What to Know in Washington: Biden, Adams Back Cops in Party Rift

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President Joe Biden and New York Mayor Eric Adams will promote increased federal support for police and a crackdown on illegal guns to fight crime today, policies that risk aggravating a divide with liberals who seek an overhaul of U.S. law enforcement.

Adams, who took office last month, shares Biden’s opposition to the “defund the police” movement promoted by some progressives in the Democratic Party. They support putting more cops on the street with better training in order to cut down on violence in encounters with civilians — policies that some liberals say don’t go far enough to prevent killings by police.

There were more than 1,100 such deaths in the U.S. last year, according to Mapping Police Violence, a nonprofit data project.

Biden, who will travel to New York to meet with Adams as well as New York State’s governor, Kathy Hochul, has frequently sought to show support for police. During a visit to the site of a collapsed bridge in Pittsburgh last Friday, he remarked to officers at the scene that “we’re going to give you guys more money.”

Senior administration officials told reporters in a briefing before Biden’s trip that he would press Congress to spend $300 million more in fiscal 2023 to hire police and $200 million more for community violence prevention programs.

“They’re both presenting themselves as middle-of-the-road reformers when it comes to criminal justice and public safety,” said Scott Roberts, senior director of criminal-justice campaigns at Color of Change, a racial-justice group. “Overall, these are politicians who have deeply bought into this failed strategy of continuing to invest more and more dollars into policing.”

The senior administration officials, who declined to be identified as a condition of the briefing, said New York had enacted many successful policing strategies that Biden supports.

Adams’s early days in office have been marked by violent crime, including the shooting deaths of two police officers responding to a domestic dispute. For the president, whose approval ratings have slipped badly in the last six months, it’s a chance to share the stage with a Democratic politician still enjoying a honeymoon from voters. Read more from Fola Akinnibi and Jenny Leonard.

Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg
Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

BIDEN’S SCHEDULE:

  • Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are scheduled to attend the National Prayer Breakfast at the Capitol Visitor Center at 8 a.m.
  • Biden departs for New York at 9:50 a.m. and arrives in Manhattan at 11:10 a.m.
  • Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Mayor Adams and Gov. Hochul discuss gun violence at 12:15 p.m. A discussion on violence intervention programs is set for 2:30 p.m.
  • Biden leaves New York at 4:45 p.m. and arrives at the White House at 6:05 p.m.

ALSO AROUND THE ADMINISTRATION:

Biden is bringing in White House veterans Minyon Moore and Ben LaBolt to help with his efforts to select and confirm his eventual nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court. Moore and LaBolt will join former Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who left office in early 2021, on the White House’s temporary Supreme Court team. Jones will be the nominee’s guide through the Senate confirmation process, and they will all report to White House Counsel Dana Remus, according to a White House statement. Jennifer Epstein has more.

A Donald Trump-appointed district judge confirmed with bipartisan support is Biden’s latest nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Stephanie Dawkins Davis sits on the U.S. District court for the Eastern District of Michigan. She would be the second Black woman to serve on the court and is the ninth Biden has nominated to an appeals court, Madison Alder reports.

Biden officials are pushing the U.S. Postal Service to buy more electric vehicles instead of spending billions on gas-powered models as it replaces its aging fleet. The efforts, mounted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House Council on Environmental Quality, follow separate warnings by activists that the Postal Service’s plan to buy mostly conventional delivery trucks downplayed the possible climate benefits of a shift to electric, non-emitting alternatives. USPS’s plan “represents a crucial lost opportunity,” the EPA said in a letter to the agency yesterday. Read more from Jennifer A. Dlouhy.

The IRS is adding about 1,200 employees to help the agency navigate what will likely be one of the most challenging tax filing seasons in years, according to a person familiar with the plans. The new temporary employees, who have previous IRS experience, include new customer customer service representatives and tax examiners. They will be brought in over the coming weeks and stay on through the fall, according to the person, who was granted anonymity to discuss the preparations. Read more from Laura Davison.

The FBI is investigating a series of bomb threats against multiple historically black colleges and other institutions across the nation this week as hate crimes. The threats, coming on the first day of Black history month, follow similar incidents targeting HBCUs last year. Read more from Chris Strohm.

Happening on the Hill

THE DAY IN CONGRESS:

  • The House returns at noon to debate the U.S.-China competition bill ahead of a vote tomorrow.
  • The Senate meets at 10 a.m. for work on nominations.
  • Click here for a complete list of today’s hearings and markups.

All three of Biden’s nominees to join the Federal Reserve said they placed a high priority on tackling U.S. inflation, which is currently running at the hottest pace in almost 40 years. In prepared remarks released yesterday, ahead of their confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee, Philip Jefferson, Lisa Cook, and Sarah Bloom Raskin acknowledged the cost that high inflation imposes on American families.

