President Biden on Wednesday said he is open to compromise with Republicans on his $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan, but stands by his proposal to finance the spending with tax increases on corporations and the wealthy. The president made the comments in response to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who earlier in the day said 100 percent of his focus is on stopping the Biden administration.

Biden’s speech comes as drama continues to unfold over whether Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will keep her No. 3 leadership post among House Republicans in the wake of her continued criticism of former president Donald Trump.

Here’s what to know:

  • Facebook’s Oversight Board upheld the social network’s decision to ban Trump in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by his supporters, but it also gave the company six months to review the decision.
  • Trump is supporting Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) in her bid to replace Cheney as chair of the House Republican Conference, according to a person familiar with the situation.
  • Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen insisted she is not concerned about the risks of economic overheating after her earlier comments about inflation caused a brief panic on Wall Street.

Analysis: The effort to dump Liz Cheney is the consequence of a party that lost its way

12:26 a.m.
Link copied

The growing effort to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) from the third-ranking Republican leadership position in the House further accelerates her party’s full capitulation to Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” about the 2020 election. The move against Cheney is a sign of political cowardice. While shocking, it is not surprising for a party that has lost its way.

The majority of Republican lawmakers appear to have stopped believing in truth — or lack the courage to speak the truth. Cheney is not among them. She has been fearless in calling out Trump’s lies about a stolen election, and she has been forceful in rebutting the former president whenever he repeats the falsehoods that led to the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Her words have been as stinging as they are succinct. In the aftermath of the attack, when she announced that she would vote to impeach the president, she said: “The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the president.”

Democrats make changes to marquee voting bill as they seek path out of Senate

12:16 a.m.
Link copied

Congressional Democrats have tweaked their marquee voting rights, campaign finance and ethics bill ahead of a Senate committee vote next week, addressing concerns raised by elections administrators but forgoing a more radical rewrite of the legislation.

The changes to the For the People Act come after the bill passed the House on a largely party-line vote in March and ahead of a critical vote Tuesday in the Senate Rules and Administration Committee that could advance the legislation to the floor.

The legislation is meant to curtail state-level pushes to restrict voter access, such as the nationally controversial effort in Georgia. President Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) have all called the bill one of the Democratic Party’s top legislative priorities.

The For the People Act, however, has no viable route to enactment in the 50-50 Senate. The tweaks made Tuesday are not likely to change that.

Elise Stefanik: Paul Ryan acolyte to Trump disciple

11:29 p.m.
Link copied

Elise Stefanik entered the political arena eight years ago out of admiration for Paul D. Ryan, the conservative darling who had just returned to the House after his stint as Republican vice-presidential nominee.

Stefanik had been a top campaign adviser to Ryan (R-Wis.), but after the GOP ticket lost, she moved back to her parents’ home in northern New York. She overcame that despair by following the path set by Ryan, who, at the age of 28, moved home from Washington to run for Congress on an inspirational vision for Republican ideas.

That version of Stefanik no longer exists.

Instead, over the past 18 months, the congresswoman has morphed into a disciple of former president Donald Trump’s vision for the Republican Party.

She has studiously made allies out of the firebrands in the House Freedom Caucus, who spent three years opposing Ryan’s work as speaker, and she now revels in engaging in “cancel culture” wars on cable news and social media.

Biden dismisses McConnell’s pledge that he’s ‘100 percent’ focused on stopping the administration

9:43 p.m.
Link copied

President Biden on Wednesday dismissed the pledge by Senate Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that his top priority is to stop the administration’s ambitious spending plans, insisting that he will push for compromise and achieve his goals.

“He said that about the last administration — about Barack, that he was going to stop everything — and I was able to get a lot done with him,” the president said in response to questions at the White House.

Earlier in the day, McConnell had told reporters that Biden is supporting policies that would turn the United States into a socialist country, a frequent line of attack from the right that the president and other Democrats reject as false.

Cheney warns GOP of ‘dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality’

9:17 p.m.
Link copied

Rep. Liz Cheney warned her fellow Republicans that clinging to the “dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality” is harmful to not only their party’s future, but the country.

“The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution,” she wrote in an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Wednesday evening.

Cheney, who has been steadfast in her criticism of Trump’s baseless insistence that the 2020 election was stolen from him, accused the former president of continuing to repeat these falsehoods with “full knowledge” that his language led to the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6 and could provoke violence again.

“While embracing Trump’s statements might seem attractive to some for fundraising and political purposes, that approach will do profound long-term damage to our party and our country,” she wrote, adding that he has “never expressed remorse or regret” for Jan. 6 and continues to suggest U.S. democratic systems “cannot be trusted to do the will of the people.”

