You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Biden outlines administration steps to make it easier for more Americans to get vaccinated

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 5/4/2021 Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, Eugene Scott, John Wagner
Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: President Biden delivers remarks during a visit to Tidewater Community College in Portsmouth, Va., on Monday. © Jonathan Ernst/Reuters President Biden delivers remarks during a visit to Tidewater Community College in Portsmouth, Va., on Monday.

President Biden on Tuesday provided an update from the White House on goals for returning to pre-pandemic life, including a target of 70 percent of adults in the country having at least one vaccine shot by July Fourth. “Go get the shot as soon as you can,” the president said after outlining various administration steps to make it easier for more Americans to get vaccinated.

Earlier Tuesday, the White House told states that vaccine supply they leave unordered will become available to other states — the most significant shift in domestic distribution since Biden took office.

Here’s what to know:

  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen clarified that she is not concerned about the risks of economic overheating hours after her earlier comments about inflation caused a brief panic on Wall Street and invited fresh scrutiny about the White House’s position.
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said during a television interview Tuesday that he has heard concerns from fellow House Republicans about the ability of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to perform her leadership role.
  • Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) announced that he is running for governor, saying in a video that he wants “a Florida for all.”
  • Vice President Harris decried corruption in the Northern Triangle as she delivered a speech committing the United States to do more to help address the root causes of a surge in migrants coming to the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months.

8:21 PM: The Trailer: In New Mexico, Democrats work to prove their Texas rout was a fluke

Democratic congressional candidate Melanie Stansbury talks to volunteers at a canvass launch in Albuquerque on May 1. © David Weigel/TWP Democratic congressional candidate Melanie Stansbury talks to volunteers at a canvass launch in Albuquerque on May 1.

ALBUQUERQUE ― Melanie Stansbury laughed when she first saw the ad. The Democratic state legislator was taking some down time, some of the last she’d get before early voting began in the June 1 special congressional election, and heard the sirens, the narrator talking about rising crime, and then the claim that she’d “support legislation that defunds the police” and take their “guns away.”

“I was like: Where did this come from?” Stansbury said, after leading one of the party’s weekend canvass launches for her campaign. “I literally laughed out loud, because it was so outrageous. Like, here is the $11 million in public safety investments that I helped get for our community.”

State Sen. Mark Moores, Stansbury’s Republican opponent, was happy to explain.

Read the full story

By: David Weigel

7:44 PM: Democrats prepare for all-in Florida fight against rising GOP star Ron DeSantis

a man wearing a suit and tie: Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) announces his run for Florida governor on Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Fla. © Chris O'meara/AP Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) announces his run for Florida governor on Tuesday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

After nearly a decade of disappointment in the Sunshine State, Democrats are throwing themselves back into the breach with a major effort to topple Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Fox News phenom and potential 2024 presidential contender, in a reelection race that will be a major test of whether Donald Trump’s vision for the Republican Party has staying power in a closely divided state.

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), elected governor of the state as a Republican in 2006, became the first to announce his candidacy Tuesday, declaring that he hoped to “to restore civility instead of demonizing those who have a different point of view.”

“If we seize this moment, if we take this chance, if we focus on the things that unite us, we can create the Florida we know is possible,” he said.

Read the full story

By: Michael Scherer

7:17 PM: Analysis: Trump and the ‘big lie’ aren’t just going to go away

It was around the middle of July 2015 that the Republican Party’s slowly roiling identity crisis suddenly boiled over.

Donald Trump had leveraged fervent anti-immigrant rhetoric to surge to the lead of the field vying for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination. After the party’s 2008 nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), attacked Trump for having “fired up the crazies” on the immigration issue, Trump fired back, disparaging the war hero’s service. Many party leaders (and Trump’s primary opponents) rubbed their hands giddily: At last Trump had gone too far! In short order, they assumed, they would be rid of Trump and his noxious efforts to reshape their party.

On the off chance that you recently emerged from a multiyear voyage to a distant planet, and this article is serving as your first reintroduction to the events of the past six years: They were not rid of Trump.

Read the full story

By: Philip Bump

5:43 PM: Florida Gov. DeSantis sets Jan. 11 as date for House special election to succeed Alcee Hastings

Jeanette Núñez, Bryan Avila, Ron DeSantis, Wilton Simpson, Debbie Mayfield, Aaron Bean posing for a photo: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session, on April 30 at the Capitol in Tallahassee. © Wilfredo Lee/AP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session, on April 30 at the Capitol in Tallahassee.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday announced that the special election in the race to succeed the late congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) will take place on Jan. 11, with the primary election set for Nov. 2.

Hastings died last month at age 84. The district he represented in Congress, Florida’s 20th, is heavily Democratic — meaning that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will be short one member for more than eight months while the seat remains vacant.

“I am going to be doing an executive order to set the special election for Congressional District 20, Alcee L. Hastings’s seat. ... We’re going to do the primary November 2, the general election for January 11,” DeSantis said at a Miami news conference Tuesday afternoon.

