Politics recap

  • Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation a week after the New York attorney general’s office released a report saying the governor had sexually harassed at least 11 women. In a prepared statement today, Cuomo continued to defend his actions, but he said he now considered his resignation to be in the best interest of the state. “The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. And therefore, that’s what I’ll do,” Cuomo said, noting the resignation will take effect in 14 days.
  • Joe Biden welcomed the governor’s announcement, after the president called for Cuomo to step down last week. “I respect the governor’s decision, and I respect the decision he made,” Biden said.
  • The Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill in a vote of 69 to 30. The legislation now heads to the House, where it may face resistance from some progressive lawmakers. If enacted, the bill would invest $550bn in new federal funds for roads, bridges and other physical infrastructure projects.
  • Biden praised the Senate’s passage of the infrastructure bill, describing the bipartisan deal as proof that “democracy can still work”. Speaking at the White House this afternoon, Biden said, “After years and years of infrastructure week, we’re on the cusp of an infrastructure decade that I truly believe will transform America.”
  • The Senate voted along party lines to start debate on the $3.5tn reconciliation bill, which Democrats plan to pass without any Republican support. The vote-a-rama on the bill is now under way in the Senate, and it may continue into the early hours of Wednesday morning.
  • Dominion Voting Systems is suing two far-right news networks, One America News (OAN) and Newsmax, for spreading lies about fraud in the 2020 election. In its lawsuits, Dominion accused the networks of having “manufactured, endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies” that caused irreparable harm to the company. Dominion is seeking billions of dollars in damages to make up for lost profits and other costs incurred as the company has fought these election lies.
  • The House will return to session 23 August and will likely work on HR 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The act would restore protections of the Voting Rights Act, gutted by the supreme court in 2013. Meanwhile, a court temporarily blocked a restraining order that protected Texas lawmakers from being arrested after they fled the state in July to stop a Republican effort to enact new voting restrictions.
  • Several of Indiana’s laws restricting abortion are unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday. US district court judge Sarah Evans Barker issued a permanent injunction against a ban on telemedicine consultations between doctors and women seeking abortions. The judge also ruled against state laws mandating in-person examinations by a doctor before medication abortions and against a requirement that women seeking abortions be told human life begins when the egg is fertilized.

– Joan E Greve, Dani Anguiano and Maanvi Singh

Updated

US urged to fast-track vaccine approval for children under 12 as cases rise

As Covid cases among children continue to rise in the US due to spread of the Delta variant, experts are urging the federal government to fast-track vaccine approval for those under the age of 12.

New data analysis from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) indicated that children accounted for 15% of new cases reported last week, with a total of almost 94,000 cases. There was a 4% increase in child cases over the past two weeks, the AAP found.

While children still make up a small fraction of hospitalized Covid patients, up to 1.9% in states reporting such data, there is anecdotal evidence in areas that have seen a significant Covid surge in recent weeks that more children are being admitted for care.

In Louisiana, which saw a significant surge of 16,000 new Covid cases and 50 deaths over the weekend as the Delta variant rips through the region, pediatricians in New Orleans expressed concerns about an uptick in child Covid admissions.

Dr Mark Kline, chief of Children’s Hospital New Orleans, told local news that outpatient Covid positivity rates had risen from 1% a month ago to 20%. The hospital was treating 18 child Covid inpatients with six in intensive care. There were three on ventilators, including a three month old baby, Kline told WDSU News.

“It is heartbreaking, honestly, to take care of potentially dying children,” Kline told the news channel. “All of this was likely unnecessary if we as adults did what we needed to do and get the vaccine. We could have protected these children.”

Louisiana has one of the lowest rates of vaccination in the US with just 37% of the state fully vaccinated.

Read more:

Federal judge rules against Indiana abortion laws

Several of Indiana’s laws restricting abortion are unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

The US district court judge Sarah Evans Barker issued a permanent injunction against a ban on telemedicine consultations between doctors and women seeking abortions. The judge also ruled against state laws mandating in-person examinations by a doctor before medication abortions and against a requirement that women seeking abortions be told human life begins when the egg is fertilized.

Attacks on reproductive rights in the US have accelerated in the last decade with Republicans using aggressive new tactics to ban abortion and anti-abortion extremists continuing to gain ground on the right.

Last month, Mississippi urged the supreme court to overturn Roe v Wade, which legalized abortion in the US, and a federal judge blocked an Arkansas law banning nearly all abortions.

