The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Biden's $3.5 trillion plan will likely have to shrink

              Presented by National Industries for the Blind



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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths as of this morning: 659,975. 


As of this morning, 63.1 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 53.8 percent is fully vaccinated, according to the Bloomberg News global vaccine tracker.

Senate Democrats return to Washington today facing a self-imposed deadline to enact the boldest portion of President BidenJoe BidenFord to bolster electric vehicle production in multi-billion dollar push Protesters demonstrate outside Manchin's houseboat over opposition to reconciliation package Alabama eyes using pandemic relief funds on prison system MORE’s domestic agenda amid the make-or-break objections of West Virginia centrist Democrat Joe Manchin.


Democratic leaders have set a soft Wednesday deadline for Senate committees to complete drafting their portions of the sweeping $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. However, questions are stacking up today about its size and scope, and the Senate rules tied to the mammoth social policy legislation (The Hill).


Manchin reaffirmed in multiple Sunday show appearances that he opposes spending another $3.5 trillion, but may be open to roughly half as much. His explanations vary, but he argues the pending measure is too big, is moving too fast and would be tough to sell to his constituents. He maintains he’s not the only Senate Democrat who would vote against the measure. Manchin reprised the same “flawed and rushed” arguments he used in 2017 when he balked at a GOP tax bill signed by former President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 committee chair says panel will issue a 'good number' of additional subpoenas Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Biden nominates head of Africa CDC to lead global AIDS response MORE.


“We don't have the need to rush into this and get it done within one week because there's some deadline we're meeting or someone's going to fall through the cracks,” Manchin told NBC's “Meet the Press.” “I want to make sure that children are getting taken care of, that people are basically having an opportunity to go back to work. We have 11 million jobs that we haven't filled, 8 million people still unemployed. Something's not matching up there” (The Hill).


“I have been giving. I could say that I’m against this and that and everything. I’m for an awful lot of the things. I’m for also putting guardrails on,” Manchin added.


Alexander Bolton, The Hill: Democrats see $3.5 trillion spending goal is slipping away.


The Washington Post: Democrats sorting through painful sacrifices as social bill enters final stretch.


The Hill: This week: Democrats kick off chaotic fall with Biden's agenda at stake.


With Democrats needing unanimity in the upper chamber to pass the blueprint, Manchin’s stance would scuttle the party’s planned timeline to vote on the bill to tee up a vote in the House by Sept. 27, the date by which Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiManchin cast doubt on deal this week for .5T spending bill Obama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes Congress shows signs of movement on stalled Biden agenda MORE (D-Calif.) promised to hold a vote on the bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure measure.


What it will take to bring Manchin on board with a bill of any kind remains unclear. When pressed on CNN’s “State of the Union,” he declined to lay out what his ceiling is on a price tag, instead floating a bill in the $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion range (CNN). However, the West Virginia centrist has not described the proposed policies and programs he would leave out or shrink. He says he worries about the rising national debt, inflation and potential U.S. needs abroad.


As Manchin spoke, Democrats began circulating a new tax plan that would raise nearly $3 trillion in new taxes and revenue, with much of it coming from wealthy Americans and corporations. 


Included in the blueprint are provisions that would increase the top tax rate on those earning more than $435,000 from 37 percent to 39.6 percent and raise the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 26.5 percent for larger businesses and firms (The Washington Post).


Axios: Inside Democrats' tax hike menu.


The Wall Street Journal: Democrats grapple with limits of anti-poverty and climate bill.


Sunday shows: Manchin says he won't vote for a $3.5 trillion bill.


Manchin’s latest remarks upset Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie SandersBernie SandersDo progressives prefer Trump to compromise? Texas House Republican tests positive for coronavirus in latest breakthrough case In defense of share buybacks MORE (I-Vt.), who has in recent days drawn a red line of his own, saying that he will not back any bill that falls below the $3.5 trillion total. Sanders originally envisioned a measure worth $6 trillion over a decade but agreed with Democrats to reduce his ideas by nearly half. It’s worth noting that Manchin (along with Arizona Sen. Kyrsten SinemaKyrsten SinemaArizona Democratic Party passes resolution criticizing Sinema on filibuster, reconciliation Manchin cast doubt on deal this week for .5T spending bill Obama says US 'desperately needs' Biden legislation ahead of key votes MORE) voted to advance the $3.5 trillion budget resolution last month to open the doors to the massive bill.


No, it's absolutely not acceptable to me. I don't think it's acceptable to the president, to the American people or to the overwhelming majority of the people in the Democratic caucus,” Sanders told “State of the Union.” 


“This is a consequential bill. It is hard to put a bill like this together. At the end of the day, I believe we will,” Sanders continued (The Hill).


Axios: 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.) warns he may vote against the $3.5 trillion budget over housing assistance.


The Hill: Manchin responds to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSecurity policy expert: Defense industry donations let lawmakers 'ignore public opinion' Do progressives prefer Trump to compromise? Don't let partisan politics impede Texas' economic recovery MORE’s (D-N.Y.) tweet: “Continue to divide, divide, divide.”



Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)






POLITICS: Democrats say they feel more confident that Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia to adopt all-mail voting Toppled statue of Spanish priest at California Capitol to be replaced by memorial to Native tribes Battle of the giants: Why saving giant sequoia isn't just about climate change MORE (D) will avoid ouster at the end of Tuesday’s gubernatorial recall contest in California (The Hill). Election Day will cap off what for Democrats was a roller-coaster competition, with early polls showing an enthusiasm gap in Republicans’ favor before organized labor’s leadership and other advocates mobilized in earnest for Democrat Newsom (CNN).


Conservative talk radio celebrity Larry Elder, the Republican thought to have the best chance to step into a void if Newsom is recalled, has used Trump-like warnings about “voter fraud” to mobilize voters to cast ballots. Elder, who recently falsely claimed on Fox News that Biden was elected because of fraud in 2020, said, “They’re going to try that in this election right here.” He has an election fraud section on his campaign website asking supporters to join a petition to demand a special session of the California legislature to investigate Tuesday’s results. The website also contains a link for supporters to report alleged election fraud (Newsweek).


Biden will campaign for the governor in the Golden State today at a time when more than a third of registered voters already cast mail-in ballots (Los Angeles Times). Vice President Harris made the trip to her home state last week to deliver a significant piece of the Democratic message: Fear a GOP governor. Recent polls show Newsom with a double-digit lead when voters are asked the threshold question of whether he should be recalled (RealClearPolitics).


California's contest is the first test of Democrats’ theme, first introduced nationally in the 2020 presidential contest, that pandemic management and leadership can instill trust and be good politics, reports The Hill’s Reid Wilson. At the same time, Newsom’s restrictive COVID-19 policies are partially behind a recall ballot in the bluest of blue states (The Wall Street Journal).


The Washington Post: Democrats wanted Trump gone. Now they want him on the ballot.



California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D)



The Hill: Federal vaccine mandates test Biden’s ties with labor. 


The Hill: U.S. political polarization is worsened by social media, according to a new report.


CORONAVIRUS: Biden is staring down a legal brouhaha with Republican governors days after his latest directive for many private businesses to require employees get vaccinated against COVID-19. 


The sweeping rule applies to businesses with 100 or more workers, while similar requirements were issued for most federal employees and those in health care settings that receive federal Medicare and Medicaid funding. Immediately, GOP governors erupted at the latest move and vowed court challenges galore, saying that it violates personal freedoms and that businesses should be allowed to set their own workplace standards. 


“This action by President Biden is blatantly unlawful, and Georgia will not stand for it,” Georgia Gov. Brian KempBrian KempGeorgia to use federal funds to provide first responders ,000 bonus Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Trump stokes GOP tensions in Georgia MORE (R) said shortly after (The Hill).


Those sorts of comments kept up on Sunday. Arkansas Gov. Asa HutchinsonAsa HutchinsonDozens of Republican governors call for meeting with Biden on border surge The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Biden's .5 trillion plan will likely have to shrink Sunday shows - Manchin says he won't vote for .5 trillion bill MORE (R), who has dealt directly in recent months with Biden on vaccinations and COVID-19 response, predicted that the latest mandate will “increase the division” between unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals (The Hill).


The Hill: Nebraska Gov. Pete RickettsPete RickettsOvernight Health Care — Nicki Minaj stokes uproar over vaccines Biden vaccine mandate puts McConnell, GOP leaders in a tough spot The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Biden's .5 trillion plan will likely have to shrink MORE (R): States looking into how to “attack” Biden vaccine mandate in court.


RealClearPolitics: “Fox News Sunday” host Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceAbbott promises to hire Border Patrol agents punished by Biden administration DHS secretary says Haitian migrant crisis is 'nothing new' Yarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed MORE asks Ricketts: If mandatory polio vaccine is OK, why not COVID-19?


Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said during his weekly appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that the new requirement could be problematic for the administration, as it could “discourage” some individuals from getting vaccinated.


“In the near term, a lot of businesses that have might have mandated vaccines are now going to sit on their hands and say, I'm going to wait for OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] to tell me just how to do it and give me more political coverage,” Gottlieb told host Margaret Brennan. “So in the near term, you could actually discourage some vaccination” (The Hill).


The New York Times: GOP seethes at Biden mandate, even in states requiring other vaccines.


The Hill: Rep. Joseph MorelleJoseph (Joe) MorelleNY Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 in latest House breakthrough case House GOP campaign arm adds to target list NY, NJ lawmakers call for more aid to help fight coronavirus MORE (D-N.Y.) tests positive for COVID-19 in the most recent disclosed House infection of a fully vaccinated lawmaker.


However, the administration did not take the criticism lying down. Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyConfusion reigns over vaccine booster rollout CDC director partially overrules panel, signs off on boosters CDC panel authorizes COVID-19 vaccine boosters for high-risk people, those over 65 MORE told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the private sector must do its part in order to tackle the current surge of the delta variant.


