The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by ExxonMobil – Manchin drama intensifies; all eyes on Virginia
Presented by ExxonMobil
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 each morning this week: Monday, 745,836; Tuesday, 747,033.
President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda is in jeopardy this week after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) indicated he could vote against it while demanding that the House pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill after sitting on it for nearly three months.
After days of questions surrounding the future of the president’s plan, Manchin weighed in during a press conference on Monday, making clear that he is not yet on board with the party’s massive social spending proposal. He also expressed exasperation with progressives for continuing to hold up the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.
“The political games have to stop,” Manchin told reporters in the Capitol. “Holding this (infrastructure) bill hostage is not going to work in getting my support for the reconciliation bill.”
In recent days, Manchin signaled his support for the package’s $1.75 trillion price tag and has made statements indicating that he could ultimately back the legislation, but on Monday, his misgivings returned. He said he is not a rubber stamp for the still-evolving framework the president endorsed last week.
“I’m open to supporting a final bill that helps move our country forward. But I’m equally open to voting against a bill that hurts our country,” Manchin said, pointing to inflation and budget deficits as his primary concerns (The Hill).
CNN: Manchin warns he may vote against Biden social safety net plan as he criticizes key aspects.
The New York Times: Manchin raises doubts on safety net bill, complicating path to quick vote.
The Hill: House Democrats brush off Manchin.
Axios: Manchin’s $3.9 trillion pause.
The West Virginia centrist’s remarks come after months of warnings that his appetite for the package has been lukewarm (at best). At various points, Manchin called for the then-$3.5 trillion proposal to be chopped down to $1.5 trillion, said that Democrats should delay any vote until 2022 due to economic concerns, questioned proposed pay-fors and tax increases, and opposed specific issues and provisions the Democratic bill was initially intended to tackle, including paid family leave and an energy program intended to fight climate change.
The Hill: Progressive Rep. Cori Bush (Mo.) ripped Manchin over his spending bill opposition, referring to the senator as “anti-Black, anti-child, anti-woman and anti-immigrant.” She said, “Joe Manchin does not get to dictate the future of our country.”
Manchin’s comments also drew the ire of centrist colleagues, who embrace the infrastructure measure that remains in limbo in the House. Manchin has championed its provisions as beneficial to West Virginians, and he helped a group of senators craft and pass the bipartisan bill.
“I think Joe made a mistake today by going out and making this news conference,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). “I think at this moment in time, trust is a hard thing. I don’t want to give people excuses to vote against the BIF or against reconciliation,” he added, using the acronym for the bipartisan infrastructure framework (The New York Times).
Among progressives, Manchin’s remarks were the exact opposite of what they hoped to hear. Despite that, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Congressional Progressives Caucus, predicted moments after Manchin’s press conference that the House will pass “both bills in the next couple of days,” adding she believes Biden can bring Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) across the finish line to support the reconciliation blueprint.
“The president says he can get 51 votes for the bill. We are going to trust him. … We’re tired of continuing to wait for one or two people,” she told CNN.
The Hill: White House “confident” Manchin will back reconciliation framework.
However, the timing of those votes in the upper chamber remains an open question. House Democrats had hoped to vote on it today, but that seems increasingly unlikely, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told the House Democratic Caucus on Monday evening that the House Rules Committee is expected to meet on Wednesday, giving members until then to nail down the final text of the $1.75 trillion budget bill, including a deal on prescription drug pricing (Politico).
Alexander Bolton and Jordain Carney, The Hill: Manchin frustrates Democrats with latest outburst.
The Hill: Democrats race to reach deal on prescription drug pricing.
Bloomberg Government: Democrats’ latest immigration proposal teed up for Senate review.
The Hill: Infrastructure bill could upset debt limit timeline.
Today is Election Day for residents of Virginia and New Jersey, and what voters decide is expected to loop back to Democrats’ agenda in Washington.
Surveys in the closely watched Virginia gubernatorial race show Democrat Terry McAuliffe (D) and Republican Glenn Youngkin neck and neck as voters head to polling locations to conclude a slugfest that may come down to the wire.
The Hill’s Julia Manchester has a handy guide to at least five potential developments to watch in the contest that could serve as a bellwether for next year’s midterm contests, and The Associated Press published its preview this morning.
