The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden, Democrats dig into legislative specifics


Presented by Uber



Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Tuesday! 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, 724,317; Tuesday, 726,201.

Spooky season has extended to Capitol Hill as a key Senate Democrat cast doubt on the party’s ability to reach a deal on its massive social spending package in the coming weeks and President BidenJoe BidenManchin to vote to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for larger businesses Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight Senate cuts deal to clear government funding bill MORE meets with lawmakers in search of a pathway for his agenda.

Senate Democrats returned to town on Monday facing a key two-week stretch to reach consensus on the administration’s Build Back Better agenda. But almost immediately, the chances of that becoming reality were brushed aside by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who remains a key obstacle to any agreement. 

“There is an awful lot going on. I don't know how that would happen,” Manchin told reporters when asked about the Oct. 31 deadline to pass the multi-trillion-dollar proposal and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The West Virginia centrist added that the White House and congressional Democrats still need to come to a “meeting of the minds.”

Once that happens, “you might be able to work it out,” he added. The Oct. 31 deadline refers to the end of highway expansion funding, putting the party on the clock. In recent weeks, Manchin has called on Democrats to take a pause in negotiations until 2022 (The Hill).  

With lawmakers back in town, meetings galore among the interested parties took place in search of a resolution. Biden on Monday met with Rep. Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDemocratic caucus chairs call for Boebert committee assignment removal Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season 91 House Dems call on Senate to expand immigration protections in Biden spending bill MORE (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and held calls with a number of Democratic lawmakers, according to White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Biden's winter COVID-19 strategy Biden lays out multi-pronged plan to deal with evolving pandemic White House defends travel ban on African countries MORE

The president is also set for two high-stakes meetings today: a sitdown with a group of progressive lawmakers at 2 p.m. and another at 4:30 p.m. to huddle with moderate members (The Hill).  

The White House is not the only locale playing host to key sit-downs. Manchin on Monday met separately with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie SandersBernie SandersGOP ramps up attacks on SALT deduction provision Symone Sanders to leave the White House at the end of the year Briahna Joy Gray says Chris Cuomo will return to CNN following scandal MORE (I-Vt.) and Jayapal, with the latter meeting lasting two hours (The Hill). Although the two bookends of the Senate Democratic Conference have sparred publicly in recent weeks, they were on friendly terms as they left the Capitol. Surrounded by a horde of reporters, they also paused for a photo (seen below). 

“It is time that we brought this thing to a head as soon as we possibly can,” Sanders said. “And I would hope that we can see some real action in the next week.” 

Jordain Carney, The Hill: Democrats feel high anxiety in Biden spending conflict. 

Politico: The Manchin and Bernie show consumes Democrats.

The New York Times: Democrats are courting Manchin on their agenda. Here’s what he wants.


Sen. Joe Manchin with Sen. Bernie Sanders


Among the top issues that need to be hammered out by the negotiators is climate change, with Manchin continuing to oppose a provision to include $150 billion to push for increased use of clean energy sources by utilities.  

As The Hill’s Rachel Frazin and Zach Budryk write, a number of Democrats want that provision in the final bill, but some may be willing to sacrifice the program to gain votes. The news leaves some Senate Democrats scrambling to look for other legislative ways to achieve climate benefits.  

Alexander Bolton, The Hill: Manchin climate stance threatens to shatter infrastructure bargain. 

The Hill: Psaki: “Range” of proposals could help Biden meet climate goal. 

The Hill: Bus industry raises alarm, asks Congress for pandemic relief.

> Jan. 6 latest: Former President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE sparked a brouhaha on Capitol Hill on Monday as he filed a lawsuit against the Jan. 6 select committee in an attempt to block it from obtaining his administration’s records from the National Archives.  

“The Committee’s request amounts to nothing less than a vexatious, illegal fishing expedition openly endorsed by Biden and designed to unconstitutionally investigate President Trump and his administration,” the lawsuit reads. “Our laws do not permit such an impulsive, egregious action against a former President and his close advisors.”  

