President Biden said that he was willing to negotiate the scope and financing of his $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs proposal as he held an Oval Office meeting Monday with a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both the House and Senate.

The next several weeks will be crucial to the fate of the package, which Biden proposes paying for in part by raising corporate income taxes. With the Senate’s return, several more senior administration officials are expected to win confirmation this week.

Here’s what to know:
  • The federal government spent $660 billion more than it collected in tax revenue this March, the Treasury Department said, as the Biden administration’s stimulus package pushed the U.S. monthly deficit near record highs.
  • Biden is preparing to nominate Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, a Trump administration critic, to be commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He also tapped Christine E. Wormuth, who served as a top policy official in the Defense Department during the Obama administration, to be the first female Army secretary.
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said a Biden media strategy that includes few television interviews and largely scripted tweets raises the question of whether Biden is “really in charge.”
  • Biden said he watched the “fairly graphic” body camera footage of a Minnesota police officer fatally shooting 20-year-old Duane Wright, an unarmed Black man who was stopped for a traffic violation, but the president said he would reserve judgment until an investigation is done.
11:59 p.m.
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Biden insists he’s willing to negotiate with Republicans on infrastructure

President Biden said Monday that the size and scope of his $2.25 trillion jobs plan — as well as how to pay for it — is up for negotiation, setting the stage for what is likely to be months of congressional wrangling on one of the White House’s chief legislative priorities.

Whether a bipartisan deal materializes is far from clear, however, as a top GOP senator told Biden in a private Oval Office meeting on Monday that it would be “almost impossible” to win over Republicans if the plan envisions boosting the corporate tax rate, as it does now. There is also widespread private skepticism among congressional Republicans that the White House is genuinely open to a cross-party agreement that might significantly scale back Biden’s plans.

But the president, as well as White House officials, insisted that his overtures at bipartisanship were earnest and that he would not have been spending hours meeting with Republicans otherwise.

“I’m not big on window-dressing, as you’ve observed,” Biden said as he prepared to convene the meeting with lawmakers of both parties.

The session, which a White House official said was the first of several Biden will host this month, marked the informal beginning of months of arm-twisting and vote-haggling on Capitol Hill to build support for the administration’s American Jobs Plan, a proposal that goes beyond the traditional definitions of infrastructure.

11:29 p.m.
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Rep. Cheney warns Republicans could lose more voters if they stick to falsehoods over policy

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) diagnosed the problem with today’s Republican Party as one that leans toward falsehoods spread by loud voices on social media over uniting to push actual policymaking proposals to their base.

In a virtual conversation with the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service on Monday, Cheney reiterated her belief that embracing former president Donald Trump’s falsehood that the 2020 election was rigged only undermines faith in the U.S. government and fails to help the party win back voters they lost to President Biden.

“The most important thing has to be the truth, and we have to be willing to speak the truth, and the truth is that the election wasn’t stolen. That doesn’t mean that there weren’t irregularities,” she said. “For us as a party, we have to be clear what we stand for; we have to be clear that we’re going to always tell our constituents and our voters that truth, that we owe them that.”

Cheney said Democrats are not immune to the problem plaguing politics right now, noting that both parties find themselves “in this era of celebrity,” and called on members from each side of the aisle to incentivize debate over popularity.

“Too often, the incentives run towards who can make the biggest splash on Twitter, and I don’t think that’s healthy for the party, for either one,” she said. “I don’t think it’s healthy for our government.”

While she acknowledged that there is no clear answer on how to turn the tide, she suggested Republicans could start by recruiting more candidates who want to “be engaged in the business of legislating” rather than grandstanding.

Cheney has become increasingly vocal against her party’s embrace of the more brash positions espoused by Trump, warning that it will distract Republicans from pushing for traditional policymaking. She said it’s contributed to the division in the party over how to move forward without Trump at the helm. Many members, including Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks (Ind.), say the best way to regain the majority is by embracing Trump’s populist message.

While she gave the Trump administration credit for sustaining a healthy economy that brought new voters to the party, Cheney notably said Republicans must return to discussing substance and proposing policy based on ideas to win back key constituencies “tired of the vitriol,” like suburban mothers who have fiercely rejected Trump in the last two election cycles.

Asked by a Republican college student how the next generation can best reshape the party, Cheney said they need to figure out how to fight misinformation that is contributing to extreme polarization.

“You know social media more than we do,” she said about the current generation of politicians. “You guys are going to be on the front lines of figuring out how people know that what they’re reading and seeing is true.”

11:10 p.m.
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Senate Republicans appear non-committal on anti-Asian hate crimes bill

Senate Republicans so far appear noncommittal on legislation from Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) addressing the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he expects a vote on the bill this week.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), who said he had not yet read the bill, said it “doesn’t do anything” and is a “messaging bill” and then told reporters he needed to read it.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said there are “members who are interested in finding out more about what’s in it, and perhaps having an opportunity to engage in a discussion about how to make it better, how to improve it, so we’ll see what happens.”

“We’re looking into that," Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa.) told reporters.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not yet taken a stand on the bill.

Hirono told reporters on Monday that she didn’t think there were any Republican sponsors on the bill and expressed a lack of confidence about the potential for GOP support.

