In the next few days, the House Budget Committee will finish assembling the final bill based off the sections that committees passed last week. This will ensure Democrats are able to get the caucus on board and pass the bill as soon as next week.
The immediate obstacles. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a five-vote margin on this bill, and scrutiny on the package — even by some Democrats — is more intense than last spring’s stimulus.
Watch members’ comments over the next several days while they are home on recess to get clues to how much of a lift this is going to be for the House speaker.
The Senate problem. House and Senate Democrats aren’t in complete unity right now.
The expectation is that changes to the House bill will happen in the Senate, but not in a formal committee markup like last week in the House. Instead, the current plan for Democrats is to take their bill — with some potential changes that have been ironed out privately — directly to the Senate floor.
The minimum wage fight. Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has made it clear that she will not vote for a Senate Covid relief bill that includes raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Without Sinema, the Senate cannot pass the relief bill, even using the budget process that allows them to pass it with just 51 votes.
It’s the unfortunate reality facing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer right now: Include it, you lose at least one moderate senator. Leave it behind, you risk losing progressives.
On the podcast: Biden’s presidency gets going
For more on stimulus negotiations, CNN Political Director David Chalian breaks down the deliberations. Plus, it’s looking more and more like there will be a Trump on the ballot in 2022.
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Utah GOP gives Romney a pass
The Utah Republican Party signaled support in a statement Monday for both Romney, who voted to convict Trump, and Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee, who voted to acquit.
Their dueling votes “showcase a diversity of thought,” the statement said.
Utah’s Republican Party is the exception, so far.
Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana was quickly censured by the state Republican Party after he voted to convict Trump.
Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives, was censured by the Wyoming Republican Party earlier this month after she voted along with nine other House Republicans to impeach Trump.
Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina was censured by the state’s Republican Party late last month for his vote to impeach Trump as well.
Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska was already facing a censure effort by the Nebraska Republican Party before his guilty vote. The state party’s vote was postponed until March due to concerns over weather conditions there.
And CNN’s Dan Merica reports that Pennsylvania’s state GOP is planning to meet to discuss what to do about Sen. Pat Toomey, who also voted to convict and who is not seeking reelection in 2022. County parties have already censured him.
Disturbing new Capitol riot footage
New police radio dispatches and security footage from the January 6 US Capitol riot paint an even sharper picture of how the insurrectionists at times showed little fear of the police as they launched a large and coordinated attack.
As rioters began to overrun the officers, creating an untenable situation, radio waves filled with desperate shouts and requests for backup:
- “You’re going to need to get more help up here. We don’t have enough people to hold the line,” one officer said.
- “We’re getting fire extinguishers thrown at us from the top … in the upper level of the inaugural deck,” an officer shouted in another clip.
- In one dispatch played at the trial, an officer exclaims that the rioters have breached the scaffolding. “They are behind our lines!” he said.
The politics of vaccine hesitancy
The US vaccination effort has ramped up in meaningful ways in recent weeks. Nationwide, we’ve maintained a seven-day average of about 1.6 million doses per day.
Demand, at the moment, far exceeds supply.
But with Biden declaring there will be enough vaccines for 300 million Americans by the end of July, vaccine hesitancy — not supply — could soon become the defining pandemic hurdle.
The good news is more Americans say they will get the vaccine than ever before. A new Axios/Ipsos poll finds that 63% of adults say they have had or are likely to get a Covid-19 vaccination as soon as it’s made available to them. That’s the highest ever recorded by Ipsos.
The bad news is trust in vaccines is splitting dangerously along partisan lines. In an average of Axios/Ipsos polls taken in January and February, 74% of Democrats said they’d either been vaccinated or were extremely or very likely to get vaccinated as soon it’s available to them. Just 51% of Republicans said the same thing. Independents were in the middle of these two groups, at 61%.
- We can’t be sure why Republicans are now significantly less willing to get the vaccine, but remember Democrats have pretty much always said they were more concerned about Covid-19 than Republicans.
- It wasn’t until mid-November, just after Trump’s defeat in the presidential election, that the partisan gap began to really emerge in the Axios/Ipsos polling on vaccines.
- The bottom line is that there’s still a lot of work to be done on vaccine hesitancy. Lives literally depend on it.