NO DEAL — So much for that make-or-break Thursday vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill (aka BIF). Speaker NANCY PELOSI delayed the roll call just before 11 p.m. after a flurry of late-night meetings trying to strike a deal with Sens. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-Ariz.) and JOE MANCHIN (D-W-Va.) over the still-not-final reconciliation package (aka BBB) at the heart of progressives’ reluctance to pass the BIF at this moment.
Here’s what to watch as we head from one crazy day on Capitol Hill into another:
1) Pelosi takes over. After weeks of folks waiting for President JOE BIDEN to deliver Manchinema, the speaker got in the driver’s seat Thursday. She spent the day working with White House aides to sketch out a BBB framework that would appeal to the two moderate senators while freeing House progressives to vote for the BIF. It didn’t materialize in a final form, but sources say they made progress, with Manchin and Sinema hunkering down in the basement of the Capitol and poring over the proposal late into the night.
2) Moderates come up short — for now. House centrists swore up and down that the speaker would keep her word and hold the BIF vote, regardless of the status of the BBB. But on Thursday night, we saw that perhaps Pelosi — confronting the reality within her caucus — wasn’t as eager to decouple the two votes as moderates thought.
Some moderates are not happy. But others are giving Pelosi at least another day. On Thursday night, after it was announced that the vote would be delayed, Mod Squad leader JOSH GOTTHEIMER (D-N.J.) remained a voice of optimism, tweeting: “It ain’t over yet! This is just one long legislative day — we literally aren’t adjourning.” Be that as it may, the longer this BIF vote gets postponed, the higher temperatures will rise — and if Pelosi is waiting for a reconciliation deal with Manchinema, who knows how long that could take.
Upon leaving the Capitol just after midnight, the speaker declared “there will be a vote today.” She said that Thursday too, so we’ll see.
3) Distrust is running high. A lot of Hill Democrats were stunned by the unusual written agreement that Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER and Manchin signed in late July laying out the West Virginian’s terms for a reconciliation deal. Some members felt blindsided — not just rank-and-file backbenchers, but senior Dems who had no idea that Manchin told Schumer two months ago that his top-line number was $1.5 trillion. Others were just … perplexed that a leader and senator would sign such a document. ICYMI: Burgess Everett’s mega-scoop on this Thursday … “Democrats grit their teeth after Manchin lists demands,” by Marianne LeVine and Burgess
Meanwhile, in a call Thursday night, Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-Wash.) encouraged her members not to accept a BBB “framework” before the Senate actually votes on a bill. Notably, Jayapal told her members that even at this stage, neither the White House nor Democratic leadership are asking them to drop their demands and back a stand-alone BIF vote. That’s important: It indicates that the White House believes all this drama and pressure is exactly what they need in order to force a deal on the BBB.
4) Build Back Better is being significantly narrowed. This might be the most significant takeaway of all. Our Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle and Nicholas Wu report that Pelosi’s BBB offer to Manchinema included a top line of $2.1 trillion broken into three buckets: (1) family issues (e.g. child care and paid leave), (2) health care (locking in subsidies for Obamacare) and (3) climate change.
That offer from Pelosi does two really important things:
— First, it makes clear to progressives they can forget about $3.5 trillion, and gives us a ballpark for a potential compromise: most likely between $1.5 and $2.1 trillion.
— Second, it gives us a sense of which policy priorities are most likely to survive, and which are headed for the chopping block. For instance, there was no mention of things like free community college or affordable housing or even BERNIE SANDERS’ prized expansion of Medicare to offer dental, vision and hearing benefits.
To be clear: We’re not saying those things would not be in a final deal. But we are starting to get a sense of the direction party leaders are heading.
THE LEDE-ALL: “Pelosi delays infrastructure vote as Democrats struggle to reach deal,” by Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle and Nicholas Wu
Good Friday morning. Thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, Tara Palmeri.
