The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Pelosi refuses to budge on bipartisan infrastructure bill

                              Presented by AT&T



Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Thursday! 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 reported each morning this week: Monday, 616,829; Tuesday, 617,321; Wednesday, 618,137; Thursday, 618,479.

Trouble is brewing within the House Democratic Caucus, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) held firm Wednesday and will not take up the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill in the coming weeks, putting her in conflict with moderate Democrats who clamor for an immediate vote on the proposal. 


For weeks, Pelosi has maintained that the House will not act on the $1 trillion bipartisan package until Senate Democrats vote in unison on the $3.5 trillion reconciliation blueprint, bowing to the wishes of progressives in the process. That rang true again during a conference call with House Democrats on Wednesday.


“I am not freelancing. This is the consensus,” Pelosi said, a source familiar with her message told The Hill. 


As The Hill’s Scott Wong and Mike Lillis write, Pelosi’s strategy is widely supported by progressives, who don’t quite trust some of the centrist Democrats in the Senate, and rank-and-file Democrats who want to use the bipartisan legislation as leverage to ensure the reconciliation bill clears the upper chamber.


However, the move has rankled moderate Democrats and members who are facing tough reelection fights next year. According to Roll Call, moderate Democrats are considering using the upcoming vote on the budget resolution as leverage themselves, with eight to 10 centrist members privately indicating a willingness to vote against it if Pelosi does not put the bipartisan infrastructure bill on the floor for a vote first.


Remember, the House majority is slim so if centrist Democrats stand strong, Pelosi can't pass a budget measure because all Republicans will vote no. But, also remember that Pelosi is a great vote counter. 


“Now that the Senate approved the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the House must pass it ASAP,” Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyThe Hill's Morning Report - US warns Kremlin, weighs more troops to Europe Headaches intensify for Democrats in Florida Clyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' MORE (D-Fla.) tweeted on Wednesday. “While I support passing a targeted reconciliation bill to help FL families, we shouldn’t hold infrastructure hostage to it. I urge @SpeakerPelosi to put the bill on the floor this month.”


Note: Biden won Murphy's district by single digits and is a GOP target next year.


The tweet was not met enthusiastically by House Democrats. Rep. Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanDemocrats press cryptomining companies on energy consumption In their own words: Lawmakers, staffers remember Jan. 6 insurrection Overnight Energy & Environment — Manchin raises hopes on climate spending MORE (D-Calif.) responded directly to the tweet, saying, “Respectfully, no.”


Hypothetically, moderate members could gum up the process if they were to go ahead and vote as a bloc, a move that would be reminiscent of the House Freedom Caucus when Republicans were in the majority. Pelosi can lose the support of three members of her caucus on any given vote, a narrow margin. Backers of Pelosi’s game plan believe she has little choice in how to proceed in order to pass the top priority of President BidenJoe BidenFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Romney tests positive for coronavirus Pelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better MORE


“The reality is this: It’s either we pass two bills or zero,” one House Democrat told the Morning Report. “We are WAY short [of] the votes needed if we just try to move just the bipartisan infrastructure bill alone.”


Meanwhile, before the House can even weigh in on a potential reconciliation offering, Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats sense opportunity with SCOTUS vacancy Schumer finds unity moment in Supreme Court fight Breyer retirement throws curveball into midterms MORE (D-N.Y.) has work to do in order to keep all 50 Senate Democrats in line.


As The Hill’s Jordain Carney writes, the Democratic leader kept his word and passed the bipartisan bill, moving immediately after to advance the budget resolution before lawmakers broke for recess. However, he is already facing pressure over the reconciliation blueprint, with zero wiggle room.


The Associated Press: Biden’s complicated new task: keeping Democrats together.


Axios: Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi sidesteps progressives' March 1 deadline for Build Back Better On The Money — Fed's inflation tracker at fastest pace since '82 Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition MORE (D-W.Va.) says he has “serious concerns” with $3.5 trillion spending bill.



Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) walks to his office



> “No significant effect on GDP”: Economists with the Penn Wharton Budget Model at the University of Pennsylvania scored the Senate-passed infrastructure bill, concluding that it authorizes “about $548 billion in additional infrastructure investments, which we estimate is funded by $132 billion in new tax provisions and $351 billion in new deficits. We project that proposal would have no significant effect on GDP by the end of the budget window (2031) or in the long run (2050).” The detailed Aug. 5 analysis is HERE.


> Debt ceiling, shutdown risks: Biden on Wednesday said he is not worried about the partisan divide over whether (and how) to raise the statutory cap on Treasury borrowing to cover U.S. obligations. “They're not going to let the U.S. default,” he predicted, referring to Republicans on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, 46 GOP senators signed a letter saying they would not vote for any debt ceiling increase or suspension (The Hill). 