“It is an important task of the Federal Reserve to reduce inflation and one that must be a top priority while we continue to sustain our economic recovery,” Raskin said. Cook said “our most important task is tackling inflation,” while Jefferson warned that elevated price pressures could “heighten expectations of future inflation” and it was up to the Fed to return it to its goal.

Concern over high inflation has become politically dangerous for the Biden administration, which has had to fight accusations that its spending policies to help the country weather the pandemic have fanned price increases. Read more from Craig Torres.

  • The top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee strongly criticized Raskin for what he says is her “repeated, explicit and recent advocacy” for using the central bank’s authority to steer credit away from fossil fuels. In an interview on Bloomberg TV, Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) described Raskin’s views on regulating climate risks as his top concern. Steven T. Dennis has more.
Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg
Toomey at a Senate Banking hearing last month.

Apple urged top lawmakers to reject an antitrust bill set for consideration by a Senate panel today that would force the company to let consumers install apps from outside its App Store. The company said the bill would harm user security and privacy, create expansive liability exposure and legal uncertainty, and would deny consumer choice. “We are deeply concerned that the legislation, unless amended, would make it easier for big social media platforms to avoid the pro-consumer practices of Apple’s App Store, and allow them to continue business as usual,” Tim Powderly, the company’s head of government affairs in the Americas, wrote in the letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

A key lawmaker called the U.S.’s process of auctioning spectrum “completely broken” as he prepares to hold a hearing on the recent unveiling of new 5G wireless service that may threaten aviation equipment. House Transportation and Infrastructure Chair Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said yesterday the Federal Communications Commission had no plan to deal with what he called well-known safety issues. The committee is holding a hearing today featuring testimony from federal officials and aviation and wireless industry representatives to discuss 5G. Read more from Alan Levin and Todd Shields.

Democratic lawmakers looking to salvage an expansion of the child tax credit if it drops from their major social spending package—or if that package continues to stall out—are holding out hope that a separate, bipartisan deal around the increased benefit could survive the wreckage of reconciliation. A pair of Democratic aides—one in the Senate and one in the House—told Bloomberg Tax that lawmakers are discussing several ways to cut the cost of a more generous child tax credit. Read more from Kaustuv Basu and Colin Wilhelm.

Riding a bipartisan push powered by the #MeToo movement, legislation that would enable workers to sue employers over workplace sexual harassment or assault regardless of contractual restrictions is on the cusp of final votes in Congress. The House bill would make it illegal to enforce agreements signed before an alleged incident of sexual harassment or assault that mandate third-party arbitration, a form of dispute resolution that is conducted behind closed doors and often favors employers. Workers would be free to sue their employers for workplace sexual misconduct, giving them a chance to seek justice in a public setting. The measure could receive a House vote in coming days. Read more from Paige Smith.

Politics & Influence

Redistricting has nudged three House Democrats into a situation they aren’t accustomed to: on their party’s most vulnerable list and under pressure to raise money. As three of the newest additions, Reps. Sanford Bishop (Ga.), Dina Titus (Nev.), and Marcy Kaptur (Ohio) began 2022 with the least amount of cash on hand of anyone in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program, according to fourth-quarter fundraising reports due Monday. More than half of the program’s 32 members had at least $2 million in cash on hand, while Titus and Bishop were the only two who had less than $1 million. Read more from Greg Giroux.

An ex-DOJ official who faced the threat of being in contempt of Congress appeared yesterday for closed-door questioning before a House panel investigating last year’s assault on the Capitol. The panel wanted to question Jeffrey Clark about whether he pressured colleagues at the Justice Department to aid in Donald Trump’s failed effort to undo his defeat in the 2020 election. Neither Clark nor the committee provided any statements after the session. The panel’s seven Democrats and two Republicans unanimously voted in December to advance a criminal contempt resolution against Clark. Billy House has more.

Trump and two of his children urged a judge to reject subpoenas for their testimony in New York’s civil probe of the former president’s company, arguing it overlaps too much with a parallel criminal investigation by the Manhattan district attorney. The subpoenas by New York Attorney General Letitia James seek to dodge the grand jury protections “guaranteed to every witness” while she is “entwined in a criminal grand jury investigation of the very same matters,” Trump lawyer Alina Habba said in a filing on Tuesday. Read more from Erik Larson.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court took over proceedings to choose the state’s new congressional map. The court granted an emergency application asking for its intervention “given the impasse between the legislative and executive branches concerning the adoption of congressional districts, and in view of the impact that protracted appeals will have on the election calendar, and time being of the essence,” the order said. Judge Patricia McCullough, who was presiding over the map-choosing proceedings in the state’s Commonwealth Court, was designated as a special master to recommend a plan. Jennifer Kay has more.

To contact the reporters on this story: Giuseppe Macri in Washington at gmacri@bgov.com; Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Zachary Sherwood at zsherwood@bgov.com; Loren Duggan at lduggan@bgov.com; Michaela Ross at mross@bgov.com

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