Essential U.S. political news & intel to start your day.
April 14, 2021
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What Is Infrastructure? 


According to our new poll of registered voters with Politico, it’s mostly everything included in President Joe Biden’s wide-ranging plan. The findings suggest that GOP messaging against the plan is yet to resonate with the electorate, including many Republican voters.


Still, support for the package — and for raising the corporate tax rate to fund it — has fallen by double digits among GOP voters since a week ago though 57 percent of the overall electorate still backs the $2 trillion plan. Read more here on the data from my colleague Claire Williams.


Top Stories

  • A senior administration official said President Joe Biden is today set to announce the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil in the country’s history. The decision will keep forces in the country beyond the May 1 deadline the Trump administration negotiated with the Taliban last year. (The Washington Post)
  • Joel Greenberg, a former elected official in Florida, has been cooperating with federal investigators since last year to provide information about Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and others as part of an investigation probing whether the men had sex with a 17-year-old in violation of sex trafficking statutes, according to two sources. The ex-county tax collector reportedly told investigators that he and others had encounters with women who were given gifts. (The New York Times)
  • An internal report from the inspector general of the Capitol Police that is set to be discussed at a congressional hearing tomorrow found broad missteps in the law enforcement response to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Among them: intelligence shortcomings, a lack of proper storage for riot shields, expired or unavailable non-lethal weapons, a lack of civil unrest training and optical concerns by leaders contributing to a lack of a National Guard presence. (The Associated Press)
  • Biden accepted an invitation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to address a joint session of Congress on April 28, the night before the president’s 100th day in office. (Bloomberg)

Chart Review


Events Calendar (All Times Local)


What Else You Need To Know

White House & Administration

Biden officials bracing for possibility of weekslong disruption to J&J vaccine supply
Erin Banco and Rachel Roubein, Politico

Biden administration officials are preparing for the possibility that the pause in use of the Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine could last for weeks — and perhaps longer for certain portions of the American population.


Biden raises concerns with Putin about Ukraine confrontation
Matthew Lee et al., The Associated Press

President Joe Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to “de-escalate tensions” following a Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s border in their second tense call of Biden’s young presidency.


After Another Police Shooting, Biden Urges Calm. Activists Want Answers.
Katie Rogers and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, The New York Times

After President Biden abandoned a campaign promise to establish a police oversight commission during his first 100 days in office, administration officials have provided few details about how far he will go to combat racism in policing.


China Says Biden-Backed Visit Raises Tensions Over Taiwan
Samson Ellis and Jing Li, Bloomberg

China criticized the U.S. for sending a group of former officials to Taiwan, saying the move will only add to mounting tensions.


China Poses Biggest Threat to U.S., Intelligence Report Says
Julian E. Barnes, The New York Times

China’s effort to expand its growing influence represents one of the largest threats to the United States, according to a major annual intelligence report released on Tuesday, which also warned of the broad national security challenges posed by Moscow and Beijing.


The Biden Administration Is Quietly Keeping Tabs on Inflation
Jim Tankersley, The New York Times

Even before President Biden took office, some of his closest aides were focused on a question that risked derailing his economic agenda: Would his plans for a $1.9 trillion economic rescue package and additional government spending overheat the economy and fuel runaway inflation?


Biden picks Robert Santos to be first person of color to lead Census bureau
Oriana Gonzalez, Axios

President Biden on Tuesday announced that he plans to nominate Robert Santos, vice president and chief methodologist at the Urban Institute, as director of the U.S. Census Bureau at the Department of Commerce.


Democrats signal limited patience for GOP opposition to Biden infrastructure package
Tony Romm, The Washington Post

Top Senate Democrats on Tuesday signaled they may have no choice but to bypass Republicans in order to advance President Biden’s roughly $2 trillion infrastructure package, as GOP leaders continued to attack the plan over the scope of its spending and the tax increases the White House has proposed to pay for it.


GOP edges back from filibuster cliff on hate crimes bill
Nicholas Wu, Politico

A bipartisan effort is underway to amend Democrats’ anti-hate crime legislation in the Senate as the GOP edges back from its first filibuster opportunity of Joe Biden’s presidency.


House panel to vote on slavery reparations bill for first time, supporters are calling it an important milestone
Marianna Sotomayor, The Washington Post

The debate over whether to pay reparations to the descendants of enslaved people will take a step forward Wednesday when a House committee votes on legislation to create a commission to study the issue, which has been fiercely debated over the past year on the campaign trail and in several communities across the country.


Senate GOP Nearing Decision on Whether to Embrace Earmarks
Erik Wasson, Bloomberg

Senate Republicans are nearing a decision on whether to embrace the return of earmarked spending that could smooth the passage of annual appropriations bills and the transportation portion of President Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal.


Pelosi on Jan. 6: ‘They would have had a battle on their hands’ if the mob had caught her
Susan Page and Ledyard King, USA Today

On her 100th day as speaker of the 117th Congress, Nancy Pelosi discussed the dramatic events that opened her tenure, when a mob that stormed the Capitol wanted to kill her.


New details shed light on Gaetz’s Bahamas trip
Marc Caputo and Matt Dixon, Politico

The group took off for their Bahamas weekend getaway on three separate flights. 


Gaetz’s glare stings House GOP — but his future’s safe for now
Melanie Zanona and Olivia Beavers, Politico

Matt Gaetz is facing a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations, turmoil inside his congressional office and a flurry of unsavory reports about his conduct toward women. But his position inside the House GOP conference is safe — at least for now.


