What to Know in Washington: Michigan Democrats Face Disruption

Detroit-area Democrats are at risk of losing one of their seats a few years after netting major wins in the suburbs, with Michigan one of seven states whose House delegation will decrease in reapportionment.

The population density around the city, Detroit’s decline in residents, and the currently gerrymandered lines mean the area will likely see the most disruption in the next round of redistricting.

And because Democrats hold six of the seats there, they’re likely to bear the brunt of the changes, both in losing a seat and seeing more competitive districts — despite a newly created independent redistricting commission designed to remove politics from the line drawing.

Former Rep. Mark Schauer (D-Mich.), who worked to help his party win state legislatures ahead of this round of redistricting, said lawmakers who risk losing their districts must double down on constituent services and fundraising. “There are no guarantees as to what the cycle might look like from a partisanship standpoint, so I think that all that members can do is control the things they can control,” he said.

Two of the Democrats in the most tenuous positions are Reps. Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens. They were re-elected by the narrowest margins of any incumbent in the delegation, so any slight change could drastically affect their re-election chances. Read more from Emily Wilkins.

Photographer: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg
Slotkin at the U.S. Capitol in December.

Explaining Redistricting: In this video, Bloomberg Government talks to former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Loyola Law School Professor Justin Levitt, and BGOV elections reporter Greg Giroux about the long history of the fight over who draws the maps.

More Elections & Influence

Trump Sets Up Website Before Facebook Move: Former President Donald Trump, banned from posting on major social media websites, has added a new feature to his political action committee site to allow him to post comments and videos that his supporters can then share. The new feature comes with Facebook’s oversight board expected to announce today its decision about whether Trump can resume posting on the platform. Mark Niquette has more.

  • Expect a flurry of reactions from lawmakers on Capitol Hill after the announcement, which is set for 9 a.m. Whether Trump is allowed back on Facebook or not, Republicans will certainly bring up their longstanding complaints that social media platforms censor conservative speech. Democrats will likely raise concerns about hate speech and violence on the platforms, especially if Trump is allowed to return. Rebecca Kern has more on lawmaker reactions to the ruling.

Battle for Georgia’s GOP Shows Trump’s Grip: Trump’s firm control of Georgia’s Republican Party is a microcosm of the national struggle for the GOP’s soul following the November election and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Ardent pro-Trump newcomers are trying to oust establishment Republicans in counties across the state, and they’re succeeding. That could spell danger for the party in 2022, when the state’s top elected jobs are on the ballot, according to Charles Bullock, a political scientist and election expert at the University of Georgia. “It’s really counterproductive,” he says. It’s a lesson that should have been learned in January, he says, when Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler embraced Trump’s voter fraud campaign and lost crucial suburban voters—and their seats. Read more from Margaret Newkirk.

U.S. Calls for Overseer of Giuliani Materials: Federal prosecutors investigating Rudy Giuliani requested the appointment of a special master to determine what material seized in an FBI raid last week on the home and office of the former New York mayor and personal lawyer to Trump might be covered by attorney-client privilege. The request was filed last week but unsealed yesterday in federal court in Manhattan. James Margolin, a spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, declined to comment. Read more from Patricia Hurtado, Chris Dolmetsch and Bob Van Voris.

Around the Administration

Today’s Agenda: Biden will speak today at 2 p.m. from the White House on his administration’s work to implement the $1.9 trillion economic relief package signed into law in March.

  • Click here for a complete list of today’s congressional hearings.

Biden Gets U.S. Into Vaccine Diplomacy Race: Through the early months of global vaccinations against Covid-19, the U.S. hoarded shots while China, Russia and others distributed doses to desperate nations throughout the world. That’s starting to change.

Vaccine shipments from the U.S. have begun, as domestic supply increasingly outweighs demand. That’s allowed Biden to pivot to the role of vaccine statesman after months of refusing to do what Europe, India, China and Russia have done: export a portion of their vaccines before domestic demand was fully met. Biden vowed yesterday that the U.S. will be an “arsenal for fighting Covid-19” globally, including by giving away 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s shot while the nation’s vaccine factories churn out others. Read more from David Wainer and Josh Wingrove.

  • Rural clinics and hospitals in the U.S. will receive almost $1 billion from the Health and Human Services Department to boost Covid-19 testing and get more people vaccinated, the White House said yesterday. “Rural health providers are vital to ensure equity in Covid-19 testing, vaccinations and in making sure rural residents have the information about vaccine safety,” especially for those at higher risk for severe illness due to “geographic isolation,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said. Shira Stein has more.

Yellen Clarifies Inflation Remark, Sees No Need for Fed to Hike: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen yesterday afternoon said she wasn’t forecasting interest-rate increases to rein in any inflation spurred by Biden’s proposed spending, clarifying comments that ruffled financial markets a few hours earlier. “It’s not something I’m predicting or recommending,” Yellen, a former Federal Reserve chair, said during an online event hosted by the Wall Street Journal. “If anyone appreciates the independence of the Federal Reserve, I think that person is me.” Yellen said she didn’t anticipate a bout of persistently higher inflation, but that if one occurred the central bank has the tools to deal with it. Read more from Christopher Condon.

  • The biggest uncertainty for those watching the Federal Reserve in coming months may not be the rate of inflation but turnover at the top of the U.S. central bank. Chair Jerome Powell and vice chairs Richard Clarida and Randal Quarles could all potentially be replaced in the coming year, depending on how much Biden wants to reshape its leadership. And while Fed chairs always matter, the choice right now is even more critical. Fed officials are deliberating under a new policy framework adopted last year with Powell’s stewardship. Read more from Craig Torres and Laura Davison.

Indian Minister to Self-Isolate at G-7: The U.K. insisted a meeting of top Group of Seven diplomats in London should go ahead after India’s foreign minister said he would self-isolate over possible exposure to coronavirus. Yesterday afternoon, according to people familiar, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab informed fellow ministers that there had been two positive cases among the Indian delegation, but that foreign minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was not one of them.

The news broke this morning and raised the possibility of spooking attendees and derailing a high-profile event that marked the G-7 debut of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The U.S. was advised that its “stringent masking, social distancing, and daily testing protocols” would permit its delegation to continue with G7 activities, State Department spokesman Ned Price said. Read more from Alberto Nardelli and Kitty Donaldson.

Biden Says He Expects to Meet Putin in Europe: Biden said his team is working to schedule a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Europe next month. A June meeting is “my hope and expectation,” Biden said to reporters at the White House yesterday. “We’re working on it,” he added. After the two presidents spoke last month, the White House said Biden had proposed a meeting in a third country in the coming months. Read more from Jennifer Epstein.

To contact the reporters on this story: Zachary Sherwood in Washington at zsherwood@bgov.com; Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giuseppe Macri at gmacri@bgov.com; Loren Duggan at lduggan@bgov.com; Michaela Ross at mross@bgov.com