The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Rising prices undercut Biden agenda

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President Joe Biden speaks during a visit at the Port of Baltimore

 

 

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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths each day this week: Monday, 754,431; Tuesday, 755,643; Wednesday, 757,409; Thursday, 759,060.



Americans do not need newscasts and headlines to feel the pain of higher grocery store prices, gas tanks that require $70 to $90 to fill up in some states, and wages that are not keeping pace with record high inflation.

 

The government’s report on Wednesday that October’s inflation numbers hit a 30-year high was a blow for consumers, businesses and the U.S. economy as a whole. And the inflation problem has become undertow beneath President BidenJoe BidenPharma lobby eyes parliamentarian Demand for US workers reaches historic high Biden to award Medal of Honor to three soldiers who fought in Iraq, Afghanistan: report MORE’s policy agenda, his low poll numbers, and major upcoming decisions inside the White House, the Federal Reserve and in Congress.

 

Economists are increasingly persuaded that U.S. inflation is not turning out to be “transitory” — as in, a temporary blip sparked by the shock of a pandemic and global hiccups moving goods from “ship to store,” as the administration says.

 

The Hill: Biden vows to tackle inflation and supply shortages “head on.”

 

“Many people remain unsettled about the economy, and we all know why,” Biden said at the Port of Baltimore on Wednesday. “They see higher prices. They go to the store or go online, and they can’t find what they always want and when they want it, and we’re tracking these issues and figuring out how to tackle them.”

 

The growth in prices last month was driven by energy costs and ongoing supply chain backlogs, such as those in the used-car market. Gasoline prices are up 49.6 percent from a year earlier, and higher energy costs are pushing up the prices of just about every other good and will be felt through the winter, economists say (The Washington Post).

 

“Wages and salaries have gone up for leisure and hospitality workers … but there’s no way they can absorb the commute costs and accelerating rents. The only thing that’s cheap is turkey, in terms of proteins. So go ahead and stick with that turkey for Thanksgiving,” Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, told the Post.

 

While the administration is rushing to loosen supply chains and spur more global energy production, experts warn that much of the pressure behind rising prices is out of Biden’s control (The Hill). 

 

The Washington Post explainer: Inflation today is different.

 

Biden’s reaction to Wednesday’s inflation data was to publicly champion a just-passed $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which he will sign at the White House on Monday, as part of his focus on “ending this trend” of rising prices. Implementing the infrastructure bill poses its own set of challenges (The Hill), even as the president and Democrats begin a blitz to sell the bill’s benefits (The Hill). 

 

CNBC: Inflation has taken away all of the wage gains for workers, and then some.

 

For now, inflation is going to continue to run above very solid wage growth,” Joseph LaVorgna, chief economist for the Americas at Natixis and former chief economist for the National Economic Council during the Trump administration, told CNBC. “This is why when you look at consumer confidence, it’s really taking a beating. Households do not like the inflation story, and rightly so.”

 

A nearly $2 trillion social spending package known as the Build Back Better agenda, which is opposed by Republicans in Congress and a question mark among some Democratic senators, would help ease, rather than exacerbate, inflationary pressures, according to the president.

 

“My administration has a plan to finish the job of getting us back to normal from the pandemic and having a stronger economy than we ever had before,” Biden added, promoting investments for childcare, pre-kindergarten education, lower drug prices and affordable health care as economic boosts.

 

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPharma lobby eyes parliamentarian Demand for US workers reaches historic high Senate votes to nix Biden's vaccine mandate for businesses MORE (D-W.Va.), who has the power to block the president’s agenda, has argued for months that Congress should wait to gauge economic headwinds from inflation and rising deficits before spending trillions more dollars. On Wednesday, he warned that lawmakers can “no longer ignore” the inflation problem, which he said in a tweet is “getting worse” (The Hill).

