Simply after we thought it was now not attainable, DONALD TRUMP has topped himself once more — this time with a press release Wednesday celebrating Robert E. Lee, the Southern insurrectionist who fought to protect slavery. Trump lamented the “desecration” of Richmond, Va.’s “stunning” bronze statue of “genius” Lee, whom Trump imagines would have led America to a “whole and full victory in Afghanistan” if solely he’d been born 150 years later. Trump’s megaphone has been muffled by the lack of his Twitter account, and the media has largely tuned out the firehose of shock he points through electronic mail. Usually we’d ignore this one too. However lest anybody overlook, he’s the chief of the Republican Occasion and would possibly nicely run for president once more in 2024.

For a extra, um, substantive take a look at Republican politics, take a look at this piece by Eliana Johnson in POLITICO Journal right now. It seems the highly effective Koch community has turn out to be an unlikely ally of the Biden administration because it carries out the withdrawal from Afghanistan, botched because it was. The unlikely alignment, Eliana writes, “has implications for the way forward for American international coverage, including a shocking twist to an inner debate that has consumed the Republican Occasion for the reason that Bush administration’s bungled forays into Iraq and Afghanistan: Now, the credibility of the small however rising isolationist wing of the GOP, which gained floor when former president Donald Trump championed a few of its views, is inextricably tied to Biden’s capability to handle the fallout in Afghanistan.” Associated: “The Trump international coverage doctrine grows harder to outline,” by Meridith McGraw

THE DEMOCRATS’ TRILLION-DOLLAR QUESTION — They began off with a jaw-dropping $6 trillion price ticket, then lowered it to $3.5 trillion. Now, there’s reporting suggesting Sen. JOE MANCHIN desires the whole for Democrats’ reconciliation plan to drop as little as $1 trillion or $1.5 trillion (although some folks near him say his consolation zone might be nearer to $2 trillion).

So what precisely will Democrats’ topline quantity be?

Senate Majority Chief CHUCK SCHUMER and Speaker NANCY PELOSI are each continuing as if $3.5 trillion is the magic quantity, a minimum of for now. Then there’s Sen. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vt.), who says progressives have given sufficient floor already: “That $3.5 trillion is already the results of a serious, main compromise,”

However speak to senior Democratic congressional aides and also you get a extra realpolitik reply — one which’s nearer to Manchin than Sanders. Some predict the invoice will find yourself at about $2 trillion, which is considerably lower than even President JOE BIDEN desires.

If these aides are proper — and there’s purpose to assume they is likely to be, given how a lot leverage Manchin has — meaning an entire host of things on the celebration’s want record should be scaled again dramatically or dropped.

The posturing over the value tag is a reminder of how a lot work the celebration has to do because it seeks to craft their behemoth invoice by the top of September. The method will kick off in earnest right now because the Home Methods and Means and Training and Labor committees start marking up their proposals.

Already, there are tensions over the problems being voted on in committee right now. For instance, we’re informed the $762 billion envisioned for training — which incorporates greater than $450 billion for youngster care and common pre-Okay, and lots of of billions extra for varsity infrastructure and free neighborhood faculty — received’t probably make it to the White Home intact. (Our greater ed reporter Michael Stratford has extra on Training and Labor Chair BOBBY SCOTT’s invoice.) Likewise, a battle for restricted sources is driving the combat over which well being care proposals to incorporate, pitting the Home towards the Senate and White Home. (Learn Heather Caygle and Alice Miranda Ollstein right here for the most recent.)

After all, the greenback whole will likely be dictated by how a lot Democrats can generate with tax hikes and different income raisers — an enormous space of competition itself. Democrats might discover themselves with between $1 trillion and $2 trillion in income relying on how a lot they reduce the Trump tax cuts. They’ll additionally internet a big chunk of change from the prescription drug overhaul, although they’re sparring over particulars of that plan as nicely.