The House of Representatives will likely take up another voting rights bill

The House will return to session 23 August and will likely work on HR 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, wrote in a letter to colleagues. The act would restore protections of the Voting Rights Act, gutted by the supreme court in 2013.

The news comes as top Senate Democrats are expected to make another attempt to push for voting rights legislation before the chamber leaves Washington for a summer recess.

Read more on Senate Democrats’ efforts here:

Updated

Texas supreme court rules Democrats who left state to block voting restrictions can be arrested

The court temporarily blocked a restraining order that protected the lawmakers from being arrested after they fled the state in July to stop a Republican effort to enact new voting restrictions. By fleeing the state, Democratic lawmakers denied the Republican-led legislature the quorum needed to proceed with the bill.

The court’s decision means that those who have returned to the state can be detained and forcibly brought to the state capitol to re-establish quorum, according to the Texas Tribune.

Read more about the fight over Texas voting restrictions here:

‘I still feel it isn’t real’: Gold Rush town residents reckon with wildfire devastation

The $1tn infrastructure bill that passed the Senate takes some steps toward addressing the climate crisis and building resiliency – through environmental activists and progressive Democrats say it falls short. In California, where global heating has helped fuel extreme wildfires, Dani Anguiano reports on the devastation of the Dixie fire:

After weeks of fire, smoke and warnings, Kimberly Price’s beloved hometown had run out of time.

With wind driving the Dixie fire directly into Greenville, Price’s longtime partner, John Hunter, told her she needed to leave. Price, 58, had spent most of her life in the close-knit Sierra Nevada community. She couldn’t bear the thought of leaving, but the flames were everywhere.

She made Hunter promise he would follow, and then she left Greenville, driving away from the home she had bought from her grandparents, with the butterfly bushes and cherry trees she carefully tended, away from the house where her granddaughters had spent their whole lives, away from the storage unit that held handmade Christmas ornaments and her mother’s belongings, and away from the 92-year-old hardware store that Hunter owned.

Within an hour, most of it was gone.

Flames overtook the Gold Rush town of 1,000 people last week, destroying homes and much of the area’s historic downtown: a hotel, a bar and the Hunter Ace Hardware store. Like Paradise and Berry Creek before it, Greenville became another northern California town devastated by fire.

Firefighters are still battling to contain the blaze that leveled much of Greenville. The Dixie fire has grown into the largest single wildfire recorded in California history.

On Tuesday, the fire kept pushing through forestlands, as fire crews tried to protect rural communities from the flames. The clearing of thick smoke along one edge of the fire allowed aircraft to join nearly 6,000 firefighters in the fight.

Read more:

Updated

White House press secretary Jen Psaki clarified the president’s earlier comments praising Andrew Cuomo’s legacy as governor.

Earlier, a reporter had asked Joe Biden to assess Cuomo’s decade-long career as governor. “I thought he’s done a hell of a job – and both on everything from access to voting to infrastructure to a whole range of things. That’s why it’s so sad,” Biden responded.

@potus responded to a specific question today about @NYGovCuomo work on infrastructure. He also made clear it was right for @NYGovCuomo to step down, reiterated his support for women who come forward, and made clear you can’t separate personal behavior from other work.

— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) August 10, 2021

Psaki clarified that while Biden praised Cuomo’s work on infrastructure, in light of revelations that the New York governor had sexually harassed women, “you can’t separate personal behavior from other work”.

Today so far

That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Maanvi Singh, will take over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation a week after the New York attorney general’s office released a report saying the governor had sexually harassed at least 11 women. In a prepared statement today, Cuomo continued to defend his actions, but he said he now considered his resignation to be in the best interest of the state. “The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. And therefore, that’s what I’ll do,” Cuomo said, noting the resignation will take effect in 14 days.
  • Joe Biden welcomed the governor’s announcement, after the president called for Cuomo to step down last week. “I respect the governor’s decision, and I respect the decision he made,” Biden said.
  • The Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill in a vote of 69 to 30. The legislation now heads to the House, where it may face resistance from some progressive lawmakers. If enacted, the bill would invest $550bn in new federal funds for roads, bridges and other physical infrastructure projects.
  • Biden praised the Senate’s passage of the infrastructure bill, describing the bipartisan deal as proof that “democracy can still work”. Speaking at the White House this afternoon, Biden said, “After years and years of infrastructure week, we’re on the cusp of an infrastructure decade that I truly believe will transform America.”
  • The Senate voted along party lines to start debate on the $3.5tn reconciliation bill, which Democrats plan to pass without any Republican support. The vote-a-rama on the bill is now underway in the Senate, and it may continue into the early hours of Wednesday morning.
  • Dominion Voting Systems is suing two far-right news networks, One America News (OAN) and Newsmax, for spreading lies about fraud in the 2020 election. In its lawsuits, Dominion accused the networks of having “manufactured, endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies” that caused irreparable harm to the company. Dominion is seeking billions of dollars in damages to make up for lost profits and other costs incurred as the company has fought these election lies.

Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Rebecca Klein reports on Kathy Hochul, who will soon become governor of New York:

When the New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, leaves office in 14 days time after resigning over allegations that he sexually harassed at least 11 women, the state will finally get its first female governor.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, 62, has served in her post since 2015. Now, she will take over as New York’s top politician in just two weeks time, Cuomo announced suddenly on Tuesday.

Hochul, considered a centrist Democrat, got her start in politics working in local government, serving in offices like Eerie county clerk before winning a special election for state congress in her hometown district. However, her time as a congresswoman was short-lived, and she lost to Republican Chris Collins the following year.

As lieutenant governor, the Buffalo-raised politician has rarely sought the spotlight and maintained a characteristic distance from her boss. In recent months, as scrutiny around Cuomo intensified over his treatment of women and accusations that his administration intentionally downplayed the true number of New York nursing home deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic, Hochul further separated herself from him.

She called his behavior toward women “repulsive” in the wake of a report from the state attorney general released last week, which detailed allegations that he had sexually harassed 11 women.

New York attorney general Letitia James, whose office oversaw the investigation into the sexual harassment allegations against Andrew Cuomo, said the governor’s resignation ends a “sad chapter” for the state.

“Today closes a sad chapter for all of New York, but it’s an important step towards justice,” James said in a statement.

Today, closes a sad chapter for all of New York, but it’s an important step towards justice.

— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) August 10, 2021

The attorney general added, “I thank Governor Cuomo for his contributions to our state. The ascension of our Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul, will help New York enter a new day. We must continue to build on the progress already made and improve the lives of New Yorkers in every corner of the state. I know our state is in good hands with Lieutenant Governor Hochul at the helm, and I look forward to continuing to work with her.”

Hochul is expected to formally become governor in two weeks, when Cuomo’s resignation takes effect. She will be the first woman to ever serve as the governor of New York.

A reporter asked Joe Biden to assess Andrew Cuomo’s decade-long career as governor, as he prepares to step down in the wake of 11 women accusing him of sexual harassment.

“In terms of his personal behavior or what he’s done as a governor?” Biden asked.

“What’s he done as a governor,” the reporter replied.

“I thought he’s done a hell of a job – and both on everything from access to voting to infrastructure to a whole range of things. That’s why it’s so sad,” Biden said.

President Biden tells @edokeefe his assessment of Andrew Cuomo's tenure as governor of New York: "He's done a hell of a job — on everything from access to voting to infrastructure to a whole range of things. That's why it's so sad." https://t.co/ea8wIVnL34 pic.twitter.com/m3rcWFJ1xQ

— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 10, 2021

Moments later, another reporter pressed Biden on whether Cuomo could have truly done “a hell of a job” as governor when he has been accused of sexually harassing nearly a dozen women and breaking laws in the process.

“You asked two different questions,” Biden said. The president underscored the importance of believing the women whose allegations were substantiated by the investigation conducted by the office of the New York attorney general.

“I was asked a specific question,” Biden said, adding that he was not generally attempting to separate Cuomo’s personal behavior from his gubernatorial record.

CNN’s @kaitlancollins to President Biden: “Can you really say that [Gov. Cuomo] has done ‘a hell of a job’ if he’s accused of sexually harassing women on the job?” pic.twitter.com/G6tjrhn2At

— The Recount (@therecount) August 10, 2021

Updated

Taking additional questions from reporters, Joe Biden said he was “very concerned” about the potential spread of coronavirus among children who are too young to get vaccinated.

“The reason children are becoming infected is because, in most cases, they live in low vaccination rate states and communities, and they’re getting it from unvaccinated adults. That’s what’s happening,” Biden said. “And so, my plea is to those who are not vaccinated: Think about it.”

Biden says he's "very concerned" about children catching COVID and it's "disingenuous" that governors accusing him of government overreach are threatening school officials who enforce protocols. He says he's "checking" if he has power to intervene in states like Texas and Florida pic.twitter.com/vqQFRA7kD4

— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 10, 2021

The president also argued that there is a logical inconsistency among Republican lawmakers who are criticizing his administration for alleged federal overreach by encouraging mask usage and simultaneously threatening to retaliate against schools that implement mask mandates.