The select committee made a request to the National Archives in August for an exhaustive list of records from the 45th president’s time in office pertaining to the attack on the Capitol. As The Hill’s Harper Neidig and Rebecca Beitsch note, Biden declined to assert executive privilege over certain records that were requested.  

The Hill and The Washington Post: Jan. 6 committee lays out legal arguments against Stephen Bannon’s subpoena defiance in a private letter to his attorney. 

The Washington Post: Trump questioned for four hours in lawsuit from protesters allegedly assaulted by his guards. 


Former President Trump


Meet Gary, a retired veteran with a VA disability pension.

Driving with Uber allows him to compensate for overspending his budget. Gary values Uber's flexibility: "Whenever my budget is on track, it allows me to step out and enjoy life on my terms.” Watch his story.


CORONAVIRUS: Former Secretary of State and retired Army Gen. Colin PowellColin PowellDefense & National Security — Biden marks Veterans Day Biden marks Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery Overnight Defense & National Security — Washington gathers for Colin Powell's funeral MORE, 84, who broke barriers for Black Americans, later said he regretted his role in paving the way for the U.S. war in Iraq and proudly served four presidents in both parties, died on Monday from complications of COVID-19. He had been fully vaccinated but had been treated for underlying health conditions, including multiple myeloma, a blood cancer (The Associated Press and The New York Times). 

During his long career, Powell, who referred to himself as a “problem-solver,” served as White House national security adviser and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and he weighed and ultimately rejected entreaties from both parties to seek the presidency.  

Biden called Powell “my friend” and said, “Time and again he put country before self, before party, before all else — in uniform and out — and it earned him the universal respect of the American people.” 

In a statement Monday, former President George W. Bush hailed Powell as a “great man,” adding that he was “deeply saddened” by his death.

“He was highly respected at home and abroad,” Bush said. “And most important Colin was a family man and a friend. Laura and I send (his wife) Alma and their children our sincere condolences as they remember the life of a great man.” 

The Washington Post: “I’m in good shape,” Powell told Bob Woodward during what turned out to be a final interview in July, while discussing Parkinson’s disease and cancer treatment.

The Associated Press: Iraqis still blame Powell for his role in the Iraq war: “He lied.

The Hill: A bipartisan outpouring of grief followed news of Powell’s death.   

The Hill’s Niall Stanage: “Powell's life and career were emblematic of a much broader change within the Republican Party.” 

The Hill: What does Powell’s COVID-19 death tell us about breakthrough infections in those who are fully vaccinated? 

The New York Times: Fatalities among the fully vaccinated have been rare (0.2 to 6 percent in 40 states studied by the Times). Scientists stress that Powell’s death should not undermine confidence in the inoculations. He received a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in February, said Peggy Cifrino, a longtime aide. He had been scheduled for a booster shot last week but fell ill before he received it, she said.


Former Secretary of State Colin Powell


More coronavirus news: Merck’s new COVID-19 antiviral pill (priced at $700 per course of treatment) could aggravate divisions between wealthy and impoverished nations when it comes to access to enough vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus (The Hill). … The Food and Drug Administration is expected to soon approve as safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine doses that are considered “mix and match,” in other words, are administered to individuals using doses from different manufacturers (The New York Times). 


POLITICS: Two longtime House Democrats called it quits on Monday as Reps. Mike DoyleMichael (Mike) F. DoyleHouse passes bipartisan bills to strengthen network security, cyber literacy Texas Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announces retirement at end of term Midterm gloom grows for Democrats MORE (Pa.) and David PriceDavid Eugene PriceOvernight Defense & National Security — Biden officials consider more Ukraine aid Biden, first lady have 'Friendsgiving' meal with military troops Texas Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announces retirement at end of term MORE (N.C.) announced their retirements effective at the end of their terms amid pessimism surrounding the party’s chances to retain the lower chamber next year.  

