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Pelosi, Schumer: Senate GOP's skinny coronavirus bill "is headed nowhere"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi(D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y) denounced Senate Republicans' plan to introduce a pared-down coronavirus stimulus bill on Tuesday, saying the "emaciated" bill "is headed nowhere."

Why it matters: Weeks after the expiration of key stimulus components from the CARES Act, like expanded unemployment benefits for millions of Americans, congressional leaders appear no closer to a deal on the next round of relief.


The state of play, via Axios' Alayna Treene: Senate Republicans have decided that they can get behind a narrow, scaled back package that addresses only the key issues with widespread GOP support, including more money for schools, widespread liability protections and restructured unemployment benefits.

  • Many Senate Republicans privately expect their slimmed-down bill to fail, but see the expected vote as a maneuver to put Democrats, who passed their $3 trillion HEROES Act in May, on defense.

What they're saying: "If anyone doubts [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell’s true intent is anything but political, just look at the bill.  This proposal is laden with poison pills Republicans know Democrats would never support," Pelosi and Schumer said in their statement.

  • They added that the bill is "only intended to help vulnerable Republican senators by giving them a 'check the box' vote to maintain the appearance that they’re not held hostage by their extreme right-wing that doesn’t want to spend a nickel to help people."

The other side: "It does not contain every idea our party likes," McConnell said in a statement of his own on Tuesday.

  • "I am confident Democrats will feel the same. Yet Republicans believe the many serious differences between our two parties should not stand in the way of agreeing where we can agree and making law that helps our nation."

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

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Scoop: Sudan wants to seal Israel normalization deal at White House

Three months after Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel, it still hasn't signed an agreement to formally do so. Israeli officials tell me one reason has now emerged: Sudan wants to sign the deal at the White House.

Driving the news: Israel sent Sudan a draft agreement for establishing diplomatic relations several weeks ago, but the Sudanese didn’t reply, the officials say. On Tuesday, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen raised that issue in Khartoum during the first-ever visit of an Israeli minister to Sudan.

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Netanyahu doesn't want a fight with Biden over Iran — yet

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, hoping to avoid an immediate clash with President Biden over Iran, will give dialogue a chance, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: Biden intends to try to resume the 2015 nuclear deal, which Netanyahu vehemently opposes. The two are on a collision course, and memories are fresh of the crisis in U.S.-Israel relations when Netanyahu was publicly campaigning against Barack Obama's attempts to reach a deal — including in a speech to Congress.

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The Doomsday Clock is kept unchanged at 100 seconds to midnight

In its annual update on Wednesday morning, scientists announced the Doomsday Clock would be kept at 100 seconds to midnight.

Why it matters: The decision to keep the clock hands steady — tied for the closest it has ever been to midnight in the clock's 74-year history — reflects a picture of progress on climate change and politics undercut by growing threats from infectious disease and disruptive technologies.

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Biden's climate orders to include halt on new oil-and-gas leases on public lands

President Biden will signnew executive actions today that provide the clearest signs yet of his climate plans — and will begin an intense battle with the oil industry.

Driving the news: One move will freeze issuance of new oil-and-gas leases on public lands and waters "to the extent possible," per a White House summary.

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