Presented by American Civil Liberties Union
ON TO THE NEXT ONE: President Joe Biden signed off on the $1.9 trillion Covid relief package yesterday, sealing the deal on a campaign promise and wrapping an eight-week sprint to get it done before March 14.
But even before the bill was signed, Democrats began deliberating what will be next. Infrastructure is a big topic of conversation, but the Biden administration is also scrambling to address surging migration at the border, including the number of children held at detention facilities. Both are already facing headwinds. And if the Covid relief bill was any indication, Biden and congressional leaders may be facing an uphill battle on agenda items like immigration and infrastructure.
ADDRESSED: Biden, in his first prime-time presidential address, said he plans to order states to lift eligibility restrictions on Covid vaccines and make them available to all American adults by May 1 in order to accelerate the vaccination effort.
The president paid tribute to the nearly 530,000 lives lost and countless others who have been impacted, saying We all lost something. And he called out vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans who have faced increased attacks and harassment amid the pandemic. Its wrong, its un-American, and it must stop, Biden said.
Put this on your calendar: While Biden has been careful not to set overly ambitious goals related to the coronavirus, yesterday he said his goal was to have the country get closer to normalcy by July 4. He and VP Kamala Harris are expected to make multiple trips across the U.S. in the coming days to tout the passage of the Covid bill.
More here from Adam Cancryn and Benjamin Din: http://politi.co/3bIVgLv
Related: The fight is on to define the pandemic aid bill, by the NYTs Carl Hulse: http://nyti.ms/3evquY1
SPECIAL MESSAGING GIFT: Republicans are seeking to hit Biden with the latest influx of migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border, claiming his embrace of comprehensive immigration reform legislation has in part triggered the migration surge. They argue asylum seekers think the U.S. government is more receptive of them under Bidens leadership. Meanwhile, Dems are working to help address the surge while trying to hold true to their promise to make the U.S. immigration system more humane.
Weve seen that Bidens policies created a border crisis, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday alongside dozens of House Republicans. President Biden announced it was his priority to offer citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. What did he think would happen?
It is a message Republicans plan to keep hitting, so much so that your Huddle host saw Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) hit the wire fence with his hand near the Capitol for emphasis as his staff was filming a video of him. Beside him was a poster that read Bidens Border Crisis. Videos in front of the fence surrounding the Capitol may just be the new spring trend.
Republicans view this as a special messaging gift, my colleagues report,where they can hammer Biden on ongoing humanitarian disaster, while also leaning on an issue that former President Donald Trump made central to his time in office.
More here from Melanie, Sarah and Laura Barron-Lopez: http://politi.co/3cs81c6
MEANWHILE, there are already signs of trouble with Bidens proposed immigration overhaul
WaPos Seung Min Kim reportsthat passing such a bill looks more and more bleak: House Democratic leaders have privately started to gauge the level of support for the presidents plan formally called the U.S. Citizenship Act and found that, at this point, it would struggle to pass, according to people familiar with the matter. There is also a reluctance among moderates, she reports, to support a controversial bill, when it likely wont make it in the Senate.
Related: Biden has options for the border. Theyre just politically painful, by our Anita Kumar: http://politi.co/3cnwu2l
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IN ON INFRASTRUCTURE: Democrats and Republicans both say they should be able to find common ground on infrastructure — should being the key word here.
As our Playbook friends laid out yesterday, GOP cooperation on a massive infrastructure bill is not looking likely in the early stages. For one, the $2 trillion infrastructure-climate plan Biden campaigned on may be too steep, particularly following the pandemic legislation, and that may just be the starting point for Dems — the price tag could go higher. It will also be about what is and is not going to be in the bill.
And Republicans have told your Huddle host that this latest Covid bill has made them question whether the Biden administration really will meet them halfway — or part way — on this front.
TO RECONCILE OR NOT RECONCILE…That is again the question with Senate Democrats, already facing internal deliberations over whether to use reconciliation to to a package on infrastructure through Congress.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is insisting Democrats not use the procedural tool when infrastructure is a historically bipartisan issue, yet some of his colleagues, like Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), believe reconciliation is the only way Dems will get a meaningful public works bill passed.
Related: Bidens $1.9T rescue signed, agenda now a slog in Congress, by the APs Lisa Mascaro: http://bit.ly/3ct7ZkB
SO MUCH TO DO, SO LITTLE WIGGLE ROOM: The Senate Judiciary Committee will play a key role passing through Bidens most progressive promises as it stares down a long to-do list (think immigration, voting rights, criminal justice reform, gun violence, and expanding LGBTQ rights). But the key panel also has little room to maneuver with the narrowest of majorities.
In other words: Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has his work cut out for him, with the No. 2 Senate Dem acknowledging that he oversees a panel stocked with some of the chambers highest-profile Trump supporters.
His pet issue? “I’m looking for the first opportunity I can find for a timely presentation of an issue near and dear to me — immigration, Durbin told Marianne in an interview, noting hes working on immigration “almost every day” and reaching out to any Republican senators who will listen to him.
As per federal judge vacancies, hes not quite adopting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnells (R-Ky.) playbook to leave no vacancy behind. They will move aggressively, but not reach the depths [McConnell] did.
More here from Marianne: http://politi.co/3cnt8wh
ALSO COMING UP: Schumer puts gun control on Senate agenda, by Roll Calls Todd Ruger: http://bit.ly/3bFuG5R
TIME TO SAY GOODBYE: Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) will announce today that she will not seek reelection in 2022 after serving for 18 years.
[A]fter much consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2022. I will continue the good fight through this Congress, and when the term is up, I will hand over the baton, Kirkpatrick will say in a prepared statement reviewed by your Huddle host.
Kirkpatrick also told AZCentral
s Ronald Hansen that her recovery from alcoholism
was “not a factor at all” in this decision. I’ve been in public service for 18 years and I’ve always been a proponent of term limits, she said, adding: I’m sort of term-limiting myself. (Is 18 years really a term limit?)
This is likely going to perk up the ears of Republicans. While Kirkpatrick easily won reelection last year, hers is still seen as a competitive district.
A message from American Civil Liberties Union:
We can’t wait any longer. Congress must pass legislation to help create a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S. Americans delivered a mandate for Biden and Congress to undo the damage done by Trumps attacks on immigrant communities and prevent discriminatory bans, such as the Muslim ban which ultimately targeted many Africans. Now is the time to step up and build a just immigration system. Learn more
HAPPY FRIDAY! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill on this March 12, where were reading Vultures story about Meghan Markles first job
at Humphrey Yogart. She too helped deliver scoops.
THURSDAYS MOST CLICKED: The Daily Beasts story
on how three women brought Covid relief back from the brink was the big winner.
YAPPY HOUR: Your Huddle host and other Cap Hill reporters are very much on board with the increased pup sightings near the House floor, including lawmakers bringing Scully, Peanut and Cocoa to votes last week. Your Huddle host also met a very cute two-year old Otto yesterday outside the chamber … but our introduction came after there was an earlier incident.
Otto, a black and white Basenji who joined Rep. Tom Malinowski while visiting the House floor, had a little accident outside the chamber, prompting the New Jersey Democrat to fly down the hallway with paper towels in hand.
As Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) remarked: Congressman Malinowski doesnt leak in the Capitol but his dog sure does. To which, Malinowski replied: What can I say? He isnt House trained yet So far, no accidents in the Senate.
But Otto wanted me to also share that despite his accidents here and there, he is a good boy who is loyal, doesnt bark, and likes long walks in the park.
PHOTO COMPETITION: With that in mind, your Huddle host is launching a Pups of Capitol Hill photo competition. Stay tuned for directions on how to vote (Huddlers will be the judges I wont take on that responsibility). But in the meantime, please send in the most heartwarming pics of your pooch so we can kick off our own March Madness bracket.
TUNE IN TO GLOBAL TRANSLATIONS: Our Global Translations podcast, presented by Citi, examines the long-term costs of the short-term thinking that drives many political and business decisions. The world has long been beset by big problems that defy political boundaries, and these issues have exploded over the past year amid a global pandemic. This podcast helps to identify and understand the impediments to smart policymaking. Subscribe and start listening today.
READY TO FIGHT…ONE WAY OR ANOTHER: Trump is ready to fight other Republicans who have crossed him, but hes also ready to play ball and jump into Senate Republicans’ battle for the majority.
As Burgess reports: The former president is dialing up GOP senators to back their campaigns and talk strategy, weighing how to approach primaries in critical open seats and making sure he leaves an imprint on the critical midterm elections. Trumps involvement, revealed in interviews with a dozen GOP senators, shows how far the 50-member conference has come two months after they weighed a clean break with the former president after the insurrection at the Capitol by his supporters.
There are some mixed messages here, after Trump sent Republican campaign committees cease-and-desist letters from attorneys asking them to stop using Trumps name. (Though, maybe this is thawing somewhat, since our friends at Playbook reported today
that Trump met with NRSC Chair Rick Scott (R-Fla.) last week to discuss candidate recruitment and how Trump will help certain incumbents.)
Burgess has more: http://politi.co/3ev3nNp
RELATED: Schumer calls latest Cuomo charge ‘nauseating,’ by The Hills Jordan Williams: http://bit.ly/3bEzLLJ
| Conservatives are a lot more demanding of partisan loyalty than liberals, by WaPos Philip Bump: http://wapo.st/2OnYL0Q
JAN 6 FALLOUT: Kyle reports that Jan. 6 aftershocks worsen as lawmakers liken the relationship between parties in the House to a Cold War. More here: https://politi.co/3rEYViV
ALSO: Congressional aides are uniting as they seek to push for change at the Capitol after the riot, NYTs Luke Broadwater reports: http://nyti.ms/3viaL4E
Related: National Guards presence at the Capitol after riot to cost $521 million, by WSJs Alexa Corse: http://on.wsj.com/3et1KQl
| Fortress DC: Frustration mounts as lawmakers wrestle with unending Capitol security, per CNN: http://cnn.it/3bD1UCB
| Even Trumps Defense Secretary during the Capitol riot blames him for inciting it, by Vice News Seb Walker: http://bit.ly/3erD8Ya
FIRST IN HUDDLE: Rep. Patrick McHenry, the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee, is pressing the panels chairwoman, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), to start holding in person or hybrid hearings with the panel in a letter yesterday
, citing the vaccinations of lawmakers and staff who support committee operations as well as the new CDC guidelines. He wants the panels upcoming GameStop hearing on March 17th to be a hybrid with some participating in person and others online.
QUICK CLICKS: Ethics panel examining appeals of magnetometer fines for two GOP members, by Roll Calls Chris Marquette: http://bit.ly/3cqlgdC
| Lawmakers to introduce anti-hate crime legislation amid rise in anti-Asian hate and violence, by USATodays Nicholas Wu: http://bit.ly/3qFX38e
2020 WATCH: The lefts answer to Trump is 6 foot 8 and wears shorts in February, The Atlantics Edward-Isaac Dovere on John Fetterman running for Senate: http://bit.ly/3bDjLJG
A message from American Civil Liberties Union:
Austin Cook will be comms director for Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.). He previously was comms director for the North Carolina Democratic Party.
Damon Effingham is joining RepresentUS as director of federal reform. He previously was senior legislative counsel to Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.).
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) deputy chief of staff, Daniel Stefanski, and legislative director, Cesar Ybarra, are leaving his office. Stefanski will work for Arizona A.G. Mark Brnovich, and Ybarra will be senior director of legislative affairs at FreedomWorks.
Molly Cole will be foreign policy adviser to Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). She previously was a senior legislative assistant for Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).
Todd Stein is joining the Congressional-Executive Commission on China as deputy staff director, working for co-chair Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). He most recently was senior policy adviser to Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine).
Randell Gartin is now a Managing Director at EY. He was previously subcommittee staff director for select revenue measures for House Ways and Means Republicans.
TODAY IN CONGRESS
The House will meet at 10:30 a.m. in a pro forma session.
The Senate is also out.
AROUND THE HILL
12 p.m.: A group of House Dems, including House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and House Rules Chairman James McGovern (D-Mass.) will hold a virtual press conference calling for Congressional action on ending forever wars.
12 p.m.: The Hudson Institute holds a virtual discussion
on “The Future of U.S.-China Relations, featuring House Foreign Affairs ranking member Michael McCaul (R-Texas).
2:30 p.m.: Biden and VP Kamala Harris will hold a news conference about the American Rescue Plan in the Rose Garden with Democratic congressional leaders and other members in attendance.
THURSDAYS WINNER: Jack Howard was the first person to correctly guess that the only American
to serve as a city council member, Governor, Senator, Secretary of the Treasury, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was Salmon Chase.
TODAYS QUESTION: From Jack: What legendary ale house located in NYC served beer to both Abraham Lincoln and John Lennon?
The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your answer to [email protected]
GET HUDDLEemailed to your phone
Follow Olivia on Twitter: @Olivia_Beavers
A message from American Civil Liberties Union:
We can’t wait any longer. Congress must pass legislation to help create a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S., end the limbo faced by Dreamers, and prevent discriminatory bans, such as the Muslim ban which ultimately targeted many Africans.
Americans delivered a mandate for Biden and Congress to act humanely and swiftly on immigration. After years of attacks, now is the time to step up and build a just and fair immigration system that meets the values our country aspires to achieve.
We have a duty to support our immigrant neighbors, friends and loved ones. Congress must take action to create a path to citizenship and undo the damage done by the Trump administrations attacks on immigrant communities. Learn more