We’re wrapping up today’s live US politics coverage. Here’s an updated summary of key events today.
- As big corporations have begun to speak out against Republican-backed measures to make it harder to vote in Georgia, Mitch McConnell issued them a warning: “stay out of politics”, he told private companies. He threatened “serious consequences” if companies “keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government”.
- In related news, the same state legislators pushing voting restrictions across the country had previously received more than $50m from big corporations in the past, a new report found.
- Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan is facing criticism from Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Senator Joe Manchin, whose vote will be crucial for the bill’s Senate passage, said today he does not support the president’s proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% to help pay for the infrastructure plan. “As the bill exists today, it needs to be changed,” Manchin said.
- The Minneapolis police chief testified in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial. Police chief Medaria Arradondo said Chauvin’s neck restraint on George Floyd “absolutely” violated department policies on use of force. Chauvin kept his knee of Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, causing the Black man to lose consciousness and then die.
- More than 4m coronavirus vaccination doses were administered in a single day over the weekend, setting a new US record. The White House also announced it was establishing three more federally funded mass vaccination sites in Columbia, South Carolina; Pueblo, Colorado; and St Paul, Minnesota.
- The Republican governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, vetoed a controversial anti-trans bill passed by the state legislature last week. The bill, which had been widely criticized by pediatricians and parents of transgender youth, would have prevented anyone under age 18 from getting treatment involving gender reassignment surgery or medication.
- Treasury secretary Janet Yellen called for a global minimum corporate tax rate. Speaking to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs today, Yellen said US competitiveness must include “making sure that governments have stable tax systems that raise sufficient revenue to invest in essential public goods and respond to crises, and that all citizens fairly share the burden of financing government”.
Local photographer captures Kamala Harris’ hometown visit to Oakland, California
San Francisco Chronicle photographer Jessica Christian posted a series of photographs today capturing the vice president’s visit to Oakland, where she was born and worked for years as a young prosecutor.
Kamala Harris visits Oakland, pledges that big vaccination site will remain open
In her visit to Oakland today to tout the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan, the vice president said the federal government will keep a large vaccination site at the city’s biggest stadium open past it scheduled closure on Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
“There was no immediate clarity on how it would run, given that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has said it will stop providing vaccine doses after this week,” the Chronicle reports.
On voting rights, Mitch McConnell tells corporate America to ‘stay out of politics’
Republicans’ standing as the party of corporate America appears to be under threat after Mitch McConnell, the minority leader in the Senate, told chief executives critical of new voting restrictions in Georgia to “stay out of politics”.
Last week Coca-Cola, Delta and dozens of other companies condemned a new election law in Georgia while Major League Baseball announced it would move the All-Star Game from the state in protest.
“I found it completely discouraging to find a bunch of corporate CEOs getting in the middle of politics,” McConnell told a press conference in his home state of Kentucky on Monday. “My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don’t pick sides in these big fights.”
He warned companies against giving into advocacy campaigns. “It’s jaw-dropping to see powerful American institutions not just permit themselves to be bullied, but join in the bullying themselves,” he said.
In a separate written statement, McConnell warned of “serious consequences” if companies “keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government.”
“From election law to environmentalism to radical social agendas to the second amendment, parts of the private sector keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government. Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.
Read the full story:
A ‘big win’ for Democrats on congressional budgeting procedure
The Hill’s Alex Bolton breaks down a new technical ruling from the Senate parliamentarian that will have big implications for Democrats’ ability to be effective in 2021.
My colleague Lauren Gambino has the first reaction from Schumer’s spokesperson: the decision “allows Democrats additional tools to improve the lives of Americans if Republican obstruction continues”.
What Donald Trump’s office looks like now
Stephen Miller, the senior Trump adviser who promoted white nationalist ideas and was a driving force behind the administration’s much-condemned Muslim ban, family separation policy, and other anti-immigrant policies, shared a photo of him meeting with the former president.
It’s the first image of what Trump’s post-Oval Office office looks like, one New York Times reporter noted.
Miller did not say what he and Trump discussed, but Republicans, including the former president and Miller himself, have been actively decrying what they call a “border crisis” at the US-Mexico border, framed as an attack on President Joe Biden and an attempt to gain votes for Republicans.
