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House to aim to vote on infrastructure and reconciliation bills next week, Hoyer says – as it happened

The Guardian
The Guardian
 2021-10-23

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1.04am BST

Summary

  • The House will “aim” to vote next week on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation package, majority leader Steny Hoyer said. House speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Joe Biden at the White House this morning, and she told reporters afterwards that she believed Democrats were nearing a deal on the reconciliation package.
  • Biden said at his CNN town hall last night that Democrats’ negotiations are “ down to four or five issues”. The president has spent weeks meeting with Democratic lawmakers to reach an agreement on the reconciliation package, as moderates like Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have demanded a smaller bill, angering their progressive colleagues.
  • The supreme court allowed Texas’ six-week abortion ban to temporarily remain in effect, while scheduling oral arguments in the case for November 1. Liberal supreme court justice Sonia Sotomayor fiercely criticized the conservative majority’s decision to keep the law in place, arguing the promise of future deliberations in the case was “cold comfort” for women in Texas.
  • Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is 90.7% effective in children between the ages of 5 and 11, according to data that the company submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. An FDA panel will meet next week to discuss Pfizer’s application to make a smaller dose of its vaccine available to children in that age group, and an advisory committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will convene the following week.
  • Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, was convicted on federal campaign finance charges. Parnas, who aided Giuliani’s efforts to convince Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden ’s son during the presidential election, was accused of using other people’s money to try to improperly influence American politicians.
  • Democratic lawmakers are calling on Joe Biden to secure the passage of the Build Back Better deal, and bold climate action , ahead of COP26 in Glasgow. “The climate crisis presents deadlines that are imposed on us by science – deadlines that are rapidly passing us by,” write Ilhan Omar, Ed Markey, Chris Van Hollen and others in their letter.
  • Facebook employees repeatedly flagged concerns about misinformation and conspiracy theories on the platform before and after the 2020 election, according to documents obtained by the New York Times. But as workers urged the company to act, Facebook failed or struggled to address the problems. The company also faces accusations from a new whistleblower that it knowingly allowed hate speech and illegal activity on its platforms.

-Joan E Greve and Dani Anguiano

Updated at 1.33am BST

12.55am BST

Before and after last year’s presidential election in which Donald Trump tried to overturn Joe Biden’s victory, Facebook employees repeatedly flagged concerns about misinformation and conspiracies on the platform, according to documents obtained by the New York Times.

A week after the election, a company data scientist told coworkers that 10% of all US views of political content were of posts that falsely claimed the vote was fraudulent. But as workers flagged these issues and urged the company to act, the company failed or struggled to address the problems, the newspaper reported.

Other internal documents showed the same thing. Facebook researchers found that the platform’s recommendation tools repeatedly pushed users to extremist groups, prompting internal warnings that some managers and executives ignored, NBC News reported.

The reports come as Facebook is facing accusations from a new whistleblower that it knowingly allowed hate speech and illegal activity on its platforms.

12.07am BST

New Facebook whistleblower says company knowingly allowed hate speech – report

A new Facebook whistleblower is accusing the company of knowingly allowing hate speech and illegal activity on its platforms, the Washington Post reported Friday.

Facebook was already in a crisis following whistleblower Frances Haugen ’s allegations that the company has repeatedly prioritized profit over public safety. After her testimony before US Congress and forthcoming testimony in the UK parliament, the company is said be readying plans for a rebrand .

Related: New Facebook whistleblower says company knowingly allowed hate speech – report

11.42pm BST

US public health in crisis as Covid prompts curbs on officials’ powers

Investigations by Kaiser Health News and the New York Times found that at least 32 states have introduced about 100 new laws to restrict state and local authorities from addressing health crises.

“It’s a pretty grim future,” David Rosner, a public health and social historian at Columbia University, told the Guardian. “This is an eye-opening moment in American history, where we see all of these traditions and ideas being mobilized to basically create discord rather than harmony around disease. I’ve just never seen this before.”

More from my colleague, Melody Schreiber :

More than half of US states have introduced new laws to restrict public health actions, including policies requiring quarantine or isolation and mandating vaccines or masks. Between the new laws and the massive workforce departures during the pandemic, public health in America is now in crisis, experts say.

The new restrictions and shortages not only affect responses to the coronavirus but also make it harder to contain outbreaks of the flu, measles and other health crises, and they put the US in a weaker position to combat future pandemics.

“We’re very, very concerned about the rolling back of public health powers,” Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, told the Guardian. “We thought there was going to be a renaissance for public health, and we may be at the cusp of a major decline.”