“I know, as someone who ran for [House] before, there’s a lot that goes into it,” said DeSantis, who was a House member from 2013 to 2018. “I know there’ll be a lot of folks that want to run for it. So hopefully, that gives them enough time to be able to get on the ballot and do whatever they need to do to be competitive.”

Democrats currently control 218 seats in the House to Republicans’ 212, a tight margin that puts pressure on Pelosi not to lose more than a handful of Democrats on any given vote.

Five House seats are vacant. One of those seats will be filled next week, when Rep.-elect Troy Carter (D-La.) is sworn in to succeed White House adviser Cedric L. Richmond, who resigned in January.

New Mexico voters will elect a replacement for Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on June 1, while northeastern Ohio voters will nominate candidates to replace newly confirmed Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge on Aug. 3, with a special election to follow in November.

On May 24, voters in north Texas will pick a replacement for the late Rep. Ron Wright, a Republican whose widow, Susan Wright, is facing state Rep. Jake Ellzey (R) in a runoff for the seat.

David Weigel contributed to this report.

By: Felicia Sonmez

4:43 PM: National Guard soldier is fourth service member charged in Capitol riot

A soldier in the Wisconsin National Guard was charged Monday in connection with the Capitol riot Jan. 6, becoming the fourth service member linked to the violent attempt to thwart the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president.

Abram Markofski and an associate were arrested Monday in Wisconsin and each charged with four counts related to the Capitol breach, including violent entry or disorderly conduct and entering restricted spaces, according to the Justice Department.

Markofski, a private first class, enlisted in the Army National Guard in 2019, said Maj. Joe Trovato, a spokesman for the Wisconsin National Guard. He is an infantryman assigned to the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment.

Read the full story here.

By: Alex Horton

3:44 PM: Stefanik is laying the groundwork for leadership run if Cheney is ousted

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) is calling Republican colleagues in an effort to pitch herself as a replacement if the House GOP caucus ends up voting to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as the only woman in GOP leadership, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Frustration with Cheney among House Republicans has broken into public view over the past week after Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other members complained that the Wyoming Republican’s criticism of former president Donald Trump for spreading the falsehood that the 2020 presidential election was stolen is a distraction when she should be focusing on issues that unite the party. In fact, Cheney has at the same time echoed other Republicans on major issues such as government spending and immigration.

“Liz has attempted (is FAILING badly) to divide our party. Trump is still the LEADER of the GOP, Liz! I look forward to her being removed SOON!” Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Tex.) wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

While no member has introduced a resolution to formally begin deliberations to remove Cheney, many members and aides say her replacement should be a woman. That creates an opening for Stefanik, who has evolved from a loyal member of the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan 2012 campaign team to a staunch Trump supporter.

Several aides, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, said Stefanik would be the front-runner for a leadership position if Cheney is removed. The news of Stefanik making calls about a possible leadership run was first reported by Punchbowl News.

Other women who have been floated as possible replacements for Cheney include freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), who has gained favorability among leadership. Her office says she is interested only in reelection and not in climbing the leadership ladder. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), another name circulating as a replacement, told The Washington Post he is interested in finishing his term as Republican Study Committee chairman before considering other positions within the caucus.

By: Marianna Sotomayor and Mike DeBonis

3:25 PM: Harris pitches Biden’s jobs plan, says it will reverse America’s declining investment in innovation

Vice President Harris touted Biden’s American Jobs Plan during a visit to Wisconsin on Tuesday, arguing that it would be an investment in innovation, research and development that would enable the United States to better compete in a global economy.

“We must be able to compete,” she said in Milwaukee. “Innovation will make things easier for American families and will create jobs.”

Harris visited clean-energy laboratories at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, where she learned about the development of charging stations for electric vehicles. She also participated in a roundtable discussion with union workers, lawmakers and other local residents.

“When did we last invest? We need to do more than just catch up,” she said as the discussion ended. “We must invest with a sense of urgency. We need to invest in our universities, in our children and in our people.”

The vice president noted that America has fallen behind on research and development and that federal government investment has declined over the past two decades.

The jobs plan is estimated to cost $2 trillion — which would be financed by tax increases on corporations and wealthy Americans — and aims to add more than a million jobs to the economy, with many of them benefiting working-class Americans and families. Republicans have pushed back on the proposal, citing its impact on high-income earners and businesses.

By: Eugene Scott

3:23 PM: ‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ is growing brighter, Biden says of coronavirus pandemic in U.S.

Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a curtain: President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on the coronavirus pandemic. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on the coronavirus pandemic.

In remarks at the White House on Tuesday afternoon, Biden announced that his administration is aiming for 70 percent of all American adults to have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by July 4, and for a total of 160 v Americans to have been fully vaccinated by then.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is actually growing brighter and brighter,” Biden said, assessing the state of the pandemic in the United States.

The president noted that nearly 150 million Americans have received at least one shot, and that 105 million are fully vaccinated. Coronavirus cases in 40 states have declined over the past two weeks, and deaths are down “dramatically” since January, he added.

The Biden administration’s pandemic response will soon shift to a new phase focusing on three areas: potentially expanding vaccinations to 12- to 15-year-olds, making it more convenient for all Americans to get vaccinated and focusing on those who still aren’t sure they want to get vaccinated.

