POLITICO Playbook's must-listen briefing on what's driving the day in Washington.
July 30, 2021: Sinema’s vacation plans and Manchin gets booed
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is not letting BIF or the reconciliation bill get in the way of her summer plans.
When Chuck Schumer announced earlier this month that he might keep the Senate in session into August — delaying a previously scheduled recess in order to shepherd the two gigantic bills through the chamber — Sinema told the majority leader that she was not sticking around to vote, multiple Senate sources tell Playbook.
She had prior vacation plans, she said, and wasn’t about to let the infrastructure or reconciliation bills get in the way.
July 29, 2021: McConnell’s Herschel Walker problem
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to flip the chamber in 2022. But one potential obstacle keeps coming up time and again: multiple Donald Trump-inspired candidates who might sweep their GOP primaries but go on to lose in the general election.
Take Georgia: While Trump is all but begging NFL legend Herschel Walker to run against Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, McConnell views Walker’s personal history as a vulnerability.
July 28, 2021: The return of masks, and the beginning of mandates
In the special election runoff in Texas’s 6th District, Jake Ellzey defeated the Trump-endorsed candidate, Susan Wright. It's a pretty rough outcome for Trump in a district where his super PAC spent over $100,000 last weekend, according to the Dallas Morning News.
And, this was the week we stepped back in time when it comes to masks, and ditched carrots for sticks when it comes to vaccinations.
Expect this to get politicized quickly with announcements in the coming days from states, cities, companies and political entities either embracing or condemning vaccine requirements.
July 27, 2021: Kevin McCarthy's all-around tough day
This is going to be an all-around tough day for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — and to a large degree, it’s a self-inflicted predicament.
The House’s Jan. 6 committee makes its debut this morning.
And, for the first time across dozens of high-profile Trump-related oversight hearings, Republican leadership and allies will have no voice on the panel.
July 26, 2021: What the BIF and Bennifer have in common
Earlier this year, two of the most unlikely pairings in America started on a journey that we here at Playbook have been watching closely: Bennifer and BIF.
Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck's first clandestine meetings were reported in the spring. Around that same time, some Republican senators began quietly meeting with their Democratic colleagues to discuss infrastructure. Both reunions were so improbable that they needed to be shrouded in secrecy lest they fall apart under the glare of public scrutiny.
In the end, Bennifer went public before BIF. The couple made it “Instagram official” Saturday, but we’re still waiting to see the full details of the bipartisan infrastructure framework.
July 23, 2021: The biggest winner of the infrastructure fight
No matter what happens to BIF, Pete Buttigieg has already won.
The Iowa caucus winner-turned-Transportation secretary has redefined the backwater Cabinet position where Democrats typically plant their obligatory Republican senior official and vice versa (e.g. Obama/LaHood, Bush/Mineta). Buttigieg has assumed celebrity status in D.C., a mainstay of Playbook “spotteds”: In the past six months we’ve seen him riding his bike to work, hanging with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at the dog park, waiting in line for ice cream, sitting next to President Joe Biden in the Oval Office and beamed into our living rooms giving off warm fuzzies about a pretty non-ideological issue: infrastructure.
It’s a posting that has never led to the presidency, yet some say Buttigieg has positioned himself well by taking the gig, right when fixing roads and bridges is the issue.
someone please ask Carlson and Ingram if they have had the covid vaccine!!! Watch their faces if they don’t know they are going to be asked
Love the new narrator
I am loving the new narrator. She is relatable and unfiltered. Exactly the evolution this show needed. Keep it up.
Weak And/Or Biased
I gave this a try, and was quite disappointed.
The reporter was covering Vice President Harris‘s trip to Guatemala and her interview with Lester Holt concerning our border crisis. They played the excerpt where Holt noted that Harris has not gone to the border, after she falsely claimed “we’ve been to the border,” but cut off the recording a line early, before she said “I haven’t been to Europe either,” an inane and newsworthy response that the whole country was talking about at the time. This editing smacks of an effort to protect Harris from herself.
In addition, the reporter said that Harris’s staff “reminded” reporters that women of color “face a higher bar.” That is a debatable proposition at the very least, and the contrary is true in the case of Harris, who was given the vice-presidential nomination expressly because Joe Biden declared that he would give the position to a woman of color. To be objective and neutral, the reporter should’ve said that Harris’s staff “asserted,” “claimed,” or “argued” that women of color face a higher bar.
Truly weak sauce.