Biden says failing infrastructure ‘a drain on our economy’ as he pushes bipartisan plan – as it happened

Last modified: 12: 14 AM GMT+0

Summary

  • Joe Biden praised the bipartisan infrastructure framework in a speech in La Crosse, Wisconsin. “This bipartisan breakthrough is a great deal for the American people, not just for folks in cities, not just for red states or blue states, but for everybody,” Biden said. “This is the answer for good-paying jobs.” The president’s trip came as his advisers work to convince Republicans and progressive Democrats to support the plan.
  • Joe and Jill Biden will visit Surfside, Florida, on Thursday as search-and-rescue efforts continue at the site of last week’s condo collapse. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said the president and the first lady will meet with first responders and the families “who have been forced to endure this terrible tragedy, waiting in anguish and heartbreak for word of their loved ones”.
  • The supreme court will announce a decision in a major voting rights case on Thursday. The court released three opinions today, so two significant cases remain undecided. Brnovich v Democratic National Committee focuses on two Arizona voting restrictions, and Americans for Prosperity Foundation v Bonta centers on a California policy that requires charities to disclose information about their major donors.
  • Eric Adams’ lead in the New York Democratic mayoral primary narrowed, after the city’s board of elections released the latest round of results. Adams now leads Kathryn Garcia by 2 points, although hundreds of thousands of ballots still need to be counted. A fuller result is not expected for another a couple of weeks.
  • A landmark New York trial targeting opioid manufacturers and distributors kicked off this morning. The unique case is being tried before a jury, with Suffolk and Nassau counties and state attorney general Letitia James seeking to hold the companies responsible for the opioid addiction crisis that has been linked to nearly half a million deaths.

– Joan E Greve and Maanvi Singh

Updated

Miami condo collapse prompts questions over role of climate change

The shocking collapse of a 12-storey building in the Miami area last week has raised questions as to the role played by the climate crisis, and whether the severe vulnerability of south Florida to the rising seas may lead to the destabilization of further buildings in the future.

The exact cause of the disaster that befell the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside on Thursday has yet to be fully determined, although a 2018 engineering report on the structure warned of “significant cracks and breaks in the concrete” and that design flaws and deteriorating waterproofing could cause “exponential damage” via the expansion of these cracks.

At the time of the building’s sudden collapse, repairs on its roof were taking place but the restoration of concrete had not started on the 40-year-old condo. A total of 10 people are confirmed dead due to the crumpled building, with 151 people unaccounted for.

The disaster has highlighted the precarious situation of building and maintaining high-rise apartments in an area under increasing pressure from sea-level rise. Experts say that while the role of the rising seas in this collapse is still unclear, the integrity of buildings will be threatened by the advance of salty water that pushes up from below to weaken foundations.

“When this building was designed 40 years ago the materials used would not have been as strong against salt water intrusion, which has the potential to corrode the concrete and steel of the foundations,” said Zhong-Ren Peng, professor and director of the University of Florida’s International Center for Adaptation Planning and Design. “Cracks in the concrete allows more sea water to get in, which causes further reactions and the spreading of cracks. If you don’t take care of it, that can cause a structure failure.”

The geography of the area can also prove challenging for construction.

Champlain Towers South was built near the coast of what is a narrow barrier island flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Biscayne Bay on the other. Such barrier islands naturally shift position over time due to the pounding ocean, requiring a certain amount of engineering to keep them fixed in place.

Most of south Florida is just a few feet above sea level at a time when the region is experiencing a rapid increase in sea level, due to the human-caused climate crisis. Compounding this problem, the region sits upon limestone, a porous rock that allows rising seawater to bubble up from below.

Read more:

Ice transfers 30 New Jersey detainees to unknown location amid protests

Sarah Betancourt reports:

A group of 30 immigrant detainees in Newark, New Jersey, were quietly transferred to an unknown location in the early hours of Tuesday. Among them were some men who were on a hunger strike for over a day who had worries about being sent to another location and were demanding to be released.

Essex county chief of staff Philip Alagia confirmed 30 detainees under the jurisdiction of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) were transferred out of the facility, and that the Ice population in the facility is now down to 76 men.

Abolish Ice NY-NJ, a coalition of organizations seeking to shut down prisons and immigration detention centers, believes 39 detainees were on a hunger strike before the transfer, and that among their concerns were their video tablets being taken away – preventing them from communicating with attorneys and families about their potential move.

