The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden hits road to tout infrastructure bill

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President Joe Biden speaks about the bipartisan infrastructure bill

 

 

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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths each day this week: Monday, 754,431; Tuesday, 755,643. 



President BidenJoe BidenMadame Tussauds unveils new Biden and Harris figures US raises concerns about Russian troop movements to Belarus Putin tests a model for invading Ukraine, outwitting Biden's diplomats MORE needs no lessons in pitching voters on the importance of American ports, highways, bridges and rail. He’s been doing it for months. He did it as vice president during visits to Granite City, Ill.; Cleveland, Ohio; and Norfolk, Va. He gave an interview about infrastructure on Monday to a Cincinnati TV station. He’ll repeat it on Wednesday at the Port of Baltimore. And he’ll recap his points later this month when senators and House members from both parties stand shoulder to shoulder in the White House as the bill they helped write becomes a $1 trillion law.

 

The president savored the bill-signing experience when he was a Delaware senator. He relished legislative victories (“big f---ing deal”) as vice president. And he wants key senators to think about contributing to more such achievements before 2021 is through.

 

“We’re doing so much with this legislation,” Biden said on Saturday as he exulted in the passage hours earlier of an infrastructure measure that survived Senate line-by-line negotiations and months of procedural House gyrations. “For all of you at home who feel left behind and forgotten in an economy that’s changing so rapidly, this bill is for you,” Biden added. “The vast majority of the thousands of jobs that will be created don’t require a college degree. They’ll be jobs in every part of the country — red states, blue states, cities, small towns, rural communities, Tribal communities. This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America. And it’s long overdue.”

 

In Kentucky on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellNAACP president presses senators on voting rights: 'You will decide who defines America' Sununu says he skipped Senate bid to avoid being 'roadblock' to Biden for two years 'All or nothing' won't bolster American democracy: Reform the filibuster and Electoral Count Act MORE (R-Ky.) applauded the passage of the infrastructure bill he voted to support in August. “This will be the first time I have come up here in a quarter of a century where I thought maybe there was a way forward on the Brent Spence Bridge,” he said in remarks in Covington, Ky., where the much-discussed span stretching to Cincinnati has been declared functionally obsolete by the Federal Highway Administration since the 1990s (Kentucky Politics).

 

Biden, whose job approval numbers have fallen below 40 percent, according to a new poll released this week, plans to describe what the administration calls a once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure. Many state lawmakers in the next few months will help localize its details. Kentucky, for example, expects to receive more than $5 billion, including $4.6 billion for highway programs and $438 million for bridge replacement and repairs — plus the construction jobs that result.

 

The Hill: State and local officials celebrate a record $1 billion for cybersecurity included in the infrastructure measure.

 

The Hill: Despite inclusion in the infrastructure bill of new electric vehicle charging stations and funds to remove and replace hazardous lead pipes, some environmental advocacy groups say they are lukewarm.

 

The New York Times: Democrats face a political challenge going forward: how to persuade liberal activists and organizers to focus on what made it into the bills and not on what was axed.

 

During his Wednesday visit to Baltimore, home to the nation's largest port facilities for specialized cargo and passenger facilities (pictured below), Biden is expected to say the bill he will sign can help alleviate some supply chain bottlenecks brought on by backed-up, antiquated U.S. ports, freight haulers delayed and trucking companies stuck without enough drivers.

 

On Friday, the president’s spokesman initially said the president would sign the bill as soon as he received it from Congress. By Saturday, Biden said he would wait. “I want people who worked so hard to get this done, Democrats and Republicans, to be here when we sign it,” he said. Members of both chambers will not be back in Washington until next week. Business groups are impatient and have urged Biden to hurry up and sign the long-debated legislation. 

 

The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant and Amie Parnes write that the White House wants to demonstrate new strides that can lift up lives and lifestyles dramatically upended by COVID-19 in large and small ways. It is a challenging narrative. “Yes, we passed infrastructure, but these are huge problems and huge economic problems,” said one Democratic strategist. “The White House needs to figure out how to effectively communicate what it is trying to do, or people will lose faith.”

