A reporter asked Jen Psaki about Joe Biden’s thoughts on the passing of AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka, who was considered an ally to the White House.
“Richard Trumka was someone who the president considered a friend, he considered an ally in the fight for worker rights, for collective bargaining,” the White House press secretary said.
On the question of whether Biden might attend Trumka’s funeral, Psaki said that she was not aware of any specific plans so far for a service, but she added that the president would be “interested” in possibly attending once those plans are finalized.
No change here: White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there are no calls planned between Joe Biden and Andrew Cuomo, as the New York governor faces numerous calls to resign.
Psaki reiterated that the president has not spoken to Cuomo since the New York attorney general announced Tuesday that an investigation had found the governor sexually harassed at least 11 women.
Biden has already called on Cuomo to resign in the wake of the investigation, but the governor has currently given no indication that he plans to step down.
1.26pm EDT13:26'Don’t be the reason why schools are interrupted,' Cardona tells governors banning mask mandates
Education secretary Miguel Cardona criticized the Republican governors of Texas and Florida, who have issued bans on mask mandates in schools.
“Don’t be the reason why schools are interrupted. Our kids have suffered enough,” Cardona told reporters in the White House briefing room.
“Let’s do what we know works. Let’s do what we know works across the country,” he added. “Politics doesn’t have a role in this. Educators know what to do.”
Cardona promised that the department of education would have conversations with state leaders if those leaders’ policies appear to be preventing students from accessing in-person instruction.
“At the end of the day, we’re all in this together,” Cardona said.
Updated at 1.38pm EDT
The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, is now holding her daily briefing, and she is joined by education secretary Miguel Cardona.
Cardona began his remarks by outlining the Biden administration’s “return to school roadmap” to ensure that US schools can safely reopen in person this fall.
The education secretary said his department has three priorities in bringing children back to the classroom: protecting the health and safety of students and school staff, attending to communities’ mental health needs and accelerating academic achievement.
Cardona said the administration is also doubling down on efforts to get more students vaccinated before the start of the school year. Coronavirus vaccines are currently approved for anyone who is 12 or older.
“We need to make sure that we’re leading with health and safety first,” Cardona said. “We owe it to our students to build back better.”
In a statement, the AFL-CIO said it “lost a legend”
“Rich Trumka devoted his life to working people, from his early days as president of the United Mine Workers of America to his unparalleled leadership as the voice of America’s labor movement,” said AFL-CIO communications director, Tim Schlittner. “He was a relentless champion of workers’ rights, workplace safety, worker-centered trade, democracy and so much more. He was also a devoted father, grandfather, husband, brother, coach, colleague and friend.”
Trumka a ‘champion’ for American workers - Buttigieg
Transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, said: “Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Richard Trumka, a fierce and effective champion for American workers and an especially important voice in our time.”
New Jersey governor Phil Murphy ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in the state to mark Trumka’s death.
“America’s and New Jersey’s working families have lost one of their most steadfast and dedicated allies,” Murphy said in a statement. “Organized labor has lost one of its most powerful voices.”
Updated at 12.50pm EDT
12.37pm EDT12:37Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO labor union, has died at 72
The news of Trumka’s death was announced by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the Senate floor on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.
Schumer, an ally of the union boss, said: “The working people of America have lost a fierce warrior at a time when we needed him most.”
Trumka had served as president of the labor federation, which has more than 12 million members, since 2009.Richard Trumka dies at the age of 72 Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA
Updated at 12.49pm EDT
12.00pm EDT12:00Today so far
Here’s where the day stands so far:
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
11.37am EDT11:37Cuomo impeachment inquiry is 'nearing completion,' Assembly judiciary committee says
The New York state Assembly’s impeachment inquiry into governor Andrew Cuomo is “nearing completion,” the chairman of the chamber’s judiciary committee announced this morning.
“We write to inform you that the Committee’s investigation is nearing completion and the Assembly will soon consider potential articles of impeachment against your client,” committee lawyers told Cuomo, according to a statement from Democratic chair Charles Lavine.
“Accordingly, we invite you to provide any additional evidence or written submissions that you would like the Committee to consider before its work concludes. To the extent that you wish to share any such materials with the Committee, please do so by no later than 5:00 pm on August 13, 2021.”New York State Assemblyman Charles Lavine, D-Nassau, attends a 2019 news conference in New York. Photograph: Mark Lennihan/AP The committee will hold its next meeting on Monday morning, as it looks to wrap up the investigation. As a reminder, it takes a simple majority of Assembly members supporting impeachment to launch an impeachment trial, which could result in the removal of Cuomo from office. According to a count conducted by the AP, a majority of Assembly members already approve of advancing impeachment proceedings, after an investigation found that Cuomo had sexually harassed at least 11 women.
