COVID is still here and as contagious as ever
Two leading Senate Dems test positive and throw an already tight legislative in flux. Plus: Updates on Biden’s upcoming Middle East trip and the administration’s post-Roe response.
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Welcome back to Supercreator, my twice-weekly newsletter covering the politicians, power brokers and policies shaping how online creators and their supporters work and live in the new economy.
Congress is back after a two-week break — the Senate today, the House tomorrow — with a jam-packed legislative agenda that Democrats hope will notch a few wins they can campaign on ahead of the November midterm elections.
At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, President Joe Biden is preparing to travel to the Middle East this week for a high-stakes visit with leaders in the region. He’ll attempt to advance a message of unity while sidestepping several political land mines, chief among them appearing too chummy with Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince. The latter, according to US intelligence, ordered the 2018 assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. There’s more on this below.
And for those of you in the Hive counting down, we’re 18 days away from Renaissance, Beyoncé’s seventh studio album that promises listeners “a place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking” and “a place to scream, release and feel freedom” and “feel as unique, strong and sexy as you are.” I’m here for it.
Before we get into the news, I’d like to invite you to send me any questions you have about national politics, public policy, pop culture or my reporting process. Congress will be on a monthlong recess in August, which will hopefully lead to some slower news days (fingers crossed!) and opportunities to deepen your understanding of the issues dominating the public discourse (abortion care, inflation, public safety, housing and immigration).
You can leave your question in the comments section of this post, reply to this email (or send it to email@example.com) or DM me on Twitter @bymichaeljones. I hope to make reader Q&As a staple of the newsletter going forward and welcome your participation.
Supercreator Spotlight: COVID-19
As President Biden went through his introductory thank-yous at a White House ceremony to commemorate the gun safety bill he signed last month in the wake of two mass shootings, he acknowledged two key absences: Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
Schumer’s office disclosed he tested positive for COVID-19 last night and would work from home this week. Blumenthal tweeted he tested positive this morning and too would remotely handle his duties.