Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Friday! TGIF! 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, 648,472; Tuesday, 649,003; Wednesday, 650,532; Thursday, 652,675; Friday, 654,598.
President Biden on Thursday used blunt, accusatory language to insist Americans who refuse to get COVID-19 shots are the cause of “a lot of damage,” are “keeping us from turning the corner” and cannot be allowed to “stand in the way” (The Hill).
Out went the president’s gentle persuasion and empathy for public worries about vaccines. In came Biden’s determined embrace of mandates and his outspoken condemnation of governors and other elected officials who block requirements for vaccines and masks as the delta variant continues to spread.
Triggering yet another U.S. chapter in partisan pandemic warfare, the president called on all governors to require teachers and school administrators to be vaccinated and warned the holdouts that he would “use my power” to get those governors “out of the way.”
Referring to Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisDeSantis pledges to sue Biden administration over vaccine mandates We have a presidential leadership crisis — and it's only going to get worse Biden touts progress but warns US in 'critical period' as millions remain unvaccinated MORE (R) without naming him, Biden assailed Florida’s threats to garnish the pay of the state’s educators who defy the governor and require masks in classrooms. The president told school boards and administrators that buck their governors that the federal government will “restore” any state compensation being withheld as they protect students.
The Hill: Biden vows to take on GOP governors over schools.
The Hill: GOP governors vow to fight Biden’s new pandemic measures.
The Hill: Republican National Committee vows to sue over Biden vaccine, mask mandates.
The Hill: DeSantis files emergency appeal after court rules against him on his ban on school mask mandates.
Fox News: Biden declares war on DeSantis, Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottAppeals court allows Texas abortion law to stand DeSantis pledges to sue Biden administration over vaccine mandates Biden touts progress but warns US in 'critical period' as millions remain unvaccinated MORE of Texas: “Get them out of the way.”
“The time for waiting is over,” Biden told what he called America’s unvaccinated minority. “This is not about freedom or personal choice. … Our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us.”
Biden used his speech in the East Room to lay out what he called new steps that lean heavily on mandates while applauding 175 million Americans who voluntarily rolled up their sleeves, describing another 80 million holdouts as knowingly putting others and the economy at risk. The president sided with a majority of Americans who back vaccine mandates for teachers and students, and say they’re irate that some Americans refuse to wear masks, get vaccinated or follow scientific guidance about COVID-19.
The Associated Press analysis: Biden’s war on the virus becomes a war on the unvaccinated.
Months ago, Biden encouraged Americans to view July 4 as a potential pivot toward an end to the pandemic, thanks to the widely available coronavirus vaccines. On Thursday, the president offered no optimistic timetables. “We’re in a tough stretch and it could last for a while,” he said.
Biden’s measures test the outer limits of his federal authority during a public health emergency and are expected to land in court. He said the Labor Department would craft an emergency order to require businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate that workers be vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 regularly, “even Fox News,” he added.
CBS News: The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard to introduce the vaccine requirement. Companies that fail to comply could face fines of $14,000 per violation.
The Associated Press: Here are some businesses that support or require vaccinations and masks.
The Associated Press: Kentucky state lawmakers voted to scrap a mask mandate for public schools.
The president said another 17 million workers in hospitals and employed by home health care services would be required to be vaccinated in addition to nursing homes already covered by a federal mandate, based on their acceptance of federal funding through Medicare and Medicaid. Biden said executive orders covering all federal workers and federal contractors now require they be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Reuters: Biden’s new measures aimed at people opposed to coronavirus vaccines would apply to about two-thirds of all U.S. employees, including those who work for businesses with more than 100 workers.
Reuters Fact Box: Details of Biden’s measures.
Biden said 300,000 Head Start workers and staff members of federally operated schools under the aegis of the Defense and Interior departments must meet vaccine mandates.
Using his bully pulpit to cajole, the president asked large venues that hold entertainment events to require attendees to show proof of vaccination or proof of negative test results, as many are already doing. And he asked parents of children 12 and older to get their teenagers vaccinated and to surround their children who are younger than 12 with people at home who are vaccinated against the virus.
The New York Times: The Los Angeles Unified School District on Thursday mandated vaccines for all students 12 and older who are attending class in person.
He admonished uncooperative air passengers to “show some respect” for flight attendants and warned that the Transportation Security Administration was empowered to double federal fines when travelers refuse to wear masks. The mask rules are separate from those put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration for raucous behavior. The president called argumentative displays by passengers “wrong” and “ugly.”
The Associated Press: U.S. doubles the fine for people who break mask rules on airplanes.
