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Manchin unmoved on voting rights despite meeting Black civil rights leaders – live

manchin-unmoved-on-voting-rights-despite-meeting-black-civil-rights-leaders-–-live

A reporter asked about some progressives referring to Joe Manchin as the “new Mitch McConnell”.

Jen Psaki responded: “We’ll leave the name-calling to others.”

Updated

In today’s White House press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about voting rights legislation, in light of senator Joe Manchin and his weekend oped about his decision not to vote for the For The People Act.

In response to a question about whether Joe Biden would push for pursuing the John Lewis Act before the For The People Act, she responded, “I think he is quite open to what Democratic leadership feels is the viable path forward.”

She followed up by saying it was “encouraging” to see Manchin meet with civil rights leaders this morning, and reiterated the administration’s support for voting rights legislation.

“We will continue to press for federal action to move forward on a bill that the president would love to sign into law,” Psaki said. “We certainly know we cannot do that with a magic wand, that is not how democracy works, for good reason. But the president also signed this executive action early on, a very expansive and powerful executive action, because he didn’t want to delay a moment in ensuring that we were taking more steps to assist states to modernize vote.gov, to increase federal employees’ access to voting, to analyze barriers to voting for people.”

Manchin: ‘I don’t think anybody changed positions’ on voting rights legislation

West Virginia senator Joe Manchin left his meeting with civil rights leaders unmoved on his decision to oppose the sweeping For the People Act, but called the conversation constructive.

“We had a constructive conversation. I think everybody pretty much knows the importance of what we’re doing,” Manchin said. “And I think I’m very much concerned about our democracy, protecting people’s voting rights.”

Civil rights leaders that met with Manchin – NAACP President Derrick Johnson, the Rev Al Sharpton, National Urban League President Marc Morial, National Council of Negro Women President Johnnetta Cole, Lawyers’ Committee President Damon Hewitt, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights interim President Wade Henderson and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation President Melanie Campbell – were measured in their response. The readout from the meeting read:


In a very constructive meeting today, national civil rights leaders met with Senator Manchin to share our policy priorities and concerns related to voting rights and police reform. Specifically, the groups expressed their collective views on the need for Congress to pass both the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

The two voting rights bills are a top priority and essential to protect the freedom to vote. There continues to be an unprecedented partisan wave of state legislative proposals that are aimed at denying the right to vote — particularly for Black and Brown people. The leaders also conveyed to Senator Manchin that a minority of senators must not be able to abuse the filibuster to impede much needed progress. Congress must act so all Americans have meaningful access to the ballot.

Eva McKend
(@evamckend)

NAACP President @DerrickNAACP on his meeting with @Sen_JoeManchin,

“Our meeting today with Senator Manchin was productive and insightful. We focused on finding common ground and building a relationship, and I believe we achieved that goal.” pic.twitter.com/xxXrv0xaQU

June 8, 2021

Updated

Vice-President Kamala Harris, who has been taking some criticism for her blunt speech in Guatemala to Central American migrants to “do not come” to US, is now getting some backlash from Republicans for an NBC interview she did on this same trip.

Reminder: Joe Biden tasked Harris in March with efforts to stem migration at the US-Mexican border. On her first foreign trip, NBC’s Lester Holt asked if she had any plans to visit the border.

“At some point, you know, we are going to the border,” Harris said. “We’ve been to the border. So this whole, this whole, this whole thing about the border. We’ve been to the border. We’ve been to the border.”

“You haven’t been to the border,” Holt responded.

“I, and I haven’t been to Europe. And I mean, I don’t – I don’t understand the point that you’re making,” Harris said with a laugh.

TODAY
(@TODAYshow)

“We have to deal with what’s happening at the border.”@VP Kamala Harris spoke exclusively with @LesterHoltNBC on her first trip overseas, how the administration is addressing the immigration crisis, and if she plans to visit the southern border herself. pic.twitter.com/sA4We7peeR

June 8, 2021

Harris has maintained that her focus is on

“the root causes of migration.”

“I care about this and I care about what’s happening at the border. I’m in Guatemala because my focus is dealing with the root causes of migration,” Harris said. “There may be some who think that that is not important, but it is my firm belief that if we care about what’s happening at the border, we better care about the root causes and address them.”