Niall Stanage writes in his latest Memo that Virginia’s gubernatorial showdown will reveal crucial clues about the national mood, issues and voter priorities. Biden carried the state by 10 points a year ago, but 12 months later, many political analysts in both parties say Republican chances of capturing more governorships and flipping the House and Senate by 2023 have expanded.
Sabato’s Crystal Ball, based at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, moved the “vexing” gubernatorial race in a state that trends blue to “lean Republican” (and attracted quite a bit of social media blowback for the reasoning).
“A narrow win by either candidate would suggest a significant falloff for Democrats from their strong Virginia performances in the Trump era and represent, at the very least, a bright red `check engine’ light at the midpoint of the Democrats’ journey from last year’s presidential race to next year’s midterm,” the political scientists wrote on Monday.
The Hill: In a race that McAuliffe tried to tie to Washington as well as Biden’s leadership and a long list of criticisms of former President Trump, congressional progressives may have acted too late to boost McAuliffe’s narrative and may be bruised by the result in Virginia.
The Associated Press: Competitive Virginia governor’s race to test Biden’s appeal.
More in politics: The Hill’s Reid Wilson interviewed Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, who said Trump threatened him during conversations last year (audio of an hour long phone call between the two is HERE). He won’t say whether the former president is morally fit for office, should he decide to run again. … A bipartisan Ohio redistricting commission opted to punt responsibility to redraw congressional district maps and handed the decision to a state legislature overwhelmingly controlled by Republicans (The Hill). … The estranged wife of Republican Senate candidate Sean Parnell of Pennsylvania testified in a divorce and child custody hearing on Monday that her husband tried to choke her and hit one of their three school-age children. In a statement released by his campaign, the candidate disputed Laurie Parnell’s testimony and said he would “set the record straight” when he testifies next week (The Philadelphia Inquirer).
A MESSAGE FROM EXXONMOBIL
Carbon capture and storage. One way we’re helping reduce emissions.
Industry and power generation account for nearly two-thirds of global CO2 emissions. At ExxonMobil, we’re collaborating on some of the world’s largest carbon capture and storage projects to help reduce these emissions at scale.
LEADING THE DAY
ADMINISTRATION: Biden on Monday sought to restore the U.S. role as a major global player on climate change with an address at the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, an international event that aims to line nations up behind commitments to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, the sooner the better.
“There’s no more time to hang back or sit on the fence or argue amongst ourselves,” Biden said. “This is the challenge of our collective lifetimes. The existential threat to human existence as we know it” (The Hill).
The goal described by conference leaders is to keep global warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels. The world has already warmed 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Current projections based on planned emissions cuts over the next decade are for it to hit 4.9 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100.
During his speech, Biden apologized for the Trump administration’s “costly” decision to temporarily pull the United States out of the historic 2015 Paris climate accord (The Hill).
World leaders used end-of-the-world rhetoric Monday to add urgency to the goal of saving a warming planet. The Associated Press reported that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson described global warming as “a doomsday device” strapped to humanity; United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres spoke of “digging our own graves”; and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, speaking for vulnerable island nations, warned leaders not to “allow the path of greed and selfishness to sow the seeds of our common destruction.”
The COP26 concludes for world leaders late today.
The Associated Press: Troubles at home shadow Biden’s climate efforts abroad.
The New York Times: Even as Biden pushes clean energy, he seeks more oil production in the near term as oil and gas prices rise.
The Associated Press: More than 100 countries pledge to end deforestation.
> Interior Department: Native American advocates want Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to protect gray wolves after several states lifted restrictions on the number of wolves hunters and ranchers can legally kill. Their position is backed by 21 senators, 85 members of Congress and more than 120 tribes. Advocates for U.S. wolves were enraged when Haaland declined to overturn the Trump administration’s decision to end federal protections (The Hill).
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
CORONAVIRUS: There was positive news on the vaccination front on Monday as the U.S. reached a key milestone: 80 percent of adults ages 18 and older have received at least one vaccine dose.
Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, revealed the statistic update on Monday, adding that nearly 70 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated (69.6 percent to be exact). He hailed the news as “two important milestones.”
Zients also noted that by the end of Monday, roughly 20 million Americans will have received a Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson booster dose. The coordinator said the U.S.’s booster program “is off to a very strong start and continues to accelerate” (The Hill).
The Washington Post: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds immunity from vaccines is more consistent than from infection, but both last at least six months.
Bloomberg News: Millions of kids’ COVID-19 vaccines are shipped ahead of CDC clearance.