Related: US public health in crisis as Covid prompts curbs on officials’ powers

11.01pm BST

China warns against ‘wrong signals’ as Biden suggests US would defend Taiwan

China has urged the US to “avoid sending any wrong signals” after President Joe Biden for a second time in three months said the US would come to Taiwan’s defence if it was attacked.

In both instances, the White House has clarified that there has been no change in US policy, which officially maintains so-called “strategic ambiguity” regarding Taiwan . Still, Biden’s words will rattle Beijing.

China’s foreign ministry has “no room for concessions” when it comes to its core interests, its spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a daily news briefing, in the latest protest amid speculation about the future of Washington’s “strategic ambiguity” over Taiwan.

Related: China warns against ‘wrong signals’ as Biden suggests US would defend Taiwan

10.35pm BST

Hi and happy Friday. This is Dani Anguiano taking over our live US politics coverage for the day.

Democratic lawmakers are calling on Joe Biden to secure the passage of the Build Back Better deal, and bold climate action, ahead of COP26 in Glasgow. The administration’s multitrillion-dollar social spending package is considered the most comprehensive climate legislation ever put forward in the US, and must survive razor-thin Democratic majorities in Congress. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has vowed it will pass in time for the crucial UN climate talks in Scotland that begin at the end of October.

“The climate crisis presents deadlines that are imposed on us by science – deadlines that are rapidly passing us by,” write Ilhan Omar, Ed Markey, Chris Van Hollen and others in their letter. “The COP26 summit could be the last opportunity for world leaders to take bold action before it is too late to secure a livable climate by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We’re facing an existential crisis, with American leadership, economic prosperity, and our very lives at stake.”

Updated at 11.12pm BST

10.00pm BST

Today so far

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

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • The House will “aim” to vote next week on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation package, majority leader Steny Hoyer said. House speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Joe Biden at the White House this morning, and she told reporters afterwards that she believed Democrats were nearing a deal on the reconciliation package.
  • Biden said at his CNN town hall last night that Democrats’ negotiations are “ down to four or five issues”. The president has spent weeks meeting with Democratic lawmakers to reach an agreement on the reconciliation package, as moderates like Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have demanded a smaller bill, angering their progressive colleagues.
  • The supreme court allowed Texas’ six-week abortion ban to temporarily remain in effect, while scheduling oral arguments in the case for November 1. Liberal supreme court justice Sonia Sotomayor fiercely criticized the conservative majority’s decision to keep the law in place, arguing the promise of future deliberations in the case was “cold comfort” for women in Texas.
  • Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is 90.7% effective in children between the ages of 5 and 11, according to data that the company submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. An FDA panel will meet next week to discuss Pfizer’s application to make a smaller dose of its vaccine available to children in that age group, and an advisory committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will convene the following week.
  • Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, was convicted on federal campaign finance charges. Parnas, who aided Giuliani’s efforts to convince Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden ’s son during the presidential election, was accused of using other people’s money to try to improperly influence American politicians.

Dani will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

9.33pm BST

Joe Biden is scheduled to travel to Glasgow in a couple of weeks for COP26, the United Nations climate change conference.

The president is hoping to be able to champion his reconciliation bill and its climate provisions while in Glasgow. But demands from moderate Democrats like Senator Joe Manchin are complicating that plan.

Manchin has called for eliminating one of the most pivotal climate provisions in the reconciliation bill, the Clean Electricity Performance Program, raising concerns that Biden will arrive in Glasgow with diminished credibility when it comes to fighting the climate crisis.

I spoke to the Guardian’s climate reporter Oliver Milman about the challenges that Biden faces and the importance of COP26 for our Politics Weekly Extra podcast:

Related: Manchin thwarts Biden’s climate plan: Politics Weekly Extra

9.09pm BST

Lev Parnas had already attracted intense scrutiny in the US because of his connections to Rudy Giuliani and the allegations that led to the first impeachment of Donald Trump .

The AP explains :

The case had drawn interest because of the deep involvement of Parnas and a former co-defendant, Igor Fruman , in Giuliani’s efforts to get Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden ’s son during Biden’s campaign for president.

Giuliani remains under criminal investigation as authorities decide whether his interactions with Ukraine officials required him to register as a foreign agent, but he wasn’t alleged to have been involved in illegal campaign contributions and wasn’t part of the New York trial.