Flashback quote, July 2011: “If we’re unable to come together, we think it’s extremely important that the country reassure the markets that default is not an option, and reassure Social Security recipients and families of military veterans that default is not an option” — then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Actor John Krasinski films outside White House Biden's Supreme Court choice: A political promise, but also a matter of justice Let's 'reimagine' political corruption MORE (R-Ky.).


The Hill: Crypto industry seeks to build momentum after losing Senate fight.


The Hill: Rail advocates say infrastructure bill falls short.



US President Joe Biden departs after taking part in a virtual meeting with governors, mayors and local officials



AT&T is making a $2 billion, 3-year commitment to help connect communities to their American Dream


Susana Chávez became valedictorian of International High School at Langley Park while juggling numerous jobs throughout school. But what kept her powering through it all was her American Dream. With the help of accessible and affordable broadband, she was able to focus on her studies, get assistance from teachers and stay in touch with her mother back home. And thanks to Access from AT&T, we can connect low-income households like Susana’s, and more communities in areas we serve with their American Dream. Find out how.


CORONAVIRUS: Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomLos Angeles lawmakers vote to support ban on new oil wells Newsom, California lawmakers reach deal on COVID-19 sick pay California bill would require all schoolchildren to be vaccinated against COVID-19 MORE (D) on Wednesday announced that educators and staff must present proof of full vaccination or be tested at least once or week, transforming California into the first state in the nation to require public school teachers and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. “To give parents confidence that their children are safe as schools return to full, in-person learning, we are urging all school staff to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are how we will end this pandemic,” the governor said in a statement. The requirement goes into effect today, and the state’s more than 1,000 school districts must be in full compliance by Oct. 15 (The Hill). 


Education Secretary Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaEducation Department releases guide for using COVID-19 relief funds to address school labor shortages On The Money — No SALT, and maybe no deal Over 80 lawmakers urge Biden to release memo outlining his authority on student debt cancellation MORE said on Wednesday that he favors the adoption by school districts of vaccination mandates for educators. “I would like to see that as long as it's safe,” he said, adding that “vaccination is the best way to get our schools safely reopened” (The Hill).


The Associated Press: School districts in Arizona, Florida, Texas and beyond are fighting back against GOP governors to defy their bans on mask mandates during the pandemic.


> Children: A spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations among children worries clinicians and strains hospitals. National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that “the largest number of children so far in the whole pandemic right now are in the hospital, 1,450 kids in the hospital from COVID-19.” 


Hospitals for children in Louisiana and Texas, where infections are surging, face shortages of beds and equipment. Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics finds almost 94,000 COVID-19 cases confirmed among children — amounting to 15 percent of all cases in the past week. With children under age 12 ineligible to get COVID-19 vaccines, and low vaccination rates among adolescents, America’s young population risks contracting the coronavirus as the delta strain sweeps the nation and schools prepare to welcome students back to classrooms (The Hill).


The Washington Post: Republicans risk becoming the face of the delta surge of COVID-19 with opposition to mandated mitigation measures.


> Overwhelmed hospitals: “I am frightened by what is coming,” Esmaeil Porsa, a top health official in Harris County, which includes Houston, told Texas legislators this week as he described a surge of 10,000 COVID-19 patients now straining the capacities of hospitals in Houston, Austin and San Antonio (The New York Times).  


> Pregnant women: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday officially recommended COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women. Updating previous guidance based on new evidence, the CDC said, “COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people aged 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.” Reproductive safety has been among significant concerns for men and women who say they are hesitant to get vaccinated (The Hill and The Associated Press).



A pregnant woman receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19



> Vaccine news: The Food and Drug Administration is expected to revise the emergency use authorizations for Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines to allow immunocompromised individuals to receive a booster shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.7 million Americans fall into that category (NBC News). … The European Union is examining possible new side effects of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s mRNA COVID-19 shots in a small number of people, Europe’s drug regulator said on Wednesday (Reuters).


> Masks and mitigation restrictions: Philadelphia announced an expected indoor mask mandate, effective today, with an exception for businesses that require proof of vaccination for entry Starting Sept. 1, all new city hires will be required to be vaccinated. Current city employees must be fully vaccinated or double-mask (The Philadelphia Inquirer).


Effective on Wednesday, Hawaii reimposed COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings, which will be limited to no more than 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Indoor events at bars, restaurants, gyms and places of worship will be reduced to 50 percent capacity, and masks must be worn at all times except when eating or drinking (The New York Times). 


> Businesses and transportation: Amtrak says it will require full COVID-19 vaccination by Nov. 1 for its 18,000 employees or weekly testing for the unvaccinated. Beginning on Oct. 4, all new employees must show proof of vaccination before reporting for their first day of work (Reuters).