Zeke Miller
(@ZekeJMiller)

LESTER HOLT: You haven’t been to the border.

KAMALA HARRIS: And I haven’t been to Europe. pic.twitter.com/Vj6M261Nx3

June 8, 2021

Updated

Vice-President Kamala Harris is in Mexico now, meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Tamara Keith
(@tamarakeithNPR)

President Lopez Obrador shows Vice President Harris a Diego Rivera mural at the national palace. Asked if he will do more about border enforcement, Lopez Obrador said “We will touch on that subject but always addressing the fundamental root causes” pic.twitter.com/URiJdWaUM9

June 8, 2021

Reminder that the Senate report on the Capitol attack comes just weeks after Republicans blocked efforts to establish a bipartisan, 9/11-style commission to investigate the events of 6 January.

Frank Thorp V
(@frankthorp)

SCHUMER says of Joint Cmte report on Jan 6th: “The report did not investigate, report on, or hardly make any reference to the actual cause, the actual impetus for the attack on January 6.”

Says it “has strengthened the argument for an independent commission on January the 6th.”

June 8, 2021

Frank Thorp V
(@frankthorp)

MCONNELL then said: “Today’s report is one of the many reasons I’m confident in the ability of existing investigations to uncover all actionable facts about the events of January 6. I’ll continue to support these efforts over any that seek to politicize the process…”

June 8, 2021

Senate report on US Capitol attack finds broad failings

The first – and possibly the last – bipartisan review into the 6 January attack on the US Capitol uncovered failings on all fronts before the attack as well as breakdowns between intelligence agencies and a lack of preparation by the Capitol police.

Cristiano Lima
(@viaCristiano)

Senate Homeland report on Jan. 6 out today details how calls for violence on social media weren’t deemed credible by intel agencies ahead of the deadly riot https://t.co/GSmgYGOlvY pic.twitter.com/8xIfNEVpim

June 8, 2021

“This report is important in the fact that it allows us to make some immediate improvements to the security situation here in the Capitol,” said Michigan senator Gary Peters, the chairman of the homeland security and governmental affairs committee, which conducted the investigation along with the Senate rules committee. “But it does not answer some of the bigger questions that we need to face, quite frankly, as a country and as a democracy.”

Read more about the report’s findings here:

Joseph Blount Jr, president and CEO of the Colonial Pipeline Company, is testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee about the ransomware attack last month that knocked out gas delivery up and down the East Coast.

The Justice Department announced yesterday that it recovered $2.3m of the roughly $4.4m that the company paid in a cryptocurrency ransom to a gang of criminal hackers known as DarkSide.

Dustin Volz
(@dnvolz)

Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount confirms in Senate testimony that investigators believe DarkSide hackers infiltrated the company’s IT systems through a legacy VPN system “not intended to be in use.”

He adds: “We are deeply sorry for the impact that this attack had.”

June 8, 2021

Eric Geller
(@ericgeller)

HSGAC RM Rob Portman: When did you pay the ransom?

Blount: We made the decision to negotiate on the evening of May 7, the day of the hack. But we didn’t make the payment until May 8.

June 8, 2021

Eric Geller
(@ericgeller)

Tom Carper: What’s the most important advice you can offer to other companies?

Blount: Look at your defenses, have an emergency response plan, and be transparent with the authorities.

June 8, 2021

It appears the meeting between Joe Manchin and civil rights leaders has come to an end.

Mike DeBonis
(@mikedebonis)

MANCHIN speaks to reporters post meeting w civil rts leaders:

“constructive conversation”

“very much concerned about our democracy”

“just an excellent meeting”

Did anyone changed their views?

“No, I don’t think anyone changed positions.”

June 8, 2021

Mike DeBonis
(@mikedebonis)

Manchin would not answer two direct questions:

-whether he’d vote to at least start debate on S.1

-whether he’s spoken to Biden in recent days

June 8, 2021

In more voting rights news: following the Sunday oped in which Democratic senator Joe Manchin committed against voting for the For The People Act, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is saying the House will move on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

Manu Raju
(@mkraju)

Pelosi says the House will move on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, a proposal pushed by Manchin but stands little chance of passing the Senate. She says it won’t be ready til the fall. “It is not a substitute for H.R. 1.”

