Simply after we thought it was not potential, 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 “complete 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 e-mail. Usually we’d ignore this one too. However lest anybody neglect, he’s the chief of the Republican Get together and would possibly properly 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 at the moment. It seems the highly effective Koch community has turn into 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 inside debate that has consumed the Republican Get together because the 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 needs 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, at the least 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 significant, 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 needs.

If these aides are proper — and there’s motive to assume they could be, given how a lot leverage Manchin has — which means an entire host of things on the social gathering’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 social gathering has to do because it seeks to craft their behemoth invoice by the tip of September. The method will kick off in earnest at the moment because the Home Methods and Means and Schooling and Labor committees start marking up their proposals.

Already, there are tensions over the problems being voted on in committee at the moment. For instance, we’re informed the $762 billion envisioned for schooling — which incorporates greater than $450 billion for little one care and common pre-Ok, and lots of of billions extra for varsity infrastructure and free neighborhood faculty — gained’t doubtless make it to the White Home intact. (Our larger ed reporter Michael Stratford has extra on Schooling and Labor Chair BOBBY SCOTT’s invoice.) Likewise, a battle for restricted sources is driving the struggle 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 newest.)

In fact, the greenback complete might be dictated by how a lot Democrats can generate with tax hikes and different income raisers — an enormous space of competition itself. Democrats may 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 properly.

After that, the actual struggle will begin: Tips on how to spend the cash. Pelosi acknowledged the approaching battles over restricted {dollars}: “The place would you narrow? Youngster care? Household medical go away paid for? Common pre-Ok? Dwelling 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 may or gained’t settle for, the higher, per these aides: It would drive Democrats to return to grips with actuality of getting too few {dollars} to do what they need — and begin having the powerful 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 social gathering’s caucus. (Right here’s the total backstory from our Congress workforce.) In accordance with a congressional supply acquainted with the trouble, with that work now completed, Manchin, a member of the group, has began buying 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 intently 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 number of the urgency within the left’s marketing campaign towards the filibuster. Some Democrats consider the one method 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 needs to be bipartisan points. With the federal government funding showdown, the debt ceiling, and now voting rights all lined up for Senate motion, it needs to be a goal wealthy setting.

BIDEN’S THURSDAY:

— 10:30 a.m.: The president will obtain the President’s Day by 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 Stage 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 can 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 can have markups on reconciliation: Schooling and Labor; Pure Assets; 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 at the moment, each events are placing their spin on the proposed tax hikes — the problem many in management consider 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 referred to as the Democratic plan “the biggest enlargement of the welfare state in our lifetimes, paid for with crippling tax will increase on Essential Road companies.” It contains hikes on anybody making over $400,000 in addition to growing 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 risk to manufacturing jobs and funding, and announce a six-figure advert marketing campaign towards them.

A DISCOURAGING SIGN — The fence across the Capitol will doubtless be re-erected forward of the Sept. 18 rally, based on 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 stories.

DEMS’ REVENGE — NYT’s Charlie Savage stories 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 form 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 Get together on the Reagan Library tonight. Christie stated “his speech wouldn’t be targeted on Trump,” the story notes, and that “he plans to emphasize that Republicans ‘before everything should be ‘the social gathering that’s perceived to be telling the American folks the reality’ — maybe an implicit critique of the previous president.” Christie denounced Trump within the remaining days of his presidency.

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

WATCH: The political fallout of Texas’s abortion ban: Within the days because the 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 via the court docket system and the way it may 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 at the moment. It’s about an enchanting 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, “seems 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 modifications in how the federal government supplies support to struggling Individuals. The teachings level the way in which 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 Regulation to Ease Afghan Refugees’ Path to Inexperienced Playing cards,” by WSJ’s Michelle Hackman and Siobhan Hughes

SHAKING ON Ok 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 have been killed within the suicide bombing in Afghanistan. “A number of have invited him to attend the funerals, and he has prompt he might strive to take action.”

Ted Cruz celebrated Britney Spears’ potential freedom.

Rashida Tlaib dreamed a dream.

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

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

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 subsequent woman.”

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 might be Palestine correspondent, Littlefield might be abortion entry correspondent, Gonsalves might be public well being correspondent and Barkan might be a contributing author.

STAFFING UP — The DNC introduced a slate of recent hires: Cameron Allen is a growth assistant, Brittany Arp is an e-mail and SMS strategist, Patricia Colón and Christina Pleasure Millamena are social media platforms strategists, Nick Andricola is deputy director of e-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 undertaking 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 worldwide 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 Undertaking, and Jassum Gloster, a senior advisor for HP, received engaged on Aug. 28. The couple met at a mutual buddy’s wedding ceremony in Kenya and he stunned her with a proposal on the Amalfi Coast whereas they have been on trip with mates. 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 Vitamin …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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