Schumer ups pressure on McConnell in USICA-reconciliation dance- POLITICO

Ora Sawyers

With help from Eli Okun and Garrett Ross

BREAKING OVERNIGHT — Former Japanese Prime Minister SHINZO ABE was shot and killed during a campaign speech Friday in western Japan. He was 67.

AP: “He was airlifted to a hospital but officials said he was not breathing and his heart had stopped. Police arrested the suspected gunman at the scene of an attack that shocked many in Japan, which is one of the world’s safest nations and has some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere. … The former leader is still highly influential in the governing Liberal Democratic Party and heads its largest faction, Seiwakai. Elections for Japan’s upper house, the less powerful chamber of its parliament, are Sunday.”

NHK: “Sources with the investigation tell NHK a gun seized at the scene appeared to be handmade.”

RECESSION WATCH — The June jobs report will be released at 8:30 a.m. Along with next Wednesday’s June CPI report, this morning’s data will help inform the Fed when it meets on July 26 and 27 to decide how much more to hike interest rates. The Fed is debating between a .5- or .75-percentage-point hike. A good report today — say, above 250,000 jobs created in June — means the larger hike is more likely as the Fed tries to cool the economy.

THE USICA-RECONCILIATION DANCE —CHUCK SCHUMER made a couple of new moves in his effort to advance two pieces of legislation tangled in political knots.

Recall that Senate Minority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL recently tweeted, “There will be no bipartisan USICA as long as Democrats are pursuing a partisan reconciliation bill.”

USICA, the United States Innovation and Competition Act, is the industrial policy legislation that would shower the semiconductor industry with $52 billion of incentives to ramp up chip-making in America. China hawks like the bill because it makes the U.S. less reliant on Chinese imports. The Biden administration hails it as a policy that will strengthen the supply chain, boost domestic manufacturing, and “help us outcompete China.”

The new reconciliation bill being negotiated by Schumer and Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.), who tanked the last one in December, has been inching along.

“Roughly speaking, Manchin and Schumer are working toward legislation that provides $1 trillion in new revenues, half of which would go toward deficit reduction and half of which would go toward energy and health spending,” report Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine. “Such a deal is hypothetical at the moment: The tax and energy pieces remain in major flux.”

This week, the portion of the bill dealing with prescription drug pricing was submitted to the parliamentarian for review, though the two parties haven’t yet made their presentations before her. (Democrats have told Republicans they are ready to start next week.)

If they had to choose between the USICA and a reconciliation bill, most Dems would rather have the reconciliation bill, so it’s unclear how much McConnell’s threat matters. But Schumer is doing two new things to put pressure on the minority leader and his GOP colleagues:

  • He’s amping up the national security case for USICA. According to a spokesperson, Schumer has “requested an all-Senators classified briefing from the administration on the global innovation and technology race” and USICA. The briefing is scheduled for next Wednesday.
  • He’s highlighting a new highly popular piece of reconciliation. Schumer has crafted a proposal for the reconciliation package that would extend the solvency of Medicare through 2031 by taxing very high earners. (The AP has the full details of the idea.) Schumer is ready to submit the Medicare proposal to the parliamentarian, likely on Monday.

Next week will be busy on both fronts, and these two Schumer moves are aimed at McConnell’s threat linking the two bills. (We remember when McConnell thought linkage was bad because it would “hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process”!)

“McConnell [is] in [a] tough spot,” one Senate Democrat argued to Playbook last night. “Blocking tough-on China-bill because he doesn’t want to extend Medicare and lower prescription drug prices.” Then again, this could be wishful thinking: One thing McConnell has learned over the years is that when you’re in the minority, there is little price to pay for obstruction.

Happy Friday. Thanks for reading Playbook. Drop us a line with your best constitutional argument for the right to eat dinner: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza.

“THE RIGHT … TO EAT DINNER”— On Wednesday night, D.C. protesters targeting the conservative Supreme Court justices who signed onto the Dobbs decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion got a tip that Justice BRETT KAVANAUGH was dining at Morton’s downtown D.C. location. Protesters soon showed up out front, called the manager to tell him to kick Kavanaugh out and later tweeted that the justice was forced to exit through the rear of the restaurant.

Daniel Lippman looked into the incident for us and confirmed that account.

