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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Tuesday! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!
Total U.S. coronavirus deaths each morning this week: Monday, 788,364; Tuesday, 789,745.
New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioOvernight Health Care — Biden touts drug price push New York mayor announces vaccine mandate for private-sector employers These are the states where the omicron variant has been identified MORE (D) may be leaving office in a matter of weeks, but he isn’t leaving quietly. On Monday, he announced a wide-ranging vaccine mandate for all private employers effective days after Christmas, a move that goes further than the Biden administration.
The New York directive will take effect Dec. 27, with detailed guidelines and enforcement specifics set for release by the city by Dec. 15. Employees who work in person at private companies must receive one dose of the vaccine by Dec. 27. The order does not apply to remote workers.
During a TV interview, de Blasio cited the circulation of the omicron variant as the impetus. The new variant first identified in South Africa has been circulating through the city since the end of November, with some cases of the virus connected to a Nov. 19 anime conference at the Javits Center.
“Omicron is here, and it looks like it’s very transmissible,” de Blasio told MSNBC. “The timing is horrible with the winter months.”
The Associated Press: Omicron v. delta: Battle of coronavirus mutants is critical.
Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans shrugging off Omicron.
According to de Blasio, the new mandate would apply to about 184,000 businesses. Unlike existing corporate policies in the city, there will be no backup testing option under the city’s private sector vaccine mandate.
The new order is another layer atop stringent mandates across Gotham. New York City already has vaccine mandates for city workers and employees as well as individuals who want to dine indoors, attend sports and entertainment events, and go to the gym, among other items. Nearly 90 percent of all adult city residents have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition, the planned measures for indoor dining and entertainment will extend to children ages 5 to 11; they must have one dose to enter restaurants and theaters starting on Dec. 14 (The New York Times).
De Blasio’s moves also serve as a Christmas present of sorts for Mayor-elect Eric Adams (D), who is set to take office on Jan. 1. Undoubtedly, the mandate will be the target of legal challenges in the coming weeks. The Biden administration’s order, which in January would make large employers require COVID-19 vaccines or weekly testing for workers, is on hold as it navigates court challenges.
The New York Times: Will Eric Adams keep NYC’s newest vaccine mandate? Check back later.
The Wall Street Journal: Glaxo says its COVID-19 antibody drug works against omicron.
The threat of omicron and the continued spread of the delta variant are also taking their toll on large companies as they delay plans to bring employees back to the office for in-person work. Ford Motor Company became the latest on the list to pause plans with a Monday announcement that many of its workers won’t return for hybrid schedules until at least March (The Washington Post).
The New York Times: Omicron Is fast moving, but perhaps less severe, early reports suggest.
Nathaniel Weixel, The Hill: Officials seek to reassure public over omicron fears.
The Hill: A U.K professor who helped develop the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine warned on Monday that the next pandemic “could be worse” and that lessons learned now are key, including funding for pandemic preparedness.
The Wall Street Journal: Stocks, oil rise on hopes of a milder COVID-19 variant.
A MESSAGE FROM UBER
Whether it’s because of the freedom to pick their hours, pick their rides, or
simply pick their kids up on time, 86% of drivers say they need flexibility.*
*From a Benenson Strategy Group survey.
LEADING THE DAY
ADMINISTRATION: President BidenJoe BidenMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Dole in final column: ‘Too many of us have sacrificed too much’ Meadows says Trump’s blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 MORE today during a video call with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinThe Memo: Biden, bruised by Afghanistan, faces a critical test in Ukraine Biden holds call with European leaders to talk Russia Overnight Defense & National Security — Preparing for the Biden-Putin call MORE will switch gears from crises at home to warn again of U.S. “consequences” if Moscow invades Ukraine (Reuters). In dealings with Russia, Biden previously warned of repercussions to rebuke Moscow for continued interference in U.S. elections as well as its embrace of cyber crimes, for which Biden levied sanctions in April.
The Hill: The Russian group behind the SolarWinds hack of the U.S. government is ramping up its hacking efforts, according to a new report.
U.S. officials are now weighing possible actions meant to deter Putin from launching an invasion early next year across Russia’s border into Ukraine, including possible punishment aimed at members of Putin’s inner circle and potential sanctions to get tougher with Russian energy producers. Among potential punitive actions is a move that would hobble Russia’s financial ties to a system used by banks around the world (CNN).
