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Biden praises infrastructure plan as a ‘once-in-a-generation investment’ in America – live

biden-praises-infrastructure-plan-as-a-‘once-in-a-generation-investment’-in-america-–-live

Georgia lawmakers have approved a bill to invalidate a Civil War-era citizen’s arrest law, in the aftermath of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

The state’s governor is expected to sign the bill into law, which would make Georgia the first state to mostly do away with a citizen’s arrest statute. The reforms enacted by the bill would still allow security officers, private investigators, and off-duty officers to detain someone they believe has committed a crime.

Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was chased and then gunned to death by three white men. His pursuers said they suspected him of robberies, and prosecutors cited citizen’s arrest when they initially didn’t charge the assailants.

Civil rights advocates have celebrated the bill’s passage, and are pushing for similar reforms in other states. All 50 states have some form of citizen’s arrest statutes.

Republicans have sided with Democrats in support of the law, but critics say state Republicans’ support for it serves to mask lawmakers’ recent moves to heavily restrict voting access and limit Black citizens’ ability to vote.

Americans largely approve of Joe Biden’s handling of the pandemic, and his Covid-19 recovery plan – but are more divided on his handling of immigration and gun control, a new AP-NORC poll found.

Biden’s overall job approval is at 61%, the survey found. Nearly three-quarters of the 1,166 adults surveyed approved of Biden’s handling of the pandemic response. About 60% approved of his healthcare policy and economic policy, and 42% of his immigration policy.

Read more about the poll here.

Chauvin trial: cashier tells of guilt over role in events that led to George Floyd’s death

Chris McGreal

The cashier who served George Floyd in a Minneapolis store immediately before his arrest and death last May told a court on Wednesday of the “disbelief and guilt” he felt for allowing Floyd to pay with a suspected fake $20 bill when he later saw the police kneeling on him.

Testimony on the third day of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial continued in an atmosphere of tense emotions and harrowing evidence about Floyd’s death.

The cashier, Christopher Martin, 19, said Floyd appeared to be high on drugs but was not threatening and was “very approachable, talkative”.

Martin said he noticed Floyd because “he was a big man” and that they had a long conversation about sport.

He did tell the court in Minneapolis, however, that he noticed the 46-year-old Black man’s speech was laboured.

“It would appear that he was high,” he said.

Martin worked at Cup Foods in south Minneapolis, where Floyd is alleged to have tried to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill, which led to his detention by Chauvin, who was later fired from his job and arrested.

Chauvin, 45, who is white, has denied charges of second – and third – degree murder, and manslaughter, after he pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes on 25 May 2020, the Memorial Day holiday.

He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

Read more:

A mistake at a Baltimore facility ruined about 15m doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the New York Times reports.

From the Times:


The plant is run by Emergent BioSolutions, a manufacturing partner to both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. Federal officials attributed the mistake to human error.

The mixup has halted future shipments of Johnson & Johnson doses in the United States while the Food and Drug Administration investigates. Johnson & Johnson has moved to strengthen its control over Emergent BioSolutions’ work to avoid further quality lapses.

The mistake is a major embarrassment for Johnson & Johnson, whose one-dose vaccine has been credited with speeding up the national immunization program.

It does not affect Johnson & Johnson doses that are currently being delivered and used nationwide. All those doses were produced in the Netherlands, where operations have been fully approved by federal regulators.

But all further shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – projected to total tens of millions of doses in the next month – were supposed to come from the massive Baltimore plant.

Those shipments are now in question while the quality control issues are sorted out, according to people familiar with the matter.

The doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine currently being administered are unaffected. And officials still expect that there will be enough doses to vaccinate all adults by May.

Updated

Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona – who as a former Nasa astronaut has the training to administer shots – is helping vaccinate patients in Tucson today.

The US is making fast progress on vaccinations, with a third of residents having received at least one dose. Track the progress here.

