“It just continues to add momentum, that people expect Congress to do something about this, that we can no longer just ignore it,” said Rep. David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat who chairs the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust laws. “Every day, these stories are adding to the urgency of getting this done. And yes, I think it’s finally going to happen in this Congress.”
Yet it’s still unclear whether anger will actually translate into action on Capitol Hill, where reforms have so far remained elusive and partisan divides remain over what Congress’ oversight role should look like. Republicans are more concerned over the alleged censorship of conservative voices and privacy issues, whereas Democrats are focused on tackling the spread of disinformation and hate speech online. If the debate is centered on the thorny issue of policing free speech or narrowly focused on January 6, some fear that reform efforts could turn off Republicans and ultimately stall out.
Meanwhile, Facebook — which is one of the top political spenders in Washington — is already beginning to mount a vigorous defense as it faces perhaps its biggest crisis in the company’s 17-year history. Any effort to target their algorithms would impact a core part of their business model, posing a major potential threat to their bottom line.
“With enormous economic power very often comes enormous political power, and they are spending millions and millions of dollars flooding this town with lobbyists and campaign contributions, doing everything they can to stop these reforms,” Cicilline said. “This is the reason that battles against monopolies are hard.”
‘The time for self-regulation is over’
Still, longtime proponents of curbing the tech industry’s power feel optimistic that the tides are finally turning in their favor, and are vowing to push for legislation that would stop online platforms from amplifying content that promotes conspiracy theories, incites extremism or harms young people.
There are several Section 230 bills being kicked around on Capitol Hill, but one measure introduced this month by Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would remove absolute immunity if platforms use personalized algorithms to knowingly or recklessly recommend content and it ends up causing physical or emotional harm.
Instead of focusing on policing user-generated content — a far more politically fraught debate — this legislation would target how companies recommend content to its users.
“There is growing consensus that the time for self-regulation is over, and my Justice Against Malicious Algorithms Act answers that call,” Pallone, an ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said in a statement to CNN. “Designing personalized algorithms that promote harmful content is a conscious choice, and platforms should have to answer for it.”
Members of the GOP have introduced their own proposals taking aim at the legal shield that protects tech titans, but their efforts are more focused on ensuring platforms don’t police content based on a user’s viewpoints or political affiliations.
A draft discussion bill from Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, would require companies to be more transparent about their content moderation decisions.
“The Facebook Papers reports illustrate that Big Tech and Legacy Media companies are not just hysterically anti-conservative — they are against any idea that doesn’t fit their narrative,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, said in a statement Monday. “What they are doing is a particularly dangerous practice of misinformation.”
There does appear to be more bipartisan support for efforts to protect kids’ mental health. The draft legislation from Jordan and McMorris Rodgers would also require Big Tech companies to disclose the mental health impacts of their products on children and require a study on whether warning labels are warranted on social media.
And Sens. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, and Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, have previously teamed up on legislation to remove legal protections for online companies that share child pornography.
Blumenthal, chairman of a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation subcommittee, has also hosted a series of hearings designed to shed light on the potential harms of social media companies on children. Another hearing is scheduled for Tuesday featuring Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube.
“Facebook is obviously unable to police itself as its powerful algorithms drive deeply harmful content to children and fuel hate,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “This resoundingly adds to the drumbeat of calls for reform, rules to protect teens, and real transparency and accountability from Facebook and its Big Tech peers.”
Antitrust legislation and beyond
Lawmakers believe another way to attack the problem is to restore competition in the marketplace. The House Judiciary Committee passed a package of antitrust bills this summer with the support of several Republicans, following the panel’s 16-month investigation into competition in the digital marketplace. But the measures have yet to receive a floor vote in the House.
Cicilline, however, said he expects the bills to be considered by the full House before the end of this year. He also said the Democratic Caucus was planning to host a dinner meeting Monday evening with Tim Wu, the special assistant to the president for technology and competition policy, to discuss competition policy more broadly.