“I find that totally counterintuitive and, quite frankly, disingenuous,” Biden said.

The president did not specifically name Ron DeSantis, but the comment appeared to be a direct rebuke of the Florida governor’s policies.

'I respect the governor’s decision,' Biden says of Cuomo resignation

Joe Biden is taking a few questions from reporters after wrapping up his prepared remarks on the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

And – no surprise here – the first question was about Biden’s response to Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that he will step down as governor of New York.

President Biden on Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) resignation:

“I respect the governor’s decision and I respect the decision he made.” pic.twitter.com/ikwcXplzHU

— The Recount (@therecount) August 10, 2021

“I respect the governor’s decision, and I respect the decision he made,” Biden said.

The president had previously called on Cuomo to resign, after the New York attorney general’s office released a report saying the governor had sexually harassed at least 11 women and violated state and federal law in doing so.

Updated

Joe Biden described the Senate’s passage of the infrastructure bill as proof that bipartisanship is still possible, even in today’s bitterly divided Washington.

“For the Republicans who supported this bill, you showed a lot of courage,” Biden said of the 19 Republican senators who voted “yes” on the infrastructure proposal.

“You have and no doubt you will disagree with me on many issues, but where we can agree, we should. And here on this bill, we proved that we can still come together to do big things, important things, for the American people.”

The president thanked Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell for supporting the bill, and he credited majority leader Chuck Schumer for his “masterful” handling of the legislation.

“Today, we proved that democracy can still work,” Biden said.

Biden celebrates Senate passage of infrastructure bill: 'We’re on the cusp of an infrastructure decade'

Joe Biden celebrated the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, thanking the 69 members of both parties who ensured the legislation’s advancement.

“After years and years of infrastructure week, we’re on the cusp of an infrastructure decade that I truly believe will transform America,” Biden said.

"After years and years of infrastructure week, we're on the cusp of an infrastructure decade that I truly believe will transform America," President Biden says after the Senate passed an infrastructure bill. pic.twitter.com/W4Ce5smERA

— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 10, 2021

That line was, of course, a reference to the Trump administration repeatedly announcing “infrastructure week” but failing to ever actually sign any infrastructure bills.

The legislation still needs to pass the House before it reaches Biden’s desk, and the president emphasized the importance of giving final approval to the bill, which would invest $550bn in new federal funds for roads, bridges and other physical infrastructure projects.

About an hour and a half after the scheduled start time, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have arrived for their event to celebrate the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

The vice-president spoke first, saying the bill’s passage demonstrated the Biden administration’s commitment to working “on behalf of the American people”.

“Today, we move one step closer to making a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure,” Harris said.

“It will mean people in our nation won’t have to drink water from lead pipes or go to a fast-food parking lot to get high-speed Internet.”

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will soon deliver remarks at the White House on the Senate’s passage of the $1.2tn bipartisan infrastructure bill earlier today.

Among the White House officials attending the event are Shalanda Young, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, and senior presidential adviser Steve Ricchetti, who helped negotiate the bipartisan agreement.

The event was scheduled to begin over an hour ago, but as is often the case with Biden, we are still waiting to start. Stay tuned.

Hugo Lowell reports for the Guardian on Senate Democrats’ latest effort to advance voting rights legislation:

Top Democrats in the Senate are poised to make another attempt to push through voting rights legislation before the chamber leaves Washington for a summer recess, in a sign of their determination to counter a wave of Republican-led ballot restrictions across the nation.

The Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer is expected to reintroduce Democrats’ marquee election reform bill known as the For the People Act, with additional votes on one measure to end partisan gerrymandering and another measure to tighten campaign spending, sources said.

None of the measures, for which Schumer hopes to schedule votes immediately after the Senate takes up the $3.5tn budget blueprint for infrastructure, is expected to garner any Republican support and will thus likely follow the demise of the For the People Act in June.

The move by Senate Democrats will encourage voting rights activists, who have watched with alarm that the issue appeared to have taken a back seat as protracted negotiations over the $1tn bipartisan infrastructure package consumed the Senate.

Yet in the face of united Republican opposition, the endgame for Democrats – even as they scramble to enact voting rights legislation to roll back a wave of GOP ballot restrictions in time for the 2022 midterm elections – remains unclear.

