Biden to mark 11th anniversary of Affordable Care Act with a trip to Ohio hospital
President Biden plans to travel to Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday to mark the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and tout provisions in his recently signed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan that aim to lower health-care costs for some Americans.
In Washington, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on reducing gun violence in the wake of the latest mass shooting in the United States, a grocery store attack that claimed 10 lives in Boulder, Colo. Here’s what to know:
- The Biden administration is searching for new ways to stem the surge of migrants at the southern border, dispatching officials to Mexico and Guatemala, sending sterner warnings not to come, and devising alternative pathways to apply for legal entry.
- White House officials are exploring tax increases on businesses, investors, and rich Americans to fund the president’s multitrillion-dollar infrastructure and jobs package.
- Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (D) was confirmed by the Senate as secretary of labor, setting the stage for him to take the reins of an agency that is central to Biden’s worker-friendly agenda.
Harris calls Colorado shootings ‘absolutely baffling’
Vice President Harris told reporters Tuesday that she found the grocery store shootings in Boulder, Colo., that left 10 dead, including a police officer, to be “absolutely baffling.”
“It’s 10 people going about their day living their lives, not bothering anybody, a police officer who is performing his duties, and with great courage and heroism,” she said.
Law enforcement officials said the suspect, who carried out the attack with a rifle, was in custody, but they offered scarce details about the shooting, including any information about a possible motive.
Fact-Checker: The sometimes-fuzzy $400,000 threshold in Biden’s tax plan
“Anybody making more than $400,000 will see a small to a significant tax increase. If you make less than $400,000, you won’t see one single penny in additional federal tax.”
— Biden, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, March 16
During the 2020 presidential campaign, President Donald Trump claimed some 80 times that Biden was going to raise taxes on all or most Americans. Biden had a consistent refrain — that was false, no one making less than $400,000 a year would face higher taxes.
Essentially, that level would mean about 98 percent of households would be spared from any new taxes. The top 2 percent — who earn one-quarter of adjusted gross income — would bear the burden of paying for Biden’s ambitious policies.
Pelosi says Democrats will ‘keep fighting’ on gun violence
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) vowed Tuesday that Democrats would “keep fighting to end the daily tragedy of gun violence” in the wake of the mass shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., that left 10 people dead.
“For the second time in a week, our nation is being confronted by the epidemic of gun violence,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Too many families in too many places are being forced to endure this unfathomable pain and anguish. Action is needed now to prevent this scourge from continuing to ravage our communities.”
Pelosi noted that the House passed a pair of bills this month that would require background checks on all gun sales and transfers and allow an expanded 10-day review before gun purchases.
The Democratic-led chamber passed similar legislation two years ago but it did not advance in the Senate, which was then controlled by Republicans. It’s unclear whether prospects are much better now in the evenly divided Senate, where 60 are needed to advance most legislation.
“While we await further information on the details of this heinous crime, we continue to stand with victims, families, and young people across the country saying, ‘Enough is enough,’ ” Pelosi said in her statement.
Analysis: Anxious Democrats wait on Biden administration to handle border surge
Democrats who excoriated the Trump administration’s hard-line immigration policy and family separation policy have so far been more muted in their criticisms of the new Biden administration’s scramble to house and care for the 15,000 unaccompanied migrant children in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services and Customs and Border Protection.
But any grace period is unlikely to last for long — as more Democrats visit the U.S.-Mexico border to witness the impact of a surge of illegal crossings that has accelerated since Biden took office.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and a dozen GOP House members beat the drum about a “Biden border crisis” during a visit last week to a migrant processing center in El Paso.
White House eyes tax increases on companies and the wealthy to fund infrastructure, setting up a clash with GOP
White House officials are exploring tax increases on businesses, investors, and rich Americans to fund the president’s multitrillion-dollar infrastructure and jobs package, according to two people briefed on internal conversations.
The centerpiece of the tax increases would probably be a higher corporate tax rate — reversing part of President Donald Trump’s steep corporate tax cut in 2017 — as well as higher levies on investment income and a higher top marginal tax rate.
Biden’s tax increases may prove among the most controversial elements of the administration’s coming “Build Back Better” agenda, setting up a major confrontation with business groups and congressional Republicans.
Senate hearing to examine gun violence in wake of mass shooting in Colorado
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled Tuesday to hold a hearing on reducing gun violence in the wake of the latest mass shooting in the United States.
Scheduled before the grocery shootings Monday in Boulder, Colo., that claimed 10 lives, the hearing is certain to take on added resonance.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic raged across the nation in 2020, gun violence did too,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said last week in a statement announcing the hearing. “Americans from across the ideological spectrum can agree that the number of gun deaths in America is too high and that we should take steps to reduce it.”
Durbin said Tuesday’s hearing will be the first in a series, and subsequent hearings will examine more specific proposals.
While the Democratic-led House has passed several gun-control measures in recent years, the closely divided Senate has been less inclined to act.
Witnesses at Tuesday’s hearing include Robin Brule, who has advocated for closing gaps in the gun background check system since her mother, Ruth Schwed, was murdered in an Arizona retirement community in 2016 by a home invader who had bought a gun through the Internet without a background check.