 

The White House was defensive, recognizing that Wednesday’s inflation stunner scrambled Biden’s boasts that he has made life better through jobs created, a jump in wages, new social programs and millions of coronavirus vaccine doses (The Washington Post). “We’re already in the midst of a historic economic recovery,” he said during his Baltimore speech.

 

I don’t think you enhance your case if you say, ‘Pass my bills and inflation will go down,’” said William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and domestic policy adviser to former President Clinton. “I really don’t think that for the public that’s a very credible argument.” 

 

The Hill: The Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan scorekeeper for legislation, began to release budgetary assessments of segments of the sweeping Democratic social spending measure drafted in the House but still pending approval in Congress.

 

The Wall Street Journal: Price jumps awaken caution in financial markets.

 

 

A currency trader walks near screens showing the foreign exchange rates

 



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LEADING THE DAY

POLITICS: District Judge Tanya Chutkan on Wednesday declined to delay a Friday deadline for the National Archives to begin handing over Trump administration documents to the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

 

Lawyers for former President TrumpDonald TrumpJury in Jussie Smollett trial begins deliberations Pence says he'll 'evaluate' any requests from Jan. 6 panel Biden's drug overdose strategy pushes treatment for some, prison for others MORE had asked for a stay after the U.S. rejected his lawsuit seeking to block the documents from being released while he appeals. Chutkan, an appointee of former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaContinuing resolutions are undermining Congress' right (and responsibility) to operate Rising costs top concern for Americans: poll Biden Supreme Court study panel unanimously approves final report MORE, denied Trump's request for a temporary stay in a six-page decision, laying out essentially the same reasoning she used to initially rule against blocking the documents from being handed over. 

 

The move means Trump's legal team will have to scramble ahead of Friday's deadline to get an emergency stay from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. If that fails, Trump will have to ask the Supreme Court to take action (The Hill).

 

> Party problems: When it comes to his feud with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money — McConnell searches for debt deal votes GOP working to lock down votes on McConnell debt deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Debt limit maneuvers; Biden warns Putin MORE (Ky.), Trump has a never-say-die attitude and continues to stoke it in an effort to energize his base against the longtime GOP leader.

 

For months, the dispute has featured criticism from one side as Trump has leveled broadsides against the Kentucky Republican. The most recent round came in the aftermath of McConnell’s praising of the House for passing the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which McConnell and 18 other Senate Republicans voted for in August. 

 

As The Hill’s Alexander Bolton writes, McConnell appeared to bet earlier this year that Trump would be finished politically, having denounced him on the Senate floor after this year's impeachment trial. However, Trump has only gotten stronger and his grip on the party is as tight as ever as the Senate GOP leader continues to ignore him. 

 

Nevertheless, McConnell’s grip on the Senate GOP conference is equally strong. Sources tell The Hill that he doesn’t face any challenge to his leadership post from the 50-member conference and no Republican senator has indicated any desire to run against him for the top leadership post, with one senior Senate GOP aide saying that McConnell still has rock-solid support within the ranks. 

 

“With his members, it has zero effect,” the source said of the effect Trump’s attacks have on McConnell’s standing as leader.

 

The Hill: GOP billionaire helping Manchin raise funds.

 

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., listens as President Donald Trump speaks

 

 

> 2022 watch: Terry McAuliffeTerry McAuliffePerilous Pennsylvania, Trump's non-strategy takes another hit Republicans eye gains with female voters after Virginia rout Northam announces final steps in clearing, ceding area where Lee monument stood MORE's decisive loss last week in the Virginia gubernatorial contest highlighted the headwinds facing three House Democratic frontline members in next year’s midterms

 

