POLITICO Playbook: BIF’s next roadblock: paranoia

POLITICO Playbook: BIF’s next roadblock: paranoia


Good Sunday morning, and welcome to August!

Sometimes, you wake up in the morning, read a piece, and think, “I should have written that.” That’s how I felt reading Carl Hulse in this morning’s New York Times about the real reasons the bipartisan infrastructure bill might not make it out of Congress: Capitol Hill’s “trust deficit.”

As the Senate approaches its scheduled August recess — a soft deadline before which Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER hopes to pass both BIF and the budget reconciliation package — it’s clear that the devil isn’t in the details so much as in one overarching reality: “everyone in Congress these days seems to believe everyone else is up to something,” Hulse writes.

You don’t have to look hard to find evidence.

— On Friday, the bipartisan deal hit a snag when some Republicans feared that Democrats had made last-minute changes to sneak liberal provisions into a 2,540-page draft of the bill.

— Among Democrats, suspicions abound that some of their Republican colleagues were complicit in the Jan. 6 insurrection — which makes it hard to trust one another, let alone work together. And even if there are areas of common cause — say, for instance, MITCH MCCONNELL’S support of the BIF — there’s still the lingering memory of past slights.

— Then there are the intraparty suspicions. Hulse writes that progressives are leary that “their more moderate colleagues will give too much ground in their zeal to notch a bipartisan achievement.” But you also see it on issues like the eviction moratorium: “We cannot in good faith blame the Republican Party when House Democrats have a majority,” Rep. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-N.Y.) said on CNN this morning. See also: “Progressive members of Congress pen letter urging Biden, CDC chief to act on expiring eviction ban,” by ABC’s Molly Nagle.

— And then, there’s Capitol Hill’s oldest rivalry: The House doesn’t trust the Senate, and vice versa. But for reconciliation to work, they have to trust one another.

This is all paranoia inducing. And this week is shaping up as a test of whether or not that paranoia can be overcome.

As AP’s Kevin Freking and Lisa Mascaro report, the Senate hopes to wrap up the draft text of the infrastructure bill today. “To prod the work along, Schumer kept senators in a weekend session, encouraging the authors of a bipartisan infrastructure plan to finish drafting the bill so that senators can begin offering amendments,” they write.

We’ll see soon if they’re able to sing kumbaya and pass bipartisan legislation instead of maintaining the very public perception that they can’t work together.

MANCHIN DOWNPLAYS HIS OWN BOOING: On CNN’s “State of the Union” this morning, JAKE TAPPER asked Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) about our scoop on Friday that the centrist Democrat was booed at a Demcratic caucus luncheon last week when he dared mention the deficit. The senator said it was more of a “boo-no, no-boo or something.” (Pretty sure that’s the same.)

Good Sunday morning, and thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, Tara Palmeri.

THREE TOP READS FOR SUNDAY …

Ruby Cramer sits in on the private weekly Zoom meeting where the descendents of FDR’s cabinet members talk politics. “They are determined to polish the legacy of America’s 32nd president by pushing the 46th to embrace a legislative agenda as transformational as the New Deal,” she writes. And though JAMES ROOSEVELT JR. tells Ruby that they’ve “not been invited to the White House,” the administration has come to them: Labor Sec. MARTY WALSH joined one of their meetings in July. “[C]ertainly we see indirectly a lot of evidence that what we’ve advocated is showing up,” says Roosevelt.

NYT’s Ross Douthat assesses the strength of Trump’s grip on the GOP. This week, some observers were quick to declare that DONALD TRUMP’s influence is waning, pointing to the loss of his favored candidate in a Texas special election and the collective shrug that met his demand that Republicans not support the BIF. As Douthat sees it, reality is a bit more complicated. “In areas that involve the details of policy or the machinery of governance, Trump can be defeated,” he writes. “In any referendum on the question ‘Should Donald Trump be our leader in the battle against liberalism?’ his winning record is unmatched. … Trump has a certain kind of political genius and a strong personal bond with the Republican base, and Trump’s influence ebbs the further you get from the world of rhetoric and personal identification.”

WaPo’s William Wan on the grieving families who want Congress to create a Covid Memorial Day. “[T]heir most immediate ask — the one they previously thought would be the least objectionable and easily secured — was for the country to designate a day of national remembrance to recognize all the people they, and the entire country, had lost,” Wan writes. “Despite all their work, they had not won a single new sponsor for the covid memorial day resolution. No Republican seemed remotely close to joining.”

