with Tobi Raji

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🚨: FedEx is announcing today it wants to be carbon neutral by 2040 in  big news for the world's largest cargo airline. The company plans on achieving its goal through a $2 billion investment in vehicle electrification, sustainable energy and carbon sequestration, the company said in a statement.

  • Among its plans is to convert the “entire FedEx parcel pickup and delivery fleet zero-emission electric vehicles by 2040,” per a release.
  • The company also plans to continue to work to reduce fuel consumption in its aircraft and invest in alternative sustainable fuels. 
  • FedEx will invest $100 million to fund a new “Center for Natural Carbon Capture” at Yale University, which will be focused on developing natural carbon removal strategies. 
  • Reminder:FedEx, which operates more than 100,000 trucks in its express division globally, said it added almost 400 electric vehicles to its international fleet in the 2019 fiscal year, the New York Times reported last August.

The Policies

THE VOTING RIGHTS EXCEPTION?: Facing a 6-to-3 conservative Supreme Court and a push from dozens of Republican-controlled state legislatures, Democrats have limited options to fight the state-led GOP effort to restrict voting access.

  • Hmm: “While multiple Democratic senators have resisted a push from the left wing of their party to ditch the filibuster entirely, at least some lawmakers are laying the groundwork for a discussion about creating a limited exception for measures affecting civil rights and voting matters,” our colleagues Amy Gardner and Mike DeBonis report. 
  • “Voting rights is preservative of all other rights, and we have to do everything we can to preserve the voices of the people in our democracy,” Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.) told them. “I think that the issues are urgent enough to leave all options on the table.”

The first step is for House Democrats to pass the bill known as H.R. 1, approving sweeping federal standards for elections and voter access. The “For the People Act” includes measures to expand early and absentee voting, establish automatic voter registration, restore voting rights for individuals with past criminal convictions, etc.

  • The bill is expected to hit the House floor today and pass with “near unanimous Democratic” and “zero Republican backing,” Amy and Mike report.

But as with most things in Washington, the chances are slim-to-none of getting past a closely divided Senate, which requires a 60-vote majority on most things.

Advocates for such a strategy hope outside pressure will come to bear on Democratic senators who oppose such a move.

  • But: Never! repeated Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-WestVa.) on Monday if he was open to changing his support or the 60-vote rule. Jesus Christ, what don't you understand about 'never'?
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) also opposes ending the filibuster despite some pushback at home.
  • Sinema may soon have to decide if she will be a champion for Arizona voters, and those across the nation, or a shill for an outdated obstructionist Senate rule,” longtime columnist for The Arizona Republic EJ Montini wrote in Sinema's home-state paper.

The Supreme Court yesterday heard a challenge to Arizona's election laws and appears poised to uphold two voting restrictions in the state that could hinder future challenges to voting rights' restrictions, our colleague Robert Barnes reports. The case is the “most important voting rights case in almost a decade,” per the New York Times's Adam Liptak. 

  • The lawyer representing the Arizona GOP summed up his reasoning for Justice Amy Coney Barrett: “it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.”
  • “Politics is a zero-sum game, and every extra vote they get through unlawful interpretations of Section 2 hurts us, the lawyer, Michael A. Carvin, added.

Meanwhile, the Georgia House earlier this week passed sweeping measures aimed at restricting voting rights following Joe Biden's win there in November and the capture of both of the state's Senate seats by Democrats in January. Overall, state lawmakers seem looking to weaponize former president Donald Trump's “Big Lie,” introducing over 253 bills in 43 states seeking to pass more restrictive voting laws. 

  • In Georgia:A bill to restrict ballot drop boxes, require more ID for absentee voting and limit weekend early voting days passed the Georgia House on Monday amid protests that the proposals would make it harder for voters to participate in democracy,” the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Mark Niesse reports. 

Georgia's two new Democratic senators, Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff, who were both friends of the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), have also repeatedly called to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which would restore key provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

  • Expect Lewis's name to be mentioned this week:Just Monday, Ossoff successfully passed by unanimous consent a resolution that honored what would have been Lewis’ 81st birthday,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Tia Mitchell and Greg Bluestein report
  • March 7 is the 56th anniversary of Selma's “Bloody Sunday” — the first anniversary without Lewis: “Now the question is: Are we going to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act? Are we just going to have another meeting and sing a few songs and say a prayer and go home? I would hope not, Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) told Axios's Russell Contreras. 
  • Flashback: Former president Barack Obama called on the Senate to remove the filibuster at Lewis's funeral to pass legislation that would restore the Voting Rights Act: “If all this takes eliminating the filibuster, another Jim Crow relic, to secure the God-given rights of every American, then that’s what we should do,” said Obama.

A former Obama advisor: 

On the Hill

GO TIME: Senate Democrats could place the full $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package before the chamber as early as today. Up ahead: An hours-long, overnight vote-a-rama that could potentially change the bill's content. But given they're using budget reconciliation to get the package approved, Democrats will have final say over what's inside the legislation.

  • Republicans plan to “make the final hours of the Democratic efforts to pass their relief bill politically painful and physically exhausting,” CNN’s Lauren Fox reports.
  • But in a “private call with Senate Democrats Tuesday, Biden urged his caucus to stay in line,” and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Democrats “to vote against Republican amendments.”
  • Meanwhile, “Democrats are facing internal divisions about how to handle an amendment from their own. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to introduce an amendment that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.”
  • “Sanders has created the most difficult vote for Democrats,” a Democratic aide told Fox. “Adding the amendment to the bill runs afoul to the parliamentarian’s guidance and stripping it from the bill would put the onus on Schumer to remove it, a difficult political position for the majority leader.”