“Now we’re going to have to bring the vaccine to people who are less eager,” Biden said, adding, “I know there’s a lot of misinformation out there, but there’s one fact I want every American to know: People who are not fully vaccinated can still die every day from covid-19.”

Biden announced the launch of a new website, vaccines.gov, to help Americans find sites offering vaccines. Pharmacies will also have walk-in hours, he said, and Americans can send a text message with their Zip code to 438829 to receive a list of locations nearby.

By: Felicia Sonmez

2:27 PM: In hot-mic comments, McCarthy says he has ‘lost confidence’ in Cheney

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that he has “lost confidence” in Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), in off-air remarks to a Fox News Channel host before a television interview.

According to Axios, which reviewed footage of the exchange, McCarthy told host Steve Doocy that he has “had it” with Cheney.

“I think she’s got real problems,” McCarthy said of Cheney, according to Axios. He added: “I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence. … Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place.”

During the actual “Fox & Friends” interview Tuesday morning, McCarthy did not go quite so far in criticizing Cheney, who has come under fire from other Republicans for denouncing former president Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

“No, there’s no concern about how she voted on impeachment,” McCarthy told Doocy during his “Fox & Friends” appearance. “That decision has been made. I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message. We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority. Remember, majorities are not given, they are earned.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) later defended Cheney in a tweet Tuesday afternoon.

“Every person of conscience draws a line beyond which they will not go: Liz Cheney refuses to lie,” said Romney, who was the sole Senate Republican to vote to convict Trump. “As one of my Republican Senate colleagues said to me following my impeachment vote: ‘I wouldn’t want to be a member of a group that punished someone for following their conscience.’”

By: Felicia Sonmez

2:20 PM: Psaki disputes report that teacher’s union lobbying affected CDC guidelines on school reopenings

Jen Psaki standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a daily news briefing Tuesday. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a daily news briefing Tuesday.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday flatly dismissed claims from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on school reopenings were strongly influenced by one of the county’s largest teachers’ unions.

“That is false,” she said Tuesday at the White House briefing. “It’s actually long-standing best practice for the CDC to engage with organizations and groups that are going to be impacted by guidance and recommendations issued by the agency. It doesn’t mean they are taking everything they want or even a percentage of what they want, but it’s important to understand the implementation components.”

Cotton, a frequent critic of the Biden White House’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, said that schools have been open in Arkansas for months with little problem and that more states should open schools instead of looking to the CDC for guidance. Some media outlets reported that the American Federation of Teachers influenced the agency’s guidelines after a conservative watchdog group noted that the CDC used language recommended by the union in its guidelines.

“The CDC is a thoroughly politicized agency,” Cotton said Monday on Fox News. “Most Americans disregard their advice on things like steaks and hamburgers and beers. Increasingly, they should disregard their advice on school reopenings.”

Psaki said it was appropriate that the CDC is consistently in conversations with the union and dozens of other groups about school reopenings to make the most informed decisions possible.

“They do so to ensure that recommendations … be feasible and that they adequately address the safety and well-being of the individuals the guidance is aimed to protect,” she said.

By: Eugene Scott

2:00 PM: Biden to set new goal of 70 percent of Americans getting at least one vaccine dose by July 4

Biden on Tuesday will set new benchmarks for the United States to return to pre-pandemic life, setting a goal of 70 percent of adult Americans receiving at least one vaccine shot by the Fourth of July amid rising pressure for the White House to find ways to expedite a return to normalcy as summer approaches.

The president, after seeing 200 million shots surpassed in his first 100 days in office, also aims to have 160 million Americans — or 60 percent — fully vaccinated by the summer holiday, a date he marked in a March prime-time address for the United States to start to look “more normal.”

Health officials are confident that communities that can achieve a 70 percent vaccination rate will see sharp declines in individual cases, hospitalizations and deaths, a senior administration official said on a call with reporters Tuesday.

Read the full story

By: Tyler Pager and Yasmeen Abutaleb

1:55 PM: Asked about Cheney drama, Psaki says GOP doesn’t know ‘where they stand and what they stand for’

White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to specifically weigh in on the drama surrounding Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) future in House GOP leadership, but said generally that the Republican Party doesn’t seem to know what it stands for.

Psaki was asked for her reaction to the negative backlash against Cheney among many in her party for saying that Biden won the election fairly and that it was not stolen from former president Donald Trump.

“The Republican Party seems to be spending a lot of blood, sweat and tears trying to figure out where they stand and what they stand for, and that’s their prerogative,” Psaki said. “But our focus is on, and how we’re spending our time, is on defeating the pandemic, growing our economy, building on that for the long run.”

Psaki added that while Biden and Cheney don’t have many policy goals in common, his aim is to “seek civility even when he disagrees” — a seemingly subtle swipe at the infighting within the GOP.

By: Colby Itkowitz

12:34 PM: Treasury secretary suggests Biden plans may require interest rate hikes, spooking investors

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in remarks aired Tuesday that the economy could be at risk of overheating if the Biden administration’s spending proposals are approved. She raised the prospect of future interest rate increases, which appeared to cause a sell-off in the stock market.