Essex county correctional center announced in April it would end its 13-year relationship detaining immigrants with Ice, and would instead house an average of 300 prisoners from another shuttering facility in Union county. The Newark jail, said county executive Joseph DiVincenzo, could not house those prisoners as well as the Ice detainees, which numbered at 165 in April. The facility has 2,300 beds, which are mostly used by the county, not Ice.

“This is an act of powerful, organized resistance, and it is not an easy choice,” said the coalition in a text message to the Guardian. “The people have shown time and time again that they are willing to put their bodies on the line for freedom. These transfers put them at risk for being force-fed, and in some cases, deported.”

According to Ice’s detention guidelines, a hunger strike is only recognized by the agency after nine consecutive meal denials.

Read more:

California developers want to build a city in the wildlands. It could all go up in flames

About an hour’s drive north of Los Angeles lies one of the last remaining pieces of the truly wild, wild west.

The 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch is dotted with centuries-old native oaks. Endangered mountain lions roam the grounds, and California condors soar above it. Rains paint the hills bright orange with poppies, and purple with lupine. But in the summer, and during drought years, the landscape dries to a shimmering gold. A small group of cowboys still run cattle here.

Soon all of it could go up in smoke, scientists and climate activists fear.

The proposed site of Centennial, a mixed-use planned community located at Tejon Ranch in northern Los Angeles County.
The proposed site of Centennial, a mixed-use planned community located at Tejon Ranch in northern Los Angeles County. Photograph: Philip Cheung/The Guardian

The Tejon Ranch Company, the publicly traded corporation that owns the land, wants to build 20,000 houses, as well as shopping centers, offices, gyms and restaurants along this frontier. The company first pitched the project, called Centennial, two decades ago as a solution to California’s housing crisis.

The development has been controversial from the start, but as California braces for an extreme wildfire season, debate over whether the project should go forward has taken on renewed urgency. Environmental groups are warning that in the age of western megafires, building along these windy, arid grasslands would put tens of thousands of people, as well as highly endangered plants and animals, in harm’s way.

“Centennial embodies this vision and lifestyle that just doesn’t fit in the 21st century,” said Nick Jensen, a botanist with the California Native Plant Society, who has been protesting against the development for years. The idea of taming the wildlands, of propagating it with picket-fenced homes was once integral to the American dream, he said. “But in the modern age, in the age of climate change and in the age of wildfires – it just doesn’t fit.”

Read more:

A landmark New York trial targeting opioid manufacturers and distributors kicked off this morning.

The unique case is being tried before a jury, with Suffolk and Nassau counties and state attorney general Letitia James seeking to hold the companies responsible for the opioid addiction crisis that has been linked to nearly half a million deaths.

From the AP:

Jayne Conroy, the lawyer for Suffolk County, said in her opening statement that she would try to show how drug makers and distributors had operated in a “parallel universe” from those experiencing the ravages of opioid addiction.

“Death and destruction in the communities, and the celebration of blockbuster sales and profits in the boardroom,” Conroy said, according to The New York Times.

Purdue Pharma was initially named in the case, as were some individual members of the Sackler family, before the company filed for bankruptcy. Cases against Purdue, Mallinckrodt, and Rochester Drug Cooperative are all now moving separately through U.S. Bankruptcy Court, according to James’ office.

Defendants in the suit included Endo Health Solutions and its affiliates; Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and its affiliates; Allergan Finance, LLC and its affiliates McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc. and Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation, according the attorney general’s office.

James announced Saturday that one defendant, Johnson & Johnson, agreed in an 11th-hour settlement to pay the state up to $230 million to stop manufacturing or distributing opioids.

Johnson & Johnson said the settlement was not an admission of liability or wrongdoing and that it involved two prescription painkillers — developed by a subsidiary and accounting for less than 1% of the market — that are no longer sold in the U.S.

“The eyes of the world are on New York today as we prepare to lay bare the callous and deadly pattern of misconduct these companies perpetrated as they dealt dangerous and addictive opioids across our state,” James said in a release Tuesday.

Updated

The House is soon expected to approve a bill to remove the statues of racist figures and those who served in the Confederacy.

A bust of pro-slavery chief justice Roger Taney and a statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis will be among the Capitol decor that will be taken down.

Hank Johnson, a Democratic representative of Georgia, told the AP that the Confederate statues are “personally an affront to me as a Black man”.

“To walk around and look at these figures and see them standing tall, looking out as if they were visionaries and they did something that was great,” he said. “No, they did something that was very hurtful to humanity.”