She also broke from most in her party in endorsing the idea of a 9/11-style commission to solely investigate the events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack. Many Republicans have rejected it unless it included probes of antifa and Black Lives Matter.

She urged her fellow Republicans to unite around their shared conservative values and not succumb to the “dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality” and “choose to abandon the rule of law and join Trump’s crusade to undermine the foundation of our democracy and reverse the legal outcome of the last election.”

“I am committed to doing that,” she concluded, “no matter what the short-term political consequences might be.”

Protest by cake: Special deliveries to Sen. Mark Warner urge him to back a pro-union bill

8:33 p.m.
Link copied

Rain or shine, there will be cake, and on Wednesday, huddling underneath umbrellas, a group of labor rights activists carried their latest to Democratic Sen. Mark R. Warner’s doorstep in Alexandria, Va.

It was the kind of white sheet cake typically found at children’s birthday parties — the seventh they have delivered to Warner’s home on consecutive Wednesdays, each made by a union-member baker and decorated with a slogan urging Warner to co-sponsor the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.

“Support the president,” the icing read, next to cutout pictures of Joe Biden. And then, partly quoting him: “Send me the PRO Act.”

Biden administration commits to waiving vaccine patent protections

Link copied

The Biden administration supports temporarily lifting intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines and will move forward with international discussions to waive them, its top trade negotiator said Wednesday.

“This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures. The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said in a statement.

Tai said the United States would participate in negotiations around an international waiver of the protections, cautioning that the discussions would “take time.” The United States had helped block negotiations around the proposal since its October 2020 introduction by Indian and South African officials.

In nod to statehood bid, Bowser admitted to Democratic Governors Association

Link copied

The Democratic Governors Association on Tuesday welcomed D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser into its ranks, marking the latest effort by Democratic leaders to support making the District the nation’s 51st state.

Announcing the move on CNN, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who chairs the association, acknowledged that Bowser was not a governor. But citing the mayor’s role in advocating for D.C. residents and combating the coronavirus pandemic in the city, Grisham asserted that Bowser is already “an executive leader in the District working on all of the things Democratic governors are responsible [for].”

Grisham’s announcement comes days after Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) dealt a blow to statehood advocates by announcing he did not support legislation that would admit D.C. as a state.

Responding to McConnell, Biden says he’s open to compromise on infrastructure and jobs plan but reaffirms tax proposal

8:12 p.m.
Link copied

Biden said Wednesday that he is open to compromise on his $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan but that he stands by his proposal to finance the plan by increasing taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans — an idea Republicans have soundly rejected.

“Everything I’m proposing that be done to generate economic growth and employment and put us in a position where we can out-compete any other country in the world with research and development and moving ahead, I pay for,” the president said Wednesday.

Republicans have bristled at Biden’s American Jobs Plan, saying the $2 trillion dollar price tag is too high for Americans, especially those earning more than $400,000. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday that he is “100 percent focused” on stopping the Biden administration from moving forward with the president’s agenda. While the economic proposal is popular with most Americans, according to surveys, prominent business organizations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have come out against the effort.

Biden noted that McConnell said he wanted to make Barack Obama a one-term president. “He said that about the last administration — about Barack, that he was going to stop everything -- and I was able to get a lot done with him," the president said in response to question following prepared remarks.

Biden criticized Republicans for their 2017 support of tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, and said even conservative think tanks noted that those tax breaks did not stimulate the economy the way GOP lawmakers promised.

“My Republican friends had no problem voting to pass a tax proposal that expires in 2025 that cost $2 trillion — none of it paid for, increased the deficit by $2 trillion, gave the overwhelming percentage of those tax breaks to people who didn’t need it,” he said.

“I’m willing to compromise, but I’m not willing to not pay for what we’re talking about. I’m not willing to deficit spend,” he said.

Biden said the way to actually increase productivity and stimulate economic growth is to have corporations pay more taxes that will create a million jobs and fund the construction and repair of bridges, highways and other long-neglected infrastructure projects.

During a stop in Rhode Island, Vice President Harris was asked about McConnell’s comments. “We are sincere and serious about the potential to actually get something done together. We believe it’s possible, and we’re not going to give up on that until it becomes evident that it’s not possible,” Harris said..

Biden weighs in on Cheney drama, says Republicans are ‘in the midst of significant mini-revolution’

7:20 p.m.
Link copied
President Biden on May 5 weighed in on Republican efforts to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from leadership. (The Washington Post)

President Biden said the Republican Party is struggling to figure out what its stands for when asked by a reporter to weigh in on the internal fight in the House GOP over whether Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) should keep her leadership post.