SUNDAY BEST …

Sen. SUSAN COLLINS (R-Maine) on CNN’s “State of the Union” on the infrastructure legislation timeline: “On Friday night, we did send out to Senate offices a large amount of the authorizing, the policy legislation. Overnight, we have been finishing up the spending provisions, the appropriations provisions, and marrying them to the bill. And we really are just about finished. But large parts of text have already been shared with Senate offices. … My hope is that we will finish it — the bill by the end of the week.”

— On Trump’s threat to campaign against Republicans who support the bill: “I think each senator will make his or her own decision and look at the benefits to his or her own state. I have worked with the members of our group, so that we have a state-by-state analysis. And, in the end, I think we will have more than 10 Republicans who support the bill.”

Manchin on “State of the Union” on the reconciliation package: “I can’t really guarantee anybody. And I have not guaranteed anybody on any of these pieces of legislation. Would we like to do more? Yes, you can do what you can pay for. This is paid for. Our infrastructure bill is all paid for. … And on the other, as far as reconciliation goes, it should be looked at the same. … Let’s start the process and then see where it goes. On that, we should just work in good faith and be honest with each other, so no one’s misled in any way, shape or form, and there should be no quid pro quo.”

AOC on “State of the Union” on the two-track infrastructure plan: “If there is not a reconciliation bill in the House, and if the Senate does not pass the reconciliation bill, we will uphold our end of the bargain and not pass the bipartisan bill until we get all of these investments in. And I want to be clear that the investments in the bipartisan bill are not all candy land. There are some of these — quote, unquote, pay-fors — that are very alarming that we need to see the language on.”

— On how many House progressives support her approach: “I am not the whip of the Progressive Caucus. But what I can tell you is that it’s certainly more than three. And it is in the double digits, absolutely.” TAPPER: “Enough to prevent it from passing?” AOC: “More than enough.”

Rep. ADAM KINZINGER (R-Ill.) on ABC’s “This Week” on the Jan. 6 select committee: “I would expect to see a significant amount of subpoenas. … I want to know what the president was doing every moment that day. … I want to know if the National Guard took five or six hours to get to Capitol Hill. Did the president make calls? If he didn’t, why?” More from Craig Howie

BIDEN’S SUNDAY — The president has nothing on his public schedule.

KAMALA HARRIS’ SUNDAY — The VP has nothing on her public schedule.

CONGRESS

BENNIE THOMPSON’S BIG DECISION — “Jan. 6 committee faces unprecedented choice of whether to call Republican lawmakers to testify,” by WaPo’s Karoun Demirjian, Marianna Sotomayor and Jacqueline Alemany: “[Rep. BENNIE] THOMPSON (D-Miss.), said in an interview that there is ‘no reluctance to subpoena’ any member of Congress ‘whose testimony is germane to the mission of the select committee’ if they resist cooperating voluntarily. …

“But legal experts said there is little precedent for forcing lawmakers to testify as part of a congressional inquiry if they resist a subpoena, an issue members of the Jan. 6 panel said they have yet to fully investigate or plan for.”

THE HOUSE DIVIDED — “Tensions in the House of Representatives boil over after 1/6 hearing and mask rule,” by CNN’s Annie Grayer

CLASSY — Main Street Nashville’s @Vivian_E_Jones: “The Tennessee delegation just presented @GOPLeader [KEVIN MCCARTHY] with an oversized gavel. ‘I want you to watch Nancy Pelosi hand me that gavel… It’ll be hard not to hit her with it,’ he joked.” The audio

JAN 6. AND ITS AFTERMATH

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS — “Already Distorting Jan. 6, G.O.P. Now Concocts Entire Counternarrative,” NYT’s Lisa Lerer and Nicholas Fandos, not mincing words in the paper of record: “This past week, amid the emotional testimony of police officers at the first hearing of a House select committee, Republicans completed their journey through the looking-glass, spinning a new counternarrative of that deadly day,” they write. “No longer content to absolve Mr. Trump, they concocted a version of events in which those accused of rioting were patriotic political prisoners and Speaker NANCY PELOSI was to blame for the violence. … This rendering of events … pointed to what some democracy experts see as a dangerous new sign in American politics: Even with Mr. Trump gone from the White House, many Republicans have little intention of abandoning the prevarication that was a hallmark of his presidency.”

TRUMP CARDS

CASH DASH — “Trump political groups raised $82M in first half of 2021,” by Alex Isenstadt and Meridith McGraw: “Trump’s political committees raised $82 million during the first half of 2021 and have $102 million in the bank … The scenario is virtually unprecedented: Never in history has a former president banked nine figures’ worth of donations to power a political operation.”

