News Headlines 6/9/21

BIDEN HEADS TO EUROPE ON FIRST FOREIGN TRIP: President Biden is leaving for Europe this morning (June 9th) on his first foreign trip since taking office, which will include taking part in the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Cornwall in Britain. During the eight-day trip, Biden will also meet with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and visit Queen Elizabeth in the U.K., then go to Brussels, where he will join leaders of other NATO leaders in talks and also meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Finally, Biden will go to Geneva, where he’ll have a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said, “The trip, at its core, will advance the fundamental thrust of Joe Biden’s foreign policy, to rally the world’s democracies to tackle the great challenges of our time.”

BIDEN-CAPITO INFRASTRUCTURE TALKS COLLAPSE, BUT REACHES OUT TO OTHER SENATORS: Weeks-long talks on infrastructure between President Biden and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the Republicans’ lead negotiator on the issue, collapsed yesterday (June 8th) as Biden walked away as they weren’t able to reach agreement on a package that could get bipartisan support. But the president began reaching out to other senators from both parties in a new effort to reach an infrastructure deal. Even as that hope  of bipartisan agreement remains, Democrats are also laying the groundwork to pass some or all of Biden’s sweeping proposal on their own through the budget resolution process. The White House said Biden conferred yesterday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about that avenue.

SENATE REPORT LAYS OUT FAILURES SURROUNDING JANUARY 6TH CAPITOL ATTACK: A Senate report released yesterday (January 8th) on the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol laid out failures surrounding the event, including an intelligence breakdown across multiple agencies, and widespread law enforcement and military failures. The bipartisan probe, carried out by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs  and Senate Rules Committees found there were clear warnings that supporters of then-President Donald Trump, including extremist groups on the right, were planning to “storm” the Capitol, but the intelligence never was seen by top leadership. The report details the injuries suffered by police trying to fight off the rioters, with officers having told the investigators there was no leadership or direction when command systems broke down. However, the bipartisan report doesn’t go into the root causes of the attack. The report recommends giving the Capitol Police chief more authority, providing better planning and equipment for law enforcement, and streamlining intelligence gathering among federal agencies.

HARRIS IN MEXICO IN SECOND AND FINAL STOP OF TRIP: Vice President Kamala Harris was in Mexico yesterday (June 8th) on the second and final stop of her first foreign trip since taking office, in which she also went to Guatemala, with addressing the surge in migrants from Central  America traveling north to try to cross the U.S. border the central focus. Harris met with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and the Biden administration announced agreements between the U.S. and Mexico, including a $130 million commitment from the U.S. to support labor reforms in Mexico and loans to help southern Mexico’s economy. As in Guatemala, Harris’ message was about assuring people who might consider trying to cross into the U.S. over the Mexican border that they can have better lives at home. She said in a news conference yesterday, “It must be priority for us to understand why people leave. I cannot say it enough. Most people don’t want to leave home.” Asked about criticism for not having not gone to the border yet, Harris brushed off the question, saying she was focused on results, quote, “as opposed to grand gestures,” and that the problems wouldn’t be fixed with a border visit.