What to Know in Washington: Biden, Johnson to Meet Ahead of G-7

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to meet President Joe Biden for the first time today ahead of the Group of Seven summit that the U.K. is hosting. Leaders will discuss Covid, China and climate change at the bilateral meeting.

The U.K. is seeking to project an image of rejuvenated status after its departure from the European Union, though there are plenty of tensions over its post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland that could bubble over into the meeting. Bloomberg News is tracking G-7 developments here.

Group of Seven leaders are set to vow to deliver at least 1 billion extra doses of vaccines over the next year to help cover 80% of the world’s adult population, according to a draft communique seen by Bloomberg News.

Ahead of the summit, officials are putting together a document that outlines a plan to end the pandemic by December 2022. The document has yet to be finalized but will form the basis of final-stage talks at the summit of leaders in Cornwall, southwestern England, starting tomorrow, Alberto Nardelli, Kitty Donaldson and Tim Ross report.

Biden is scheduled today to deliver remarks on vaccinations and the efforts to defeat Covid-19 globally.

The meeting will also endorse the recent landmark deal to impose a 15% minimum global corporate tax rate, with the clear understanding there are more hoops to go through before it becomes a reality. The draft communique is expected to say that “we have taken a significant step forward in creating a fairer tax system fit for the 21st century, and reversed a 40-year race to the bottom,” Flavia Krause-Jackson reports. Read more.

Photographer: Neil Hall/EPA/Bloomberg
Biden and U.S. First Lady Jill Biden arrive to attend the Group of Seven Leaders Summit, in Newquay, U.K., on Wednesday.

Biden, Johnson Vow to Speed Up Opening Travel: Ahead of the summit, Biden and Johnson will commit to resume travel between Britain and the U.S. as quickly as possible. How soon remains very much an open question. Read more from Kitty Donaldson and Justin Sink.

Happening on the Hill

Today’s Agenda: The Senate will consider the nominations of Zahid N. Quraishi to be district judge for New Jersey and Ketanji Brown Jackson to be a circuit court judge for the District of Columbia.

  • The House Energy and Commerce Committee plans to mark up a measure that would reinstate an Obama-era rule limiting methane emissions from oil and gas drilling.
  • Click here for a complete list of today’s hearings and markups.

Democrats’ $547 Billion Highway Bill Advances: Legislation authorizing roughly $547 billion for highways and other surface transportation over five years advanced in a House panel, despite opposition from Republicans who objected to what they called Green New Deal climate initiatives. The legislation would authorize $343 billion for roads, bridges, and safety, $95 billion for passenger and freight rail, and $109 billion for transit. It aligns with many of Biden’s infrastructure priorities. Read more from Lillianna Byington.

Democrats Ready Sweeping Antitrust Legislation: Technology giants would face significant constraints on their businesses and hurdles to acquiring companies under a flurry of antitrust measures House Democrats are preparing. House Judiciary Committee members are working on bills aimed at reining in the power of tech companies by imposing new rules on mergers, changing how they treat other businesses that depend on their platforms and limiting the products and services they offer, according to copies of five draft bills that were obtained by Bloomberg. David McLaughlin, Rebecca Kern, and Anna Edgerton have more.

Garland Defends Decision to Back Trump in Rape Case: Attorney General Merrick Garland defended controversial positions the Justice Department has taken under his leadership, including a surprising move to represent former President Donald Trump in a defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who accused him of raping her. “The job of the Justice Department and making decisions of law is not to back any administration—previous or present,” Garland told Senate appropriators. Read more from Chris Strohm.

Republicans Criticize Vetting of Migrants: House Republicans criticized the Biden administration over its new policies aiming to quickly unify child migrants with families amid a surge of unaccompanied children at the border. The Biden administration’s policies to address the flow of child migrants arriving without parents has pivoted from the Trump administration’s, which tried to deter the practice by slowing down the placement of those children with relatives or sponsors in the U.S. Republican lawmakers are now pushing back on two of Biden’s policies, stating they leave unaccompanied children at risk of being placed with criminals. Democrats have argued the Biden policies are more humane. Read more from Nicole Sadek.

Warren Says Hearings Needed on Cryptocurrency: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) says Congress and regulators are “an hour late and a dollar short” on oversight of cryptocurrency and more hearings are needed to determine potential regulation. Warren, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg TV, said cryptocurrencies are not a good way to buy or sell things, and they are not a good investment. Read more from Catherine Larkin and Catherine Dodge.