And Sens. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, and Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, also recently introduced a Senate companion to one of the antitrust measures, in another sign of potential movement.
But some Republicans are skeptical. They think Democrats are just using the new explosive whistleblower allegations about Facebook as an excuse to push their longtime priorities, arguing those bills aren’t the best way to tackle the issue.
“Modifying 230 around content is very complicated, because user-generated is something that companies have less control over,” she said. “They have 100% control over their algorithms. And Facebook should not get a free pass on choices it makes to prioritize growth and virality and reactiveness over public safety.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg kicked off Facebook’s quarterly earnings call by addressing the latest wave of coverage on Monday.
“Good-faith criticism helps us get better, but my view is that we are seeing a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company,” he said. “The reality is that we have an open culture that encourages discussion and research on our work so we can make progress on many complex issues that are not specific just to us.”
The select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection is also looking into Facebook’s role and is in talks with the company and other tech platforms “to get certain information.”
“At this point, Facebook is working with us to provide the necessary information we requested,” Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the chairman of the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot, told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Nguyen spent the days before examining the lists of voters who the Trump campaign alleged may have committed election fraud in Georgia. She studied the public records, called several voters and, in one case, jumped in her car to visit a constituent who the campaign claimed had voted in both Georgia and Virginia.
The voter and her husband have “lived in Georgia their entire lives” and “have lived in that same house since 1985,” Nguyen said during a roughly 12-minute Q&A with an analyst whose research had been cited in lawsuits brought by Trump and his allies. “They’ve never even been to the state in which they are alleged to have double-voted.”
But “there was no way I was going to stay silent,” Nguyen told CNN recently. “I was at the center of the storm as there were attempts to overturn the results in Georgia. I recognize that this is the single most pressing issue: the protection of democracy.”
Now, the Democratic lawmaker hopes to parlay her work and visibility on voting rights into a new position, as she runs for Georgia secretary of state. If she succeeds in 2022, Nguyen — the daughter of Vietnamese refugees — would become the first Asian American elected to a statewide political post in Georgia.
Nguyen (pronounced WIN) is among a cluster of politicians who have stepped into high-profile roles in the last year to defend the integrity of the 2020 election against baseless fraud claims advanced by former President Donald Trump and his allies. And this group is making voting rights central to their campaigns for higher office in states that could determine who wins the presidency in 2024.
In the perennial battleground state of Pennsylvania, for instance, Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro entered the race for governor earlier this month with a pledge “to continue to stand up to the attacks on our democracy.”
Shapiro’s office has defended the state against a string of 25 legal challenges brought by Trump or his allies over the 2020 election. Biden won the Keystone State by more than 80,000 votes.
On the frontlines In Arizona
In an interview with CNN, Hobbs said state officials need to focus other pressing issues — such as investing in schools and grappling with water restrictions after the federal government declared the first-ever water shortage on the Colorado River — rather than relitigating the 2020 election.
Hobbs said the suspicion that has fueled conspiracy theories about the election results is bleeding into other parts of life in the state and threatens to hobble policymaking.
“These are the same folks who have questioned the validity of science about Covid and vaccines and masks,” she told CNN. “They are at school board meetings, screaming about curriculum that we’re not teaching in schools.”
“You can have government by conspiracy theory,” Hobbs said, “or you can have government that actually works. They’re not really compatible.”
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey is term limited and cannot seek office again in 2022. Trump already has made his choice among the crowded field of Republicans seeking the governor’s seat, backing former news anchor Kari Lake.
In addition to the high-profile Maricopa County ballot review, Arizona has enacted three new laws that restrict voting — one of 19 states to pass voting limits this year, according to the liberal Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law.
Four of those states — Texas, Georgia, Iowa and Florida — have bundled together their new restrictions in sweeping omnibus laws.