The Hill: Biden today will warn Putin about potentially harsh economic consequences for Russia.
The Associated Press: What’s the explanation for Russia’s positioning of nearly 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine? It hasn’t given one.
The Hill: Five things to know about the U.S. approach to Putin and Ukraine’s security.
The Hill: Ahead of today’s call with Putin, Biden on Monday discussed the situation between Russia and Ukraine with the leaders of Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
The Hill’s Niall Stanage, The Memo: With Russia, Biden faces the second major foreign policy challenge of his presidency following the chaotic U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.
The Wall Street Journal, Gerald F. Seib: Three potential crises involving Russia, China and Iran unfold on the world stage.
The Hill: On Capitol Hill, Democrats seek to avoid internal rifts over U.S. policy toward Russia, China.
Separately on Monday, the White House rebuked China and President Xi Jinping over human rights and other differences by ordering a diplomatic U.S. boycott of the Beijing Olympic games in February. The U.S. boycott will not prevent U.S. athletes from competing (The Hill).
CONGRESS: Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBuild Back Better Is bad for the states Dole to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda Biden points to drug prices in call for Senate social spending vote MORE (D-N.Y.) insists that behind-the-scenes labors are smoothing a legislative path to avert looming crises and button up loose deadlines, possibly with Democratic celebrations before the Senate leaves town for the holiday break. Schumer is still talking about needing weeks to resolve outstanding issues. Some naysayers believe the president’s most significant legislative lift, Democrats’ Build Back Better measure, will not be passed and signed this year.
The Hill’s Jordain Carney reports that Schumer wrote to his caucus on Monday to urge determination, accompanied by warnings of potential weekend schedules to try to get Biden’s spending bill through Congress by Christmas. “This is arduous work,” Schumer said on the Senate floor, highlighting the obvious. “It takes time, precision and a lot of moving pieces coming together.”
One of those important moving pieces is the make-or-break verdict of the Senate parliamentarian (The Hill).
The nearly $2 trillion Build Back Better bill must comply with budget rules, which demand that bills have direct revenue and spending impacts.
More in Congress: Dec. 15, not the following week, is the ultimate, final deadline for Congress to approve a hike in the nation’s borrowing authority to avert U.S. default, according to House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOn The Money — Build Back Better takes a ‘Byrd Bath’ Schumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Hoyer says Dec. 15 is drop-dead deadline to hike debt ceiling MORE (D-Md.). “The 15th, I think, is the date that I am using as the last possible day that we could act whether or not that is the actual case because we don’t know the revenue flow at any given day,” he said on Monday. How the debt ceiling problem gets resolved without support from Republicans remains a question. Hoyer said party leaders are still weighing possible options ahead of next week’s deadline (The Hill). … A bipartisan group of senators would like Congress to designate $3 billion to support democracies globally (The Hill). … Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.), who died Sunday at age 98, will lie in state on Thursday in the Capitol Rotunda and be honored during an invitation-only ceremony with COVID-19 precautions. A funeral will take place Friday at the Washington National Cathedral (ABC News).
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
POLITICS: Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesOn The Money — Build Back Better takes a ‘Byrd Bath’ Nunes to resign from Congress, become CEO of Trump media firm Proposed California maps put incumbents in jeopardy MORE (Calif.), a key ally of former President TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump’s blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia’s governor race MORE and the top GOP member on the House Intelligence Committee, announced on Monday that he will resign at the end of the month to lead Trump’s new media and technology company.
“Recently, I was presented with a new opportunity to fight for the most important issues I believe in. I’m writing to let you know I’ve decided to pursue this opportunity, and therefore I will be leaving the House of Representatives at the end of 2021,” Nunes told constituents. “Rest assured, I have not, by any means, given up our collective fight — I’ll just be pursuing it through other means.”
Nunes, 48, is slated to begin his new role in January as CEO of Trump Media & Technology Group. The company is billing itself as an alternative to Big Tech.
In part, Nunes’s decision may have been swayed by the ongoing redistricting process in the Golden State. As the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman noted recently, the first draft map released by California’s bipartisan redistricting committee shifted Nunes’s district from one Trump carried by 5 percentage points to one Biden carried by 9 percentage points (SFGate).