Sens. Cruz, Hawley, Lee seek to strip Major League Baseball of anti-trust exemption
David K. Li and Sahil Kapur, NBC News

A trio of Republican lawmakers outlined legislation Tuesday aimed at ending Major League Baseball’s anti-trust exemption after the All-Star Game was moved out of Georgia in protest of that state’s new voting restrictions.


New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney hit with congressional ethics complaint over stock sale disclosures
Dave Levinthal, Insider

A nonprofit ethics watchdog has asked Congress’ independent ethics office to investigate Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney for failing to disclose the sale of eight stocks until early April — months past a federally mandated deadline.


Iran says it will enrich uranium to 60%, highest level ever
Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press

Iran will begin enriching uranium up to 60% purity after an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility, a negotiator said Tuesday, pushing its program to higher levels than ever before though still remaining short of weapons-grade.


Expert: Ex-cop justified in pinning George Floyd to pavement
Amy Forliti et al., The Associated Press

The defense for a former police officer charged in George Floyd’s death challenged the heart of the case against the officer, calling a use-of-force expert who testified that Derek Chauvin was justified in pinning Floyd and said it might have gone easier if the Black man had been “resting comfortably” on the pavement.


Trump alumni launch largest post-administration group
Mike Allen, Axios

A constellation of Trump administration stars today will launch the America First Policy Institute, a 35-person nonprofit group with a first-year budget of $20 million and the mission of perpetuating former President Trump’s populist policies.


Republicans see record fundraising in months after Capitol breach
Julie Manchester, The Hill

Republicans who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election are raking in record amounts of cash just months after major corporate donors vowed to pull their support.


Republicans in two rural Georgia counties censure Gov. Brian Kemp and others
Lisa Lerer, The New York Times

Republican Party officials in two deeply conservative counties voted to censure Gov. Brian Kemp and two other top party leaders in recent days, a sign that the Georgia governor continues to face grass-roots opposition from loyalists to former President Donald J. Trump, and the possibility of a primary challenge next year.


Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski launches Senate campaign as Ron Johnson freezes GOP field
Alex Rogers and Manu Raju, CNN

Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski launched her campaign for Senate on Wednesday, jumping into what’s expected to be a contentious Democratic primary as Republicans eagerly await word on whether Sen. Ron Johnson will seek a third term.


Mike Gallagher grapples with ‘Trump problem’ as Wisconsin Senate speculation heats up
David M. Drucker, The Washington Examiner

Aside from his “Trump problem,” Rep. Mike Gallagher would begin the Wisconsin Senate race a consensus Republican to succeed Sen. Ron Johnson, who is contemplating retirement.


Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski still weighing reelection decision
Bridget Bowman and Lindsey McPherson, Roll Call

Sen. Lisa Murkowski is still weighing whether to run for a fourth full term, and she demurred Tuesday on a timeline for her decision. The Alaska Republican told reporters at the Capitol that she will make her final decision “when I make it.” 


New Target for New York’s Ascendant Left: Rep. Carolyn Maloney
Katie Glueck, The New York Times

Nearly three years ago, a little-known left-wing organization helped engineer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s shock victory over Representative Joseph Crowley in a House primary.


Pause in Vaccinations Leads to Canceled Appointments Across States
Mitch Smith and Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

The student union had been converted into a vaccination center. The doses had arrived on campus.


The end of the imperial governorship
Nick Niedzwiadek, Politico

One of the first things on the agenda this year for Kentucky Republicans was figuring out how to kneecap Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear.


As Michigan G.O.P. Plans Voting Limits, Top Corporations Fire a Warning Shot
Reid J. Epstein and Trip Gabriel, The New York Times

At first glance, the partisan battle over voting rights in Michigan appears similar to that of many other states: The Republican-led Legislature, spurred by former President Donald J. Trump’s lies about election fraud, has introduced a rash of proposals to restrict voting access, angering Democrats, who are fighting back.


Hundreds of Companies Unite to Oppose Voting Limits, but Others Abstain
David Gelles and Andrew Ross Sorkin, The New York Times

Amazon, BlackRock, Google, Warren Buffett and hundreds of other companies and executives signed on to a new statement released on Wednesday opposing “any discriminatory legislation” that would make it harder for people to vote.


U.S. Chamber Urges Lawmakers to Oppose Democratic-Backed Voting Bill
Alexa Corse, The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged senators to oppose a sweeping Democratic-backed voting-overhaul bill, saying it would impose onerous restrictions on political advocacy by corporations and other associations.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

A Hate-Crime Fighter for the Justice Department
Susan Bro (President and Board Chair, Heather Heyer Foundation) and Taylor Dumpson (Law Student, Class of 2021), Morning Consult

Like most Americans, we watched in horror on Jan. 6 as white supremacists violently attacked the U.S. Capitol. We recognized their hate because we’ve both painfully experienced it.


A Digital Economy of the Americas
Ashley Friedman (ITI) and Steve Liston (Council of the Americas), Morning Consult

When the United States committed in 2018 to hosting the IX Summit of the Americas, economies in Latin America and the Caribbean were already struggling with security and migration crises, inadequate infrastructure, burdensome regulatory processes and market fragmentation and high inequality.


NRSC’s hands-off approach to primaries will backfire
Josh Kraushaar, National Journal

Bowing to the reality that President Trump’s brand of politics has taken over the Republican Party, Senate GOP leaders are all but accepting a roster of flawed, right-wing nominees in 2022.


Corporations of the World, Unite!
Thomas B. Edsall, The New York Times

“Woke capitalism” has been a steadily growing phenomenon over the past decade.


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