Here's what we're talking about today:
- Biden says he's open to negotiating on how to pay for his $2 trillion jobs plan
- 62 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine need to be checked for contamination
- The White House will unveil six steps on gun control later today
With Jordan Erb.
1. WILL BIDEN MAKE A DEAL?: President Joe Biden says he's willing to cut a deal on parts of his infrastructure plan. He said he could accept a lower corporate tax rate than the 28% he proposed to help pay for his $2 trillion jobs over 15 years. But Biden also offered a resounding defense of both the scope of his plan and the idea that companies are not paying their fair share.
- Key quote: "We're going to - we're going to try to put an end to this. Not fleece them - 28%. If you're a mom, a dad, a cop, firefighter, police officer, et cetera, you're paying close to that in your income tax," Biden said at an event outlining his plan.
The gap between the two parties seems difficult to bridge: Republicans have slammed the proposal for stretching the definition of infrastructure. They have also zeroed in on paying for it with one of the largest tax increases in decades, not to mention that raising the corporate rate would undo part of the signature tax law enacted by former President Trump and the GOP.
- Biden may not have a choice: Without Republican support, Democrats could not lose a single vote in the Senate and currently could stomach only two dissenters in the House. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia's latest broadside against the special legislative procedure of reconciliation, which lets Democrats pass bills despite GOP objections, further complicates the outlook.
2. Biden to take first steps on gun control: He plans to announce tighter regulations for buyers of so-called "ghost guns" by requiring them to undergo background checks. The White House is also instructing the Justice Department to draft model "red flag" legislation for states, an area that has received bipartisan support. More on his six orders that will be announced later today.
- Gun control advocates have pushed Biden for more: The president built a bond with the families of those gunned down in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Biden was tasked with helping pass legislation in the wake of the tragedy while vice president, but a proposal to expand background checks narrowly failed in the Senate. Many activists see this as his second chance.
3. 62 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine need to be checked for contamination: The doses come from a Baltimore factory that already had to throw out up to 15 million doses due to contamination issues, The New York Times reports. The issue could affect Johnson & Johnson's promise to produce 24 million doses by the end of the month. More on the situation here.
4. Jill Biden is only the third first lady to be a union member: Her membership in the National Education Association is a distinction that's not only historic but fully in line with the administration's pro-union stance. More on what it means for Biden to follow in Eleanor Roosevelt and Nancy Reagan's footsteps.
5. Expert says Derek Chauvin was inflicting further pain on George Floyd: Jody Stiger, an LAPD sergeant and use-of-force expert, said Chauvin had most of his body weight on Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. Stinger, a prosecution witness, also testified that Chauvin appeared to be gripping Floyd's hand as a way to inflict further pain after Floyd had stop resisting officers. More key moments from Day 8.
6. Federal probe is reportedly looking at Rep. Matt Gaetz's travel to the Bahamas: The Justice Department is looking into trips the Florida Republican took in 2018 and 2019 with a marijuana entrepreneur, CBS News reports. The entrepreneur, Jason Pirozzolo, allegedly paid for the trip, accommodations, and female escorts. Gaetz's office continued to deny any illegal conduct. At issue is whether any women were illegally trafficked across state or international lines.
- Trump broke his silence on Gaetz's case: The former president said Gaetz "never asked" for a pardon, contradicting a Times report about Gaetz asking White House officials for blanket pardon for him and other members of Congress. Trump also noted that Gaetz "totally denied the accusations against him."
7. Mitch McConnell retracted his demand that corporations stay out of politics: "I didn't say that very artfully yesterday," the Senate Minority Leader told reporters of his earlier comments. McConnell had chastised CEOs and companies that criticized Georgia's new voting law.
- Speaking of corporations in politics: "Visa's political action committee has resumed its political giving after a much-publicized halt following the deadly January 6 attack on the US Capitol, donating $139,000 to members of Congress and other political committees on both sides of the aisle, federal records show." More from Insider's scoop.
8. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:
- 10:15 a.m.: Chauvin's trial resumes
- 11:45 a.m.: Biden, Vice President Harris, and Attorney General Garland make remarks on gun violence prevention
- 12:00 p.m.: Rep. Steve Scalise leads a group of fellow House Republicans on a trip to the border
- 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House's daily news briefing
9. Mike Pence reportedly has a seven-figure book deal: The former vice president signed with Simon & Schuster. The news comes amid questions on how the publishing industry will treat Trump alums. Pence's book is due out in 2023.
- Some administration veterans are struggling: Headhunters have struggled to find a new gig for former Transportation secretary Elaine Chao, The Washington Post reports. Corporations don't seem to have an interest in other former top officials either.
10. Freedom fries walked so Woke Coke could run: Trump's call for a boycott of Coca-Cola is not the first time members of the GOP have deemed a food unpatriotic. In 2003, in the midst of Bush's war on terror, Republican Rep. Bob Ney renamed French fries "freedom Fries" in congressional cafeterias. A look at the history of the patriotic potatoes.
One last thing.
Today's trivia question: Yesterday was national beer day, so pardon me while I hop back for a related question. Who is thought to be the first president to brew beer at The White House?
- Yesterday's answer: President Eisenhower had a special cabin built for him and first lady Mamie Eisenhower at Augusta National. Ike was already a member of the club that hosts the Masters before becoming president. A special cottage was thought to be the best way to accommodate his new role. The best part? After leaving office, Eisenhower made a request to have a tree he kept hitting on the 17th hole removed. He was ruled out of order and the tree stood until 2014.