 

The Hill: FedEx can meet holiday demands “assuming that we can get the employees,” the company’s CEO said on Sunday. 

 

 

A crane removes a container from a ship at the Port of Baltimore's Seagirt Marine Terminal

 



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LEADING THE DAY

CORONAVIRUS: The U.S. on Monday reopened its borders to fully vaccinated international travelers from 33 countries for the first time in 18 months after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. 

 

Starting Monday, thousands of individuals from countries that had been barred from travel into the U.S. boarded flights, the majority emanating from Europe. To enter, travelers need to provide vaccination proof and to test negative for COVID-19 within the previous three days. As The Wall Street Journal notes, those countries, which include Great Britain, Italy and Germany, accounted for 53 percent of all international visitors to the U.S. in 2019.

 

“This is the start of a new era for travel and for many people around the world who have not been able to see loved ones for almost two years,” Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said. “While we have seen many countries reopen their borders to American visitors over the summer, our international customers have not been able to fly with us or visit the U.S. All of that changes now.”

 

However, the current output of flights from Europe to the U.S. remains far behind the total in normal times. The Journal also reported that the 6,605 flights scheduled to depart Europe this month is down 41 percent from the total in November 2019.

 

 

People applaud and take pictures as MaKensi Kastl greets her boyfriend, Thierry Coudassot, after he arrived from France at Newark Liberty International Airport

 

 

The influx of tourists comes as daily infection totals in the U.S. have plateaued after weeks of being on the descent following the peak of the delta variant. However, the U.S. is in a much more solid position compared with November 2020, when case totals were spiking day over day as the holiday season coupled with cold weather forced people inside.

 

As The Hill’s Nathaniel Weixel writes, the highest infection numbers are in states with low vaccination rates, and in unvaccinated pockets of cold weather states. Experts believe infections will likely increase due to holiday interactions, but vaccinations remain key in minimizing those.

 

The Washington Post: More than 360,000 children under 12 have already received a coronavirus vaccine.

 

> Mandate: The White House on Monday called on businesses to move ahead with the implementation of vaccination rules after a federal court stayed the president’s vaccine-or-test mandate for private companies. 

 

“We think people should not wait,” White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-PierreKarine Jean-PierreThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden comes out swinging in 2022 Biden says he plans to run for reelection in 2024 'if I'm in good health' The Memo: Failure on big bill would spark cascade of trouble for Biden MORE told reporters on Monday. “We say, do not wait to take actions that will keep your workplace safe. It is important and critical to do and waiting to get more people vaccinated will lead to more outbreaks and sickness.” 

 

“We’re trying to get past this pandemic, and we know the way to do that is to get people vaccinated,” Jean-Pierre added. 

 

Administration officials maintain it is on firm legal footing after a federal appeals court in New Orleans on Saturday temporarily blocked the rule, which was developed by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

 

“The administration clearly has the authority to protect workers, and actions announced by the president are designed to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19,” Jean-Pierre added (The Hill).

 

The Washington Post: Pfizer-BioNTech expected to seek authorization for coronavirus booster for people 18 and older.

 

The New York Times: Singapore to end free care for those “unvaccinated by choice.”

 

The Hill: Poll shows just how far COVID-19 misinformation has traveled.



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

POLITICS: Exactly a year out from the 2022 midterm elections, McConnell offered a rosy outlook for the party’s potential to retake both congressional chambers.  

 

“I think the fall of ’22 is likely to be a very good election for Republicans,” McConnell told reporters at the St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Life Learning Center in northern Kentucky. “I’m very optimistic. We have 50 Republicans senators. I know what a real minority looks like. We had 40 after President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaCould the coming 'red wave' election become a 'red tsunami'? Bottom line Barack Obama wishes a happy 58th birthday to 'best friend' Michelle MORE got elected. And so I think the wind is going to be at our back in both the House and Senate. I think there’s a great likelihood of a pretty good election next year.”