June 8, 2021

Some recap: the For The People Act would ensure automatic and same-day registration, place limits on gerrymandering and restore voting rights for felons. The John Lewis Act, named after the late Georgia Democratic congressman, would reauthorize voting protections established in the civil rights era but eliminated by the supreme court in 2013.

Manchin said he would support the John Lewis Act. His major concern with the For The People Act is that it was not bipartisan.

Pelosi made clear that the John Lewis Act is not a substitute for the For The People Act.

Sahil Kapur
(@sahilkapur)

.@SpeakerPelosi tells Democrats in a new letter that the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act “must be passed, but it will not be ready until the fall, and it is not a substitute for H.R. 1.” pic.twitter.com/uBYmRTN3sR

June 8, 2021

Former President Barack Obama went on CNN last night to criticize how Republicans have been “cowed into accepting” a series of positions that “would be unrecognizable and unacceptable even five years ago or a decade ago”.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Obama spoke of the 6 January attack on the US Capitol: “Suddenly you have large portions of the elected Congress going along with the falsehood that there were problems with the election.”

He expressed disappointment in Republican elected officials, saying that he understood that while it was politically difficult to go against the lies and conspiracy theories being peddled among their base, it was the right thing to do.

“I didn’t expect that there would be so few people who would say, ‘I don’t mind losing my office because this is too important. America is too important. Our democracy is too important’,” Obama said. “We didn’t see that.”

“I’m still the hope and change guy,” Obama said. “My hope is the tides will turn, but that does require each of us to understand that this experiment in democracy is not self-executing. It doesn’t happen just automatically. It happens because each successive generation says ‘these values, these truths, we hold self-evident. This is important. We’re going to invest in it and sacrifice for it, even when it’s not politically convenient’.”

Vice-President Kamala Harris travels to Mexico today to meet with the country’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. But Harris is already drawing some criticism on her first official foreign trip.

In Guatemala yesterday, Harris was blunt in telling would-be migrants “do not come” to the US border.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
(@AOC)

This is disappointing to see.

First, seeking asylum at any US border is a 100% legal method of arrival.

Second, the US spent decades contributing to regime change and destabilization in Latin America. We can’t help set someone’s house on fire and then blame them for fleeing. https://t.co/vADyh5H0bw

June 7, 2021

Her spokeswoman, Symone Sanders, appeared to try to soften that statement today:

Craig Caplan
(@CraigCaplan)

Vice President Harris spox @SymoneSanders46: “The President and Vice President have been clear in dissuading people from making the dangerous and treacherous journey to the U.S./Mexico border.”

June 8, 2021

Craig Caplan
(@CraigCaplan)

VP spox Sanders: “We encourage those who do want to come to the US to do so legally and seek legal immigration options in their home countries. The Vice President is committed to addressing the root causes of migration, which also addresses why migrants are coming to our border.”

June 8, 2021

The Guardian’s Julian Borger looks into some other questions raised by the measures Harris announced in Guatemala:

Updated

Manchin to meet with Black civil rights leaders about voting rights

Hello, live blog readers. Hope you’re all doing well.

Two days after publishing an op ed on why he won’t vote for voting rights legislation for which he was a key vote, Democratic West Virginia senator Joe Manchin will meet with critics on the left today.

Black and civil rights leaders have long fought against what many Democrats have categorized as Republican efforts to restrict voter access in communities of color.

Astead
(@AsteadWesley)

A Hill person familiar tells me Joe Manchin’s previously reported Tuesday meeting w/ NAACP on HR1 will now also include

Al Sharpton, Sherrilyn Ifill of NAACP LDF, Urban League prez Marc Morial, and a couple more. A full court press

June 7, 2021

And they’re not happy.

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
(@RevDrBarber)

Please tell me Manchin wasn’t singing “We Shall Overcome” the same day he published an OpEd about why he won’t vote to defend the voting rights civil rights leaders fought & died for. This is why West Virginians are holding #MoralMonday March on Manchin’s office next Monday 6/14.

June 8, 2021

Manchin’s decision leave Democrats scrambling on what to do next on the For the People Act, which would ensure automatic and same-day registration, place limits on gerrymandering and restore voting rights for felons.