Now that the bipartisan infrastructure bill has passed the Senate, civil rights leaders are calling on Democrats to act with the same kind of urgency when it comes to voting rights.

“The White House must now prioritize voting rights legislation with the same level of urgency and commitment as the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Time is running out. The infrastructure of our own democracy, the heart and soul of America, is crumbling before our very eyes,” NAACP president Derrick Johnson said in a statement.

“We must protect the American people’s sacred right to vote by any means possible.”

Democrats’ two voting rights bills, the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, have stalled in the Senate because of a Republican filibuster.

Senate votes along party lines to begin debate on $3.5tn reconciliation bill

The Senate may have been able to pass the $1.2tn infrastructure bill in a bipartisan fashion, but the upper chamber quickly reverted back to its partisan ways once that vote was over.

In a 50-49 vote that fell along party lines, the Senate voted to start debate on Democrats’ $3.5tn reconciliation bill, which covers many of Joe Biden’s infrastructure initiatives not included in the bill passed today.

Agreed to, 50-49: Motion to proceed to Cal. #122, S.Con.Res.14, FY2022 Budget Resolution.

— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) August 10, 2021

Vice-president Kamala Harris was in the Senate chamber in case she needed to cast a tie-breaking vote to start debate on the bill, but that was not necessary because Republican Mike Rounds was absent for the vote. (Rounds is at the Mayo Clinic with his wife as she receives cancer treatment.)

The vote-a-rama on the bill has now begun, with Republicans prepared to offer potentially hundreds of amendments to the spending package, forcing Democrats to take votes on everything from climate policy to abortion rights.

The vote-a-rama session could continue into the early hours of Wednesday morning, but ultimately Democrats do not need any Republican votes to advance the reconciliation bill.

Vote Update: the Senate will shortly proceed to up to 4 votes in relation to the following amendments to S.Con.Res.14, FY2022 Budget Resolution:
1. Barrasso #3055
2. Carper #3330
3. Thune #3106
4. Cortez Masto #3317

— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) August 10, 2021

Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has threatened to take away teachers’ salaries in his state if they enforce the mandatory wearing of masks as children come back to school.

The Biden administration is “looking at options” to get around that situation if the governor carries out this threat, White House press sec Jen Psaki has indicated today.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki briefing the media at the White House today.
Press Secretary Jen Psaki briefing the media at the White House today. Photograph: Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

The state could defund the salaries of district superintendents and county school board members who mandate mask wearing in schools, according to a statement from DeSantis’ office yesterday, the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported.

Psaki said that federal funds distributed to cope with the coronavirus pandemic as a result of the American Rescue Plan signed into law by Joe Biden early in his administration included money for schools.

But she added that those funds had not been distributed in Florida by the state government. Without saying directly that the White House and the administration will look at ways of ensuring that funding gets to what she described as “eligible schools” she said: “We are looking at our options” in relation to efforts to ensure teachers do not have their pay cut if they enforce mask-wearing in the classroom to keep children safe from Covid-19.

Coronavirus is raging in Florida as a result of the Delta variant and children’s hospitals are under pressure.

'This is a story about courageous woman' - White House on Cuomo quitting

The first question to press sec Jen Psaki was, of course, about the announcement from New York’s three-term, Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo about an hour ago that he is resigning after a report by the state attorney general found he sexually harassed 11 women.

Andrew Cuomo announces he will resign.
Andrew Cuomo announces he will resign. Photograph: AP

Joe Biden led the calls last week from the Democratic establishment for Cuomo to resign after NY attorney general Letitia James announced the findings of a five-month investigation.

Psaki said the US president had not spoken to Cuomo since then and the White House had not been given a heads-up that the governor was about to announce this morning - at around the exact time the Senate was passing the infrastructure bill, that he was stepping aside.

“This is a story about courageous woman who told their stories” after the investigation by the AG, she said.

Biden is expected to talk a little later about the infrastructure bill. Psaki has not said if he will address the Cuomo situation. But, of course if journalists get a chance to ask him about it they surely will.

Psaki said the administration looked forward to working with New York’s lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul, who will now step into Cuomo’s shoes and become the first woman to run the state.

I agree with Governor Cuomo's decision to step down. It is the right thing to do and in the best interest of New Yorkers.

As someone who has served at all levels of government and is next in the line of succession, I am prepared to lead as New York State’s 57th Governor.

— Kathy Hochul (@LtGovHochulNY) August 10, 2021

Updated

White House press secretary Jen Psaki is now beginning her media briefing. She started by praising the passing of the infrastructure bill in the US Senate about an hour ago.

