President Biden on Tuesday provided an update from the White House on goals for returning to pre-pandemic life, including a target of 70 percent of adults in the country having at least one vaccine shot by July Fourth. “Go get the shot as soon as you can,” the president said after outlining various administration steps to make it easier for more Americans to get vaccinated.

Earlier Tuesday, the White House told states that vaccine supply they leave unordered will become available to other states — the most significant shift in domestic distribution since Biden took office.

Here’s what to know:

  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen clarified that she is not concerned about the risks of economic overheating hours after her earlier comments about inflation caused a brief panic on Wall Street and invited fresh scrutiny about the White House’s position.
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said during a television interview Tuesday that he has heard concerns from fellow House Republicans about the ability of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to perform her leadership role.
  • Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.) announced that he is running for governor, saying in a video that he wants “a Florida for all.”
  • Vice President Harris decried corruption in the Northern Triangle as she delivered a speech committing the United States to do more to help address the root causes of a surge in migrants coming to the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months.

The Trailer: In New Mexico, Democrats work to prove their Texas rout was a fluke

12:21 a.m.
Link copied
link

ALBUQUERQUE ― Melanie Stansbury laughed when she first saw the ad. The Democratic state legislator was taking some down time, some of the last she’d get before early voting began in the June 1 special congressional election, and heard the sirens, the narrator talking about rising crime, and then the claim that she’d “support legislation that defunds the police” and take their “guns away.”

“I was like: Where did this come from?” Stansbury said, after leading one of the party’s weekend canvass launches for her campaign. “I literally laughed out loud, because it was so outrageous. Like, here is the $11 million in public safety investments that I helped get for our community.”

State Sen. Mark Moores, Stansbury’s Republican opponent, was happy to explain.

Democrats prepare for all-in Florida fight against rising GOP star Ron DeSantis

11:44 p.m.
Link copied
link

After nearly a decade of disappointment in the Sunshine State, Democrats are throwing themselves back into the breach with a major effort to topple Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Fox News phenom and potential 2024 presidential contender, in a reelection race that will be a major test of whether Donald Trump’s vision for the Republican Party has staying power in a closely divided state.

Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), elected governor of the state as a Republican in 2006, became the first to announce his candidacy Tuesday, declaring that he hoped to “to restore civility instead of demonizing those who have a different point of view.”

“If we seize this moment, if we take this chance, if we focus on the things that unite us, we can create the Florida we know is possible,” he said.

Analysis: Trump and the ‘big lie’ aren’t just going to go away

11:17 p.m.
Link copied
link

It was around the middle of July 2015 that the Republican Party’s slowly roiling identity crisis suddenly boiled over.

Donald Trump had leveraged fervent anti-immigrant rhetoric to surge to the lead of the field vying for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination. After the party’s 2008 nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), attacked Trump for having “fired up the crazies” on the immigration issue, Trump fired back, disparaging the war hero’s service. Many party leaders (and Trump’s primary opponents) rubbed their hands giddily: At last Trump had gone too far! In short order, they assumed, they would be rid of Trump and his noxious efforts to reshape their party.

On the off chance that you recently emerged from a multiyear voyage to a distant planet, and this article is serving as your first reintroduction to the events of the past six years: They were not rid of Trump.

Florida Gov. DeSantis sets Jan. 11 as date for House special election to succeed Alcee Hastings

9:43 p.m.
Link copied
link

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday announced that the special election in the race to succeed the late congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) will take place on Jan. 11, with the primary election set for Nov. 2.

Hastings died last month at age 84. The district he represented in Congress, Florida’s 20th, is heavily Democratic — meaning that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will be short one member for more than eight months while the seat remains vacant.

“I am going to be doing an executive order to set the special election for Congressional District 20, Alcee L. Hastings’s seat. ... We’re going to do the primary November 2, the general election for January 11,” DeSantis said at a Miami news conference Tuesday afternoon.

“I know, as someone who ran for [House] before, there’s a lot that goes into it,” said DeSantis, who was a House member from 2013 to 2018. “I know there’ll be a lot of folks that want to run for it. So hopefully, that gives them enough time to be able to get on the ballot and do whatever they need to do to be competitive.”

Democrats currently control 218 seats in the House to Republicans’ 212, a tight margin that puts pressure on Pelosi not to lose more than a handful of Democrats on any given vote.

Five House seats are vacant. One of those seats will be filled next week, when Rep.-elect Troy Carter (D-La.) is sworn in to succeed White House adviser Cedric L. Richmond, who resigned in January.

New Mexico voters will elect a replacement for Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on June 1, while northeastern Ohio voters will nominate candidates to replace newly confirmed Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge on Aug. 3, with a special election to follow in November.

On May 24, voters in north Texas will pick a replacement for the late Rep. Ron Wright, a Republican whose widow, Susan Wright, is facing state Rep. Jake Ellzey (R) in a runoff for the seat.

David Weigel contributed to this report.

National Guard soldier is fourth service member charged in Capitol riot

8:43 p.m.
Link copied
link

A soldier in the Wisconsin National Guard was charged Monday in connection with the Capitol riot Jan. 6, becoming the fourth service member linked to the violent attempt to thwart the certification of Joe Biden’s election as president.