It comes as Joe Biden said he would “fight like heck” for voting protections, putting Vice-President Kamala Harris in charge of the White House’s efforts.

Our voting rights reporter Sam Levine takes a deeper look at the impact of Manchin’s decision here:

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Politics

Democrats’ domestic agenda faces setbacks by Republican obstructionism

democrats’-domestic-agenda-faces-setbacks-by-republican-obstructionism

Joe Biden’s far-reaching domestic agenda in the US is facing serious setbacks on a range of issues as the political quagmire of a tightly contested Senate is seeing Democratic ambitions sharply curtailed in the face of Republican obstruction.

On a number of key fronts such as pushing election reform and voting rights, efforts to curb gun control and to moving forwards on LGBTQ civil rights, there has been an effective push back by Republicans – and a handful of conservative Democrats – that is forcing Biden and the wider Democratic party on to the back foot.

The Senate, whom critics deride as an increasingly unrepresentative body that gives undue influence to smaller, less diverse Republican-run states, is scheduled to vote Tuesday on For the People Act, the voting rights bill that’s certain to be defeated having won no support from Republicans.

Republicans are expected to run down the clock – a controversial tactical rule known as a filibuster – on the package that requires lawmakers to reach a 60-vote threshold.

On Sunday, Ohio Republican senator Rob Portman shot down amendments proposed by West Virginia’s conservative Democrat Joe Manchin, whose rejection of the initial bill all-but scuttled the Democrats’ project. Portman described the planned legislation as a “federal takeover of our election system”.

“The bottom line is we should make it easy to vote in this country. We should also make it hard to cheat,” Portman said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Again, I appreciate [Manchin is] trying to find that middle ground, and, who knows, maybe something can be done.”

By forcing Republicans to carry out their filibuster and making their opposition clear and public to a law seen as defending the voting rights of communities of color. Democrats hope to embarrass the party. But – without destroying the filibuster, which Manchin also opposes – there is little chance of the bill passing.

Senate Democrats will also test calls for unity on LGBTQ civil rights, and another bill – The Equality Act – that is in search of Republican support. Schumer said last month the upper house is “considering” a vote on the bill but has yet to schedule it. Again, Manchin is the lone Democrat hold-out.

The proposed legislation would include sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected classes of the 1964 Civil Rights Act alongside bans on discrimination based on race, color, religion and national origin.

Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin, one of two openly gay senators in the 100-member chamber, has said that she is lobbying Republican colleagues but has achieved only “incremental progress”.

Baldwin has said she believes the Senate should “hold off” on a vote while “negotiations are productive” and progress is being made. The Senate is split 50-50 and only in Democratic control thanks to the tie-breaking vote of Vice-President Kamala Harris.

“There may be a time where there’s an impasse. I’m still trying to find 10 Republicans [to help pass the bill],” said Baldwin.

Republicans resistance to the legislation is focused on protecting the rights of religious institutions that condemn homosexuality and opposition transgender rights in sports. Yet it comes against a backdrop of broad public, business and judicial support on the issue.

Manchin, an anti-abortion Democrat , has said he is “not convinced that the Equality Act as written provides sufficient guidance to the local officials who will be responsible for implementing it”. But he has also said he’ll seek to “build broad bipartisan support and find a viable path forward for these critical protections”.

Nor are Democrats currently likely to find broader opportunities for political unity on infrastructure spending where large-scale Democratic proposals are running into Republican counter-offers of a fraction of the size.

Former Republican presidential adviser Karl Rove told This Week with George Stephanopoulos President Biden faces two paths on infrastructure and both are riddled with obstacles. “[It will be] a bipartisan deal small enough to get Republican support, but not big enough to keep Democrats united, or a go-it-alone and go-for-broke plan that progressives want, with a price tag as high as $6tn that’s likely too big to pass,” Rove said.

Similarly, pending gun control legislation may also be resistant to winning enough support to pass.

As it stands, two House-passed bills to expand background checks on gun buyers have all but stalled out in the Senate. But rather than push legislation that Republicans will reject, Democrats may instead push for a vote on increasing the number of online and gun show sales covered by FBI background checks – a significant retreat on the original proposals.