Taney’s bust is expected to be replaced by one of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black justice, the AP reports.

Updated

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:

  • Joe Biden praised the bipartisan infrastructure framework in a speech in La Crosse, Wisconsin. “This bipartisan breakthrough is a great deal for the American people, not just for folks in cities, not just for red states or blue states, but for everybody,” Biden said. “This is the answer for good-paying jobs.” The president’s trip came as his advisers work to convince Republicans and progressive Democrats to support the plan.
  • Joe and Jill Biden will visit Surfside, Florida, on Thursday as search-and-rescue efforts continue at the site of last week’s condo collapse. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said the president and the first lady will meet with first responders and the families “who have been forced to endure this terrible tragedy, waiting in anguish and heartbreak for word of their loves ones”.
  • The supreme court will announce a decision in a major voting rights case on Thursday. The court released three opinions today, so two significant cases remain undecided. Brnovich v Democratic National Committee focuses on two Arizona voting restrictions, and Americans for Prosperity Foundation v Bonta centers on a California policy that requires charities to disclose information about their major donors.
  • Eric Adams’ lead in the New York Democratic mayoral primary narrowed, after the city’s board of elections released the latest round of results. Adams now leads Kathryn Garcia by 2 points, although hundreds of thousands of ballots still need to be counted. A fuller result is not expected for another a couple of weeks.

Maanvi will have more coming up, so stay tuned.

Gabrielle Canon reports for the Guardian from San Francisco:

The summer of 2021 is already shaping up to be one for the record books, with much of the American west gripped by historic heatwaves, extreme drought, and the threat of large wildfires that have already begun to burn across the region.

Experts and officials fear that the catastrophic conditions, fueled by the climate crisis, will only get worse through the coming months.

This week an unprecedented and dangerous heatwave scorched the Pacific north-west, obliterating records set just the day before.

Seattle hit 108F (42C) by evening – well above Sunday’s all-time high of 104F (40C). Portland, Oregon, reached 115F (46C) after hitting new records of 108F (42C) on Saturday and 112F (44C) on Sunday.

“This is the beginning of a permanent emergency,” said Washington’s governor, Jay Inslee, during an interview on MSNBC. “We have to tackle the source of this problem, which is climate change.”

Adams' lead shrinks in New York Democratic mayoral primary

Eric Adams’ lead in New York’s Democratic mayoral primary has narrowed significantly after the latest release of results from the city’s board of elections today.

The New York Times reports:

A week after Mr. Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, notched a substantial lead among those who voted in person last Tuesday or during the early voting period, a preliminary counting of ranked-choice preferences released on Tuesday showed him ahead by a much narrower margin in the city’s first ranked-choice mayoral election.

According to Tuesday’s unofficial results, Mr. Adams prevailed over Kathryn Garcia by two percentage points, 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent — a margin of 15,908 votes — after 11 rounds of elimination, with Maya Wiley in third place.

But those numbers could be scrambled again as the city’s Board of Elections tabulates outcomes that will include more than 124,000 Democratic absentee ballots, with a fuller result not expected until mid-July.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary is expected to go on to win New York’s general mayoral election in November.

Here is the Guardian’s report on the initial results from last week:

Fox News pays $1m for violating NYC human rights law – report

The Daily Beast reports that Fox News has reached the largest ever settlement with the New York City Commission on Human Rights, agreeing to pay a fine of $1m after “effectively admitting” misconduct including “sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation against victimised employees”, which the commission said showed “a pattern of violating of the NYC Human Rights Law”.

Under the agreement, the Beast reports, Fox News must “remove mandatory confidential arbitration clauses from the contracts of on-air talent along with other employees and contributors for a period of four years when they file legal claims under the city’s human-rights law outside of the company’s internal process”.

In short, that’s a blow against a confidentiality culture that has clouded reporting of scandals at the conservative network.

Nancy Smith, a lawyer who represented the anchor Gretchen Carlson in a sexual harassment and retaliation suit which produced a $20m settlement, told the Beast she was “not aware of any government agency requiring an employer to stop silencing victims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, and that’s what NDAs and arbitration do – they silence victims.

“So bravo! Finally! The government is seeing that silencing victims protects harassers.”

A Fox News spokesperson told the Beast: “We are pleased to reach an amicable resolution of this legacy matter. Fox News Media has already been in full compliance across the board, but cooperated with the New York City Commission on Human Rights to continue enacting extensive preventive measures against all forms of discrimination and harassment.”