Senator Mark Kelly
(@SenMarkKelly)

Today I joined nurses from @ElRioHealth to help administer vaccines to folks in South Tucson. Getting vaccinated is the most powerful tool we have in the fight against COVID-19, so be sure to get yours as soon as you’re able. Who knows — I might be there to give it to you. pic.twitter.com/TR7JkYplPs

March 31, 2021

Updated

Today so far

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague Maanvi Singh will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Joe Biden outlined his infrastructure plan in a speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The president described his proposal as a “once-in-a-generation investment in America”. “It’s big, yes. It’s bold, yes. And we can get it done,” Biden said. The plan calls for spending more than $2tn to improve the nation’s infrastructure, which the Biden administration has said will create jobs and help combat climate change.
  • Biden will hold his first full cabinet meeting tomorrow, as part of his infrastructure pitch. A White House spokesperson said the president will be “discussing the role cabinet members will play in advocating for the American Jobs Plan”.
  • Derek Chauvin’s trial continued in Minneapolis, where the former police officer is facing murder charges over the killing of George Floyd. One witness who testified about Floyd’s final moments, Charles McMillian, broke down crying as prosecutors played a clip of Floyd calling out for his mother as Chauvin kept a knee on his neck.
  • Two US Capitol Police officers are suing Donald Trump over his role in the 6 January insurrection. The two USCP officers, James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby, accused the former president of inciting the deadly insurrection, which resulted in physical and emotional injuries for the officers.
  • A Democratic congressional candidate has withdrawn a challenge to the results of her House race. Democrat Rita Hart lost the race to Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks by six votes, but Hart insisted there were 22 ballots that should have been counted, which could have changed the outcome of the election.

Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Updated

Joe Biden said he hoped to work in a bipartisan fashion with congressional Republicans to get his infrastructure plan passed.

“The divisions of the moment shouldn’t stop us from doing the right thing for the future,” the president said.

Many Republicans have already signaled opposition to the plan, specifically Biden’s proposals to pay for the legislation by rolling back some of the tax cuts that Donald Trump signed into law.

The president said he was “open to other ideas” on how to pay for the proposal, but he added, “So long as they do not impose any tax increase on people making less than $400,000.”

Biden concluded his speech and walked away from the podium without taking any questions from reporters on the infrastructure plan.

Joe Biden argued that now is the time to pass this $2tn package because “our infrastructure is crumbling”.

The president said in Pittsburgh, “We have to move now because I’m convinced that, if we act now, people are going to look back in 50 years and say this is the moment when America won the future.”

Biden also defended his proposals to raise corporate tax rates to help pay for the package, saying that large companies need to contribute more. The president specifically named Amazon as a company that is not paying its proper share of taxes.

“I’m going to put an end to that,” Biden said.

During his infrastructure speech, Joe Biden removed a piece of paper from his pocket to read off the US coronavirus death toll as of today.

The paper also included the president’s private schedule, and it showed the president held an hour-long meeting on “national emissions” earlier today.

Kevin Liptak
(@Kevinliptakcnn)

Biden held an hour-long meeting on “national emissions” today according to the private schedule he just held up on-camera during his speech in Pittsburgh pic.twitter.com/vBO0A7noHo

March 31, 2021

Biden praises infrastructure plan as ‘once-in-a-generation investment in America’

Joe Biden is now delivering remarks on his $2tn infrastructure proposal at a union hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The president noted he launched his campaign in Pittsburgh nearly two years ago, and now he has returned to explain how his administration will “rebuild the backbone of America”.

Joe Biden
(@JoeBiden)

Millions of Americans lost their jobs last year.

Here’s the truth: We all do better when we all do well. It’s time to build our economy from the bottom up—and the middle out—not the top down.

March 31, 2021

Biden noted that nearly 500,000 Americans have now died of coronavirus, and millions of others lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

“Here’s the truth: we all will do better when we all do well,” Biden said.

The president described his infrastructure proposal as a “once-in-a-generation investment in America” that will help the US build the most innovative economy in the world.

“It’s big, yes. It’s bold, yes. And we can get it done,” Biden said.

Joe Biden has arrived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he is already running about 10 minutes late to deliver his infrastructure speech. But that’s par for the course for this president, who rarely arrives anywhere on time.

