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The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Democrats have so many hurdles ahead

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a key holdout vote on President Joe Biden's domestic agenda
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Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a key holdout vote on President Joe Biden's domestic agenda



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 each morning this week: Monday, 735,941; Tuesday, 737,321; Wednesday, 738,883; Thursday, 741,235.

It’s a game of “Beat the Clock” today as lawmakers try again to strike a deal and President Biden continues negotiating to get his agenda through Congress, squeezing in an appeal to House Democrats and a morning speech from the East Room before flying overseas at midday. 


Top lawmakers on Wednesday said they were bullish about hammering out an agreement even as new tripwires emerged over paid parental leave, taxing the wealthy and how to offset a potential $1.75 trillion price tag.


Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters that the party is in “pretty good shape” in terms of reaching that goal. Democrats, however, face continuing hurdles after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) criticized as “convoluted” a proposed new tax that would impact about 700 billionaires (The Hill).


Biden is expected to meet this morning with the House Democratic Caucus before leaving the country for a global summit (CNN, The New York Times and The Associated Press).


The Washington Post: The president is reported to have in hand for his meeting with House Democrats new specifics for a framework deal.


The president’s advisers on Wednesday huddled with Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) for roughly two hours at the Capitol (The Hill). Much to the chagrin of Biden and progressives, the administration’s national paid family leave proposal dropped from the budget framework, setting off a furious attempt by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to cajole Manchin to their side (The Wall Street Journal). 


As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports, the two Democrats cornered the West Virginia centrist on the Senate floor in an attempt to soften his resistance. Murray insisted the proposed support for families is still in the package. 


“It’s not out,” she said, recounting her conversation with Manchin. “He said he will keep an open mind. He is not a no.”


Among the major provisions sought by Democrats still in the spending plan: expanded health care programs, free pre-kindergarten and $500 billion to tackle climate change.


The Associated Press: A Biden deal is in “pretty good shape,” but no breakthrough.


The Washington Post: Paid leave for families at risk of falling out of spending deal.


CNBC: Medicare expansion hangs in the balance.


One Democratic senator briefed on the negotiations said White House officials “are certainly increasing the intensity and pace of the talks” because Biden wants to show significant progress before departing today for Rome (The Hill). 



President Joe Biden participates virtually in the U.S.-ASEAN Summit



The Hill: ​​Crucial talks about the Biden agenda enter the homestretch.


Politico: Liberal frustration imperils quick Democratic social spending deal.


Pelosi also attempted to move the ball down the field on Wednesday, announcing that the House Rules Committee will discuss portions of the budget framework, although there’s no legislative text and no consensus. As The Hill’s Mike Lillis notes, the panel, which typically marks up legislation as the last step before a floor vote, is conducting a rare “hearing” instead — a signal that Democratic leaders want to project a sense of momentum. 


“We are close to agreement on the priorities and the topline of the legislation, which can and must pass the House and Senate,” Pelosi wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter. 


Mike Lillis and Scott Wong, The Hill: Lack of trust mangles Democratic efforts to reach deal.


Cristina Marcos and Jordain Carney, The Hill: Patience wears thin as Democrats miss deadlines.


The Washington Post: Vulnerable House Democrats are worried about what is being left out of Biden’s economic package.


Also on the table for Democratic leaders is a potential vote today on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure legislation that has been in limbo since the Senate passed it almost three months ago. Hoyer told reporters that it could “possibly” happen, but all indications would point to the contrary, as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), head of the Congressional Progressive caucus, once again poo-pooed the idea.


Jayapal indicated that “there are over three dozen members” of her caucus “who feel strongly” that a framework deal on the reconciliation package will not pass muster in order to unlock votes to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill and that only a final vote on the mammoth spending proposal will do (Politico). 


One House Democrat told the Morning Report that continued hesitation among progressives has a lot to do with the ongoing talks with centrist Democratic senators, especially Sinema. Put simply, they don’t believe a final deal is done until it is carved in stone.