Senator Chris Murphy, the Democrats’ point person to win Republican support for gun control, said he’s still talking with Republican leaders about “some ideas that would involve the expansion of background checks without getting all the way to universal”.

Asked if a bill on gun show checks would be favored by Republicans, two senators involved in discussions, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, offered a cool take on that likelihood.

“We’ll see if it goes anywhere,” Graham told Politico.

Toomey, who is set to retire next year, said: “Honestly, it’s unclear at this point.”

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Politics

Florida Pride parade crash that killed one appears unintentional, officials say

florida-pride-parade-crash-that-killed-one-appears-unintentional,-officials-say

A member of a men’s chorus group unintentionally slammed into fellow chorists at the start of a Pride parade in South Florida, killing one member of the group and seriously injuring another, the group’s director said Sunday.

The statement clarified initial speculation that it was a hate crime directed at the gay community.

The Wilton Manors vice mayor, Paul Rolli, and the Fort Lauderdale mayor, Dean Trantalis, said the early investigation shows it was an accident. The driver was taken into custody, but it was unclear whether he had been charged.

“The early investigation now indicates it looks like it was a tragic accident, but nobody’s saying finally what it is,” Rolli told the Associated Press in a phone interview.

The driver and the victims were a part of the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus family, a small 25-member group of mostly older men.

“Our fellow Chorus members were those injured and the driver is also a part of the Chorus family. To my knowledge, this was not an attack on the LGBTQ community,” President Justin Knight said in a statement Sunday, calling it “an unfortunate accident”.

Fort Lauderdale police detective Ali Adamson told reporters Saturday that authorities were investigating all possibilities from the collision. The police department did not immediately respond to additional questions about the investigation Sunday.

Trantalis, who is Fort Lauderdale’s first openly gay mayor, initially told reporters the act was deliberate, adding to the confusion Saturday night.

“It terrorized me and all around me … I feared it could be intentional based on what I saw from mere feet away,” he said in a Twitter statement Sunday. “As the facts continue to be pieced together, a picture is emerging of an accident in which a truck careened out of control.”

Wilton Manors is a tight-knit community near Fort Lauderdale with a vibrant downtown filled with cute shops, where people line up for Rosie’s famous hamburgers or to gossip and drink at Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar.

Photos and video from the scene showed Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz in tears while in a convertible at the parade.

In a statement Saturday night, Wasserman Schultz said she was safe but “deeply shaken and devastated that a life was lost”.

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Politics

Covid ‘remains a serious and deadly threat’ for unvaccinated people, Biden says – live

covid-‘remains-a-serious-and-deadly-threat’-for-unvaccinated-people,-biden-says-–-live

Democratic congressman Ted Lieu accused the US Conference of Catholic Bishops of hypocrisy for taking steps toward rebuking Catholic politicians who receive Communion and support abortion rights.

“Dear @USCCB: I’m Catholic and you are hypocrites,” Lieu said on Twitter.

Referring to Donald Trump’s attorney general, Lieu added, “You did not tell Bill Barr, a Catholic, not to take communion when he expanded killing human beings with the death penalty. You are being nakedly partisan and you should be ashamed. Another reason you are losing membership.”

Ted Lieu
(@tedlieu)

Dear @USCCB: I’m Catholic and you are hypocrites. You did not tell Bill Barr, a Catholic, not to take communion when he expanded killing human beings with the death penalty. You are being nakedly partisan and you should be ashamed. Another reason you are losing membership. https://t.co/kpIYRolnHD

June 18, 2021

Lieu also joined dozens of other Catholic Democrats in Congress in signing on to a “statement of principles” urging the USCCB not to continue with their efforts.

“We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents,” the statement says.

“The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman’s safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory.”

Joe Biden has arrived in his home state of Delaware, where he will be spending the weekend. The president did not take any questions from reporters as he boarded and later exited Marine One.

The Hill
(@thehill)

President Biden arrives in New Castle, Delaware pic.twitter.com/Dhx3wsqVWM

June 18, 2021

Jill Biden will travel to Jackson, Mississippi, and Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday to visit coronavirus vaccination sites and encourage more Americans to get vaccinated.

The first lady, the vice-president and the second gentleman have recently been participating in a nationwide tour to areas with lower vaccination rates to encourage people to get their shots.

