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The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Alibaba – Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble

Pelosi, Yellen and Schumer
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Presented by Alibaba

 

Pelosi, Yellen, Schumer

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. We welcome Friday! 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 as of each morning this week: Monday, 673,765; Tuesday, 676,092; Wednesday, 678,502; Thursday, 681,199; Friday, 684,357.

The slog for Democratic leaders continued on Thursday as they touted an agreement on a framework of options to pay for their wide-ranging reconciliation spending plan, but caught a number of Democrats off guard in their quest to pass President Biden’s agenda sooner rather than later.  

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) revealed the deal between him, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the White House on Thursday morning on a “framework” to pay for the tentative $3.5 trillion proposal.  

“The White House, the House and the Senate have reached an agreement on a framework that will pay for any final negotiated agreement. So the revenue side of this, we have an agreement on,” Schumer announced during a joint press conference with Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (The Hill). 

The Associated Press: Democrats see tax “framework” to pay for huge $3.5 trillion package. 

However, the deal left some members in the dark, including key figures on both sides of the party. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told reporters that senators “don’t know what they’re talking about” (CNN). An aide for Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) added that it was “unclear” what the three leaders were referencing. 

“We have seen nothing and have not signed off on anything,” the aide told The Hill’s Jordain Carney.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also downplayed the framework’s importance, telling reporters that there was “not a whole lot” new that was different from what the House and Senate panels had previously discussed. 

Put simply, there are jump balls across the Democratic spectrum ahead of a crucial couple of days. As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, Scott Wong and Mike Lillis report, the lack of a resolution on the reconciliation proposal has left Democratic lawmakers across the board with a growing sense of urgency and frustration as a potential deal on the package remains nowhere in sight.

Namely, Democratic senators continue to say that the biggest obstacle to reaching a deal on a top-line number for the reconciliation bill has been the inability to get Manchin to lay out precisely how large he thinks the reconciliation package should be and what key provisions he could or couldn’t support.  

“My concern is that it is unclear to me whether or not Joe Manchin will actually come to ‘yes’ on any of this,” said one Democratic senator, who requested anonymity to voice concerns about how the West Virginia senator will vote, adding that Manchin has been “evasive” about what he is willing to support. The senator added that Sinema has been more willing to discuss the specifics of what she could or couldn’t accept.

Politico: Democratic leaders try for unity — and only get more tough questions. 

Adding to the uncertainty, it remains unclear whether Pelosi’s planned Monday vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan will go ahead amid progressive threats to tank it if it comes to the floor before the reconciliation bill. 

“I think we will find out over the next 72 hours where we are,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters on Thursday evening.  

If the vote goes forward and passes the lower chamber, progressives who bought into leadership’s two-track strategy of moving it alongside the reconciliation package will look like they’ve been ignored, making members skittish.

“We do need more time,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), a leading member of the Progressive Caucus, told The Hill. “We want to support the president’s agenda and the only way that we can do that is to do it based on the agreement that was made.”

The Hill: Democrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor. 

Axios: Biden’s big bet backfires. 

The Hill: Manchin sends warning shot on plan to expand Medicare.  

One thing worth watching : Support for the bipartisan infrastructure bill is growing among Republicans. As of Thursday night, at least six House Republicans have indicated that they will vote for it on the floor: Reps. Don Bacon (Neb.), Fred Upton (Mich.), Jefferson Van Drew (N.J.), Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Tom Reed (N.Y.). Fitzpatrick estimated that 10 to 11 Republican members are hard “yes” votes, with five or six more potentially voting for the package when all is said and done (Forbes).

 

Road closed sign

 

> Debt doldrums: On the debt ceiling and funding the government beyond Sept. 30, Schumer on Thursday set a Monday showdown vote with Senate Republicans. What comes next after GOP senators, as anticipated, block a House-passed bill is unclear (The Hill). 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor on Thursday that it would take Democrats “about a week or a little more” to use the so-called budget reconciliation procedure to raise the debt limit.

“This may be inconvenient for them, but it is totally possible,” McConnell said. “This Democratic government must not manufacture an avoidable crisis” (Bloomberg News). 

McConnell’s remarks came as the Office of Management and Budget laid out preparation instructions for federal agencies in case lawmakers are unable to avert a government shutdown by Thursday night. The House has already passed a bill to fund the government through early December that includes an increase in the debt ceiling, which Senate Republicans are set to vote against, leaving the funding situation in limbo (The Washington Post).

The Hill: Pelosi vows to avert government shutdown. 

The New York Times: As debt default looms, Yellen faces her biggest test yet.