 

The confidence comes despite some challenges on the map for the minority party. Of the 34 seats up for grabs, 20 are held by Republicans compared to 14 by Democrats (The Hill).

 

There also are potential pitfalls in key GOP-held seats, with Pennsylvania’s receiving a lot of focus in recent days as Republican Sean Parnell comes under the microscope over allegations of domestic violence against his ex-wife and children. 

 

On Monday, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee dodged when asked by CNN if Parnell, who has been endorsed by former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump lawyers to Supreme Court: Jan. 6 committee 'will not be harmed by delay' Two House Democrats announce they won't seek reelection DiCaprio on climate change: 'Vote for people that are sane' MORE, is the right candidate for the party’s nomination to replace Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyMeet Washington's most ineffective senator: Joe Manchin Black women look to build upon gains in coming elections Watch live: GOP senators present new infrastructure proposal MORE (R-Pa.).

 

“We’ll see who comes out in the primary. Facts will come out, we’ll find out exactly what people will think,” Scott said when pressed about Parnell. “I think what ultimately happens is people are going to look at some of these backgrounds, say is that the type of person they want and also ‘are they talking about the issues that I care about?’ ” (The Hill).

 

 

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., joined at left by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters

 

 

Meanwhile, Parnell unequivocally denied allegations of abuse during a custody hearing on Monday, saying under oath that he “never” choked his estranged wife, Laurie Snell, or got “physical” with her.

 

Snell last week laid out the claims through tears, saying that Parnell choked her and pinned her down through fits of rage stemming from post-traumatic stress from his time in the military. She also charged that he hit or injured two of his three children, ages 8 to 12 (The Philadelphia Inquirer). 

 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Parnell emphatically denies charges from estranged wife at custody hearing. 

 

The Washington Post: Two Virginia races appear headed for recounts. 

 

Niall Stanage: The Memo: Much-criticized Trump policy puts Biden in a vise.

 

Politico: “It’s a disgrace”: Progressives take aim at Buffalo mayor’s Democratic National Committee post.

 

> Jan. 6 latest: The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol approved six more subpoenas on Monday, including to top 2020 Trump campaign aides and the lawyer responsible for crafting the strategy behind how the former president could seek to overturn Electoral College results ultimately certified by Congress. 

 

As The Hill’s Rebecca Beitsch writes, among the subpoenas for testimony and documents is one for John Eastman, who drafted a memo advising the Trump campaign both to use supposed vice presidential authority to push back on election results and to get state legislatures to reject electors from certain states in order to deny Biden a majority of the Electoral College vote. The other subpoenas seeking testimony are for Bill StepienBill StepienBrad Parscale says Jan. 6 committee issued subpoena for his phone records Jan. 6 commission postpones Jason Miller deposition after he engages with committee Christie says Trump, Meadows should have warned him of positive COVID-19 test MORE, Trump’s former campaign manager; Jason Miller, Trump’s former spokesperson; Angela McCallum, Trump’s campaign assistant; Bernard Kerik, an association of Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiHochul raises .6 million since launching gubernatorial campaign DirecTV declines to renew OAN contract Trump abruptly ends NPR interview MORE; and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

 

The committee wants the six to turn over documents before Thanksgiving and to appear for depositions next month.

 

The Hill: Jan. 6 accused rioter seeks asylum in Belarus.

 

Jonathan D. Karl, The Atlantic: The man behind the man behind Jan. 6: The story of Johnny McEntee — the “deputy president” who made the disastrous last days of the Trump administration possible.

 

Fox News: Trump will “probably” announce 2024 plans after the 2022 midterms.



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

Why Democrats should thank the moderates in their party, by Karen Tumulty, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3wtqPBp 

 

I'm helping to start a new college because higher education is broken, by Niall Ferguson, columnist, Bloomberg Opinion. https://bloom.bg/3BVQ1Sc 



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WHERE AND WHEN

The House is in recess this week. A pro forma session begins at noon. 