Michael LaRosa
(@MichaelLaRosa46)

🚨 HAPPENING TUESDAY: @FLOTUS ✈️ heads to Jackson, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee pic.twitter.com/rsheXMmMLf

June 18, 2021

Speaking at the historically Black Clark Atlanta University in Georgia today, Kamala Harris urged Americans to reject misinformation about the vaccines and protect themselves against the virus.

“Let’s recognize that we have power in every moment of crisis, including this one,” Harris said.

David Smith

Mike Pence, the former US vice-president, has been heckled as a “traitor” for his refusal to overturn last year’s election result during a speech to a gathering of religious conservatives.

Pence, who is widely seen as laying the groundwork for a White House run in 2024, had entered an auditorium in Orlando, Florida to a standing ovation on Friday. But a small group began shouted abuse including “traitor!” as he began a 28-minute speech. The dissenters were quickly escorted out by police.

Earlier, in a corridor outside the ballroom, an attendee named Rick Hurley, wearing a red “Make America great again” cap, also vented his frustration over Pence’s role in certifying Donald Trump’s defeat on 6 January amid false claims of voter fraud.

“We need to start fighting!” Hurley shouted at anyone who would listen. “We need to stop being so damned nice. What the hell’s going on? Why is Pence coming today? Donald Trump has his pen in his back still.”

Before being taken aside by police, he also remarked: “I’m ready to fight. I’m going to boo him off stage. I’ll take the bullet. I’ll walk to the front of the stage and look him in the eye and and say, ‘What are you doing here?’

In an interview, Hurley said he had been at the US Capitol on 6 January. “I want to know why Pence is here today.” he said. “He stabbed Donald Trump in the back and took the coins like Judas.”

Dozens of Catholic Democrats in Congress signed on to a letter denouncing the efforts to rebuke lawmakers who receive Communion and support abortion rights.

“We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents,” the letter says.

“The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman’s safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory.”

Rosa DeLauro
(@rosadelauro)

As Catholic Democrats, we are committed to making real the basic principles that are at the heart of Catholic social teaching: helping the oppressed, protecting the least among us & ensuring that all are given opportunities to share in the blessings of this great country. pic.twitter.com/nZHeUVfP2j

June 18, 2021

The lawmakers who signed the letter — including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Joaquin Castro and Ted Lieu — also made a point to list some of the Republican policies that they say contradict Catholic teachings.

“No elected officials have been threatened with being denied the Eucharist as they support and have supported policies contrary to the Church teachings, including supporting the death penalty, separating migrant children from their parents, denying asylum to those seeking safety in the United States, limiting assistance for the hungry and food insecure, and denying rights and dignity to immigrants,” the letter says.

The lawmakers encouraged the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to not continue with its efforts, saying, “We solemnly urge you to not move forward and deny this most holy of all sacraments, the source and the summit of the whole work of the gospel over one issue.”

‘I don’t think that’s going to happen,’ Biden says of efforts to block him from receiving Communion

Joe Biden took a couple questions from reporters after concluding his prepared remarks on his administration’s coronavirus vaccination efforts.

One reporter asked the president for his response to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops taking steps toward rebuking Catholic politicians, such as Biden, who receive Communion and support abortion rights.

“That’s a private matter, and I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Biden replied.

The AP has more details on the USCCB’s decision:


U.S. Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approved the drafting of a ‘teaching document’ that many of them hope will rebuke Catholic politicians, including [Biden], for receiving Communion despite their support for abortion rights.

The result of the vote — 168 in favor and 55 against — was announced Friday near the end of a three-day meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that was held virtually.

The bishops had cast their votes privately on Thursday after nearly three hours of impassioned debate.

Supporters of the measure said a strong rebuke of Biden was needed because of his recent actions protecting and expanding abortion access, while opponents warned that such action would portray the bishops as a partisan force during a time of bitter political divisions across the country.

Covid ‘remains a serious and deadly threat’ for unvaccinated people, Biden says

Joe Biden has just finished delivering remarks on reaching 300 million coronavirus vaccine doses administered since he took office in January.

The president praised the “whole of government response” that has allowed millions of Americans to get vaccinated. As of today, 65% of American adults have received at least one vaccine shot.