“What the president and what all of us have said as public health leaders from the earliest part of this pandemic is that we have to use every level of government, and we all in the private sector have to do everything we can to tackle this virus,” Murthy said. “The requirements the president announced are an example of that” (The Hill).


The Washington Post: An upstate New York hospital says it won’t deliver babies after staffers resigned because of a coronavirus vaccine mandate.


Axios: The U.S. isn't vaccinating most of the world — but China might.


The Washington Post: Parents and teachers push to move school lunches outdoors to help reduce spread of virus.


The Associated Press: Japan surpasses 50 percent vaccination rate, may ease some COVID-19 restrictions in November.



US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy speaks during a press briefing


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Biden must hold government accountable — starting with his own, by The Washington Post editorial board. 


An honest Theranos wouldn’t have done much good, by Faye Flam, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. 





The House will meet at 11 a.m. on Tuesday for a pro forma session. The full House will not convene until Sept. 20.


The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. and will resume consideration of the nomination of James Kvaal to be under secretary of Education.


The president will depart Wilmington, Del., to make a Western swing featuring stops in Boise, Idaho, to visit the National Interagency Fire Center, and Sacramento, to survey wildfire damage from the Caldor fire and deliver an afternoon speech. Biden will also make a political appearance at 7 p.m. in Long Beach, Calif., to support the governor ahead of a Tuesday recall election.


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 will deliver a prerecorded message for Research!America’s National Health Research Forum at 10:30 a.m. She will deliver remarks live at the virtual American Physical Therapy Association centennial event at 2:30 p.m. The first lady at 6 p.m. will join Secretary of Defense Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by AM General — Pentagon officials prepare for grilling Gen. Milley faces his toughest day yet on Capitol Hill Republican lawmakers warn against more military coordination with Russia MORE, Prince HarryPrince HarryGlobal Citizen Live concert raises .1 billion to fight poverty Prince Harry, Meghan Markle urge worldwide access to COVID-19 vaccines Meghan, Prince Harry visit One World Trade Center MORE and Ken Fisher of the Fisher House Foundation, serving military veterans and their families, for a virtual, live streamed event.  


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


INTERNATIONAL: Pope FrancisPope FrancisToppled statue of Spanish priest at California Capitol to be replaced by memorial to Native tribes Pope decides to keep criticized archbishop, issues 'spiritual timeout' COVID faith: Are your religious views 'sincerely held'? MORE on Sunday issued a veiled shot at Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s anti-immigration policies, calling on the nation to “extend its arms to everyone” during an appearance in Budapest as part of his first international trip since undergoing intestinal surgery in July (The Associated Press).


IMMIGRATION: A lower court decision upheld by the Supreme Court last month tasks the Biden White House with implementing the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols, which the president campaigned to end. Biden has a choice: implement the “Remain in Mexico” policy or adopt Trump-era tactics to try to dismantle it (The Hill). 


AFGHANISTAN: The United Nations is seeking more than $600 million for the remainder of 2021 at a donors conference in Geneva today for Afghanistan assistance. The U.N. wants to help 11 million people following the Taliban takeover (The Associated Press). … Women’s rights activist Zakira Hakim doesn’t know exactly how she got a seat on an evacuation flight out of Afghanistan, The Hill’s Laura Kelly reports. Now in Sri Lanka on a temporary visa, Hakim (not her name) fled the Taliban thanks to an extraordinary effort by a network of international and high-level government officials.  


STATE WATCH: States across the country hope to bounce back from declines in recently released standardized test scores that underscore the challenges of remote learning during the first full school year of the pandemic. In Arizona and Tennessee, some of the sharpest declines have been among minorities and economically disadvantaged students (The Hill). 


U.S. OPEN: Tennis legend Novak Djokovic failed Sunday to cap off his hallmark year with a coveted Grand Slam. He lost the U.S. Open final to Daniil Medvedev in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, in Flushing Meadow, N.Y. Heading into the match, Djokovic was 27-0 in the major tournaments this year and was aiming for a record-setting 21st Grand Slam title. The Serbian tennis star is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 such titles (ESPN). 



Serbia's Novak Djokovic serves to Russia's Daniil Medvedev during their 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men's final match



And finally …  It’s been weeks since a small dazzle or herd of wild zebras, which had been transported from Florida to private property in Maryland, got loose and began to startle onlookers by trudging through backyards and grazing in empty fields. As of the weekend, three of the distinctive escapees were reportedly still on the lam, described as more akin to wild bulls than striped horses. Zebras tend to crash through barriers (fences, people) rather than stand still for well-intentioned rescuers, making them hard to capture. Their owner is working to gradually corral them in a Maryland field they seem to favor, using zebra feed and a lot of patience (WTOP, WJLA and The New York Times). 



Grevy's Zebra grazing at the foot of the Mathew's Ranges at the Wesgate conservancy near Kenya's Samburu national reserve