The news also has reverberations on Capitol Hill, as Nunes was the favorite to take over as the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, a longtime goal of his, as he already once unsuccessfully sought the position. As The Hill’s Scott Wong reports, GOP members were surprised by his decision to leave for that reason. Reps. Vern BuchananVernon Gale BuchananMORE (R-Fla.), Adrian SmithAdrian Michael SmithLIVE COVERAGE: House panel launches work on .5T spending package Republicans focus tax hike opposition on capital gains change On The Money: Senate confirms Gensler to lead SEC | Senate GOP to face off over earmarks next week | Top Republican on House tax panel to retire MORE (R-Neb.) and Jason SmithJason Thomas SmithNunes to resign from Congress, become CEO of Trump media firm House passes giant social policy and climate measure Dems brace for score on massive Biden bill MORE (R-Mo.) are considered favorites to replace Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyNunes to resign from Congress, become CEO of Trump media firm Five things to know about the November jobs report Economic growth rate slows to 2 percent as delta derails recovery MORE (R-Texas), the panel’s ranking member, who is retiring at the end of 2022.
The Hill: Former Sen. David PerdueDavid PerdueTrump endorses David Perdue in Georgia’s governor race Trump says matchup between Perdue and Kemp will be ‘interesting,’ stops short of endorsement The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Schumer remains confident in Christmas deadline for Biden agenda MORE (R-Ga.) announces his bid for Georgia governor, setting up a primary contest against incumbent Gov. Brian KempBrian KempTrump endorses David Perdue in Georgia’s governor race Trump says matchup between Perdue and Kemp will be ‘interesting,’ stops short of endorsement The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Schumer remains confident in Christmas deadline for Biden agenda MORE (R).
Politico: Pennsylvania Senate primary tests what it means to be a loyal Democrat.
> GOP’s women play: Republicans are looking ahead to a potentially big 2022 cycle, and they’re hoping to make progress with suburban women to buoy them in a bid to retake both chambers of Congress.
As The Hill’s Julia Manchester writes, suburban women flocked to Democrats in 2018 and helped hand the White House to Biden last year. However, they backed Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn YoungkinGlenn YoungkinActivists preparing for midterms with abortion as a key issue Northam announces final steps in clearing, ceding area where Lee monument stood Judges uphold GOP win for Virginia state House seat, cementing party control of chamber MORE (R) last month en route to his victory, offering a glimpse of what could be in the offing next year.
“They were concerned about grocery prices, about inflation, and from all indications that’s not going to go away,” said Amanda Iovino, who ran polling for Youngkin’s campaign, referring to female suburban voters. “Cost of living, personal finances, those were the messages that really helped drive our support with suburban women and also minority voters.”
Politico: Democrats fall flat with “Latinx” language.
The Hill: Democrats race to get ahead of inflation.
The Hill: Department of Justice sues over Texas’s redistricting plan.
The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!
How is the GOP’s coronavirus recklessness compatible with being pro-life? by Michael Gerson, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/3GqdIFb
As corporations fight to control the Pacific, Biden must act to protect it, by Andrea Folds and Jake Kornack, opinion contributors, The Hill. https://bit.ly/3rHBV5B
To uphold democracy, the United States must fight global corruption, by Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenOn The Money — Build Back Better takes a ‘Byrd Bath’ Schumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Hoyer says Dec. 15 is drop-dead deadline to hike debt ceiling MORE and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha PowerSamantha PowerAfter six decades of US foreign aid, our future must be guided by the past White House: US has donated 200 million COVID-19 vaccines around the world Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Climate divides conservative Democrats in reconciliation push MORE, Washington Post opinion contributors ahead of this week’s U.S. Democracy Summit. https://wapo.st/3rHVhY7
A MESSAGE FROM UBER
Whether it’s because of the freedom to pick their hours, pick their rides, or
simply pick their kids up on time, 86% of drivers say they need flexibility.*
*From a Benenson Strategy Group survey.
WHERE AND WHEN
The House meets at noon.
The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. and will resume consideration of the nomination of Jessica RosenworcelJessica RosenworcelThe Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Schumer remains confident in Christmas deadline for Biden agenda The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Uber – Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 This week: Congress poised to go into December overtime MORE to be a Federal Communications Commission member.
The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 8:30 a.m. Biden will hold a secure video call with Putin at 10 a.m. from the White House Situation Room.
Vice President Harris will speak during a Maternal Health Day of Action at 10 a.m. She will participate with U.S. Olympian Allyson Felix at 11:10 a.m. during a White House event focused on maternal health.