“Above all, we got here because of the American people,” Biden said.

ABC News
(@ABC)

Pres. Biden: “We’ve built equity into the heart of our vaccination program from day one.” https://t.co/xY8G8YiI04 pic.twitter.com/4HBMqXSsfN

June 18, 2021

The president also touted his administration’s efforts to get Americans of color vaccinated, while acknowledging more works needs to be done in that regard.

“We’ve built equity into the heart of our vaccination program from day one,” Biden said. “The more we close the racial gap in vaccination rates, the more lives we’ll save.”

While looking ahead to the country’s “summer of joy” as pandemic-related restrictions are relaxed, Biden emphasized that coronavirus “remains a serious and deadly threat” for unvaccinated Americans.

The president also warned that the delta variant of the virus could pose an even worse threat to unvaccinated people. Speaking directly to unvaccinated Americans, Biden said, “Act. Act now.”

Updated

As Joe Biden prepares to deliver an update on US vaccination efforts, Kamala Harris is in Atlanta, Georgia, to encourage more Americans to get their shots.

Speaking at the historically Black Clark Atlanta University this afternoon, Harris denounced misinformation about the coronavirus vaccines, saying, “Let’s arm ourselves with the truth.”

CBS News
(@CBSNews)

Harris speaks about the dramatic drops in COVID infections and deaths over the past five months: “Let’s recognize that we have power in every moment of crisis, including this one…When the American people come together, in the spirit of community, we can do anything. Anything.” pic.twitter.com/SIJlFEh57Z

June 18, 2021

The vice-president also noted that most of the Americans currently hospitalized with coronavirus are unvaccinated.

“Let’s recognize that we have power in every moment of crisis, including this one,” Harris said. “When the American people come together, in the spirit of community, we can do anything. Anything.”

As we prepare for Joe Biden’s remarks on the ongoing coronavirus vaccination efforts in the US, some reporters shared photos of a rainbow-lit hallway at the White House.

The colorful lights appear to be an homage to LGBTQ+ Pride month, which began on June 1.

darlene superville
(@dsupervilleap)

White House hallway lit up in rainbow colors for Pride Month. pic.twitter.com/lNFysOB31z

June 18, 2021

300 million vaccine shots administered since Biden took office, White House announces

More than 300 coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered since Joe Biden took office in January, the White House announced in a press release.

“Today, thanks to the President’s COVID-19 strategy, the virus is in retreat. 300 million shots have been administered in 150 days, COVID-19 cases and deaths have decreased by more than 90 percent, and the economy is experiencing the strongest rebound in decades,” the White House said.

“The results are clear: America is starting to look like America again, and entering a summer of joy and freedom.”



A man receives a shot at the FEMA-supported COVID-19 vaccination site at Valencia State College in Orlando.

A man receives a shot at the FEMA-supported COVID-19 vaccination site at Valencia State College in Orlando. Photograph: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock

The White House noted that 65% of American adults have now received at least one vaccine dose, and 55% of adults in the US are fully vaccinated. Additionally, 15 states and DC have gotten more than 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated.

However, it is still unclear whether the US will hit Biden’s goal of having 70% of all American adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4, when America celebrates its Independence Day.

Biden is expected to deliver an update on his administration’s vaccination efforts at any moment, so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has endorsed a Republican Senate candidate running against Lisa Murkowski, the Republican senator from Alaska who is up for reelection next year.

“Lisa Murkowski is bad for Alaska,” Trump said in a new statement. “Her vote to confirm Biden’s Interior Secretary was a vote to kill long sought for, and approved, ANWR, and Alaska jobs. Murkowski has got to go! Kelly Tshibaka is the candidate who can beat Murkowski—and she will.”

The endorsement is not a surprise, given that the former president has frequently criticized Murkowski since she voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial earlier this year.

Trump said of Tshibaka, “Kelly is a fighter who stands for Alaska values and America First. … Kelly is a powerful supporter of the Second Amendment and JOBS! I look forward to campaigning in Alaska for Kelly Tshibaka. She has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

According to CNN, Tshibaka has previously written in support of an “ex-gay” Christian organization that promoted conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Mike Pence heckled at conservative Christian conference

Victoria Bekiempis

Former Vice President Mike Pence was heckled during his speech at a conservative Christian conference on Friday, with some attendees shouting “traitor!” according to Forbes.