While the court had no official comment on Kavanaugh’s behalf and a person familiar with the situation said he did not hear or see the protesters and ate a full meal but left before dessert, Morton’s was outraged about the incident. A rep for the chain steakhouse sent Lippman this statement:

“Honorable Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh and all of our other patrons at the restaurant were unduly harassed by unruly protestors while eating dinner at our Morton’s restaurant. Politics, regardless of your side or views, should not trample the freedom at play of the right to congregate and eat dinner. There is a time and place for everything. Disturbing the dinner of all of our customers was an act of selfishness and void of decency.”

MUST-READ OF THE DAY —Michael Schaffer on Mark Leibovich’s new book, “Thank You for Your Servitude”:

““I wrote in “This Town,” oh my God, the top guy at Treasury went to Goldman, what an outrage, you know?’ [Leibovich] says. ‘And now we’re using terms like “civil war” and “threat to democracy” and it’s not overheated, and we basically have bigger fish to fry.’

“It’s like your favorite arena-rock band promising a darker, more introspective follow-up album.”


— 9:30 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief.

— 11:30 a.m.: Biden will deliver remarks on protecting access to reproductive health care services with VP KAMALA HARRIS and HHS Secretary XAVIER BECERRA also in attendance.

— 1:55 p.m.: Biden will depart the White House.

— 2:15 p.m.: Biden will visit the CIA HQ in Langley, Va., where he will deliver remarks at 3:40 p.m.

— 4:30 p.m.: Biden will return to the White House.

— 7:45 p.m.: The president will depart the White House en route to Rehoboth Beach, Del., where he is scheduled to arrive at 8:40 p.m.

HARRIS’ FRIDAY: At 4 p.m., the VP will convene state legislative leaders from Indiana, Florida, South Dakota, Nebraska and Montana to discuss reproductive rights.

Press secretary KARINE JEAN-PIERRE will brief at noon.




BIDEN TO TAKE ACTION ON ABORTION — Biden is planning to “take executive action Friday to protect access to abortion,” AP’s Seung Min Kim and Zeke Miller scooped late Thursday night.

The details: “The actions he was expected to outline are intended to try to mitigate some potential penalties women seeking abortion may face after the ruling, but are limited in their ability to safeguard access to abortion nationwide. Biden is expected to formalize instructions to the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services to push back on efforts to limit the ability of women to access federally approved abortion medication or to travel across state lines to access clinical abortion services.”

BIDEN HIS TIME — Plenty of ink has been spilled about Dems questioning whether Biden is prepared to meet the moment that he is facing on multiple fronts that threaten to undermine his administration and wipe out Democrats in the midterms. And those stories don’t show sign of stopping anytime soon: “Underlying it all is a concern that Biden and his team are not just out of fresh ideas, but increasingly out of time to turn around their flagging poll numbers before the midterms,” Jonathan Lemire and Christopher Cadelago report this morning.

“Rather than abruptly changing strategy, Biden’s team has doubled down on what it believes is an effective two-pronged approach: First, to make steady — if at times slow — progress on the challenges it faces, or at least demonstrate to voters the president is fighting an intractable problem; and second, to highlight contrasts with Republicans to paint them as a party beholden to its extremists and doing little to help struggling Americans.”

MIKE MADRID, a veteran Republican strategist and Trump critic: “He’s the last of his kind. He served in the Senate for decades when it worked. He built personal relationships across the aisle when that still happened. He still believes the system works, or at least hopes it can. … But that time has passed.”


GOP SENATE HOPEFULS’ HIGH-RISK STRATEGY — Out with the old, in with the new. Several bipartisan deal-making Republicans are retiring from the Senate. And whereas they made reelection appeals in years past that were aimed at playing to the middle, they’re being replaced this year by a slate of GOP candidates that is “largely foregoing appeals to the center, instead doubling down on conservative positions — from opposing popular bipartisan reforms to celebrating the rollback of abortion rights,” Natalie Allison writes this morning.

“The stark difference in rhetoric and policy positions between those outgoing senators and the Republicans back home running for their seats also illustrates the deeply polarizing approach being taken by a new crop of GOP candidates,” Natalie writes. “It’s a reflection of both the Trumpification of the party and a calculation that they can still win because the environment is so bad for Democrats this year. And it shows their apparent belief that the electorate now prefers fighters, not peacemakers.”