The case did, though, give an up-close look at how Parnas entered Republican circles in 2018 with a pattern of campaign donations big enough to get him meetings with the party’s stars.

8.43pm BST

Former Giuliani associate Parnas convicted of campaign finance charges

Lev Parnas, a former associate of Trump ally Rudy Giuliani, has been convicted on federal charges of making illegal campaign contributions to influence American politicians.

The AP reports :

The verdict was returned in Manhattan federal court, where Lev Parnas was on trial for more than two weeks as prosecutors accused him of using other people’s money to pose as a powerful political broker and cozy up to some of the nation’s star Republican political figures.

One part of the case alleged that Parnas and an associate made illegal donations through a corporate entity to Republican political committees in 2018, including a $325,000 donation to America First Action, a super PAC supporting former President Donald Trump .

Another part said he used the wealth of a Russian financier, Andrey Muraviev , to make donations to U.S. politicians, ostensibly in support of an effort to launch a legal, recreational marijuana business.

Parnas was convicted on all counts.

8.27pm BST

Supreme court refuses to block Texas abortion ban but will hear challenges

The Guardian’s Jessica Glenza and agencies report:

The US supreme court allowed a Texas law that bans the vast majority of abortions to temporarily remain in effect, but will hear arguments on 1 November. The law, known as Senate Bill 8, bans the procedure after roughly six weeks gestation or before most women know they are pregnant.

The justices said they will decide whether the federal government has the right to sue over the law. The court’s action leaves in place, for the time being, a law Texas clinics say has led to an 80% reduction in abortions in the nation’s second-largest state.

The refusal by the court’s conservative majority to block the law while oral arguments are prepared was excoriated by the liberal justice Sonia Sotomayor , who called the decision “cold comfort” to Texas’s 6 million women of reproductive age.

“The court is right to calendar this application for argument … in recognition of the public importance of the issues these cases raise,” wrote Sotomayor. “The promise of future adjudication offers cold comfort, however, for Texas women seeking abortion care.”

Related: Supreme court refuses to block Texas abortion ban but will hear challenges

8.10pm BST

During her daily briefing, Jen Psaki had a contentious exchange with Fox News reporter Peter Doocy over Joe Biden ’s claim that he has been to the US-Mexican border.

The president said during his CNN town hall last night, “I’ve been there before, and I haven’t — I mean, I know it well. I guess I should go down. But the whole point of it is, I haven’t had a whole hell of a lot of time to get down.”

Psaki noted that Biden briefly drove by the border during a campaign stop in 2008, and she added he has repeatedly visited Mexico and Central America to discuss the driving forces of immigration from those countries.

“He does not need a visit to the border to know what a mess was left by the last administration,” she added.

When pressed by Doocy on whether Biden’s 2008 stop actually counts as a visit to the border, Psaki said, “There is a focus right now on a photo op. The president does not believe a photo op is the same as solutions.”

7.49pm BST

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about Joe Biden ’s comments last night sharply criticizing the Senate filibuster.

“The president will have more to say about this in the coming weeks,” Psaki said at her briefing.

During his CNN town hall last night, Biden said, “We’re going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster.”

When asked by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper whether he would support ending the filibuster to advance voting rights legislation, Biden said, “And maybe more.”

A reporter pressed Psaki on what Biden meant by that response, but she simply offered a vague answer of, “Stay tuned.”

Biden’s comments came one day after Senate Republicans used the filibuster to block Democrats ’ Freedom to Vote Act from advancing, renewing demands from voting right advocates for filibuster reform.

Related: Biden gives strongest signal he’s ready to move to end Senate filibuster

7.34pm BST

A reporter asked Jen Psaki whether Joe Biden is discouraged by how his reconciliation package has been scaled down from $3.5tn to between $1.5tn and $2tn, due to demands from moderates like Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

In response, the press secretary reiterated some of the president’s comments during his CNN town hall last night, saying, “Compromise is not a dirty word.”

Acknowledging Democrats ’ very narrow majorities in both the House and the Senate, Psaki added, “The alternative is not a larger package; the alternative is nothing. So his objective is to continue to press forward to bring the parties together to get a historic package done.”

7.23pm BST

Biden is 'encouraged by the shared commitment' to pass reconciliation bill, Psaki says

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, is now holding her daily briefing with reporters and taking questions about the negotiations over Democrats ’ reconciliation package.

Asked about the status of the negotiations, Psaki said Joe Biden “will continue to have calls throughout the course of the day and the weekend, as he has for the last several days”.