Here again is a link to Lloyd Grove’s full story at the Daily Beast.

And here’s something else about Fox News:

White House adviser Steve Ricchetti met with the Congressional Progressive Caucus today to discuss negotiations over the bipartisan infrastructure plan and a Democratic reconciliation bill.

Progressives have previously voiced concern that the bipartisan plan could jeopardize the reconciliation bill, which is expected to include more of their legislative priorities.

Bloomberg News reports on the reconciliation bill negotiations:

Representative Ilhan Omar said the caucus discussed with Ricchetti their five priority areas: child and elder care, affordable housing, lowering drug prices and expanding Medicare, climate change, and a path to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants.

Omar said the White House team said they are open to those items in reconciliation, thought they didn’t discuss the price tag. But the Minnesota Democrat said she’s optimistic that the party will be able to come together.

‘We feel better about the strategy,’ she said after the meeting.

In an interview accompanying her appearance on the cover of Vogue as first lady, Dr Jill Biden said her husband was proving “a calmer president” than Donald Trump.

Biden appears on the cover of the August edition, an honour denied Melania Trump, to her anger and that of her husband.

For her cover shoot, Biden wears a floral dress by Oscar de la Renta. In the accompanying interview, she says “part of the reason Joe was elected” is because “people wanted someone to come in and heal this nation, not just from the pandemic, which I feel Joe did by, you know, getting shots in everybody’s arms. But also … he’s just a calmer president. He lowers the temperature.”

In December 2020, Donald Trump shared a tweet from the hard right Breitbart News which said: “The elitist snobs in the fashion press have kept the most elegant first lady in American history off the covers of magazines for four consecutive years.”

The then president added that his first lady was “the greatest of all time”.

Joe Biden has made a local stop in La Crosse, Wisconsin, to get some of his favorite dessert before flying back to Washington.

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, shared a photo on Twitter of Biden’s stop at the Pearl, an ice cream parlor and candy store in La Crosse.

.⁦@POTUS⁩ stopping at The Pearl in La Crosse, WI. pic.twitter.com/arIw3P12rU

— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) June 29, 2021

The president is a well-known fan of ice cream and will often take time to get a scoop when he is out on the road.

While visiting Cleveland last month, Biden stopped at the Honey Hut Ice Cream shop and posed for photos with employees and customers there.

Joe Biden poses for a photo with a girl after getting an ice cream at Honey Hut Ice Cream in Cleveland, Ohio.
Joe Biden poses for a photo with a girl after getting an ice cream at Honey Hut Ice Cream in Cleveland, Ohio. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

In his Wisconsin speech, which just concluded, Joe Biden also made the argument that the bipartisan infrastructure plan demonstrated what successful democracies can accomplish.

“This deal isn’t just the sum of its parts. It’s a signal to ourselves, and to the world that American democracy can come through and deliver for all our people. We can be united,” Biden said.

But the president may want to wait until the plan actually passes before making grand pronouncements like that. It’s still unclear whether the proposal can attract enough Republican support to make it through the Senate.

Joe Biden pitched the bipartisan infrastructure framework as an opportunity to help level the economic playing field for working-class Americans.

"This bipartisan breakthrough is a great deal for the American people," Pres. Biden says about bipartisan infrastructure plan, "not just for folks in cities, not just for red states or blue states, but for everybody." https://t.co/9aCsLANY7C pic.twitter.com/P2RNx6Qy1e

— ABC News (@ABC) June 29, 2021

“This bipartisan breakthrough is a great deal for the American people, not just for folks in cities, not just for red states or blue states, but for everybody,” Biden said.

The president argued the plan would help create well-paid jobs that do not require a college degree, and he lamented how uncommon those opportunities have become in America.

“This is the answer for good-paying jobs,” Biden said.

The president’s speech has now concluded, and he will soon begin his trip back to Washington. Before he leaves La Crosse, he will meet with Tony Evers, the Democratic governor of Wisconsin.

In his infrastructure speech, Joe Biden briefly touched on the dangerous heat wave currently impacting the west coast.

The president noted that the city of Portland, Oregon, reported a record-high temperature of 116 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday.

“But don’t worry, there’s no global warming. It doesn’t exist. It’s a figment of our imagination,” Biden said sarcastically.

The president has repeatedly argued that Congress needs to pass his infrastructure plan because it will expand clean energy options, helping to drive down greenhouse gas emissions.

In his Wisconsin speech, Joe Biden acknowledged that the bipartisan infrastructure framework has had “ups and downs and some blips”.