The New York Times: How often do COVID-19 vaccines cause heart problems in kids?
> Mandates: More than 2,000 New York City firefighters took medical leave this past week as the deadline for showing proof of full vaccination passed, and city workers who failed to comply with the mandate now face being placed on unpaid leave (The Hill).
New York City Fire Department (NYFD) Deputy Commissioner Frank Dwyer called the number of firefighters who have called out sick “very unusual.” NYFD Commissioner Daniel Nigro lambasted workers who took part in a “sickout” to protest the mandate.
“Irresponsible bogus sick leave by some of our members is creating a danger for New Yorkers and their fellow Firefighters,” Nigro said. “They need to return to work or risk the consequences of their actions” (NBC News).
The Hill: Biden’s vaccine mandate to be published soon.
The Associated Press: Judge suspends Dec. 31 deadline for Chicago police officers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Associated Press: Pennsylvania incentive to state workers, if they get vaccinated: 5 days of paid leave.
The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!
Virginia buries an enduring political myth, by Jeff Greenfield, opinion contributor, Politico Magazine. https://politi.co/3By8eVJ
The forces behind Biden’s problems: Four parties, zero trust, by Gerald F. Seib, columnist, The Wall Street Journal. https://on.wsj.com/3Ev5xWW
A MESSAGE FROM EXXONMOBIL
WHERE AND WHEN
The House convenes at 10 a.m.
The Senate meets at 10 a.m. to resume consideration of the nomination of Jonathan Davidson to be deputy under secretary of the Treasury Department.
The president is in Glasgow for the COP26. Biden will speak at 9:40 a.m. local time about the administration’s plan to protect global forests. He will participate in a leaders’ event about building a better world, followed by his speech at 1 p.m. about curbing methane gas. At 2:30 p.m. local time, Biden speaks during an event about “Accelerating Clean Technology Innovation and Deployment.” At 7:30 p.m. local time, the president holds a news conference. Biden will depart Glasgow around 10 p.m. to return to the White House, arriving early Wednesday morning.
INVITATION: The Hill’s Virtually Live on THURSDAY at noon hosts “Diabetes Technology: Disparities, Access & Equity,” featuring patient advocate Patti LaBelle; Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), chairwoman of the House Diabetes Caucus; Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), the Diabetes Caucus vice chairman; and top medical experts. Information is HERE.
➔ SUPREME COURT: Justices sounded a note of skepticism Monday over Texas’s controversial six-week abortion ban, appearing ready to allow abortion providers to challenge the law in federal court, reports The Hill’s John Kruzel. The case did not deal directly with the ban’s lawfulness. Rather, the high court wrestled with whether the Department of Justice and abortion providers can bring federal lawsuits against Texas or state officials in an effort to block the law. The challengers argued that Texas has effectively nullified the constitutional right to abortion and urged the justices to rule that federal courts may review, and potentially halt or invalidate, the six-week ban.
➔ INTERNATIONAL: India is committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2070 (20 years after a 2050 goal encouraged by other nations) while generating 50 percent of its power from renewable energy by 2030, according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi vowed to increase the country’s non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 gigawatts, reduce total projected carbon emissions by 1 billion tons and reduce India’s carbon intensity by 45 percent by 2030 (The Hill). … In Nigeria, six people are dead and scores missing today after a luxury residential high-rise building under construction in Lagos collapsed on Monday, trapping workers and others under a mountain of rubble (Reuters).
➔ TECH: Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, a prominent international whistleblower who has accused her past employer of putting profits over privacy and safety, on Monday at a Lisbon technology event urged CEO Mark Zuckerberg to step down (Reuters). “I think it is unlikely the company will change if (he) remains the CEO,” the former Facebook product manager told an applauding crowd. “Over and over Facebook chooses expansion and new areas instead of sticking the landing on what they’ve already done.”
And finally … Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City will be back in full spectacle Nov. 25 from 9 a.m. to noon after downsizing with some pandemic precautions in 2020. Baby Yoda is a new helium addition to characters floating through Manhattan above costumed entertainers marching, twirling and waving from floats — kicking off the holiday season with plenty of celebrities on live TV.
Visitors with proof of COVID-19 vaccination this year can view the balloons being inflated the day before the parade. Children under the age of 12 may be accompanied by a vaccinated adult (ABC 7). Macy’s has helpful information HERE.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.