President Biden on Monday defended his proposals to raise taxes on corporations and high-income earners to pay for his sweeping spending plans, casting his initiatives as a matter of fairness as he spoke at a community college in Portsmouth, Va.

Earlier, Biden visited an elementary school in Yorktown, Va., as part of an ongoing pitch for plans that would cost roughly $4 trillion and focus on bolstering the nation’s infrastructure and expanding access to education and safety-net programs for families.

Here’s what to know:

  • A small number of immigrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump administration will be reunited this week, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.
  • Biden on Monday announced that he will raise the cap on refugees who can be admitted into the United States from 15,000 to 62,500 after blowback from immigrant rights groups and Democrats for extending Trump-era levels.
  • Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) pushed back against former president Donald Trump’s attempt to commandeer the label “Big Lie,” commonly used to refer to the false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
  • A growing number of House Democrats from competitive districts are headed for the exits, adding yet another concern for a party facing an uphill fight to maintain control of Congress after next year’s midterm elections.

The coronavirus vaccine skeptics who changed their minds

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Participants in an April 29 focus group describe what made them decide to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. (Courtesy of Frank Luntz and de Beaumont Foundation)

Kim Simmons, a 61-year-old small-business owner in Illinois, vividly remembers the moment she went from vaccine skeptic to vaccine-ready: watching a Johns Hopkins University doctor on C-SPAN make the case for why the shots are safe.

For Lauren Bergner, a 39-year-old homemaker in New Jersey, it was when she realized it would make it easier for her family to attend New York Yankees games, after the team announced fans would need to show proof of a negative coronavirus test or that they had been vaccinated.

And for Elizabeth Greenaway, a 34-year-old communications consultant in Pennsylvania, it was the sudden fear that if she got sick, she wasn’t sure who would take care of her 2-year-old daughter, who has a rare health condition.

Simmons, Bergner and Greenaway are among the growing number of vaccine skeptics turned vaccinated Americans, a sign of hope amid the slowing pace of vaccinations nationwide. Almost half of all adults have yet to receive a first shot although they are now eligible, and the rolling rate of new shots has dropped to its lowest level since mid-March.

Facebook’s Oversight Board has decided the fate of Trump’s account. Here’s everything you need to know.

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It’s been four months since former president Donald Trump was last allowed to post on Facebook, after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was banned “indefinitely.”

Now the Facebook Oversight Board, an outside group funded and created by Facebook to review the social media giant’s thorniest policy choices, has made a decision on the case. It is expected to announce on Wednesday whether Facebook can uphold its suspension of Trump or whether it has to allow him back on the site.

The board will announce its decision on this case — its most significant by far — at approximately 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Analysis: How the refugee cap has evolved, and who it has allowed in

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There haven’t been many occasions since Jan. 20 for the Democratic left to stridently oppose President Biden, but he offered them one last month when his staff floated the idea that he might not increase the limit on refugees the United States would allow in this year.

The idea that Biden — who on the campaign trail had chastised his predecessor for rejecting refugee admissions — might keep in place former president Donald Trump’s historically low limit was anathema to many Americans, including Democratic legislators. The Biden administration quickly backtracked, telling reporters that Biden would release a new proposal by mid-May.

Mid-May came early. On Monday, the administration announced Biden would lift the limit to 62,500 refugees for fiscal 2021, which ends Sept. 30. This was the level that he’d first proposed for the fiscal year back in February and so, in that sense, doesn’t mark a dramatic change.

Biden says he will raise refugee cap from 15,000 to 62,500 after blowback for extending Trump-era levels

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Biden on Monday announced that he will raise the cap on refugees who can be admitted to the United States to 62,500, a move that follows months of wavering and fierce blowback from human rights advocates and fellow Democrats.

“Today, I am revising the United States’ annual refugee admissions cap to 62,500 for this fiscal year. This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees,” Biden said in a written statement.

He added, “The new admissions cap will also reinforce efforts that are already underway to expand the United States’s capacity to admit refugees, so that we can reach the goal of 125,000 refugee admissions that I intend to set for the coming fiscal year.”

Top general drops opposition to changing how military handles sexual assaults

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Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, no longer opposes efforts to remove commanders from the decision-making process involving sexual assault prosecutions.

Milley, in an interview with the Associated Press and CNN, said it’s time to consider another approach because the problem has persisted for years despite efforts to solve it — but he stopped short of endorsing the change, which was recommended by an independent review panel.

“We’ve been at it for years, and we haven’t effectively moved the needle,” Milley told the outlets. “We have to. We must.”

According to the Defense Department’s latest report, there were 7,825 reports of sexual assault involving service members. Only 7 percent of the cases pursued resulted in a conviction.

This could add momentum to a proposal from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who reintroduced a bill last week that would move decisions about prosecuting crimes from the chain of command to independent, professionally trained military prosecutors.