The White House is working with lawmakers of both parties to transform the framework into a signed law, but many hurdles remain on that front.

Biden stressed the importance of passing the bipartisan plan, saying it would address infrastructure problems that have become “a drain on our economy”.

Biden delivers infrastructure speech in Wisconsin

Joe Biden has now taken the stage at the La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility in Wisconsin to deliver remarks on infrastructure.

The president is touting the bipartisan infrastructure framework, which the White House has said will provide crucial resources to states like Wisconsin to improve roads, bridges and clean energy options, among other things.

It remains unclear whether the bipartisan plan can attract enough Republican support to make it through the evenly divided Senate.

Some progressive lawmakers have also raised concerns about whether the bipartisan plan will jeopardize the passage of a separate reconciliation bill, which will likely include more Democratic priorities.

Joe Biden will soon deliver remarks praising the bipartisan infrastructure framework in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

The president is about to wrap up a tour of the La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility, and he will then speak about how the bipartisan plan would aid states like Wisconsin by improving clean energy options and clean water access.

Biden is scheduled to start speaking in a few minutes, so stay tuned.

Turns out Trump doesn’t like Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell much anymore either:

So sad to see certain RINO Republican Senators go back and forth to the White House and continually get nothing for infrastructure or anything else. When will they learn that they are being played with, and used by, the Radical Left – and only bad things can happen. Should have never lost the Senate in the first place, thanks Mitch! New leadership is needed, and fast!

Rino means “Republican in name only” and is being applied here to a group of infrastructure negotiators including Mitt Romney of Utah, who had rather striking things to say about Trump on Sunday.

As for the minority leader’s job prospects, lots of reporting elsewhere says that bipartisan infrastructure talks or no bipartisan infrastructure talks, Mitch McConnell is in business and stays in business.

Specifically, the minority leader from Kentucky is playing the long game, like he always does, to block any sort of legislative win for a Democratic president – like he always does. Here’s Politico’s take.

Updated

Christie pitches in with campaign book

Chris Christie has written one Trump book already – Let Me Finish, his 2019 memoir about how Trump, and specifically Jared Kushner, for reasons to do with cutthroat New Jersey politics and jailings of fathers and yadda yadda … didn’t let him finish his work on the Trump transition after the election of 2016.

Chris Christie participates a softball game at Yankee Stadium in 2015.
Chris Christie participates a softball game at Yankee Stadium in 2015. Photograph: John Lamparski/Getty Images

Now comes news of another book from the former governor of the Garden State, namely Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden … a whole new mouthful coming from the never noticeably not publicity hungry pol in November.

It’s being published by Threshold Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster which publishes conservative books including Crippled America, a 2016 campaign tome “by” one Donald J Trump, Esq.

Simon & Schuster has had problems around books by Republicans but this one is not coming from inside the Trump White House, so to speak.

According to the publicity blurb, “as a Republican insider, Christie feels compelled to weigh in on the past four years, but especially the past few months, and explain how [Trump’s voter fraud] falsehoods, and the grievance politics they support, cost his party the House, the Senate and the White House in two years, for the first time since Herbert Hoover.”

In other words, though Christie returned to help Trump in the 2020 campaign against Joe Biden, he is not entirely on the side of the New York billionaire who hijacked the party in 2016 and shows no sign of loosening his grip despite being both out of power and in considerable political, financial and criminal jeopardy.

Oh, and another thing. Christie ran for the Republican nomination in 2016, shining briefly with a debate-stage evisceration of Marco Rubio but failing to win over many voters. And now, Bridgegate or no Bridgegate, and I suppose infamous Obama chumminess or no infamous Obama chumminess, he’s looking quite likely to run again in 2024.

Hence the book.

Here’s Lloyd Green’s review of the last one:

Trump lashes out at Barr

Donald Trump is out with a characteristically … freewheeling statement about William Barr, his former attorney general who has made a splash of the Washington sort with a lengthy interview for a forthcoming Trump book, Betrayal by Jonathan Karl.

William Barr.
William Barr. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/AP

Trump’s statement doesn’t repay quoting in full – safe to say, he calls Barr “weak”, “pathetic” and a “swamp creature”, for refusing to back his lie that his defeat by Joe Biden was the result of electoral fraud.

Democrats will not forget in a hurry that Barr supported Trump on plenty of other issues, chief among them the Mueller investigation of Russian election interference and links between Trump and Moscow, before resigning in the interregnum between election defeat and the insurrection at the Capitol. But many have been enjoying the trails for Karl’s book all the same.