It seems as though the Republican Party is trying to identify what it stands for and they’re in the midst of a significant mini-revolution going on in the Republican Party,” he said.

The president said that over his decades as a Democrat he’s seen internal strife within the party, but never anything like what the Republicans are experiencing. He said the country needed a Republican Party, suggesting it is healthier to have an exchange of ideas between the two parties.

But, in this post-Trump presidency period, Biden said, “Republicans are further away from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than I thought they would be at this point.”

Harris visits Rhode Island for events focused on small businesses

6:44 p.m.
Link copied

Vice President Harris is visiting Rhode Island on Wednesday for events focused on small businesses.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, the state’s former Democratic governor, has joined Harris for her stops in Providence, including one focused on small businesses led by women.

At an earlier event, hosted by the Social Enterprise Greenhouse, a small-business incubator, Harris listened to entrepreneurs pitch ideas in a format similar to that of the television show “Shark Tank.”

“When I think of our small-business leaders, I think not only of business leaders, but civic leaders, community leaders,” Harris said at the event. “It is you who are involved and engaged in the community, a reflection of the best of the community.”

Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, is also continuing a busy travel schedule Wednesday.

The second gentleman is visiting Allentown, Pa., where he toured a manufacturing incubator and talked to small-business owners about the impact of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, which Congress passed in March.

Fact Checker: Kevin McCarthy says he rented a ‘room’ — in a 7,000-square-foot penthouse

6:22 p.m.
Link copied

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was criticized the other night by Tucker Carlson of Fox News Channel for renting an apartment in the District from pollster Frank Luntz, a longtime Republican pollster who also does a lot of corporate work (and has been critical of former president Donald Trump).

“Kevin McCarthy promises Republicans he shares their values,” Carlson said. “He tells them he’s on their side. He says he will fight for them against permanent Washington, the forces that would like to destroy their lives … and at the end of the day, Kevin McCarthy goes home to Frank Luntz’s apartment in Penn Quarter and laughs about it.”

In his response, McCarthy shrugged off the comment and described Luntz as a friend he first met in 1994, when he was a staff member for then-Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.). “Frank’s not a lobbyist. Frank’s a friend I knew for 15 years before I ever got in,” McCarthy said, apparently referring roughly to when he became a member of Congress in 2007.

Judge blasts Barr, Justice Dept. for ‘disingenuous’ handling of secret Trump obstruction memo

6:00 p.m.
Link copied

A federal judge has accused the Justice Department and then-Attorney General William P. Barr of misleading the court and public to hide how he decided that President Donald Trump should not be charged with obstructing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of Washington ordered the release Monday of a 2019 memo prepared by the department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Barr and a string of Justice Department officials had sought to keep the memo secret, asserting it was part of the department’s internal decision-making process before he selectively announced the Mueller report’s findings that March.

Jackson wrote in a blistering opinion after viewing the memo and other evidence that the department’s claims “are so inconsistent with evidence in the record, they are not worthy of credence.”

McConnell says his focus is stopping Biden administration

5:26 p.m.
Link copied

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who once said his main priority was ensuring that Barack Obama would be a one-term president, appears to have the same goal for President Biden.

McConnell sidestepped a question Wednesday about GOP infighting over the future of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as the leader of the House Republican Conference. He focused his attacks on Biden instead, accusing his administration of moving the country too far left.

“One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration,” McConnell said during an appearance in Georgetown, Kentucky. “I think the best way to look at what this new administration is: The president may have won the nomination, but Bernie Sanders won the argument.”

McConnell went on to accuse Biden of supporting policies that would turn the United States into “a socialist country,” a frequent line of attack from the right that the president and other Democrats reject as false.

Asked about McConnell’s comments, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, “The contrast for people to consider is 100 percent of our focus is on delivering relief to the American people and getting the pandemic under control and putting people back to work.”

Psaki said the administration welcomes “support, engagement and work with the Republicans” and highlighted the invitation to Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) to discuss a $600 billion GOP counteroffer to Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal.

McConnell’s comments about the Biden administration were reminiscent of those he made just before the 2010 midterm elections stating that the main priority for Republicans was to ensure Obama did not get reelected.

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” McConnell told the National Journal.

Biden argued Tuesday that McConnell’s efforts to prevent the Obama agenda from moving forward were unsuccessful.

“He said that in our last administration,” the president said. That he was “going to stop everything. And I was able to get a lot done with him (Obama).”