After that, the actual combat will start: Find out how to spend the cash. Pelosi acknowledged the approaching battles over restricted {dollars}: “The place would you narrow? Baby care? Household medical go away paid for? Common pre-Okay? House well being care?”

As two senior Democratic sources put it to us just lately, the extra Manchin talks, the higher. Proper now, most negotiations are happening between Home and Senate management and the White Home. However the actual veto energy lies with Manchin and Sen. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-Ariz.). So the extra they impart about what they’ll or received’t settle for, the higher, per these aides: It can power Democrats to come back to grips with actuality of getting too few {dollars} to do what they need — and begin having the robust conversations they’ve solely begun to broach.

Good Thursday morning, and thanks for studying Playbook. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, Tara Palmeri.

MANCHIN’S NEXT MISSION: Schumer has promised to convey up long-stalled voting rights laws when the Senate returns. The most recent iteration is a invoice {that a} small working group of Senate Democrats assembly all through the summer season has put collectively in an effort to draw all 50 members of the celebration’s caucus. (Right here’s the total backstory from our Congress staff.) In keeping with a congressional supply aware of the trouble, with that work now carried out, Manchin, a member of the group, has began procuring the draft invoice to Senate Republicans in an try to seek out 10 extra votes to beat a filibuster.

Senate Dems are watching the quixotic effort carefully to see if it has any impact on Manchin’s opposition to nuking the legislative filibuster. Manchin’s success in serving to put collectively the bipartisan infrastructure deal has eliminated a few of the urgency within the left’s marketing campaign towards the filibuster. Some Democrats imagine the one approach to change Manchin’s thoughts is for the West Virginia senator to expertise a collection of failures in gaining GOP cooperation on what he believes ought to be bipartisan points. With the federal government funding showdown, the debt ceiling, and now voting rights all lined up for Senate motion, it ought to be a goal wealthy surroundings.

BIDEN’S THURSDAY:

— 10:30 a.m.: The president will obtain the President’s Every day Transient.

— 5 p.m.: Biden will ship remarks on the Covid-19 pandemic and the Delta variant within the State Eating Room.

VP KAMALA HARRIS’ THURSDAY:

— 11 a.m.: The vp will ship opening remarks on the U.S.-Mexico Excessive Degree Financial Dialogue within the Indian Treaty Room. Secretary of State ANTONY BLINKEN, Commerce Secretary GINA RAIMONDO, DHS Secretary ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, USTR KATHERINE TAI, USAID Administrator SAMANTHA POWER and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico KEN SALAZAR will even take part.

— 3:30 p.m.: Harris will meet with abortion and reproductive well being suppliers and sufferers from Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky and New Mexico within the Vice President’s Ceremonial Workplace.

Press secretary JEN PSAKI will transient at 1 p.m.

The HOUSE is out. The next Home committees could have markups on reconciliation: Training and Labor; Pure Sources; Science, House and Know-how; Small Enterprise and Methods and Means.

The SENATE is out.

CONGRESS

BATTLE LINES DRAWN ON TAXES — Forward of the Methods and Means markup right now, each events are placing their spin on the proposed tax hikes — the difficulty many in management imagine would be the most contentious of all of the coverage fights on reconciliation. On Wednesday evening the White Home circulated a narrative by the NYT’s Alan Rappeport saying “the wealthiest 1 p.c of Individuals are the nation’s most egregious tax evaders, failing to pay as a lot as $163 billion in owed taxes per yr.”

Later, KEVIN BRADY, the rating member on Methods and Means, went on Fox Enterprise and known as the Democratic plan “the most important enlargement of the welfare state in our lifetimes, paid for with crippling tax will increase on Major Road companies.” It contains hikes on anybody making over $400,000 in addition to rising the company fee. We’ll take you although extra of this in a pair days with a tax-focused Playbook policy-palooza.