For CNN, Marshall Cohen had a think about what excerpts from Karl’s book and another one from Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal, never mind the third offering from Michael Wolff, have to tell us about “Trump’s increasingly unstable mindset in his final year”.

“They portray a president who was obsessed with self-serving conspiracy theories and surrounded by aides who knew he was delusional but were too afraid to tell him the truth,” Cohen said.

We knew that, of course, but it seems we like reading about it – again and again and again. Here’s a look at the phenomena of the Trump book … from last year, before the election and all the phantasmagoria that followed:

Today so far

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Joe and Jill Biden will visit Surfside, Florida, on Thursday as search-and-rescue efforts continue at the site of last week’s condo collapse. The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said the president and the first lady will meet with first responders and the families “who have been forced to endure this terrible tragedy, waiting in anguish and heartbreak for word of their loves ones”.
  • Biden is en route to La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he will deliver remarks touting the bipartisan infrastructure framework. The president’s trip comes as his advisers work to convince Republicans and progressive Democrats to support the plan. It remains unclear whether the bipartisan proposal can attract enough Republican support to make it through the evenly divided Senate.
  • The supreme court will announce a decision in a major voting rights case on Thursday. The court released three opinions today, so two significant cases remain undecided. Brnovich v Democratic National Committee focuses on two Arizona voting restrictions, and Americans for Prosperity Foundation v Bonta centers on a California policy that requires charities to disclose information about their major donors.

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

The mayor of Miami-Dade county said there were no new fatalities confirmed today, as search-and-rescue efforts continue at the site of the Surfside condo collapse.

The mayor, Daniella Levine Cava, added that each of the families of the 11 confirmed victims have been notified.

Miami-Dade County mayor updates on building collapse:

- No new fatalities confirmed since last briefing
- Families of all 11 deceased victims have been notified
- 210 people working on mound
- Pres. Biden to meet with families, first respondershttps://t.co/lHgwAdKz7Z pic.twitter.com/qC3naJmNti

— ABC News (@ABC) June 29, 2021

Levine Cava expressed appreciation for the 210 workers engaged in the search-and-rescue efforts at the condo site, saying they represented “the best in the world”.

The mayor also thanked Joe Biden for announcing plans to come to Surfside on Thursday, noting he will meet with first responders and families affected by the condo collapse.

“We’ve had his support since he called me day one in the morning, and this is so critical that we do have our federal support,” Levine Cava said. “We are very, very grateful for that, and we know that his support will continue throughout.”

During her press briefing aboard Air Force One, Jen Psaki was asked about the White House’s outreach efforts to both progressive Democrats and reluctant Republicans to convince them to support the bipartisan infrastructure plan.

The press secretary noted that White House officials have been in touch with Democratic chiefs of staff in the House and the Senate and have also been holding a number of calls with staffers of both parties.

Asked about the timing of passing the bipartisan bill as well as Democrats’ reconciliation bill, Psaki pointed to Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer’s comments that he hoped to bring both proposals to the floor next month.

But much more negotiating will need to be done to get the bills to Joe Biden’s desk, and it’s still unclear whether enough Republicans will support the bipartisan plan to secure its Senate passage.

Gaggling with reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Wisconsin, Jen Psaki provided some details on Joe Biden’s Thursday trip to Miami.

The White House press secretary said the president and the first lady will thank first responders and search-and-rescue teams who have been trying to locate survivors after the condo collapse last week.

Psaki said the Bidens will also meet with the families “who have been forced to endure this terrible tragedy, waiting in anguish and heartbreak for word of their loves ones to offer them comfort as search-and-rescue efforts continue”.

The press secretary also noted the White House is coordinating with local officials to ensure the trip does not at all detract resources from the search-and-rescue teams.

Joe Biden is now officially en route to La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he will deliver remarks touting the bipartisan infrastructure framework.

Joe Biden salutes as he walks from Marine One before boarding Air Force One.
Joe Biden salutes as he walks from Marine One before boarding Air Force One. Photograph: Luis M Alvarez/AP

The White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said on Twitter that the president’s remarks will highlight how the bipartisan plan would benefit Wisconsinites.

Psaki noted that nearly half of Milwaukee’s water lines are made of lead, and the plan would pay to replace all of them.