Doyle (pictured below) cited discussions with his wife about their retirement and the impact redistricting will likely have on his Pittsburgh-based district as the chief reasons for his decision.  

As for Price, a senior House Appropriations Committee member who chairs the subcommittee with oversight of the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, he pointed to democracy as the issue he is laser-focused on in his final stretch in office. The North Carolina Democrat chairs the House Democracy Partnership, a bipartisan commission within the House that works with other countries to promote effective legislatures.  

“So while it is time for me to retire, it is no time to flag in our efforts to secure a 'more perfect union' and to protect and expand our democracy,” Price said in a statement.  

As The Hill’s Cristina Marcos notes, the two Democrats are among the most senior party members in their respective state delegations. Doyle has served in the House since 1995, while Price has been in office since 1997, having also held office from 1987 to 1995. 

The announcements come on the heels of House Budget Committee Chairman John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthTexas Democrat Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson announces retirement at end of term Dems brace for score on massive Biden bill Midterm gloom grows for Democrats MORE’s (D-Ky.) decision to retire, bringing to the total to 12 House Democrats who have announced plans not to seek reelection to their current seats. Five of those members are seeking other offices. 

The Dallas Morning News: Bush headlines event for Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyProsecutors say North Carolina woman deserves prison for bringing 14-year-old to Capitol riot Rules committee mulls contempt vote for Trump DOJ official McCarthy faces headaches from far-right House GOP MORE (R-Wyo.) in Dallas as anti-Trump Republicans rally to her aid. 

CNN: Vice President Harris to campaign for former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) this week in Northern Va. 

The Hill: Idaho GOP's power struggle underscores fissures in party. 


Rep. Mike Doyle


ADMINISTRATION: The State Department confirmed Monday that 16 Americans were among the 17 individuals abducted by a gang in Haiti over the weekend, and the FBI is assisting the investigation in Haiti, the White House added (The Wall Street Journal). “The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. We have been in regular contact with senior Haitian authorities and will continue to work with them and inter-agency partners," a State Department spokesperson said in a statement. According to a senior U.S. official familiar with the situation, FBI and State Department officials do not know the current location of the kidnapped missionaries. Canadian officials are also working with local authorities to try to help a Canadian missionary captured as part of the group (CNN).

> U.S. & China: Biden has retraced rather than rejected his predecessor’s China policy. The continuity between the Trump and Biden administrations when it comes to China reflects bipartisan support in the country and among Washington policymakers for a tough approach to Beijing on economic and security issues (The Hill).

> Afghanistan: Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghan reconciliation, resigned on Monday, Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenOvernight Defense & National Security — Quick vote on defense bill blocked again Kremlin claims Ukraine may try to win back rebel-controlled regions by force Blinken: Iran actions risk collapse of new talks MORE announced. Khalilzad will be succeeded by Tom West, his deputy. A diplomatic veteran well known in foreign policy circles, Khalilzad previously served as a U.S. ambassador to Iraq and the United Nations and held the Afghanistan post under the Trump administration. The former envoy, who is an ethnic Pashtun and grew up in Kabul, led the talks with the Taliban in Qatar that resulted in the Doha agreement with the Trump administration to fully withdraw American troops by a deadline initially set for May. It was a role that brought him considerable scrutiny (CNN). In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in May, Khalilzad told lawmakers, “I personally believe that the prediction that the Afghan forces will collapse right away, they’re not right.” In fact, Afghan forces collapsed in 11 days. … An acting inspector general at the State Department told Congress she is opening a series of investigations into the August U.S. troop withdrawal from Kabul (Politico and NBC News).


Colin Powell’s greatest legacy is in the people he inspired, by Condoleezza Rice, opinion contributor, The Washington Post. 

Colin Powell was an insider who also stood apart, by Gerald F. Seib, columnist, The Wall Street Journal.