Joe Biden arrives at Pittsburgh International Airport ahead of a speech on infrastructure spending.

Joe Biden arrives at Pittsburgh International Airport ahead of a speech on infrastructure spending. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Iowa Democratic congressional candidate withdraws House challenge to results

Rita Hart, the Democratic congressional candidate in Iowa who had filed a House challenge to the results of her race, has withdrawn that request.

“After many conversations with people I trust about the future of this contest, I have made the decision to withdraw my contest before the House committee on administration,” Hart said in a statement.

Rita Hart
(@RitaHartIA)

Running to represent the people of #IA02 in the U.S. House of Representatives has been one of the greatest honors of my life. I could not have done it without all of you. Read my statement from today here: pic.twitter.com/ustS72pWsq

March 31, 2021

Hart added, “Despite our best efforts to have every vote counted, the reality is that the toxic campaign of political disinformation to attack this constitutional review of the closest congressional contest in 100 years has effectively silenced the voices of Iowans. It is a stain on our democracy that the truth has not prevailed and my hope for the future is a return to decency and civility.”

Results showed Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks had won the Iowa race by six votes, but Hart insisted there were 22 ballots that should have been counted, which could have changed the outcome of the election.

After House Democratic leaders said they would review Hart’s challenge, Republicans quickly accused them of trying to overturn the results of a fair election.

Those allegations rankled Democrats, who spent months criticizing Donald Trump for launching several dozen legal challenges in an attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s victories in key swing states.

Hart’s announcement will likely come as a relief to many House Democrats, some of whom had already said they believed Miller-Meeks should remain in the seat.

Updated

Karine Jean-Pierre, the principal deputy White House press secretary, confirmed that Joe Biden will hold his first cabinet meeting tomorrow.

Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on the way to Pittsburgh, Jean-Pierre said the president will “convene his first full cabinet meeting just a day after rolling out his American Jobs Plan, which will be a key topic of discussion”.

Jean-Pierre added, “The focus of the meeting will be working together to continue implementing and communicating about the American Rescue Plan and how it continues to deliver for working families, discussing the role cabinet members will play in advocating for the American Jobs Plan and ensuring we accelerate our federal Covid-19 response.”

The meeting will be held in the East Room, rather than the Cabinet Room, in order to better facilitate social distancing.

Biden is scheduled to deliver his speech outlining his infrastructure proposal in Pittsburgh in about 20 minutes.

France’s schools to close for three weeks amid coronavirus surge

Jon Henley

France’s schools are to close for at least three weeks and travel within the country will be banned for a month after Easter in an attempt to curb a dramatic surge in Covid-19 cases that threatens to overwhelm hospitals, Emmanuel Macron has said.

In a televised address to the nation, the French president said the government had waited “until the last moment” to impose further restrictions, winning the country “precious weeks of freedom”, but that “we now have to make one more big effort”.

Macron in January rejected scientific advice to impose a strict lockdown, instead ordering an evening and night-time curfew but keeping schools and shops open in a “third way” intended to limit repercussions on the economy and mental health.

The government this month also shut non-essential shops and limited movement in Paris and 20 other hard-hit areas, measures criticised by many health professionals as insufficient to counter the more contagious UK variant driving France’s third wave.

But with daily infections doubling to 40,000 since February and more than 5,000 Covid patients in intensive care the highest since October tougher restrictions became inevitable, with many experts saying only a full lockdown would be enough.

Macron said the rapid spread of the more contagious variant meant restrictions already in place in 20 départements would be extended throughout the country from Saturday, with most shops closed, people barred from travelling more than 10km from their homes and working from home to be the rule.

Inter-regional travel will be banned from 5 April, to allow Easter journeys that were already planned, he said, but he added: “We must limit all contact as much as we can, including family gatherings. We know now: these are where the virus spreads.”

Charles McMillian, who tried to speak to George Floyd as officers arrested him, just broke down crying on the witness stand at Derek Chauvin’s trial.