@POTUS is on his way to Wisconsin (hi from AF1) to do exactly what he promised to do--make clear to the benefits of the bi-partisan deal-in WI alone--nearly half of Milwaukee's 160k water lines are made of lead, the plan would replace them all

— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) June 29, 2021

Supreme court set to announce decision in major voting rights case on Thursday

Thursday is shaping up to be a very newsy day for Washington. Not only will Joe Biden travel to Florida following the tragic Surfside condo collapse, but the supreme court will also announce a decision in a major voting rights case.

The court released three opinions today, leaving two outstanding decisions in Brnovich v Democratic National Committee and Americans for Prosperity Foundation v Bonta. The decisions will be announced at 10 am ET on Thursday.

The Supreme Court will release its final two opinions on Thursday July 1 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) June 29, 2021

The Brnovich case focuses on two Arizona voting restrictions, and the decision will likely address how to interpret Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits any voting provision that results in the “denial or abridgment” of the right to vote based on race.

The Americans for Prosperity case centers on a California policy that requires charities to disclose information about their major donors. Conservative groups have challenged the policy on First Amendment grounds.

Updated

Bidens to travel to Surfside on Thursday, White House confirms

The White House has just released an advisory confirming that Joe and Jill Biden will travel to Surfside, Florida, on Thursday to pay their respects to the victims of the condo collapse.

“On Thursday, July 1, the President and the First Lady will travel to Surfside, Florida. The trip will be pooled press. Additional details to follow,” the White House said in its advisory.

The visit will come exactly one week after the Champlain Towers South building collapsed in Surfside, a town in Miami-Dade county.

More than 150 people remain unaccounted for after the collapse, and 11 people have already been confirmed dead.

The shocking collapse of a 12-storey building in the Miami area last week has raised questions as to the role played by the climate crisis, and whether the severe vulnerability of south Florida to the rising seas may lead to the destabilization of further buildings in the future.

The exact cause of the disaster that befell the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside on Thursday has yet to be fully determined, although a 2018 engineering report on the structure warned of “significant cracks and breaks in the concrete” and that design flaws and deteriorating waterproofing could cause “exponential damage” via the expansion of these cracks.

At the time of the building’s sudden collapse, repairs on its roof were taking place but the restoration of concrete had not started on the 40-year-old condo.

The disaster has highlighted the precarious situation of building and maintaining high-rise apartments in an area under increasing pressure from sea-level rise. Experts say that while the role of the rising seas in this collapse is still unclear, the integrity of buildings will be threatened by the advance of salty water that pushes up from below to weaken foundations.

“When this building was designed 40 years ago the materials used would not have been as strong against salt water intrusion, which has the potential to corrode the concrete and steel of the foundations,” said Zhong-Ren Peng, professor and director of the University of Florida’s International Center for Adaptation Planning and Design. “Cracks in the concrete allows more sea water to get in, which causes further reactions and the spreading of cracks. If you don’t take care of it, that can cause a structure failure.”

Biden to visit Surfside 'as early as Thursday' as condo collapse death toll reaches 11

Joe Biden has just told reporters that he hopes to travel to Surfside, Florida, the site of last week’s tragic condo collapse, in the next few days.

As he was boarding Marine One to start his trip to Wisconsin, a reporter asked the president whether he had plans to go to Florida.

“Yes, I hope so,” Biden replied. “As soon as we can. Maybe as early as Thursday.”

President Biden says he hopes to go to Surfside, Florida, "maybe as early as Thursday." pic.twitter.com/kKmBHfQ5dv

— The Recount (@therecount) June 29, 2021

The president’s comments come as 151 people remain unaccounted for since the Champlain Towers South building collapsed last Thursday. Eleven people have already been confirmed dead.

The search for survivors continues, although hope is dwindling, as no one has been rescued from the rubble since Thursday. Two more bodies were recovered yesterday.

“We have people waiting and waiting and waiting for news,” the Miami-Dade mayor, Daniella Levine Cava, told reporters yesterday.

“We have them coping with the news that they might not have their loved ones come out alive and still hope against hope that they will. They’re learning that some of their loved ones will come out as body parts. This is the kind of information that is just excruciating for everyone.”

Updated

Donald Trump is facing a potentially crippling financial and political blow as state prosecutors consider filing criminal charges against his family business this week.

Prosecutors in New York could soon bring an indictment against the Trump Organization related to the taxation of lucrative perks that it gave to top executives, such as use of apartments, cars and school tuition.

The 45th president is not expected to be personally charged but the legal drama could bankrupt his company by damaging its relationships with banks and other business partners, as well as clouding his political comeback.

