Evening summary

We’re wrapping up our live US politics coverage a bit early today, as a massive outage of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, affects an unknown number of users around the world.

An updated summary of today’s political news:

  • Joe Biden lambasted Republicans on the debt limit, calling them “hypocritical” and “disgraceful” for using the filibuster to twice block efforts by the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling.
  • With talks of the debt limit, focus on domestic spending around the infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill have become intertwined, as progressives push for the two bills to be voted on together and centrist senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema continue to hold up negotiations.
  • Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham thinks Donald Trump will run for president again in 2024.
  • Andrew Yang is leaving the Democratic party, but tweeted his “political homelessness” would not last long.
  • Amid an unexplained global outage of its platforms, Facebook is facing sustained scrutiny from regulators as internal whistleblower Fraunces Haugen went public on Sunday with an interview saying that Facebook as it currently exists “is tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world” and that its internal policies amounted to “a betrayal of democracy.”

Mary Trump served in taxes lawsuit

Donald Trump’s niece said on Monday she had been served with papers in a lawsuit over the leak of his tax information to the New York Times – and asked for her autograph at the same time.

Mary Trump is a trained psychologist who has written two bestselling books about her uncle and the effects of his four-year presidency.

The information she helped convey to the Times formed the basis of a blockbuster story which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2019.

Today, Mary Trump was speaking to a Sirius XM host, Dean Obeidallah, in an interview which will broadcast in full this evening.

She said: “Donald is suing me, the New York Times and the three Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters who wrote that extraordinary piece of journalism in 2018, for $100m for reasons which don’t necessarily stand up to scrutiny, but obviously we’ll have to let the courts decide.

“But in an unusual move, a process server came to my home to serve me with papers – which typically doesn’t happen if you’re represented by counsel. It’s usually sent to the attorney’s office, so I’m guessing it was some kind of power play. But to lighten the mood, I guess, the process server also asked me to sign a copy of my first book which he had brought with him.”

That book, for the record, was released in 2020 and titled Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.

“He had it with him and I asked him what his name was, and I signed the book for him,” Mary Trump said. “It’s a little weird – you’re serving me with a lawsuit and asking me to sign a book for you, but OK…”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana has called on the Biden administration to halt further proliferation of the petro-chemical industry in so-called “Cancer Alley”, adding to growing calls among advocate groups in the region for a moratorium on new polluting plants.

The heavily industrialised region between New Orleans and Baton Rouge is lined with more than 100 plants, producing some of the most polluted air in America. According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, certain census tracts in St John the Baptist parish have the highest risk of cancer due to airborne pollution in the US – more than 50 times the national average.

Joe Biden placed the region at the centre of his environmental justice policy platform during the 2020 election, and referenced “Cancer Alley” when signing new climate orders in February.

But campaigners have continued to urge the president to take targeted action to curb toxic emissions and end construction of new plants. In August, the administration paused the construction of a proposed gargantuan plastics complex in St James parish, which would emit a range of cancer causing pollutants and emit 13m tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, the equivalent of three coal-fired power plants.

Local organisers have long urged the EPA to regulate emissions of the likely cancer causing pollutant chloroprene, which has been emitted by a synthetic rubber plant, Pontchartrain Works, for more than half a century at dangerous levels.

“Cancer Alley” is also a region formerly littered with plantations once dependent on the labor of enslaved people.

On Monday, ACLU Louisiana executive director Alanah Odoms referenced such history in a video message.

“This sacred land should lawfully belong to the descendants of the Black men, women, and children who labored to their deaths as enslaved people,” Odoms said.

“Instead, the land has been exploited by dangerous plastic and chemical plants that have destroyed air quality, hastened climate change and exposed descendants to unconscionable rates of disease and cancer. The Biden administration has a duty to step in.”

The region was also hit hard by Hurricane Ida in August. Campaigners in both St John the Baptist parish and St James parish suffered significant damage to their homes.

More:

The Michigan governor, Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, vetoed four election-related bills during a Sunday dinner hosted by the Detroit National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), saying the measures “would have perpetuated the ‘Big Lie’ or made it harder for Michiganders to vote”, according to the Detroit Free Press.

One measure would have banned election equipment from being connected to the internet, something that does not happen during elections.

Another measure would have further regulated who could access the state’s qualified voter file, something Whitmer said inaccurately implied third parties had accessed it in 2020.