As The Hill’s Julia Manchester details, the future of Reps. Elaine LuriaElaine Goodman LuriaAbortion rights group endorsing 12 House Democrats Group aligned with House GOP leadership targeting nine Democrats on spending vote The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Rising prices undercut Biden agenda MORE (D), Abigail SpanbergerAbigail Davis SpanbergerWith Build Back Better, Dems aim to correct messaging missteps Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variant emerges; supply chain issues and inflation persist On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure MORE (D) and Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Rising prices undercut Biden agenda Virginia emerging as ground zero in battle for House majority Republicans look to education as winning issue after Virginia successes MORE (D) in the state’s 2nd, 7th and 10th congressional districts, respectively, are in doubt after Gov.-elect Glenn YoungkinGlenn YoungkinPerilous Pennsylvania, Trump's non-strategy takes another hit The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - New vaccine mandate in NYC; Biden-Putin showdown Republicans eye gains with female voters after Virginia rout MORE (R) made gains in each. 

 

The incoming governor won Luria’s district by roughly 8 points and Spanberger’s by 15 points. And while McAuliffe won Wexton’s district in reliably blue Northern Virginia, Youngkin lost it by only 4 points, with the House GOP’s campaign arm almost immediately adding Wexton to its list of targets.

 

> Congress: A group of 10 House Democrats announced Wednesday that they plan to introduce a censure resolution against Rep. Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarLiberals ramp up pressure on Pelosi to discipline Boebert  Ocasio-Cortez: 'Embarrassment' that Boebert punishment is delayed Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' MORE (R-Ariz.) on Friday for posting an animated video that depicts him attacking Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezLiberals ramp up pressure on Pelosi to discipline Boebert  Ocasio-Cortez criticizes Boebert Christmas tree and guns photo Pressley offering measure condemning Boebert MORE (D-N.Y.)  

 

“For a Member of Congress to post a manipulated video on his social media accounts depicting himself killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden is a clear cut case for censure,” said the lawmakers, led by Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierSpeier endorses California Democrat in race to replace her War of words escalates in House GOP eyes booting Democrats from seats if House flips MORE (D-Calif.), co-chair of the Democratic Women's Caucus. “For that Member to post such a video on his official Instagram account and use his official congressional resources in the House of Representatives to further violence against elected officials goes beyond the pale” (NBC News).

 

The Associated Press: Legislation to be introduced today targets historic GI Bill racial inequities.



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

CORONAVIRUS: The effort to vaccinate elementary school children got off on the right foot, with nearly 1 million of those aged 5 to 11 getting their first COVID-19 jabs in the first week where shots were available.

 

The White House on Wednesday hailed the roughly 900,000 vaccinations for the newly approved group as a “very strong start” for the campaign, which kicked off a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the green light for youngsters to receive them. 

 

The vaccination program for the elementary school-age children hit its “full strength” starting this week, with another 700,000 local pharmacy appointments scheduled for children in the coming days. 

 

“Parents and families across the country are breathing giant sighs of relief,” White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff ZientsJeff ZientsWTO faces renewed scrutiny amid omicron threat Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Biden administration to ship 11 million vaccine doses abroad MORE said. “We are set up to continue to vaccinate more and more kids ages five to 11.”

 

However, questions remain about whether officials will be able to maintain anything close to that pace in the future. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study, just 27 percent of parents with children aged 5 to 11 said they plan to vaccinate their kids right away. Thirty percent said they definitely will not vaccinate their children, while 33 percent said they plan to wait and see (The Hill).

 

The Associated Press: “Strong” beginning for campaign to vaccinate children, but challenges loom.

 

The Washington Post: Coronavirus infections rise in northern states, Mountain West, as holidays near.

 

The Wall Street Journal: Should an 11-year-old wait to get the bigger vaccine dose?

 

The Hill: Ten states sue Biden administration over its vaccine mandate for health care workers.

 

The New York Times: A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that Republican Gov. Greg AbbottGreg AbbottTexas school district pulls 400 books from libraries after state GOP lawmaker's inquiry DOJ sues over Texas's redistricting plan Sunday shows preview: Multiple states detect cases of the omicron variant MORE’s ban on mask mandates in Texas schools violates the rights of students with disabilities, clearing the path for districts in the state to issue their own rules for face coverings, a decision that could affect more than five million students.

