President Biden is scheduled on Friday to have another discussion with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, about his push for $1 trillion in spending on roads, bridges, broadband and more as he tries to seize on a positive monthly jobs report.
Ms. Capito is the lead negotiator for a group of Republican senators seeking a compromise with the president on the infrastructure spending package.
The two sides have narrowed what started as an almost $2 trillion gap, with Mr. Biden dropping some of his demands in the hopes of securing bipartisan agreement on at least part of his economic agenda. Republicans have indicated a willingness to slightly increase total spending.
Mr. Biden was tight-lipped after a speech in Delaware on Friday morning, saying only, “I’ll let you know this afternoon,” in response to a question about whether he expected Ms. Capito to deliver a Republican counteroffer.
Compromise has been elusive so far, with Mr. Biden rejecting Republican counterproposals that included far less spending and no tax increases on corporations and the wealthy. On Wednesday, in a meeting in the Oval Office with Ms. Capito, Mr. Biden again pushed for more spending, but he also suggested establishing a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations as opposed to increasing top-end rates.
The question of how to pay for trillions of dollars in new spending — and whether that spending is necessary to create millions of new jobs in the years to come — is certain to be on the agenda during Mr. Biden’s conversation with Ms. Capito on Friday.
The Labor Department’s report that the economy added 559,000 jobs in May, an acceleration from April, buoyed Democrats and the Biden administration on Friday, adding new fuel to the president’s claims that vaccinations and his economic program are beginning to get the economy back on track after a halting recovery from pandemic recession.
“This is historic progress,” Mr. Biden said in remarks from Rehoboth Beach, Del. “Progress that’s pulling our economy out of the worst crisis it’s been in in 100 years.”
He went on to claim credit for that progress, both from his administration’s campaign to ramp up America’s vaccine production and distribution and from the $1.9 trillion economic aid legislation he signed into law in March.
“None of this success is an accident, it isn’t,” Mr. Biden said, hailing “the cooperation, the American people in responding to my effort to get covered under control, wearing masks conditioning and getting vaccinated. And it’s no small part of the bold action we took by passing the American rescue plan.”
But the report, which fell short of analyst expectations for the second straight month and showed a slight shrinkage in the labor force, also provided fodder for Republican critics of the president. They say enhanced unemployment benefits — which were extended by Mr. Biden’s aid legislation in March — are discouraging workers from returning to jobs and holding back what could be an even faster recovery.
“Long-term unemployment is higher than when the pandemic started, and labor force participation mirrors the stagnant 1970s,” Representative Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, said in a news release. “It’s time for President Biden to abandon his attack on American jobs, his tax increases, his anti-growth regulations and his obsession with more emergency spending and endless government checks.”
After the April report fell substantially short of expectations, Republican governors across the country moved to prematurely end the $300-per-week supplemental unemployment benefits that began under President Donald J. Trump and are scheduled to continue through September under Mr. Biden’s aid package.
Mr. Biden said Friday those benefits had helped Americans weather the crisis but noted they expire in 90 days. “That makes sense,” he said, “it expires in 90 days.”
White House economists said last month there was not yet evidence in the numbers that the supplement was discouraging work, pointing instead to constraints like school closures and child care issues keeping women with children from returning to work, along with a large number of working-age Americans who had not been fully vaccinated. Administration economists doubled down on that reading on Friday.
“It is too soon to conclude that labor supply issues are holding back the long-term path of the recovery,” the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Cecilia Rouse, wrote in a blog post on Friday morning.
Democratic leaders in Congress continued to push for the unemployment benefits to continue as scheduled, and for lawmakers to move to enact the rest of Mr. Biden’s $4 trillion economic agenda.
“The American people need all the support they can get, especially Black and Hispanic communities that were among the hardest hit by the pandemic,” Representative Don Beyer of Virginia, the chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, said in a news release. “Lawmakers must step up. That includes continuing enhanced UI to support workers seeking jobs and Congress passing President Biden’s Jobs and Families Plans.”
Finance ministers from the Group of 7 nations started two days of high-stakes meetings in London on Friday, seeking to keep the global economic recovery on course and to make progress in a long-sought overhaul of the international tax system.
The summit is the first in-person gathering of top officials from the world’s advanced economies since the pandemic emerged in early 2020 and turned such events into virtual affairs. As they huddle at London’s Lancaster House, officials are expected to discuss how much additional fiscal support their countries require, how to help developing countries gain access to vaccine supplies and ways to collaborate more effectively to combat climate change.
For Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, who is making her first international trip as President Biden’s top economic diplomat, a key priority will be gathering support behind a broad agreement that aims to put an end to global tax havens in hopes of finalizing a deal by July.
The talks began with additional urgency as Mr. Biden continues to try to raise taxes on American corporations, including those that are profitable but report no federal income tax liability. Business groups and Republicans have complained that raising taxes in the United States will put American companies at a global disadvantage and provide an incentive for firms to move overseas.
The Biden administration is pushing for a global minimum tax to try to prevent that from happening. The United States has expressed support for a global tax of at least 15 percent and offered a separate proposal that would put an additional levy on the world’s largest 100 companies that would be paid to countries based on where goods or services are sold. The Biden administration hopes that such a pact would curb offshoring and stop the spread of digital services taxes in Europe that it believes are unfairly targeting American technology companies.
The G7 countries include Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.
The meetings with be the first test of Ms. Yellen’s deal making ability as Treasury secretary. She met on Thursday evening with Rishi Sunak, Britain’s chancellor of the Exchequer, who has yet to publicly back the U.S. proposals. Ms. Yellen said on Twitter that it was a “great conversation” about shared priorities.
Ms. Yellen is scheduled to meet with the rest of her G7 counterparts along with Paschal Donohue, the Irish finance minister who is attending in his capacity as Eurogroup president. Ireland, which has a tax rate of just 12.5 percent and is not part of the G7, has expressed its opposition to the global minimum tax proposals.
A Treasury official said this week that the meetings could conclude without resolution over critical details such as a minimum tax rate. The United States hopes that the talks will yield momentum going into the Group of 20 meeting that will be held next month in Italy, the official said.
The top economic officials from Spain, Italy, France and Germany expressed optimism on Friday morning that the tax negotiations, which have been going on for several years, are on track. In an essay published in The Guardian newspaper, they suggested that the new negotiating approach from the Biden administration was more constructive than the tactics of the Trump administration, which walked away from the bargaining table last year.
“With the new Biden administration, there is no longer the threat of a veto hanging over this new system,” they wrote, adding that they thought a global tax agreement could be done by July. “It is within our reach.”
President Donald J. Trump’s former White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, began testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday about whether Mr. Trump obstructed the Russia investigation, bringing to a close a long legal and political battle.
The fact that Mr. McGahn is talking to Congress at all is significant after a multiyear legal battle by the Trump Justice Department to block a subpoena for his testimony. That dispute ended last month when the Biden Justice Department, House Democrats and a lawyer for Mr. McGahn reached a compromise.
“We worked a long time to ensure that the Congress has a right of oversight, and has the respect and responsibility to secure from the executive information that is needed for the Congress to do its job,” Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas, told reporters outside the hearing room.
Under that deal, Mr. McGahn’s appearance may yield little in terms of new revelations. He testified behind closed doors and will have up to a week to review a transcript for accuracy before it is made public. He also may be questioned only about his involvement in matters that are described in the publicly available portions of the report by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
Still, Mr. McGahn is likely to be asked to respond under oath to Mr. Trump’s public denial of events that were described in the report based in part on what Mr. McGahn told Mr. Mueller’s investigators, including that Mr. Trump had ordered him to have Mr. Mueller fired — a step Mr. McGahn said he refused to take.
Ms. Jackson Lee said that Mr. McGahn’s testimony would be important in helping the House understand “more deeply how invested in undermining national security was Donald Trump.”
Congress is out of session this week, and members must be physically present to participate, so the full committee is not expected to attend. While those who did have the right to ask questions, Mr. McGahn was questioned primarily by committee staffers. He was accompanied by his lawyer, William A. Burck.
Allen West, a transplanted one-term Florida congressman and right-wing provocateur, announced his resignation on Friday as chairman of the Texas Republican Party, possibly as a precursor to running for statewide office, party officials said.
Mr. West, a former Army officer who was forced to retire after firing a handgun near the head of a prisoner in Iraq, planned to make a statement at a news conference on Friday morning in Whitehouse, Texas, outside Dallas.
He served in the job for less than a year.
In that short time, Mr. West — a Fox News fixture who attended an event in Dallas last month at which Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Donald J. Trump, suggested the United States could witness a military coup — has earned a reputation for taking on Democrats and Republicans with equal aplomb.
His spats with the state’s governor, Greg Abbott, over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick over gun legislation have led to speculation that he will mount a Trumpian challenge to one of them in the Republican primaries next March.
