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Wake Up To Politics - June 9, 2021

Good morning! It’s Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Election Day 2022 is 529 days away. Election Day 2024 is 1,257 days away.

America’s infrastructure is frequently described as “crumbling.” Now the bipartisan negotiations to improve it are in equal disrepair.

President Joe Biden put an end to his talks with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) on Tuesday, determining that the two sides would not be able to bridge the gulf between their proposals.

“The latest offer from her group did not, in his view, 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 in a statement announcing that Biden had called off the negotiations.

After weeks of meetings and phone calls, Biden and Capito had never succeeded in settling several key disputes about a potential package: how much new spending should be included, how to pay for the spending, and how broadly even to define “infrastructure.”

Biden’s final offer called for $1 trillion in new spending (after originally proposing $2.3 trillion), which would have been paid for by raising corporate taxes and included funding for workforce development and elder care.

Capito’s final offer would have included $330 billion in new spending (after originally proposing $189 billion), to be invested solely in physical infrastructure projects and paid for by user fees. (The total price tag of the Republican proposal was about $1 trillion, but much of it would have been repurposed from unused Covid relief funds. Biden demanded $1 trillion in new government spending above the current baseline.)

“After negotiating in good faith and making significant progress to move closer to what the president wanted, I am disappointed by his decision,” Capito said in a statement of her own on Tuesday.

President Biden and Sen. Capito in a White House infrastructure meeting last month. The president called off their bipartisan talks on Tuesday. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Biden is eyeing one final round of bipartisan negotiations. His new discussions will be with a bipartisan group of 20 senators, which includes Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).

According to Fox News, the group has been preparing an $878 billion infrastructure proposal, although the package has yet to be finalized.

Biden spoke to Cassidy by phone on Tuesday, a conversation that represented his formal shift from negotiating with Capito to engaging with her Louisiana colleague. (Capito is also in the larger group of 20, although she has not taken a lead role in crafting their infrastructure proposal.)

But it is becoming increasingly likely that Democrats will ditch the other party and pursue an infrastructure bill by reconciliation. Psaki said in her Tuesday statement that Biden had also spoken with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) about “the need to commence work on the budget resolution process so that legislation to advance the president’s economic priorities and tax reform plans could move to the Senate floor in July.”

The budget resolution will be the vehicle for Democrats to use reconciliation, a procedural tool that allows the party to push through an economic package with only 51 votes — instead of the 60 generally needed to advance legislation in the Senate.

Schumer told reporters on Tuesday that work on a reconciliation bill had already begun, adding that Democrats would pursue that path regardless of whether the latest bipartisan talks strike an agreement.

If they do, he said, Democrats will merely pass the bipartisan bill and then approve the rest of Biden’s spending proposal by reconciliation. “We’re not going to sacrifice the bigness and boldness in this bill,” Schumer said. “We will just pursue two paths.”

Sens. Joe Manchin, left, and Bill Cassidy are two of the leaders of the new bipartisan gang seeking to craft an infrastructure deal. (Al Drago/New York Times)

The Rundown

More headlines to know this morning.

ELECTION RESULTS: Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime fixture in Democratic politics, was nominated on Tuesday to return to his old post. McAuliffe won 62.3% of the primary vote, besting former state Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (19.8%) and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan (11.6%). The sitting lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, received only 3.5% of the vote after being accused of sexual assault.

If McAuliffe beats Republican businessman Glenn Youngkin in November — as he is favored to do — he will become the first Virginia governor since 1974 to be elected to non-consecutive terms. The state does not allow governors to serve multiple terms back-to-back, only non-consecutively.

  • New Jersey, the only other state holding a gubernatorial election this year, also held its primaries on Tuesday. Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy was nominated for a second term, while Republicans chose former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, an establishment pick, over two candidates allied with former President Donald Trump.
Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe celebrates his renomination at a Tuesday victory party. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

CONGRESS: Senate Republicans staged their second filibuster of the Biden era on Tuesday, blocking the Paycheck Fairness Act, a House-passed bill to address the gender pay gap. The bill failed 49-50, along party lines with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) absent. The measure needed 60 votes to advance and break the filibuster.

  • Meanwhile, President Biden’s first two judicial nominees received bipartisan support in the Senate. New Jersey district court nominee Julien Xavier Neals was confirmed 66-33, while Colorado district court nominee Regina Rodriguez was confirmed 72-28.BIDEN ADMINISTRATION: Biden has quietly begun efforts to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to NBC News. The prison opened in 2002; former President Barack Obama promised while running for office that he would close the facility but never fully did so.

🔒 Gabe’s Picks

What I’m reading and watching this morning. This section is available to readers who have donated to Wake Up To Politics or used their unique signup link to refer other subscribers. Thank you so much for your support!
An interesting profile: “What is Pete Buttigieg doing?” That’s the question Edward-Isaac Dovere asks in The Atlantic, attempting to suss out Buttigeg’s plans for the Cabinet and beyond.

A deep dive worth reading: Defenders and opponents of the filibuster both mislead on the procedural tool’s history, Bill Scher explains in Real Clear Politics. Scher walks through the origins of the filibuster, from ancient Rome until today.

An important read: There is something “simply, simply wrong” at the Biden Justice Department, Washington Post CEO Fred Ryan writes in his paper’s Opinion section, detailing the “unprecedented assault on American news organizations” that began under the Trump administration and was continued by Biden’s appointees until recent reporting pressured them to back off.

And something light: The New York Times had to issue a correction on Tuesday after this test story was accidentally published...



What’s happening in Washington today. (All times Eastern.)

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will leave for their first foreign trip since taking office, which will include stops in the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Switzerland. At 8:10 a.m., they will depart the White House; at 3 p.m., they will touch down at Royal Air Force Mildenhall station in Suffolk, England.

At 3:45 p.m., the Bidens will deliver remarks to U.S. Air Force personnel stationed at RAF Mildenhall and their families. At 4:30 p.m., they will leave for Cornwall, England, arriving at Cornwall Airport Newquay at 5:55 p.m. before leaving for St. Ives, a seaside town in Cornwall where the G7 Summit will be held, at 6:20 p.m. They will arrive in St. Ives, their final destination, at 6:40 p.m.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will hold a press gaggle aboard Air Force One during the flight to RAF Mildenhall.

The Senate will convene at 10:30 a.m. Following Leader remarks, the chamber will resume consideration of the nomination of Zahid Quraishi to be a U.S. District Judge for the District of New Jersey. If confirmed, Quraishi will be the first Muslim-American federal district court judge. The chamber does not currently have any votes scheduled for the day.

The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on college athlete compensation with NCAA President Mark Emmert, Gonzaga head basketball coach Mark Few, and ESPN college football analyst Rod Gilmore at 10 a.m.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on the Justice Department’s 2022 budget request with Attorney General Merrick Garland at 2 p.m. The hearing comes amid tensions between the White House and DOJ.

The House is not in session.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on unaccomapnied children at the border at 11:30 a.m.

The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on the Colonial Pipeline hack with CEO Joseph Blunt at 12 p.m.

The Supreme Court is not scheduled to release any orders or opinions. Oral arguments have ended for the term.

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