JUST POSTED: POLITICO Mag has an exclusive excerpt of STEPHANIE GRISHAM’s forthcoming book, “I’ll Take Your Questions Now: My Time in the Trump White House,” in which the former White House press secretary describes the chaotic day of events leading up to DONALD TRUMP’s Oval Office address on Covid-19. You should read the whole thing, but to whet your appetite, here are some choice morsels:
— Trump on the possibility of going vegan for charity: “No, no. It messes with your body chemistry, your brain. And if I lose even one brain cell, we’re fucked.”
— Trump on MARGARET TRUDEAU, the mother of Canadian PM JUSTIN TRUDEAU: “She fucked all of the Rolling Stones.” (Grisham adds this fact check: “In fact, Margaret Trudeau denied having affairs with any members of the Rolling Stones, but later said, ‘I should have slept with every single one of them.’”)
— Grisham on JARED KUSHNER and IVANKA TRUMP: “When I worked for the first lady in the East Wing, we had all come to call Jared and Ivanka ‘the interns’ because they represented in our minds obnoxious, entitled know-it-alls. Mrs. Trump found that nickname amusing and occasionally used it herself.”
— Grisham on what the Trump White House was like: “a clown car on fire running at full speed into a warehouse full of fireworks” … “sitting in a beautiful office while a sprinkler system pours water down on you every second and ruins everything on your desk” … “living in a house that was always on fire” … “an insane asylum where you couldn’t tell the difference between the patients and the attendants” … “a roller coaster that never stopped” … “a hot mess 24/7.”
THE BIDEN FAMILY’S SECRETS — After seven Senate terms and three runs for president, Biden has mastered his folksy image. But behind “the Delaware Way” are secrets in Joe’s family tree and son HUNTER BIDEN’s foreign deals. National political correspondent Ben Schreckinger tells Ryan about what he uncovered while investigating his book, “The Bidens: Inside The First Family’s Fifty-Year Rise to Power.” Listen and subscribe to Playbook Deep Dive
BIDEN’S FRIDAY: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:30 a.m.
The White House Covid-19 response team and public health officials will brief at 11 a.m. Press secretary JEN PSAKI will brief at 1 p.m.
THE HOUSE will meet at 9 a.m., with last votes scheduled for 3 p.m.
THE SENATE is in.
It’s Friday, and the government is open for business. On Thursday evening, just hours ahead of a potential shutdown, Biden signed a continuing resolution that will keep the government funded through Dec. 3, Jennifer Scholtes and Caitlin Emma report.
A couple of funding boosts: The legislation “provides $6.3 billion to help Afghan refugees resettle in the United States and $28.6 billion to help communities rebuild from hurricanes, wildfires and other recent natural disasters,” writes NYT’s Emily Cochrane.
NEXT UP: With the shutdown averted for the time being, the next urgent deadline is to raise the debt ceiling ahead of the due-or-die default date of Oct. 18.
“Schumer said Thursday that he plans to call a vote as early as next week on the House-passed bill that would suspend the debt limit into December of next year. The New York Democrat is appealing to GOP senators to forgo a legislative filibuster on that measure, to allow Democrats to pass it with a simple majority vote,” Jennifer and Caitlin write. “Republican senators already twice rejected that plea this week.”
THE WHITE HOUSE
BIDEN AND THE T-WORD — While Biden and Trump differ dramatically on matters of tone and temperament, NYT’s Annie Karni writes that the president “is finding that it is not always easy to draw a clear line separating himself from his predecessor” on policy matters like immigration, the Afghanistan pullout and America’s treatment of its foreign allies. Even some Biden allies are invoking the “T-word” lately, and it irks the White House.
2022 WATCH — POLITICO Tallahassee reporter Gary Fineout looks at the cluster unfolding in the GOP race to flip Democrat CHARLIE CRIST’s House seat — which, on paper, should be one of the most likely Republican pickups: “Alleged murder threats. Court battles. Stinging attacks between rival Republicans. In a race that the GOP views as one of its best pickup opportunities in Florida, things are getting messy. And it doesn’t look like an endorsement from former President Donald Trump will change that.”
2024 BATTLEGROUNDS — Only two states award their electoral votes by congressional district: Maine and Nebraska — and this week, both redrew their legislative maps. Ally Mutnick has the readout on what that means for 2024, and what those battlegrounds will look like.