In an interview with the Atlantic, Yellen defended the administration’s proposed spending programs but said that if approved they may require the central bank to raise interest rates to prevent the economy from expanding too rapidly. The Federal Reserve — not Treasury Department — sets interest rate policy, but Yellen’s remarks fueled concerns that policymakers believe the economy is at risk of growing too quickly and may need to be slowed down. Raising interest rates slows the pace of economic growth by increasing the cost of borrowing.

Yellen’s remarks created further pressure on the S&P 500, which was already down for the day, leading it to fall by more than 1.25 percent in midday trading. The tech-heavy NASDAQ was down more than 2.5 percent, although markets have been at recent highs.

Read the full story here.

By: Jeff Stein

12:30 PM: FBI is pressured to answer for domestic-spying program tied to Black Panther Fred Hampton’s killing in 1969

A Democratic lawmaker introduced new legislation Tuesday that would force the government to reveal decades-old FBI files about domestic spying on civil rights and peace activists, saying a full accounting of constitutional abuses is long overdue.

Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) is seeking answers about the killing of Fred Hampton, a Black Panther activist targeted by an FBI informant and shot by police in Chicago in 1969. The Hampton case has drawn renewed interest as a result of the film “Judas and the Black Messiah,” for which actor Daniel Kaluuya won an Oscar for his portrayal of Hampton.

The congressman, who helped found the Illinois Black Panther Party and blames the FBI for Hampton’s death, said the files should hold important details about the bureau’s activities.

Read the full story here.

By: Devlin Barrett

12:02 PM: White House plans to redistribute unordered vaccine supply, telling states: Use it or lose it

a man wearing a suit and tie: President Biden visited pop-up coronavirus vaccination site April 6 in Alexandria, Va. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP) © Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images President Biden visited pop-up coronavirus vaccination site April 6 in Alexandria, Va. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

The White House on Tuesday told states that vaccine supply they leave unordered will become available to other states — the most significant shift in domestic vaccine distribution since President Biden took office and part of an effort to address flagging demand in areas of the country.

Each state’s share of the total U.S. adult population will still determine weekly allocations. But instead of allowing unordered doses to carry over week-to-week, the White House will steer untapped vaccine into a federal bank available to states where demand continues to outstrip supply. Those states will be able to order up to 50 percent above their weekly allocation.

The use-it-or-lose-it strategy has the potential to transform how vaccine flows across the country. In recent weeks, numerous states have begun leaving significant quantities of doses on the shelves. Last week, officials in Arkansas declined their entire share, the state confirmed.

Read the full story

By: Isaac Stanley-Becker

11:48 AM: Analysis: What does Liz Cheney want?

Liz Cheney wearing glasses: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) speaks during a news conference in Washington on Feb. 8. © Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) speaks during a news conference in Washington on Feb. 8.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) hasn’t ruled out running for president in 2024. She hasn’t heeded fellow Republicans’ demands that she quit as the No. 3 House GOP leader. She hasn’t campaigned for a Fox News gig — they parted ways when she ran for Senate in 2013.

And, most important of all, Cheney hasn’t stopped denouncing Donald Trump, in public and in private, as a threat not just to Republicans but to the republic.

Trump’s false claim he was cheated out of a second term is “poison in the bloodstream of our democracy,” Cheney said Monday at the annual retreat of the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Sea Island, Ga.

Read the full story

By: Olivier Knox

11:33 AM: DHS secretary cites ‘drastically reduced’ number of migrant children and teens in border jails

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the Biden administration has “drastically reduced” the number of unaccompanied migrant children and teens in border jails from 5,767 on March 28 to under 600 on Tuesday, a nearly 90 percent drop.

The Biden administration expanded Health and Human Services emergency shelters over the past month to care for the children — opening 14 emergency shelters in a matter of weeks — instead of leaving them for days in Border Patrol jails after they cross into the United States from Mexico. More than 22,200 minors were in HHS custody on Sunday, the most recent tally available.

Officials have said the administration is trying to reunite them with their parents or guardians in the United States as soon as possible. But Mayorkas told the Washington Conference on the Americas that they were far better off in shelters than in the jails.

Mayorkas said the number of minors in border jails is falling “because we have a plan, and we have always had a plan.”

“Our plans take time to execute, but we know how to do it, and we do the hard work,” he said. “The challenge is not behind us, but we have made extraordinary achievements in 30 days.”

Mayorkas said minors are spending far less time in border jails, about 30 hours compared with several days in late March. HHS officials say more than 80 percent of the children and teens have a parent or relative in the United States. Most are from Central America.

He said the Border Patrol has “performed heroically” by caring for children in the jails before they can be transferred to HHS.

“They know better than anyone that a Border Patrol facility is no place for a child,” he said.

