LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FOR WEEK OF JUNE 7, 2021
President Biden’s First Overseas Trip
Plus, a look at global vaccine distribution & police reform
Beyond the rapidly changing infrastructure landscape (you can read WSW’s full report here), other sensitive and timely topics may have slipped under the radar. With the clock ticking until the July 4th recess, a sense of urgency has overtaken Washington.
Here’s What You Might Have Missed
Testy Debate over Defense Spending. Yesterday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin faced tough questions from Senate Republicans regarding the President’s flat defense budget request. They argued that it will make the U.S. less competitive globally, especially in efforts to combat China. Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Jack Reed (D-RI), described the President’s budget request as a starting point.
President Biden’s First Trip Overseas. This week, the President made his first overseas trip to the United Kingdom, where he and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met on an array of issues, including signing an Atlantic Charter. Biden is overseas to meet with other world leaders at the G-7, where combating China and lessening income inequality worldwide will be top priorities. The President hopes to rekindle American relationships with Europe following President Trump’s often-tumultuous interactions with his European counterparts.
Gubernatorial Primaries in New Jersey & Virginia. Democrats in Virginia and Republicans in New Jersey went to the polls to select their candidates for governor (Virginia’s Republican nominee was selected by a unique convention process, and New Jersey’s Democratic incumbent ran unopposed for his reelection). By all accounts, the results were unremarkable – former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe won the nomination in a landslide, and the establishment candidate in New Jersey, Jack Ciattarelli, beat back two vocally pro-Trump challengers. Both general elections will likely demonstrate the staying power of President Trump in American political life.
Here’s What You Should Be Watching
Global Vaccine Distribution. The President announced that the U.S. government is going to purchase 500 million vaccine doses from Pfizer to distribute globally. Moderna is currently in talks with the U.S. government to do the same. As the virus, unfortunately, continues to run rampant around the world, keep an eye on if these vaccines help staunch the infection rate.
Police Negotiations at a Standstill. Yesterday, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), the main Republican negotiator on police reform legislation, shared with national press that Democrats and Republicans are far off from a deal. This conflicts with other leaks from earlier this week which indicated that the two sides were close to a deal on qualified immunity. Scott has taken the posture that a deal needs to be reached by June 28.