Biden raises stakes on still-uncertain infrastructure deal: The Note

The president said the deal signals American democracy can work.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

The infrastructure deal is big enough on its own -- a historic and historically expensive bipartisan breakthrough, now enjoying the support of the president at a time that his party controls Congress.

In the president's telling, this is not just about rebuilding the nation's infrastructure. The agreement announced Thursday, he said, "signals to the world" that American democracy can work.

As for getting it to work, it's now more complicated than ever. Even as he embraced the new, nearly $1 trillion package, Biden threatened to spurn it if it isn't accompanied by another package that could be six times as large -- and that would most likely pass without any Republican support.

"If this is the only one that comes to me, I'm not signing it. It's in tandem," Biden said.

Linking the two efforts almost certainly makes it harder to pass the bipartisan piece of it, which still needs the support of five additional Senate Republicans to overcome a filibuster. There will likely be even fewer Republicans backing the bill in the House, where the Democrats' majority actually isn't that much bigger than in the Senate.

Biden will be shopping for votes even as former President Donald Trump steps up what's being dubbed a "revenge tour," campaigning in Ohio on Saturday for a primary challenger targeting a GOP House member who supported his impeachment.

Back on the Democratic side, the president acknowledged divisions, but added, "My party's also rational." He's calculating that Democrats won't turn down the chance to get something instead of everything -- though he's also threatening to do just that.

Much of the year has played out with Biden either going bipartisan and small or purely partisan and aiming big. It's now clear the president didn't really see that as a choice -- and that has consequences of its own.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

Aides to Vice President Kamala Harris insist that her trip Friday to El Paso, Texas, isn't about caving to political pressure from Republicans who have criticized her absence at the border.

"This administration does not take their cues from Republican criticism," said Symone Sanders, senior adviser and chief spokesperson for Harris, on a call with reporters. She later added, "The vice president has said over the course over the last three months that she would go to the border; she has been before and she would go again. She would go when it was appropriate, when it made sense. And this trip tomorrow, this timing is what made sense."

The White House is saying the trip will inform its strategy on addressing the root causes of migration. Harris is slated to tour a Customs and Border Protection facility, meet with nongovernmental organization representatives and other advocates and deliver remarks.

When asked what, if any, tangible effect the strategy will have on lowering the numbers of migrants presenting themselves at the border for asylum within the next six months, Harris' aides pointed to expanding legal pathways to enter the U.S. It's a marked difference from Harris' previous remarks calling for measures that encourage migrants to stay in their home countries.

Republicans will no longer be able to slam Harris for not having visited the border, but without clarity on how the Biden administration will define success as it relates to the vice president's assignment, attacks from the right on border issues will only continue.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

The date for the Texas legislature's special session has been set, but the week comes to a close without further insight into what priorities legislators are expected to take up in about two weeks.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers are faced with the looming question of whether the current absence of a defined agenda opens the door for Gov. Greg Abbott to add a supplemental budget item to the schedule following his veto of the part of the budget that funds the legislative branch earlier this month. As it stands, the veto effectively defunds the salaries of state lawmakers, their staff and legislative agencies beginning Sept. 1.

Abbott also previously expressed interest in asking state lawmakers to work on pursuing legislation regarding "election integrity," as well as a bail bill in the special session. Both issues died in the House last month after Democrats broke quorum through a walkout.

Abbott also recently said he would want legislators to do more when they reconvene on the GOP buzz topic of critical race theory, but so far has not provided additional details.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Friday morning's episode features ABC News' Victor Oquendo in Surfside, Florida, where he has the latest on the deadly high-rise building collapse. ABC News' Trish Turner analyzes the prospects of the bipartisan infrastructure framework reached Thursday, and ABC News' Whitney Lloyd previews the sentencing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd.


  • President Joe Biden will sign a law Friday designating the National Pulse Memorial at 1:30 p.m. ET. At 2 p.m., he and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will deliver remarks to commemorate LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Biden will host Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation, in the Oval Office at 3:30 p.m.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris heads to the U.S.-Mexico border Friday to visit the El Paso Border Patrol Station at 10:35 a.m. ET. She will meet with faith-based nongovernmental organizations and legal service providers at 12:25 p.m. and then deliver remarks and take questions from the press at 1:35 p.m. ET.
  • Former President Donald Trump holds a rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio, at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday.
  • Sunday on ABC's "This Week": ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent and "This Week" co-anchor Jonathan Karl goes one-on-one exclusively with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and speaks with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, only on "This Week" Sunday. And the Powerhouse Roundtable discusses all the week's politics with former Democratic National Committee Chair and ABC News contributor Donna Brazile, Democracy for America CEO and ABC News contributor Yvette Simpson, Dispatch staff writer and ABC News contributor Sarah Isgur and National Review senior editor, American Enterprise Institute fellow and Bloomberg opinion columnist Ramesh Ponnuru.
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