The Recount
(@therecount)

Chauvin trial witness Charles McMillian, who spoke with George Floyd before he was killed, breaks down in tears after watching video of Floyd calling out for his mother and saying that he can’t breathe. pic.twitter.com/WCLu9KmH3K

March 31, 2021

McMillian became emotional after prosecutors played footage of Floyd calling out for his mother as Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck.

One prosecutor approached the witness stand to give McMillian a bottle of water, and the court then took a short break.

Oliver Milman

The infrastructure plan that Joe Biden will announce on Wednesday is set to crystalize the US president’s vision of how to combat the climate crisis – hefty government intervention to retool America’s creaking systems, festooned with plenty of green, preferably union, jobs.

Biden opened his White House term with a cavalcade of executive actions to begin the gargantuan task of shifting the US to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the new $2tn package, known as the American jobs plan, is the first indication of the scale of spending that will be required to reshape day-to-day life in order to avert disastrous climate change.

As well as huge investments in crumbling roads and bridges, the Biden plan takes aim at the emissions created by transport, currently the country’s largest source of planet-heating gases. There’s $80bn for Amtrak and freight rail, $85bn for public transit, $174bn to promote electric vehicles through various incentives, the electrification of school buses and 500,000 new plug-in recharging stations within the next decade. The federal government’s vehicle fleet will also be electrified.

“There’s a lot to like in this plan, it’s excellent in almost every way,” said Julio Friedmann, who was a climate and energy adviser in Barack Obama’s administration and is now an energy researcher at Columbia University.

“This is a generational commitment and it can only be applauded. The $2tn is half the price tag of World War Two, it exceeds the scale of the New Deal, it’s wildly larger than the Marshall Plan – and appropriately so. This is the hardest thing we’ve ever done. People generally don’t understand how much construction and reduction is required.”

But even the administration’s allies concede further, longer-term spurs to remodel the economy and alter behavior will be required on top of this plan.

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Politics

Talks in Washington deadlocked as Biden meets UK PM Johnson – live

Summary

  • Joe Biden met with Boris Johnson in Cornwall while Jill Biden wore a “love” blazer.

ABC News
(@ABC)

First Lady Jill Biden, sporting a jacket with the words ‘love’ on the back, poses for a photograph looking out over the sea, at Carbis Bay, in Cornwall ahead of the G7 summit. https://t.co/EYoMGkWUu1 pic.twitter.com/cm3wx2Hha4

June 10, 2021

  • Meanwhile, talks deadlocked on, well, a lot of things – but mostly the bipartisan negotiations around the infrastructure plan. Lawmakers on both side were expressing frustration Thursday with the concept of bipartisanship, but Senator Mitt Romney hinted at a possible agreement.
  • Representative Ilhan Omar received death threats as members of her own party condemned her for saying that “we have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.

Today in San Francisco, Rob Bonta, California’s attorney general, said that his office has filed an appeal of the recent federal court decision that struck down the state’s assault weapon restrictions.

Standing alongside Governor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and representatives from Brady United and the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Bonta said that while the opinion was of “great concern”, “we are not deterred by this ruling.”

This appeal comes after a 4 June ruling from Judge Roger Benitez that ruled that California’s 32 year-old restrictions were unconstitutional. The decision drew immediate criticism for Benitez’s comparison of assault weapons to “Swiss army knives” and false claim that more Californians have died from the Covid-19 vaccine than mass shootings.

Bonta is also extending the 30-day-stay, so that the current laws stay in effect throughout the appeal process.

Learn more about what Judge Benitez’s ruling mean for the state here:

Florida public schools ban teaching of critical-race theory

The Florida Board of Education has approved tougher guidelines for teaching US history in public schools that prohibits teachers from discussing critical-race theory or the 1619 Project.

The reactive push against the movement to teaching non-whitewashed versions of American history that don’t downplay the role of slavery and racism in the founding of the country has long been a conservative rallying point. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, tweeted that critical-race theory was “state-sanctioned racism and has no place in Florida schools”.

Travis Akers
(@travisakers)

History classes in Florida now will just be students coloring in a picture of white Jesus carrying an American flag while gazing upon a bald eagle soaring through the fireworks-filled sky.