Ron Fischetti, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, held a virtual meeting with prosecutors last Thursday for about 90 minutes in an effort to dissuade them from pursuing criminal charges against the company.

“The charges are absolutely outrageous and unprecedented, if indeed the charges are filed,” Fischetti told the Associated Press on Friday. “This is just to get back at Donald Trump. We’re going to plead not guilty and we’ll make a motion to dismiss.”

Fischetti and his colleagues had until Monday to make their final arguments against charges being brought, according to a report in the Washington Post.

Joe Biden met yesterday with senior advisers and outside experts to discuss voting rights, as the supreme court prepares to announce a decision in a major voting rights case.

“The President and this group discussed anti-voter legislation that has been proposed or recently passed by state legislatures, legislation pending before Congress, and recent actions taken by the Department of Justice to protect the right to vote,” the White House said in a readout of the meeting.

“The President and his staff highlighted ways that the Administration will continue working with Congress to pass critical legislation and ramp up engagement with the American people on voting rights. The President also reiterated his unwavering determination to win the fight to protect the sacred right to vote in free and fair elections.”

The supreme court case focuses on two Arizona voting restrictions, and the decision will likely address how to interpret Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits any voting provision that results in the “denial or abridgment” of the right to vote based on race.

Before leaving for Wisconsin, Joe Biden praised the bipartisan infrastructure framework on Twitter, describing it as an unprecedented federal investment in public transit, clean energy development and clean water access.

Let’s be clear about how big a deal the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework is. It’s the largest federal investment in:

- Public transit
- Clean energy transmission
- Clean drinking water

In American history.

— President Biden (@POTUS) June 29, 2021

Again, it’s still unclear whether the plan can attract enough Republican support to make it through the evenly divided Senate, particularly because Republicans remain concerned about what Democrats will include in their reconciliation bill if the bipartisan plan passes.

Joe Biden previewed his remarks in Wisconsin today with an Yahoo News op-ed celebrating the bipartisan infrastructure framework.

“The Infrastructure Deal is part of my economic strategy that, taken as a whole, will help create millions of jobs for years to come and add trillions of dollars in economic growth,” the president wrote in the op-ed, which was published last night.

Biden acknowledged Democrats would have to pass a separate reconciliation bill to address more of his legislative priorities, but he described the bipartisan infrastructure plan as a solid start to building a greener economy.

“While the bill is missing some critical initiatives on climate change that I proposed — initiatives I intend to pass in the reconciliation bill — the infrastructure deal nonetheless represents a crucial step forward in building our clean energy future,” Biden wrote.

The president also pitched the bipartisan plan as “a signal to ourselves, and to the world, that American democracy can work and deliver for the people”.

Biden concluded, “There is plenty of work ahead to finish the job. There will be disagreements to resolve and more compromise to be forged. But this is a deal the American people can be proud of.”

Biden to sell infrastructure plan in Wisconsin amid some Democratic criticism

Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.

Joe Biden is traveling to La Crosse, Wisconsin, today to sell the bipartisan framework for an infrastructure bill to the American people.

The president will tour the La Crosse Municipal Transit Utility before delivering remarks on how the bipartisan infrastructure framework “will deliver to communities across the country,” per Biden’s official schedule released by the White House.

Joe Biden speaks during his meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in the Oval Office on Monday.
Joe Biden speaks during his meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in the Oval Office on Monday. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

Despite the president’s pitch, many hurdles remain before the bipartisan framework can actually be transformed into a law that will reach Biden’s desk.

The Washington Post reports:

White House counselor Steve Ricchetti’s message to moderate senators late last week was an effort to be soothing: President Biden will clarify that he didn’t mean it when he said he wouldn’t sign a bipartisan infrastructure deal unless it was accompanied by a more sweeping liberal bill.

By Monday, it was liberal Democrats who were getting placating calls from senior White House officials, who sought to ease any concerns about Biden’s infrastructure ambitions and explain what the president meant in his remarks. Further discussions were planned for Tuesday with the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

As Biden heads to Wisconsin on Tuesday to pitch the bipartisan deal, these chaotic efforts at behind-the-scenes damage control show how tenuous the agreement still is. Biden appears to have righted himself with centrist senators for the moment, but in assuaging one critical group he may have alienated another — liberals in his own party.

Biden may use his remarks in Wisconsin today to try to assuage the concerns of some progressives, but it’s still unclear whether that will be enough to get them on board with the framework.

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

Contributors

Joan E Greve in Washington

The GuardianTramp

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