Progressives up pressure as Biden sells his bill: The Note

The TAKE with Rick Klein

If President Joe Biden just signed a bill that constitutes a progressive wish list, that hasn’t stopped progressives from continuing to wish — and sometimes out loud.

Biden begins his campaign touting the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, where he is slated to highlight the bill’s impact on families and small businesses and sit down for an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

But even before the money from that massive bill starts meaningfully flowing, pressures are growing around what a next package could include. Infrastructure funding is a top next priority, and the would-be agenda is getting crowded, with bills in the offing on gun control, immigration reform, voting rights, a wealth tax, the minimum wage and policing reforms, to cite just a few.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks from the State Dining Room following the passage of the American Rescue Plan in the U.S. Senate at the White House on March 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

Mindful of his left, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the president to use executive authorities to cancel up to $50,000 in student loans, arguing that passing the COVID package “sets the stage for President Biden to deliver.”

“Getting this done is the most important thing, and the president can do it with a flick of a pen,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor, knowing that Biden has said publicly he doesn’t have the kind of leeway Schumer claims he does.

Biden has long been viewed suspiciously by some progressives, despite GOP attempts to brand him as a tool of the far left.

The Democratic Party has united behind the president so far, but there’s some directional nudging coming into view. Biden is being reminded both of campaign promises and the promise many of his supporters saw in his campaign.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

The White House has been reluctant to use the term “crisis” to describe the surge of unaccompanied migrant children at the U.S. border with Mexico.

“We recognize this as a problem. We’re focused on addressing it,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki Monday.

Advocates told ABC News the children are scared, as they’re unable to contact family and some have gone days without seeing sunlight.

Despite their rhetorical avoidance, the Biden administration has seemingly recognized the severity of the issue, tapping the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist.

PHOTO: Migrants walk to a gate in the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents to request for asylum in El Paso, Texas, U.S., as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico March 14, 2021.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are now addressing the issue. Speaking with reporters Sunday at the Capitol, Rep. Nancy Pelosi called the issue a “humanitarian crisis” and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy went a step further, labeling it the “Biden Border Crisis.”

The Biden administration has pointed the finger at Trump-era policies, but more than 50 days into his tenure, the problem is Biden’s to fix. How the administration handles the crisis will speak directly to the president’s ability to fulfill his campaign promise of a more humane immigration system.

The TIP with Meg Cunningham

Democrats in California are taking matters into their own hands as they push back against efforts to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Those affiliated with the “Stop the Republican Recall,” which is primarily funded by the California Democratic Party, launched a digital defense on Monday, employing national names like Stacey Abrams, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Alex Padilla across the internet to begin a fundraising push to “help” Newsom “defeat the Republican recall attempt.”

PHOTO: FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2021, file photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference on the campus of the California State University of Los Angeles in Los Angeles.

The pushback comes after recall organizers claimed they had surpassed 2,060,000 signatures supporting the ballot petition — more than the nearly 1.5 million valid signatures they need to make it to a ballot. While it is unlikely all of those signatures will be verified, the success rate so far is good news for organizers. Still, they told ABC News on Monday they will continue to collect signatures until their deadline on Wednesday evening.

Though the organizers are pursuing a nonpartisan path in their formal recall efforts, they’ve amassed support from Republicans across the country, meanwhile, the Democratic defense has highlighted the GOP’s support from the conspiracy theory group QAnon and the party’s ties to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. The best thing for California, Democrats argue, is keeping Newsom in office as the state continues to fight against the widespread ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic.


ABC News’ “Start Here” podcast. Tuesday morning’s episode features ABC News Chief White House correspondent Cecilia Vega, who joins us from Texas where the government is scrambling to find new places to house unaccompanied minors who attempt to cross the southern border. ABC News’ James Longman explains why Europe is pushing pause on the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. And The Undefeated’s Senior Entertainment Reporter Kelley Carter breaks down this year’s Academy Award nominees.

ABC News’ “In Plain Sight” podcast. Network television comes calling for Lady Bird, as the president of ABC News convinces a reluctant first lady to host a documentary about her beautification work in DC. Lady Bird decides to use the opportunity to launch a full PR blitz to take her message to America. She’s on her way to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to talk to a group of privileged conservationists about the need to bring access to nature to the inner city, when Lyndon has another health scare. Though it’s not a heart attack, he’ll still need surgery. Recovering in the hospital, Lyndon is once again gripped by crippling anxiety and depression — and this time it threatens his presidency.

ABC News’ “Soul of a Nation” series. The six-episode, primetime series presents viewers with a unique window into authentic realities of Black life and dives deeper into this critical moment of racial reckoning. This week on Soul of a Nation Nick Cannon speaks out exclusively to Linsey Davis since he and his show were “canceled” after anti-Semitic comments and conspiracy theories he’d made. He talks frankly about his journey and she challenges him on anti-Semitism in the Black community as we explore the historical and sometimes fractured relations between Black and Jewish communities. “Soul of a Nation” airs Tuesday nights in March on ABC. Episodes can also be viewed the next day on demand and on Hulu.


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The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

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