 

 

Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

 

 

> Beyond COVID-19: Is $10 billion enough to plan for future pandemics? That’s a question under the microscope among experts; a pending social policy spending package would invest that amount if passed.

 

As The Hill’s Peter Sullivan notes, advocates are pushing for the Build Back Better agenda to beef up that total. Before the package was trimmed down to its current size, the White House initially called for $30 billion to deal with pandemic preparedness, and eventually chopped that figure in half. However, the current total is two-thirds that amount, with experts arguing that after the COVID era, readiness for future pandemics should be a priority rather than a cutback.

 

“So far, we’re dropping the ball on pandemic preparedness,” said Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.).

 

The Washington Post: Biden administration to invest another $785 million in communities hit hardest by pandemic.

 

Reuters: Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenUS to send delegation to Vienna for Iran nuclear talks Defending Ukraine: US must offer military support not just economic threats Biden tries to tamp down tensions with Putin call MORE: U.S. reached a deal to rush Johnson & Johnson via COVAX.

 

*****

 

ADMINISTRATION: In Paris on Wednesday, Vice President Harris met with French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronParis mayor calls for leftists to unite behind one candidate in presidential election Biden holds call with European leaders to talk Russia Macron becomes first major Western leader to go to Saudi Arabia since Khashoggi killing MORE for close to two hours as the two nations continue to try to repair a rough period in a long alliance. The U.S. and France announced collaboration on space and cybersecurity, which the White House described as the creation of a “U.S.-France Comprehensive Dialogue on Space to enhance civil, commercial, and national security space cooperation,” plus new U.S. backing for an initiative Macron announced in 2018 to bring governments and the private sector together to advance cybersecurity based on nine principles (The Hill).

 

> The Justice Department on Wednesday filed suit against Uber for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by charging an extra “wait time” fee starting two minutes after a car arrives for a passenger until the trip starts. The government argues such fees are discriminatory against disabled passengers who may need more time to get into an Uber vehicle. The company said it instituted a change last week to automatically waive fees for riders who certify they have a disability and that it had been the company's policy to refund wait time fees to riders when they alerted Uber that they had been charged (NPR).



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

We need to talk about what “transitory inflation” means, by Mark Gongloff, Bloomberg Opinion editor. https://bloom.bg/3kt5fZf

 

Expanding the Supreme Court to protect reproductive rights, by Brett Edkins and Sonja Spoo, opinion contributors, The Hill. https://bit.ly/3ktjsVV



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WHERE AND WHEN

The House is in recess this week. It will convene for a pro forma session on Friday at 9:30 a.m.

 

The Senate meets for a pro forma session on Friday at 8:30 a.m. and returns to legislative work on Monday.

 

The president at 9 a.m. will host veterans and members of the military on the State Floor of the White House before visiting Arlington National Cemetery, participating at 11 a.m. in a wreath-laying ceremony on the centennial anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and delivering remarks at 11:15 a.m.

 

The vice president is in France. Harris attended an Armistice Day ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe this morning. She will speak at 5:05 p.m. local time at the Paris Peace Forum at Grand Halle de la Villette in Paris. Harris will attend a dinner at 8:30 p.m. local time hosted by President Macron and first lady of France Brigitte Macron.

 

Second gentleman Doug EmhoffDoug EmhoffChina warns of 'firm countermeasures' if US stages diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics Biden returns restores tradition, returning to Kennedy Center Honors The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 MORE in Paris marked Veterans Day and Armistice Day in the morning at a wreath-laying ceremony at the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial Cemetery. He joins Elisabeth Moreno, France’s minister for gender equality, diversity and equal opportunities, at 2 p.m. local time for a listening session with leaders on gender equity, as well as alumni from U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs. Emhoff will join the vice president at the Élysée Palace for the dinner hosted by the Macrons.