By: Maria Sacchetti

11:17 AM: GOP Sen. Hawley does not regret raising fist to pro-Trump mob at Capitol on Jan. 6

Josh Hawley wearing a suit and tie: Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) speaks as the Senate reconvenes to debate an objection to confirming Arizona's electoral votes, after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Senate Television/AP) © AP/AP Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) speaks as the Senate reconvenes to debate an objection to confirming Arizona's electoral votes, after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Senate Television/AP)

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who led the effort in the Senate to contest Biden’s election victory, said he does not regret raising his fist to a pro-Trump mob gathered outside the Capitol on Jan. 6 ahead of the violent insurrection.

“I waved to them, gave them the thumbs up, pumped my fist to them and thanked them for being there, and they had every right to do that,” Hawley said during an interview Tuesday with Washington Post Live.

Hawley said he did not regret greeting the mob that way, arguing many of them were there to peacefully protest, not storm the Capitol. In the attack, hundreds invaded the Capitol, vandalizing the building and occupying it for hours. The insurrection left five dead, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer who died of a stroke the day after he was injured, and more than 100 police officers were hurt.

“I don’t know which of those protesters, if any of them, those demonstrators, participated in the criminal riot,” Hawley said. “And I think it’s a slur on the thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of people who came to the Capitol that day to demonstrate peacefully to lump them in with the criminal rioters and say, ‘Oh, you’re all basically the same.’”

Hawley was among the Republicans who still voted against certifying Biden’s election win when Congress resumed voting in the evening after the riot. He says now he wasn’t going to allow the “lawless criminal mob” to affect his plans to raise “concerns about election integrity.”

The senator repeated, as he has in previous interviews that Biden is the “duly elected president of the United States” and urged Republicans to now “take their stand through the democratic process.”

Hawley also spoke about the direction of the Republican Party, which he suggested is still very much Trump’s party. Asked about the pending decision from Facebook on whether to allow Trump back on the platform, Hawley said Trump’s influence over the party doesn’t depend on his social media.

“My view is, is that the former president — he’s a very significant force in the party as it is, and that’s going to be true no matter what,” Hawley said.

Hawley, who is viewed as a likely contender for president in 2024, said he wasn’t “planning to run” and would not run in the GOP presidential primaries if Trump runs again.

By: Colby Itkowitz

11:07 AM: Judicial Watch sues to learn more about biting episode involving a Biden dog

a dog running in a grassy field: Major, one of President Biden's family's dogs, explores the South Lawn of the White House after his arrival from Delaware on Jan. 24. © White House/Adam Schultz/White House/Handout Major, one of President Biden's family's dogs, explores the South Lawn of the White House after his arrival from Delaware on Jan. 24.

Judicial Watch, the conservative activist group that says its mission is to file lawsuits to expose government misconduct, has trained its sights on an unexpected target: the Biden family dogs.

The group announced Tuesday that it has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security in an attempt to secure records related to a biting episode involving Major, the younger of the first family’s two German shepherds, and a Secret Service agent on the White House grounds.

It is one of two biting incidents, which White House officials say resulted in only minor injuries, that prompted the Bidens to send Major to a trainer for a few weeks.

Judicial Watch said it filed the lawsuit because the Secret Service has been slow to process a Freedom of Information Act request seeking “all records of communications between USSS officials responsible for protection at the White House regarding the Biden family dogs, named Champ and Major.”

“The public has a right to know the details about any incident in which Secret Service personnel were injured by President Biden’s dog,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “We have no doubt that Major and Champ are good dogs but politicians and bureaucrats can’t be trusted.”

Past Judicial Watch targets have included Obama administration officials, including then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

By: John Wagner

10:22 AM: Harris decries corruption in the Northern Triangle during an address on causes of migration

Kamala Harris standing in front of a screen: Vice President Harris delivers remarks to the Washington Conference on the Americas at the White House on Tuesday. © Patrick Semansky/AP Vice President Harris delivers remarks to the Washington Conference on the Americas at the White House on Tuesday.

Vice President Harris on Tuesday decried corruption in the Northern Triangle as she delivered a speech committing the United States to do more to help address the root causes of a surge in migrants coming to the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months.

In virtual remarks to the Washington Conference on the Americas, Harris voiced sympathy for those making the journey to the United States from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, saying, “They leave only when they must.”

“People have lost hope,” she said from the White House complex. “And that’s why they leave home and come to the United States. They are suffering.”

Harris delivered a stern message to governments in the region after outlining several steps the United States is taking to help, including working with nonprofit organizations.

“No matter how much effort we put in on curbing violence, providing disaster relief, on tackling food insecurity, on any of it, we will not make significant progress if corruption in the region persists,” she said. “If corruption persists, history has told us it will be one step forward and two steps back.”

“And we know corruption causes government institutions to collapse from within, preventing people from getting their children educated, from getting a business started, from getting a fair trial,” Harris continued. “In the Northern Triangle, we also know that corruption prevents us from creating the conditions on the ground to best attract investment.”

Biden has charged Harris with tackling the underlying causes of migration to the United States. In that capacity, she said she plans to visit Mexico and Guatemala next month.