“We have a goal, as Speaker Pelosi conveyed,” Psaki said. “We have milestones, and we’re working on finalizing an agreement. That’s the status.”

While noting that the president is “encouraged by the shared commitment to get this done,” Psaki did not offer any timeline for when a final deal might be reached.

7.05pm BST

Joe Biden also spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron about Kamala Harris ’ planned travel to Paris next month.

According to a new statement form the vice-president’s spokesperson Symone Sanders , Harris will deliver a speech at the fourth annual Paris Peace Forum on November 11. She will also participate in the Paris Conference on Libya the following day.

Harris is expected to meet with Macron while in Paris, and the two leaders will “discuss the importance of the transatlantic relationship to global peace and security and underscore the importance of our partnership on global challenges from COVID-19 and the climate crisis to issues affecting the Sahel and the Indo-Pacific,” per Sanders’ statement.

Harris and her husband, second gentleman Doug Emhoff, will mark Veterans Day in France by visiting the Suresnes American Cemetery, where more than 1,000 US soldiers killed in World War I are buried.

6.57pm BST

Joe Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron today, the White House said in a new statement.

According to the White House’s readout of the conversation, Biden and Macron “reviewed ongoing efforts by their teams to support stability and security in the Sahel and to enhance cooperation in the Indo-Pacific”.

“They also discussed efforts to enable a stronger and more capable European defense while ensuring complementarity with NATO,” the statement adds.

Biden will meet with Macron in Rome later this month, giving them a chance to “continue the conversation, take stock of the many areas of U.S.-France cooperation, and reinforce our shared interests and common values as we take on challenges and opportunities together,” per the White House.

The conversation comes as the US seeks to repair its relationship with France, following the diplomatic dust-up over the Aukus nuclear submarine deal.

France initially withdrew its ambassador from the US in outrage over the deal, which violated Australia’s previous promise to buy a French-built fleet of submarines, but the French ambassador returned to Washington late last month.

6.27pm BST

US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced today that the US Department of Justice will be launching a nationwide initiative to combat “modern-day redlining” via lending discrimination , reports Reuters.

“When people are denied credit simply because of their race or national origin, their ability to share in our nation’s prosperity is all but eliminated,” said Garland in a press conference.

Garland said officials will partner with banking and consumer regulators across the nation, including Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency that oversee national banks.

Garland also announced the first settlement reached under the anti-redlining initiative, $8.85mn against Tennessee’s TrustMark National Bank. Officials say the bank avoided giving loans to homeowners in majority-Black and Hispanic communities.

Officials added that they will be looking to correct modern, digital ways that borrowers can face discrimination, like through algorithms.

Updated at 6.40pm BST

5.53pm BST

Representative Bill Posey of Florida ended a speech on the house floor by using the phrase “Let’s go, Brandon,” a saying popularly used by those on the far-right, reports Politico .

During a floor speech against the Biden administration ’s “Build Back Better” agenda and spending, Posey ended by using the expression, widely attributed as meaning “F--- Joe Biden.”

“People are understandably frustrated. Actually, they are very angry, and they are not going to sit back and take it much longer. Instead of the bogus Build Back Better plan and reconciliation plan, you know what they want? They want the Democrats to help put America back where they found it and leave it the hell alone. Let’s go, Brandon,” said Posey.

“Let’s go, Brandon” comes from a viral video when NASCAR driver Brandon Brown won a race earlier this month. Brown’s interviewer remarked that the crowd was chanting “Let’s go, Brandon” when observers were really saying, “F---- Joe Biden.”

Since then, “Let’s go, Brandon” has been used by many Republicans including Texas governor Greg Abbott , who used the phrase in a tweet along with a clip from an interview he did with Breitbart, an online publication that features white supremacists.

Updated at 6.41pm BST

5.30pm BST

Today so far

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • The House will “aim” to vote next week on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation package, majority leader Steny Hoyer said. House speaker Nancy Pelosi met with Joe Biden at the White House this morning, and she told reporters afterwards that she believed Democrats were nearing a deal on the reconciliation package.
  • Biden said at his CNN town hall last night that Democrats’ negotiations are “ down to four or five issues”. The president has spent weeks meeting with Democratic lawmakers to reach an agreement on the reconciliation package, as moderates like Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have demanded a smaller bill, angering their progressive colleagues.
  • Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine is 90.7% effective in children between the ages of 5 and 11, according to data that the company submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. An FDA panel will meet next week to discuss Pfizer’s application to make a smaller dose of its vaccine available to children in that age group, and an advisory committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will convene the following week.

