Essential U.S. political news & intel to start your day.
April 12, 2021
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  • Iran accused unnamed perpetrators of causing a blackout at its main nuclear-enrichment plant in an attempt to derail talks with the United States about reviving the 2015 nuclear accord. Israeli media reported that Western intelligence officials said Jerusalem’s intelligence agency Mossad orchestrated a cyberattack at the nuclear site, causing severe damage. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • The Senate is set to take up anti-Asian hate legislation sponsored by Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), as well as a slate of nominations, when it returns from its recess today. As leaders begin wrangling over President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package, the House is expected to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act and anti-workplace violence legislation. (The Hill)
  • The White House is vetting Cindy McCain for U.S. ambassador to the U.N. World Food Programme in Rome, according to two sources. The 66-year-old widow of former Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who has worked on world hunger issues as chair of the McCain Institute board of trustees would be Biden’s first Republican nominee for Senate confirmation. (Politico)
  • Following criticism from 72 Black executives who challenged Georgia’s new voting law, dozens of CEOs and other business leaders reportedly met to discuss how to respond to moves by Republicans in Texas and other states to restrict access to voting. (The Wall Street Journal)

Chart Review


Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Monday, April 12
White House COVID-19 team holds briefing Read More 11:00 am
Army chief of staff participates in Washington Post online event Read More 12:00 pm
Biden participates in CEO Summit on Semiconductor and Supply Chain Resilience Read More 12:00 pm
White House press secretary holds briefing Read More 12:15 pm
Reps. Slotkin, Gallagher participate in Wilson Center online event on American supply chains Read More 1:00 pm
Senate session Read More 3:00 pm
Rep. Cheney participates in Georgetown Institute of Politics & Public Service online event Read More 5:30 pm
Tuesday, April 13
Rep. Smith participates in Reagan Institute online event on defense spending Read More 9:00 am
IRS commissioner testifies to Senate Finance Committee Read More 10:00 am
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee holds hearing on racial discrimination in housing Read More 10:00 am
CNN hosts online event on Biden and the border Read More 10:00 am
White House Council of Economic Advisers chair participates in Hamilton Project online event on rethinking unemployment insurance and housing support Read More 10:30 am
The Washington Post hosts online event on COVID-19 vaccines and variants Read More 11:00 am
Michigan governor participates in Washington Post online event Read More 1:30 pm
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs subcommittee holds hearing on student debt Read More 2:30 pm
Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee holds hearing on travel and tourism during COVID-19 Read More 3:00 pm
Sen. Paul participates in Heritage Foundation online event on election laws Read More 4:00 pm
The White House Historical Association hosts online event on George Washington Read More 5:00 pm
Georgetown Institute of Politics & Public Service hosts online event on election integrity Read More 5:30 pm
Wednesday, April 14
Senate Intelligence Committee holds global threats hearing Read More 10:00 am
Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs committee holds hearing on the COVID-19 response Read More 10:00 am
Agriculture secretary testifies to House appropriations subcommittee Read More 10:00 am
House Energy & Commerce subcommittee holds hearing on substance abuse Read More 10:30 am
Washington governor participates in The Hill online event on the environment Read More 11:30 am
Fed chair participates in Economic Club of Washington, D.C., online event Read More 12:00 pm
House Natural Resources Committee holds hearing on Puerto Rico statehood Read More 1:00 pm
Reps. Rush, Westerman participate in The Hill online event on energy Read More 1:30 pm
Joint Economic Committee holds hearing on COVID-19 vaccinations and economic recovery Read More 2:30 pm
Sen. Carper, AFL-CIO president participate in The Hill online event on sustainability Read More 4:00 pm
View Full Calendar

What Else You Need To Know

White House & Administration

White House targets McConnell, McCarthy in infrastructure push
Sarah Mucha and Jonathan Swan, Axios

The White House is selling President Biden’s $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan by projecting how much it will help each state — starting with Kentucky and California.


Biden set to accept fewest refugees of any modern president, including Trump, report says
Amy B Wang, The Washington Post

Since his days on the campaign trail, President Biden has tried to cast himself as diametrically opposed to former president Donald Trump when it comes to welcoming refugees into the United States.


Mexico’s new migrant policy adds to Biden’s border woes
Mary Beth Sheridan, The Washington Post

The message popped up on Pastor Juan Fierro’s phone one recent afternoon. U.S. border agents had expelled another group of Central American families to this Mexican city. Could someone take them in?


Fed Chair Jerome Powell tells 60 Minutes America is going back to work
Scott Pelley, CBS News

A broad economic recovery is suddenly gathering speed, calling millions of Americans back to work. That’s the message tonight of Jerome Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve. The “Fed,” as it’s known, regulates our economy by controlling the supply of money, setting interest rates and overseeing major banks.


