoors for ages 5 and older beginning immediately. The initial order will last through Sept. 1 (The Advocate).
The Hill: Appeals court sides with Indiana University on vaccine mandate.
The New York Times: Home Depot, SoulCycle and other businesses tighten pandemic restrictions.
Reuters: Germany to offer a booster against COVID-19 as well as coronavirus vaccines for children.
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LEADING THE DAY
CONGRESS: With legislative text finished and the Senate into a new phase of the infrastructure process, lawmakers are facing a new challenge: selling the bill to Senate Republicans.
Although 17 Senate GOP members voted to open debate on the bipartisan framework last week, pitching the finalized $1.2 trillion proposal is an entirely different animal. As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton writes, Republicans remain concerned over whether the entire package is paid for — Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanEmboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes Overnight On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — GOP senator: It's 'foolish' to buy Treasury bonds Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken MORE (Ohio), the top GOP negotiator, has maintained it will be — and provisions that give tens of billions of dollars to Democratic priorities, including transit and clean energy.
GOP leaders say a lot will depend on the Congressional Budget Office assessment of the legislation.
“How much of it really, truly is offset with credible pay-fors is I think going to be a pretty big factor for a good number of our members who might be inclined to vote for something but don’t want to add it to the deficit,” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneManchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Manchin-McConnell meet amid new voting rights push Republican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, adding that he had the “same questions.”
On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnell'Justice for J6' rally puts GOP in awkward spot Republicans keep distance from 'Justice for J6' rally House to act on debt ceiling next week MORE (R-Ky.) warned Democrats against creating an “artificial timeline” to pass the bipartisan package, saying that Senate Republicans will offer up amendments to the bill.
McConnell, speaking from the Senate floor, called the roughly $1 trillion bipartisan deal a “good and important jumping-off point” but said it shouldn’t be the “last word” from the upper chamber.
It needs to be “a robust and bipartisan process out here on the floor,” McConnell said. “Senators on both sides expect and deserve opportunities to have a say and put their own state’s imprints on this major bill” (The Hill).
The Hill: Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal Capito grills EPA nominee on '#ResistCapitalism' tweet GOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization MORE (R-W.Va.), the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, praises the infrastructure deal.
Politico: Democrats scramble for cash to cover Biden’s $3.5 trillion plan.
The Hill: Poll shows broad support for bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Reuters: Treasury Department suspends government retirement, health fund payments as debt limit resets.
> U.S. Capitol & Jan. 6 aftermath: The Metropolitan Police Department confirmed on Tuesday that two officers who responded to the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol committed suicide, bringing the total to four.
Gunther Hashida, a veteran of the force assigned to the Metropolitan Police Department (MTP) Emergency Response Team within the Special Operations Division, took his own life on July 29, having been found dead at home (The Hill). Later on Tuesday, he MTP confirmed that Officer Kyle DeFreytag, 26, committed suicide on July 10 (The Hill).
The Washington Post: As many Republicans try to rewrite history of Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonDomestic extremists return to the Capitol GOP senator: Buying Treasury bonds 'foolish' amid standoff over debt ceiling, taxes Internal poll shows Barnes with 29-point lead in Wisconsin Democratic Senate primary MORE (R-Wis.) suggests FBI knew more than it has said.
> Nord Stream 2: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict Failed drug vote points to bigger challenges for Democrats Overnight Defense & National Security — Blinken heads to the hot seat MORE (D-N.J.) said in a statement on Monday that he opposes the deal that the U.S. and Germany reached last month to allow the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Despite expressing opposition and calling it a security threat, the Biden administration agreed to a deal to allow for the construction of the Russian-made pipeline, which will deliver natural gas to Europe. Menendez and some of his counterparts on Foreign Affairs panels across the globe said in a statement that they saw the pipeline as a “geopolitical project” aimed at expanding Russian influence in the European energy market and a tool that could be used to blackmail and pressure Ukraine.
“The EU and United States must work together to increase sanctions pressure on the Kremlin to counter aggression in Ukraine,” they wrote (The Hill).
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
POLITICS: The winners of two special House primaries in Ohio today hold potential clues for both the Democratic and Republican parties ahead of the 2022 midterms, report The Hill’s Tal Axelrod and Julia Manchester in a list of what to watch when polls close. A special election in a conservative district near Columbus for the seat vacated by former Rep. Steve StiversSteven (Steve) Ernst StiversTrump asks if Rand Paul has 'learned lesson' on endorsements Five takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE (R) and another in for a seat near Cleveland formerly held by liberal Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeSanders goes back to 2016 playbook to sell .5T budget Activists detail legal fight against HUD for Philadelphia housing Photos of the Week: Rep. Cori Bush, Beirut clash and duck derby MORE lead the Ohio political headlines.
Near Columbus, energy lobbyist Mike Carey is trying to defeat a slate of other Republicans by running on his endorsement from former President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE, a tie that has turned the GOP primary into an early test of the former president’s strength. To succeed Democrat Fudge, progressive stalwart Nina Turner, a former state senator who shot to national prominence as a surrogate for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Democrats urge Biden to commute sentences of 4K people on home confinement Briahna Joy Gray: Push toward major social spending amid pandemic was 'short-lived' MORE’s (I-Vt.) presidential campaigns, is looking to hold off Shontel Brown, a local official with the backing of some of Democrats’ most high-profile establishment figures.
The Associated Press: Trump’s kingmaker status faces a test in an Ohio special election.