Texas, a bedrock red state rapidly becoming a battleground, is the site of an intraparty fight between the conservative establishment and media-savvy firebrands like Mr. West, who think Mr. Abbott and Mr. Patrick are not going far enough to the right.
On Friday, Mr. West, 60, told a conservative Texas radio station that he was considering a challenge to Mr. Abbott but was praying on the matter before making up his mind, according to The Dallas Morning News.
A spokesman for the governor’s campaign said that Mr. Abbott, who was elected comfortably in 2014 and 2018, was well positioned to win a third term no matter who ran against him. Don Huffines, a Republican former state senator from Dallas, has already said that he will challenge Mr. Abbott.
“It is now clear that @AllenWest’s entire tenure as @TexasGOP chair was intended to do only what many suspected: Provide him a platform for his political future, not an opportunity to build the party,” wrote Matt Mackowiak, a veteran Republican operative who leads the Republican Party in Travis County, home to Austin. “What is he running for?”
Mr. West, who will remain at the party’s helm until his successor is chosen next month, wrote that it had been “a distinct honor to serve as Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas,” posting a brief statement on the state party website to announce the end of his tenure.
The White House warned American businesses on Thursday to take urgent measures to protect against ransomware attacks as hackers shifted their focus from stealing data to disrupting critical infrastructure.
The bluntly worded open letter followed a string of escalating ransomware attacks that stopped gasoline and jet fuel from flowing up the East Coast and closed off beef and pork production from one of the country’s leading food suppliers.
Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technologies, wrote that the Biden administration was working with partners “to disrupt and deter” attacks that deployed ransomware, a form of malware that encrypts data until the victim pays.
But she urged companies to adopt many of the same defensive steps that the administration has recently required of federal agencies and companies that do business with the government.
The message reflected a rush effort to construct the kind of defensive infrastructure that has been broadly discussed for years but that companies have been slow to adopt, because the threat seemed distant or the cost far too high.
The recent attacks have propelled ransomware to the top of President Biden’s national security agenda. It is expected to be part of his discussions next week in Europe, during meetings with allies and in his summit with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. The administration accuses Russia of both launching cyberattacks against the United States and harboring ransomware hackers.
Facebook said on Friday that former President Donald J. Trump’s suspension from the service would last at least two years, putting a timeline on its ban for the first time since it cut him off in January.
The company said Mr. Trump would be eligible for reinstatement in January 2023, when it would look to experts to decide “whether the risk to public safety has receded.” Facebook barred him from the service after comments he made about the Capitol riot.
“Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension,” Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs at Facebook, wrote in a company blog post, “we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols.”
If reinstated, Mr. Trump would be subject to a set of “rapidly escalating sanctions” if he committed further violations, up to and including the permanent suspension of his account.
The move was part of a series of actions by Facebook intended to curb its use as an unmediated platform for politicians and national leaders to assert falsehoods or make statements that would be blocked if they were regular citizens.
Facebook also will no longer keep posts by politicians up by default if their speech breaks its rules prohibiting harassment, discrimination or other harmful speech, two people with knowledge of the company’s plans said.
That change is a retreat from a policy introduced less than two years ago, when the company said speech from politicians was newsworthy and should not be policed.
Under the new policy, politicians’ posts will no longer be presumed newsworthy, according to the people with knowledge of the plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. But if Facebook decides a post does meet that bar, it can be exempt from removal under a standard the company has used since at least 2016. Starting on Friday, Facebook will disclose when it has applied the newsworthiness clause to rule-breaking posts.
Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, declined to comment. The Verge reported earlier on the change.
Facebook’s leaders have previously pledged not to interfere with political speech. But lawmakers, civil rights activists and even Facebook employees have criticized that stance, especially after Mr. Trump used social media to rally the crowd that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
A day after the riot, Facebook said it would block Mr. Trump because the risks of allowing him to use the platform were too great. Since then, Mr. Trump’s allies have accused Facebook of censorship and said it had too much power over who could say what online.
American intelligence officials have found no evidence that aerial phenomena witnessed by Navy pilots in recent years are alien spacecraft, but they still cannot explain the unusual movements, according to senior administration officials briefed on the findings of a highly anticipated government report.
The report determined that the vast majority of more than 120 incidents over the past two decades did not originate from any American military or other advanced U.S. government technology, the officials said. That would appear to eliminate the possibility that the Navy pilots had encountered programs the government meant to keep secret.
But that is about the only firm conclusion in the classified intelligence report, the officials said. (An unclassified version is expected to be released to Congress by June 25.) Senior officials briefed on the intelligence conceded that the ambiguity of the findings meant the government could not definitively rule out theories that the phenomena might be alien spacecraft.