LEWANDOWSKI AXED — South Dakota Gov. KRISTI NOEM announced Thursday that she has cut ties with political adviser and former Trump aide COREY LEWANDOWSKI, Alex Isenstadt reports. The move came one day after Isenstadt broke the news that Lewandowski had made unwanted sexual advances toward the wife of a Trump donor — including non-consensual touching — at a fundraiser this week in Nevada.
WHAT VOTERS WANT IN BBB — We’ve got results from the latest POLITICO-Harvard poll, which takes a look at the public’s highest priorities in the Democrats’ social spending package. Top of mind are drug price negotiations, more spending on pandemic prep and long-term, home-based care. More from Sarah Owermohle
IMMIGRATION FILES — Title 42 is back on the table for the Biden administration after a federal appeals court stayed a judge’s order and allowed the policy to resume, per Axios. The controversial Trump-era holdover allows Biden to expel migrants without giving them a chance to apply for asylum, citing public health during the pandemic.
— DHS “issued broad new directives to immigration officers Thursday saying that the fact that someone is an undocumented immigrant ‘should not alone be the basis’ of a decision to detain and deport them from the U.S,” WaPo’s Maria Sacchetti reports. “The Biden administration will continue to prioritize the arrest and deportation of immigrants who pose a threat to national security and public safety and those who recently crossed a border illegally into the U.S.”
COURTING CONTROVERSY — In a fiery speech at University of Notre Dame on Thursday, Justice SAMUEL ALITO “defended the Supreme Court’s actions in letting a controversial and restrictive Texas abortion law go into effect, and said criticism of the court’s recent decisions in emergency cases was an attempt to intimidate the justices,” report WaPo’s Robert Barnes and Mike Berardino.
Alito specifically called out a piece by The Atlantic’s ADAM SERWER on the Texas ruling, slamming it as “inflammatory” and “ridiculous.” Video from the speech … More from Josh Gerstein … The Serwer story
THE OZY MELTDOWN CONTINUES — MARC LASRY, chair of the Ozy Media Board, resigned Thursday after a NYT report that company COO SAMIR RAO posed as a YouTube executive during a conference call to woo investors to the company. Lasry said in a statement that he didn’t have sufficient experience in “crisis management and investigations.”
— NYT’s Ben Smith reports that BRAD BESSEY, an Emmy-winning TV producer who was wooed to Ozy in 2020 with the promise of producing a nightly half-hour talk series that would be hosted by CEO CARLOS WATSON and distributed by A&E, resigned in 2020 after it became apparent that there was never any such agreement with the cable channel. Instead, the show ended up on YouTube.
SUNDAY SO FAR …
“Face the Nation”: Scott Gottlieb … West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice … Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
“The Sunday Show”: House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) … Matthew Dowd … Keisha Blain … Eduardo Díaz … Joan Walsh.
“Full Court Press”: Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) … Mike McGlone.
“This Week”: Panel: Rick Klein, Donna Brazile, Chris Christie and Rachael Bade.
“Inside Politics”: Panel: Lisa Lerer, John Bresnahan, Laura Barrón-López and Jeff Zeleny.
“Fox News Sunday”: Panel: Steve Hayes, Marie Harf and Jonathan Swan. Power Player: Gen. Kelly McKeague.
“Meet the Press”: Panel: Jeh Johnson, Peggy Noonan, Susan Page and Jake Sherman.
OUT AND ABOUT — House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) received the John Lewis Lifetime Achievement Award at tthe March on Washington Film Festival gala at Dock 5 and Union Market on Thursday night. Clyburn, in a “Good Trouble” mask, got emotional recounting his last conversation with Lewis, when he promised the civil rights icon he’d continue his good work. The evening included a gospel choir and Southern comfort food like fried chicken and cornbread. SPOTTED: Yebbie Watkins, Jonathan Capehart, Nikole-Hannah Jones, Robert Raben, Sharon Malone, Tommy McFly, Angie Gates, Karen Finney, Reggie Van Lee, Teresa Carlson, Juliette Pryor and Jodie McLean.