Trump told Fox News last week that he might personally visit the border in the next few weeks.
Corporations gave over $50M to politicians currently pushing voting restrictions
New from the Associated Press:
When executives from Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines spoke out against Georgia’s new voting law as unduly restrictive last week, it seemed to signal a new activism springing from corporate America.
But if leaders of the nation’s most prominent companies are going to reject lawmakers who support restrictive voting measures, they will have to abruptly reverse course.
State legislators across the country who have pushed for new voting restrictions, and also seized on former President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, have reaped more than $50 million in corporate donations in recent years, according to a new report by Public Citizen, a Washington-based government watchdog group.
Telecom giant AT&T was the most prolific, donating over $800,000 since 2015 to authors of proposed restrictions, cosponsors of such measures, or those who voted in favor of the bills, the report found. Other top donors during the same period include Comcast, Philip Morris USA, UnitedHealth Group, Walmart, Verizon, General Motors and Pfizer.
Former Congresswoman Katie Hill Speaks Out About Matt Gaetz allegations
Katie Hill, a California congresswoman and rising Democratic star, resigned in 2019 after nude photographs of her were leaked online and her affair with a campaign staffer was made public.
Now, she’s facing questions about the likely consequences for Matt Gaetz, a young pro-Trump congressman reportedly under investigation for possible sex trafficking of a minor. CNN also reported that Gaetz showed nude photos of women he had slept with to other lawmakers, including on the floor of the House of Representatives, citing interviews with two unnamed people who said they personally had been shown the material.
Hill had what she describes as an unlikely friendship with Gaetz, who publicly defended her after her nude photos were leaked, she writes in an extensive essay on the situation in Vanity Fair.
“If there is even a fraction of truth to these reports, he should resign immediately,” Hill writes.
She also describes as her mother’s reaction to the Gaetz allegations:
When the news about Matt Gaetz broke, my mom once again called to ask if I was okay. She knew about our friendship and didn’t like it. From the very beginning she’d told me to be careful and not to trust him. When he defended me, she raised her eyebrows and told me I’d better not sleep with him (I did not, for the record).
“Yeah, I’m okay,” I replied. “I just don’t really know what to say. I really hope it’s not true.”
“I’m sure it’s true.”
“Jeez, Mom, why??”
“Because it’s always true. Hopefully this time a man actually takes the fall.”
United Airlines tweets opposition to voting restriction laws
United Airlines has joined other major companies in speaking out against new restrictions making it more difficult to vote, which Republican politicians successfully passed in Georgia and are pursuing elsewhere.
After Georgia Republicans passed a law that makes it significantly harder to vote, Major League Baseball announced it will not hold its annual All-Star Game in Atlanta this year. Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, among others, have also made public statements about voting rights in Georgia.
Delta Airlines issued a somewhat blunter and more specific statement that United last week, as my colleague Sam Levine reported, calling Georgia’s new voting law “unacceptable”.
“It’s evident that the bill includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives. That is wrong,” Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO, wrote in a company memo on Wednesday.
‘Thank you for choosing us,’ Biden tells new citizens, praising ‘nation of immigrants’
This is Lois Beckett, picking up our live US politics coverage from the Guardian’s California bureau.
In a newly recorded video for America’s newest citizens, President Joe Biden is thanking naturalized Americans for “choosing us”, the Associated Press reports.
In the brief remarks, Biden references the “courage” of immigrants coming to the US and his own heritage as a descendant of Irish immigrants. He also praises the contribution they will make to American society.
“First and foremost, I want to thank you for choosing us and believing that America is worthy of your aspirations,” Biden says in the video.
“You all have one thing in common: courage,” Biden says in the video, released on Monday. “The courage it takes to sacrifice and make this journey. The courage to leave your homes, your lives, your loved ones, and come to a nation that is more than just a place but rather an idea. An idea that where everyone is created equal and deserves to be treated equally.”
It’s a tonal shift from former President Donald Trump, who released a video later in his first year in office that echoed his campaign rhetoric on teaching American values and heritage.