Biden left to settle intra-party squabbles: The Note

The TAKE with Rick Klein

There will be no summit for this, no Supreme Court decision to settle things with finality — and even a brand-new federal holiday won’t help.

After months of watching the legislative process play out on multiple tracks, it’s up to President Joe Biden and his White House to sort out a range of intra-party disagreements with far-reaching implications.

On infrastructure, a bipartisan bill is chugging along — but so is a significantly more expensive and more partisan alternative. Suddenly, it’s the left making the kinds of noises that could sink a deal.

On voting rights, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has cracked open a window for federal action that looked like it was closed. But any potential bill won’t get done anywhere near what the House-passed bill — which Biden publicly endorsed as “urgently needed” — aimed to achieve, and there may not be any GOP buy-in on the proposal anyway.

On other fronts, including policing and immigration reform, signs of progress have run into more pessimistic assessments of what’s possible. Biden’s voice has been largely absent from those conversations of late.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden gives the thumbs up to the audience before signing the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law at the White House on June 17, 2021.

Biden’s team has been intricately involved in all things Capitol Hill from the start of the administration. But the White House has been a step removed from broad strategic questions, with the president’s preference to keep all options open as long as possible.

The basic dynamics, though, haven’t changed: Biden can aim for bigger goals by leveraging narrow Democratic majorities — risking near-total failure — or take some smaller victories in the name of making progress, while potentially enraging prominent voices on his left.

Congress is in the middle of a flurry of legislating, but one that won’t last indefinitely. It will fall to Biden in large part to define what he wants to do with the dwindling calendar.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

In a lightning-fast adoption of the law that makes June 19, or Juneteenth, a federal holiday, all federal workers are off work Friday in observance of the emancipation of American slaves.

The passage comes at a time when many in this country would point to a host of other issues that need to be addressed if Juneteenth is to be celebrated in earnest.

Voting rights are being restricted in states all over the country and disproportionately impacting communities of color. Federal election reform legislation, meant to counter those restrictions, is stalled in the Senate.

Even after protests across the country last summer and the conviction of the former police officer who killed George Floyd, police reform has yet to be passed.

A father raises his baby daughter's fist in front of a George Floyd mural on the anniversary of George Floyd's death, at George Floyd Memorial Square in Minneapolis on May 25, 2021.

And Republican-led state legislatures across the country have banned so-called “critical race theory,” an effort to take aim at teaching about the lasting impact of slavery in schools.

During his remarks Thursday before signing the federal Juneteenth holiday into law, Biden emphatically acknowledged more work needs to be done to root out institutional racism. He seemed optimistic that the bipartisan support for Juneteenth could be replicated for other legislative priorities pertaining to racial equity, but it remains to be seen if there is the political will to come together.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

Former Vice President Mike Pence is slated to make his first public remarks on Friday since telling Republicans earlier this month in New Hampshire he may never “see eye to eye” with former President Donald Trump on the Jan. 6 riots.

As one of the speakers participating in the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference this weekend, Pence will join other high-profile Republicans in setting the tone for the party’s attempt to build momentum going into next year’s midterm elections — and possibly beyond.

Former Vice President Mike Pence addresses the GOP Lincoln-Reagan Dinner on June 3, 2021 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

If Pence decides to continue to break with Trump at the conservative event, he will open the door to the notion that big-name Republicans can forge ahead with political aspirations without being in complete alignment with the former president.

On the flipside, other attendees may serve up a contrast to that stance, including Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio who could be among Pence’s potential 2024 presidential rivals. Trump’s influence on the party is also likely to be on full display with allies like Sens. Ron Johnson and Lindsey Graham taking to the stage on Friday, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis closing out the meeting on Saturday.


ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. Friday morning’s episode features ABC News Senior National correspondent Terry Moran, who breaks down the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act. ABC News’ Trish Turner brings us up to speed on infrastructure and voting rights legislation negotiations. And ABC News’ Kenneth Moton tells us about how many Black farmers are struggling to stay afloat.

FiveThirtyEight’s Politics Podcast. Progressive Democrats have struggled to break through in one of the most high-profile elections of the year: the Democratic primary for New York City mayor. With just five days until Election Day, candidates that have stayed away from more progressive positions on policing, taxes, development and education continue to mostly dominate the polls. We’ve seen a similar dynamic in some races beyond New York this year, as well. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, we hear from two people involved in the progressive movement in New York City about their thoughts on what’s happening in the race and how progressivism is shaping politics more broadly. Susan Kang is a political science professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and member of the Democratic Socialists of America, who volunteered for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign in 2018. Ross Barkan is a columnist for the socialist magazine Jacobin and The Guardian. He ran for a New York state Senate seat in 2018 and is the author of the book, “The Prince: Andrew Cuomo, Coronavirus, and the Fall of New York.”


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The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back Monday for the latest.

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