THE GOP’S MICHIGAN PROBLEM —AP’s Brian Slodysko, Sara Burnett and Thomas Beaumont take a magnifying glass to Republicans’ efforts to unseat Michigan Gov. GRETCHEN WHITMER, which they write is “shaping up as a battle of whose personal baggage is the least disqualifying.” Among the GOP field, which has been littered with scandal after scandal, “there’s little reliable polling to suggest there’s a clear front-runner among the remaining candidates. But Republicans insist Whitmer is still vulnerable this fall given rising prices for gas and food and her close ties to President Joe Biden, whose approval ratings remain low.”

LOOKING AHEAD — “How The Supreme Court Could Turbocharge Gerrymandering — Just In Time for 2024,” by FiveThirtyEight’s Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux and Nathaniel Rakich


BREYER’S NEXT MOVE — What might retired Justice STEPHEN BREYER do next? AP’s Jessica Gresko takes a look at his options.


WHAT’S UP AT THE IRS — The IRS on Thursday called it “ludicrous and untrue to suggest” that officials at the agency specifically targeted both JAMES COMEY and ANDREW MCCABE for an extremely intense and extraordinarily rare audit, as the NYT reported on Wednesday. Lawmakers, however, found it hard to believe it was a simple coincidence. Despite his agency’s pushback, IRS Commissioner CHUCK RETTIG said on Thursday that he personally requested a Treasury Department watchdog to investigate the matter, Bernie Becker and Brian Faler report.

The controversy comes at an interesting time for Rettig: “The IRS commissioner’s term is to expire in November, and Biden administration officials had already begun interviewing potential candidates for his replacement before this week’s news,” WaPo’s Jeff Stein reports, and Rettig has “expressed openness to a second term.”

Related read: “How Unlikely Is It That the Audits of Comey and McCabe Were a Coincidence? A Statistical Exploration,” by NYT’s Francesca Paris and Josh Katz


INTERESTING CAREER CHANGE — JAMES MURRAY, the U.S. Secret Service director, is leaving his post to take a top security job at Snapchat, WaPo’s Nick Miroff reports.

IMMIGRATION FILES — The Biden administration is staring down another major immigration decision deadline to decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan exiles living in the U.S. “But with days to go for a decision, officials are still torn, juggling the benefits it could have on their political standing in Florida and the potential it brings to worsen the migrant buildup on the U.S. southern border,” Sabrina Rodríguez reports.

— In Texas: Gov. GREG ABBOTT on Thursday “cleared state authorities to return migrants they apprehend to the border,” the Texas Tribune’s James Barragán and Patrick Svitek report, “setting up a potential clash with the federal government over the authority to enforce immigration law.”


WHAT EVERYONE SHOULD BE READING — “What the BA.5 Subvariant Could Mean for the United States,” by NYT’s Lauren Leatherby: “The most transmissible variant yet of the coronavirus is threatening a fresh wave of infections in the United States, even among those who have recovered from the virus fairly recently.”


FOR THOSE KEEPING TRACK — “Derek Chauvin sentenced to just over 20 years for violating George Floyd’s federal civil rights,” by NBC’s Daniella Silva


WHAT COMES AFTER BOJO —Our colleague Nahal Toosi has the deets on the U.S. response to BORIS JOHNSON stepping down as British PM: “The so-called special relationship that binds the United States and the United Kingdom has survived wars, Donald Trump and Brexit. It will survive the departure of Boris Johnson. It might even improve. And if his no-namecheck statement on the matter is any indication, President Joe Biden is ready to move on. … Outwardly, U.S. officials are playing it cool even as the resignation has rattled the U.K. If the clamor surrounding Johnson’s myriad scandals fades and a more solid prime minister emerges, that could work to Washington’s benefit.”

THE G-20 SCENE SETTER —AP’s Matthew Lee has your pre-summit reading for the G-20 confab that is set to kick off in Indonesia today: “Top diplomats from the world’s richest and largest developing nations are confronting multiple crises as they open talks beset by sharp divisions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its impacts on food and energy security, along with climate change, endemic poverty and the lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”


JUICY READ — N.Y. Mag’s Shawn McCreesh pens an intriguing dish from the billionaires’ “summer camp” in Idaho: “Among the Media Billionaires in Sun Valley”

TV TONIGHT — PBS’ “Washington Week”: Laura Barrón-López, Josh Dawsey, Michael Shear and Jeff Zeleny.