The Washington Post analysis: Between 2013 and 2021, not much appears to have changed since the last congressional debt crisis roiled Capitol Hill — except the political landscape.  

The New York Times: House approves $1 billion for the Iron Dome as Democrats feud over Israel

The Hill: House passes a sweeping defense policy bill.

The Hill and The New York Times: The special committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol served subpoenas on Thursday to four former Trump allies and advisers, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. They are asked to appear before the committee in mid-October. 

 

Presidential seal

 

 

A MESSAGE FROM ALIBABA

 

 

As the retail industry undergoes seismic shifts, U.S. small businesses use Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms to reach 900 million consumers in China, finding growth for their businesses and communities.

 

LEADING THE DAY

ADMINISTRATION: In a GOP-created slide show about the Biden administration, images of desperate Afghans climbing onto the wheels of U.S. military aircraft leaving Kabul might flicker into view before being replaced by pictures of brown and Black migrants amassed at the U.S. southern border (seen below). Photos of immigrants’ makeshift shelters could fade into images of tents and down-on-their-luck adults sleeping in doorways in major U.S. cities. Afghanistan. Border security. Urban crime. Powerful pictures in any political storytelling. 

Democrats worry that upbeat contrasts they associate with Biden as compared with his predecessor — 46’s empathetic government know-how vs. 45’s callous incompetence — have complicated the party’s 2021 slide show, The Hill’s Hanna Trudo and Amie Parnes report.  

Niall Stanage, The Memo: Biden’s immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio.  

The Hill: The administration on Thursday defended an “orderly and humane process” of handling Haitian migrants amid a national uproar.

 

Border patrol monitors situation with Haitian migrants

 

Federal personnel decisions of note: U.S. envoy to Haiti Daniel Foote, who held the State Department position for two months, quit on Wednesday in protest over “inhumane” administration policies, including deportation of Haitians seeking asylum (PBS and CNN). State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement,It is unfortunate that, instead of participating in a solutions-oriented policy process, Special Envoy Foote has both resigned and mischaracterized the circumstances of his resignation. He failed to take advantage of ample opportunity to raise concerns about migration during his tenure and chose to resign instead.”

More personnel changes: The CIA station chief in Vienna has been recalled amid criticism of his management and handling of the mysterious “Havana syndrome,” The Washington Post reported. … Pentagon officials asked political appointee Leonor Tomero, deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense and a former aide to Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), to resign from her post as part of changes described by officials as a reorganization. The shake-up comes as the administration formulates its Nuclear Posture Review, released by each administration since the 1990s to describe nuclear weapons policy and strategy. Tomero coordinated the review (Politico and The Washington Post). … As Comptroller of the Currency, an influential job overseeing the nation’s banks, Biden will nominate Cornell Law School Professor Saule Omarova, Politico reported

***** 

CORONAVIRUS: Hours after receiving recommendations on Thursday from a scientific panel, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky rejected some of the advice about who should get booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine and expanded recommendations to include some workers in high-risk occupations, such as health care employees and teachers (The New York Times).

The advice on Thursday from the CDC’s science advisory panel supported COVID-19 booster vaccine doses for adults older than 65 and for residents of long-term care facilities. The panel also backed booster shots for people ages 50 to 64 who have medical conditions that leave them at risk for severe COVID-19 infections, and for adults ages 18 to 49 who have underlying medical conditions, based on their individual benefit and risk. 

But the science advisers voted to exclude people at risk because of their occupations, disagreeing among themselves about the evidence of benefits of booster doses for health care workers, teachers and other workers who do not meet the other criteria. Walensky said such workers should get Pfizer boosters.  

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday also authorized Pfizer-BioNTech boosters for older and high-risk individuals at least six months after their second injection, but it also said boosters can extend protection for people whose jobs leave them exposed to the virus, including health workers, teachers and grocery workers. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for anyone over age 16, but the FDA’s authorization for the booster is only for those over age 18 (The New York Times). 

Biden last month vowed to help strengthen immunity among a large population of people vaccinated early this year. “Eight months after your second shot, get a booster shot,” the president told all vaccinated adults, saying his booster-shot plan would begin this week, pending scientific buy-in.  

The White House could begin today to promote and explain its plan for access to the shots. 

The government’s advisers are now on record suggesting that some workers and younger people may choose to get booster doses of Pfizer’s vaccine if they feel they need it. The available scientific data describing whose immunity is most helped by the additional doses and when supplementary vaccine doses prove most effective remains in flux (NBC News).  