Abram Markofski and an associate were arrested Monday in Wisconsin and each charged with four counts related to the Capitol breach, including violent entry or disorderly conduct and entering restricted spaces, according to the Justice Department.

Markofski, a private first class, enlisted in the Army National Guard in 2019, said Maj. Joe Trovato, a spokesman for the Wisconsin National Guard. He is an infantryman assigned to the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry Regiment.

Stefanik is laying the groundwork for leadership run if Cheney is ousted

Link copied
link

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) is calling Republican colleagues in an effort to pitch herself as a replacement if the House GOP caucus ends up voting to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as the only woman in GOP leadership, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Frustration with Cheney among House Republicans has broken into public view over the past week after Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other members complained that the Wyoming Republican’s criticism of former president Donald Trump for spreading the falsehood that the 2020 presidential election was stolen is a distraction when she should be focusing on issues that unite the party. In fact, Cheney has at the same time echoed other Republicans on major issues such as government spending and immigration.

“Liz has attempted (is FAILING badly) to divide our party. Trump is still the LEADER of the GOP, Liz! I look forward to her being removed SOON!” Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Tex.) wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

While no member has introduced a resolution to formally begin deliberations to remove Cheney, many members and aides say her replacement should be a woman. That creates an opening for Stefanik, who has evolved from a loyal member of the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan 2012 campaign team to a staunch Trump supporter.

Several aides, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, said Stefanik would be the front-runner for a leadership position if Cheney is removed. The news of Stefanik making calls about a possible leadership run was first reported by Punchbowl News.

Other women who have been floated as possible replacements for Cheney include freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), who has gained favorability among leadership. Her office says she is interested only in reelection and not in climbing the leadership ladder. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), another name circulating as a replacement, told The Washington Post he is interested in finishing his term as Republican Study Committee chairman before considering other positions within the caucus.

Harris pitches Biden’s jobs plan, says it will reverse America’s declining investment in innovation

7:25 p.m.
Link copied
link

Vice President Harris touted Biden’s American Jobs Plan during a visit to Wisconsin on Tuesday, arguing that it would be an investment in innovation, research and development that would enable the United States to better compete in a global economy.

“We must be able to compete,” she said in Milwaukee. “Innovation will make things easier for American families and will create jobs.”

Harris visited clean-energy laboratories at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, where she learned about the development of charging stations for electric vehicles. She also participated in a roundtable discussion with union workers, lawmakers and other local residents.

“When did we last invest? We need to do more than just catch up,” she said as the discussion ended. “We must invest with a sense of urgency. We need to invest in our universities, in our children and in our people.”

The vice president noted that America has fallen behind on research and development and that federal government investment has declined over the past two decades.

The jobs plan is estimated to cost $2 trillion — which would be financed by tax increases on corporations and wealthy Americans — and aims to add more than a million jobs to the economy, with many of them benefiting working-class Americans and families. Republicans have pushed back on the proposal, citing its impact on high-income earners and businesses.

‘Light at the end of the tunnel’ is growing brighter, Biden says of coronavirus pandemic in U.S.

7:23 p.m.
Link copied
link

In remarks at the White House on Tuesday afternoon, Biden announced that his administration is aiming for 70 percent of all American adults to have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by July 4, and for a total of 160 v Americans to have been fully vaccinated by then.

“The light at the end of the tunnel is actually growing brighter and brighter,” Biden said, assessing the state of the pandemic in the United States.

The president noted that nearly 150 million Americans have received at least one shot, and that 105 million are fully vaccinated. Coronavirus cases in 40 states have declined over the past two weeks, and deaths are down “dramatically” since January, he added.

The Biden administration’s pandemic response will soon shift to a new phase focusing on three areas: potentially expanding vaccinations to 12- to 15-year-olds, making it more convenient for all Americans to get vaccinated and focusing on those who still aren’t sure they want to get vaccinated.

“Now we’re going to have to bring the vaccine to people who are less eager,” Biden said, adding, “I know there’s a lot of misinformation out there, but there’s one fact I want every American to know: People who are not fully vaccinated can still die every day from covid-19.”

Biden announced the launch of a new website, vaccines.gov, to help Americans find sites offering vaccines. Pharmacies will also have walk-in hours, he said, and Americans can send a text message with their Zip code to 438829 to receive a list of locations nearby.

In hot-mic comments, McCarthy says he has ‘lost confidence’ in Cheney

6:27 p.m.
Link copied
link

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that he has “lost confidence” in Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), in off-air remarks to a Fox News Channel host before a television interview.

According to Axios, which reviewed footage of the exchange, McCarthy told host Steve Doocy that he has “had it” with Cheney.

“I think she’s got real problems,” McCarthy said of Cheney, according to Axios. He added: “I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence. … Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place.”

During the actual “Fox & Friends” interview Tuesday morning, McCarthy did not go quite so far in criticizing Cheney, who has come under fire from other Republicans for denouncing former president Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

“No, there’s no concern about how she voted on impeachment,” McCarthy told Doocy during his “Fox & Friends” appearance. “That decision has been made. I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message. We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority. Remember, majorities are not given, they are earned.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) later defended Cheney in a tweet Tuesday afternoon.