“Come 2023 and ’24, Pennsylvanians are either going to have a governor that vetoes the attacks on voting rights or someone who signs them and turns our state into Texas or Georgia,” he told CNN in an interview. And he notes that the next governor of Pennsylvania also will have the power to appoint the secretary of state, who has the day-to-day authority over the state’s electoral process.
State Sen. Cris Dush, the Republican in charge of the election investigation, has said the personal information is needed to verify voters’ identities, following allegations that some people who voted don’t actually exist.
Shapiro argues the subpoenas violate Pennsylvanians’ privacy rights, serve no legitimate legislative purpose and represent little more than an effort to placate Trump, who has baselessly claimed fraud led to his loss in the state.
In Georgia — one of 26 states with elected secretaries of state positions on the ballot next year — the normally low-key contest for the office already has emerged as one of the hot-ticket, down-ballot races of 2022.
That is in stark contrast to Nguyen, who is the highest-profile Democrat in the race and has made voting rights a priority during her tenure in the Georgia Assembly.
She was elected in a 2017 special election to fill the Atlanta-area seat previously held by Stacey Abrams, the Democrats’ 2018 gubernatorial nominee. The nonprofit executive was the first Vietnamese American elected to the legislature in Georgia.
For Nguyen, a proud moment came when she helped repeal the state’s “exact match” voter registration law.
The law, which had frozen some 53,000 voter registrations ahead of the 2018 election, required the information on voter registration applications to exactly match information on driver’s license, Social Security records and state ID cards. Registrations could be stalled over missing hyphens or misspellings in government records, and a lawsuit filed by civil rights groups at the time said that 80% of the stalled applications belonged to people of color.
Nguyen said her name has been misspelled at legislative meetings and on the Georgia Assembly’s website. “People with non-Anglo names were going to get caught up in the system,” she said.
She was among more than two dozen activists arrested last week outside the White House as they demanded action on federal voting legislation to blunt the impact new voting restrictions in states like Georgia.
Nguyen views herself as part of the New South, a diverse coalition that has helped turn the traditionally red state into a political battleground that sent two Democrats to the US Senate in runoff elections this year.
“Our diversity is our strength,” she said. “This is about Black Georgians and Latinos and Asians, young people, white progressives — people who have chosen to call Georgia our home. We’re going to fight for it.”
Nguyen said that while she expected the threats and racial taunts that followed the legislative hearing last December, the experience also reinforced for her that many Americans don’t subscribe to the election falsehoods.
“There were Georgians from all over the state, and people from all over the country who reached out and thanked me and said they needed to hear the truth,” Nguyen said. “People sent me notes in the mail, flowers, books, muffins. I didn’t expect that part of it.”
For McAuliffe, a steady stream of high-profile Democratic surrogates has turned the race into a referendum about the past eight years of Democratic leadership in the commonwealth as well as the first year of President Joe Biden’s term. Biden will make his second trip across the Potomac River to rally support for McAuliffe on Tuesday evening in Arlington, following a July visit there to boost McAuliffe after the former governor clinched the Democratic nomination.
“There could not be a more stark difference” in the race, McAuliffe said Sunday in Charlottesville. “I am running against someone who has been endorsed by Donald Trump, not once, not twice, not three times, not four times, not five times — six times endorsed by Donald Trump.”
For Youngkin, the push to nationalize the race has not come in the form of top Republican surrogates — the candidate has largely campaigned on his own and has been careful about how he has related himself to Trump. Instead, he has made the case in his stump speech, repeatedly telling Virginians that the race is about more than just their commonwealth.
“Our nation’s future rests in Virginia’s present,” the businessman and political newcomer told an audience in Henrico on Saturday. “All eyes are on Virginia.”
He added: “Friends, America needs us right now.”
The nationalization of the race has turned up the pressure of both campaigns, with Democrats and Republicans in Washington closely watching the contest as a potential road map for how each party might run in next year’s midterms.