Federal emergency approval of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots await government assessment of the companies’ data. 

 

Vaccine

 

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Thursday endorsed states and school systems that may decide to require the federally licensed Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses for students who are eligible because of their age or risk factors, similar to state requirements for other childhood vaccines mandated by law to start each school year, he told Politico.  

Predictions and projections: Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel believes the coronavirus pandemic will be over within a year, as more vaccines become available and vaccines are approved for children, he told the Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper. Bancel estimated that by the middle of next year there should be enough vaccine doses so that “everyone on earth can get vaccinated” and boosters should also be possible as required, allowing a return to non-pandemic routines by this time next year (Yahoo News).

Is the delta variant worse for kids who become infected? The answer, according to experts, is that the delta version of the coronavirus is more contagious in children but not more deadly (The Associated Press). 

There is no evidence COVID-19 vaccines increase risks of miscarriage or birth defects, according to federal data (CNBC).​​ 

The Hill: Some experts continue to argue the Biden administration should pressure vaccine makers to share pharmaceutical manufacturing knowledge with lower-income countries to help them produce their own COVID-19 vaccine doses. 

Ohio’s COVID-19 carrots: Gov. Mike DeWine (R) announced “Vax-to-School,” an educational scholarship incentive that can be won by anyone between ages 12 to 25 who gets a first COVID-19 vaccine dose. He said on Thursday that the state is offering five $100,000 scholarships and 50 $10,000 scholarships that can be used for college, job training or other education. “We’re seeing our children’s hospitals fill up – it’s a crisis,” DeWine told reporters Wednesday. “I’ve worked with children’s hospitals in Ohio for 30 years and I’ve never seen them as concerned as they are today.” In June, Ohio was the first state to announce a cash lottery for vaccinated residents. The Vax-a-Million contest awarded $1 million to five adults and a four-year university tuition in a college savings account to five teens. DeWine has since hinted at more statewide incentives. So far, that has meant helping cities and counties run their own incentives and offering $100 to state employees who get the shot (Cincinnati.com).

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), 88, announced this morning that he is officially running for reelection next year, giving Senate Republicans a big shot in the arm in their efforts to retake the upper chamber after two years in the minority.  

Grassley used a video on Twitter showing his pre-dawn jogs to reveal his decision, reached in consultation with his wife, after serving in the Senate for 40 years. 

“Before I start the day I want you to know what Barbara and I have decided. I’m running for re-election,” Grassley tweeted. “A lot more to do, for Iowa. We ask and will work for your support” (Des Moines Register). 

Grassley will be 89 on Election Day next year. For months, questions have centered around some key Senate Republicans who remain hold outs on running for reelection, including Grassley and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who has yet to decide his own future. 

The announcement also comes only three days after a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll showed the Iowa GOP stalwart with an 18-point lead over former Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa). 

> More 2022: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has a problem on his hands. 

Former President Trump said on Thursday that he would prefer that Democrats defeat five incumbent Republicans who voted to impeach him in January and are currently being supported by a joint fundraising committee controlled by the former president and the House GOP leader. Trump added he could terminate the fundraising deal if it continues to boost those members. 

“There are a few of those candidates in very, I would say, blue areas. I almost would rather have the Democrat win, to be honest with you, because we’re going to win a lot [of other seats],” Trump told conservative radio host John Fredericks

“I’m going to see who [McCarthy’s] funding and, if he is, I’ll stop the whole deal,” Trump added (CNN). 

According to a fundraising notice for the committee, the joint account helps direct campaign monies for Republican Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), John Katko (N.Y.), Peter Meijer (Mich.), David Valadao (Calif.) and Fred Upton (Mich.). CNN reported on the quiet fundraising effort two weeks ago, which had raised roughly $100,000 for each campaign during the first half of 2021.  

The comments will likely create major headaches for McCarthy, who has long prided himself on maintaining a solid rapport with rank-and-file members in the House GOP conference. He personally recruited many of them to run for office. 

“I think he has great relationships in his conference but this will put all of that to the test,” one former House GOP leadership aide told the Morning Report. 

Reid Wilson, The Hill: Dozens of lawsuits filed ahead of redistricting presage years of litigation.

 

McCarthy with Trump

 

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

 

OPINION

To his fellow Democrats, Manchin has been a spoiler. But he’s also a useful scapegoat, by Catherine Rampell, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3hYpc8L 

A foul play by progressives over Israel’s Iron Dome, by Bret Stephens, columnist, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/2XLlTLb

 

A MESSAGE FROM ALIBABA

 

 

Radha Beauty, a small business from Aurora, Ohio, found a new growth opportunity by using Alibaba’s online platforms to sell to the Chinese market. Now Radha is experiencing record sales.