Class concludes with a rousing rendition of Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American.”

June 10, 2021

Something may have happened. Or not. But that’s pretty much the state of it this week, isn’t it?

Seung Min Kim
(@seungminkim)

Some newsy developments: Per @MittRomney, the infrastructure Gang of 10 have reached an agreement on the overall size of the package, how much it’ll spend on each provision and how they’ll pay for it. He and other Rs will brief other Republicans, Ds will brief admin officials

June 10, 2021

We’re back on the infrastructure plan, and the hopes of a bipartisan agreement. Joe Biden ended negotiations with Republicans before he left on his first overseas trip, but said he planned to stay in touch. People on both sides are saying the time for bipartisanship is done, whether related to the infrastructure plan or otherwise.

But! Possibly an agreement, per Republican Utah Senator Mitt Romney. Except someone forgot to tell Montana Senator Jon Tester.

Seung Min Kim
(@seungminkim)

Well. Tester, a member of the Infra 10, said an agreement was “news to me”

June 10, 2021

So could there be an agreement? Unclear. We’ll see.

Updated

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio set Twitter ablaze today when he decided to preview a commercial for ranked-choice voting with a giant ballot of pizza toppings.

Ranked-choice voting is when you rank a number of candidates for each race. If none wins an outright majority in the first round of counting, the last-place candidate is eliminated, and then the second-place votes are counted, and this keeps going until someone earns at least 50% of the votes plus one.

It wasn’t the type of voting that stirred controversy, but de Blasio’s ranking: 1. Green peppers 2. Green olives 3. Sausage 4. Mushrooms 5. Pepperoni

AJ
(@ajchavar)

has the mayor eaten a pizza https://t.co/M3TKG13Lek

June 10, 2021

katie honan
(@katie_honan)

The mayor is now YELLING about pineapple on pizza. “THIS IS NOT CALIFORNIA,” he says, adding it’s offensive to his Italian ancestors.

Clams on pizza? “We’re not in New Haven,” he says. Life has certainly been strange over the last 15 or so months.

June 10, 2021

Brittny Pierre
(@sleep2dream)

TRASH! deblasio should stay in his lane. He eats pizza with a fork and knife AND he’s a red sox fan. https://t.co/EsUL17H8Ki

June 10, 2021

And also, there’s also the fact that pizza is not quite the right analogy for an election.

Ariel Edwards-Levy
(@aedwardslevy)

pizza toppings are an especially fitting choice of example for ranked-choice voting because, as everybody knows, a finalized pizza can only include precisely one (1) topping https://t.co/FIKWPS2pC6

June 10, 2021

The FBI director, Christopher Wray, is testifying before the House judiciary committee on oversight of the FBI. Hate violence and white supremacist ideology were large focuses, and Wray received a number of questions about the 6 January attack on the US Capitol.

House Judiciary Dems
(@HouseJudiciary)

“On the days leading up to the January 6th attack, did the FBI simply miss evidence, or did it see the evidence and fail to piece it together?”

Chairman @RepJerryNadler questions @FBI Director Wray pic.twitter.com/JdV3aXxWJ1

June 10, 2021

Josh Gerstein
(@joshgerstein)

FBI’s Wray says unaware of any investigation specifically looking at Trump’s rhetoric in advance of the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6

June 10, 2021

Updated

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is apparently pretty done with bipartisanship too.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
(@AOC)

Pres. Biden & Senate Dems should take a step back and ask themselves if playing patty-cake w GOP Senators is really worth the dismantling of people’s voting rights, setting the planet on fire, allowing massive corporations and the wealthy to not pay their fair share of taxes, etc

June 9, 2021

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
(@AOC)

During the Obama admin, folks thought we’d have a 60 Dem majority for a while. It lasted 4 months.

Dems are burning precious time & impact negotiating w/GOP who won’t even vote for a Jan 6 commission. McConnell’s plan is to run out the clock.

It’s a hustle. We need to move now.

June 9, 2021

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who thinks “the era of bipartisanship is over”, doesn’t seem particularly phased.

