10 Things in Politics: Dems ready to ditch GOP on infrastructure

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10 THINGS IN POLITICS YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to receive this newsletter. Send tips to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me at @BrentGriffiths.

Here's what we're talking about:

One thing to watch for: President Biden and first lady Jill Biden will depart for their first overseas trip of Biden's presidency at 8:10 a.m. Eastern. (Cicadas delayed a press plane covering the trip, because of course.)

With Jordan Erb


Chuck Schumer

1. THE HIGHWAY OPTION: Democrats are creeping closer to going it alone on at least part of President Biden's massive infrastructure plan. Biden's weeks-long talks with a group led by Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia collapsed on Tuesday. Now the administration is focused on a bipartisan group of senators who are trying to craft a compromise.

Going their own way: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters his party was preparing to use reconciliation, a tactic to approve certain bills with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate. Schumer said his fellow Democrats know they may not be able to get bipartisan support for everything they want to do, increasing the chances that parts of Biden's plan pass on a party-line vote. (Reminder: Such a maneuver makes one unelected woman very powerful.)

  • Progressives continue to run out of patience: "I think we have to move this up as quickly as we can," Sen. Bernie Sanders told reporters. As budget committee chairman, Sanders has sway in the reconciliation process. He said any reconciliation bill would include both of Biden's infrastructure plans — the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan as well as the $1.8 trillion American Families Plan. 

It's not clear how the bipartisan Senate group can find a deal: The White House-GOP talks reportedly broke down over the scope of the plan, the extent of new money for projects, and how to pay for the entire proposal. GOP senators involved in the group told Insider that they supported some ideas the White House previously rejected.

  • The details: Republicans still want to pay for some of the spending by reusing money earmarked for pandemic relief, Sens. Bill Cassidy and Mitt Romney told my colleagues. Cassidy also ruled out any funding for caregiving in the proposal like Biden proposed, arguing that it goes beyond the scope of infrastructure. Romney told The Washington Post that a meeting between the 20 senators generated "good progress," but added there is still less agreement on how to pay for everything.

More on where Democrats will go from here.


2. Sen. Rick Scott has turned the Senate GOP's campaign fundraising into a pro-Trump megaphone: Insider's review of 190 campaign emails sent out by the National Republican Senatorial Committee from April 18 to May 18 help illustrate the death grip Trump still has on Republicans chastened by his prowess as a fundraiser and political motivator. The NRSC devoted a third of those messages (32%) to hyping up Trump's attempted return to internet glory.


3. Jeff Bezos reportedly didn't pay any income taxes for at least 2 years: In 2007, and again in 2011, Bezos is said to have paid nothing in federal income taxes. That's according to confidential tax documents filed with the Internal Revenue Service obtained by ProPublica, which were revealed in a bombshell report on some of the world's wealthiest people. More on how the world's richest person was able to pay so little to Uncle Sam.


4. Biden will meet with the G7, NATO, and Putin on his first overseas trip: He has portrayed his eight-day journey in stark terms, arguing that it is necessary for the West to show that it can compete with China, the Associated Press reports. The sequencing of the trip is deliberate: Biden consulting with Western European allies for much of a week as a show of unity before his summit with Putin. The president has a long to-do list, especially for his summit with Putin.


Terry MacAuliffe

5. Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is a step closer to his comeback: McAuliffe easily clinched the Democratic nomination last night, setting up a general election against political newcomer and Carlyle Group executive Republican Glenn Youngkin, the Associated Press reports. Virginia is the only state in the nation with an open race for governor this year, which will be a closely watched contest.


6. Mitch McConnell may have just killed any federal action on voting rights: The Senate Minority Leader said he is opposed to a bipartisan proposal named after the late Congressman John Lewis that would reauthorize parts of the landmark Voting Rights Act. McConnell told reporters that the bill is "unnecessary." The lone Republican supporting the bill said it faced a difficult climb even before McConnell's opposition.


7. Senate passes massive bill aimed at thwarting China's rise: Senators voted overwhelmingly by a 68-32 vote to pass a $250 billion proposal aimed at boosting US scientific research and development, The New York Times reports. Both parties put aside their differences over economic policies to pass the legislation pushed by Schumer and Sen. Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana. But the bill's outlook is far less certain in the House where it is expected to face competing proposals.


8. COVID-19 vaccines could be available for kids as young as 6 months soon: Pfizer and Moderna told The Times that they may have doses ready by the fall. Both drugmakers are also developing booster shots that could be deployed for some of the most vulnerable people around the same time.


9. The FBI tricked criminals into using a messaging app the bureau secretly ran: Global police agencies arrested over 800 people in a massive sting operation, by tracking "criminal influencers," and drug traffickers on a messaging app run by the FBI. The sting was coordinated by officers in 20 countries across Europe, in addition to the US and Australia. Those arrested are accused of moving cocaine, cannabis, and firearms.


10. Video shows a man slapping French President Emmanuel Macron in the face: Footage shows the man shouting "à bas la Macronie," a more disrespectful way of saying "down with Macron." The president's security team tackled the man to the ground. Two people were later arrested.


Today's trivia question: On the heels of Biden's visit to the UK, who was the founding father who later came face-to-face with King George III as America's first ambassador to the UK? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.

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