 

WHERE AND WHEN

The House convenes at 9 a.m.  

The Senate convenes Monday at 3 p.m. and resumes consideration of a motion to proceed to legislation that would temporarily fund the government to Dec. 3 and raise the limit on U.S. borrowing to meet obligations. 

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9 a.m. He will meet in the Oval Office with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. Biden will host a Quad Leaders Summit in the East Room at 2 p.m. with Modi, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide of Japan. The president will meet with Yoshihide at 4:10 p.m. in the Red Room. He will depart the White House at 5:35 p.m. to spend the weekend at Camp David.

The vice president departs this morning for New York City, where she will appear on ABC’s “The View” program. Harris will return to Washington at 12:40 p.m. to meet in her ceremonial office at 4:45 p.m. with the prime ministers of Australia, India and Japan.    

First lady Jill Biden flies to Michigan today to help conclude the administration’s five-state bus tour heralding a return to in-person school instruction this fall. She will join Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) at Oakland Community College in Royal Oak, Mich., at 12:45 p.m. ET.  

The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 2:30 p.m. and will include Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The administration’s coronavirus response team will brief journalists at 12:30 p.m.

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

ELSEWHERE

ECONOMY: Filings for unemployment benefits rose for a second consecutive week to 351,000, according to a Labor Department report released on Thursday presenting data through Sept. 18. Two weeks of rising jobless claims at a time when federal unemployment benefits during the pandemic ended early this month could be more signs of complicated factors weighing on the labor market (The Hill). 

TALIBAN: In an interview with The Associated Press, Mullah Nooruddin Turabi, one of the founders of the Taliban and the chief enforcer of its harsh interpretation of Islamic law, dismissed outrage over the Taliban’s executions in the past, which sometimes took place in front of crowds at a stadium, and he warned the world against interfering with Afghanistan’s new rulers. “Everyone criticized us for the punishments in the stadium, but we have never said anything about their laws and their punishments,” Turabi said, speaking in Kabul. “No one will tell us what our laws should be. We will follow Islam and we will make our laws on the Quran.” He said the Islamist fighters will once again carry out executions and amputations of hands, though perhaps not in public. 

TIP YOUR … TWITTER USERS?: Twitter announced Thursday that it is rolling out a new feature to allow users to receive monetary tips. Twitter first piloted the tipping feature earlier this year as part of its broader strategy to make it easier for creators to monetize their accounts. Users will also be able to tip with Bitcoin and via traditional third party platforms. “We want everyone to have access to pathways to get paid,” said Esther Crawford, product lead for creator modernization. The feature will be available initially on iOS devices, but will expand to Android devices (The Hill). 

➔ UNSTAINED: The Washington National Cathedral announced Thursday that Kerry James Marshall, a widely-known contemporary artist, will design new stained-glass windows featuring themes related to racial justice to replace those that honored Confederate figures Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The cathedral said that the windows will tell “a new and more complete” story of the nation’s racial history and will be completed by 2023 (The Associated Press).

 

National Cathedral

 

THE CLOSER

And finally …  Congratulations to the winner of this week’s Morning Report Quiz featuring Dr. Seuss

Here’s who claimed victory by breezing past hat-wearing cats, Who-ville, green eggs and the biography of an imaginative Massachusetts author, poet and cartoonist born in 1904: Mary Anne McEnery. 

Under the Dr. Seuss pseudonym, author Theodor Geisel published 68 books.

Actor Adam Sandler, from our list, never starred in a feature film/movie adaptation of a Dr. Seuss book.  

Dr. Seuss’s first manuscript, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” was rejected by 27 publishers before its acceptance. 

Dr. Seuss never published his books under his own name, Theodor Geisel.

 

 

Cat in the Hat reading
Tags 2022 Senate elections Abby Finkenauer Adam Kinzinger Adam Smith Alejandro Mayorkas Andy Levin Barbara Lee Bernie Sanders Brian Fitzpatrick Budget Charles Schumer Chuck Grassley David Valadao Democrats Donald Trump Fred Upton Jaime Herrera Beutler Janet Yellen Jill Biden Joe Biden Joe Manchin John Katko Kevin McCarthy Kyrsten Sinema Mark Meadows Miguel Cardona Mike DeWine Mitch McConnell Morning Report Nancy Pelosi Peter Meijer Reconciliation Rochelle Walensky Ron Johnson spending bill Steny Hoyer Tom Reed Vaccine
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