Wake Up To Politics - August 10, 2021
Good morning! It’s Tuesday, August 10, 2021. Election Day 2022 is 455 days away. Election Day 2024 is 1,183 days away.
The Senate will vote today on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. The vote is the culmination of months of drawn-out negotiations and legislative gamesmanship by President Joe Biden and his aides, Senate leaders, and a group of moderate senators from both parties.
- The infrastructure package includes $550 billion in new spending over the next five years, to go towards investments in roads, bridges, public transit, passenger and freight rail, broadband, airports, electric vehicles, water systems, and more. According to its backers, the measure is the largest infrastructure bill in U.S. history.
- The package is expected to easily clear the Senate today: 69 senators have voted to advance the package in at least one of the procedural votes held on the measure in recent days. Although he has not said how he will vote today, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has voted to advance the package at every stage — bucking former President Donald Trump, who has urged Republicans to oppose the bill.
- After the Senate finishes up with the bipartisan package and sends it over to the House, the upper chamber will move to the second half of the “two-track” Democratic spending plan. Unlike the first half, the second will be passed by the reconciliation process, which only requires support from one party.
- Democrats unveiled their $3.5 trillion budget resolution on Monday; the resolution is only a blueprint for the final spending package, but it hints at sweeping plans to expand the social safety net, address climate change, and remake the federal tax code.
More news to know this morning:
- Members of the U.S. military will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine by September 19, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Monday.
- New York Assembly leaders promised to quickly finish the final stage of their impeachment inquiry into Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY). Meanwhile, the fallout continues from his harassment allegations and a slew of New York Democrats are eyeing the governorship ahead of the 2022 elections.
- The Justice Department signaled plans to release classified documents that some families believe could show connections between the Saudi Arabian government and the 9/11 hijackers.
- A judge in Texas issued an order blocking the arrest of Democratic legislators who fled the state to prevent the passage of a Republican elections bill.
- For the first time, the average pay in restaurants and supermarkets is more than $15 an hour.
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The best thing I’ve read recently: This piece in The Atlantic — about “one family’s search for meaning in the two decades since 9/11” — was an absolutely beautiful reflection on loss and grieving. I highly recommend you set aside some time to read it: I promise you won’t regret it.
Two interesting opinion pieces: I felt like these two New York Times guest essays deepened my perspective on how to view the current, confusing phase of the pandemic, even if I didn’t agree with every single point that either made. This one is about unvaccinated Americans (a more nuanced group than you may have previously believed) and this one is about “what to do with our Covid rage.”
A thought-provoking stat: “The median net worth for Black households with college graduates in their 30s has fallen to $8,200 from about $50,400 three decades ago, the analysis found. Over the same period, their white peers saw their median net worth grow 17% to $138,000.” That comes from this Wall Street Journal examination of the racial wealth gap in America — and how it has only widened as more Black Americans have graduated from college.
One fun read: Step inside Joe Manchin’s houseboat, “Almost Heaven” (get it?), in this Washington Post piece that shows some of the most prominent names in Washington flashing their lighter sides while on the water.
Tweet of the day: Another reminder that vaccines work from Dr. Ashish Jha, the Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health...
What’s happening in Washington today. (All times Eastern) Executive Branch
→ President Joe Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing at 9:15 a.m. from his home in Wilmington, Delaware. Biden will then depart Wilmington at 10:25 a.m., arriving at 11:20 a.m. at the White House. At 3:45 p.m., he will receive a briefing from his homeland security and COVID-19 response teams, as well as FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, on how the pandemic is impacting hurricane preparedness.
→ Vice President Kamala Harris will visit a community health center in Washington, D.C., at 9:20 a.m. and deliver remarks on the Biden administration’s health care agenda.
→ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will hold her daily press briefing at 12:30 p.m.
→ The Senate will convene at 9:30 a.m. and resume consideration of H.R. 3684, the bipartisan infrastructure package. At around 11 a.m., the chamber will vote on passage of the bill, which is formally known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
After voting on the bipartisan package, the Senate will vote on a motion to proceed to S.Con.Res. 14, the budget resolution acting as a blueprint for the $3.5 trillion Democratic spending plan. After voting on the motion to proceed, there could be up to 50 hours of debate (equally divided between both parties) — but most of it is expected to be skipped so the chamber can begin the “vote-a-rama,” an hours-long voting series on amendments to the budget resolution.
Because the budget resolution is non-binding, all of the amendments added to the measure will be as well; still, senators from both sides usually force votes on messaging amendments aimed at making the other party cast politically tough votes.
→ The House will briefly convene at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session. The chamber is not scheduled to fully convene again until September 20.
→ The Supreme Court is on recess until October 4.
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