Biden to Fund Infrastructure Plan With Increase in Corporate Taxes
President Biden intends to pay for the $2 trillion package of infrastructure spending he will propose on Wednesday with a substantial increase in corporate taxes, people briefed on the plan said Tuesday.
The scale of the infrastructure program — one of the most ambitious attempts in generations to shore up the nation’s aging roads, bridges, rail lines and utilities — is so big that it will require 15 years of higher taxes on corporations to pay for eight years of spending, they said.
Despite his ambitious programs, Mr. Biden had pledged that his long-term economic agenda would not add further to the growing national debt. But the fact that his proposed tax increases would not cover his spending over the same period shows the challenge he has in balancing his big goals and the deficit.
Mr. Biden’s proposals include raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent and efforts to force multinational corporations to pay significantly more in tax to the United States on profits they earn and book overseas. The corporate tax rate had been cut under President Donald J. Trump from 35 percent to 21 percent.
The new plans come on top of the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan Mr. Biden signed into law this month, which was financed entirely by borrowing and was passed with no Republican support.
If his full set of proposals became law, they would mark a new era of ambitious federal spending to address longstanding social and economic problems. Their odds of passing Congress have risen in the midst of a pandemic in which lawmakers have approved record amounts of government spending to rescue the economy from recession.
Mr. Biden will lay out his infrastructure plan in an afternoon speech in Pittsburgh. It is the first step in a two-part agenda to overhaul American capitalism, fight climate change and attempt to improve the productivity of the economy.
Together, those two proposals could cost as much as $4 trillion between spending increases and tax incentives. The second phase of the proposals is expected to include tax increases on high-earning individuals.
Internal administration documents and people familiar with the plans suggest the first phase will include $625 billion for roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports and electric vehicle charging stations, along with $25 billion for federal government infrastructure including for veterans.
That phase will also includes hundreds of billions of dollars for utilities, water delivery systems, rural broadband, worker training, advanced manufacturing and research and development.
The first package will now include hundreds of billions of dollars to support home-based care for older and disabled Americans, a change from the plans that aides had drawn up earlier this month. That shift was reported earlier by The Washington Post.
Mr. Biden’s aides briefed top committee leaders and staff from both parties on the plan Tuesday afternoon, as rank-and-file lawmakers continued to pepper the administration with specific policy requests and ultimatums about what could be the one of the most expansive infrastructure investments in American history.
The Justice Department is investigating whether Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican of Florida and a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him, according to three people briefed on the matter.
Investigators are examining whether Mr. Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws, the people said. A variety of federal statutes make it illegal to induce someone under 18 to travel over state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value. The Justice Department regularly prosecutes such cases, and offenders often receive severe sentences.
It was not clear how Mr. Gaetz met the girl, believed to be 17 at the time of encounters about two years ago that investigators are scrutinizing, according to two of the people.
The investigation was opened in the final months of the Trump administration under Attorney General William P. Barr, the two people said. Given Mr. Gaetz’s national profile, senior Justice Department officials in Washington — including some appointed by Mr. Trump — were notified of the investigation, the people said.
The three people said that the examination of Mr. Gaetz, 38, is part of a broader investigation into a political ally of his, a local official in Florida named Joel Greenberg, who was indicted last summer on an array of charges, including sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people in exchange for sex, at least one of whom was an underage girl.
Mr. Greenberg, who has since resigned his post as tax collector in Seminole County, north of Orlando, was at the White House with Mr. Gaetz in 2019, according to a photograph that Mr. Greenberg posted on Twitter.
No charges have been brought against Mr. Gaetz, and the extent of his criminal exposure is unclear.
Mr. Gaetz said in an interview that his lawyers had been in touch with the Justice Department and that they were told he was the subject, not the target, of an investigation. “I only know that it has to do with women,” Mr. Gaetz said. “I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.”
Mr. Gaetz called the investigation part of an elaborate scheme involving “false sex allegations” to extort him and his family for $25 million that began this month. He said he and his father, Don Gaetz, had been cooperating with the F.B.I. and “wearing a wire” after they were approached by people saying they could make the investigation “go away.”
In a second interview later Tuesday, the congressman said he had no plans to resign his House seat and denied that he had romantic relationships with minors. “It is verifiably false that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman,” he said.
Representatives for the Justice Department and the F.B.I. declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Central Florida.