“You would think all the Republicans would condemn the hate crimes that are being targeted against AAPIs,” Hirono said. “But not enough of them have spoken up.”

She said she was not confident that the bill would get 60 votes.

“Because anything … the Democrats are putting forward as important, the Republican tend to not to support,” she said.

Speaking on the Senate floor on Monday, Schumer said Biden has “urged Congress to swiftly pass this legislation and send it to his desk. Let’s get it done this week.”

“It sends a very important signal from the Congress of the United States to the American public: These crimes will not be tolerated and there will be consequences,” Schumer said. He added: “We all know, every one of us, that racism against one is racism against all. We must stop it.”

10:06 p.m.
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Biden administration reached deal with Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala on migration enforcement, Psaki says

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that an agreement was struck recently with the governments of Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala in an effort to “increase border security.”

Psaki said Mexico decided to maintain 10,000 troops at its own southern border, which she said is expected to double the number of migrants it can intercept daily.

She said Guatemala “surged” police and military presence to its southern border with Honduras by 1,500 and has agreed to set up a dozen checkpoints along the migratory route. Honduras also increased its police and military presence by 7,000, Psaki said, “to disperse a large contingent of migrants.”

“I think the objective is to make it more difficult to make the journey and make crossing the borders more difficult,” Psaki said during Monday’s news briefing.

9:21 p.m.
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Nikki Haley says she would not run for president in 2024 if Donald Trump did

Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor who served as ambassador to the United Nations under President Donald Trump, said she would support her former boss if he ran for the White House again in 2024 and would not run against him.

Republicans have long eyed Haley, a woman of color, as a formidable candidate to lead the GOP ticket for president one day. She is expected to make a bid if the field is open, but a Trump candidacy would make it difficult for other Republicans to gain traction.

“I would not run if President Trump ran,” Haley told an Associated Press reporter. “And I would talk to him about it. That’s something that we will have a conversation about, at some point, if that decision is something that has to be made.”

Haley said the last time she spoke to Trump — with whom she said she had a “great working relationship” — was after the election but before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Haley criticized Trump at the time for his role in inciting his supporters to storm the Capitol, but she was back to praising him within days.

She wasn’t the only one to do an about-face. Other Trump allies like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) condemned Trump in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol attack, but soon returned to defending him.

8:28 p.m.
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Biden to nominate Christine Wormuth to be first female Army secretary

Biden on Monday announced he will nominate Christine E. Wormuth, who served as a top policy official in the Defense Department during the Obama administration, to be the first female Army secretary.

Wormuth served as the undersecretary of defense for policy from 2014 to 2016, the third most senior civilian position in the Defense Department, according to the White House. In that role, she advised two defense secretaries on foreign policy and national security issues.

She joined the Obama administration in 2009 as the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and civil support and later served as the senior director for defense policy on the National Security Council.

She most recently served as director of the international security and defense policy center at RAND corporation.

8:08 p.m.
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Biden picks former New Jersey attorney general to lead DEA

The Biden administration plans to tap Anne Milgram, a former state attorney general, prosecutor and longtime advocate for reform of the criminal justice system, to lead the Drug Enforcement Administration, people familiar with the decision said.

Milgram, who once declared, “there’s no system that is more old-school and broken and problematic than the criminal justice system,” currently works as a lawyer in private practice, and as a law professor and podcaster. The White House announced the nomination Monday afternoon.

Milgram did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The DEA has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since the Obama administration. Former president Donald Trump relied on several acting administrators to steer the roughly $3 billion agency, which investigates violations of the nation’s drug laws.

7:20 p.m.
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Biden is ‘prepared to negotiate’ on infrastructure proposal

President Biden said he is willing to negotiate with Republicans on the size and scope of his infrastructure bill on April 12. (The Washington Post)

Biden said he’s “prepared to negotiate” the extent of his infrastructure plan “as well as how we pay for it.”

The president’s remarks to reporters came at the beginning of his meeting with Democrats and Republicans in an effort to whip up support for his roughly $2 trillion proposal to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure.

“It’s not just roads, bridges, highways,” the president said, adding: “That’s what we’re talking about. And I’m confident that everything is going to work out for us.”

He pushed back on the idea that his bipartisan meetings were “window dressing,” according to a pool report.

Earlier Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden was “absolutely” willing to negotiate the scope and price tag of the infrastructure proposal.

“He looks forward to hearing their ideas, and his objective is to find a way forward where we can modernize our nation’s infrastructure so we can compete with China,” Psaki said. “He’s proposed a way to pay for it, which is what he thinks the responsible thing is to do. And he hopes they’ll come to the table with ideas.”

7:15 p.m.
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Garland to speak at Oklahoma City bombing memorial

Attorney General Merrick Garland is scheduled to travel to Oklahoma City next week to deliver a keynote address at a memorial service for the victims of the 1995 bombing of a federal building in that city – one of the worst domestic terrorists attacks on U.S. soil.

The April 19 event at the Oklahoma City National Memorial will mark Garland’s first significant travel as the country’s top law enforcement, and he’ll revisit a place that was instrumental in shaping his career. Garland was a top Justice Department official when the bombing occurred and supervised prosecutors on the case. The attack killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.