She said US president Joe Biden is paying attention to the bipartisan aspect of the bill, after 19 Republicans joined the entire Democratic caucus in the upper chamber to pass the $1tr bill.

But she pointed out that even more importantly, the administration believes the legislation will “deliver huge benefits” to people in the US, creating “millions of jobs”.

She added that the legislation was expected to benefit the environment and deliver clean drinking water and high speed internet to more Americans.

Today so far

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Andrew Cuomo announced his resignation a week after the New York attorney general released a report saying the governor had sexually harassed at least 11 women. In a prepared statement today, Cuomo continued to defend his actions, but he said he now considered his resignation to be in the best interest of the state. “The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. And therefore, that’s what I’ll do,” Cuomo said, noting the resignation will take effect in 14 days.
  • The Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill in a vote of 69 to 30. The legislation now heads to the House, where it may face resistance from some progressive lawmakers. Joe Biden, who has wholeheartedly endorsed the bill, will deliver remarks on the legislation’s Senate passage this afternoon.
  • Dominion Voting Systems is suing two far-right news networks, One America News (OAN) and Newsmax, for spreading lies about fraud in the 2020 election. In its lawsuits, Dominion accused the networks of having “manufactured, endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies” that caused irreparable harm to the company. Dominion is seeking billions of dollars in damages to make up for lost profits and other costs incurred as the company has fought these election lies.

The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Cuomo resigns in wake of damning report on sexual harassment

The New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, has resigned following an investigation by the state attorney general that found he sexually harassed multiple women, most of whom worked for him, and also retaliated after some made complaints.

Delivering a prepared statement today, Cuomo continued to defend his actions, but he said he now considered his resignation to be in the best interest of New Yorkers and the state government.

“The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. And therefore, that’s what I’ll do,” Cuomo said, noting the resignation will take effect in 14 days.

"The best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing. And therefore, that's what I'll do," New York Gov. Cuomo says. pic.twitter.com/Z1edfCJa3z

— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 10, 2021

The Democratic governor had lost the support of the party establishment, with Joe Biden calling on Cuomo to resign and similar demands issued by House speaker Nancy Pelosi, both of New York’s US Senators – one of whom is Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer – two Democratic New York congressmen, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and a host of Republicans in Washington DC.

Cuomo’s own No 2, the New York lieutenant governor, Kathy Hochul, had called his conduct “repulsive and unlawful”.

His political future was dangling by a thread amid moves to impeach the governor and force him from office by the New York legislative assembly in the state capital of Albany.

Updated

Joe Biden will deliver remarks on the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill at 1:30 pm ET, the White House has just announced.

Kamala Harris, who presided over the Senate’s final vote on the bipartisan bill, is also expected to speak, according to the White House’s updated schedule for the day.

The president has already offered a full endorsement of the infrastructure bill, and he will likely call on the House to quickly pass it once members return from their recess next month. Stay tuned.

Nineteen Senate Republicans and all 50 Senate Democrats supported the final passage of the $1.2tn bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Here are the names of the 19 Republicans who voted “yes” on the bill, including Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell:

Here are the 19 Republican Senators who voted YES on the bipartisan infrastructure bill:

Blunt
Burr
Capito
Cassidy
Collins
Cramer
Crapo
Fischer
Graham
Grassley
Hoeven
McConnell
Murkowski
Portman
Risch
Romney
Sullivan
Tillis
Wicker

— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) August 10, 2021

Senate passes bipartisan infrastructure bill in 69-30 vote

Well, it is finally and truly infrastructure week: the Senate has officially passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill in a vote of 69 to 30. Vice-president Kamala Harris presided over the vote.

Minority leader Mitch McConnell was among the 19 Senate Republicans who joined Democrats to get the bill across the finish line. The legislation required a simple majority to pass the upper chamber.

Passed, 69-30: Cal. #100, H.R.3684, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as amended.

— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) August 10, 2021

The bill now heads to the House, where it may face resistance from progressive lawmakers, some of whom have indicated they will not support the legislation without guarantees about the future passage of the $3.5tn reconciliation package.

Joe Biden has already indicated he wholeheartedly supports the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which would invest $550bn in new federal funds for roads, bridges and other physical infrastructure projects.

The president is expected to soon deliver some kind of official response to the bill’s passage, so stay tuned.

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has officially voted in favor of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, joining at least a dozen other Republican senators.

