Day 141: "Frustrated."
1/ Biden ended negotiations with a group of Republicans led by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito over infrastructure legislation, telling Capito that the latest GOP offer didn’t “meet the essential needs of our country to restore our roads and bridges, prepare us for our clean energy future, and create jobs.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden was disappointed that Republicans had “increased their proposed new investments by only $150 billion” after he reduced his plan by more than $1 trillion. The White House and Capito ended up about $700 billion away. Capito, meanwhile, said she was “frustrated” with the White House and suggested that it “kept moving the goalposts” during negotiations. Biden will now focus on working with a bipartisan group of 20 senators who have been working separately on an alternative infrastructure proposal. Biden also spoke with Chuck Schumer about passing some of the infrastructure provisions through budget reconciliation, a fast-track procedure that would allow Democrats to avoid a filibuster and push through a package without support from Republicans. And, over in the House a bipartisan group calling themselves the Problem Solvers Caucus proposed a $1.249 trillion infrastructure plan that includes $761.8 billion in new spending. (CBS News / Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News / Politico / NBC News)
2/ The Biden administration will buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to donate to 92 lower income countries and the African Union. The first 200 million doses will be distributed this year through the global COVAX alliance, followed by another 300 million in the first half of 2022. The Biden administration previously announced it would share at least 80 million vaccine doses globally by the end of June. (Washington Post / Associated Press / Politico)
3/ The U.S. is averaging fewer than 1 million vaccinations per day, threatening Biden’s goal of getting at least 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4. At least 13 states have already vaccinated 70% of adult residents, and an additional 15 states, plus D.C., are over 60% and will likely reach Biden’s goal. Covid-19 hospitalizations rates, meanwhile, continue to rise in communities with low vaccination rates. (Washington Post / New York Times)
4/ Two days after Joe Manchin vowed to block the federal election reform bill, Mitch McConnell said he would not support the bipartisan John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which Manchin and Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski have urged lawmakers to reauthorize. “There’s no threat to the voting rights law,” McConnell said. “It’s against the law to discriminate in voting based on race already. And so I think it’s unnecessary.” Manchin and Murkowski had proposed passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act as an alternative to the For The People Act, which would restore a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down in 2013. That measure would also likely be blocked by a filibuster. Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, said the Senate will vote on the For the People Act, with or without Manchin. (The Hill / Vanity Fair / Business Insider / Politico / Washington Post / NBC News)
5/ The Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a $250 billion bill aimed at countering China’s technological influence by investing in American technology, science, and research. The final vote was 68-32, with 19 Senate Republicans – including Mitch McConnell – joining Democrats in voting for passage. Bernie Sanders was the only member of the Democratic caucus to vote against the bill. The legislation now heads to the House before going to Biden’s desk. (New York Times / CNN / CNBC)
6/ Biden revoked and replaced three Trump executive orders that sought to ban TikTok and WeChat from the U.S. over national security concerns. Biden’s new order would instead establish “clear intelligible criteria” to evaluate national security risks for apps connected to foreign governments and direct the Commerce Department to undertake an “evidence-based” analysis of transactions involving apps that are manufactured or supplied or controlled by China. (Associated Press / New York Times / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)
7/ Harris warned Guatemalans thinking of migrating to the U.S.: “Do not come.” In her first foreign trip since taking office, Harris said the Biden administration wanted “to help Guatemalans find hope at home.” She added: “I want to be clear to folks in this region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come. Do not come.” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, meanwhile, called Harris’ statement “disappointing,” and that the U.S. needed to “acknowledge its contributions to destabilization and regime change in the region.” Harris responded to criticism from both Republicans and members of her own party, saying: “I’m really clear: We have to deal with the root causes and that is my hope. Period.” (NPR / Politico / ABC News / NBC News)
8/ The Biden administration moved to repeal a Trump-era rule that ended federal protections for hundreds of thousands of streams and wetlands. The Trump-era rule narrowed the types of waterways that qualify for federal protection under the Clean Water Act. EPA Administrator Michael Regan said his team determined that the Trump administration’s rollback is “leading to significant environmental degradation.” (Washington Post / Associated Press / Politico)
9/ House Democrats reintroduced legislation that would protect abortion access even if Roe v. Wade were weakened or overturned. The Women’s Health Protection Act would guarantee the right for health care professionals to provide abortion care and prohibit state and federal lawmakers from imposing certain limits on abortion care, including mandatory ultrasounds, waiting periods, and admitting privileges requirements. The bill was first introduced in 2013, but has never received a vote in either chamber. (NBC News)
poll/ 47% of Americans say abortion is morally acceptable, while 46% say it’s morally wrong. Overall, 48% of Americans believe abortion should be legal “only under certain circumstances,” while 32% favor it being legal “under any circumstances,” and 19% think it should be “illegal in all circumstances.” (Gallup)
poll/ 29% of Republican voters think it’s likely that Trump will be reinstated as president this year. Overall, 72% of voters say they believe America’s democracy is currently being threatened, including 82% of Republicans, 77% of Democrats, and 72% of independents. (Morning Consult)
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