In the meantime, the Nationwide Affiliation of Producers this morning will criticize the proposed tax will increase as a menace to manufacturing jobs and funding, and announce a six-figure advert marketing campaign towards them.

A DISCOURAGING SIGN — The fence across the Capitol will probably be re-erected forward of the Sept. 18 rally, in accordance with CNN.

GOOD LUCK — Democrats are set to make the (long-shot) case to the Senate parliamentarian that immigration reform passes muster to be included within the reconciliation invoice, Marianne Levine experiences.

DEMS’ REVENGE — NYT’s Charlie Savage experiences that Home Dems try to rein within the energy of the presidency, after 4 years of Trump.

POLITICS ROUNDUP

FEELIN’ GOOD — GAVIN NEWSOM is optimistic forward of the California recall subsequent week. He informed Carla Marinucci: “I’ve been out in each a part of the state, and also you kind of really feel, you don’t intellectualize, you are feeling the place you might be, you get a way, and I really feel like we’re in a extremely good place proper now.” This comes as an awesome variety of polls present him that he’ll win. He did add that the entire ordeal has been “sobering.”

CHRISTIE SPEAKS — Alex Isenstadt interviews CHRIS CHRISTIE forward of the previous New Jersey governor’s speech on the way forward for the Republican Occasion on the Reagan Library tonight. Christie mentioned “his speech wouldn’t be centered on Trump,” the story notes, and that “he plans to emphasize that Republicans ‘at first must be ‘the celebration that’s perceived to be telling the American folks the reality’ — maybe an implicit critique of the previous president.” Christie denounced Trump within the ultimate days of his presidency.

SEE YOU IN COURT — The Biden administration is making ready to sue Texas over its abortion ban legislation as quickly as right now, the WSJ’s Sadie Gurman scoops. However the AP says it received’t be simple to tackle the state over the legislation.

WATCH: The political fallout of Texas’s abortion ban: Within the days for the reason that Supreme Courtroom declined to dam the Texas abortion ban, politicians and advocates for abortion rights have been sounding the alarm on what this implies for the way forward for Roe v. Wade. This week, Ryan is joined by well being care reporter Alice Miranda Ollstein to interrupt down how the Texas abortion ban made it by the courtroom system and the way it might harm Republicans in future elections.

POLICY CORNER

The most recent installment of POLITICO’s Restoration Lab collection — which is exploring methods to hurry the nation’s restoration from the pandemic — drops right now. It’s about a captivating subject: “how the pandemic has challenged — and adjusted — America’s meals system,” editor Maura Reynolds writes in an introduction. The story, by senior meals and agriculture reporter Helena Bottemiller-Evich, “appears to be like at what the pandemic has taught us about starvation in America. Though financial hardship spiked with the unemployment fee, within the months since, starvation has declined, partially due to adjustments in how the federal government offers support to struggling Individuals. The teachings level the best way to ending meals insecurity on the earth’s wealthiest nation.” Extra from Restoration Lab

TALIBAN TAKEOVER

WHAT LIES AHEAD — The NYT’s Matthieu Aikins, Salman Masood and Marc Santora write that the “Taliban continued to brutally crack down on demonstrations towards their rule. The brand new authorities faces an unfolding humanitarian disaster and flaring tensions on the Afghan-Pakistan border.”

HONORING THE SERVICE MEMBERS — “US troops killed in Afghan bombing awarded Purple Hearts,” by AP’s Lolita C. Baldor

REGARDING RESETTLEMENT — “Biden Administration Seeks New Legislation to Ease Afghan Refugees’ Path to Inexperienced Playing cards,” by WSJ’s Michelle Hackman and Siobhan Hughes

SHAKING ON Okay STREET

A HEADLINE YOU WON’T SEE EVERY DAY — “Libyan Warlord Hires Ex-Clinton Aide Lanny Davis, Ex-Republican Home Chief Bob Livingston, to Foyer D.C.,” by WSJ’s Jared Malsin and Vivian Salama

TRUMP CARDS

WaPo’s Matt Viser and Josh Dawsey report that Trump has reached out to some relations of the 13 troops who had been killed within the suicide bombing in Afghanistan. “A number of have invited him to attend the funerals, and he has recommended he could attempt to take action.”