11.12am EDT11:12Schumer expects votes on bipartisan infrastructure bill to wrap up 'very shortly'
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said he expects the amendment votes on the bipartisan infrastructure bill to come to a close “very shortly”.
“Today, we’ll consider even more amendments and then hopefully we can bring this bill to a close very shortly,” the Democratic leader said on the Senate floor moments ago.
“Our goal is to pass both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a budget resolution during this work period, and we will stay here to get both done.”
Schumer said senators have had “extensive opportunities to offer amendments” to the bill, noting that the chamber has already voted on 22 amendments.
Reports indicate Schumer intends to file cloture on the bill today, which would theoretically set up a final vote for Saturday, but he has not formally done so yet. Stay tuned.
Democratic senator Jon Tester was optimistic this morning that the upper chamber will hold a final vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill this Saturday.
Speaking to NBC News, Tester acknowledged senators “could play some games and probably screw that up,” but he noted the bill is “pretty straightforward,” so the Senate should be able to move toward a final vote.
10.27am EDT10:27Biden sets goal for 50% of new US vehicles to be electric by 2030
Joe Biden is setting a goal for half of all new US vehicle sales to be electric by 2030 while also tightening pollution standards for cars and trucks, in a barrage of action aimed at reducing the largest source of planet-heating gases in America.
On Thursday, the White House outlined its plan to tackle the climate crisis by cutting emissions from vehicles, with Biden set to sign an executive order demanding that 50% of all new cars and trucks sold by the end of the decade be powered by electric batteries.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US department of transport, meanwhile, are unveiling new fuel efficiency standards for vehicles to bolster pollution rules that were weakened under Donald Trump’s presidency.
From 2023, new cars will be required to emit 10% less greenhouse gas emissions compared to the previous year, with further reductions of 5% a year mandated until 2026.
The crafting of this strategy follows months of talks between the Biden administration and major car manufacturers and, the White House hopes, be paired with a new infrastructure bill that will fund a major upgrade in electric charging points across the US.
The administration said the move will reduce CO2 emissions by 2bn tons, save 200bn gallons of gasoline and save drivers several hundred of dollars in fuel savings.
This is a real thing that just happened: Donald Trump released a statement attacking the US women’s national soccer team for winning bronze, not gold, at the Tokyo Olympics.
“If our soccer team, headed by a radical group of Leftist Maniacs, wasn’t woke, they would have won the Gold Medal instead of the Bronze,” Trump said. “Woke means you lose, everything that is woke goes bad, and our soccer team certainly has.”
Of course, winning a bronze model at the Olympics is nothing to turn your nose up at. It’s also worth noting that all members of the Canadian women’s soccer team, which defeated the US in the semifinals, kneeled for their anthem to protest racism.
Trump went on to say, “The woman with the purple hair played terribly and spends too much time thinking about Radical Left politics and not doing her job!”
That appears to be a reference to Megan Rapinoe, who scored two goals in her team’s final game against Australia to help the US win the bronze medal.
And just a reminder -- number of Olympic medals won by Trump: zero.
Hugo Lowell reports for the Guardian:
Top Republicans in Congress are embarking on a new campaign of revisionism seven months after the attack on the Capitol, absolving Donald Trump of responsibility and blaming the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, for the 6 January insurrection perpetrated by a mob of Trump supporters.
Some House and Senate Republican leaders stated in the charged moments immediately following the attack that Trump was squarely to blame, and amid blood and shattered glass at the US Capitol, some even considered his removal.
“The president bears responsibility,” the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, said of Trump at the time, demanding that he “accept his share of responsibility”.
But after nearly 200 House Republicans voted to clear Trump in his unprecedented second impeachment and Senate Republicans scuttled a 9/11-style commission to investigate the events of 6 January, the Republican party made a call to shift all blame away from Trump.
The move to protect Trump from the fallout of the Capitol attack, at any cost, reflects the party leaders loyalty to a defeated former president, as well as the political self-interest of Republicans desperate to distance themselves from an insurrection they helped stoke with lies of a stolen election.
Even if the Senate can pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill this weekend, it may still face hurdles in the Democratic-controlled House.
Bloomberg Government reports:
House lawmakers, most notably House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), have repeatedly criticized the Senate package for leaving out provisions from the House-passed surface transportation and water bill that address climate change and fossil fuel pollution.