POLITICS: As the once-in-a-decade redistricting fights get underway, voting rights advocates will be armed with a new arsenal: a suite of sophisticated digital tools capable of exposing efforts by politicians to manipulate voting maps for partisan advantage, reports The Hill’s John Kruzel. The rollout of the tech offensive comes amid fears that the redistricting process, which officially begins today with the release of Census Bureau data, could involve an unprecedented attempt at partisan gerrymandering. 


The Associated Press: Census data kicks off effort to reshape U.S. House districts.


And speaking of census data, The Hill’s Reid Wilson highlights what the detailed population counts conducted in 2020 will reveal today, including the rapid diversification of the country.


The New York Times: Let the gerrymandering (and the legal battles) begin.



The U.S. Census logo appears on census materials received in the mail



> Close coordination among a sitting president, his political team and operations of a national nominating party is par for the course for both Democrats and Republicans over many decades. The Biden White House, however, is playing a particularly early and influential role at the Democratic National Committee, not always to the liking of some members of the president’s party (The Hill).


> State Watch: The Hill’s Max Greenwood has an update on the political situation faced by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisThe Hill's Morning Report - Democrats sense opportunity with SCOTUS vacancy Broward County Sheriff sacks deputy union head amid COVID-19 dispute Biden leading Trump, DeSantis by similar margins in new poll MORE (R), who is eyeing higher office and favors freedom of choice over mandates when it comes to COVID-19. His political base applauds him for it, but some corporations and local officials, including in one of the state’s largest school districts, are challenging some of his executive edicts as deadly public health mistakes. The politics of pandemic responses remain unpredictable. … In New York, the upcoming departure of Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoJudge strikes down New York's indoor mask mandate Hochul raises .6 million since launching gubernatorial campaign Former aide says she felt 'abandoned' by Democrats who advanced Garcetti nomination as ambassador to India MORE (D) has set off a flurry of political calculations and speculation about competitors in 2022 (The New York Times). And what are the odds that Cuomo runs again? (The Atlantic).


> The Hill’s Niall Stanage uses his latest Memo to explore whether a fall of Afghanistan’s government to the Taliban would roil American politics. Biden said this week as the Taliban captured a string of provincial capitals that he has no regrets about his decision to withdraw U.S. forces from the country this month, knowing that the war in Afghanistan has been deeply unpopular with the U.S. public for years. Will advocates for continued U.S. military involvement make a persuasive political case that Biden and leaders in Congress have erred?


The New York Times: Taliban advances in Afghanistan could bring political peril for Biden.


> Courts: A federal judge in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday rejected requests to dismiss defamation lawsuits filed by Dominion Voting Systems against former President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon tells Russia to stand down Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition MORE’s personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Breaking: Justice Breyer to retire Best path to Jan. 6 accountability: A civil suit against Trump MORE, pro-Trump attorney Sidney Powell and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. Dominion filed three defamation suits — seeking $1.3 billion each — against Powell, Giuliani and Lindell for allegedly claiming without evidence that the voting machine company rigged the 2020 presidential election to benefit Biden by manipulating votes (The Hill).




ADMINISTRATION: The Biden team is moving at home and abroad to address concerns that rising energy prices could slow U.S. economic recovery. White House national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanOvernight Defense & National Security — Inside Austin's civilian harm directive Republicans again call for Oversight hearing on Afghanistan withdrawal Biden's first year: A mirage of gender parity MORE on Wednesday called on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to move faster to restore global supply of petroleum to pre-pandemic levels, and the White House asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the domestic gasoline market for any anti-competitive behavior that could be increasing prices. The joint actions come as the administration is increasingly sensitive to rising prices across the economy as it faces both political and policy pressure from inflation. Consumer prices have increased a substantial 5.4 percent compared with a year ago, erasing much of the benefit to workers from higher pay. Gas prices per gallon are about $1 higher than a year ago as Americans hit peak summer driving season and return to roads after pandemic lockdowns (The Associated Press).



Gas prices are displayed at a Speedway gas station



> Summiting: Biden will host a virtual “summit for democracy” Dec. 9 and 10, the White House said Wednesday, as he aims to assemble government, civil society and private sector leaders in what he has cast as a global faceoff against rising autocratic forces, China among them. In December 2022, the president plans an in-person gathering that would bring together leaders of democratic nations to “galvanize commitments and initiatives across three principal themes: defending against authoritarianism, fighting corruption, and promoting respect for human rights” (The Associated Press).


> Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinBelarusian president vows war if Russia, Belarus attacked Biden says he'll send troops to Eastern Europe in 'near term' Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon tells Russia to stand down MORE faces a major leadership test among conservatives and the military’s rank-and-file over the Pentagon’s decision, approved by the commander-in-chief, to require COVID-19 vaccinations for the military and defense contractors beginning next month (The Hill).  