If McAuliffe wins, Democrats will take the victory as validation that a state that has trended blue over the last decade still stands behind Biden’s agenda and against Republicans, even if Trump is not on the ballot. History is not on Democrats’ side: Since the 1970s, the winner of Virginia’s off-year gubernatorial election has nearly always come from the party in opposition to the White House. The only exception was in 2013, when McAuliffe won his first gubernatorial term a year after then-President Barack Obama won reelection.
But even if McAuliffe wins a tight race, the result could spell warning signs for Democrats in Washington, given Biden’s 10-point victory there just last year and the fact that the party in power often loses seats in the subsequent midterms.
Democrats had hoped McAuliffe would be able to run on a successfully passed infrastructure package from the Biden administration, but continual delays on Capitol Hill and Democratic infighting have made the prospect of a deal before November 2 unlikely, something that McAuliffe has used to lambast Congress.
“I say: Do your job,” he said earlier in the month. “You got elected to Congress. We in the states are desperate for this infrastructure money. … We need help out here in the states, and people elected you to do your job.”
And while he has publicly argued the bill is more important for the people of Virginia than for his political fortunes, his aides and advisers have privately worried that dysfunction in Washington could spill into their race, especially in the vote-rich Northern Virginia suburbs.
For Youngkin, a win would reverberate far beyond Virginia — where a Republican has not won statewide in 12 years — and deliver the GOP a jolt of momentum heading into 2022. And while each campaign is different and Youngkin, who came into the race as largely a blank slate with unlimited money, is a unique figure, a possible win would validate his strategy of lauding Trump at times while also keeping him at arm’s length.
“Regardless of whether or not he wins … it looks like Youngkin is showing Republicans that they don’t need to be wedded to Trump,” said Doug Heye, a Republican consultant who previously served as the top spokesman at the Republican National Committee. “Sure, they don’t want to cross him and alienate his base. But, especially with Biden’s low numbers and McAuliffe’s vulnerabilities on things like education, Republicans can play on Democrats’ field. That’s the first step in putting Trump in the rearview mirror.”
While there are some doubts among Republicans that the strategy could work in federal races, Heye says that because “all politics are national now,” issues that were once hyper-local “will be talked about up and down the ballot.”
The 2021 races are also the first time that voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots early without an excuse for having to do so after the Democratic-led state changed election laws. According to the Virginia Department of Elections, more than 734,000 Virginians have cast ballots already.
Conversations with McAuliffe and Youngkin supporters have shown a similarity in how each is approaching the race: Both are worried that wins by their opponents would turn Virginia into a vastly different kind of place. Democrats have told CNN repeatedly that a Youngkin win would turn Virginia into a Republican-dominated state like Georgia, Texas or Florida, while Republicans have openly worried that a McAuliffe win would turn the commonwealth into California.
If McAuliffe wins, “we are going to head down the path we are already going down with Biden,” said Wanda Schweiger, a 61-year-old Youngkin supporter. “And it is a sinking ship.”
Stacey Abrams, a former gubernatorial candidate in Georgia and a voting rights activist, made that case directly to voters over the weekend.
This story has been updated with additional information.
While refugees can receive federal assistance to cover travel costs, funds not spent on flights can be reallocated to cover other expenses as evacuees get set up in their new communities.
United Airlines is contributing the mile equivalent of 7,000 flights and Delta Air Lines is donating nearly 700 flights. The commitments build on previous initiatives to collect and match donations for Afghan refugees. American Airlines and JetBlue are also supporting flights, 6,000 and nearly 2,500 flights, respectively. Alaska Airlines is contributing 1,500 flights.
Other companies included in the effort are The Boeing Company, the Tripadvisor Foundation, Frontier Airlines and Air Canada.
The initiative is being launched with Miles4Migrants, which donates frequent flyer miles, credit card points and cash to help fly displaced people, and Welcome.US, a national effort to welcome and support Afghan refugees. Organizers are hoping to secure an additional 30,000 flights to help Afghans.