By: John Wagner

9:56 AM: Analysis: House Democrats are pushing forward their drug pricing bill again

a person cutting a cake: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) greets Vice President Harris as she arrives on the podium to attend President Biden's first address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in Washington on April 28. © JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) greets Vice President Harris as she arrives on the podium to attend President Biden's first address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in Washington on April 28.

Democrats are pushing forward with an aggressive measure to lower drug prices, even as its future remains murky.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, two key House committees will hold hearings on H.R. 3 — a bill allowing the federal government to directly negotiate with drugmakers for lower prices on some pharmaceuticals.

House Democrats, who ran last year on lowering the price of prescription drugs, already passed the bill in late 2019. But now they say they’re teeing up the measure so it’s ready to go whenever there’s an opening.

The hearings “show Democrats are taking concrete steps to get the drug-pricing piece ready and marked up and done so it can be put in whatever vehicle makes sense,” said Henry Connelly, communications director for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Read the full story

By: Paige Winfield Cunningham

9:32 AM: McCarthy says fellow Republicans are concerned about Cheney’s ability to carry out her leadership role

a person holding a piece of luggage: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) arrives before President Biden speaks to a joint session of Congress in April. © Andrew Harnik/Pool/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) arrives before President Biden speaks to a joint session of Congress in April.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said during a television interview Tuesday that he has heard concerns from fellow House Republicans about the ability of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to perform her leadership role, underscoring the perilous position in which Cheney remains as she continues to criticize former president Donald Trump.

McCarthy, appearing on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” said the concern is not that Cheney, who holds the No. 3 leadership position among House Republicans, voted for Trump’s impeachment on the charge of incitement of insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

“No, there’s no concern about how she voted on impeachment,” McCarthy said. “That decision has been made. I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message. We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority. Remember, majorities are not given, they are earned.”

Several Republicans have predicted that the GOP conference will vote Cheney out of her leadership position in the coming weeks.

Cheney made clear Monday that she will continue to publicly denounce Trump over his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen by responding to a statement by the former president attempting to commandeer the term “Big Lie,” commonly used to refer to the false claims. Trump asserted that the term should refer to Biden’s election victory.

Cheney quickly condemned Trump’s comment as well as anyone who supports his statements about the election.

“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” she tweeted. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”

In response to McCarthy’s comments in the interview, Jeremy Adler, a spokesman for Cheney, said: “This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan 6. Liz will not do that. That is the issue.”

McCarthy voiced support for Cheney leading up to a failed attempt to oust her from her post after her impeachment vote.

But asked last week whether Cheney remains a “good fit” to be in leadership, McCarthy struck a far different tone.

“That’s a question for the conference,” he said, referring to House Republicans.

Marianna Sotomayor contributed to this report.

By: John Wagner

9:31 AM: Rep. Charlie Crist announces bid for Florida governor, challenge to DeSantis

Florida Rep. Charlie Crist, a longtime moderate fixture of Sunshine State politics, declared himself a Democratic candidate for governor Tuesday, becoming the first in his party to take aim at Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022.

“Florida should be a place where hard work is rewarded, justice is equal, and opportunity is right in front of you. That’s a Florida for all — and that’s why I’m running for Governor,” Crist said in an announcement tweet, with a video that included footage of Crist hugging former president Barack Obama and attacking DeSantis’s record.

Crist has previously run six times statewide, twice for governor, including a successful 2006 campaign as a Republican. He left the GOP to become an independent after a failed bid for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2010. Four years later, he lost another gubernatorial bid as a Democrat by a single percentage point. He has represented his hometown of St. Petersburg since 2017 in Congress, occupying a swing district that could be a challenge for Democrats to maintain after the decennial redistricting process is complete.

At least two other high-profile Florida Democrats are considering 2022 bids against DeSantis, a close ally of former president Donald Trump who won election narrowly in 2018. State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only Democrat to win statewide office since 2012, is considering a campaign announcement this summer. Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), a former Orlando police chief who was a shortlist candidate for Biden’s running mate, is also seriously considering a run.

After a rocky year marked by two major spikes in coronavirus infections in his state, DeSantis has recovered in approval polls this year, on the back of the state’s vaccination campaign. He has also become a star guest of Fox News, celebrated by Trump and much of the conservative media for his defiant political style, which frequently attacks both federal bureaucrats and the media.

DeSantis traveled Monday to Crist’s St. Petersburg home turf to sign documents that limited the authority of local governments to impose coronavirus restrictions and banned businesses from requiring vaccinations of customers in the state.

By: Michael Scherer

8:55 AM: Are the Bidens giants? Are the Carters tiny? Or are our eyes failing us?

Jill Biden, Rosalynn Carter, Joe Biden sitting posing for the camera: President Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden visited Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter in Plains, Ga., on April 29. President Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden visited Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter in Plains, Ga., on April 29.

On first glance, the photograph seems typical enough. Biden and first lady Jill Biden kneel beside their predecessors in the White House, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, during a trip to Georgia last week.

But look closer at the image — a snapshot of two Democratic leaders with a decades-long alliance — and something appears to be terribly off: Both Bidens tower over the Carters and the rest of the scene, as if they had been transported into a dollhouse.