 

Economic indicator: The Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. reports on filings for unemployment benefits in the week ending Nov. 6.

 

The Federalist Society hosts its annual convention and dinner at 7 p.m. in Washington at which Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonGOP senators introduce bill targeting Palestinian 'martyr payments' White House announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics Demand Justice launches ad campaign backing Biden nominee who drew GOP pushback MORE (R-Ark.) is to be the guest speaker. 

 

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

COURTS: Defense attorneys in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial called for a mistrial on Wednesday, claiming that prosecutors asked questions that were impermissible. Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder did not rule on the request right away but was visibly frustrated with prosecutors for their questioning, telling them that he doesn’t believe they were “acting in good faith.” The Wisconsin judge made the remarks after Rittenhouse took the stand, accusing prosecutors of introducing testimony that was not permitted and asking improper questions. The judge instructed the jury to expect closing arguments early next week. Rittenhouse, 18, is accused of killing two men and wounding a third with his rifle during a night of protests in Kenosha, Wis. He says his actions were in self defense (The Associated Press). … U.S. District Judge Judith Levy in Michigan on Wednesday approved a $626 million settlement with residents of Flint, Mich., whose tap water was contaminated by lead following decisions to switch the city’s water source and the city’s failure to swiftly acknowledge the problem (The Associated Press).

 

MIGRANT CRISIS: Overnight, Poland reported violent clashes along its border as migrants who are stranded inside Belarus used rocks and logs to try to breach fencing and razor wire to make their way into the European Union (Reuters). … Russia has blamed the European Union for the alleged influx of migrants at the border between Belarus and Poland (The Hill). … Traveling in France on Wednesday, Vice President Harris did not respond to a reporter’s question about whether there is a role for the United States to respond to the Belarus migration crisis along Poland’s border.

 

 

Polish border guards stand near the barbed wire as migrants from the Middle East and elsewhere gather at the Belarus-Poland border

 

 

COP26 - CLIMATE: In a surprise announcement on Wednesday, the United States and China, the world’s largest climate polluters, agreed as part of the United Nations summit hosted by the United Kingdom to “enhance ambition” on climate change, issuing a joint statement in which both countries agreed to do more to cut emissions this decade and in which China committed for the first time to address emissions from methane. The two-week global summit held in Glasgow, Scotland, ends on Friday (The New York Times). … As part of the summit, six large auto companies and dozens of countries agreed on Wednesday to work to phase out by 2040 sales of gasoline-powered cars (The New York Times).  

 

MEDAL OF HONOR MUSEUM & MONUMENT: Former Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama joined the campaign to help raise support and donations for a new museum to honor the fewer than 4,000 recipients of the Medal of Honor to be built in Arlington, Texas, plus a monument proposed for the nation’s capital. The three former commanders in chief are featured in a public service announcement that began airing this week across platforms. Information about the project is HERE.



THE CLOSER

And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by Veterans Day, we’re eager for some smart guesses tied to military service and sacrifice. 

 

Email your responses to asimendinger@thehill.com and/or aweaver@thehill.com, and please add “Quiz” to subject lines. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.

 

President Biden came of age amid the Vietnam War, but he never served in the military and received five student draft deferments.

 

1)        True or False?

 

Illinois Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthWe must learn from the Afghanistan experience — starting with the withdrawal As democracy withers, Bob Dole and other American soldiers must be remembered Overnight Defense & National Security — Austin mandates vaccine for Guardsmen MORE (D) is a combat veteran of the Iraq War, a former U.S Army helicopter pilot and recipient of the Purple Heart.

 

2)        True or False?

 

The chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee this week proposed opening two new national cemeteries because Arlington National Cemetery is expected to run out of space for burials in 20 years.

 

3)        True or False?

 

Women between the ages of 18 and 25 are now required to register for the Selective Service, the draft system used by the U.S. military in times of a crisis.

 

4)        True or False?

 



 

Headstone markers are seen at Arlington National Cemetery