Given Milley’s position as the senior military adviser to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and to President Biden, his stance on the issue is expected to carry significant weight and could influence enough other service chiefs.

Gillibrand last week secured the support of a crucial ally, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). Ernst, a sexual assault survivor and retired lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard, is the only female combat veteran among Senate Republicans. Ernst joined other Republicans, including Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.) and Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), in backing the bill.

“I understand the traumatic events that too many of our survivors have faced,” Ernst said last week. “And while our military is a highly disciplined force, sexual assault has plagued our armed forces for too long.”

Liz Cheney slams Trump’s attempt to brand 2020 election ‘the Big Lie’

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Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) pushed back against former president Donald Trump’s attempt to commandeer the term “Big Lie,” commonly used to refer to the false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, and accused him and those who perpetrate the falsehoods of “poisoning” democracy.

Trump released a statement Monday morning asserting: “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!” The statement came as an oversight board for Facebook is expected to rule this week on whether to allow Trump back on the social media platform after he was suspended in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Trump is known to take criticisms of him and flip them against his critics until the terms lose meaning, such as “fake news.” His apparent hope is that his allies will begin referring to the 2020 election itself as the “Big Lie.”

But Cheney, who is in hot water among many of her Republican peers because of her unabashed criticism of Trump’s attempts to subvert the election results, immediately spoke out against him.

“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” Cheney tweeted. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”

Hours later, Trump released another statement, this time attacking Cheney by calling her a “big-shot warmonger” and claiming that people Wyoming “never liked her much.”

Cheney was among the few House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for inciting the riot at the Capitol. Some Republicans demanded she be stripped of her leadership post over it, but she beat back an initial challenge. Cheney is the third-highest-ranking Republican in the House.

Analysis: Romney and Cheney were once quintessential conservative names. Then ‘conservative’ changed.

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Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was elected in 2018 by massive margins. He won the Republican primary by more than 40 points and then the general election by more than 30. Despite his having regularly demonstrated public opposition to President Donald Trump, including before Trump’s 2016 election, Utahns were eager to send him to Washington.

After all, the state itself had been unusually skeptical of Trump in 2016, backing him by 18 points after preferring Sen. John McCain of Arizona by 28 points eight years before. In 2012, of course, the state backed Romney’s presidential bid by a massive margin.

Yet over the weekend, the reception Romney got at a party event in the state was not particularly warm. As the senator spoke, Republicans in the room booed him — largely a response to his two votes to convict Trump in the former president’s impeachment trials. The issue at hand was related: Utah Republicans hoped to censure Romney for daring to oppose the still popular Trump. That vote failed, but by a slim margin.

Biden to deliver keynote address at Coast Guard Academy commencement this month

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Biden will deliver the keynote address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s commencement ceremony this month, in what will be his first graduation speech as president.

The ceremony will take place on May 19, the Coast Guard Academy said Monday in a tweet. The event will not be open to the public but will be streamed online.

Biden previously addressed the Coast Guard Academy’s graduates in 2013, when he was vice president. Then-acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf delivered the keynote address at last year’s virtual ceremony, and Trump spoke to the graduates in 2017, in his first commencement address at a service academy as president.

Sen. Durbin asks FBI head to explain agency’s failure to anticipate Jan. 6 insurrection

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) requested Monday that FBI Director Christopher A. Wray respond to recent reports that the intelligence agency failed to use its sources within the Proud Boys and other extremist groups to prevent the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

“Despite clear evidence that these violent extremists coordinated in advance, the FBI does not appear to have warned of potential violence targeting the January 6 Joint Session of Congress until Jan 5, 2021 — and even then, the FBI’s warning was limited to a Situational Information Report that you have characterized as ‘raw, unverified’ intelligence,” the senator wrote to Wray.

Reuters reported Monday that the FBI had at least four sources within the Proud Boys who regularly provided the agency with intelligence about the organization. It’s not clear whether the FBI had thoroughly embedded the Proud Boys and other extremist agencies but law enforcement agencies say the agency had enough information to have done more to prepare for Jan. 6.

“The FBI’s failure to issue a formal intelligence bulletin or other finished intelligence product addressing potential violence on January 6 is deeply concerning, particularly given the prevalence of publicly available social media posts discussing plans to ‘occupy’ and ‘storm’ Congress,” Durbin said. “To date, the FBI has not offered a defensible explanation for this intelligence failure.”

The FBI told the Post that the letter was received but that the agency had no additional comment.

Wray testified in March before the Senate Judiciary Committee that the January attack was an example of “domestic terrorism” committed by multiple far-right extremist groups. But the FBI has yet to explain why it failed to detect that the event would happen despite having sources within these groups.

The attack on the Capitol by a mob determined to stop Congress from affirming Biden’s win resulted in the deaths of five people and injuries to more than 100 U.S. Capitol Police officers.

Biden predicts country will be in ‘very different position’ by end of summer

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Biden on Monday wouldn’t say when the United States would reach herd immunity from the coronavirus, but predicted that by the end of the summer, the country “would be in a very different place than we are now.”