President Biden on Tuesday laid out plans to address rising racism against Asian-Americans, increasing accessibility to hate crime data, requiring new training for local police and establishing nearly $50 million in grants to support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who face language barriers.
The Justice Department will also review for the next month how it can better crack down on violent acts against people of Asian descent in the United States, including by prioritizing prosecution of those who commit hate crimes.
The steps by the federal government to combat racist violence came a day after a man was captured on surveillance video in New York stomping on a 65-year-old woman while making anti-Asian remarks. Mr. Biden also traveled to Atlanta this month to express grief for victims of a mass shooting in which a gunman killed eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent.
“We can’t be silent in the face of rising violence against Asian Americans,” the president wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, adding, “These attacks are wrong, un-American, and must stop.”
In his first week in office, Mr. Biden condemned the xenophobia against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders and directed the Health and Human Services and Justice Departments to develop ways to combat racist actions. The details released by the White House on Tuesday were the next step in carrying out plans to address the problem.
The administration said in a statement that it would expand a White House initiative on Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders that had previously worked to provide economic opportunities to the communities by mandating that the group also counter anti-Asian violence. Mr. Biden will also appoint a White House official to review policies across the government affecting Asians, Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.
The Justice Department will publish a new hate crimes page with a focus on attacks against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders, and the F.B.I. will soon hold civil rights training events to encourage reporting of hate crimes. Language barriers and concerns over questions of immigration status have made some victims reluctant to report crimes in the past.
The Biden administration’s response won praise from members of Congress, including Senator Mazie K. Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, who along with Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois criticized the administration last week for lacking Asian representation at its highest levels.
“Today’s clear demonstration of presidential leadership is a critical step forward,” Ms. Hirono said.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken declared on Tuesday that women’s access to contraceptives and reproductive care is a global human right that will be monitored by the United States, reversing a Trump administration policy that overlooked discrimination or denials of women seeking sexual health services worldwide.
The announcement was one of several departures Mr. Blinken made from the previous administration’s approach as the State Department issued its annual report on human rights violations.
The report was completed during the Trump administration and, Mr. Blinken said, did not include examples of women who were refused health care and family planning information in nearly 200 countries and territories in 2020. He has directed officials to compile that data and identify violators this year “because women’s rights — including sexual and reproductive rights — are human rights,” Mr. Blinken told reporters at the department.
Mr. Blinken also announced that he had dismantled an advisory committee, set up by Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state at the time, that had prioritized religious liberties and property rights among universal freedoms. Critics of the panel had accused Mr. Pompeo of using it to promote his evangelical Christian beliefs and conservative politics.
On Tuesday, Mr. Blinken said his disbanding of the panel, the Commission on Unalienable Rights, was to “repudiate those unbalanced views.”
“There is no hierarchy that makes some rights more important than others,” he said.
Mr. Blinken also said the Biden administration would call out foreign governments’ persecution of dissidents, not just within their borders, but abroad as well — a reference to the 2018 killing of the journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey by a squad of hit men from Saudi Arabia. The administration released an intelligence report in February that concluded Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia had approved the assassination, although the United States has not announced penalties against him.
President Biden on Tuesday signed a two-month extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers loans for small businesses struggling with the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Biden signed the extension in the Oval Office alongside Vice President Kamala Harris and Isabella Casillas Guzman, the administrator of the Small Business Administration, less than a week after Congress gave final approval to the extension.
“It is a bipartisan accomplishment,” Mr. Biden said before signing the act. “Small business is the backbone of our economy.”
The House approved the extension on a 415-to-3 vote earlier this month, and the Senate on Thursday cleared the legislation on a 92-7 margin. The program had been set to expire on Wednesday. The extension also gives the Small Business Administration an additional 30 days to process loans submitted before the new May 31 deadline.
The federal loan program was first established in the $2.2 trillion stimulus law passed last March under President Donald J. Trump. In December, Congress restarted the program and added more funding. Around 3.5 million borrowers have received forgivable loans this year, taking the program’s total lending to $734 billion.
The Biden administration overhauled the program in late February, prompting self-employed people and the smallest of businesses to rush to take advantage of newly freed-up aid. The extension by lawmakers gave small businesses, as well as lenders, more time to adjust to the overhaul.
Mr. Biden said the extension would especially help small businesses in minority communities.