But making those changes could jeopardize Republican support for the final product after a bipartisan group of senators crafted a compromise intended to win at least 60 votes needed to advance the measure in that chamber.
If the House alters the bill, the Senate would need to vote again to approve the changes, which could become a challenge for the legislation’s negotiators as they try to keep their bipartisan coalition together.
Joe Biden has repeatedly said he wants Congress to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill as quickly as possible.
The president has described the bill -- which would provide $550bn in new federal funds for roads, bridges and other physical infrastructure projects -- as “the most significant long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century”.
“This deal signals to the world that our democracy can function, deliver, and do big things,” Biden said in a statement last week.
“As we did with the transcontinental railroad and the interstate highway, we will once again transform America and propel us into the future.”
Biden acknowledged that Democrats did not get everything they wanted in the bill, but he added, “[T]he bottom line is—the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America that will help make our historic economic recovery a historic long-term boom.”
9.14am EDT09:14Senate expected to vote Saturday on final passage of bipartisan infrastructure bill - report
Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer is reportedly expected to file cloture today on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, starting a countdown to the chamber’s final vote on the legislation.
Democrats and Republicans are increasingly anticipating [Schumer] could move to cut off debate on Thursday, which would set up a pivotal Saturday vote and give senators a Friday ‘intervening day’ to go to former Sen. Mike Enzi’s funeral in Wyoming. Schumer and his office have not indicated this yet, but several in-the-know Democrats confirmed that’s the plan after the Senate processes more amendments on Thursday.
Because we’re dealing with the Senate, things could still change, but it’s possible the upper chamber will be able to pass the $1tn infrastructure bill as early as this weekend.
If the bill passes, it will then be sent to the House and ultimately to the desk of Joe Biden, who has wholeheartedly endorsed the legislation.
Assuming Schumer can get the bipartisan bill through the Senate, his attention will then turn toward an even larger spending package: Democrats’ $3.5tn reconciliation bill.
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Notwithstanding criticism by the ruling coalition partner NCP that he was overstepping his powers, Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on Thursday met officials at Nanded as he started his three-day tour of the Marathwada region.Later, speaking to reporters, he said he did not hold any “review meeting”.
“The Constitution has made me the head of the three development boards. Wherever I go, I call a few officers and have a word with them. Such discussion took place here. Some of the work going on here is good. Improvement is needed on some points and I have told them to carry it out,” he said.
During the meeting held at the government guest house, Koshyari said the focus on girls’ education should be increased to bring development to tribal areas, an official release said. “Irrigation is needed for the development in rural areas. If pending projects in Nanded are completed, local farmers will benefit,” he was quoted as saying.
Collector Dr Vipin Itankar gave him information about various schemes being implemented in Nanded district, the release added Speaking at the Swami Ramanand Teerth Marathwada University in the Nanded city earlier in the day, Koshyari said due to the coronavirus pandemic, he could not step out much earlier.”Going in the field…on the ground and learning different things is my nature. If I learn anything, I can share that with others….I would have visited Nanded even if I was not the governor,” he said.
“We have to follow Covid-appropriate behavior and because of that, even if I wished, I couldn’t come here earlierGuru Gobind Singh, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Chandrashekhar Azad and other freedom fighters are no less than Lord Rama and Lord Krishna for me,” he said.Koshyari, a former chief minister of Uttarakhand, also lamented that people don’t know about the contribution of those who fought for the country’s freedom.
“That is why I wished to visit Nanded, he said.The governor also visited Hazur Sahib Sachkhand Gurdwara in the city. He will be visiting Hingoli and Parbhani districts before returning to Mumbai on Saturday.
The NCP, a key constituent of the Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra, had accused Koshyari of trying to create two power centres and encroaching on the state government’s authority by not only touring the state but also holding meetings with district collectors.The governor is scheduled to hold a meeting with district officials in Hingoli too. The NCP on Thursday warned of a protest against Koshyari if his scheduled review meeting at the Parbhani district collectorate on Friday was not cancelled.
In a statement, NCP’s Parbhani district president Kiran Sontakke said such meetings were “disrespectful to the elected public representatives, elected members and ministers as they have the right to hold such meetings”. Earlier this week, Maharashtra minister and NCP’s chief spokesperson Nawab Malik had alleged that the governor inaugurated some projects while keeping the state government in the dark.
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No mask mandates in classrooms. No vaccination “passports.” And no more business shutdowns.
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ management of COVID-19 has boosted his countrywide cachet among fellow Republicans as he seeks reelection to the governor’s mansion next year and mulls a run for president in 2024.