Ted Cruz celebrated Britney Spears’ potential freedom.

Rashida Tlaib dreamed a dream.

Majorie Taylor Greene and Chip Roy had been fined for not carrying masks. That is Greene’s second advantageous.

Kellyanne Conway, Seb Gorka and different Trump loyalists had been requested by Biden officers to resign from advisory boards. A number of of them didn’t take it nicely.

The Afghanistan embassy is consolidating.

A man representing Larry Elder in an advert time traveled again to adolescence, evaluating Gavin Newsom to “the man in highschool who took my girlfriend, then went on to the following lady.”

Kamala Harris’ employees buttered up the press corps by serving In-N-Out burgers on Air Power Two on a flight again to DC from California.

SPOTTED at Cafe Milano on Wednesday evening: John Kerry.

MEDIA MOVES — Mohammed el-Kurd, Amy Littlefield, Gregg Gonsalves and Ross Barkan are becoming a member of The Nation. el-Kurd will likely be Palestine correspondent, Littlefield will likely be abortion entry correspondent, Gonsalves will likely be public well being correspondent and Barkan will likely be a contributing author.

STAFFING UP — The DNC introduced a slate of recent hires: Cameron Allen is a growth assistant, Brittany Arp is an electronic mail and SMS strategist, Patricia Colón and Christina Pleasure Millamena are social media platforms strategists, Nick Andricola is deputy director of electronic mail and SMS, Kyle Allen is digital fast response director, Simón Prieto is digital promoting strategist and Areya Behrouzian is COS for mobilization.

TRANSITIONS — Victoria Dillon is now chief exterior affairs officer for CISA. She beforehand managed comms for international and home public affairs at Cisco Techniques and is a Veterans Affairs Division, Louise Slaughter and Steve Israel alum. … Maddy Boggs is now challenge coordinator in Russell Reynolds Associates’ D.C. workplace. She beforehand was a legislative assistant for Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.). … Steve DeMaura is becoming a member of Focused Victory’s company observe. He beforehand was senior director of world governance technique and operations at Walmart. …

Alex Miehls is now a public affairs director for FTI Consulting’s strategic comms section. He beforehand was a primetime information producer for Fox Information’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum.” … Davis Ingle is now a comms specialist at America First Coverage Institute. He beforehand was an account government at ATHOS PR and is a Trump White Home, Dennis Ross and Marco Rubio alum.

ENGAGED — Camille Stewart, international head of product safety technique at Google and a fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Middle Cyber Challenge, and Jassum Gloster, a senior guide for HP, obtained engaged on Aug. 28. The couple met at a mutual pal’s wedding ceremony in Kenya and he shocked her with a proposal on the Amalfi Coast whereas they had been on trip with pals. Pics

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) … WaPo’s Matt Bai HuffPost’s Jonathan CohnDavid Freedlander … CAP’s Glen Fukushima … AP’s Matt LeeCherie More durable of the Trinity Discussion board … Rachel RizzoHenrique Ferreira of Sen. Cory Booker’s (D-N.J.) workplace … Dan Brandt of Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-Pa.) workplace … Ron DotzauerKen LieberthalDaniel PipesBridget Hagan of Mindset … Laura MoneyAimee Metal Lubin of Holland & Knight … Brian Wommack of the Council for Accountable Diet …Breitbart’s Matt Boyle… DOJ’s Michael HarperEric DraperJ. Arthur BloomKara VoghtDwayne Carson … former Reps. Glenn Nye (D-Va.) and Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) … Katelyn IsraelskiTara Setmayer LoveNawaid LadakVanessa Oblinger-SantosDiego Sánchez GallardoJeff Weintraub

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