This is, for lack of a more eloquent term, the grind-it-out stage of the process. The vast majority of the time it reaches an outcome. But it’s painful, arduous and — perhaps most importantly — time consuming.
For President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders who are sprinting toward a deadline just days away, that’s a real problem.
To put a finer point on things
White House officials and congressional Democrats involved in the talks are fairly clear-eyed on the moment they’re in right now. They know they’re on the cusp — “We’re five yards out, maybe two yards, from the end zone,” one person directly involved in the talks said. But reconciling the outstanding issues in the next 24-36 hours is, in the words of that official, “Obviously a heavy lift.”
Yet the combination of momentum and a sense of inevitability are, to a degree, key negotiating tactics in and of themselves — and that’s clearly the intent with Biden just 48 hours away from boarding Air Force One for Europe.
There is one clear outcome targeted by the White House and Democratic leaders at this moment: They want a detailed framework agreement locked in by the back half of this week. That would allow them to pass the infrastructure bill by Sunday — the surface transportation funding patch deadline, the day before Biden arrives at the UN Climate Change Conference and a few days before Election Day in Virginia.
When a combination of progress and time pressure created the opening, Biden pivoted hard last week to open the door to the process to a wider range of congressional Democrats, with pretty clear success.
But as critical programs and priorities are moving from scaled back to potentially out of the proposal all together, the need to ensure progressives stay on board is acute in this moment.
The broader pitch — which progressive leaders have largely backed publicly — has been that the proposal, even scaled back, is transformational and more than anyone could have ever hoped for prior to now. Take it and call it a win.
But the longer that things linger — and the more proposals that Manchin or Sinema chop away at, as leaders push to close the deal — the greater the risk becomes of defection or revolt.
And to be clear here, it doesn’t need to be the entire Congressional Progressive Caucus, and a chunk of progressives in the Senate. It can be just three and zero. Biden can afford to lose three Democrats in the House. He can afford to lose zero in the Senate.
High wire. No net.
So what is the timeline?
It could take days to wrap this up. It could take weeks. The slim possibility this never happens is also still very much a concern and motivator right now.
The expectation among more than a dozen Democratic senators and staffers on Monday night was that it’s more likely to be the former than the later at this point, but anyone who is in the know right now is aware it’s not entirely clear how this gets resolved over the next 72 hours before the President leaves for his foreign trip. It’s a new week with renewed optimism, but the same problems are still there.
What to watch Tuesday
- Senate Democratic closed-door caucus lunch at 12:30 p.m.
- Does Sinema actually attend that lunch this week?
- Will Manchin come prepared to lay out publicly that his topline number has risen above $1.5 trillion?
- Will the Senate Finance Committee release the highly, highly anticipated details of its billionaires tax proposal?
Moving in the right direction on taxes
The challenge will be unveiling this tax (Finance Committee staffers are confident they can do this by Wednesday) and then getting sign off from all 50 Democrats.
There are so many outstanding questions about that proposal at the moment — and no clear sign they can be completely resolved in just a matter of days. Someone who has these questions? House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal.
Asked if he believes the billionaires’ tax would lead to a reliable amount of money to finance the proposal, he told reporters: “I don’t know. That’s one of the challenges you have with it. We think it will be a challenge.”
He said he wasn’t sure it would survive legal challenges, CNN’s Manu Raju reported.
To be clear, Wyden’s team has been working on this for roughly two years — “hundreds, if not thousands of hours” drafting the proposal, Ashley Schapitl, the committee spokeswoman, has said.
To be even more clear, this is not a wealth tax, despite that being thrown around quite a bit these days. What it is, basically, is expanding an income tax to unrealized capital gains of a very specific subset of taxpayers. In this case, those with a $1 billion or more in assets or with reported income of over $100 million for three consecutive years.
Politically, in the words of one Democrat, “it’s absolute gold” — targeting roughly 700-800 billionaires and inviting Republicans to attack a policy that … explicitly targets billionaires. Policy wise — in the words of another Democrat — due to its lack of precedent, “it could be transformative if we can make it work.”
