Biden Plans Big Spending As Economy Slows

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Here’s what we’re talking about:

What we’re watching today: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris meet with governors to discuss wildfire prevention.

With Phil Rosen.

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

1. IT’S THE ECONOMY: The economic recovery may have just peaked. America’s gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 6.5% in the second quarter. The good news is the data illustrates that the US has returned from the coronavirus-induced drop. But economists expected much higher numbers, reigniting fears that the best might be behind us just as concerns over the virus’ spread rise to the surface.

The White House has a plan to keep the good times rolling: But it won’t be cheap, and some economists dispute whether it would do anything to help in the short term, my colleagues report.

Biden wants to spend up to $4 trillion on infrastructure and social programs: The twin pitch of a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan and another $3.5 trillion in spending on family care, free education, and clean energy make up what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen deemed “historic investments” that would supercharge the economy through the next decade.

  • But conservatives argue it could exacerbate inflation, a position the White House rejects: “Any additional stimulus will likely lead to inflation rather than long-term growth,” Brian Riedl, an economist at the right-leaning Manhattan Institute, told my colleagues.

It’s still unclear whether Democrats will muster enough support for the $3.5 trillion package: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he has the votes to take the first steps. The legislation is supposed to help alleviate the areas the bipartisan deal failed to address. Biden also wants to squeeze immigration into the package.

2. Biden calls on local governments to give out $100 to anyone getting a COVID-19 vaccine: A Treasury Department announcement said Biden wanted the new program to be funded with $350 billion in state and local relief funding from the stimulus law. It’s unclear how many state and local governments will take up the administration on it.

3. Three GOP lawmakers face ethics complaints about their stock trading: The nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center alleges in separate complaints that Sen. Tommy Tuberville and Reps. Pat Fallon and Blake Moore illegally delayed by weeks or months their numerous stock trades. Here’s what experts say about whether lawmakers should be able to trade stocks.

4. People were on the move during the pandemic — and still are: Huntsville, Alabama, became one of the winners of the pandemic migration boom. So was Cheyenne, Wyoming. People are moving back to New York City, too (but not to San Francisco). See other cities people moved to, moved from, and avoided.

5. CDC reportedly finds Delta variant spreads as easily as chickenpox: The Delta coronavirus variant also appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants, according to an internal document that The Post obtained and published. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to release more data later today on why the Delta variant was so concerning that it changed its mask guidance. More on the document, including how it recommends the federal government should talk about vaccinated people who get COVID-19.

6. Nearly 230 GOP lawmakers want to overturn Roe: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and hundreds of their Republican colleagues have signed on to a brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn its landmark decision on abortion rights. More on the news.

7. Ex-cardinal is charged with sexual abuse: Theodore McCarrick, a 91-year-old former archbishop of Washington who was defrocked in 2019, is accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy at a wedding in 1974. McCarrick’s lawyer said they looked forward to their day in court. McCarrick is the highest-ranking Catholic Church official to be charged in the US. What it means for the decades-long scandal that has rocked the church.


Former Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan.

Thomson Reuters

8. Remembering Sen. Carl Levin: Levin, the longest-serving senator in Michigan’s history, died Thursday in Detroit at 87. The Post described him as “an influential leader on national security” whose “intellect and integrity made him one of the most widely respected lawmakers of recent times.” More on his legacy.

9. Marvel star Scarlett Johansson sues Disney: Johansson argues in the suit that Disney violated her “Black Widow” contract — and lessened her box-office earnings — by simultaneously launching the latest Marvel film in theaters and via streaming. A Disney representative told Insider the filing was without merit. The legal fight could have major implications for the way studios handle streaming releases.

Sunisa Lee competes in the individual all-around at the Tokyo Olympics.

Sunisa Lee competing in the individual all-around at the Tokyo Olympics.

REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

10. All the moments you missed at the Olympics: Gymnast Sunisa “Suni” Lee extended Team USA’s streak of gold medals in the women’s all-around. Everything you need to know about the incredible 18-year-old, who is also the first Hmong American to compete in the games.

Top US swimmer alleges there’s doping in his sport: The American Ryan Murphy said he swam “in a race that’s probably not clean” following a loss to the Russian Evgeny Rylov in the men’s 200-meter backstroke. Murphy cautioned that he was not accusing Rylov of doping. But athletes have faced questions about Russian competitors, who were allowed to compete under the Russian Olympic Committee banner despite the country’s massive doping scandal.

Kicking and screaming: South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker screamed in surprise after setting a world record in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke. A touching moment with her teammate and two American swimmers soon followed.

No love for Tokyo’s brutal tennis conditions: The world No. 1 Novak Djokovic says these Olympics have the harshest playing conditions he’s faced in his 20-year career.

Mitt condition: Bullpen cars have always been a bit kooky. But baseball Olympians ride to the pitcher’s mound in an actual mitt. There’s even fake turf to make it look like the infield.

If you liked this, check out: WHERE ARE THEY NOW: 12 of America’s youngest Olympic stars

Today’s trivia question: Another Olympics-related question: Who was the first sitting US president to travel abroad for the games? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at [email protected]

That’s all for now. Enjoy the games and your weekend!