“I have always felt like if Manchin and Sinema came out and said yes to an agreement, that it would be good enough to unlock the votes for the BIF,” the Democratic member said, using the acronym for the bipartisan infrastructure framework. “But let’s face it, a lot of members don’t trust Sinema.”


The Hill: Manchin dampens progressive hopes for billionaires tax.


NBC News: Billionaires tax faces constitutional, political hurdles. 


Bloomberg News: The White House is urging GOP lawmakers to make a 2022 budget offer and begin talks now, hoping to get appropriations passed before a Dec. 3 deadline.



Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.



More in Congress: Democrats are gearing up for a showdown with Big Oil during a House hearing today. Executives from Exxon Mobil, BP, Chevron and Shell — as well as two major trade groups — will testify (The Hill and The Associated Press). … A proposed Democratic tax on billionaires, if enacted, would potentially impact some famous names at the top of U.S. technology companies (The Hill).


Why Facebook supports updated internet regulations


Jack is one of 40,000 people working on safety and security issues at Facebook.


Hear more from Jack on why Facebook supports updating regulations on the internet’s most pressing challenges, including reforming Section 230 to set clear guidelines for all large tech companies.


CORONAVIRUS: Pharmaceutical company Merck granted a royalty-free license for a promising COVID-19 antiviral pill to a United Nations-backed nonprofit, Medicines Patent Pool, in a deal that would allow the drug to be manufactured and sold cheaply in the poorest nations, where vaccines for the coronavirus are scarce. The agreement will allow companies in 105 countries, mostly in Africa and Asia, to sub-license the formulation for the pill, called molnupiravir, and begin making it (The New York Times).


> Fourth vaccine doses: Some of the most at-risk people who have compromised immune systems can get a fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to a revised recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (The Hill). 


CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Wednesday repeated her message that Americans should remain “vigilant” this fall and winter, even as infection and hospitalization rates from COVID-19 are “heading in the right direction” nationally, she said. Fatalities from the coronavirus in the United States still average more than 1,000 a day (The Hill).


> Mandates: U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn ruled on Wednesday that Southwest Airlines can order its pilots to be vaccinated against COVID-19 after the pilots’ union tried to get a restraining order on the policy. She wrote in her ruling that Southwest is fulfilling its obligation under the collective bargaining agreement to provide a safe work environment (The Hill). It’s the regulatory argument the Biden administration is making through the Occupational and Safety and Health Administration. … On Wednesday, the White House signaled some flexibility about enforcement tied to a Dec. 8 deadline for vaccine requirements to be imposed by private employers (Reuters). … The Florida Department of Education this week stripped the Alachua County school board of federal aid over its COVID-19 policy on masks, defying the Biden administration (Politico).


POLITICS: Fresh off of Biden’s visit to Arlington, Va., to stump for former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), an appearance filled with taunts in former President Trump’s direction, Trump momentarily had the political world believing on Wednesday that he was going to appear in the state to rally supporters for GOP nominee Glenn Youngkin ahead of Tuesday’s gubernatorial election. 


However, sudden statements by Trump and his team turned out to be a troll job as he will reportedly not be making a campaign stop, one that Democrats were begging for in order to fire up their voting base only days out from the crucial contest.


During Tuesday’s rally, Biden repeatedly invoked Trump’s name, wondering if Youngkin was “embarrassed” to physically stand beside the former president before Election Day, as Trump had noticeably shied away from campaigning in the state that is for lovers. Less than 24 hours later, Trump released a statement, telling supporters in Arlington he would “see you soon!” 


“Virginia loves President Donald J. Trump and his MAGA movement will be delivering a major victory to Trump-endorsed businessman @GlennYoungkin. President Trump looks forward to being back in Virginia! Details will be released when appropriate. Thanks!” tweeted Taylor Budowich, a Trump spokesman. 


The news reverberated among political watchers. Republican operatives believe any Trump appearance ahead of Tuesday would be problematic for Youngkin, who is neck and neck with McAuliffe in a state that has consistently voted Democratic over the past decade. 


However, it was not to be. Aides to the former president indicated that Trump will indeed visit the state, just not in the coming days. The troll reportedly even set off alarm bells within Youngkin’s team, which wasn’t entirely sure what was going on (Politico).


