The TAKE with Rick Klein
Much of 2021 has been a waiting game for the party in power.
Moderate Democrats have been waiting for bipartisanship to take hold. Progressives have been waiting for it to become obvious that won’t happen. The White House has been waiting for either of those governing avenues to open up.
The waiting may be coming to an end — driven by deadlines and, finally, votes. President Joe Biden releases his proposed $6 trillion budget on Friday going into a holiday weekend that will feature tense negotiations as well as fresh fallout from bitter fights.
The latest comes from Senate delays in finalizing a major bill impacting China as well as a bipartisan commission charged with investigating the Capitol riots of Jan. 6. The latter item still appears likely to be blocked by Republicans – a move some Democrats would interpret as a signal that pursuing bipartisanship is futile.
Some Democrats’ patience is wearing thin — not just on Jan. 6 accountability and on infrastructure, but on gun legislation, immigration, voting rights, student loans, taxes and more.
For all that, the White House is reviewing a fresh infrastructure proposal put forward by GOP senators. And prospects for a bipartisan policing reform bill actually appear decent, with Sen. Tim Scott saying it’s “June or bust” for those talks.
There just might be deals for Biden to make after all. That doesn’t necessarily mean, though, that he’ll calculate that he can afford to cut them.
The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper
In California, an investigation is ongoing and nine families are grieving lost loved ones in the aftermath of a mass shooting in San Jose. Biden has ordered flags lowered to half-staff for the fifth time in the wake of a shooting since taking office only four months ago.
Still, legislation on gun reform is going nowhere fast.
During his address to the joint session of Congress in April, Biden went off script when talking about gun reform, levying a veiled threat to Senate Republicans.
“I don’t want to become confrontational,” Biden said. “But we need more Senate Republicans to join the overwhelming majority of Democratic colleagues, and close the loopholes required in background checks purchases of guns.”
Months later, the number of people impacted by mass shootings only grows larger, gun violence more generally is surging across the country and Senate Republicans remain immovable on reform.
In March, the House passed two background check bills, but Senate Republicans blocked its path forward. Earlier this month, House Democrats introduced more legislation aimed at closing gun loopholes. Even if that legislation passes the House, it will likely be met with the same obstruction in the Senate.
While the White House put out a written statement Wednesday on the latest mass shooting, Biden made no mention of San Jose or the shooting victims during his trip to Cleveland Thursday, signaling that it isn’t currently a top priority. The earlier threat from the president of confrontation on reform seems to ring hollow as more Americans prepare to bury their dead, killed in the latest hail of gunfire.
The TIP with Alisa Wiersema
After weeks of debate and procedural maneuvering, the clock is winding down on the legislative session in Texas. By default, those scheduling constraints are putting the GOP-backed voting reform bill, Senate Bill 7, closer to the governor’s desk for signature.
The final version has been debated behind closed doors by a bicameral and bipartisan conference committee for a week. Sunday would mark the last day for the group of lawmakers to publicly announce the changes made to the legislation, before both chambers vote on it for a final time.
It remains to be seen which components of the Texas Senate’s original legislation make it into the final version, given that the House gutted the bill earlier this month and replaced it with its own language in order to advance voting reform more quickly through the legislative process.
The overlap between the provisions outlined in both initial bills could offer clues as to what the final legislation covers. Some areas of broad similarity across the bills include penalties for proactive solicitation of mail-ballot applications by election officials, as well as the regulation of the kind of access poll watchers are granted within polling places.
ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. Friday morning’s episode features ABC News’ Kaylee Hartung, who brings us the latest in the deadly rail yard shooting. ABC News Transportation correspondent Gio Benitez tees up what should be a busy travel weekend under new mask guidance. And Wired senior writer Gilad Edelman breaks down Florida’s social media deplatforming law. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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