Day 227: "Almost un-American."
1/ Joe Manchin demanded that Democrats “pause” on advancing Biden’s $3.5 trillion tax and spending package, saying a “significantly” smaller plan is needed because of rising inflation, soaring federal debt, and the coronavirus pandemic. Manchin – the linchpin vote in the evenly divided Senate – said he won’t agree to the $3.5 trillion plan “or anywhere near that level of additional spending” without fully assessing the effects on the economy. “Instead of rushing to spend trillions on new government programs and additional stimulus funding,” Manchin said, “Congress should hit a strategic pause on the budget reconciliation legislation.” House leaders have already set a Sept. 15 deadline for their reconciliation bill with a vote planned before the end of Sept. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, however, agreed to hold a vote on Biden’s roughly $1 trillion infrastructure plan by Sept. 27. House liberals, however, have warned that they won’t support the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill unless the Senate first approves the $3.5 trillion reconciliation proposal. (Washington Post / Bloomberg / CNN / The Hill)
2/ The acting commissioner of the FDA and CDC director asked the White House to scale back the Covid-19 vaccine booster plan for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The FDA said it needed more time to collect and review all the necessary data on safety and efficacy. The Pfizer process, however, remains on track, but may need to be limited to high risk groups, such as nursing home residents, healthcare workers, and people over 65. Last month, the Biden administration recommended that people who had been vaccinated for at least eight months should get a booster starting Sept. 20. (New York Times / Wall Street Journal / CNN)
3/ The House and Senate Judiciary committees plan to hold hearings to examine Texas’ six-week abortion ban and the Supreme Court procedure that allowed it to take effect this week. The hearing will examine the Supreme Court’s use of the so-called “shadow docket,” a controversial, expedited process for emergency actions taken by the court that often result in late-night decisions issued with minimal or no written opinions. On Wednesday, the court ruled 5 to 4 to leave in place the Texas law that bars most abortions in the state. There were no oral arguments before the justices and the majority opinion was an unsigned single paragraph. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s three liberal justices in dissenting. Biden, meanwhile, denounced Texas’s new abortion law, calling it “almost un-American” and that the ban creates a “vigilante system” because it empowers private citizens to police the ban. The House plans to take up the Women’s Health Protection Act when lawmakers return on Sept. 20, which would establish the legal right to abortion nationwide and prevent states from putting medically unnecessary restrictions on the procedures. The bill, however, faces steep odds of passage in the Senate. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC)
4/ Biden ordered the declassification and release of documents related to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The executive order directs the Justice Department and other agencies to review classified documents related to the FBI’s investigations and sets specific timelines for their public, declassified release over the next six months. Some material will be released as early as next week’s 20th anniversary. (NBC News / Washington Post)
5/ The economy added 235,000 jobs in August – weaker-than-expected growth. The economy added roughly 1 million jobs in both June and July. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.2% from 5.4%. Biden, meanwhile, called the economic recovery “strong” but blamed the “impact of the Delta variant” for the sluggish growth of U.S. jobs. (CNBC / Politico)
poll/ 77% of Americans support Biden’s decision to end the war in Afghanistan, but 52% disapprove of the way the withdrawal was handled. 26% support the how the withdrawal was handled. (Washington Post)
poll/ 44% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing as president while 51% disapprove. In late June, 50% approved while and 42% disapproved. Only Trump (37%) and Ford (37%) had lower approval ratings at this point in their terms since the Truman administration. (ABC News)
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