CBS News: Democrats are banking an early-vote lead in the Virginia governor’s race (more than 700,000 voters have cast ballots already).


The Associated Press: New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) plans to run for governor of the Empire State.


Portland Mercury: Nicholas Kristof, a Democrat and former columnist with The New York Times, announced he has entered the Oregon governor’s race


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) is considering a primary challenge against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R).


Reid Wilson, The Hill: Buffalo race becomes early test for a divided Democratic Party.


The Hill: Senate GOP lines up behind Trump-backed candidates.



Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks during a rally in Roanoke, Va.,





ADMINISTRATION: Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley says China’s suspected new test of a hypersonic weapons system is “very concerning” and close to a “Sputnik moment” amid increasing tension between the United States and Beijing. 


Speaking during a Bloomberg Television interview that aired on Wednesday, Milley said, “What we saw was a very significant event of a test of a hypersonic weapon system. And it is very concerning.” Referring to the Soviet Union’s 1957 satellite advancement, he added, “I don’t know if it’s quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to that. It has all of our attention.


Sparking worries about a new kind of arms race, Beijing is believed to have tested the weapons system during the summer, but neither the Defense Department nor U.S. intelligence agencies formally acknowledged China’s suspected test of a hypersonic weapons system until Milley’s comments. 


The Pentagon’s surprise, according to The New York Times, appears to have arisen from how China joined two different technologies — the launch of a missile that completed a partial orbit of the Earth and a hypersonic vehicle that could plow a suddenly shifting path, maneuvering in ways that would render all current U.S. missile defenses obsolete.


Without specifically confirming the nature of China’s test, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Milley spoke about concerns that “we all have.” Biden last week raised eyebrows during a CNN town hall discussion when he said the U.S. has a “commitment” to defend Taiwan if China attacks it. The White House later emphasized the president was not announcing a new policy position and that the U.S. would continue to be guided by the Taiwan Relations Act (CBS News). 


> White House: On Friday, the president and first lady Jill Biden will meet with Pope Francis in Rome during what will be an audience between influential Roman Catholic leaders who embrace the global battle against climate change, champion human rights but differ dramatically when it comes to abortion. The Supreme Court will consider state challenges to Roe v. Wade this term while the second Catholic president in U.S. history works to protect U.S. women’s reproductive choices and access to abortion as a constitutional right (The Hill and NPR). Biden, who has met the pope numerous times over the years, will be in Rome for the Group of 20 summit and then fly to Scotland for an international climate conference known as COP26.


The Wall Street Journal: The pope and the president both face abortion tensions with U.S. Catholic bishops.



Climate activist Vanessa Nakate, of Uganda, right, gathers with demonstrators



The Hill: 5 things to watch during the Glasgow climate summit.


The Associated Press: India says net zero carbon emissions targets aren’t the solution.


Who won’t be at COP26 in person? Queen Elizabeth (advised by doctors to rest after a recent hospital check up at age 95) changed her mind about making the trip. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who leads the world’s largest carbon polluter, may participate virtually or not at all (South China Morning Post). Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t be there, nor will the pope (Reuters).  


​​> Attorney General Merrick Garland on Wednesday defended himself against claims from Senate Republicans that a memo he issued about violent threats to school board members could have a chilling effect on parents who are seeking to voice their concerns about their children’s education. Garland’s memo, issued Oct. 4, has become a flashpoint in a broader battle waged by the GOP against the Biden administration and schools over mask mandates and the teaching of critical race theory, an academic concept developed by legal scholars to examine the ongoing effects of racism in American policies and institutions. Garland told Republicans during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that his October memo focused on threats of violence against public servants and aimed to facilitate consultation between federal and local law enforcement (CBS News).

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 moral chasm that has opened up between left and right is widening, by Thomas B. Edsall, columnist, The New York Times. 


The path ahead for the GOP runs through the Ohio Senate race, by Hugh Hewitt, contributing columnist, The Washington Post.


Why Facebook supports updated internet regulations


Jack is one of 40,000 people working on safety and security issues at Facebook.


