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Democrats need to be united to pass $3.5 trillion budget plan

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

What are the details of the Democrats' proposed $3.5 trillion budget blueprint?

Well, the Democrats this week in the Senate Budget Committee agreed to move forward with the plan to spend $3.5 trillion spread out over about 10 years on a huge portion of President Biden's Build Back Better Plan. This comes on top of a bipartisan agreement, at least in principle, on another $600 billion in physical infrastructure, which is roads, bridges, tunnels, repair, broadband deployment and a whole bunch of other physical infrastructure spending that Republicans and Democrats agree they want to do but aren't clear on how they want to pay for. But on the $3.5 trillion in spending, this is a lot of new social services, it's extending a number of tax subsidies that are going to low-income families and families with kids as part of the American Rescue Plan, which was the Biden stimulus bill that passed earlier in the year. It also includes money for two years of community college, universal preschool, and expands Medicare to cover things like dental benefits and other things that Medicare currently doesn't pay for.

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January 6 committee partisan battle; SCOTUS rules on election reform

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is forming a January 6th committee to investigate the Capitol insurrection. What do you expect to come from it?

Well, the committee is allowed to perform with the input from minority Republicans, but the Republicans are basically refusing to participate. Which means that most committee members, with the exception of probably Liz Cheney, the Trump critical member of Congress from Wyoming and daughter of the former vice president, are going to be Democrats. And the Democrats are going to probably go into this with an earnest desire to look at what happened on January 6th, who instigated the riot, why it happened, why the signs were missed at the Capitol by the Capitol police and others. What's likely going to come out of this is a lot of partisan messaging, trying to link the Republican party to the insurgence that stormed the Capitol on January 6th. That will help to harden views around January 6th and lead to more ongoing partisan battling in the advance of the 2022 midterm elections. So, expect a lot of heat, but not a lot of light to come out of this investigation. It'll probably be dismissed by Republican critics, even if its findings were to be sound.

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Joe Biden's presidency: biggest surprises, successes and mistakes so far

What surprised Jane Harman, former US Congresswoman (D-CA), most about Joe Biden's presidency? "Number one, he's much more hands-on as a leader than I fully understood. It's coming out now how he runs his meetings and what he does. But number two, and I love this, he's really enjoying the job." Harman, a nine-term member of Congress who served for decades on the major security committees in the House of Representatives, notes that Biden's stint as Vice President was no guarantee of how he would perform. "I think sitting behind that desk, and having the buck stop with him is very different. And I think he fills out the job very well."

In an interview with Ian Bremmer, Harman says Biden has a dimension that none of his four predecessors had, because of his experience in Congress and in foreign policy. She also shares her perspective on Biden's biggest successes as well as some mistakes he's made.

US national security depends on domestic progress

Jane Harman, a nine-term member of Congress (D-CA) who served for decades on the major security committees in the House of Representatives, discusses the shortcomings of the US national security strategy for the last few decades, and assesses the Biden administration's plans to strengthen it. In an interview with Ian Bremmer, she discusses the priorities for addressing critical issues at home and abroad, from the COVID pandemic to the climate crisis and terrorism. But without a unified and functional Congress, Harman warns, the US is ineffective on matters of security. "Where is Congress? Congress can't get things done because of toxic partisanship, but the other reason it can't get anything done is members don't want to own the consequences. And that is chicken."

Harman, author of the new book, "Insanity Defense: Why Our Failure to Confront Hard National Security Problems Make Us Less Safe," discusses Joe Biden's presidency so far and gives him high marks on assembling an "A-team" for foreign policy. She adds, 'I'm just hopeful that because he has long term relationships and really a good compass for how to talk to members of Congress, he will be able to get somewhere."

Podcast: US national security depends on domestic progress: Jane Harman explains

Listen: Jane Harman, a nine-term member of Congress (D-CA) who served for decades on the major security committees in the House of Representatives, discusses the shortcomings of the US national security strategy for the last few decades, and assesses the Biden administration's plans to strengthen it. In an interview with Ian Bremmer, she discusses the priorities for addressing critical issues at home and abroad, from the COVID pandemic to the climate crisis and terrorism. But without a unified and functional Congress, Harman warns, the US is ineffective on matters of security. "Where is Congress? Congress can't get things done because of toxic partisanship, but the other reason it can't get anything done is members don't want to own the consequences. And that is chicken."

Harman, author of the new book, "Insanity Defense: Why Our Failure to Confront Hard National Security Problems Make Us Less Safe," discusses Joe Biden's presidency so far and gives him high marks on assembling an "A-team" for foreign policy. She adds, 'I'm just hopeful that because he has long term relationships and really a good compass for how to talk to members of Congress, he will be able to get somewhere."

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

Affordable Care Act upheld by Supreme Court, and Republicans move on

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares updates on recent policy developments:

With the Supreme Court's recent decision, is the Affordable Care Act here to stay?

Yes, this was the Court's third ruling on the Affordable Care Act upholding its constitutionality. This challenge was brought by Republican attorneys general who argued that the repeal of the individual mandate tax undermined the court's previous justification for allowing the law to stand. They were unsuccessful, yet again. And the political salience of the Affordable Care Act has really diminished in the last several years, with Republicans moving on to fight other issues and the Court signaling very strongly they don't want to get involved in overturning this piece of legislation. The Affordable Care Act will be here at least until Congress wants to legislate on it again.

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Biden’s executive orders are “not enough,” says Jane Harman

Executive orders are "not enough" for a president trying to tackle America's most difficult problems, said Jane Harman, the former ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. "We can't have the government run by executive order… An executive order is the tool of choice in the last three presidencies because Congress has been so difficult, impotent, dysfunctional and doesn't do much." Harman made her comments as part of an interview with GZERO Media that was also sponsored by Microsoft, about the role of the government and companies in cyber-security.

"Beyond SolarWinds: Securing Cyberspace," a Global Stage live conversation on cyber challenges facing governments, companies, and citizens, was recorded on May 18, and was held in collaboration with the Munich Security Conference as part of their "Road to Munich" series. Sign up for alerts about more upcoming GZERO events.

Partisan wrangling likely to block January 6 commission in Congress

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

What is the status of the proposed January 6 commission to investigate the Capitol assault?

The January 6 commission was an idea originally from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who proposed a commission modeled after the very successful 9/11 commission, which looked at intelligence failures leading up to the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in Manhattan on September 11th, 2001. Pelosi wanted to form a bipartisan commission to look at the Capitol insurrection on January 6th. Why it happened, how it happened, what the security failures were that led to it happening, who's responsible, and how to prevent it from ever happening again? And initially, Republicans were fairly cold to this idea because Pelosi had proposed a commission that was stacked in favor of the Democrats, with more democratic members than Republicans. House Republican minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, empowered representative John Katko from New York to go ahead and negotiate the commission. And eventually he came up with a compromised proposal that would have been evenly balanced between Republicans and Democrats, had subpoena power, and been able to produce a report by the end of the year.

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