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Wake Up To Politics - November 1, 2021

Wake Up To Politics: Get ready for a big week
Wake Up To Politics - November 1, 2021

Good morning! It’s Monday, November 1, 2021. Election Day 2024 is 1,101 days away. Election Day 2022 is 373 days away.

Happy November! I hope you all had a happy Halloween and a nice weekend. We’re heading into a major week for American politics — allow me to break it down for you here so you know what to expect...

Your guide to a jam-packed week in politics

World leaders are gathering to discuss climate change. The Supreme Court will hear two contentious abortion cases. President Biden’s agenda is up in the air. A crucial election in Virginia. And more.

The political world is girding itself for a consequential week. Here’s your guide to the days ahead:

Virginia election. Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin will face off in the Virginia gubernatorial election on Tuesday. The race will have reverberations beyond the Old Dominion: the state’s off-year governor’s race is seen by the political world as a crucial barometer of a new president’s performance, coming exactly a year after their election and a year before the midterms.

With President Biden’s approval ratings dropping dramatically, McAuliffe has taken a dive as well and the race is now neck-and-neck. According to the FiveThirtyEight polling average, the two contenders are effectively tied, with McAuliffe at 47% and Youngkin at 47.6%. Some surveys, however, have showed Youngkin in the lead, with a Fox News poll last week even giving him an 8-point advantage.

Climate summit. Around 20,000 delegates from 195 countries are arriving in Glasgow, Scotland, this morning for the 26th United Nations climate change conference (COP26). The gathering is being billed as a “moment of truth” in the push for climate action, as world leaders cajole each other to further slash their greenhouse gas emissions and come together on a global strategy to confront climate change.

In a “show of force” attempting to portray his seriousness on the issue (especially compared to his predecessor), President Biden is touching down in Glasgow this morning with no less than 13 Cabinet members in tow. His onetime boss Barack Obama will also be on hand for the summit, an unusual move for a former president.

President Biden confers with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the Capitol last week. Nathan Posner / Wake Up To Politics 

Biden agenda. As in the past few weeks, the main pieces of legislation facing Congress are two big packages that are central to Biden’s domestic agenda: a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, and his $1.75 trillion social spending package. And as in the past few weeks, Democratic leaders claim that this time, they’ll actually seal the deal and get both bills through Congress.

There are already fresh delays, though: Top Democrats spent the weekend claiming they’d be ready for House votes on both packages by Tuesday. That deadline is no longer seen as viable, however, as lawmakers continue to mull changes to the $1.75 trillion package, especially over prescription drug pricing, paid leave, and immigration. In a sign of hope for Biden, House progressives are now committing to back both packages if/when they come up for votes this week; centrist Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, on the other hand, have yet to offer their endorsements.

Abortion cases. Not only is it a big week for the president and for Congress: the Supreme Court is hearing arguments in several high-profile cases this week as well. This morning, the justices will turn their attention to the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, a new Texas statute that bans abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected, which is generally around six weeks of pregnancy.

The court will not hear arguments over the law’s constitutionality today; instead, the cases hinge on the Texas law’s novel enforcement mechanism, which calls for private citizens to carry it out instead of the state government. In two separate cases, a group of abortion providers and then the federal government will bring challenges to the law, while Texas officials will argue that neither plaintiff has the standing to sue. Later this week, the Supreme Court will also hear a major guns case, stemming from a restrictive gun permit law in New York.

Vaccines for kids. The week is starting off with a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic: as of this morning, 5 million people have succumbed to COVID-19 across the globe. However, a glimmer of hope awaits in the next few days: the FDA authorized the Pfizer coronavirus vaccines for 5- to 11-year-olds on Friday, which means kids could begin to receive the shot as soon as Wednesday, subject to CDC approval.

What else you should know

— White House press secretary Jen Psaki has COVID-19, the most senior Biden aide to be infected so far.

— Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) announced his plans to retire. He is the second of the 10 House Republicans who backed former President Trump’s impeachment to step down.

— Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) was charged in a criminal complaint over allegations that he groped a former aide inside the Executive Mansion.

— A new court filing detailed the wide range of documents Trump is seeking to block from the House committee investigating January 6.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has tested positive for COVID-19. Adam Schultz

Policy Roundup: Economics

GDP grew by 2 percent in the third quarter, the weakest growth figure of the pandemic recovery. The report by the Commerce Department released on Friday shows the impact of a tumultuous three months on the economy, including the rise of the Delta variant and supply chain delays. A slowdown of consumer spending, especially on pandemic-hit services like restaurants and hotels, is a major blame for the weak growth.

With slower growth and high inflation, some economics are concerned that it is the perfect environment for “staglation” to fester. However, not everyone agrees this is more than just a temporary weak spot in the recovery, and many think the fourth quarter will show a return to strong growth. The Atlanta Fed GDPNow estimate would seem to agree with that, currently forecasting a 6.6 percent growth rate.

