Something may have happened. Or not. But that’s pretty much the state of it this week, isn’t it?
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.
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
And also, there’s also the fact that pizza is not quite the right analogy for an election.
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.
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is apparently pretty done with bipartisanship too.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who thinks “the era of bipartisanship is over”, doesn’t seem particularly phased.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.