Meet Gary, a retired veteran with a VA disability pension.

Driving with Uber allows him to compensate for overspending his budget. Gary values Uber's flexibility: "Whenever my budget is on track, it allows me to step out and enjoy life on my terms.” Watch his story.


The House meets at 2 p.m. 

The Senate meets at 10 a.m. and will resume consideration of the nomination of Christine O’Hearn to be a U.S. district judge in New Jersey. 

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:30 a.m. At 2 p.m., Biden will meet in the Oval Office with the vice president, Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenYellen: Omicron 'could cause significant problems' for global economy Real relief from high gas prices House sets up Senate shutdown showdown MORE and a group of House progressives to discuss Democrats’ pending legislative agenda. At 4:30 p.m., Biden, Harris and Yellen will meet with a group of moderates from the House and the Senate to discuss a way forward.  

The White House press briefing is scheduled at 1 p.m.

INVITATION: The Hill Virtually Live TODAY at 2 p.m. hosts “Back to Work: Helping the Long-Term Unemployed,” featuring moderated discussion with Labor Secretary Martin Walsh, lawmakers, economists and other experts. Information is HERE

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


COURTS: The Supreme Court on Monday sided with law enforcement in a pair of cases involving qualified immunity, the legal doctrine that gives police broad protection from lawsuits. In a pair of unsigned summary rulings, the justices ruled that officers should be granted that protection after two federal appeals courts permitted excessive force lawsuits to proceed against officers in separate cases out of California and Oklahoma (The Hill). … The Justice Department asked the Supreme Court on Monday to lift an order imposed by a conservative federal appeals court that has allowed Texas to continue enforcing the nation’s strictest curbs on abortion through a novel law that was written to make it hard to challenge in the federal court system. The department had announced its intentions last Friday. The administration also took the unusual step of telling justices they could grant the Texas law full review and decide its fate this term, which already includes a major case about the future of U.S. abortion rights (The Associated Press).  

HEALTH: The United States has seen a 23 percent increase in influenza cases this year compared to 2020, although flu activity is still below normal pre-pandemic years, according to data collected by the Walgreens Flu Index. Southern states are showing more widespread flu activity so far, according to the index, which is in line with trends seen over the past two flu seasons (The Hill). 

➔ TECH: Five members of the House Judiciary Committee accuse Amazon, including founder Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosDorsey's exit shakes up Twitter future The dangers of anarchy in space Health risks of space tourism: Is it responsible to send humans to Mars? MORE, of misleading or lying to Congress following a Reuters report about the company’s business practices. ... Apple on Monday wrapped up its hardware event unveiling new processors, laptops and AirPods. The company enters the fall with new iPhones, Apple Watches, Macs and AirPods ready to ship during the holiday season. Apple is slated to release its new MacBook Pro at a hefty price tag: $1,999 for the 14-inch model and $2,499 for the 16-inch version (CNBC).


And finally … keep moving! Veteran military pilot Fred Miles, 103, went tandem adaptive paragliding in Wyoming in July and set a record, according to a Sunday report in Army Times. He flew for 15 minutes and later exclaimed, “It was very nice. … I enjoyed it — nice and smooth.” Miles first piloted a plane 81 years ago after joining the United States Army Air Corps, which eventually became the Air Force. He joined the force after graduating from Syracuse University with an engineering degree and flew in World War II, again in the Korean War and afterward for some time, for a total of 30 years. During his time in the military, Miles once nose-dived his plane into the Bodega Bay in northern California — where he was stationed and where he met his wife — when its engine caught fire. He survived only because a fishing boat picked him up and laid him against the boat’s engine for warmth. He became an enthusiastic recreational climber when he was 81 but experienced a setback when he broke a hip at age 100 and began to use a wheelchair and walker. Three years later: up, up and away.


Former Army Air Corps pilot Fred Miles