Hear more from Jack on why Facebook supports updating regulations on the internet’s most pressing challenges, including reforming Section 230 to set clear guidelines for all large tech companies.


The House convenes at 10 a.m. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will hold his weekly press conference at 11:30 a.m.


The Senate meets at 10 a.m. and resumes consideration of the nomination of Omar Williams to be a U.S. district judge for the District of Connecticut.


The president is expected to meet at 9 a.m. with the House Democratic Caucus. He will give a speech from the East Room at 11:30 a.m. Biden and the first lady will fly to Rome at 12:35 p.m. to begin an itinerary in Europe that concludes next week. 


Vice President Harris will meet with mayors to discuss the Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure package at 2:15 p.m.


Economic indicator: The Bureau of Economic Analysis reports at 8:30 a.m. on U.S. growth in the third quarter, which likely cooled because of COVID-19, supply chain bottlenecks, hiring challenges and rising prices. … The Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. reports on claims for unemployment benefits filed in the week ending Oct. 23.


INVITATION: The Hill’s Virtually Live today wraps up its “A More Perfect Union” festival beginning at 11:30 a.m. EDT, featuring thought-provoking conversations today with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.); former White House national security adviser John Bolton; Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers; Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and many others. 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.


NEWS FOR TRAVELERS: Delta Air Lines says it is experimenting with facial recognition technology to speed movement of passengers through Atlanta International Airport, its main hub (CBS News). … Travel experts explain why it’s a good time to use your accumulated mileage awards (NASDAQ). … Airline ticket prices are rising daily and are expected to continue to increase along with U.S. and international travel demands and jet fuel prices (Business Insider).


STATE WATCH: Georgia, Kentucky and Idaho saw more than 4 percent of workers voluntarily quit their jobs in August in what is being called the “Great Resignation” of 2021. The three states also are among those with the lowest minimum wage, which is federally mandated at $7.25 per hour (CBS News). … Thanks to an October snow storm, two Sierra ski resorts will open this Halloween weekend in California. “Costumes are highly encouraged,” announced one resort (The Mercury News).


MALE, FEMALE, X PASSPORT: The United States issued its first passport with an “X” gender designation — a milestone in the recognition of the rights of people who don’t identify as male or female — and expects to be able to offer the option more broadly next year, the State Department said Wednesday (ABC News).


And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by American history, we’re eager for some smart guesses about today’s date in headlines of yore.


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.


Oct. 28, 1929, became known as Black Monday because of which event?


  1. Influenza pandemic swept the country
  2. Catastrophic drought gripped the Great Plains
  3. Wall Street panic became unstoppable
  4. Albert Einstein warned Germany might develop an atomic bomb because of his theories


On Oct. 28, 1919, Congress overrode a presidential veto to approve the Volstead Act. What was the act intended to do?


  1. Fulfill the 18th Amendment
  2. Make illegal the production, sale and transport of intoxicating beverages
  3. Help law enforcement battle organized crime
  4. All of the above


On Oct. 28, 1962, what happened involving an island?


  1. Hawaii became the 50th state
  2. The deadly New England hurricane struck Cape Cod
  3. Nikita Khrushchev announced the Soviet Union would dismantle its missile base in Cuba
  4. “Islands in the Stream” by Ernest Hemingway was published


On Oct. 28, 1886, which lady received a presidential salute and the first U.S. ticker-tape parade?


  1. Statue of Liberty
  2. Marie Curie
  3. Harriet Beecher Stowe
  4. Ethel Barrymore



Dr. Hugo Eckener and the crew of the Graf Zeppelin received a rousing reception when they were driven through New York, Oct. 16, 1928.


Tags Anthony Fauci Brian Kemp David Perdue Donald Trump Jen Psaki Jill Biden Joe Biden Joe Manchin John Bolton Kevin McCarthy Kirsten Gillibrand Kyrsten Sinema Mark Milley Mark Warner Merrick Garland Nancy Pelosi Patty Murray Pope Francis Pramila Jayapal Rochelle Walensky Vladimir Putin

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