Americans’ long-running fascination with U.F.O.s has intensified in recent weeks in anticipation of the report. Former President Barack Obama further stoked the interest when he was asked about the incidents last month on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” on CBS.
“What is true, and I’m actually being serious here,” Mr. Obama said, “is that there is footage and records of objects in the skies that we don’t know exactly what they are.”
Intelligence officials believe at least some of the aerial phenomena could be experimental technology from a rival power, most likely Russia or China.
One senior official briefed on the intelligence said without hesitation that U.S. officials knew it was not American technology. He said there was worry among intelligence and military officials that China or Russia could be experimenting with hypersonic technology.
Defense lawyers for a man accused of orchestrating the U.S.S. Cole bombing asked a court on Thursday to reverse a military judge’s decision to consider information obtained during the man’s torture by C.I.A. interrogators to support an argument in pretrial proceedings at Guantánamo Bay.
The judge, Col. Lanny J. Acosta Jr. of the Army, had ruled on May 18 that prosecutors could invoke such information narrowly, not necessarily for the truth of it, before a jury begins hearing a case. Judge Acosta is presiding in the death penalty case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi prisoner awaiting trial at Guantánamo.
Defense lawyers cast the decision as the first time that a military judge at the war court was publicly known to have agreed to consider information obtained through the C.I.A. torture of a prisoner.
“No court has ever sanctioned the use of torture in this way,” the lawyers wrote in a 20-page filing that asked a Pentagon panel, the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review, to intervene.
Former Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday described systemic racism as a “left-wing myth” during a speech hosted by a Republican group in New Hampshire, adopting the racial politics of his former boss, President Donald J. Trump.
But Mr. Pence, a potential candidate for a 2024 presidential run, also distanced himself from the former president, describing the Jan. 6 attack as “a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol.”
“President Trump and I’ve spoken many times since we left office,” Mr. Pence said. “I don’t know if we’ll ever see eye-to-eye on that day.”
The speech illustrated the careful balance Mr. Pence is aiming to strike in squaring the rhetoric of the Republican Party under Mr. Trump while standing by his opposition to Mr. Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
After focusing much of his speech on touting the achievements of the Trump administration, Mr. Pence took aim at “critical race theory,” a graduate school framework that has found its way into K-12 public education, asserting that young children are being taught “to be ashamed of their skin color.”
“It is past time for America to discard the left-wing myth of systemic racism,” Mr. Pence said at the annual Lincoln Reagan Dinner hosted by the Hillsborough County Republicans in Manchester, N.H.
“America is not a racist country,” Mr. Pence said to raucous applause, two days after President Biden commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre.
Republicans have launched an energetic campaign in recent months aiming to dictate how historical and modern racism in America is taught in schools, and Mr. Pence indicated his support of efforts to ban critical race theory through legislation advanced in Republican-led states. Mr. Pence had previously targeted critical race theory in tweets and in his first speech in April after leaving office.
Mr. Pence’s appeal to racial politics went beyond education. Discussing efforts to defund law enforcement agencies, the former vice president said “Black lives are not endangered by police, Black lives are saved by police,” co-opting the language of Black Lives Matter — a movement he had shunned in office.
The Justice Department is investigating the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, over possible violations of campaign finance laws while he was running a company and building a reputation as a top Republican donor, his spokesman said on Thursday.
The investigation focuses on campaign contributions made by people employed by New Breed Logistics, the company in North Carolina that Mr. DeJoy led from 1983 to 2014, before he was appointed postmaster general a little over a year ago during the administration of President Donald J. Trump. Mr. DeJoy was a leading donor to Mr. Trump in the 2016 campaign.
“Mr. DeJoy has learned that the Department of Justice is investigating campaign contributions made by employees who worked for him when he was in the private sector,” said the spokesman, Mark Corallo.
“He has always been scrupulous in his adherence to the campaign contribution laws and has never knowingly violated them,” Mr. Corallo said. He added that Mr. DeJoy was cooperating with the inquiry.
Mr. DeJoy has received a grand-jury subpoena for information connected to the investigation, according to a person familiar with the inquiry who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose details related to the grand jury.
Spokesmen for the Postal Service, the Justice Department and the F.B.I. declined to comment.
The Washington Post, which reported the existence of the federal investigation into Mr. DeJoy on Thursday, reported last year that some New Breed Logistics employees believed that Mr. DeJoy and others close to him had pressured them to contribute to Republican candidates.
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