A third bill would have allowed local election officials to designate private facilities as poll places if other options weren’t available, something Whitmer said “would make it more difficult for seniors and persons living in large apartment complexes to vote”.

Whitmer did say she was open to reconsidering the fourth measure she vetoed, which would have required poll watchers to undergo mandatory training with the secretary of state. She said the measure must be coupled with appropriate funding.

Some Democrats in the state legislature backed the measures but a veto override is unlikely, the Detroit Free Press reported. The House Democratic caucus backed Whitmer’s decision to veto the bills.

@MIHouseDems stand with @GovWhitmer as she upholds Michiganders' #RightToVote by vetoing legislation pushing the #BigLie and creating harmful barriers to voting, particularly for low-income and minority voters. https://t.co/eUIYgCkSd6

— MI House Democrats (@MIHouseDems) October 4, 2021

Senate Republicans blasted the governor for blocking the measures, accusing her of grandstanding, the Associated Press reported.

Imagine vetoing a bipartisan bill allowing senior centers and apartment complexes to serve as polling locations and claiming you're protecting voting rights. https://t.co/EybwgDHdLK

— MI Senate GOP (@MISenate) October 4, 2021

Michigan Republicans are separately circulating a petition that would allow voters to bypass a gubernatorial veto and enact several new voting restrictions.

That measure would remove an option allowing people who don’t have ID to use an affidavit to affirm their identity, put an ID requirement on mail-in ballot applications, prohibit election officials from proactively sending out mail-in ballot applications, and bar private funding for elections.

Updated

Today so far

  • Joe Biden lambasted Republicans on the debt limit, calling them “hypocritical” and “disgraceful” for using the filibuster to twice block efforts by the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling.
  • With talks of the debt limit, focus on domestic spending around the infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill have become intertwined, as progressives push for the two bills to be voted on together and centrist senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema continue to hold up negotiations.
  • Former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham thinks Donald Trump will run for president again in 2024.
  • Andrew Yang is leaving the Democratic party.

There is no guarantee that Republicans will stop utilizing the filibuster to block Democrats and allow the debt limit to be raised.

But White House press secretary Jen Psaki pointed out that Congress has raised the debt limit 80 times before and not raising the debt limit is honestly just isn’t an option.

“There isn’t another option,” she said. “It has to pass legislatively. It has to happen.”

Let’s talk the infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill. These two pieces of legislation are key to the Biden agenda, and Democrats are at an impasse.

Joe Biden was frank when he said just two members in the Senate - centrist senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema - are standing in the way of “closing the deal” among the Democrats. Manchin and Sinema, like their Republican colleagues, are balking at the large spending amount of the reconciliation bill. Meanwhile, the progressives of the Democratic party are arguing that infrastructure and reconciliation should be voted together to give reconciliation a better chance of passing as is.

“We have the American people very strongly on our side, we have the president of the United States on our side, we have 96% of the Democratic caucus of the House on our side, and we’ve got all but two senators on our side. We’re going to win this thing,” Senator Bernie Sanders said Sunday.

At today’s briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president will be going into virtual meetings with progressive members of the House, with “the recognition that this package is going to be smaller than originally proposed.”

“What he wants to hear from them is what their priorities are, what their bottom lines are, so he can play a constructive role going forward,” Psaki said. “I would expect that later this week, he will have another virtual meeting with members who might consider themselves more moderate.”

She continued by saying that the administration’s main objective “is getting this done and delivering for the American people and we will continue pressing forward until we get it done.”

“Yes, it requires senator Sinema and senator Manchin moving forward and supporting a path forward and it also requires agreement on what a package would look like,” she said. “The president will continue to work with a range of members from across the Democratic caucus.”

Updated

White House press secretary Jen Psaki is at the podium for today’s press briefing.

Psaki on Pandora Papers: "The president is committed to bringing additional transparency to the United States and world financial systems."

— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) October 4, 2021

Psaki: He's also pledged to work with allies on the abuse of shell companies and offshore tax havens. "He has been clear he wants to make the tax system more fair. He wants to crack down on people who are not paying their fair share."

— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) October 4, 2021

Updated

Politico is reporting that a senior State Department official is abruptly leaving his role, marking his departure with a scathing internal memo criticizing the Biden administration and its continued use of a Trump-era policy to expel migrants from the southern border as illegal,” “inhumane” and “not worthy of this administration that I so strongly support.”