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

Updated at 5.33pm BST

5.11pm BST

House will 'aim' to vote next week on infrastructure bill and reconciliation package, Hoyer says

The House will “aim” to vote next week on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation package, majority leader Steny Hoyer said in his latest guidance to members.

“The House will consider several bills under suspension of the Rules. The complete list of suspension bills will be announced by the close of business today,” Hoyer said of next week’s schedule.

“With the short-term extension of Surface-Transportation programs through October 31, the House will aim to consider the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act this work period.”

After meeting with Joe Biden this morning, House speaker Nancy Pelosi said she believed Democrats were nearing a deal on the reconciliation package, although she acknowledged there are still a couple outstanding issues that need to be addressed.

But it remains unclear whether the entire Democratic caucus will get on board with the final version of the bill, as some progressives are already voicing concerns about the likely cuts to climate provisions in the package.

House progressives have been withholding their support from the infrastructure bill for almost a month, insisting that the reconciliation package must advance at the same time in order for them to vote yes.

Updated at 5.12pm BST

4.57pm BST

Pfizer says its vaccine is 90.7% effective in children between the ages of 5 and 11

Pfizer has submitted data to the Food and Drug Administration indicating that its coronavirus vaccine is 90.7% effective in children between the ages of 5 and 11.

Pfizer’s report comes less than a week before an FDA advisory panel is scheduled to meet to discuss the company’s application to make a lower dose of its vaccine availabel to children of that age group.

The FDA panel will meet on Tuesday, and an advisory committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to convene the following week.

Although the FDA and the CDC have not yet authorized the vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, the Biden administration is already taking steps to ensure shots can be quickly administered once the approval is announced.

In an announcement yesterday, the White House said the US already has enough vaccine supply for all 28 million children in that age group.

The administration also said it will coordinate with local leaders at schools, churches and health departments to ensure parents have accurate information about vaccinating their children.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, Jeff Zients, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus response team, said, “We know millions of parents have been waiting for Covid-19 vaccine for kids in this age group, and should the FDA and CDC authorize the vaccine, we will be ready to get shots in arms.”

4.39pm BST

African American candidates running for the US Senate smashed campaign fundraising records over the past three months , raising hopes of transforming a body that remains overwhelmingly white.

There have only been 11 Black senators since the chamber first convened in 1789 and only two were women. Senator Kamala Harris ’s ascent to the vice-presidency means there are currently no female members who are Black.

But in the most recent Federal Election Commission reporting period, African Americans posted huge sums from donors, especially in the south, suggesting the potential to build a pipeline of Black politicians who can excite the grassroots and reshape the government.

Democrat Raphael Warnock , a pastor who won a crucial runoff in January to become Georgia’s first Black senator, took in a staggering $9.5m over three months for his re-election bid. Val Demings , a congresswoman and former police chief challenging the Republican senator Marco Rubio in Florida, was close behind with $8.5m.

Notably, both Warnock and Demings raised more money than any other Senate candidate of any racial demographic.

Related: Black candidates for US Senate smash fundraising records for 2022 midterms

4.19pm BST

Neera Tanden named White House staff secretary - reports

In some non-reconciliation news, Neera Tanden has reportedly been named as the new White House staff secretary, months after Joe Biden withdrew her nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

The Washington Post reports :

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain announced the move in a morning staff call.

She has been working for Biden since May and will also retain her current title of White House senior adviser, which has allowed her to advise the president on a wide range of issues, [an administration official] said.

Tanden will replace Jessica Hertz , a former Obama administration attorney who worked more recently in the government affairs office of Facebook. White House officials have praised Hertz as a highly regarded, well-liked member of the team.

Hertz will leave the job on Friday, a planned departure that was first reported by Politico last week, and Tanden will start on Monday, the official said.

Biden originally selected Tanden to serve as OMB director, but he reversed that decision in March, after her nomination received bipartisan criticism over some of her past tweets attacking progressives and Republicans.

Tanden, who is Indian-American, will be the first woman of color to serve as White House staff secretary.

4.00pm BST

Returning to Capitol Hill, House speaker Nancy Pelosi said a deal on the reconciliation package is within reach, but she noted there are still “a couple of outstanding issues” to negotiate, per the Washington Post:

Joe Biden is reportedly pushing for House votes next week on both the reconciliation package and the bipartisan infrastructure bill, but it’s unclear whether Democrats will be able to meet that deadline.