> Nominations: Biden on Wednesday nominated Elizabeth Prelogar to be his top lawyer at the Supreme Court. Prelogar already has been serving as U.S. solicitor general in an acting capacity. An appellate lawyer, she clerked for Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandSchumer finds unity moment in Supreme Court fight Harris bets on new Honduran president to revive Central America policy Manchin open to supporting Supreme Court pick more liberal than him MORE when Garland was on the U.S. court of appeals in Washington, D.C. She also served as an assistant to the solicitor general from 2014 to 2019, and assisted former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG MORE’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia (The Hill).


> POTUS R&R: The president’s anticipated two-week August vacation has been interrupted by legislative momentum he’s been encouraging in Congress, the coronavirus surge, and other matters both foreign and domestic. Wilmington, Del.? No, the beach. Make that Camp David, actually. Or maybe just the White House after all? Biden’s vacation plans, like those of many Americans during a national summer of uncertainty, keep changing. The president has spent 14 of his 29 weekends as president at home in Wilmington (The Associated Press).

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: and We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 


The consumer price index report for July can’t settle the big inflation debate, by Mohamed A. El-Erian, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion.


Paying a price for choosing not to be vaccinated, by Sheldon H. Jacobson, opinion contributor, The Hill.




The House will meet on Friday at noon for a pro forma session. Members are out of town until Aug. 23.


The Senate will convene for a pro forma session on Friday at 9:30 a.m. Senators are expected back in Washington Sept. 13.


The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 10 a.m. Biden will deliver remarks about lowering prescription drug prices at 11:15 a.m. in the East Room. He will travel to Wilmington at 12:20 p.m. 


Vice President Harris will meet with businesses to discuss the importance of care policies at 2:15 p.m. 


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


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


SUMMER READING: ‘Tis the season to talk books! Who doesn’t feel like escaping into fantasy, whodunits, history, biography, even cookbooks? Check out The Wall Street Journal’s newest reviews of 12 mystery and suspense page-turners HERE. … The New York Times headlined its July reviews of books about murder, bloodshed, revenge and trickery “Killing time.” … The staff of The Washington Post’s Book World provided recommendations in Q&A style HERE. … The Atlanta Journal-Constitution selected six worthy summer-release cookbooks for youngsters who get creative in the kitchen HERE. … If you haven’t scheduled a trip yet or just want to fantasize in your hammock, Esquire offers recommendations for 15 of the best travel books HERE, including memoirs, guides and fiction. (Psssst! Don’t forget your local public libraries.)


BLACK AND WHITE: White farmers are in court to challenge congressional aid for disadvantaged and Black farmers authorized earlier this year as part of Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law. The lawsuits have blocked roughly $5 billion from reaching Black farmers who say they are in desperate need of federal financial assistance, report The Hill’s Aris Folley and Marty Johnson.


AND THE HOST IS?: “Jeopardy!” announced on Wednesday that Mike Richards, the show’s executive producer (EP), will take over for the late Alex Trebek as host of the beloved game show, putting a bow on the program’s exhaustive search for his replacement. Since Trebek’s death in November, the show employed more than a dozen guest hosts, including Richards. Richards has been the show’s EP since 2019, having served decade-long stints as the showrunner for “The Price Is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal” previously. Additionally, Mayim Bialik of “The Big Bang Theory” fame will serve as the host of prime-time and spinoff series, including the “National College Championship,” which ABC just revealed (The Hollywood Reporter).



A general view on the set of the "Jeopardy!" Million Dollar Celebrity Invitational Tournament Show Taping



And finally … It’s Thursday, which means the Morning Report Quiz is back after a two-week interlude for Tokyo Olympics coverage! Inspired this week by big “Jeopardy!” news, we’re eager for some smart guesses about the history of game shows.


Email your responses to and/or, and please add “Quiz” to subject lines. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.



In the history of “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?” (U.S. edition) how many contestants answered the requisite 15 questions and took home the show’s $1 million grand prize?

  1. 6
  2. 9
  3. 12
  4. 15 

During his lengthy run as host of “The Price Is Right,” Bob Barker appeared in which popular Adam Sandler movie and did his best impression of Mike Tyson?

  1. “Billy Madison”
  2. “Happy Gilmore”
  3. “Big Daddy”
  4. “The Waterboy”

Which “Jeopardy!” contestant has collected the most winnings in show history? 

  1. Ken Jennings
  2. Brad Rutter
  3. James Holzhauer
  4. None of the above 

Which game show figure never served as host of “Wheel of Fortune”?  

  1. Chuck Woolery
  2. Regis Philbin
  3. Bob Goen
  4. Rolf Benirschke


Television host Bob Barker speaks during the taping of the 35th Season premiere of "The Price Is Right"