The policy in question is Title 42, which allows the administration to bar people from entering the country during a health crisis. Harold Koh, a senior adviser, wrote in the memo that he believed that Title 42 authority “continues to violate our legal obligation not to expel or return (“refouler”) individuals who fear persecution, death, or torture, especially migrants fleeing from Haiti.”

“Title 42 permits customs officers, with supervisor approval, to identify persons who should be excepted from expulsion based on the totality of the circumstances, including consideration of significant law enforcement, office and public safety, humanitarian and public health interests,” Koh wrote. “But if Haiti is undeniably a humanitarian disaster area, the question should be: at this moment, why is this administration returning Haitians at all?

The Associated Press is reporting that Donald Trump has until 23 December to undergo questioning in a former Apprentice contestant’s defamation lawsuit over what he said in denying her sexual assault allegations.

Summer Zervos was one in a series of women who publicly accused Trump of sexual assaults or harassment years before in the runup to the 2016 presidential election. Zervos said that Trump subjected her to unwanted kissing and groping during meetings in 2007 at his New York office and at a California hotel where he was staying.

Trump retweeted a message that called her claims “a hoax” and described the women who accused him of sexual assault and harassment as “liars” trying to hurt his 2016 campaign’s chances.
Zervos sued, saying he hurt her reputation, and is seeking a retraction, an apology and unspecified damages.

Trump was weeks away from a January 2020 deposition deadline when he won a delay, arguing that sitting presidents couldn’t be sued in state courts.

After he left office this year, New York’s court of appeals said the question was moot. The case returned to a Manhattan trial court for both sides to continue gathering evidence.

Zervos, a California restaurateur, appeared on “The Apprentice” in 2006. Trump was then the host.

House majority leader Steny Hoyer issued a statement in support of Joe Biden and his rebuke on the Republicans over the debt limit:

“Preventing a senate vote on this critical legislation puts our economic recovery in jeopardy,” Hoyer said. “Americans across the country will suffer the consequences of Republican obstructionism if the United States defaults on its obligations by refusing to pay for what it has already bought. I call on Leader McConnell to allow a vote on cloture without delay so that Democrats can suspend the debt limit and prevent economic catastrophe.”

Speaking of senator Kyrsten Sinema, yesterday, Arizona activists followed her into a bathroom at Arizona State University, where Sinema is a lecturer, urging her to pass the $3.5tn infrastructure bill that she is holding up in negotiations.

🔴BREAKING: Blanca, an AZ immigrant youth confronts @SenatorSinema inside her classroom, where she teaches @ ASU. "in 2010 both my grandparents got deported bc of SB1070...my grandfather passed away 2 wks ago & I wasn't able to go to Mexico bc there is no pathway to citizenship." pic.twitter.com/JDZYY2fOD2

— LUCHA Arizona (@LUCHA_AZ) October 3, 2021

We wouldn't have to resort to confronting @senatorsinema around Phx if she took meetings with the communities that elected her. She's been completely inaccessible. We're sick of the political games, stop playing with our lives.
“Build back better, back the bill!" pic.twitter.com/3OA5t6e6Fl

— LUCHA Arizona (@LUCHA_AZ) October 3, 2021

Today, Sinema responded to the activists, saying it was “unacceptable”. “It is the duty of elected leaders to avoid fostering an environment in which honestly-held policy disagreements serve as the basis for vitriol -- raising the temperature in political rhetoric and creating a permission structure for unacceptable behavior,” she said in a statement.”

Statement Following Events at ASU on Sunday pic.twitter.com/4d3BF9P8CO

— Kyrsten Sinema (@SenatorSinema) October 4, 2021

Last week, activists in boats and kayaks paddled up to the yacht of senator Joe Manchin, another reconciliation bill holdout, to demand that he pass the bill.

NEW: People in boats and kayaks have floated up to Joe Manchin's yacht in DC to demand that he support the Build Back Better Act. (h/t @jbendery) pic.twitter.com/IpiRZ0zEIa

— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) September 28, 2021

When asked about what happened to Sinema at today’s address, Joe Biden said, “I don’t think they’re appropriate tactics, but it happens to everybody.”

“The only people it doesn’t happen to are people who have Secret Service standing around,” he quipped.