“Every person of conscience draws a line beyond which they will not go: Liz Cheney refuses to lie,” said Romney, who was the sole Senate Republican to vote to convict Trump. “As one of my Republican Senate colleagues said to me following my impeachment vote: ‘I wouldn’t want to be a member of a group that punished someone for following their conscience.’”

Psaki disputes report that teacher’s union lobbying affected CDC guidelines on school reopenings

6:20 p.m.
Link copied
link

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday flatly dismissed claims from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on school reopenings were strongly influenced by one of the county’s largest teachers’ unions.

“That is false,” she said Tuesday at the White House briefing. “It’s actually long-standing best practice for the CDC to engage with organizations and groups that are going to be impacted by guidance and recommendations issued by the agency. It doesn’t mean they are taking everything they want or even a percentage of what they want, but it’s important to understand the implementation components.”

Cotton, a frequent critic of the Biden White House’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, said that schools have been open in Arkansas for months with little problem and that more states should open schools instead of looking to the CDC for guidance. Some media outlets reported that the American Federation of Teachers influenced the agency’s guidelines after a conservative watchdog group noted that the CDC used language recommended by the union in its guidelines.

“The CDC is a thoroughly politicized agency,” Cotton said Monday on Fox News. “Most Americans disregard their advice on things like steaks and hamburgers and beers. Increasingly, they should disregard their advice on school reopenings.”

Psaki said it was appropriate that the CDC is consistently in conversations with the union and dozens of other groups about school reopenings to make the most informed decisions possible.

“They do so to ensure that recommendations … be feasible and that they adequately address the safety and well-being of the individuals the guidance is aimed to protect,” she said.

Biden to set new goal of 70 percent of Americans getting at least one vaccine dose by July 4

Link copied
link

Biden on Tuesday will set new benchmarks for the United States to return to pre-pandemic life, setting a goal of 70 percent of adult Americans receiving at least one vaccine shot by the Fourth of July amid rising pressure for the White House to find ways to expedite a return to normalcy as summer approaches.

The president, after seeing 200 million shots surpassed in his first 100 days in office, also aims to have 160 million Americans — or 60 percent — fully vaccinated by the summer holiday, a date he marked in a March prime-time address for the United States to start to look “more normal.”

Health officials are confident that communities that can achieve a 70 percent vaccination rate will see sharp declines in individual cases, hospitalizations and deaths, a senior administration official said on a call with reporters Tuesday.

Asked about Cheney drama, Psaki says GOP doesn’t know ‘where they stand and what they stand for’

5:55 p.m.
Link copied
link

White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to specifically weigh in on the drama surrounding Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) future in House GOP leadership, but said generally that the Republican Party doesn’t seem to know what it stands for.

Psaki was asked for her reaction to the negative backlash against Cheney among many in her party for saying that Biden won the election fairly and that it was not stolen from former president Donald Trump.

“The Republican Party seems to be spending a lot of blood, sweat and tears trying to figure out where they stand and what they stand for, and that’s their prerogative,” Psaki said. “But our focus is on, and how we’re spending our time, is on defeating the pandemic, growing our economy, building on that for the long run.”

Psaki added that while Biden and Cheney don’t have many policy goals in common, his aim is to “seek civility even when he disagrees” — a seemingly subtle swipe at the infighting within the GOP.

Treasury secretary suggests Biden plans may require interest rate hikes, spooking investors

4:34 p.m.
Link copied
link

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in remarks aired Tuesday that the economy could be at risk of overheating if the Biden administration’s spending proposals are approved. She raised the prospect of future interest rate increases, which appeared to cause a sell-off in the stock market.

In an interview with the Atlantic, Yellen defended the administration’s proposed spending programs but said that if approved they may require the central bank to raise interest rates to prevent the economy from expanding too rapidly. The Federal Reserve — not Treasury Department — sets interest rate policy, but Yellen’s remarks fueled concerns that policymakers believe the economy is at risk of growing too quickly and may need to be slowed down. Raising interest rates slows the pace of economic growth by increasing the cost of borrowing.

Yellen’s remarks created further pressure on the S&P 500, which was already down for the day, leading it to fall by more than 1.25 percent in midday trading. The tech-heavy NASDAQ was down more than 2.5 percent, although markets have been at recent highs.

FBI is pressured to answer for domestic-spying program tied to Black Panther Fred Hampton’s killing in 1969

4:30 p.m.
Link copied
link

A Democratic lawmaker introduced new legislation Tuesday that would force the government to reveal decades-old FBI files about domestic spying on civil rights and peace activists, saying a full accounting of constitutional abuses is long overdue.

Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) is seeking answers about the killing of Fred Hampton, a Black Panther activist targeted by an FBI informant and shot by police in Chicago in 1969. The Hampton case has drawn renewed interest as a result of the film “Judas and the Black Messiah,” for which actor Daniel Kaluuya won an Oscar for his portrayal of Hampton.

The congressman, who helped found the Illinois Black Panther Party and blames the FBI for Hampton’s death, said the files should hold important details about the bureau’s activities.