The G-20 summit yielded significant changes to economic policy. Leaders of the world’s largest economics formally endorsed the global corporate minimum tax plan during a summit in Rome this weekend. In July, G-20 finance leaders agreed to the deal, with the hope it would be complete by October when the summit actually began. The formal endorsement is expected to come in the joint communique, which is released at the end of the summit. Leaders now need to pitch the proposal to their respective countries.

GDP rose by just 2 percent in the third quarter, partly due to a slowdown in consumer spending. Rene Schwietzke

Biden administration officials also said they reached a deal at the summit to start to repeal tariffs on European steel and aluminum, more than three years after the Trump Administration initially imposed them. Some tariffs will remain, but a certain amount of steel and aluminum from the European Union will be allowed to come to the U.S. without tariffs. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said the deal would “drive down cost increases as we lift the 25 percent tariffs and increase volume.” There is also a carbon intensity measure in the deal, according to Raimondo, which hopes to manufacture cleaner products.

Global supply chain shortages were also top of mind for world leaders at the summit. The issue was high on the agenda, and a reasoning behind the tariff deal was with a hope it will ease delays. While the issue is a chief concern for many Americans, it’s also salient across other G-20 countries, as Britain faces the possibility of higher prices due to disruptions and Germany confronts slowing growth.


All times Eastern.
President Joe Biden traveled from Rome, Italy, to Edinburgh, Scotland, this morning, departing at 3:45 a.m. and arriving at 6:30 a.m. Biden is in Scotland for the 26th United Nations climate change conference (COP26), which is being held in Glasgow. At 7:30 a.m., he met briefly with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and UN Secretary General António Guterres, the hosts of the conference.

At 8 a.m., Biden attended the COP26 Opening Session. At 9 a.m., he will address the conference, laying out his strategy for meeting the United States’ climate goals. At 10:30 a.m., he will attend an event on “action and solidarity.” At 12 p.m., he will meet with Indonesian President Joko Widodo. At 2:45 p.m., Biden will attend a reception hosted by Prime Minister Johnson for leaders attending COP26.

Vice President Kamala Harris will travel from Washington, D.C., to New York City at 11:40 a.m. While at the John F. Kennedy International Airport, Harris will join Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at 1:05 p.m. for a tour of “examples of how climate action will create jobs and improve communities.” At 1:30 p.m., Harris and Granholm will deliver remarks.

At 7:30 p.m., Harris will deliver remarks at the 30th anniversary Triumph Awards at Carnegie Hall, hosted by the civil rights group National Action Network. At 9:05 p.m., Harris will fly back to Washington, D.C.

First Lady Jill Biden traveled from Rome, Italy, to Naples, Italy, this morning. She arrived at at 6:15 a.m. and visited Naples Middle High School, a Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school, at 7 a.m. as part of her “Joining Forces” initiatives for military families. The first lady left to fly back to the White House at 8:30 a.m.

Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will hold a press gaggle aboard Air Force One during the flight to Edinburgh.

U.S. public health officials will hold their weekly COVID-19 press briefing at 11 a.m. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients, and Dr. Anthony Fauci will participate.

CONGRESS The Senate will convene at 3 p.m. and continue its rapid clip of confirming Biden judicial nominees. At 5:30 p.m., the chamber will vote to confirm Beth Robinson to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit, followed by a vote to confirm Toby Heytens to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit.

After those two votes, Biden will have had 28 of his federal judicial picks confirmed by the Senate, more than any president has had at this point in their term in decades.

The House will convene at 12 p.m. The chamber is scheduled to vote on eight pieces of legislation under “suspension of the rules,” all related to Native American lands:

  1. H.R. 1619, the Catawba Indian Nation Lands Act
  2. H.R. 2758, the Lumbee Recognition Act
  3. H.R. 1975, the Pala Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Act of 2021
  4. H.R. 5221, the Urban Indian Health Confer Act
  5. H.R. 3616, the Bear River National Heritage Area Study Act
  6. S. 108, to authorize the Seminole Tribe of Florida to lease or transfer certain land
  7. H.R. 4881, the Old Pascua Community Land Acquisition Act
  8. H.R. 2088, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Historic Lands Reacquisition Act


The Supreme Court will release orders at 9:30 a.m. and then hear oral arguments in two challenges to Texas’ restrictive abortion law: one from a group of abortion providers, Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson, at 10 a.m., and one from the federal government, United States v. Texas, at 11 a.m.


Former Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks on “How to Save America from the Woke Left” at 7 p.m. at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The event will kick off a campus lecture series hosted by Young America’s Foundation; the former VP is currently serving as the conservative group’s Ronald Reagan Presidential Scholar.

Pence will be making a stop in the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus state amid rising speculation that he is preparing a 2024 bid for the White House.

Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio will each deliver remarks at the National Conservatism Conference in Orlando, Florida, this morning. Cruz will speak about “American Revival,” while Rubio’s speech is titled “We Need Corporate Patriotism to Defeat American Marxism” and will include a call for the Republican Party to distance itself from Big Business.

Both Cruz and Rubio sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and are seen as possible contenders for the nod in 2024 as well.