The TAKE with Rick Klein
President Joe Biden is touting it as the biggest investment in the nation’s infrastructure in 70 years — “real stuff,” as the president said Tuesday.
His party needs voters to feel those realities inside of a year. That’s with a whole lot else going on in their lives and on the immediate congressional agenda.
Even now, with the bill signed and the president and Democrats out highlighting its impact, the White House isn’t using language about “shovel-ready” projects or claiming that the new spending will make an immediate difference.
Democrats are planning “1,000 events between now and the end of the year” to showcase the infrastructure bill, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, said Tuesday.
Yet also before the end of this year, Democrats need to avoid a debt default, fund government operations and finish work on the Defense Authorization Act. Congressional leaders are also giving another go at passing the now-$1.75 trillion social spending and environmental package, with the House aiming for a vote by this weekend.
In terms of broader concerns, gas prices, inflation, border policies and supply-chain disruptions threaten to subsume all other messaging. Democrats are trying to essentially reverse-engineer their messaging, pitching their plans as ways to address inflation, shore up distribution methods for goods and services and rebuild the economy.
“This isn’t esoteric,” the president said Tuesday in New Hampshire. “This isn’t some gigantic bill — it is, but it’s about what happens to ordinary people.”
The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., announced Tuesday she will leave congress at the end of her term.
“Today, I am announcing that I will not be a candidate for re-election to Congress in 2022,” said Speier in a tweet. “It’s time for me to come home. It’s time for me to be more than a weekend wife, mother, and friend.”
She is one of 14 Democratic House lawmakers not running for reelection. Eight of those lawmakers, including Speier, are retiring from elected office. The other six have launched campaigns for other posts.
Her announcement comes after Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat who is the Senate’s most senior member, announced he wouldn’t run for another term.
While Speier and Leahy’s constituents are unlikely to send GOP lawmakers to serve in their places, the growing number of retirements does call attention to narrow margins in both chambers heading into the high-stakes midterm elections.
The TIP with Brittany Shepherd
Armed with fresh down-ballot victories and dismal approval numbers for Biden — their main opponent — dozens of GOP governors and governor-elects will meet in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday and into Thursday for the annual meeting of the Republican Governors Association.
During the course of the two-day event, several featured RGA speakers, led by host state’s Gov. Doug Ducey, are expected to borrow from the typical party-line playbook — lamenting Democrats’ spending, the White House’s handling of increased migration at the border, blue state gubernatorial pandemic responses and the like.
What’s less certain is how the host of Republican leaders, who range widely in their kinship with former President Donald Trump, might meander off-script from criticizing rising gas prices and instead embrace the culturally polarizing, Trump-adjacent talking points surrounding critical race theory, school choice and mask mandates that helped deliver an upset victory in Virginia for Glenn Youngkin, one of the conference’s featured guests.
How these Republican governors frame their messaging this week will be critical not only for predicting the party’s national calculus ahead of a highly competitive election season but in understanding just how heavy Trump’s thumb continues to weigh on the GOP’s identity scale.
ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. Wednesday morning’s episode begins with the case against the Biden administration’s OSHA vaccine mandate and where it stands in the courts. ABC News’ Cheyenne Haslett breaks it all down. Then, ABC News Senior National Correspondent Steve Osunsami reports on the latest in the trial of the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. And, why a Russian weapons test is being blamed for threatening the International Space Station, according to ABC News’ Gina Sunseri.
Check out a bonus episode this afternoon with the creators of Hulu’s hit series, Dopesick, in a conversation about the opioid epidemic’s impact on the country and who should be held liable. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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