It’s the “if we can make it work” part that needs to be resolved right now, from enforcement, to implementation, to how to value more illiquid asset classes, to whether it’s ripe for a challenge on constitutional grounds — all are open questions that will need to be answered before it can move anywhere.
Prescription drug pricing
Paid family leave
One of the most important meetings Monday occurred between Manchin, Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper, Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, Majority Leader Cnuck Schumer and Finance Chairman Ron Wyden. All of them are chairs in the Senate who deal with energy and climate, but only one of them is the hold out in these discussions. The senators huddled for roughly an hour on the Hill as they sought to reach an agreement on a series of provisions they could use to reduce emissions in the country.
As one source described it, the meeting centered around two important aspects of the Democrats’ climate debate. The first was what to do about $150 billion that was supposed to be used for a climate program that Manchin nixed a week ago. Manchin privately has suggested scrapping it from the bill altogether, but other Democrats have insisted that money needs to be used elsewhere. Carper, a Delaware Democrat, told reporters that it’s his expectation the money will be used for some emissions reductions programs. A source familiar with the meeting told CNN that most of the time was spent trying to figure out what programs that money could actually be funneled to that would be OK for Manchin.
“We can put runs on the scoreboard in a lot of different ways,” the source said. “For most us, we prefer to do the Clean Electricity Performance Program approach, but that ain’t gonna happen. The question now is can we get the same impact through playing small ball.”
The health care sticking point (yes, there are a few)
Medicare: It’s not clear yet if hearing, vision and dental coverage will be included in this package. There has been talk of making dental a pilot program. There has been talk of making each entity a voucher program. It’s not clear how or if this is expansion is going to make it at this point, despite the fact it is the signature issue for Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders.
But it is clear that Democrats are searching for some kind of creative way to address it and keep some semblance of the idea into the package, officials and aides say.
Medicaid expansion: There are serious reservations for some Democrats about expanding Medicaid by having the federal government foot the bill for states that didn’t expand the program since Obamacare passed more than a decade ago. This has been a top concern for Sinema, but she’s not the only one.
“I don’t know how that is going to work quite frankly. I brought this up in lunch a month ago,” Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat from Montana, said. “Pick a state: Wisconsin, Alabama doesn’t have Medicaid expansion, but Montana does. Does that mean Montana goes and repeals its Medicaid expansion and has it paid for by the federal government?”
Yet this is an absolutely critical issue for several senators and the Congressional Black Caucus — so much so that Rep. Jim Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, privately called Manchin to try and persuade him on the issue. Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff is also pressing Manchin on the issue, CNN reported.
To put it plainly, Democratic leaders have to find a resolution here — or they have a big problem.
The math: Some good news for Democrats
Under the special budget process in the Senate known as reconciliation, each committee is given instructions of how much they can actually spend in their committee’s jurisdiction.
Remember, the Senate already passed a budget that assumed a bill that was going to spend $3.5 trillion. But, now the Democrats are only going to spend between $1.5 and $2 trillion because of objections from Manchin and Sinema on the topline.
That reduction has actually given committees a bit more wiggle room to shift programming around. So, for example, that means that some of the $150 billion that was going to go to the CEPP in Manchin’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee could actually be used under the Finance Committee’s jurisdiction for a series of tax incentives aimed and getting businesses to reduce emissions.
This seems in-the-weeds or a bit off the path from the most important issues. But looming over everything that’s happening right now are the reconciliation restrictions that will bite — and bite hard — if Democrats aren’t paying close attention. By all accounts, they are keenly aware of it with every step they take, but anything that makes the process less complicated is a net positive at this point, aides say.
“I am adamantly opposed to federal mandates related to the Covid-19 vaccine and adamantly opposed to state mandates related to the Covid-19 vaccine, plain and simple,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “As long as I am your governor, the state of Alabama will not force anyone to take a Covid-19 vaccine.”