“There’s this debate over what constitutes herd immunity, is it 70 percent of the population? Sixty-eight percent, 81 percent? The point is that by the end of the summer, right now, every single person 16 years or older doesn’t have to wait in line, can show up and get a vaccination now,” the president said when asked about herd immunity after remarks at a community college in Virginia. “My plea to everyone, get vaccinated now.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Saturday, a little more than 30 percent of Americans have been fully vaccinated.

Biden defends tax increases he has proposed to pay for spending plans

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On May 3, President Biden advocated for creating universal access to two years of preschool and two years of community college. (The Washington Post)

Biden on Monday defended his proposals to raise taxes on corporations and high-income earners to pay for his spending plans, casting his initiatives as a matter of fairness during a speech at a community college in Portsmouth, Va.

I don’t want to punish anybody, but everybody should chip in. Everybody should pay something,” he said as he touted his American Families Plan.

The proposal would cover two years of tuition-free community college, prekindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds, and paid family and medical leave for American workers, among other provisions.

To pay for these initiatives, Biden is proposing $1.5 trillion in tax hikes aimed primarily at wealthy Americans and investors. The White House aims to raise money through a sizable increase in enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service, as well as approximately doubling the capital gains tax rate for those earning more than $1 million per year.

Biden is also pitching a separate jobs and infrastructure plan that would be paid for in part by raising the corporate income tax. Together, the plans carry a price tag of about $4 trillion.

During his remarks, Biden referenced his home state of Delaware.

I come from the corporate capital of the world,” he said. “More corporations are incorporated in the state of Delaware than all the rest of the nation combined. And I’m not anti-corporate, but it’s about time they start paying their fair share.”

He made a similar appeal about asking the wealthy to pay more.

“Do we want to give the wealthiest people in America another tax cut? Or do you want to give every high school graduate the ability to earn a community college degree?” Biden asked. “Is it more important to keep these tax loopholes for millionaires — for good people, not bad folks — or would we rather put $7,200 in the pockets of working moms and dads every year if they have two children?”

Before his remarks at Tidewater Community College, Biden met with the instructor of an HVAC class and some of his students.

Analysis: The slow, painful death of Trump allies’ voting-machine conspiracy theories

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Among the many wild conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, few rank as high when it comes to both baselessness and reach as those involving voting machines. The theory that voting machines were programmed to steal the election from President Donald Trump had the benefit, while being utterly without merit, of at least being simple and easy for people to grasp. There were big swings in the vote totals! (Because Joe Biden did a lot better in mail balloting, which were often added to the totals en masse!)

Unfortunately for its proponents, these theories carried one very significant drawback: legal liability. While broad claims of voter fraud are relatively unspecific and involve many potential perpetrators, there are relatively few voting-machine companies. Claiming such things means impugning the companies specifically and creating a situation in which your baseless claims can lead to calculable personal and business harm, which is important when it comes to suing someone for defamation.

And sue they have. The result: Many, if not most, of the high-profile purveyors of such claims have since backed off.

Pelosi pounces on McCarthy’s promotion of restaurant fund in a relief bill he and other Republicans opposed

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pounced Monday on a tweet sent over the weekend by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promoting an emergency assistance fund for restaurants that was part of a sweeping coronavirus relief bill that every GOP lawmaker opposed.

“Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the American Rescue Plan ‘socialist,’ claimed it would turn the U.S. into Venezuela, and convinced every Member of his caucus to vote against it,” Pelosi’s office said in a statement, referring to the larger legislation. “He even warned the American people ‘help is not on the way.’ Now he’s touting the American Rescue Plan’s Restaurant Revitalization Fund to brag about bringing home the bacon.”

In his tweet, McCarthy shared with his followers that the restaurant fund was going to start taking applications on Monday and provided a link to the website of the program, which is being administered by the Small Business Administration.

Several other GOP lawmakers in recent weeks have also sought to promote the program, which will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue losses of up to $10 million per business.

Analysis: Biden’s answer to GOPers rejecting his victory: Press on

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President Biden confronts as thorny a political problem as any faced by his recent predecessors: how to make policy and drive it through Congress when a majority of the Republican Party falsely says he’s not just wrong, but illegitimate.

My colleagues Ashley Parker and Marianna Sotomayor reported yesterday on the hold former president Donald Trump’s whopper about the 2020 election — that widespread electoral shenanigans cost him a second term — has on Republicans nationwide.

Ashley and Marianna noted:

A CNN poll released Friday found that 30 percent of Americans say Biden did not legitimately win enough votes to win the presidency, including 70 percent of Republicans. Fewer than a quarter of Republicans — 23 percent — believe Biden legitimately won enough votes for the presidency. However, the percentage of Republicans who falsely say there is solid evidence that Biden did not win has dropped by eight percentage points, from 58 percent in January to 50 percent now.”