“Many small businesses, as you know, particularly Hispanic as well as African-American small businesses, are just out of business because they got bypassed the first time around,” Mr. Biden said.
JPMorgan Chase, the program’s largest lender, had previously refused to make the Biden administration’s changes to the loan formula for self-employed applicants, saying it lacked the time to do so before the program’s deadline. A bank spokeswoman said Chase would now make those changes in the next few days. And Bank of America, which stopped accepting new applications earlier this month, reopened its system on Monday.
Around $79 billion remains in the fund. Banks and financiers, which make the government-backed loans, generally expect the money to be depleted in mid- to late April, well ahead of the program’s new deadline.
An effort by former President Donald J. Trump’s campaign to silence a former campaign worker who claimed she was the target of abusive treatment and sexual harassment by another member of Mr. Trump’s campaign was effectively voided on Tuesday by a federal court judge in New York.
Judge Paul G. Gardephe nullified a confidentiality agreement signed in 2016 by Jessica Denson, who had worked on Mr. Trump’s campaign that year as a phone bank supervisor and Hispanic outreach coordinator. Judge Gardephe concluded the agreement was “invalid and unenforceable.”
Mr. Trump’s campaign had won a $50,000 award against Ms. Denson after asserting that she had violated the confidential agreement when she first raised the mistreatment claims. That award was overturned by a New York State court last year.
Ms. Denson then sued on behalf of herself and other Trump campaign aides who had been forced to sign confidentiality agreements, asking that they all be invalidated as too broad and illegal in New York because they lasted indefinitely.
Judge Gardephe declined on Tuesday to invalidate all of the confidentiality agreements. But he did rule that the one Ms. Denson had signed was invalid.
“It is difficult if not impossible for Denson or another campaign employee to know whether any speech might be covered by one of the broad categories of restricted information,” the ruling says.
Ms. Denson’s lawyers — David K. Bowles of Bowles & Johnson, Joe Slaughter of Ballard Spahr, and John Langford from the nonprofit group Protect Democracy — worked on the case pro bono and now intend to ask the court to consider broadly invalidating all of the confidentiality agreements that Trump campaign workers signed.
Ms. Denson claimed she was “subject to a hostile work environment and experienced sex discrimination, and that after she complained, high-ranking persons in the campaign retaliated against her.”
Mr. Trump’s post-presidential office did not respond to a request for comment.
Her case was one of several in which Mr. Trump — using lawyers paid for by his campaign or at times even the Justice Department — went after former aides that criticized him or his campaign, including Sam Nunberg, a former political adviser to Mr. Trump, and Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former White House aide.
“The campaign has been using this to beat up campaign workers for years,” Mr. Bowles said on Tuesday. “Our position is now these things are illegal.”
A coalition of civil rights groups led by the N.A.A.C.P. have filed a federal lawsuit against Georgia officials arguing that a new law severely curtailing voting access represents “intentional discrimination” against the state’s Black voters.
The suit, dated March 28 and filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, is the second case brought since Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, signed the bill (not the third case, as an earlier post said). The G.O.P.-backed measure that drastically limits the use of drop boxes, requires proof of identity for absentee voting, and makes it a crime to provide food or water to voters forced to line up outside of polling locations.
Opponents of the bill are mounting an all-fronts battle to roll back the law and others like it, state by state — as Senate Democrats debate scrapping or suspending the filibuster rule to pass two sweeping electoral overhaul bills that would void state-level restrictions.
Civil rights groups and progressive activists are looking increasingly to the courts as the best chance to stop the voting restrictions that Republican-controlled legislatures in many states are considering or passing.
The law “is the culmination of a concerted effort to suppress the participation of Black voters and other voters of color by the Republican State Senate, State House, and governor,” wrote the lawyers from the Georgia chapters of the N.A.A.C.P. and several other groups, including the League of Women Voters, Common Cause and the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda.
The plaintiffs argue that Mr. Kemp and other Republicans violated the First, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by seeking to limit the participation of Democratic voters who are a growing force in the state’s urban and suburban areas.
“Unable to stem the tide of these demographic changes or change the voting patterns of voters of color, these officials have resorted to attempting to suppress the vote of Black voters and other voters of color in order to maintain the tenuous hold that the Republican Party has in Georgia,” they added. “In other words, these officials are using racial discrimination as a means of achieving a partisan end.”