Biden White House puts its police oversight commission on ice
Laura Barrón-López, Politico

The White House is putting the creation of a national police oversight commission on hold, nixing a campaign pledge made by President Joe Biden to establish one within his first 100 days.


White House to Hear From Companies Vying for Scarce Chips
Jenny Leonard and Keith Laing, Bloomberg

Top Biden administration officials will hear Monday from companies vying with each other for a sharply constrained global supply of semiconductors, as the White House tries to figure out how to relieve a shortage that’s idled automakers worldwide.


Biden administration plans to name former senior NSA officials to White House cyber position and head of CISA
Ellen Nakashima, The Washington Post

The Biden administration plans on Monday to name a former senior National Security Agency official as the first national cyber director and another former NSA official to head the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency.


Biden pollster urges blunt tax talk
Jonathan Swan, Axios

The top pollster for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign is advising the White House to do something that often makes Democrats nervous: Talk loudly and proudly about raising taxes on the rich.


Biden faces pressure from Pelosi, Sanders over whether to double down on Obamacare or expand Medicare
Jeff Stein, The Washington Post

The White House is facing diverging pressure from two powerful allies — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — over whether to use an upcoming spending package to strengthen the Affordable Care Act or expand Medicare eligibility.


Biden’s agenda faces crucial test as moderate Democrats draw lines and GOP rallies opposition
Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim, The Washington Post

President Biden’s legislative ambitions face a crucial test in the narrowly divided Congress this month, with key Democratic senators signaling they want to pump the brakes as party leaders move to quickly pivot from last month’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief act to an even larger infrastructure and jobs bill and other pressing policy items.


Mitch McConnell tends his legacy 8,000 miles away
Andrew Desiderio, Politico

He reshaped the federal judiciary. He made history as the longest-serving Senate GOP leader. But Mitch McConnell has unfinished business more than 8,000 miles from the halls of Congress.


Crenshaw will be ‘effectively blind’ for a month following surgery for detaching retina
Jeremy Beaman, The Washington Examiner

Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw will be “effectively blind” for about a month after undergoing emergency surgery to reattach the retina in his left eye, he said Saturday. The Republican congressman and U.S. Navy SEAL veteran detailed the prognosis and surgery that will leave him “pretty much off the grid” until he recovers.


Hawley unveils “trust-busting” plan
Mike Allen and Scott Rosenberg, Axios

Corporate giants would be barred from acquisitions and century-old antitrust laws would get sharper teeth under a new proposal by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) shared exclusively with Axios.


‘Like the Tiger King Got Elected Tax Collector’: Inside the Case That Ensnared Matt Gaetz
Patricia Mazzei et al., The New York Times

Long before the F.B.I. began to scrutinize a tax collector in Florida named Joel Greenberg — and long before his trail led them to Representative Matt Gaetz — he amassed an outlandish record in the mundane local public office he had turned into a personal fief of power


Embattled Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is denied a meeting with Trump
Gabby Orr et al., CNN

Rep. Matt Gaetz, who’s facing a federal investigation into sex trafficking allegations, was recently denied a meeting with Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate as the ex-President and his allies continue to distance themselves from the Florida congressman.


Minnesota National Guard deployed after protests over a man’s death following a police shooting during a traffic stop
Keith Allen et al., CNN

Hundreds protested Sunday night after a Black man in Minnesota was shot by a police officer and died following a traffic stop. The incident happened earlier that afternoon in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center, about 10 miles from where former police officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for the killing of another Black man, George Floyd.


‘Clear the Capitol,’ Pence pleaded, timeline of riot shows
Lisa Mascaro et al., The Associated Press

From a secure room in the Capitol on Jan. 6, as rioters pummeled police and vandalized the building, Vice President Mike Pence tried to assert control. In an urgent phone call to the acting defense secretary, he issued a startling demand.


The warning signs of a longer pandemic
Sam Baker, Axios

All the things that could prolong the COVID-19 pandemic — that could make this virus a part of our lives longer than anyone wants — are playing out right in front of our eyes.


ADL demands Fox News fire Tucker Carlson over anti-Semitic trope: ‘This has deadly significance’
Jaclyn Peiser, The Washington Post

Last week on Fox News, Tucker Carlson argued that immigration to the United States would “dilute the political power” of Americans in a segment that also referenced “white replacement theory” — a discriminatory trope, often weaponized by white nationalists, suggesting that people of color are “replacing” White Americans.


