Day 134: "My Republican friends."
1/ Biden declared June a “national month of action” to meet his goal of having 70% of U.S. adults at least partially vaccinated and 160 million adults fully vaccinated by the Fourth of July. Just under 63% of American adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The administration announced a raft of new initiatives to encourage Americans to get vaccinated, including free child care for parents and caregivers while they get their shots, as well as a national canvassing effort to work with churches, colleges, businesses, and celebrities. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / New York Times / CNBC)
2/ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott defended the restrictive voting bill that failed to pass, while attacking Biden for his comments that the Texas voting bill is “part of an assault on democracy.” Abbott called the Texas voter law “far more accommodative and provides far more hours to vote than it does in President Biden’s home state of Delaware.” The state of Delaware does not currently have early voting, but new state law will allow for 10 days of early voting starting next year. Abbott added: “If there’s any voter suppression taking place, the easier allegation is say that voter suppression has taken place in Delaware, not Texas.” (Dallas Morning News)
- Texas Republicans blamed a typographical error for a controversial provision in the failed voting bill, which would have limited voting on Sundays to the hours between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. Critics, however, say the provision would hurt get-out-the-vote efforts by Black churches. Despite no Republicans raising an issue with the start time during final debate over the bill last month, Republicans insisted that the 1 p.m. start time was an error and that it should have been 11 a.m. Republicans say they plan to use a special session to change the provision. (NBC News / Texas Tribune)
3/ Biden tapped Harris to lead the administration’s efforts to protect voting rights. The move comes as several Republican-led state legislatures have pushed to enact voting restrictions, which Biden called an “unprecedented assault” on democracy. Harris said the administration “will not stand by when confronted with any effort that keeps Americans from voting.” Biden also vowed that his administration would “fight like heck” to enact the For the People Act, which would expand voting rights and change campaign finance rules. The bill already passed the House, but has stalled in the Senate, where Democrats need the support of at least 10 Republicans to overcome a filibuster. Joe Manchin, meanwhile, continues to protect the filibuster, while refusing to support the voting rights bill. (CBS News / NPR / New York Times)
4/ Biden called out Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema for aligning too closely with Republicans and blocking efforts to pass the voting rights bill and other priorities. “I hear all the folks on TV saying, ‘Why doesn’t Biden get this done?’” Biden said. “Well, because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.” Sinema and Manchin have frustrated Democrats with their defense of the filibuster as Republican-led state governments have moved to place new limits on voting. While Sinema is a sponsor of the voting rights bill, Manchin has refused to sign on, calling the measure “too broad.” (Washington Post / Yahoo News / Business Insider)
5/ Trump permanently shut down his blog after 29 days, frustrated by the lack of readership, which made him reportedly “look small and irrelevant.” The “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” blog was Trump’s attempt at influencing news coverage now that he’s out of office and still banned from Twitter and Facebook. (New York Times / CNBC)
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