Another piece to the whole debt ceiling todo is the infrastructure bill and the $3.5tn reconciliation bill (also known as the Build Back Better Act).

Republicans have long balked at the amount of spending proposed by the Democrats in each of these key pieces of legislation for the Biden administration and are using them to justify voting against raising the debt limit - they’re saying the Democrats are spending too much domestically.

“Raising the debt limit is about paying off our old debt,” Biden made a point of saying in his debt ceiling address today. “It has nothing to do with any new spending or my plan for infrastructure or Build Back Better. Zero.”

The debt ceiling could be raised in the reconciliation process, but neither Biden nor majority leader Chuck Schumer are particularly fond of that approach. It’s complicated, and on top of that, Biden is already struggling with getting his party fully on board for the reconciliation bill.

Biden was short when asked today about his inability to convince everyone in his party to get behind the reconciliation bill: “I’ve been able to close the deal with 99% of my party,” he said. “Two. Two people. It’s still under way.”

The two? Centrist Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, of course. Read more about them here:

Biden calls Republicans 'hypocritical, dangerous and disgraceful' on debt limit

In his address today on the need to raise the debt limit, Joe Biden lambasted the Republicans and their use of the filibuster to stymie the Democrats.

“So let’s be clear, not only are Republicans refusing to do their job, they’re threatening to use their power to prevent us from doing our job: saving the economy from a catastrophic event,” Biden said. “I think quite frankly it’s hypocritical, dangerous and disgraceful.”

Though Biden publicly has yet to commit to ending the filibuster, as many in his party have been asking him to do, he went hard at the Republicans, telling them to stop with the filibuster and allow Democrats to move forward in raising the debt ceiling.

“We’re not expecting Republicans to do their part,” Biden said. “They made that clear from the beginning. We tried asking, to no avail. We’re just asking them to not use procedural tricks to block us from doing the job that they won’t do. A meteor is headed to crash into our economy. Democrats are willing to do all the work in stopping it. Republicans just have to let us do our job. Just get out of the way. If you don’t want to help save the country, just get out of the way so you don’t destroy it.”

Q: "Can you guarantee that the U.S. will not reach the debt ceiling? That that will not happen?"

President Biden: "No I can't. That's up to Mitch McConnell." pic.twitter.com/YJZF0Dwd3u

— CSPAN (@cspan) October 4, 2021

Updated

Biden: debt limit must be raised because of 'reckless' Trump policies

Joe Biden says we must raise the debt limit in part because of the “reckless tax and spending policies under the previous Trump administration.”

“In four years, they incurred almost $8tn in additional debt, in bills we have to now pay off,” Biden said. “That’s more than a quarter of the entire debt incurred, now outstanding, in more than 200 years. Republicans in Congress raised the debt three times when Donald Trump was president, and each time with Democrat support. Now they won’t raise it.”

Updated

Joe Biden has taken the podium to speak about the debt ceiling and he’s coming in hot: “The United States is a nation that pays its bills and always has.”

Andrew Yang to leave the Democratic Party

Andrew Yang announced today that he was leaving the Democratic party to register as an independent.

Yang, who attracted a staunch following after his 2020 presidential run on a platform that celebrated math, nerdiness and a universal basic income, posted on his website that despite having been registered as a Democrat since 1995, he was “confident that no longer being a Democrat is the right thing”.

“Breaking up with the Democratic Party feels like the right thing to do because I believe I can have a greater impact this way,” he wrote. “

“My goal is to do as much as I can to advance our society,” Yang wrote. “There are phenomenal public servants doing great work every day – but our system is stuck. It is stuck in part because polarization is getting worse than ever.

“Many of the people I know are doing all of the good they can – but their impact is constrained. Now that I’m not a member of one party or another, I feel like I can be even more honest about both the system and the people in it.”

Yang lost the race for mayor of New York earlier this year as a Democrat.

There are good people in every political party.

— Andrew Yang🧢⬆️🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) October 4, 2021

Updated

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis has been diagnosed with breast cancer, her husband, Florida governor Ron DeSantis announced.

“As she faces the most difficult test of her life, she will not only have my unwavering support but the support of our entire family, as well as the prayers and well wishes from Floridians across the state,” Ron DeSantis said in a statement.