The logic behind Biden’s end-of-summer shift to mandates is in the numbers. Many people who want to travel, eat indoors in restaurants, attend concerts and sporting events, and return to offices, gyms and university classrooms — let alone stay out of ICUs — comprehend that vaccination is now the price of entry.
The president said 4 million more people got vaccine doses in August than in July, suggesting that recent vaccine approval by the Food and Drug Administration, private-sector vaccine requirements and the effectiveness of doses in holding down hospitalizations and deaths have together been persuasive.
CNN: Vaccination required for federal workers with no option for testing.
Internet regulations are as outdated as dial-up
Facebook supports updated regulations, including four areas where lawmakers can make quick progress:
– Reforming Section 230
– Preventing foreign interference of our elections
– Passing federal privacy law
– Setting rules that allow people to safely transfer data between services
LEADING THE DAY
CONGRESS: Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Biden: We will fix nation's problems Left doubles down on aggressive strategy MORE (I-Vt.) and Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinOn The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Schumer, McConnell headed for another collision over voting rights Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Climate divides conservative Democrats in reconciliation push MORE (D-W.Va.) are engaging in a high-stakes staring contest as the two key members of the Senate Democratic caucus draw red lines and the debate intensifies over the party’s $3.5 trillion reconciliation plan.
The two key negotiators are engaged in an intense tug of war as Democratic leaders do all they can to keep the reconciliation package as big as possible. Sanders has insisted that the package stays at the $3.5 trillion price point, with reports indicating that Manchin will not support a proposal in excess of $1.5 trillion.
Put simply, the ongoing battle between the two will force the hand of Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSenate to vote next week on Freedom to Vote Act To Win 2022: Go big on reconciliation and invest in Latinx voters McConnell-aligned group targeting Kelly, Cortez Masto and Hassan with M ad campaign MORE (D-N.Y.), who will need to figure out a way for them to come together behind a bill. The alternative is a painful death for what would be the cornerstone of the Biden agenda.
“They really do mirror each other in terms of representing different ends of the Democratic coalition. ...They're kind of avatars of like the two wings of the Democratic Party,” said Democratic strategist Joel Payne.
Complicating the situation is the two have had high-profile intra party battles over the years and do not have a relationship despite serving together for more than a decade. As one former Manchin aide told The Hill, “There is no relationship. … They do not talk” (The Hill).
The Wall Street Journal editorial board: Can Sanders roll over Manchin?
Politico: Biden wants to force Republicans to vote on the debt ceiling, sensing they’ll cave.
The problems in the party are not limited to the two figures as significant differences are emerging between the party’s top tax writers — Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocrats' reconciliation bill breaks Biden's middle class tax pledge Missouri education department calls journalist 'hacker' for flagging security flaws on state website Democrats weigh changes to drug pricing measure to win over moderates MORE (Ore.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOvernight Health Care — Presented by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing — NIH study finds mix-and-match boosters effective Ireland joining international agreement on global minimum tax Why Democrats opposing Biden's tax plan have it wrong MORE (Mass.) — over the size and scope of the tax reform proposals expected to be used to offset a portion of the possible $3.5 trillion bill.
As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton notes, Wyden has proposed a much more ambitious package while the Massachusetts Democrat’s would raise only $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion, a total that would give Manchin’s argument of limiting the size of the overall reconciliation blueprint a boost.
The Wall Street Journal: Democrats jockey over healthcare, taxes in $3.5 Trillion package.
The New York Times: Democrats eye taxing stock buybacks and partnerships to pay for agenda.
The Hill: U.S. deficit has reached $2.7 trillion in the past year, CBO estimates.
The Washington Post: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySchiff: McCarthy 'will do whatever Trump tells him' if GOP wins back House House GOP campaign arm raises .8 million in third quarter McCarthy raises nearly M so far this year MORE (R-Calif.) asks Supreme Court to overturn House proxy voting rules adopted as pandemic precaution.
> Health scare: Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharOn The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Schumer, McConnell headed for another collision over voting rights Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress makes technology policy moves MORE (D-Minn.) on Thursday revealed that she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer earlier this year and has successfully completed a course of radiation treatment. The Minnesota Democrat wrote that after treatments in May “and after additional follow-up visits, it was determined in August that the treatment went well.”
“Of course this has been scary at times, since cancer is the word all of us fear, but at this point my doctors believe that my chances of developing cancer again are no greater than the average person,” Klobuchar added (The Hill).