Other members of the Senate Republican leadership team, including John Cornyn and John Thune, have already voted against the bill.

The vote is still open, and the bill currently has 63 “yes” votes, which is more than enough to ensure its passage. Stay tuned.

Bipartisan infrastructure bill has enough votes to pass Senate

The bipartisan infrastructure bill now has enough votes to pass the Senate, although the count will not be official until the vote is gaveled out.

As of now, 55 senators have voted in support of passing the legislation, which would invest $550bn in new federal funds for roads, bridges and other physical infrastructure projects. A simple majority was needed to pass the bill

A number of Senate Republicans have voted “yes” on the bill, but at least two members of the Republican leadership team -- John Cornyn and John Thune -- have opposed the legislation.

Senate holds final vote on bipartisan infrastructure bill

The Senate is now holding its final vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which is expected to pass with support from members of both parties.

It’s also important to remember that the bill only needs a simple majority to pass, now that the legislation has cleared all possible procedural hurdles.

NOW VOTING: Passage of Cal. #100, H.R.3684, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as amended.

— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) August 10, 2021

Cuomo attorney blames controversy on 'media frenzy' after report corroborated harassment claims

Andrew Cuomo’s personal attorney, Rita Glavin, is now holding another press conference about the sexual harassment allegations against the New York governor.

Glavin held the press conference from the governor’s New York City office, and she spoke while sitting in front of a state seal, even though she is the external lawyer for Cuomo.

Glavin began the press conference by attacking the credibility of the 11 women who have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, and she blamed the widespread calls for his resignation on a “media frenzy” around the allegations.

Cuomo's outside attorney, Rita Glavin, is appearing live from the governor's NYC office, in front of the state seal. pic.twitter.com/DhkvHAyj0I

— Jon Campbell (@JonCampbellGAN) August 10, 2021

“This is about the veracity and the credibility about a report that is being used to impeach and take down an elected official,” Glavin said.

Of course, this “media frenzy” picked up after the office of the New York attorney general, Letitia James, released the findings of an investigation that concluded Cuomo had sexually harassed at least 11 women and violated state and federal law in the process.

In response to that report, many members of Cuomo’s own party, including Joe Biden, have called on the governor to step down.

So it seems pretty clear that it is not simply members of the media who are concerned about the allegations against Cuomo.

Updated

Senate minority whip John Thune told Capitol Hill reporters that he will vote against the bipartisan infrastructure bill today.

“It’s just not fully paid for,” Thune said, per NBC News.

Thune is a NO on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, he tells reporters.

“It’s just not fully paid for.”

Did Trump have influence? “It’s not a factor,” Thune says.

— Julie Tsirkin (@JulieNBCNews) August 10, 2021

The news is not the biggest surprise, considering Thune also voted against advancing the bill in a procedural vote on Sunday.

Despite opposition from members of Senate Republican leadership, the bill should still have enough bipartisan support to pass the upper chamber.

Dominion Voting Systems sues OAN and Newsmax over election lies

Dominion Voting Systems is suing two far-right news networks, One America News (OAN) and Newsmax, for their coverage of the 2020 presidential election.

In its lawsuits, Dominion accused the networks of having “manufactured, endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies” that caused irreparable damage to the company.

“OAN helped create and cultivate an alternate reality where up is down, pigs have wings, and Dominion engaged in a colossal fraud to steal the presidency from Donald Trump by rigging the vote,” Dominion said in its OAN lawsuit.

Dominion is also suing Patrick Byrne, the former chief executive of Overstock.com. The company accused Byrne of amplifying lies about widespread fraud in the presidential election, harming Dominion’s reputation.

Dominion is seeking billions of dollars in damages to make up for lost profits and other costs incurred as the company has fought these election lies.

The company has already filed lawsuits against some Trump allies, including Rudy Giuliani and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, for their roles in spreading the “big lie”:

UN climate report raises pressure on Biden to seize a rare moment

A stark UN report on how humanity has caused unprecedented, and in some cases “irreversible”, changes to the world’s climate has heaped further pressure on Joe Biden to deliver upon what may be his sole chance to pass significant legislation to confront the climate crisis and break a decade of American political inertia.

The US president said the release on Monday of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report showed that “we can’t wait to tackle the climate crisis. The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. And the cost of inaction keeps mounting.”

The IPCC report, developed over the past eight years by scientists who combed over more than 14,000 studies, shows that the US, like the rest of the world, is running out of time to avoid disastrous climate impacts, with a critical global heating threshold of 1.5C to be breached far earlier than previously expected, potentially within a decade.