MEDIA MILESTONE — Fox News’ top brass — including Lachlan Murdoch, Suzanne Scott and Jay Wallace — was in town Thursday for a ribbon-cutting at the network’s newly renovated D.C. bureau ahead of the channel’s 25th anniversary next week. There’s a studio dedicated to the late Tony Snow and a greenroom dedicated to the late Charles Krauthammer. Murdoch hosted a private celebration dinner at Cafe Milano with Scott, Wallace, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Chris Wallace, John Roberts, Steve Tomsic, Viet Dinh, Danny O’Brien, Bret Baier, Shannon Bream, Jennifer Griffin, Brit Hume and Peter Doocy on Thursday night.
Joe Manchin addressed some critics who showed up to his house boat in kayaks.
Donald Trump called into “Flashpoint,” a prophecy-focused conservative Chrisian talk show, and announced that “nobody has done more for Christianity or for evangelicals or for religion itself than I have.”
Katie Couric has a juicy tell-all in which she dishes on Diane Sawyer and Matt Lauer.
Staffers at Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin say he’s on an ego trip.
Washington’s hottest club is the Senate basement. This place has everything: a former coal broker with a houseboat, an Ironman marathoner who interned at a winery, bone-weary reporters laying on the floor, and walls painted the color of salad cream.
Richard Blumenthal seemed confused about the “Finsta” accounts kids today have.
Terry McAuliffe, Glenn Youngkin and Ralph Northam — along with their wives — looked pretty happy together in this pic at the glitzy 50th anniversary of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts fundraiser last weekend, which raised $2 million. Also spotted: John Arundel, Omar Dennis, Daniel D’Aniello, Gen. (Ret.) Lester and Mina Lyles, Hillary and Tom Baltimore.
MEDIA MOVES — Anne Gearan will be a partner at Finsbury Glover Hering. She previously was a White House correspondent at WaPo. … Amy Wang will be assistant managing editor of the NYT Magazine. She most recently has been a senior editor at Rolling Stone. Announcement
TRANSITIONS — Elliott Long is joining Public Private Strategies as an adviser. He most recently has been senior economic policy analyst at the Progressive Policy Institute. … Rising Tide Interactive is adding Alberto Rivera as Hispanic media specialist and Tom Pino as director of media. Rivera is a Lockwood Strategy, Acronym and LCV alum, and Pino previously was at GPS Impact and GMMB. …
… Evergreen Action is adding Elizabeth Cavalieri as deputy press secretary and Claire Wang as policy lead. Cavalieri previously was on the White House press advance team, and Wang previously was at Rocky Mountain Institute. … Matteo Cina is joining Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s staff as a writer. He previously was a community manager for T.W. Shannon and is a Mike Waltz alum. … The National Council of Nonprofits is adding Kimberly Otis as VP of advancement (previously at Women for Afghan Women) and Jessica Mendieta as policy associate.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Former President Jimmy Carter (97) … Reps. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) … Tommy Andrews of Squire Patton Boggs … WSJ’s Ben Pershing … WaPo’s Jose Del Real … Jennifer Storipan of Lot Sixteen … Kenny Cunningham of Cunningham Communications … Tim Hannegan of HLP&R Advocacy … CNN’s Brian Todd … Alex Gleason of Crossroads Strategies … AEI’s Joe Antos … POLITICO’s Evan Semones, Andy Goodwin, Marie French and Mallory Anne Sheehan … Rob Seidman of the Glover Park Group … Heather Reams of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions … Brook Ramlet … Justin Hunter of Encompass Health … Michael Knopf … Laura Fullerton of the House Foreign Affairs Committee … Scott Eckart … Daniel Clifton … FWD.us’ Cammie Croft … Nayyera Haq … Sharon Yang of Building Back Together … David Kerr … CRC Public Relations’ Mike Thompson … Theo Yedinsky … Vinh Nguyen … ServiceNow’s Nichole Francis Reynolds … ROKK Solutions’ Cait Slone … Alisa La of McDonald’s
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