CBS “Face the Nation”: VP Kamala Harris … Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) … Alex Holder … Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

ABC “This Week”: Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.). Panel: Chris Christie, Donna Brazile, Jane Coaston and Julie Pace.

FOX “Fox News Sunday”: Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). Panel: Jason Chaffetz, Mara Liasson, Susan Page and Juan Williams.

CNN “Inside Politics”: Panel: Margaret Talev, Eva McKend, Jordan Fabian and Ryan Nobles.

NBC “Meet the Press”: Panel: Hallie Jackson, Daniella Gibbs Léger, Mark Leibovich and Rich Lowry.

MSNBC “The Sunday Show”: Luke Broadwater … Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) … David Hogg … Elizabeth Alexander … Robin Marty … Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.).

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter quietly celebrated their 76th wedding anniversary, “a milestone that is so rare that the U.S. Census Bureau doesn’t keep statistics on how many couples make it that far.”

Joe Biden will receive the Israeli Presidential Medal of Honor when he visits Jerusalem next week.

Denzel Washington missed the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony because he tested positive for Covid-19

Joe Cirincione quit the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft over the war in Ukraine.

Ken Auletta has written a whole book about Harvey Weinstein, but he still says the worst person he ever met was Roy Cohn: “No one even close.”

Andrew Cuomowas spotted hanging out at Billy Joel’s pad in the Hamptons.

MEDIA MOVES — David Shipley is joining WaPo as editorial page editor. He previously was the top editor of Bloomberg’s opinion section. More from WaPo’s Paul Farhi and Elahe Izadi Tim O’Brien is taking over as editor of Bloomberg Opinion. …

… Erin Mulvaney is now a legal affairs reporter at WSJ. She previously was a senior reporter at Bloomberg Law. … Haris Alic is joining Fox News as a Congress and national politics reporter. He previously was a congressional reporter for The Washington Times.

TRANSITIONS — Will Kiley is joining Herschel Walker’s Georgia Senate campaign as comms director. He previously was comms director for Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa). … Audrey Cook is joining Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) office as deputy press secretary. She previously worked in regional comms at the RNC. … Nicole Young is now managing director for global government and public affairs at Moody’s Corp. She most recently was VP for government operations, commercial aviation and transportation at Boeing.

Jonathan Elkin is now VP for external affairs at Council for a Strong America. He most recently was VP for public policy at the Council for Opportunity in Education. … Bridgett Frey is now head of comms at Uniswap Labs. She most recently was a senior director at Bully Pulpit Interactive, and is a Chris Van Hollen alum. … David Thompson is now senior legislative assistant for Rep. Shontel Brown (D–Ohio). He most recently was a legislative assistant for Rep. Charlie Crist (D–Fla.).

WEEKEND WEDDINGJas Sajjan, senior manager of government relations at Live Nation, and Allison Brennan, a registered nurse at Kaiser San Francisco, got married Saturday at Hummingbird Nest Ranch in Southern California, with both a Sikh ceremony and a Western ceremony. The couple met in 2005 before the first day of high school started but didn’t date until they met again at a wedding in 2016, and did long distance when Allison was in Seattle and Jas was in D.C. Pics Another pic

BIRTHWEEK (was Thursday): Michael Hudome

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: White House’s Stef Feldman Marianne Williamson Amanda Coyne of Sen. Dan Sullivan’s (R-Alaska) office … Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies … Nick Simpson of Klarna … Eve Samborn McCool of Assemble … Dan Rosenthal of Albright Stonebridge Group … POLITICO’s Sean McMinn … E&E News’ Michael Hunley Steve Holland of Reuters … Robert Henline Howard Gutman of the Gutman Group … Kelley Hudak Geoff Garin of Hart Research … Andrew Kauders of Cogent Strategies … Andy Flick … Amazon’s Molly Spaeth Kirk McPike Anna Quindlen Ron Kampeas Erik Huey of Platinum Advisors … NYT’s Lara Jakes Noah Yantis of the 1st Congressional District of Minnesota office … former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) (8-0) … Tina Urbanski … CNN’s Bill HinkleJim Miklaszewski David Greengrass of House Judiciary … Arlie Ziskend Marisa Connell

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