“This is not a future problem, it’s a problem now. I’m literally seeing climate change out of my window, climate change is in my lungs,” said Linda Mearns, an IPCC report co-author located in Boulder, Colorado, which has been baked in extreme heat and wildfire smoke in recent weeks.

Mearns, who has been involved in IPCC reports since 1990, said the latest iteration was “very through and disturbing” and demanded a strong response.

“I’m not sure what will be required for people to get it, but my hope is that it will galvanize everyone in Glasgow to meet their agreements,” she added in reference to UN climate talks between world leaders in October.

Republican senator Mike Rounds, who was also part of the initial bipartisan group that negotiated over the infrastructure bill, said he now opposes the legislation as well.

My statement on the infrastructure bill: pic.twitter.com/NEvcFvHiZx

— Senator Mike Rounds (@SenatorRounds) August 10, 2021

Rounds noted he will not be present for today’s vote, as he is traveling to the Mayo Clinic with his wife as she receives cancer treatments.

But the South Dakota Republican said he would vote against the bill if he were in Washington today.

“For months, I have been working with my colleagues to negotiate bipartisan infrastructure legislation,” Rounds said.

“However, as this framework progressed out of our bipartisan working groups to the Senate floor, it became evident that the legislation in its final form included several progressive mandates and federal funding clawbacks that I believe go too far.”

Updated

One curious aspect of the Senate’s negotiations over the bipartisan infrastructure bill has been how many Republicans have essentially ignored Donald Trump’s criticism of the legislation.

“Nobody will ever understand why [Senate minority leader] Mitch McConnell allowed this non-infrastructure bill to be passed. He has given up all of his leverage for the big whopper of a bill that will follow,” Trump said in a statement this morning.

The former president has issued similar statements in recent weeks, urging Republican senators to vote against the infrastructure bill.

But his demands don’t seem to be having much of an impact, as the bill is expected to pass with the support of roughly 20 Republican senators.

However, some Senate Republicans are clearly a bit more wary of going against Trump to support the bill. Senators Jerry Moran and Todd Young, who are both up for reelection next year, have announced they will oppose the bill, even though they supported the initial framework for the legislation.

Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg praised the bipartisan infrastructure bill as a historic piece of legislation that will help America strengthen its roads, bridges and broadband access.

“This is a big day,” Buttigieg told CNN. “It’s looking good. What we see in today’s bitterly divided Washington is Republicans and Democrats coming together with the president to say, ‘We need to do this.’”

"There are more steps to go, but very encouraged by the dynamics here and, of course, looking forward to seeing that officially clear the floor," Transportation @SecretaryPete Buttigieg says about the infrastructure bill. "This is good policy and it's good funding." pic.twitter.com/2ve3YK2khS

— New Day (@NewDay) August 10, 2021

CNN anchor John Berman asked Buttigieg about what he would say to progressive Democrats in the House who have indicated they will only vote for the bill if they receive assurances about the future passage of the $3.5tn reconciliation bill.

“This is good policy, and it’s good funding,” Buttigieg replied. “What we’re talking about here represents the most significant infrastructure funding that we’ve done in my lifetime, and then some.”

Buttigieg noted that the Biden administration strongly supports the reconciliation package as well, but he added, “This bill, if you just look at it, is going to do a lot for this country.”

Senate expected to pass bipartisan infrastructure bill this morning

Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.

The Senate is expected to hold its final vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill this morning, and the legislation will likely pass with support from members of both parties.

The final vote comes after months of negotiating over the bill, which would invest $550bn in new federal funds in roads, bridges and other physical infrastructure projects.

Joe Biden has already endorsed the bill, calling it “the most significant long-term investment in our infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century”.

The exterior of the US Capitol is seen as Senate works to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
The exterior of the US Capitol is seen as Senate works to advance the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Photograph: Sarah Silbiger/UPI/REX/Shutterstock

However, the bill still faces a long road to passage in the House, where Democrats have just a three-seat majority.

The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has indicated she does not want to hold a vote on the bipartisan bill until the chamber can also take up the $3.5tn reconciliation package.

Senate Democrats released their blueprint for the reconciliation bill yesterday, but much work remains to be done on the massive spending package.

So although the bipartisan infrastructure bill will likely clear a key hurdle this morning, there are more challenges ahead before the legislation can actually become law.

The blog will have more details coming up, so stay tuned.

Updated

Contributors

Maanvi Singh (now) and Joan E Greve (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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