MORE ADMINISTRATION: The Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandBiden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion Supreme Court signals willingness to reinstate marathon bomber death sentence Pavlich: DOJ's outrageous assault on parents MORE (below) on Thursday filed suit in federal court asking a Texas judge to block a restrictive new state abortion law “to protect the rights that Texas has violated” because the law “is clearly unconstitutional under long-standing Supreme Court precedent.” The high court recently voted 5-4 not to block the Texas law (The Associated Press).
Biden called President Xi Jinping of China on Thursday, the second such call of Biden’s presidency. His aim with the 90-minute call was to discuss a way ahead for the U.S.-China relationship after it got off to a decidedly rocky start. Xi in the call told Biden that U.S. government policy toward China caused “serious difficulties” in relations, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. “This is not in the basic interests of the two peoples,” the Chinese leader said, according to Xinhua. “Chinese-U.S. confrontation will bring disaster to both countries and the world,” Xi added (The Associated Press).
Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinDefense & National Security — Military starts giving guidance on COVID-19 vaccine refusals Navy releases guidance to discharge sailors refusing COVID-19 vaccine A dangerously distracted Pentagon MORE postponed indefinitely planned meetings in Saudi Arabia today, citing scheduling challenges at the end of a Persian Gulf itinerary that included Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain (France24).
The administration said in a Health and Human Services Department blueprint released on Thursday that it backs a policy change to negotiate Medicare drug prices, an idea long backed by Democrats in Congress but opposed by pharmaceutical companies (The Hill).
The Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday in a court filing that it will restore protections for Alaska’s Bristol Bay, blocking the construction of a controversial gold mine near the world’s largest sockeye salmon run. The policy shift deals a blow to a project opposed by a coalition of Alaska Natives, environmentalists, fishing operators and recreational anglers, including some prominent Republicans such as Donald Trump Jr., who argued that the proposed Pebble Limited Partnership hard-rock mine at the headwaters of a fishery teeming with sockeye, coho, chum and pink salmon would negatively transform southwest Alaska’s landscape (The Washington Post).
An estimated 200 Americans and Westerners were able to fly out of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday with Taliban cooperation, according to the State Department (The Associated Press).
The Labor Department on Thursday reported that filings for jobless benefits during the week that ended Sept. 4 fell to a pandemic low of 310,000, a sign of a strengthening U.S. economy (The Associated Press).
The president on Thursday withdrew the nomination of David Chipman to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because of opposition among Republicans in the Senate and a backlash from the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun organizations that cast Chipman as pro-gun-control and a threat to Second Amendment rights.
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
POLITICS: Former President TrumpDonald TrumpMcCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Biden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion Bennie Thompson not ruling out subpoenaing Trump MORE on Thursday made his long-awaited endorsement in the Wyoming congressional contest, throwing his weight behind Harriet Hageman in his push to unseat Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyBennie Thompson not ruling out subpoenaing Trump Anti-Trump Republicans endorsing vulnerable Democrats to prevent GOP takeover Thiel backing Trump-supported challenger to Cheney: report MORE (R-Wyo.) next year.
Trump dubbed Hageman a loyal ally of his agenda while criticizing the former member of House GOP leadership, who was the highest-profile Republican to vote to impeach him in January over his role in inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
“I strongly endorse Republican House of Representatives Candidate Harriet Hageman from Wyoming who is running against warmonger and disloyal Republican, Liz Cheney,” Trump said. “Harriet Hageman adores the Great State of Wyoming, is strong on Crime and Borders, powerfully supports the Second Amendment, loves our Military and our Vets, and will fight for Election Integrity and Energy Independence (which Biden has already given up).
“Unlike RINO Liz Cheney, Harriet is all in for America First. Harriet has my Complete and Total Endorsement in replacing the Democrats number one provider of sound bites, Liz Cheney,” he added (The Hill).
Cheney fired back shortly after, saying in a tweet: “Here’s a sound bite for you: Bring it” (The Hill).
Hageman earned the endorsement after Trump met with a number of candidates vying to challenge the three-term congresswoman, and the move proved important to some of those who did not receive the stroke of support. As Politico notes, multiple candidates either suspended their campaigns or did not follow through with launching official bids due to Trump’s decision.
> Biden goes West: Biden on Monday will appear outside of Los Angeles to stump for California Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Altria — Walrus detectives: Scientists recruit public to spot mammal from space Top Latino group endorses Padilla for full Senate term Vaccine mandates in California's two largest school systems challenged MORE (D) ahead of Tuesday’s recall election and urge residents to vote “No” in the hotly contested race.
