Biden's sway faces fresh challenges: The Note

The TAKE with Rick Klein

A trip designed to showcase the power and influence of President Joe Biden on the world stage has become crowded with questions about his sway — both at home and abroad.

The president’s G-7 meetings will bring him into contact with world leaders who are signaling a more skeptical stance than British Prime Minister Boris Johnson when it comes to Biden’s ability to deliver on his promises and foster global growth.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden poses for a picture during a meeting ahead of the G7 summit at Carbis Bay, Cornwall, June 10, 2021.

And now, news of a bipartisan deal on infrastructure — reached by five Democratic senators and five Republicans — will test Biden’s sway on his top domestic priority. Five Republicans, of course, is not 10 Republicans — and getting to that number could cost votes in Biden’s own party.

Progressives who have been surprisingly quiet through much of Biden’s first four-plus months in office are making new noises about what works for them. They’re targeting climate change and tax reform as areas that need to be addressed, with not-so-subtle suggestions about where their votes might land if they aren’t.

Meanwhile, inflation concerns underscore skepticism about the state of the economic rebound. And internal Democratic politics are again roiling House Democrats, with Rep. Ilhan Omar’s latest comments on Israel drawing rare rebukes from inside her own party.

Biden’s “America is back” message is a counter to former President Donald Trump’s “America first” doctrine, and one intended to resonate at home and with U.S. allies overseas.

Yet, the president now confronts inflection points in dealing with his own party and with both friends and adversaries he is set to meet. Biden’s broad visions are coming up against some harsh realities.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

Attorney General Merrick Garland is slated to give remarks on voting rights Friday and how the Department of Justice is working to ensure all Americans have access to the ballot box.

The speech comes just two days after Garland made an appeal in congressional testimony for increased funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ to hire more attorneys, citing allegations of voter suppression.

PHOTO: Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies on Capitol Hill, June 9, 2021.

“We are reviewing, as you would expect, allegations that come in with respect to voting,” said Garland. “Voting is a fundamental element of our democracy. In fact, without it, without the right to vote, none of the other rights follow.”

During that testimony, Garland reminded senators that protecting the rights of newly freed Blacks during Reconstruction was one of the department’s initial mandates and protecting voting access in the 1960s became the crux of that mission.

Garland’s speech Friday comes as Republican-led efforts to restrict voting access continue in states around the country and while federal legislation aimed at tamping down on the effects of those efforts remain stalled in the Senate.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

The nation’s latest Republican-backed proposal to revise election practices emerged in Pennsylvania on Thursday, as state Rep. Seth Grove introduced House Bill 1300. The legislation seeks to tighten voter ID requirements, eliminate the state’s permanent mail voting list and move up the deadline for requesting mail ballots by a week, among several other provisions.

The move comes a week after Grove, who serves as the chair of the House State Government Committee, pushed back on calls from some of his state’s strongest Trump supporters for a statewide review of the 2020 election, like that of the “audit” in Arizona. “The PA House of Representatives will not be authorizing any further audits on any previous election. We are focused on fixing our broken election law to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Grove tweeted at the time.

PHOTO: Voters get ballots at Borough Hall in West Chester, Pa., May 18, 2021.

Unlike Georgia and Texas — where Republicans recently advanced bills to overhaul voting logistics — the political maneuvering surrounding HB 1300 is further complicated in Pennsylvania by the state’s Democrat governor, Tom Wolf, who would ultimately have to support the bill to sign it into law.

That outcome doesn’t seem likely — at a press conference Wednesday, Wolf said he would “veto any legislative efforts to roll back” access to the ballot box. “I will stand up for your freedom to vote, and I will not allow bad actors to put up barriers to voting in Pennsylvania,” Wolf said.


ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. Friday morning’s episode features ABC News Senior Foreign correspondent Ian Pannell, who tells us what European leaders expect out of President Biden as the G7 summit gets underway. ABC News’ Elizabeth Schulze explains why rising inflation could be a good sign for the economy. And former OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Jordan Barab has more on new Department of Labor rules for COVID safety in the workplace.


Download the ABC News app and select “The Note” as an item of interest to receive the day’s sharpest political analysis.

The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top stories in politics. Please check back Monday for the latest.

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