What to Know in Washington: Biden to Pressure Scholz on Ukraine
Bloomberg Government subscribers get the stories like this first. Act now and gain unlimited access to everything you need to know. Learn more.
When Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrives at the White House on Friday, the challenge of how to maintain weapons supplies to Ukraine will be high on the agenda.
The German leader may come under pressure from President Joe Biden over the struggle to produce enough ammunition for the front lines and the two leaders are likely to discuss ways to cooperate more on stepping up manufacturing. This will be Scholz’s second visit to the White House since taking office in 2021.
While the US and Germany already agreed in lockstep to send battle tanks and Patriot missiles to Ukraine earlier this year, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s troops are still waiting on much of that equipment and face a shortage of basic artillery shells.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Thursday told reporters that Biden and Scholz are likely to discuss their recent conversations with Zelenskiy, the upcoming NATO summit and relations with China. A senior administration official said the two leaders would meet in the Oval Office for an hour or so, and that they’d likely have a significant portion of one-on-one time.
Arne Delfs and Michael Nienaber list the main issues to watch.
- The US will also announce a fresh round of military aid to Ukraine on Friday, Kirby said that the new US package will include “mostly ammunitions and munitions that the Ukrainians will need for the systems they already have.” Read more
- China and Russia refused to join other Group of 20 nations in a statement in which most members condemned Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, showing divisions remain entrenched on how to end a conflict that has roiled the global economy. Read more
Happening on the Hill
- The House returns Tuesday.
- The Senate convenes Monday at 3 p.m.
Senate Appropriators Eye May Start to Spending Bill Markups
The top Senate appropriators are planning to start spending bill markups in May, they shared today with their colleagues on the committee.
Equal Rights Amendment Backers’ 100-Year Fight Turns to Congress
The Equal Rights Amendment has faced a century of setbacks since its first introduction in 1923, most recently this week’s court ruling that has ERA backers largely shifting their focus to pressing Congress to validate the measure.
Pharmacy Benefit Managers Put in Crosshairs of Drug Price Fight
A House investigation into the entities that manage prescription drug benefits should be accompanied by other actions that can help shed light on how US drug prices are formed, analysts say.
US Intelligence Chiefs to Testify at March 9 House Hearing
The heads of key US intelligence agencies will testify at a March 9 hearing by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, according to an advisory issued by the panel.
Starbucks Says It Won’t Send Schultz to Sanders’s Senate Hearing
Starbucks on Thursday said it isn’t planning to send interim Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz to testify on alleged labor-law violations before a US Senate committee.
Menendez Buttonholes Biden to Nominate a Latino to Fed Board
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) urged Biden to nominate a Latino to a vacancy on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, according to an aide to the senator.
Senior Biden Health Policy Nominees Move to Confirmation Votes
Biden‘s picks to lead his Medicare agency and serve as deputy health secretary advanced out the Senate Finance Committee Thursday, despite objections from leading Republicans.
Senate Finance Advances Werfel’s Nomination for IRS Commissioner
The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday advanced Danny Werfel’s nomination to be IRS commissioner, putting Werfel one step closer to leading the agency.
Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Tax the Rich’ Dress May Have Broken House Rules
A congressional watchdog says that progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) might have broken House rules when she attended the 2021 Met Gala in New York in a rented designer gown, which attracted as much if not more attention than anything the celebrities alongside her were wearing.
Feinstein Is Hospitalized With a Case of Shingles
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chamber’s oldest member, has been hospitalized in San Francisco with a case of shingles.
Elections, Politics & Probes
House Democrats Promote Past Wins as Roadmap to Regain Majority
House Democrats are retooling a messaging strategy on promoting accomplishments that gained little traction when they were in the majority in their bid to win back the chamber in 2024.
Trillions at Stake as 401(k)s Become ESG Political Footballs
The stage is set for Biden’s first veto, which would halt an effort to block a new policy on socially conscious 401(k) investing as retirement plans play a larger role in forging a greener Wall Street.
Supreme Court Seeks More Briefing in Major Election-Law Case
The US Supreme Court requested a new round of briefing in a closely watched election-law case, suggesting the justices have questions about their power to rule after a lower court said it would reconsider one aspect of the clash.
California Plot to Blow Up Democrats’ Office Sends Two to Prison
Two California men were sentenced to prison for plotting to firebomb the Democratic headquarters in the state’s capital following the 2020 presidential election.
Around the Administration
- Biden at 11:30 a.m. awards a Medal of Honor to Vietnam War veteran Ret. US Army Col. Paris Davis.
- Biden is scheduled to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at 2 p.m. at the White House.
- At 3:45 p.m., Biden leaves for New Castle, Delaware.
- White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre gives a 12:45 p.m. briefing.
Biden Reverses Course, Says He’ll Sign Republican DC Crime Bill
Biden said he’d sign Republican legislation barring the government in Washington, DC, from making changes to its own criminal code, reversing his earlier position in a move that will surely anger statehood advocates and others in the heavily Democratic city.
Biden Says He’ll Visit Ohio Train Crash Site, Won’t Specify When
Biden said he would visit East Palestine, Ohio, as the town recovers from a fiery train derailment that left residents fearful about contaminated air and water.
- Some of the valves on railroad tank cars designed to keep volatile, toxic chemicals from exploding were damaged in the Ohio derailment last month as the train burned, investigators said Thursday. Read more
Software Maker Liability Is Elusive Target of Biden Cyber Plan
Biden’s push to put software vendors on the hook for cyberattacks is a significant strategy shift for an industry that has largely escaped legal liability after high-profile hacks.
Blinken, Counterparts Say Quad Grouping Not a Military Alliance
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Quad nation counterparts seemed to use a public appearance to reassure China the grouping was not a security union seeking to force countries in Asia to choose between them and Beijing.
- The Biden administration on Thursday announced export restrictions for dozens of Chinese entities, including server maker Inspur and units of genetics firm BGI, citing activities contrary to US national security and foreign policy interest. Read more
US Troop Expansion Near Taiwan Revives Old Debate in Philippines
It’s been more than three decades since the Philippines ordered US troops to withdraw from their sprawling military bases in the country, ending an era that hearkened back to America’s colonial days.
SEC Chief Is Open to Trading-Revamp Tweaks Amid Criticism
US Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler said he’s open to changing the agency’s proposed overhaul of Wall Street trading rules as market participants vigorously debate and, in some cases, mount opposition to the measures.
Moves to Rein in Drug Spending Weighed by Medicare Advisers
A congressional advisory commission is considering a series of recommendations to help curb Medicare spending for “Part B” drugs that are administered in doctors’ offices and hospital outpatient departments.
To contact the reporters on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org; Michaela Ross in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Katrice Eborn at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay informed with more news like this – from the largest team of reporters on Capitol Hill – subscribe to Bloomberg Government today. Learn more.