The Columbus Dispatch: Eleven Republicans and two Democrats are vying for the chance to replace Stivers, who left Congress in May for the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
The Hill’s Niall Stanage writes that the Democratic Party’s left wing faces a key Ohio primary test. Progressives' hopes are riding on Turner, the race's early favorite and biggest fundraiser, who has been joined on the campaign trail by the two biggest stars of the left, Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOn The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Pelosi plows full speed ahead on jam-packed agenda Photos of the Week: Renewable energy, gymnast testimonies and a Met Gala dress Ocasio-Cortez, Bush push to add expanded unemployment in .5T spending plan MORE (D-N.Y.). But Turner faces a stiff challenge from a more establishment candidate in Shontel Brown (pictured below), who also has some prominent backing from House leaders. And, if Turner loses, it will be the latest setback for progressives, who have seen their hopes dashed in a New York City mayoral race and Virginia's gubernatorial race already this year.
In Pennsylvania, Rep. Conor Lamb (D) on Friday will announce his bid for the Senate, according to a Monday statement about a planned Friday announcement and news accounts from Pittsburgh. He will join Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, and Philadelphia state representative Malcolm Kenyatta, among others, in seeking next spring’s Democratic nomination to replace Republican Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyBlack women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE, who is retiring from the upper chamber (KDKA2).
Today is also primary day in Washington state (voter’s guide HERE).
The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!
The anti-vaccine con job is becoming untenable: Why targets of deliberate deception often hesitate to admit they’ve been deceived, by Brooke Harrington, author and contributor, The Atlantic. https://bit.ly/3yomMqc
Has Congress learned nothing about how to deal with a pandemic? by Catherine Rampell, columnist The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3A8lqk5
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WHERE AND WHEN
The House will meet at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session. Members are out of town for the August recess.
The Senate convenes at 10:30 a.m. and will resume consideration of the bipartisan infrastructure package.
The president and the vice president will receive the President’s Daily Brief in the Oval Office at 10:15 a.m. Biden and Harris will meet with Latino community leaders to discuss the economy, immigration and voting rights at 1 p.m. In the State Dining Room, they will commemorate the two-year anniversary of the shooting in El Paso, Texas. Biden will speak at 3:45 p.m. in the East Room about the COVID-19 pandemic and the administration’s responses.
The White House press briefing is scheduled at 1:30 p.m.
➔ INTERNATIONAL: Iran's hardline incoming president Ebrahim Raisi, who will be sworn in on Thursday, said today, "We will seek to lift the tyrannical sanctions imposed by America," after winning the formal endorsement of the country's supreme leader to take office. Raisi is under personal U.S. sanctions over allegations of human rights abuses in his past as a judge. Elected in June, he is set to replace pragmatist Hassan Rouhani in a vote in which other high profile candidates were barred from standing, said in a televised speech. No date has been set for Iran and Western powers to resume denuclearization talks (Reuters). … The United States on Monday expanded its visa criteria for refugees from Afghanistan to include current and former employees of U.S.-based news organizations, U.S.-based aid and development agencies and other relief groups that receive U.S. funding. Current and former employees of the U.S. government and the NATO military operation, who don’t meet the criteria for a dedicated program for such workers, are also covered (The Associated Press). … Germany on Monday sent a warship to the South China Sea for the first time in almost two decades, joining other Western nations in expanding its military presence in the region amid growing alarm over China's territorial ambitions (Reuters).
➔ SCIENCE: A team conducting research at Michigan’s Lake Huron has proposed a novel link between how fast the Earth spun on its axis 3 billion years ago, defining the length of a day, and the ancient production of oxygen, which was once scarce (research published in the journal Nature Geoscience and reported by Science Daily and Science magazine). … The niece of deceased Navy seaman William Edward Mann, presumed killed at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, is among some families of crew members who are demanding the U.S. military take advantage of advances in DNA technology to identify 85 sailors and Marines from the USS Arizona who were buried as unknowns. They say the military has disinterred and identified remains from other Pearl Harbor battleships and should do the same for their loved ones (The Associated Press).
➔ REOPENING: San Francisco’s famed cable cars were up and running on Monday for the first time in 16 months after being rendered dormant by the COVID-19 pandemic. The reintroduction of the cars, which are open-air and run up and down the city’s hills, was the latest sign that the city is “bouncing back,” according to San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D). The mayor added that the cars will be free to ride this month, with the service resuming its regular schedule in September (The Associated Press).
And finally … The Morning Report Tokyo Summer Olympics coverage today continues with some big headlines, world-class photos and a medal leaderboard.
**** BREAKING **** Triumphant, relieved U.S. gymnast Simone Biles, 24, turned in a performance on the balance beam today that captured the bronze medal and maintained her spot as the face of gymnastics worldwide following a tough week. Her experience with the “twisties” and resulting decision to withdraw from some routines in Tokyo opened the door for other stars on the USA women’s team (NBC News). On the balance beam, Biles finished third behind Chinese competitors Guan Chenchen, with 14.633 points for the gold medal, and Tang Xijing, with 14.233 points, who won silver (The New York Times and The Guardian).
China and the United States are tied for the lead in total medals with 68, with China topping the U.S. in gold medals, 32 to 22. Russia, competing as the Russian Olympic Committee in Tokyo, has piled up 50 medals (12 gold). Great Britain has 41 medals (13 gold), and host nation Japan has 34 total so far, of which 18 are gold. Check out medals, competitions and details at NBC Olympics.