FYI: The bill that does reach the Senate floor won’t include two controversial infrastructure projects.

INCOMING: “The Department of Defense inspector general has issued a scathing review of Rep. Ronny Jackson during his time serving as the top White House physician, concluding that he made ‘sexual and denigrating’ comments about a female subordinate, violated the policy for drinking alcohol while on a presidential trip and took prescription-strength sleeping medication that prompted concerns from his colleagues about his ability to provide proper care,” CNN's Manu Raju, Barbara Starr, Zachary Cohen and Oren Liebermann report. 

  • “The findings outlined in the report, which was obtained by CNN prior to its expected release on Wednesday, stem from a years-long IG investigation into Jackson – who currently represents Texas in the House of Representatives and sits on the House Armed Services subcommittee overseeing military personnel – that was launched in 2018 and examines allegations that date back to his time serving during the Obama and Trump administrations." 

IT'S OVER FOR TANDEN: “The White House withdrew the nomination of Neera Tanden as director of the Office of Management and Budget Tuesday evening,” our colleagues Seung Min Kim and Tyler Pager report. This is the first Cabinet-level defeat for the administration. 

  • Biden: “I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my Administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work.” Read the statement.
  • Tanden: “It has been an honor of a lifetime to be considered for this role and for the faith placed in me. I appreciate how hard you and your team at the White House have worked to win my confirmation. Unfortunately, it now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities.”
  • Next up: Likely Shalanda Young, who has been on the Hill for confirmation hearings as Tanden's No. 2. Republican senators treated her appearance before them yesterday as a “dress rehearsal” for the top OMB job. “You'll get my support, maybe for both jobs,” quipped Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

The announcement came after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) indicated she would oppose Tanden’s confirmation.

The investigations

FBI DIRECTOR SAYS DOMESTIC TERRORISM IS ‘METASTASIZING’: “FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on Tuesday defended the bureau’s handling of alarming intelligence leading up to the Jan. 6 mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, saying he has long warned about the rising tide of such threats as the domestic terrorism caseload roughly doubled over the past year,” our colleagues Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky report

  • Wray: Domestic terrorism “has been metastasizing around the country for a long time now, and it’s not going away anytime soon.”
  • “Wray’s appearance on Capitol Hill was the latest high-profile Congressional hearing to examine security and intelligence failures leading up to the riot.”
  • Happening today: Maj. Gen. William Walker, the commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, and others will appear before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules and Administration Committee in a joint hearing.

Outside the Beltway

GOOD NEWS: Biden said Tuesday that “there will be enough coronavirus vaccine doses for ‘every adult in America’ by the end of May — a two-month acceleration of his previous projection of July,” our Post colleagues report.

  • But there’s more. “Biden said that he would use federal authority to offer coronavirus vaccinations to K-12 teachers and child-care workers, with the aim of getting at least the first shot administered to all educators by the end of March,” our colleague Laura Meckler reports.
  • Supply is going up. “Moderna and Pfizer vaccine [doses] will increase from 14.5 million to 15.2 million. States will also receive 2.8 million doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” our colleague John Wagner reports.

Too fast?: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) issued an executive order Tuesday lifting the state’s mask mandate and increasing the permitted capacity of all businesses to 100 percent. Read the statement.

  • “The announcement came at a moment when public health officials are warning that new, more transmissible variants could be taking hold,” our colleagues Erin Cunningham, Derek Hawkins and Paulina Villegas report.
  • “Houston is the nation’s first city to record every major variant of the novel coronavirus — many of which are more contagious than the original strain,” the Houston Chronicle’s Robert Downen and Julie Garcia report.
  • “The rush to reopen has alarmed federal health officials, who believe it could threaten important progress in fighting the virus at a fragile time and open the door to another surge this spring,” our Post colleagues report.
  • “Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know could stop the spread of covid-19,” Center for Disease Control director Rochelle Walensky said Monday. “We have the ability to stop a potential fourth surge of cases in this country. Please stay strong in your conviction.”

The people

N.Y. DEMOCRATS CAREFUL ON CUOMO: “Top Democratic officials reiterated their support for an independent investigation of sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo — some saying the accounts are ‘troubling’ — but did not join increasing calls for the embattled governor to resign,” our colleagues Colby Itkowitz and Josh Dawsey report

  • Schumer (D-N.Y.): “These women have to be listened to. I always believed that sexual harassment is not acceptable, must not be tolerated.”
  • Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.): “These allegations are very serious against Gov. Cuomo, made by serious individuals and deserve a serious and independent investigation.”
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.): “The women who have come forward have shown tremendous courage and must be treated with respect and dignity. The behavior described in these allegations against Gov. Cuomo is completely unacceptable.”
Several Democratic lawmakers on March 2 said they support an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D). (The Washington Post)

Several Democratic lawmakers on March 2 said they support New York Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D).


COUNTRY MUSIC LEGEND GETS A DOSE OF HER OWN MEDICINE: “I just want to say to all of you cowards out there, don't be such a chicken squat. Get out there and get your shot,” Dolly Parton said before receiving a dose of the Moderna vaccine.

Shot (pun intended):