“It is great to be back with so many patriots, dedicated to faith and freedom and the road to the majority,” Pence remarked.

Pence, speaking at the Trump supporter-filled Faith & Freedom symposium, was cheered when he took the stage, NBC News journalist Ali Vitali said. Less than thirty seconds into his address, however, yelling emerged from the audience.

Andrew Solender
(@AndrewSolender)

Pence gets drowned out by hecklers at the Faith & Freedom Coalition summit, some of whom appear to be chanting “traitor!” pic.twitter.com/pAQxavsK3O

June 18, 2021

One woman who yelled “traitor!” was escorted out, Vitali reported.

Although Pence served Trump dutifully, some of the ex-president’s supporters turned on him. On 6 January, a mob of Trump’s supporters breached the US Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election.

Some insurrectionists shouted “hang Mike Pence,” shortly after Trump remarked that he would feel “very disappointed” if his then-deputy didn’t overturn the results, per Forbes.

Updated

Today so far

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Republicans pushed back against Joe Manchin’s compromise proposal on a voting rights bill, which the Democratic senator laid out in a memo to colleagues this week. Manchin’s bill would include Republican demands like requiring voter ID and allowing voter purges, but Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said the proposal was still “an assault on the fundamental idea that states, not the federal government, should decide how to run their own elections”.
  • Joe Biden released a proclamation recognizing Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in America. Biden signed a bill yesterday to make Juneteenth, which falls on June 19, a federal holiday. “Juneteenth is a day of profound weight and power,” Biden said in his proclamation. “On Juneteenth, we recommit ourselves to the work of equity, equality, and justice.”
  • Kamala Harris is visiting Atlanta, Georgia, as part of her tour to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated against coronavirus. Visiting a pop-up vaccination site at Ebenezer Baptist Church this afternoon, the vice-president thanked those present for getting their shots. “What you are doing truly is about leadership. These vaccines are safe and effective. It will save your life and lives of people that you love,” Harris said.

The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Joe Biden is nominating former congresswoman Xochitl Torres Small to a senior role in the department of agriculture, the White House just announced in a statement.

If confirmed by the Senate, Torres Small, who lost her reelection bid last year, would become undersecretary of rural development at the USDA.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Representative Torres Small kept a rural hospital from closing its doors, improved constituent access to healthcare over the phone, and helped secure tens of millions of dollars for broadband in New Mexico through USDA’s ReConnect Program,” the White House said.

“Throughout her career, Torres Small has employed her experience organizing in vulnerable, rural communities to achieve lasting investments that combat persistent poverty.”

Torres Small served only one term in the House before being defeated in November by Republican Yvette Herrell, who won the race in New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District by about 7 points.

Kamala Harris toured the pop-up vaccination site at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and she thanked those who are getting their shots today.

“What you are doing truly is about leadership. These vaccines are safe and effective. It will save your life and lives of people that you love,” the vice-president said, per a press pool report. “We’re here to say thank you.”

Harris toured the vaccination site with several Democratic lawmakers, including Georgia senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

After Harris made her remarks to the newly vaccinated people at the site, Warnock joked, “The vice-president preached a good sermon today. Amen!”

Harris visits Georgia to encourage coronavirus vaccinations

Kamala Harris has arrived in Atlanta, Georgia, where she will continue her tour of southern states to encourage more Americans to get their coronavirus vaccines.



Kamala Harris exits Air Force Two, Friday, June 18, 2021, on arrival to Atlanta.

Kamala Harris exits Air Force Two, Friday, June 18, 2021, on arrival to Atlanta. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Harris is scheduled to tour a pop-up vaccination site at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King Jr once preached, and then deliver remarks at a vaccination mobilization event at Clark Atlanta University, a historically Black college.

The vice-president will also later participate in a conversation on voting rights with community leaders at the university.

As part of Joe Biden’s “month of action” to increase vaccination rates, Harris kicked off her southern tour with a trip to South Carolina earlier this week.

“Vaccination gives protection,” Harris said in Greenville. “This act, in a way, is a projection of love thy neighbor.”

Updated

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