Complete article can be found in The Morning Dispatch.
- A key part of President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda is back in play after Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin announced Wednesday he will support a significantly pared back version of Build Back Better, which he is now calling the Inflation Reduction Act. According to a framework circulated last night, the package would devote $369 billion to energy security and climate change measures—and $64 billion toward shoring up the Affordable Care Act—while generating revenue by implementing a 15 percent corporate minimum tax, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, beefing up IRS enforcement, and eliminating the carried interest loophole. According to the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation, the framework—which would pass through the reconciliation process with only Democratic support, if it passes at all—would reduce the deficit by $300 billion over the next decade.
- The Senate voted 64-33 on Wednesday to advance a $79 billion package intended to jumpstart domestic computer chip manufacturing and boost the United States’ competitiveness with China. The legislation includes both $52.7 billion in subsidies and a 25 percent tax credit aimed at incentivizing manufacturers to develop and research semiconductors and chips in the U.S., and it authorizes—but does not fund—about $200 billion for scientific research, including $81 billion for the National Science Foundation. The legislation will now return to the House, where it is expected to pass.
- The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it will raise interest rates by a hefty 75 basis points for the second consecutive month, bringing the target range for the federal funds rate to between 2.25 and 2.5 percent. Although Powell said he believes it’s “necessary” for economic growth to slow in order to tame inflation, he told reporters he does not believe the United States is currently in a recession.
- CNN reported Wednesday the Biden administration offered in June to release imprisoned Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout—nicknamed the “Merchant of Death”—as part of a deal to secure the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan, both imprisoned in Russia. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to confirm details of the proposal yesterday but said he plans to speak with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov—their first conversation since Russia invaded Ukraine—and urge him to accept a U.S.-proposed deal.
- Axios reported Wednesday that White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk told a group of think tank experts last week it’s “highly unlikely” the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—or Iran nuclear deal—will be revived at any point in the near future, despite months of negotiations.
- Thousands of anti-Iran protesters stormed Iraq’s government center and parliament building in Baghdad on Wednesday, tearing down walls and occupying the parliament floor to express their opposition to Mohammed Sudani, a nominee to be Iraq’s next prime minister who is seen as close to Tehran. The protesters support Moqtada al-Sadr, a Shiite cleric who emerged victorious in last year’s elections but resigned—alongside his supporters in Parliament—after failing for months to form a government.
- A new FBI search warrant claims the man who allegedly attempted to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh last month was also planning to kill two other Supreme Court justices. The FBI alleges the man searched “assassin skills,” “most effective place to stab someone,” and “quietest semi auto rifle” online before he was arrested, and that he messaged unnamed users on Discord that he was going to “stop Roe v. Wade from being overturned” and that he would “remove some people from the Supreme Court.”
- Amid rising threats, the House sergeant-at-arms’ office will cover up to $10,000 in security equipment and services at the homes of all House members, according to a memo sent to lawmakers and staff this week.
- The Federal Trade Commission sued Meta (formerly Facebook) on Wednesday to block it from acquiring virtual reality company Within Unlimited, alleging the purchase would decrease consumer choice, innovation, and competition for labor. Meta announced its quarterly earnings on Wednesday, revealing the social media company’s revenue fell year-over-year for the first time in its history.
- Former Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday endorsed Rebecca Kleefisch—Wisconsin’s former lieutenant governor—in Wisconsin’s Republican gubernatorial primary, breaking yet again with former President Donald Trump, who is backing construction executive Tim Michels.
- A handful of former Democratic and Republican officials announced Wednesday they are forming a new national political party—Forward—that they believe will appeal to voters frustrated with the United States’ current two-party system. The centrist party will be chaired by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and former Republican New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, and plans to gain ballot access in all 50 states in time for the 2024 presidential and congressional elections.