After the image was shared late Monday by the Carter Center, puzzled observers fired off a succession of both joking and serious questions: Were the Carters tiny, or were the Bidens giants? Was the image taken on the set of “The Hobbit?” Are our eyes merely playing tricks on us?

Read the full story

By: Teo Armus

8:10 AM: Fact Checker: Democrats and Republicans need a translator when speaking infrastructure

Democrats and Republicans in Washington often do not speak the same language anymore. Just as there are “red” and “blue” states, there are “red” and “blue” versions of infrastructure proposals.

Democrats have an expansive view of infrastructure, including such things as home-care services, that Republicans deride as not “real” infrastructure, such as roads and bridges. Meanwhile, Democrats want to add spending on top of existing appropriations, while Republicans include existing spending in their numbers, which make their budget proposals look bigger.

Yet all too often, reporters act as if the two sides are speaking the same language. That makes it seem as though the two sides are actually close to being on the same negotiating page — when in fact they are not.

Read the full story

By: Glenn Kessler and Salvador Rizzo

7:51 AM: Analysis: Biden’s refugee reversal shows perils of immigration issue for him

Biden reversed course and lifted the annual limit on the number of refugees who can be admitted to the United States to 62,500 after fierce backlash from Democrats over his previous decision to keep the Trump record-low cap in place.

Biden acknowledged that refugee admissions would not fill the new 62,500 slots, accusing his predecessor, Donald Trump, of dismantling the refugee system:

“The sad truth is that we will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year,” he said. “We are working quickly to undo the damage of the last four years. It will take some time, but that work is already underway.”

Read the full story

By: Jacqueline Alemany

7:27 AM: NRCC announces 10 more Democratic targets, all in states losing congressional seats

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced Tuesday that it is targeting 10 additional Democrats in next year’s midterm elections, all from states that will be losing a congressional seat in the wake of last week’s release of census population counts.

The expanded list — now at 57 Democratic members — was issued as Republicans voiced increased optimism about retaking control of the House, which the party lost in the 2018 elections, nearly two years into then-President Donald Trump’s term.

Republicans running in the districts targeted by the NRCC can expect additional resources.

As the result of the new reapportionment data, several historically Democratic states that border the Great Lakes are giving up congressional seats and electoral votes to regions where Republicans have a political advantage. California is also losing a congressional seat for the first time in its history.

The newly targeted Democrats include Reps. Ami Bera (Calif.), Jim Costa (Calif.), Raul Ruiz (Calif.), Marie Newman (Ill.), Daniel Kildee (Mich.), Kathleen Rice (N.Y.), Paul Tonko (N.Y.), Joseph Morelle (N.Y.), Brian Higgins (N.Y.) and Chrissy Houlahan (Pa.).

By: John Wagner

7:05 AM: Harris heading to Wisconsin to pitch jobs and infrastructure plan

Kamala Harris posing for the camera: Vice President Harris hosts a virtual bilateral meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House on April 26. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post Vice President Harris hosts a virtual bilateral meeting with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House on April 26.

Vice President Harris plans to head to Wisconsin on Tuesday to promote Biden’s $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan with a focus on proposed spending on research and development.

Harris is scheduled to visit clean-energy laboratories at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee before hosting a roundtable discussion on the plan and its impact on local communities, according to an advisory from her office.

The White House is seeking to bolster support in Congress for Biden’s package — and another of similar size focused on expanding access to health care and safety-net programs for families — with a series of visits around the country.

Before departing Washington on Tuesday, Harris is scheduled to deliver virtual remarks to the 51st annual Conference on the Americas, with an expected focus on her charge from Biden to address the root causes of migration that are contributing to a surge in U.S.-Mexico border crossings.

“Our Administration is implementing a comprehensive strategy with governments, international institutions, the private sector, foundations, and community organizations,” Harris plans to say, according to an excerpt of prepared remarks released by her office. “The idea here is that our work will be coordinated — and that every sector will have a role to play.”

By: John Wagner

7:01 AM: Biden to address vaccination program as pace of shots has slowed nationwide

Biden plans to deliver remarks Tuesday on his administration’s coronavirus response and its vaccination program at a time when the pace of vaccinations has slowed nationwide even though every American adult is now eligible for the shots.

Biden’s planned speech from the State Dining Room of the White House comes during a week when he has otherwise been heavily focused on pushing major spending plans pending in Congress.

Almost half of all U.S. adults have yet to receive a first vaccination shot although they are now eligible, and the rolling rate of new shots has dropped to its lowest level since mid-March.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is expected by next week to grant expanded emergency use authorization to allow children as young as 12 to receive the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and German firm BioNTech, according to three federal officials familiar with the situation.

Biden’s agenda Tuesday also includes his daily intelligence briefing, according to a White House advisory.

By: John Wagner

6:48 AM: Garland to emphasize need for funding on domestic terrorism and civil rights work

Merrick Garland wearing a suit and tie: Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington on April 21. © Andrew Harnik/Bloomberg Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington on April 21.

Attorney General Merrick Garland will ask lawmakers Tuesday to support his department’s request for more funding to help investigate and prosecute domestic terrorism and beef up civil rights enforcement, as he testifies on Capitol Hill for the first time as the country’s top law enforcement officer.

