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How Congress plans squeeze Russia even further
Plus: Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill reaches a final vote.
👋🏾 Hi, hey, hello! Good Monday morning and Happy National Cereal Day. 🥣 Today’s newsletter is shorter than usual as I was reporting another story most of yesterday evening. I plan to send another issue later today to premium subscribers with more updates. Know someone who would enjoy Supercreator? Forward today’s issue to them and invite them to sign up.
First Things First: Congress focuses this week on the crisis in UKR
The federal government runs out of money on Friday.
So the top priority in a short week for Congress will be to pass a comprehensive government funding bill, known in Washington as an “omnibus,” to keep the government open through the end of September.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi last night wrote in a letter to House Democrats that Congress will attach the White House’s request for $10 billion in additional humanitarian, military and economic support for Ukraine to the comprehensive government funding bill it intends to pass before the end of the week.
Lawmakers will also work to secure extra air support for the Ukrainian armed forces at the request of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“As President Biden has made crystal clear, American troops will not go to war in Ukraine,” Pelosi wrote. “But our nation can provide military equipment and support our allies who are supplying airplanes to Ukraine.”
Pelosi also said Congress would focus on resettling the now 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees who have fled the country.
The White House has repeatedly said that most Ukrainians prefer to relocate to neighboring European countries and that it would help facilitate a safe and smooth transition for the refugees.
Administration officials also said the US will accept refugees as well, though few specifics have been disclosed at this point.
A few additional items Congress will consider this week as it relates to the crisis in Ukraine:
The House is exploring a bill to ban Russian oil imports from the global economy. The White House has been slow to the take on this issue due to sensitivities around climbing gas prices. But enough Democratic and Republican lawmakers support the ban that the train has left the station and it’s only a matter of time before the administration makes an announcement endorsing the action.
Congress will also look to deny Russia access to the World Trade Organization. The WTO regulates and facilitates international trade between nations.
Pelosi wrote the House would also empower the Biden administration to raise tariffs on Russian imports. This would give the White House another way to further squeeze President Vladimir Putin’s already-weakened economy.
“Let me be clear: the United States need not choose between our democratic values and our economic interests,” Pelosi wrote. “The administration and the Congress remain laser-focused on bringing down the higher energy costs for American families and our partners stemming from Putin’s invasion.”
FL Senate to vote on “Don’t Say Gay”
The Florida Senate will take up the “Don’t Say Gay” today. And if it passes, which is expected, then it will arrive at Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s desk days after the Florida legislature passed a restrictive 15-week abortion ban.
As I reported a month ago, the bill would ban certain discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom.
The enduring thesis of this newsletter is that politics is personal and public policy impacts who gets to create, how much value is placed on that creativity and who ultimately owns the value.
And these laws are such a questionable use of taxpayer dollars and parental energy. It’s such a shame. I’m thinking of all the LGBTQ kids who were told that it gets better while watching elected officials make their lives harder.
Here’s Kate McKinnon on SNL’s “Weekend Update” sharing her thoughts on the legislation:
— See also: “Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill means stigma and risk for LGBTQ students” [Elizabeth Djinis / Teen Vogue]
TODAY IN POLITICS
— President Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing this morning.
Biden’s week ahead:
Tue Mar 8: The president will travel to Fort Worth to speak with veterans, caregivers and survivors about addressing the health effects of environmental exposures. He’ll also receive a briefing on health care for veterans and speak on expanding care and benefits for veterans.
Wed Mar 9: Biden will meet business leaders to discuss the competitiveness legislation currently working its way through Congress. He will speak at the Democratic Senators Issues Conference at Howard University.
Thu Mar 10: The president will welcome President Iván Duque Márquez of Colombia to the White House. He will also speak to National Democratic Committee members at their winter meeting.
Fri Mar 11: Biden will travel to Philadelphia to speak at the House Democratic Caucus retreat.
— Vice President Harris this morning will speak on the American Rescue Plan and bipartisan infrastructure deal’s investments in clean transit, school buses and trucks, and clean air. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and Federal Transit Administration Administrator Nuria Fernandez will also speak.
— First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Phoenix to discuss the administration’s policy priorities on job training and cancer research. The first lady will be joined by Acting Assistant Labor Secretary Angela Hanks.
— The House is in and will consider several bills related to homeland security.
— The Senate is in and will continue work on legislation to overhaul US Postal Service.
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