“To the extent any such entity is required or compelled to impose such a penalty as a result of federal law, the entity shall take all practical steps to notify the affected business or individual that the State of Alabama does not approve, condone, or otherwise endorse the imposition of such penalty,” Ivey’s order states in part.
The order also prevents businesses or individuals from being penalized by the executive branch for refusing to comply with the mandate and protects public employees who refuse to share vaccination status when receiving government services or entering a government building.
Ivey joins Republican Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida in pushing back against the federal mandate.
The President has elevated vaccine mandates as an important tool to contain the pandemic and prevent future outbreaks.
Beginning on Sunday, October 24, callers in these states that were able to make calls with seven digits must now dial the full 10 digit number — their area code and telephone number — to place local calls, according to the FCC. Local calls dialed with seven digits may not connect on or after Sunday.
Callers can reach the 24/7 national hotline by phoning the 10-digit number: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
This will be the fourth time the President and the Pope meet, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday, noting the two have also exchanged letters.
“They will have a chance just to reflect, each of them, on their view of what’s happening in the world, policy issues,” Sullivan said at a White House press briefing.
Biden and the Pope are expected to discuss climate change, migration and income inequality, among other issues, according to Sullivan.
The President will also meet with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday. It will be their first face-to-face meeting since Biden’s agreement to provide Australia with nuclear-powered submarines shook the relationship between the two longtime allies. Following the announcement of the US’ new national security partnership with the United Kingdom and Australia, the French government swiftly recalled its ambassadors to Washington and Canberra.
“After a lot of commentary in recent weeks about the state of transatlantic relationship, the United States and Europe head into these two summits aligned and united on the major elements of the global agenda,” Sullivan said, alluding to the recent flare up.
On Saturday and Sunday, Biden will attend G20 events and sessions focused on the main elements of the international economy and international issues. The President may also hold meetings with other world leaders on the margins of the summit to discuss supply chain issues, energy prices and the Iranian nuclear program, Sullivan said.
The President then heads to Glasgow for COP26, a UN climate summit. The President will give a major address on climate as part of the summit. He will also meet with leaders on the margin of that summit to discuss a range of issues, including the Build Back Better World initiative that was announced at the Group of Seven summit earlier this year.
The President is currently under pressure to have the details of his legislative climate plan in place before he heads to the Glasgow summit. Democratic leadership is currently attempting to hammer out the details of a large-scale economic package to expand the nation’s social safety net and are trying to pass it alongside Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill as soon as possible.
At both summits in the coming week, Biden and European partners are expected to discuss coordinating policies on Iran, supply chains and global infrastructure efforts.
“The trip is going to give the President an opportunity to advance some of his highest affirmative priorities on behalf of the American people,” Sullivan said on Tuesday. “You’re going to see first hand in living color what foreign policy for the middle class is all about.”
Biden will “cement progress on the global minimum tax,” Sullivan said. G7 finance ministers agreed in June to back Biden’s sweeping overhaul of global tax system, including a global minimum tax of at least 15% on multinational companies.
The President will also be “laser focused on supply chains and energy prices because he knows that these issues impact working families here in America,” Sullivan said.
“In advancing the Build Back Better World initiative, the B3W initiative, he will show how a high standards climate friendly alternative to the Belt and Road Initiative can help American firms and American workers compete globally on every aspect of infrastructure, from physical to digital to health,” Sullivan said.
The Belt and Road Initiative is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature global infrastructure policy. The Chinese President will not be attending the summit.
Sullivan said: “I would just point out that we see no contradiction between pursuing ambitious and aggressive actions to meet this pivotal moment when it comes to the climate crisis and supporting a sustained and swift economic recovery that delivers security and opportunity for the American people.”
Biden has pledged to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% below its 2005 emissions by 2030.
Former President Barack Obama will also be attending COP26, but will not overlap with Biden, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.