Biden’s appearance is the latest example of Democratic bigwigs rallying behind the embattled governor. On Wednesday, Vice President Harris appeared in her home state in the Oakland suburbs to boost Newsom. Additionally, former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMcAuliffe holds slim lead over Youngkin in Fox News poll Biden's Supreme Court reform study panel notes 'considerable' risks to court expansion Congress is hell-bent on a spooky spending spree MORE cut an ad for Newsom that began airing across the state two days ago.
The Long Beach, Calif., appearance is part of a busy day for Biden. He will also make stops in Boise, Idaho, to visit the National Interagency Fire Center; Sacramento, Calif., to survey wildfire damage and Denver, Colo., for a Build Back Better event (The Hill).
The Hill: Biden seeks to build Democratic support among unions.
The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!
How America wasted its unipolar moment: The war on terror improved neither the nation’s standing nor the nation itself, by The Economist. https://econ.st/2X7xjbv
Every dog is a rescue dog, by John Dickerson, contributing writer, The Atlantic. https://bit.ly/2X1V7yb
Why Facebook supports updated internet privacy regulations
Protecting privacy means something different than it did in 1996—the last time comprehensive internet regulations were passed.
We’ve introduced tools like Privacy Checkup that help people control their information. Now we need updated regulations to set consistent data protection standards.
WHERE AND WHEN
The House will meet at 11:30 a.m. for a pro forma session. The full House will not convene until Sept. 20.
The Senate convenes on Monday at 3 p.m. and will resume consideration of the nomination of James Kvaal to be under secretary of Education.
The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9 a.m. Biden, first lady Jill BidenJill BidenBiden to have audience with pope, attend G20 summit Trump calls into Take Back Virginia Rally to hype Youngkin The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - New front in mandate wars; debt bill heads to Biden MORE and Education Secretary Miguel CardonaMiguel CardonaIlhan Omar to Biden: 'Deliver on your promise to cancel student debt' Florida Board of Education approves sanctions on eight school districts over coronavirus mandates Watch live: Education, HHS secretaries testify on school reopenings MORE visit a Washington, D.C, school to discuss COVID-19 safety measures. The president and the first lady depart New York and arrive at LaGuardia Airport at 9:10 p.m. and remain overnight to participate early on Saturday in a 20th anniversary event marking 9/11.
The vice president will tour the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at HBCU Hampton University in Virginia at 11:30 a.m. Harris will convene a roundtable discussion with university STEM students at noon. She will return to Washington.
The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 1 p.m. The administration’s coronavirus response team will brief reporters at 11:30 a.m.
➔ REMEMBERING 9/11: To mark the 20th anniversary of the terror attacks, many news outlets have prepared special coverage with interviews, oral history and images. Examples: Bloomberg Radio Remembers 9/11 (podcast with Amy Morris); CBS News’s “Secret Service agents share chilling memories of 9/11”; CNN’s upcoming special coverage is listed HERE; Smithsonian Magazine reflects on the photographers who immortalized iconic scenes on 9/11 HERE; The Wall Street Journal also focused on photographers and indelible images in the passage of 20 years HERE; and The Washington Post published a special section HERE. In addition, the Smithsonian Institution is asking the public to contribute storytelling about 9/11 as archival history HERE. The National Archives continues to be a U.S. repository of information, images and documents pertaining to Sept. 11, 2001, HERE.
➔ HURRICANE IDA: Louisiana on Thursday raised its death toll from the recent hurricane by 11 fatalities, bringing the total to 26. At least 50 more people were killed by the storm and its powerful remnants in other states (The Associated Press).
➔ BUSINESS: Ford Motor Company announced on Thursday that it will stop manufacturing vehicles in India after losing more than $2 billion over the past decade. The company said vehicle assembly at its plant in Sanand will shutter in the coming months, and that vehicle and engine manufacturing at its facility in Chennai will end between April and June (The Hill).
And finally … An extended standing ovation or this week’s Morning Report Quiz winners!
Now is the time we raise a glass and honor all of those who aced this week’s quiz on NFL trivia following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-29 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the season opener: Patrick Kavanagh, Joe Erdmann, Richard Baznik, Pam Manges, Trevor Zack, John Donato, Lori Benso, Lou Tisler, Lesa Davis, Steve James and Robert Shiff.
They knew that the Bucs returned all 22 starters from Super Bowl LV in February, a very rare move.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers made his return to northern Wisconsin this season after a rollicking offseason, which included a guest audition to become host of “Jeopardy!”
After a season where no teams had full stadiums due to COVID-19, the 2021 NFL season begins with zero teams without home games at 100 percent capacity.
Finally, Washington Football Team co-owner and co-CEO Tanya Snyder confirmed the team is considering at least eight nicknames for the franchise starting next season, a list that does not include the Warriors.