“No family should have to get that call that I got from police 5 years ago — the worst call in the world,” Brule says in her prepared testimony released by the committee on Monday.
Biden to mark anniversary of Affordable Care Act with a trip to Ohio hospital
Biden plans to travel to Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday to mark the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and tout provisions in his recently signed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan that aim to lower health-care costs for some Americans.
Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks at the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute after touring the facility, which integrates scientific research, education, and patient care.
The stop is part of a “Help Is Here” tour that the White House has crafted to highlight provisions in the relief package.
It also doubles as a celebration of the Affordable Care Act, the landmark health-care legislation passed during the Obama administration while Biden was vice president.
Harris to swear in Burns as CIA director, Walsh as labor secretary
Vice President Harris plans Tuesday to ceremonially swear in William J. Burns as CIA director and Marty Walsh as labor secretary as the upper ranks of Biden’s administration continue to fill out two months into his tenure in the White House.
The Senate confirmed Burns, who retired from the Foreign Service in 2014 after a three-decade career, as CIA director by unanimous consent on Thursday.
Walsh, Boston’s mayor, was confirmed by the Senate on Monday on a 68-to-29 vote. With his confirmation, all 15 of Biden’s Cabinet secretaries are now in place.
But scores of other top-tier administration posts are still waiting to be filled.
On Tuesday, the Senate will hold a hearing on the nomination of Samantha Power to be administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. Power served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the Obama administration.
Eric Greitens resigned as Missouri governor over an affair and blackmail claims. Now he’s running for Senate.
Nearly three years ago, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens left the state capitol in disgrace as he faced down two criminal charges, an ethics probe, and public fallout over reports that he’d had an affair with a hairdresser and then allegedly tried to blackmail her with nude photos.
Now, the criminal charges have been dropped, the ethics case has been closed and Greitens is aiming for a Lazarus-Esque comeback.
The Republican announced on Fox News on Monday that he will run for the U.S. Senate seat opening next year with the retirement of Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) — a move that quickly froze out some other GOP figures angling for the seat.
Biden faces ‘moment of truth’ as he weighs key U.S. climate promise
In far-flung corners of the federal government, staffers have been busy calculating how quickly the United States could embrace electric cars or phase out the last of the nation’s coal-fired power plants. They are estimating how fast the country can construct new battery-charging stations and wind turbines, as well as how farmers can store more carbon in the soil — and how much Congress might allocate to fund such efforts.
They’re urgently trying to tally up the elements of a major promise, one that could shape how aggressively the world takes on climate change.
By April 22, when Biden convenes world leaders for an Earth Day summit, he is expected to unveil a new, aggressive plan to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2030. The moment is aimed at reestablishing American leadership in the fight to limit the Earth’s warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with preindustrial levels — a threshold beyond which scientists predict irreversible environmental damage.
Trump officials hindered at least nine key oversight probes, watchdogs said. Some may finally be released in the coming months.
Almost as soon as she opened a politically charged investigation in 2019 into whether the Trump White House blocked hurricane relief to a devastated Puerto Rico, the internal watchdog at the Department of Housing and Urban Development ran into obstacles.
HUD demanded that their attorneys sit in on witness interviews, a tactic inspectors general said was unusual and could shape witness testimony. White House officials told top agency appointees to withhold their communications, documents and interviews show. Other records took months to obtain.
Four months after Donald Trump’s defeat, Inspector General Rae Oliver Davis still hasn’t announced whether her investigators found that Trump inappropriately held up federal disaster aid from an island reeling from a brutal hurricane.
It’s far from the only politically sensitive work by government watchdogs — mandated by Congress to monitor federal agencies for waste, fraud and misconduct — that faced roadblocks or otherwise were dragged out during the Trump era.
Resistance grows in both parties to Democratic probe of narrow Iowa race
House Democratic leaders are facing increased resistance from key members of both parties to an investigation into whether the results of an Iowa congressional race won narrowly by a Republican can be overturned by Congress.
Several moderate House Democrats on Monday expressed opposition to or discomfort with Congress taking any action regarding the race. Their statements came after nine of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) a letter asking her to call off the investigation, warning it could further erode voters’ confidence in the electoral system.
“As I have said before in connection with the 2020 presidential election, legislators should be heeding states’ certifications of their elections, and unless there is a rampant error and substantial evidence thereof, I do not believe it is the role of House members to dictate the outcome of elections,” Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.), who represents a competitive district, said in a statement.
Roger Stone keeps appearing in Capitol breach investigation court filings
Roger Stone’s name and image were invoked by prosecutors and defendants in court filings over the last week, underscoring the increasingly visible presence of former president Donald Trump’s political confidant in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach investigation.
On Wednesday, U.S. prosecutors produced a photograph they said was shared on Facebook on Dec. 15 showing two Florida members of the right-wing Oath Keepers group who were later charged in the riot posing with five others next to someone who appears to be Stone at a book signing.
All the faces are redacted except for the two charged Oath Keepers in the picture, which prosecutors introduced to show that the defendants knew each other. Three of Stone’s books are displayed in a room that looks like the White House Oval Office.