 

The Senate meets for a pro forma session at noon and returns to legislative work on Nov. 15. 

 

The president receives the President’s Daily Brief at 10:15 a.m. He will deliver remarks at a virtual grassroots event at 4:40 p.m. and a virtual fundraising reception at 5:45 p.m., both for the Democratic National Committee.

 

Vice President Harris arrived aboard Air Force Two in Paris early today for meetings and events this week focused on global health, climate change and space and America’s long alliance with France. Harris will tour Institut Pasteur this afternoon. During her trip, the vice president is accompanied by second gentleman Doug EmhoffDoug EmhoffHarris invokes MLK in voting rights push, urges Senate to 'do its job' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE.  

 

The White House press briefing is scheduled at 1 p.m., accompanied by Commerce Secretary Gina RaimondoGina RaimondoThere's a long road ahead for the infrastructure bill to reach success Biden's comprehensive Indo-Pacific economic framework isn't comprehensive at all Let's be honest: 2021 wasn't all bad MORE

 

INVITATION: The Hill’s Virtually Live on WEDNESDAY at 1 p.m. hosts “The Future of the Workplace,” featuring discussions with Reps. Mary Gay ScanlonMary Gay ScanlonSuspect charged in Philadelphia carjacking of Democratic congresswoman Illinois state senator carjacked at gunpoint near Chicago Five arrested in connection with carjacking of House Democrat MORE (D-Pa.) and Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.), corporate experts, an economist, and a Purdue University management professor. Information is HERE

 

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

FEDERAL RESERVE: Randal Quarles, a central bank governor, said Monday he will resign from the central bank at the end of December, a decision that clears the way for an eventual Biden nominee. Quarles, a Republican, was appointed by Trump. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is serving a term that ends in February and Biden could nominate him for another stint, possibly this week. If Biden opts for a more liberal replacement, the candidate to watch is Fed Governor Lael Brainard (The Hill).

 

SPLASH DOWN, BLAST UP: SpaceX's four astronauts safely returned to Earth from the International Space Station late on Monday, splashing down off the Florida coast to end the private company's six-month mission. While in orbit, Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur of NASA, Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, and astronaut Akihiko Hoshide of Japan completed several spacewalks to help upgrade the space station, including the installation of two new solar arrays, as well as working on hundreds of research investigations including cultivating peppers (Space.com). The next crew bound for the space station — commander Raja Chari, German astronaut Matthias Maurer, NASA’s Kayla Barron and Tom Marshburn, chosen to pilot the mission and his third adventure into space for NASA at age 61— could blast into orbit on Wednesday night. SpaceX has its sights set on space tourism next year (The New York Times). 

 

STATE WATCH: In Texas, the Houston police chief says he met with rapper Travis Scott about safety concerns before the tragic Friday Astroworld Fest that left eight people dead and injured dozens more. The Houston Police Department is leading the investigation, although the police and fire departments were involved in the concert’s safety measures (The Washington Post). One prominent local official is calling for a separate, independent review of the tragedy, and experts in crowd safety say an investigation by neutral outsiders could help the city avoid potential conflicts of interest and promote transparency (The Associated Press).



THE CLOSER

And finally … A teenage girl in the passenger seat of a car traveling through Kentucky on Thursday appeared to wave to passing cars. But one driver thought she recognized a distress signal and called 911. Laurel County sheriff’s deputies in Kentucky stopped the vehicle and determined that the 16-year-old had been reported missing by her parents in Asheville, N.C., two days earlier. 

 

The girl had indeed flashed a new distress signal, tucking her thumb into her palm before closing her fingers over it. Created in 2020 by the Women’s Funding Network to help victims signal they need help and are at risk of abuse, the simple hand gesture technique spread in demonstrations on social media’s TikTok platform (The New York Times and CNN). 

 

 

A 16-year-old girl learned a hand gesture on TikTok to signal for help