One of the defendants named in the suit is Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who had rebuffed former President Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn President Biden’s narrow win in the state.
The plaintiffs claim that “detailed records” on “the racial demographics of voting” maintained by his office were used to draft the legislation.
“As a result, the Georgia legislators and its elected officials are well aware of the implications of making decisions as to voting on racial and ethnic minorities,” they wrote.
The coalition, which includes Georgia’s Lower Muskogee Creek Tribe in the southern part of the state, also argues that the targeting of early in-person voting, absentee ballots and drop boxes discriminates against “Black, Latinx, Asian-American, members of Indigenous populations.”
The earlier suit, making nearly identical legal arguments, was filed by Marc Elias, a top Democratic elections lawyer, and the Black Voters Matter Fund, a civil rights group, shortly after Mr. Kemp signed the law on March 25.
Republicans in Georgia and several other states considering similar laws have argued that restrictions are needed to address claims of widespread voter fraud during the 2020 elections, even though election officials in the state have repeatedly reported that there were few, if any, instances of fraud in last year’s balloting.
G. Gordon Liddy, a cloak-and-dagger lawyer who masterminded dirty tricks for the White House and concocted the bungled burglary that led to the Watergate scandal and the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974, died on Tuesday in Mount Vernon, Va. He was 90.
His death, at the home of his daughter Alexandra Liddy Bourne, was confirmed by his son Thomas P. Liddy, who said that his father had Parkinson’s disease and had been in declining health.
Decades after Watergate entered the lexicon, Mr. Liddy was still an enigma in the cast of characters who fell from grace with the 37th president — to some a patriot who went silently to prison refusing to betray his comrades, to others a zealot who cashed in on bogus celebrity to become an author and syndicated talk show host.
As a leader of a White House “plumbers” unit set up to plug information leaks, and then as a strategist for the president’s re-election campaign, Mr. Liddy helped devise plots to discredit Nixon “enemies” and to disrupt the 1972 Democratic National Convention. Most were far-fetched — bizarre kidnappings, acts of sabotage, traps using prostitutes, even an assassination — and were never carried out.
But Mr. Liddy, a former F.B.I. agent, and E. Howard Hunt, a former C.I.A. agent, engineered two break-ins at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex in Washington. On May 28, 1972, as Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt stood by, six Cuban expatriates and James W. McCord Jr., a Nixon campaign security official, went in, planted bugs, photographed documents and got away cleanly.
A few weeks later, on June 17, four Cubans and Mr. McCord, wearing surgical gloves and carrying walkie-talkies, returned to the scene and were caught by the police. Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt, running the operation from a Watergate hotel room, fled but were soon arrested and indicted on charges of burglary, wiretapping and conspiracy.
Major, one of President Biden’s German shepherds, “nipped someone” during a walk on Monday, a spokesman for the first lady, Jill Biden, said on Tuesday.
The spokesman, Michael LaRosa, said that “out of an abundance of caution,” the individual, whom he did not identify, was seen by the White House medical unit “and then returned to work without injury.”
“Major is still adjusting to his new surroundings,” Mr. LaRosa said. The episode was reported earlier Tuesday by CNN, which said the individual was a National Park Service employee. A spokeswoman for the agency referred a request for comment to the White House.
The Bidens have two German shepherds: Major, the younger of the two, and Champ. Earlier in March, the dogs were sent back to Delaware for a time after a previous incident involving Major.
In that episode, Major “was surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury to the individual,” said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary.
The White House on Tuesday accused China of hampering the World Health Organization’s investigation into the origins of the coronavirus and demanded Beijing be more “transparent” by providing greater access to data about the initial outbreak in late 2019.
The joint report from a W.H.O. team and Chinese scientists, released on Tuesday, was inconclusive, but surmised that the pandemic most likely began from animal-to-human transmission and began widely circulating in the city of Wuhan, China, as Chinese officials have long asserted.
Some observers, including Robert Redfield, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have questioned that theory, arguing that the virus might have originated in a government lab, although U.S. intelligence officials have said they do not have evidence to determine where the virus came from.
“The report lacks crucial data information and access — it represents a partial and incomplete picture,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said at a news conference on Tuesday, adding that Chinese officials “have not been transparent, they have not provided underlying data.”
W.H.O. officials should have been given “unfettered access” and “should be able to ask questions of people who were on the ground,” Ms. Psaki said.