John Boehner says Donald Trump ‘abused’ his loyalists by lying to them
Susan Page, USA Today

Former House Speaker John Boehner no longer watches much cable TV news. Noise, he calls it.


Trump slashes at McConnell as he reiterates election falsehoods at Republican event
Josh Dawsey, The Washington Post

Former president Donald Trump called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a “dumb son of a bitch” as he used a Saturday night speech to Republicans to blame the senator for not helping overturn the 2020 election and reiterated false assertions that he won the November contest.


Florida Republicans see opening as Gaetz’s legal peril rises
Gary Fineout, Politico

Rep. Matt Gaetz insists he’s not resigning amid an ongoing federal investigation, but Republicans in his deep red Florida district are already eyeing his seat.


Could Ron DeSantis Be Trump’s G.O.P. Heir? He’s Certainly Trying.
Patricia Mazzei, The New York Times

No one had to tell Ron DeSantis that his mock debates had bordered on disastrous. His answers rambled. He seemed uninspired.


Trump campaign boosted by unsuspecting state GOPs
Lachlan Markay, Axios

Federal regulators are probing financial reporting discrepancies stemming from an effort to funnel $75 million through state Republican parties to the national GOP effort to reelect Donald Trump, Axios has learned.


Rep. Greene’s fundraising haul alarms detractors, who warn she represents a dangerous side of American politics
Marianna Sotomayor, The Washington Post

During her first three months in office, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has declared herself representative of the Republican Party’s base of voters and not a fringe member of the GOP as she faced a torrent of criticism over her extremist positions, which have been denounced as falsehoods and racist.


Asian American super PAC launches operation to improve understanding of fastest-growing electorate
Colby Itkowitz and Amy B Wang, The Washington Post

The top political organization representing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is forming a policy-focused arm in response to new engagement in their community following a year of racially motivated attacks, record voter turnout in the 2020 election and the killings last month of six Asian women in Atlanta.


Officer fired amid call from Va. governor for investigation into pepper-spraying of Black Army officer
Rachel Chason, The New York Times

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Sunday he is directing Virginia State Police to investigate a traffic stop during which two police officers held an Army second lieutenant at gunpoint months ago in the southeast part of the state. Town officials said later that night that one officer was fired.


Maryland Passes Sweeping Police Reform Legislation
Michael Levenson and Bryan Pietsch, The New York Times

Maryland lawmakers voted on Saturday to limit police officers’ use of force, restrict the use of no-knock warrants and repeal the nation’s first Bill of Rights for law enforcement, taking sweeping action to address police violence after nationwide demonstrations following the death of George Floyd.


States have been slow to order allotted vaccine doses, spurring calls for new approach
Isaac Stanley-Becker, The Washington Post

States have delayed ordering hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses available to them even as coronavirus outbreaks escalate — a sign the nation is moving past its supply pinch and now faces more acute challenges related to demand, staffing and inoculation of hard-to-reach populations.


N.R.A. Chief Takes the Stand, With Cracks in His Armor
Danny Hakim and Mary Williams Walsh, The New York Times

For three decades, Wayne LaPierre has been the implacable face of the gun lobby, a scourge of the left who argued that giving ground on gun control was akin to giving up on America. So it was remarkable to see the shambolic turn his tenure atop the National Rifle Association has taken showcased last week in federal bankruptcy court in Dallas.


Top executives align against Biden tax hike
Mike Allen, Axios

The Business Roundtable today will release a survey in which 98% of 178 CEOs polled said that increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, as President Biden proposed, would have a “moderately” to “very” significant adverse effect on their company’s competitiveness.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

2022 House takeover lists should come with big asterisks
Nathan L. Gonzales, Roll Call

Projecting races and results 20 months from an election can be a risky proposition in a normal cycle. Add in the extra layer of uncertainty with redistricting and it’s hard to take any projections about individual races in 2022 very seriously right now.


Chamber of Commerce getting squeezed on all sides
Josh Kraushaar, National Journal

For a lesson in the perils of trying to play both sides of the aisle in a polarized Washington, look no further than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s unenviable position in the early months of the Biden administration.


No, the GOP and the Dems Haven’t Actually Swapped Brains
Charles Sykes, Politico

Even after the lunacy of the past four years, the GOP’s recent behavior is jaw-dropping, an extraordinary transformation that feels like the Republican Party has experienced some sort of bizarre brain swap.


Democratic Values Are Still Under Attack — Even Without Trump In The White House
Julia Azari, FiveThirtyEight

During the Trump presidency, many worried about the administration’s violation of long-standing norms. And former President Trump certainly did break with a number of enduring traditions, to the extent that his utter disregard for his office almost ceased to shock.


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