According to Politico , moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has indicated that he is not in a rush to reach a final deal on the bill.

3.44pm BST

House speaker Nancy Pelosi has now left her breakfast meeting at the White House with Joe Biden and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer , who appeared via Zoom, per CNN:

The trio were reportedly discussing Biden’s hopes that the House can hold votes next week on both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation package.

3.17pm BST

According to Punchbowl News, the White House is pushing for votes next week on the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation package.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer are expected to meet with Joe Biden today to discuss the potential timing of the votes.

The president said at a CNN town hall last night that the negotiations over the reconciliation package are “down to four or five issues,” after moderate Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema advocated for a smaller bill.

However, it remains unclear whether progressive lawmakers will embrace the scaled-down bill, particularly given their concerns that the final proposal will not adequately address the climate crisis.

2.39pm BST

Wildfires, deadly heat, drought and flooding show how climate change has “already arrived” in Arizona and action is desperately needed, according to climate and progressive advocates who helped elect Kyrsten Sinema to represent the state in the Senate.

Many of them are wondering why their senator seems to have “turned her back” on her background in environmental politics and is now blocking Democrats ’ multitrillion-dollar legislation to address climate change.

“The climate crisis is here – it has already arrived in Arizona,” said Vianey Olivarria, a director of Chispa Arizona, the state branch of the League of Conservation Voters, which had endorsed Sinema for senator. “We don’t have a lot of time to waste.”

Sinema is one of two centrist senators – with Joe Manchin of West Virginia – who have opposed the Biden administration ’s $3.5tn budget bill that contains the bulk of the Democrats’ climate change agenda.
This summer, the earth in parts of Arizona cracked – desiccated by decades of megadrought. But some communities also flooded. Ferocious wildfires have eaten through half a million acres this year. And a prolonged, record-breaking heatwave – supercharged by human-caused climate change – killed dozens in Phoenix and surrounding suburbs.

Read the Guardian’s full report:

Related: Climate advocates who backed Sinema exasperated by blocking of Biden bill

2.39pm BST

Joe Biden has given the strongest indication yet that he is willing to end or whittle down the Senate filibuster as a means of overcoming Republican intransigence and moving ahead with reforms to voting rights, the debt ceiling and possibly more.

Speaking in Baltimore a day after Senate Republicans yet again blocked major legislation designed to secure access to the ballot box for all Americans, Biden expressed mounting frustration at the filibuster which effectively gives the conservative minority a stranglehold over large swathes of policy.

“We’re going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster,” the president said.

At a CNN town hall in Baltimore on Thursday night, Biden hedged on how far any reform would go. “That remains to be seen,” he said, “in terms of fundamentally altering it or whether or not we just end the filibuster straight up.”

Asked by the moderator Anderson Cooper whether he would consider ending the filibuster on the issue of voting rights alone, Biden replied: “And maybe more.”

Related: Biden gives strongest signal he’s ready to move to end Senate filibuster

2.39pm BST

Reconciliation bill negotiations 'down to four or five issues,' Biden says

Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.

Joe Biden participated in a CNN town hall last night, during which the president provided a detailed update on the state of negotiations over Democrats ’ reconciliation package.

“We’re down to four or five issues, which I’m not going to negotiate on national television,” Biden told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper .

But Biden did provide some insight into matters that already appear to be mostly settled in the negotiations, which have dragged on for weeks as moderates like Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have pushed for a smaller bill.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3lj436_0cZOwNvz00
Joe Biden participates in a town hall with CNN’s Anderson Cooper in Baltimore. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

For example, Biden acknowledged the bill may not include the Medicare expansion that Senate budget committee chairman Bernie Sanders has championed.

The president also confirmed that a proposal for two years of free community college will likely be cut, and Democrats’ paid leave program will likely be decreased from 12 weeks to four.

But despite the many roadblocks Biden has faced, he still voiced optimism about the bill’s ultimate passage, saying, “I do think I’ll get a deal.”

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

Comments / 17

Walter
10-22

So we are currently paying an additional $175 a month due to inflation. We’re headed into the winter months with shortages of natural gas, propane, and oil. Spending Trillions more will only comprise further the working American taxpaying citizens because as we full well know, somebody has to pay for this, somebody always pays and it’s not going to be the millions of illegal immigrants Biden has allowed in, it’s not going to be the rich, who by the way already pay the bulk of taxes, it’s going to hit the middle-class making, their children and their children’s children. Democrats know only spend and tax.

Reply(1)
7

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