“That certainly doesn’t qualify as cooperation,” she added, summing up the White House view at a moment of already heightened tensions between the United States and China.
Later in the day, the United States co-signed a letter with officials from Australia, Britain, Canada, Israel and Japan calling for a “transparent and independent analysis” of the origins of the virus free from “undue influence.”
At times, Ms. Psaki intermingled her criticism of Beijing with skepticism about the W.H.O.’s investigation, and the value of Tuesday’s report.
“It doesn’t lead us to any closer of an understanding or greater knowledge than we had six to nine months ago about the origin,” she said. “It also doesn’t provide guidelines or steps, recommended steps, on how we should prevent this from happening in the future. And those are imperative.”
Some of the Biden administration’s dissatisfaction with China and the W.H.O. echo former President Donald J. Trump’s scathing criticism of the agency — although Mr. Biden opposed Mr. Trump’s effort to cut off federal funding to the W.H.O. or withdraw as a member over its handling of the virus crisis. Officials with the agency have argued that they have no enforcement authority, and do not have the power to demand greater cooperation from nations.
Ms. Psaki said Mr. Biden had no plans to disengage from the W.H.O. but that he had long expressed frustration with China’s actions in the crisis.
“He believes that the American people, the global community, the medical experts, the doctors — all of the people who have been working to save lives, the families who have lost loved ones, all deserve greater transparency, they deserve better information,” she said.
Democrats in Congress are quietly splintering over how to handle the expansive voting rights bill that they have made a centerpiece of their ambitious legislative agenda, potentially jeopardizing their chances of countering a Republican drive to restrict ballot access in states across the country.
President Biden and leading Democrats have pledged to make the elections overhaul a top priority, even contemplating a bid to upend bedrock Senate rules if necessary to push it through over Republican objections. But they are contending with an undercurrent of reservations in their ranks over how aggressively to try to revamp the nation’s elections and whether, in their zeal to beat back new Republican ballot restrictions moving through the states, their proposed solution might backfire, sowing voting confusion and new political challenges.
The hand-wringing demonstrates how urgent the voting issue has become for both parties since November, when President Donald J. Trump spread false claims of voter fraud that many Republicans believed. In the months since, Republican-led statehouses have advanced a wave of new laws clamping down on ballot access.
Democrats have coalesced around the idea that pushing back on such measures is a modern-day civil rights battle that the party cannot afford to lose. “Failure,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, said last week, “is not an option.”
But while few Democrats are willing to publicly say so, the details of the more than 800-page bill — which would radically reshape the way elections are run and make far-reaching changes to campaign finance laws and redistricting — have become a point of simmering contention. Some proponents argue that Democrats should break off a narrower bill dealing strictly with protecting voting rights to prevent the legislation, known as the For the People Act, from collapsing amid divisions over other issues.
“Democrats have a narrow opportunity. There is a window here that could close anytime,” said Richard L. Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine. “I worry the kind of fights necessary to keep even the Democratic coalition together could blow up the whole thing and lose the chance to get anything done.”
President Biden began a drive to reshape the federal courts on Tuesday with a burst of judicial nominations that put an emphasis on diversity and drew from a broad range of backgrounds including public defenders.
The effort is motivated in part by a desire to offset the conservative mark stamped on the federal judiciary by former President Donald J. Trump, who won confirmation of more than 220 judges, mostly white men. But Mr. Biden’s first round of nominations also sought to make good on his campaign promise to draw from a more diverse pool than either party has in the past and to redefine what it means to be qualified for the federal bench.
In a statement early Tuesday, the president announced the nominations of 11 people to serve as federal district or appeals court judges, moving faster than any president in decades to fill open positions in the courts.
His nominees — led by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — included three African-American women for appeals court vacancies and candidates who, if confirmed by the Senate, would be the first federal judge who is Muslim, the first Asian-American woman to serve on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit and the first woman of color to serve as a federal judge in Maryland.
“This trailblazing slate of nominees draws from the very best and brightest minds of the American legal profession,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “Each is deeply qualified and prepared to deliver justice faithfully under our Constitution and impartially to the American people — and together they represent the broad diversity of background, experience, and perspective that makes our nation strong.”