Judiciary Asks for $182.5 Million for Security: The federal judiciary is asking senators to support $182.5 million for court security included in a House-passed emergency spending bill, as threats to courts and judges increase. Funding to increase judges’ safety and outfit courts with new cameras is needed to help “harden” courthouses, Roslynn Mauskopf, head of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, and John Lungstrum, the judiciary policy budget czar, told Senate appropriators, Madison Alder reports.

Congress Divided on How to Compensate NCAA Stars: Senators are divided sharply over the reach of legislation to let college athletes profit off their names, images, and likenesses as some states are sprinting to set their own rules next month. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has argued a patchwork of state rules on compensating athletes will be unworkable for colleges. NCAA President Mark Emmert, testifying yesterday before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, urged Congress to pass a national standard, include legal immunity for colleges on likeness compensation, and reject classification of athletes as employees. Read more from Andrew Kreighbaum.

Politics & Influence

McGahn Warned Trump Against Removing Mueller: Former White House Counsel Don McGahn repeatedly warned then-President Trump that any pressure he exerted that resulted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s firing might constitute obstruction of justice, according to his testimony in closed-door interview with members of the House Judiciary Committee. In a 241-page transcript of the interview released yesterday, McGahn mostly confirmed the testimony Mueller had documented from McGahn and included in the report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Read more from Billy House.

Florida’s Trump Coast Is the Beating Heart of Republican Party: Since he left Washington in turmoil in January, Trump has spent the bulk of his post-presidency at Mar‑a‑Lago, his private club in Palm Beach. Although he’s largely cut off from the outside world, Trump isn’t alone. If Trump feels entitled to dominate the GOP as if he were still president, it may be because so many of the same people still surround him and treat him as if he is. Instead of moving beyond Trump, much of the party moved to Florida to join him. Read more from Joshua Green.

Pot Advocates Lobby on D.C.’s Marijuana Ban: The Drug Policy Alliance is ramping up a lobbying effort to remove the federal prohibition on the District of Columbia legalizing and regulating cannabis by bringing in the high-powered law and lobbying firm Arent Fox. It’s the first outside firm hired by the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group that works on drug decriminalization measures around the country. The organization has been involved with lobbying the federal government for two decades, according to disclosures filed with Congress. Read more from Megan R. Wilson.

Saudi Lobbying Pivots After Khashoggi’s Murder: Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S., has met with local groups in Wyoming, Colorado, Iowa. The ambassadorial visits to the American heartland underscore how Saudi Arabia has shifted its focus outside of Washington. The princess is leading a campaign to rehabilitate her country’s image after blows such as the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and Riyadh’s involvement in the war in Yemen — and the loss of Trump, a close ally. Read more from Ilya Banares.

Around the Administration

Biden Warns Putin on Hostility Toward Democracy: Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin of U.S. retribution if he tries to menace other democracies, before the first meeting between the two leaders in Geneva next week. “We’re not seeking conflict with Russia—we want a stable, predictable relationship,” Biden told U.S. service members at the Royal Air Force’s Mildenhall base in the U.K., after arriving for the G-7 summit. Read more from Josh Wingrove and Nancy Cook.

Moderna, U.S. in Talks About Shots for Poor Countries: Moderna is interested in partnering with the U.S. on possibly providing additional doses of its coronavirus vaccine to help address the pandemic in low- and middle-income countries, the company said. Moderna is in the process of expanding its manufacturing capacity so it can make up to 3 billion doses next year, compared with its goal of up to 1 billion this year. Read more from Robert Langreth.

Biden Taps Ramirez for Chief Federal Mediator Slot: Biden plans to nominate Javier Ramirez to direct the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the independent government agency that resolves management-labor spats. Ramirez, who joined the agency in 2005, is currently the executive manager of the Division of Agency Initiatives, which oversees conflict prevention and education efforts, the White House said. Read more from Ian Kullgren.

Keystone Pipeline Dropped by TC Energy: TC Energy has ended its 16-year quest to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a controversial cross-border project that became a litmus test for climate activism and was blocked by Biden. Calgary-based TC Energy said in a statement it had formally terminated the project after consultation with the government of Alberta in Canada. It had already suspended construction on the pipeline earlier this year, after Biden revoked a presidential permit for the project. Read more from Jennifer A. Dlouhy.

Biden EPA Nixes Trump Changes to Appeals Board: The EPA is scrapping a set of sweeping changes the Trump White House made to an internal appeals board—a win for advocates who said the updates would politicize the process. The Environmental Protection Agency announced it was rescinding most of a 2020 rule that overhauled the Environmental Appeals Board, a panel that resolves disputes over permits and agency orders. Read more from Ellen M. Gilmer.

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

Top