Economic indicator: The Census Bureau at 8:30 a.m. reports on the U.S. trade deficit in October (which notched a record in September).
The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 2 p.m. The administration’s COVID-19 response team will brief journalists at 12:30 p.m.
INVITATIONS to The Hill’s Virtually Live events this week: “Strengthening America’s Healthcare System,” TODAY at 1 p.m., with Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Uber – Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems seek to preserve climate provisions Democrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill MORE (D-Mich.) and Reps. Robin KellyRobin Lynne KellyThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Uber – Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 Maternal and child health legislation must be prioritized now More than 100 Democrats sign onto bill ensuring access to birth control MORE (D-Ill.) and Brad WenstrupBrad Robert WenstrupThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Uber – Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 Lawmakers look to combat obesity with expanded access to medication, therapy The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Altria – Biden holds meetings to resurrect his spending plan MORE (R-Ohio) (information is HERE); and “The Great Rebuild: The Hill’s Infrastructure Summit” on WEDNESDAY at 1 p.m., with expertise from Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Uber – Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems seek to preserve climate provisions Democrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill MORE (D-Del.) and Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Uber – Omicron tests vaccines; Bob Dole dies at 98 Only two Republicans expected to back censuring Gosar Jarring GOP divisions come back into spotlight MORE (R-Mich.), plus other federal and municipal officials and advocates (information is HERE).
➔ SPORTS: The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said it does not plan to suspend upcoming events in China over concerns about the safety of tennis star Peng Shuai. ITF President David Haggerty said the federation doesn’t want to “punish” billions of people by canceling events in the country. The decision comes after one by the Women’s Tennis Association last week to suspend tournaments in China until an investigation is launched into Peng’s recent sexual assault allegations against a retired senior government official (The Hill).
➔ NEWS MEDIA: Former CNN host Chris CuomoChris CuomoBatya Ungar-Sargon discusses Cuomo brothers’ delayed downfall Cuomo quits radio show to ‘focus on what comes next’ Cuomo absent from SiriusXM radio show following firing from CNN MORE, terminated from the cable network on Saturday for violating journalism norms while privately advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoBatya Ungar-Sargon discusses Cuomo brothers’ delayed downfall Cuomo quits radio show to ‘focus on what comes next’ Cuomo’s firing from CNN came amid allegation of sexual misconduct: report MORE (D), amid sexual harassment allegations, tweeted on Monday he quit his Sirius XM radio show to “take a step back and focus on what comes next” (The Hill).
➔ LOBBYING: Mexico is actively lobbying against electric vehicle tax credits for American-built cars contained in Biden’s pending Build Back Better bill. In an interview with The Hill’s Rafael Bernal, Luz María de la Mora, Mexican economic undersecretary, likened the credits to Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on the country. Corporate lobbyists are pressing Senate Democrats to scrap a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations’ income, a proposal included in the House version of Biden’s nearly $2 trillion agenda. The minimum tax divides business interests (The Hill).
➔ CYBERSECURITY: Hackers stole at least $150 million from cryptocurrency exchange BitMart as part of what the company described Monday as a “large-scale security breach.” The BitMart team wrote in a statement that hackers had withdrawn roughly $150 million from two of BitMart’s wallets used by customers, with the company temporarily suspending withdrawals while it investigates the breach. The company emphasized that all other wallets were “secure and unharmed” (The Hill).
And finally … Eighty years ago today, Adm. Husband Edward Kimmel, the four-star commander in chief of the United States Pacific Fleet in Hawaii, sent an urgent dispatch to all major Navy commands and fleet units alerting his superiors to what he was witnessing — the Japanese attack that ushered the United States into World War II. Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who signed a declaration of war a day later (pictured below), called it “a date which will live in infamy.”
Kimmel’s message was brief: “AIR RAID ON PEARL HARBOR X THIS IS NOT DRILL.”
During a 6-½-minute address to a joint session of Congress on Dec. 8, Roosevelt sought to unite the country and cast the United States as a victim of unprovoked aggression. “I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense, but always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us,” he said. “We’ll make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.”
The Associated Press: Pearl Harbor survivor David Russell, 101, a former U.S. Navy seaman first class, returns to Oahu today for a ceremony remembering 2,300 American troops and civilians killed eight decades ago.