— And $56 million of that was online, as NYT’s Shane Goldmacher and Rachel Shorey report: “The next strongest online fund-raiser among Republican politicians was Senator TIM SCOTT of South Carolina … Mr. Trump raised by far the most online money among any Republican, even though he had paused much of his online solicitations starting on Jan. 6.”

— NYT’s Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher): “NEW: A Trump-affiliated super PAC, Make America Great Again Action Inc., received a $250,000 check from KELLY LOEFFLER in May 2021. Potential sign of her interest in a 2022 Senate run?”

POLITICS ROUNDUP

A NEW GIULIANI — “Andrew Giuliani tries to shed city boy image — and win a shot at Cuomo,” by Bill Mahoney: “[ANDREW] GIULIANI, the son of former New York City Mayor RUDY GIULIANI, would like to replace ANDREW CUOMO as governor of New York next year. Republicans have attempted to center the conversation about the still-crowded field of gubernatorial candidates on Rep. LEE ZELDIN. The party declared [Zeldin] the “presumed nominee” in June, a full year before primary voters will decide who the actual nominee will be. …

“Giuliani is promising to bring something resembling a Trumpian style of politics to office if elected. There’s long been an unwritten rule in New York politics that governors should not publicly feud with individual state legislators … But for Giuliani, directly combating members of the Democratic-dominated Legislature is part of his campaign pitch. … [Trump] hasn’t publicly tipped his hand on whether or when he’ll make an endorsement in the gubernatorial race.”

2022 WATCH — “Sarah Palin teases 2022 Senate run in Alaska,” by NY Post’s Jon Levine: “Former Alaska Gov. SARAH PALIN said she may yet jump back into politics, teasing the possibility of a Senate run in 2022 against incumbent LISA MURKOWSKI. ‘If God wants me to do it I will,’ Palin told an enthusiastic audience during a discussion last week with New Apostolic Reformation leader CHÉ AHN.”

TWEET OF THE DAY — @JoshMandelOhio: “The last letters in Democrat: RAT. The last letters in Republican: I CAN. That should tell you everything you need to know.”

PANDEMIC

THE NEW EPICENTER — “Florida sets a record with 21,683 new COVID-19 cases reported Saturday, the CDC says,” by Miami Herald’s David J. Neal: “Saturday, the state of Florida reported more new COVID-19 cases to the Centers for Disease Control than any previous day in the coronavirus pandemic. … Florida, which represents about 6.5% of the U.S. population, accounts for about 21.4% of the country’s new cases, based on the data the state is reporting to the CDC.”

AP’s Mike Schneider: “Republican Florida Gov. RON DESANTIS has resisted mandatory mask mandates and vaccine requirements, and along with the state Legislature, has limited local officials’ ability to impose restrictions meant to stop the spread of COVID-19. DeSantis on Friday barred school districts from requiring students to wear masks when classes resume next month.”

OH GREAT — “When will the summer coronavirus surge peak? It will get worse before it gets better, experts predict,” by WaPo’s Ben Guarino and Dan Diamond: “The newly resurgent coronavirus could spark 140,000 to 300,000 cases a day in the United States come August … The nation is already reporting more than 70,000 cases a day.”

AND THE TASK AHEAD — “Who Are the Unvaccinated in America? There’s No One Answer,” by NYT’s Julie Bosman, Jan Hoffman, Margot Sanger-Katz and Tim Arango: “One segment of people who have avoided shots is vehemently opposed to the idea. But there is a second group, surveys suggest, that is still deciding.”

BEYOND THE BELTWAY

IMMIGRATION FILES — “Audio from migrant shelter reveals allegations of sex misconduct by staff with minors,” by NBC’s Julia Ainsley and Didi Martinez: “New audio from inside a U.S. government shelter for unaccompanied migrant children in Fort Bliss, Texas, reveals allegations of sexual misconduct by staff toward minors, acknowledgment the children were running low on clean clothes and shoes and a reluctance by officials to make public the scope of the facility’s Covid outbreak.

“‘We have already caught staff with minors inappropriately. Is that OK with you guys?’ says a federal contractor running a training session with staffers inside Fort Bliss in May. The crowd shouts back, ‘No!’ ‘I hope not,’ she says. … In a statement, Health and Human Services Secretary XAVIER BECERRA said the agency takes ‘every allegation of wrongdoing seriously.’”