Sahil Kapur
(@sahilkapur)

Mitch McConnell responds to AOC’s tweet on Fox News: “Well, to satisfy that particular member of Congress, I think the Democrats would have to have 60 votes in the Senate and all of them would have to be as far left as she is. I think her big complaint is with her own party.” https://t.co/mLGMGwjMxi

June 10, 2021

More Democrats are joining together to condemn Minnesota Ilhan Omar for saying that “we have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the US, Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan and the Taliban.” Meanwhile, more of her allies are rallying behind her in support as well.

Tom Suozzi
(@RepTomSuozzi)

pic.twitter.com/uX2F9mwNHx

June 10, 2021

Mehdi Hasan
(@mehdirhasan)

Muslim Americans are fed up of constantly being accused of supporting terrorism – including by liberals and Democrats! – when they/we simply make factual points about international law or foreign policies or war crimes.

It’s cynical, dehumanizing, and, yes bigoted.

June 10, 2021

Jamil Dakwar
(@jdakwar)

Once again #IStandWithIlhan 👇🏽 https://t.co/QJOdvPFP91

June 10, 2021

Here’s our first look at the meeting between Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and First Lady Jill Biden and Carrie Johnson.

Steve Holland
(@steveholland1)

“It’s gorgeous, I don’t want to go home,” said President Biden of seaside view in Carbis Bay with PM Boris Johnson. pic.twitter.com/Sbv9uQCJRV

June 10, 2021

Howard Mortman
(@HowardMortman)

Biden and Boris Johnson pic.twitter.com/ZkVj3j74zw

June 10, 2021

The Recount
(@therecount)

First Lady Jill Biden sports a “LOVE” jacket while meeting with UK PM Boris Johnson and Carrie Johnson. pic.twitter.com/dGV5C62RVp

June 10, 2021

Updated

A lot has been hyped about bipartisanship this week. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said “the era of bipartisanship is over”, with every bill the Democrats have introduced in June including something he said Republicans could not support. Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin gave it as the reason why he wasn’t voting for the For The People bill that would voting rights, because he believed such legislation needed to be bipartisan.

Then there was the bipartisan negotiations between Joe Biden and Republicans over an infrastructure plan. On Tuesday, Biden ended negotiations. Despite his willingness to reduce his plan by more than $1 trillion, Republicans had increased their proposed new investments by only $150bn. And then there was the issue of tax increases.

Though Biden said he would stay in touch with Republicans during his trip, things aren’t looking great.

Manu Raju
(@mkraju)

“No,” Angus King, one of the bipartisan negotiators on infrastructure, said when I asked if he were confident a bipartisan deal could be reached among the group. Said he’s “hopeful”

June 10, 2021

About 90 advocacy groups have since called on Biden and the Democrats to use the partisan reconciliation process instead of relying on negotiations.

Reconciliation is a rule that allows Congress to pass new budget resolutions with new spending priorities with a simple 51-vote majority in the Senate without having to worry about a filibuster.

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats are already working on a plan to pass an infrastructure measure via the reconciliation process.

Omar receives death threats as lawmakers condemn her comments

Democratic Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar is once again receiving death threats as 12 members of her own party condemn her for appearing to liken Hamas and the Taliban to Israel and the United States.

“We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity,” she tweeted in a question to Secretary of State Antony Blinken during a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing about the International Criminal Court on Monday. “We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.”

Rep. Brad Schneider
(@RepSchneider)

Equating the U.S. and Israel to Hamas and the Taliban is as offensive as it is misguided. Ignoring the differences between democracies governed by the rule of law and organizations that engage in terrorism discredits one’s intended argument and reflects deep-seated prejudice. https://t.co/KOdgPqvQdT

June 10, 2021

Andrew Desiderio
(@AndrewDesiderio)

Group of House Democrats is out with a statement tonight condemning Ilhan Omar’s recent comments, saying they “give cover to terrorist groups.” pic.twitter.com/kDxSkb7OCi

June 10, 2021

Omar responded by calling out the “shameful” Islamaphobic tropes in her colleagues’ statement.