Appearing before a House Appropriations subcommittee about the Justice Department’s budget request, Garland will highlight proposals for a $45 million increase in funding for the FBI for domestic terrorism investigations, and a $40 million increase for U.S. attorneys to manage the ensuing caseloads, according to a written copy of his opening statement. He will also note that the department is seeking to increase civil rights funding by $33 million, according to the statement.

“From protecting voting rights to prosecuting hate crimes like those experienced by our Asian American and Pacific Islander communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, DOJ’s civil rights work is critical to protecting the American dream,” Garland will say, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.

Read the full story

By: Matt Zapotosky

6:45 AM: Facebook and Trump are at a turning point in their long, tortured relationship

Mark Zuckerberg in a blue shirt: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote speech at Facebook's conference for developers in San Jose on May 1, 2018. Much of Zuckerberg's wealth takes the form of unrealized capital gains. © Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg delivers the keynote speech at Facebook's conference for developers in San Jose on May 1, 2018. Much of Zuckerberg's wealth takes the form of unrealized capital gains.

On Jan. 6, as an angry mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, President Donald Trump posted on Facebook that his supporters should “remember this day forever.”

“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” he said in a post.

In response, Facebook did something it had resisted for years: It banned Trump’s account indefinitely for inciting violence. Twitter, YouTube and others followed suit.

The ban culminated a long-running and tortured relationship between the politician and the social media company, one that will hit a new inflection point Wednesday.

Read the full story

By: Elizabeth Dwoskin and Cat Zakrzewski

6:40 AM: Cheney slams Trump’s attempt to brand 2020 election ‘the Big Lie,’ sparking new calls for her to leave GOP leadership

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

Rep. Liz Cheney made clear Monday that she will continue to publicly denounce former president Donald Trump over his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, imperiling her position in House Republican leadership as GOP members continue to rally around Trump.

House Republican leaders as well as some rank-and-file members have said that Cheney’s statements in recent weeks about Trump are a distraction and that she should focus on issues that unite the party.

But Cheney (R-Wyo.) brushed aside those warnings Monday after Trump issued a statement attempting to commandeer the term “Big Lie,” commonly used to refer to the false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him, by asserting that the term should now refer to President Biden’s election victory.

Read the full story

By: Marianna Sotomayor and Colby Itkowitz

6:39 AM: How three major news organizations all got a story about Giuliani wrong

a statue of Rudy Giuliani: President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani gestures as he speaks to Trump supporters gathered by the White House on Jan 6. © Jim Bourg/Reuters President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani gestures as he speaks to Trump supporters gathered by the White House on Jan 6.

Incorrect information from government sources apparently led three separate news organizations to publish the same erroneous claim about Rudolph W. Giuliani last week that all three later corrected.

The Washington Post, the New York Times and NBC News all reported Thursday that the FBI had briefed the lawyer to President Donald Trump that he was a target of a Russian disinformation campaign during his efforts to dig up unflattering information about then-candidate Joe Biden in 2019.

In fact, the news organizations later said in corrections appended to their stories Saturday that Giuliani had not been briefed by the FBI.

Read the full story

By: Paul Farhi

6:36 AM: U.S. trustee opposes NRA bankruptcy petition in blow to gun rights group

calendar: Attendees sign up at the National Rifle Association booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference annual meeting at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., in February 2020. © Joshua Roberts/Reuters Attendees sign up at the National Rifle Association booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference annual meeting at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., in February 2020.

A U.S. bankruptcy administrator asked a federal judge Monday to dismiss the National Rifle Association’s efforts to declare bankruptcy or appoint a trustee or examiner to oversee the gun rights organization — a setback for the group at the close of a federal court hearing to consider its petition.

The recommendation bolstered the arguments of New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), whose office has fought the NRA’s attempts to relocate from New York to Texas, and came after senior NRA executives acknowledged in court testimony that they received lavish perks.

Lisa Lambert, a lawyer with the U.S. trustee’s office — which participates in bankruptcy cases to protect taxpayer interests and enforce bankruptcy laws — told the court that the evidence presented in the hearing showed that the nonprofit organization lacked proper oversight and that personal expenses were masked as business costs.

Read the full story

By: Tom Hamburger

6:31 AM: As schools expand racial equity work, conservatives see a new threat in critical race theory

The nation’s reckoning over race has reached thousands of U.S. schools, and so, too, has a conservative backlash.

Schools across the country are working to address systemic racism and inject an anti-racist mind-set into campus life. But where advocates see racial progress, opponents see an effort to shame White teachers and sometimes students for being part of an oppressive system.

In particular, conservatives have seized on the idea that schools are promoting critical race theory, a decades-old academic framework that examines how policies and the law perpetuate systemic racism. It holds in part that racism is woven into the fabric of the nation’s history and life — a product of the system and not just individual bad actors.

Read the full story

By: Laura Meckler and Hannah Natanson

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Washington Post

The Washington Post
The Washington Post
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon