Senators head home for the spring break armed with bespoke messages for their constituents, with Democrats announcing the latest round of pandemic aid and Republicans putting the spotlight on the migration surge at the border.
Lawmakers are filling their calendars with events, including a GOP-led trip to Texas and plans by the Democrats to coordinate with President Joe Biden’s cross-country tour to promote the Covid-19 relief package.
The two-week hiatus gives both parties a chance to position themselves for the upcoming legislative battles and discuss test topics that they hope will resonate in the 2022 elections, particularly in battlefield states and districts that determine control over both chambers.
The news for the next election is in full swing and there’s a lot at stake for both sides, said Sarah Binder, a congressional analyst with the Brookings Institution.
“If we’ve ever had a division between the type of campaigns on the one hand and the government on the other, that distinction is long gone,” she said in a telephone interview. Read more from Nancy Ognanovich.
Photographer: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters / Bloomberg
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) in the Capitol on Thursday.
Done on the hill
What you should see today:
Senators Unveil Bill To Ban Fencing Around The Capitol: Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) And Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) Revealed laws to cut off funding for permanent fences around the US Capitol Complex. “Clear steps need to be taken to strengthen security around the Capitol,” Blunt said in a statement, “but permanent fencing should not be part of that response.” Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton Megan Howard reports that (DD.C.) previously put legislation in the house.
Country-Urban Debate Highlights: Infrastructure Differences: Republicans defend federal funding for rural transportation projects, while the Biden government begins investing in infrastructure and re-approving land transportation programs. Democrats have called for large investments in infrastructure that also address environmental and equity issues, which can mean more funding for public transport in urban areas. But Republicans say in hearings they want a bipartisan effort that adheres to transportation and balances the needs of the country and the city. Read more from Lillianna Byington.
Democrats Call for Lifting of Trump Rule for Real Lenders: Congressional Democrats have taken their first steps to reverse a Trump administration rule that they said facilitated predatory lending through “Rent-a-Bank” programs. Chairman of the Senate for Banking Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) yesterday introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution to repeal the “True Lender” rule issued by the Office of Currency Auditors in October 2020. Evan Weinberger has more.
All about administration
Biden signals a declining taste for bipartisanism: Biden signaled in his first official press conference that he is not in the mood to let the bipartisan traps stand in the way of his agenda, and makes it clear that he has his political ambitions for detente after Trump Washington values Republicans. “I want to change the paradigm,” Biden told reporters at the White House yesterday. The president signaled for the first time that he could potentially support the complete elimination of the filibuster in the Senate after Republicans threatened to use the process to halt many of his priorities, from voting rights to immigration to gun control.
He said the filibuster was “gigantically abused” by Republicans. He portrayed the GOP’s efforts to restrict voting rights in states as racist. His comments on the filibuster and Republicans facilitated a shift that Biden made from candidate to president. He believes that his election victory offers him a political mandate to fundamentally expand and realign the mission of the federal government. Read more from Justin Sink.
Biden Budgets Challenge CBO: The Biden administration seems relaxed about large budget deficits, but for a government agency this was usually a cause for alarm. The Congressional Budget Office – whose job it is to assess how new laws will affect public finances – is in a difficult position as Biden prepares to add an economic package worth up to $ 3 trillion to announce its $ 1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill earlier this month. Since its inception in the 1970s, the CBO has often been on the Hawk side of budget arguments, pointing out the risk that spending too much could land the US in a financial crisis. It repeated the warning that month. But the agency has consistently overestimated government borrowing costs – resulting in exaggerated debt projections that helped deter public spending. Read more from Katia Dmitrieva.
Walsh embarks on the delayed virus safety rule: Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said on his second full day in office he was aligning with the agency’s deadlocked rulebook to protect workers from Covid-19 and hoping to complete the complex process to be able to. “Of course, the health and safety of people and workers is our priority. We’re reviewing things now, and hopefully we can do that over the course of the next whatever it is, ”Walsh said last night when asked about the state of affairs in the US Department of Labor’s efforts to develop an emergency settlement Companies would need to take steps to protect workers from the spread of viruses. “Of course I’ll be involved,” he added. Read more from Ben Penn.
Administration on track to meet Kigali climate deadline: The Biden government continues its commitment to seek ratification by the Senate of a 2016 international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The State Department is well on its way to finalizing its work by March 28 on a “transmission package” for the White House, spokesman Larry Pixa said earlier this month. Biden’s executive order of Jan. 27 instructed the State Department within 60 days to prepare the documents to seek advice and Senate approval to ratify the 1987 Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol. The Kigali Amendment is a five-year-old international agreement to reduce fluorocarbons (HFCs), chemicals in air conditioning and refrigeration equipment that are contributing to climate change. Read more from Kellie Lunney.
Global tax law overhaul threatens: Biden and Democrats warn that it could become difficult to tax US companies overseas to generate more revenue and to roll back some policies they see as too business-friendly. Their plans are to raise the corporate tax rate and increase taxes on the foreign income of US companies. You could also revise or roll back pending regulations to implement the foreign tax rules of the 2017 Tax Act – with the aim of getting multinational corporations to pay more U.S. taxes. Read more from Michael Rapoport.
Americans made an additional $ 1.1 trillion on stimuli: Americans made an additional $ 1.1 trillion last year, most of the data from 1930 that came solely from stimulus checks and other government aid. Total U.S. personal income rose 6.1% to $ 19.7 trillion last year as a surge in relief in the coronavirus era outpaced gains in wages, real estate values, and other sources of wealth, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. Read more from Alex Tanzi.
South Korea’s chip industry trapped between China and the US: South Korea has long relied on the US as security and China as a trading company to keep politics out of business and not to step aside. This geopolitical balancing act becomes increasingly untenable as Washington and Beijing quarrel over technology. South Korea’s advanced semiconductor industry is seeing increasing global demand as consumer electronics sell out during the pandemic. Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix exports lead the strongest quarter of economic growth since 2018. Read more from Jeong-Ho Lee and Sohee Kim.
Politics & Influence
Georgia Governor Signs Election Overhaul Bill: Georgia Governor Brian Kemp yesterday signed a revision of the state’s electoral systems that gave the Republican-led General Assembly more authority over the last year’s election turnout and presidential recounts local electoral bodies. The move is part of attempts by Republican-controlled lawmakers across the country to impose new voting restrictions, which Biden yesterday labeled “sick” and “un-American”. Read more from Jennifer Kay.
Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) condemned the arrest of Rep. Park Cannon, who was handcuffed and forcibly removed from the Georgia State Capitol yesterday after filing for admission to the governor’s office when he signed the major revision of the state electoral law. Read more from Kathleen Hunter.
Goldman Fraud Claim Case Will Test Supreme Court: The Securities and Exchange Commission dropped Goldman Sachs shares 13% in a single day in 2010 when it accused the company of defrauding customers by giving them a Mortgage backed investment sold that was secretly planned failure. Eleven years later, shareholders who lost money that April day are standing before the US Supreme Court on a case that could deal an even bigger blow to investors. In an argument pending Monday, Goldman Sachs will ask the court to redefine shareholder class actions and ditch a case that aims to recoup potentially billions of dollars. Read more from Greg Stohr and Robert Schmidt.