AMERICA AND THE WORLD

WARNING SIGNS FOR THE IRAN DEAL — “Biden Promised to Restore the Iran Nuclear Deal. Now It Risks Derailment,” by NYT’s David Sanger, Lara Jakes and Farnaz Fassihi: “Days before a new hard-line president is set to be inaugurated in Iran, Biden administration officials have turned sharply pessimistic about their chances of quickly restoring the nuclear deal that President Donald J. Trump dismantled, fearing that the new government in Tehran is speeding ahead on nuclear research and production and preparing new demands for the United States.”

ZOOM DIPLOMACY — “U.S. top diplomat Blinken to court Southeast Asia in virtual meetings next week,” Reuters

PULLOUT FALLOUT — “As Fears Grip Afghanistan, Hundreds of Thousands Flee,” by NYT’s Christina Goldbaum and Fatima Faizi in Kabul: “With the Taliban sweeping across much of the country, at least 30,000 Afghans are leaving each week. Many more have been displaced within Afghanistan’s borders.”

POLICY CORNER

FALLING SHORT — “Across Federal Workforce, People With Disabilities See Need For More Representation,” by NPR’s Deepa Shivaram: “Four years ago, the government set a benchmark calling for every agency to commit to having no less than 12% of its employees made up of people with disabilities. But even that number fell below parity, given that 26% of American adults, or 61 million people, have a disability …

“Tracking the government’s progress has also proven difficult. Despite the 12% benchmark, the Office of Personnel Management ‘does not routinely track or report retention data on employees with disabilities,’ according to the Government Accountability Office.”

TRANSITIONS — John Gans is joining the Rockefeller Foundation as managing director for executive comms and strategic engagement. He most recently has been at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perry World House, and is an Obama Pentagon alum and author of “White House Warriors.” … Patty Stolnacker Koch will be director of compute+ policy for the U.S. and Canada at Google. She previously was director for U.S. federal public sector at VMware government relations. … Brittany Walker is now director of policy and government affairs at the Nevada Health Care Association/Nevada Center for Assisted Living. She most recently was acting deputy chief strategy officer at the Export-Import Bank and is also a Trump HUD alum.

ENGAGED — David E. White Jr., deputy associate counsel at the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, and Dana McKinney, an architect, urban planner and founder of Studio KINN who’s joining the faculty at the University of Maryland at College Park, got engaged at the Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles at sunset Friday. They met at Harvard, where he was in law school and she was at the Graduate School of Design for degrees in architecture and urban planning. Pic

WEEKEND WEDDINGS — Dannia Hakki, co-founder of Moki Media, and Christopher Powell were married on the rooftop of the Line Hotel on Saturday before their friends and family. Mayor Muriel Bowser officiated the wedding for the D.C. couple, and gave a shoutout for a cause that Hakki has been championing with the mayor — making D.C. the 51st state. Pic Another pic

— Mike Bova, VP at Dezenhall Resources, and Kara Garrone, manager of global licensing at Ralph Lauren, got married Saturday at St Raphael’s Church in Long Island, N.Y. They originally met through a mutual friend in Manhattan over margaritas. Pic

WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Josh Lipsky, director of the GeoEconomics Center at the Atlantic Council and an Obama State Department and White House alum, and Leah Eiserike Lipsky, a speech language pathologist for Montgomery County Public Schools, welcomed Hannah Beth Lipsky on Saturday morning. She came in at 8 lbs, 7 oz and joins big sister Clara. Pic Another pic

BIRTHWEEK (was Saturday): Liana Bishop

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Reps. Josh Harder (D-Calif.), Van Taylor (R-Texas) and Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) … Howard Kurtz Ed Gillespie of AT&T … Mikayla Hall … CSIS’ Andrew Schwartz … CEI’s Travis Burk … E&E News’ Hannah Northey Clare Foran … former Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) … Josie Duckett McSpadden of the Gates Foundation Karen MarangiBrian Phillips Jr. of the House Homeland Security Dems … Drew Littman of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck … Roy Loewenstein … U.S. Ambassador to Colombia Philip GoldbergSheila KatzDana Zureikat Daoud of the Jordanian Embassy … Ellen Brown … Edelman’s Jordan LubowitzBenji EnglanderMacaulay Porter of Glenn Youngkin’s campaign … Christina Gungoll Lepore of Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s D.C. office … Scott Evertz … Hayden Center’s Larry Pfeiffer (6-0) … Martin Hamburger … POLITICO’s Chris Buddie, Emily Andrews and Jackie Ramsay … former Sen. Al D’Amato (R-N.Y.) … former Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) (8-0) … NYT’s Azi PaybarahWilliam Dean Singleton (7-0) … Dan Shapiro of INSS … Sarah Hagmayer Raheem Kassam (35)

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