BREAKING: Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis has breast cancer, Gov. DeSantis announced. Here is his statement. pic.twitter.com/r8LwCsGgGz

— Steve Contorno (@scontorno) October 4, 2021

Confused about why we’re still talking about the debt ceiling? Here’s a good breakdown about what’s going on and why you should care - and the role that the filibuster is playing in all this.

For anyone bored by talk about the debt limit: yeah, it sounds boring.

What is not boring is that Congress has until Oct. 18 to raise the debt limit, at the very latest, before the U.S. govt runs out of money. That's never happened before and would be an economic disaster.

— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) October 4, 2021

Define economic disaster? Per a Moody’s Analytics analysis, failing to raise the debt limit in time could...

Plunge the U.S. into an immediate recession.

Cost the economy ~6M jobs.

Erase $15T -- with a T -- in household wealth.

Boost unemployment to 9%.

— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) October 4, 2021

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned that even waiting until it's close to Oct. 18 to raise the debt limit could cause economic damage, like raising borrowing costs for taxpayers + negatively impacting the credit rating of the U.S. "for years to come."

— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) October 4, 2021

McConnell keeps saying that because Dems voted against raising the debt limit in 2006, when Republicans controlled all of government, it’s no different than Republicans forcing Dems to raise the debt limit by themselves this time around.

This is wildly misleading.

— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) October 4, 2021

In 2006, Dems did vote against raising the debt limit.

But that was *after* they agreed to a Republican request to increase the debt limit by a majority vote, or 51 votes, instead of requiring 60 votes to break a filibuster.

That ensured the GOP had the votes to get it done.

— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) October 4, 2021

This is not the same thing that Republicans are doing right now, which is far more dangerous.

They are actively blocking Democrats from raising the debt ceiling on their own, with 51 votes.

— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) October 4, 2021

Democrats tried to raise the debt ceiling -- twice -- last week.

Republicans blocked them both times.

— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) October 4, 2021

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer just put out a letter to his colleagues reiterating that “we must get a bill to the President’s desk dealing with the debt limit by the end of the week.”

“We do not have the luxury to wait until October 18th,” Schumer wrote.

He said the refusal of the Republicans to extend the country’s debt limit and to “pay for the spending and debts incurred as a result of the bipartisan covid relief legislation passed during the Trump administration” is “a stark reminder of how absurd and partisan Republicans have made the process for raising the debit limit.”

here’s the full letter — also says end of oct is deadline for BBB/infra pic.twitter.com/u09t7SfxRU

— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) October 4, 2021

Grisham: Trump will run again in 2024

The former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham thinks Donald Trump will run for president again in 2024, and will present a significantly greater danger to US democracy should he win than at any time in his four years in office.

“He’s clearly the frontrunner in the Republican party,” Grisham told ABC’s Good Morning America. “Everybody’s showing their fealty to him. He’s on his revenge tour, for people who dared to vote for impeachment.

“And I want to just warn people that once he takes office if he were to win, he doesn’t have to worry about reelection anymore. He will be about revenge, he will probably have some pretty draconian policies.”

As Grisham spoke, the Washington Post reported that Trump came close to announcing a 2024 run in August, only to be advised to hold off.

On Tuesday, Grisham, also formerly a close aide to Melania Trump, will publish a tell-all book, I’ll Take Your Questions Now. It has been widely trailed.

Biden returns to Washington with debt decision looming

Howdy, live blog readers.

Joe Biden heads back to Washington this morning from Wilmington with plans to deliver remarks in a few hours on the debt ceiling.

On Biden’s schedule tmrw, per WH:

“The President will deliver remarks on the need for Congress to fulfill its shared responsibility and address the debt ceiling, after Senate Republicans voted twice last week to default and continue to block Democratic efforts to avoid default.”

— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) October 4, 2021

To recap: last week was yet another tense game of chicken in the realm of American politics. The US government avoided a partial federal shutdown when the Senate and the House of Representatives passed a bill to keep the government funded through 3 December - but in passing the bill, Democrats were forced to remove language that would have raised the debt ceiling.

There’s also the small matter of Biden’s domestic spending agenda, of course, as moderates and progressives in the Democratic party continue their tussle over price tags and policy priorities. The infrastructure bill, which is bipartisan, and the domestic spending proposals, which are not, are in question.

Much more to follow, of course, and more here:

Contributors

Vivian Ho

The GuardianTramp

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