“The constant harassment and silencing from the signers of this letter is unbearable,” she tweeted.

Ilhan Omar
(@IlhanMN)

Citing an open case against Israel, US, Hamas & Taliban in the ICC isn’t comparison or from “deeply seated prejudice”. You might try to undermine these investigations or deny justice to their victims but history has thought us that the truth can’t be hidden or silenced forever.

June 10, 2021

Rashida Tlaib
(@RashidaTlaib)

I am tired of colleagues (both D+R) demonizing @IlhanMN. Their obsession with policing her is sick. She has the courage to call out human rights abuses no matter who is responsible. That’s better than colleagues who look away if it serves their politics. https://t.co/5n9OxZbK8Q

June 10, 2021

Biden to meet with Johnson as party clashes continue back home

Howdy, liveblog readers. Happy Thursday.

We begin today with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden departing for Cornwall in the United Kingdom to meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife, Carrie Johnson.

It’s expected that everyone will use the meeting as a chance to reaffirm the “special relationship” between the US and the UK – though Johnson has confirmed that he thinks the term seems “needy and weak” and Biden has been quoted calling Johnson a “physical and emotional clone” of Donald Trump.

It’s also likely that Biden and Johnson will speak about the working groups the two governments have formed to look into lifting travel restrictions between the US and UK.

But in addition to these niceties, this meeting takes place with the US issuing a warning to the UK’s Brexit negotiator, Lord Frost, over negotiations over border checks in Northern Ireland.

The Guardian’s Patrick Wintour delves into the situation more here:

Meanwhile, back home, talks on a bipartisan infrastructure deal remained at an impasse, with Republicans refusing to raise taxes to pay for the plan and Biden insisting on it.

Ronald Klain
(@WHCOS)

Lots of discussion today on the Hill about how to pay for much needed infrastructure.

I’m just going to leave this here. pic.twitter.com/MwzLtUguNn

June 9, 2021

Updated

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Politics

US drugmaker Regeneron under fire for ‘excessive’ payouts to executives

The US drugmaker Regeneron, whose Covid treatment was hailed as a “cure” by Donald Trump last year, has come under fire from two influential shareholder advisory groups over “excessive” payouts made to its top executives ahead of its annual meeting on Friday.

The investor advisory group Glass Lewis said it was “highly concerned” at the New York-based firm’s decision last year to ditch annual stock options. Instead it will replace them with an upfront five-year grant of performance-restricted stock units worth $130m (£92m) for each of its top two executives – Leonard Schleifer, the Regeneron chief executive, and George Yancopoulos, the chief scientific officer.

While they are intended to lock down executives for the next few years, Glass Lewis questioned whether the upfront payouts were in the best interests of shareholders. It estimates that the annualised value of the grants is 51% higher than the previous year’s stock options.

Institutional Shareholder Services, another advisory group, also expressed concern: “The awards are excessive in value, replace annual grants for a relatively long period of time, and provide multiple opportunities for the same shares to be earned.”

Glass Lewis noted that the company’s executive payouts had met with “substantial opposition from shareholders” in recent years. Together, the two top bosses collected $270m in pay and bonuses last year. Schleifer was the best-paid chief executive in the global pharmaceutical industry last year with his $135m package.

At last year’s advisory vote on executive pay, which is held every three years, Regeneron’s plans received support from 70.1% of votes cast. At the time of the meeting, Schleifer owned 16.6% of the company while the French drugmaker Sanofi had a 20.6% holding, which it has since sold. When these stakes are excluded, less than 33% of votes were cast in favour of the company’s pay plans.

Regeneron is supplying the US government with millions of doses of its Covid antibody cocktail REGEN-COV, after receiving emergency authorisation for the treatment in November. It is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies designed to prevent the coronavirus spike protein attaching to receptors in the body, to prevent Sars-CoV-2 infection and to treat people who have contracted the virus.

The share price of the Nasdaq- and London-listed company soared in early October 2020, from $564 to over $600 a share, after then-president Trump touted the treatment in a video, claiming that it had cured his Covid. The shares have risen 41% since the start of 2020.

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Politics

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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