Allies say Mr. Biden, a former longtime chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a deep background in judicial nominations, is determined to install judges with different sets of experiences from the mainly white corporate law partners and prosecutors who have been tapped for decades by presidents of both parties. Mr. Biden has also promised to appoint the first African-American woman to the Supreme Court.
The first judicial picks of a new presidency typically set the tone for the administration. The White House tightly controlled information about who was under consideration for nominations. With 68 slots now open and an additional 26 scheduled to become vacant later this year, liberal activists are encouraging the administration to be aggressive to counter the Mr. Trump’s choices, particularly since Democrats could lose control of the Senate in next year’s midterm election.
In a series of speeches, interviews and Twitter posts, Mike Pompeo is emerging as the most outspoken critic of President Biden among former top Trump officials. And much as the former Trump secretary of state did when in office, he is ignoring the custom that current and former secretaries of state avoid the appearance of political partisanship.
In back-to-back appearances in Iowa and during an interview in New Hampshire over the past week, Mr. Pompeo questioned the Biden administration’s resolve toward China. In Iowa, he accused the White House of reversing the Trump administration’s immigration policy “willy-nilly and without any thought.” He derided Mr. Biden for referring to notes during his first formal news conference on Thursday.
“What’s great about not being the secretary of state anymore is I can say things that when I was a diplomat I couldn’t say,” Mr. Pompeo said the next morning, to a small crowd at the Westside Conservative Club near Des Moines.
It seems clear that Mr. Pompeo, a onetime Republican congressman from Kansas, is animated not just by freedom but also by a drive for high elective office long evident to friends and foes. His appearances in a pair of presidential battleground states only seem to confirm his widely assumed interest in a 2024 presidential campaign.
“Usually former presidents and secretaries of state try not to quickly trash their successors — especially in foreign policy,” said Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian. He said Mr. Pompeo “probably believes he is demonstrating his Trumpiness by castigating the performance of the newly installed President Biden.”
Last week, Mr. Pompeo tweeted that the Biden administration’s plans to restart aid to the Palestinians canceled under Mr. Trump were “immoral” and would support terrorist activity. “Americans and Israelis should be outraged by the Biden administration’s plans to do so,” Mr. Pompeo wrote.
But his commentary goes beyond foreign policy. Mr. Pompeo has also condemned Mr. Biden’s “backward” “open border” policies. And on March 19, he simply tweeted the number 1,327 — an apparent reference to the number of days until the 2024 election.
There is little sign that Mr. Pompeo’s criticism has struck a nerve among Biden officials and their allies. Asked about the remarks last month, a State Department spokesman, Ned Price, declined to respond directly but said the Biden and Trump administrations shared the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
“No one cares,” Ben Rhodes, a former deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama, tweeted in response to a recent news report about a Pompeo critique of Mr. Biden’s policies.
As President Biden starts rolling out a major infrastructure proposal on Wednesday that is expected to include significant child care aid, on top of the financial support for families included in the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, parents across America are weighing these new attempts to help against a year’s worth of anxiety, exhaustion and logistical nightmares of patchwork schooling.
For many parents, there are no real feelings of relief yet, and resentment lingers that the government is helping too late.
This is especially true for many American mothers: Almost one million had left the work force as of late last year, while nearly a quarter of children experienced food insecurity in 2020 and more than three-quarters of parents say the uncertainty around the current school year caused them stress. It is a strained and wary demographic — but also one that both political parties are trying to court with competing messages about pandemic relief.
Republicans are casting Democrats as unwilling to move quickly enough to reopen schools and the economy, saying they are kowtowing to the teachers’ unions. Democrats, in turn, hope to appeal to mothers with “human infrastructure” spending that Mr. Biden will also announce soon. Proposals under consideration include universal pre-K education, a national paid leave program and efforts to reduce child care costs.
Passage of such costly plans won’t be easy, given the Democrats’ narrow control of both chambers of Congress and the aversion of some moderates to pushing through another expansive package without Republican support.
For the last several years, Bridget Hughes worked as a supervisor in a Burger King near her home in Kansas City, Mo. But when her three children were stuck at home with online school, Ms. Hughes found it impossible to manage their care and her job. So she quit, taking three months before she found another as a shift manager at McDonald’s, where she makes $13 an hour.
“We were losing work that we should not have to lose,” Ms. Hughes said. “Child care should have been available during this pandemic. They had no preparation for this. They just left us out here for ourselves.”