Garland has previously vowed to make fighting domestic terrorism a top priority. His first briefing was centered on the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol when a pro-Trump mob stormed the building. His speech Monday will be called, “On Sacred Ground, We Work to Find Common Ground,” according to a news release from the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.

7:14 p.m.
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Biden watched body cam footage of Daunte Wright shooting, calls for peaceful protests

President Biden on April 12 said the killing of Daunte Wright was tragic but urged peace amid an ongoing investigation. (The Washington Post)

Biden said he watched the “fairly graphic” body camera footage of a Minnesota police officer fatally shooting 20-year-old Duane Wright, an unarmed Black man who was stopped for a traffic violation, but the president said he would reserve judgment until an investigation is done.

“The question is, was it an accident, was it intentional, that remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation,” Biden said in brief remarks about the shooting in the Oval Office.

The president said he spoke to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, where the shooting took place, but had not yet called the Wright family.

Biden urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully, pointing to comments from Wright’s mother asking for those taking to the streets not to distract from her son’s death with violence.

“There is absolutely no justification for looting, no justification for violence. Peaceful protest, understandable,” Biden said. “And the fact is that we do know that the anger, pain and trauma that exists in the Black community in that environment is real, it’s serious, and consequential. But that does not justify violence and/or looting. We should listen to Dante’s mom, who is calling for peace and calm.”

6:16 p.m.
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U.S. government spent $660 billion more in March than it collected in revenue, the third-largest monthly deficit on record

The federal government spent $660 billion more than it collected in tax revenue this March, the Department of Treasury said Monday, as the Biden administration’s stimulus package pushed the U.S. monthly deficit near record highs.

The U.S. spent $927 billion in March alone — more than double the level from March 2020 — a jump due primarily to the disbursal of tens of millions of $1,400 stimulus payments under the American Rescue Plan. Meanwhile, tax revenues stayed largely flat, with the government only collecting slightly more than last March.

The resulting deficit is the third largest ever in American history, Treasury officials said, eclipsed only by April and June of last year — when the U.S. authorized larger levels of emergency spending to head off the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. The monthly deficit had contracted relative to the summer months as federal spending expired and the U.S. economy began to heal.

6:13 p.m.
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Biden pitches infrastructure plan as he meets with CEOs on bolstering semiconductors supply chain

President Biden on April 12 said there is bipartisan support for helping the U.S. manufacture semiconductors, which he characterized as “infrastructure.” (The Washington Post)

President Biden worked in a pitch for his $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure package during a virtual meeting Monday with corporate leaders about the supply chain for semiconductors and other items.

Speaking from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Biden noted there is bipartisan support for helping U.S. manufacturing of semiconductors — products he branded “infrastructure.”

“This is infrastructure,” Biden said. “So look, we need to build infrastructure of today, not repairing the one of yesterday.”

Republicans have pushed back on Biden’s proposed legislation, arguing that his definition of infrastructure is too expansive, with calls for investment well beyond roads, bridges, rail and other more traditional kinds of infrastructure.

“We led the world in the middle of the 20th century,” Biden said. “We led the world toward the end of the century, we’re going to lead the world again. … And I’m not ready to give up. I’m ready to work with all of you, with the Congress, both parties to pass the American Jobs Plan, and to make a once-in-a-generation investment in America’s future.”

5:26 p.m.
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White House looks to Nascar, ‘Deadliest Catch,’ country music to reach white conservatives on vaccines

White House press secretary Jen Psaki acknowledged that for some Americans skeptical of the coronavirus vaccine, Biden and Harris aren’t the right messengers, so the administration is seeking ways to reach those people through channels they trust.

The White House is investing in a community corps program to use local organizations, such as churches, to do the educating on the efficacy and safety of the vaccines. In addition to the local outreach, the Biden administration is also using targeted ads to reach groups, like White conservatives, who are wary.

“We’ve run PSAs on ‘The Deadliest Catch.’ We’re engaged with NASCAR and Country Music TV. We’re looking for a range of creative ways to get directly connected to White conservative communities,” Psaki said. “We won’t always be the best messengers, but we’re still trying to meet people where they are, but also empower local organizations.”

5:00 p.m.
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Apple and Will Smith move their new film ‘Emancipation’ about slavery out of Georgia to protest voting-rights law

Apple and Will Smith became the biggest Hollywood entities to take concrete action to leave Georgia as they and director Antoine Fuqua announced plans Monday to move production of their new drama about slavery, “Emancipation,” out of the state to protest its restrictive new election law.

The move marks Hollywood’s first major exit from the state where it shoots much of its work since the bill was signed into law last month. But it is more likely to stand as a one-off than the start of a trend, a function of Apple’s deep pockets and the movie’s particular subject matter.

“At this moment in time, the nation is coming to terms with its history and is attempting to eliminate vestiges of institutional racism to achieve true racial justice. We cannot in good conscience provide economic support to a government that enacts regressive voting laws that are designed to restrict voter access," Fuqua and Smith said in a statement.