The TAKE with Rick Klein
In case it's not obvious from the photo-ops and protest songs, Democrats are no closer to passing a voting-rights bill at the federal level. Neither are they likely to be able to stop Republicans from passing their own bills in states they control -- even in Texas.
They can't even agree on the one procedural change -- ending or severely limiting the filibuster -- that might give them progress. And no, Democrats in Congress are still not united on the sweeping bill the White House has endorsed -- just as state lawmakers in Texas don't really have an endgame to their legislative boycott.
What Democrats are doing is coalescing around a message -- arguing that falsehoods about the last election are driving changes in voting laws. Their challenge now is drawing motivation out of a stubborn set of facts.
"We are not going to buckle to the big lie in the state of Texas," state Rep. Rafael Anchía said Tuesday outside the Capitol in Washington.
It marked Biden's most direct engagement with the falsehoods spread by former President Donald Trump. It also came some six months after state legislatures started taking up voting legislation, including a wave of more restrictive bills.
Weeks' or even months' worth of strategy sessions with Texas Democrats and key White House and congressional players don't appear likely to change any of these dynamics.
Republicans have already shown themselves committed to rehashing debunked claims about the last election, following Trump's lead. Following Biden's lead will leave Democrats looking back as well -- hoping any new obstacles to voting will actually convince more people to vote.
The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a sobering warning to Cubans with plans to come to the U.S. via the treacherous waters between the island nation and Florida: Stay home.
"Allow me to be clear, if you take the sea, you will not come to the United States," Mayorkas said Tuesday. "Anyone intercepted at sea, regardless of their nationality will not be permitted to enter the United States."
Mayorkas, who's own family fled Cuba in 1960, also signaled that eligibility for Temporary Protected Status, the Department of Homeland Security's humanitarian program which gives legal status to Haitian nationals in the U.S., will not be expanded to those coming from the island nation in the wake of the president's assassination there.
"TPS is not an immigration program," Mayorkas told reporters. "It only benefits Haitian nationals who are already in the United States at the time of designation. TPS eligibility applies only to those Haitians who are already residing in the United States as of May 2021 and meet all other requirements."
Biden campaigned on handling migrants with compassion. Mayorkas' warning echoes Vice President Kamala Harris' message to migrants in Central America planning to trek to the U.S. southern border: Do not come.
Just as Harris received backlash for her message to Central American migrants, the Biden administration could face blowback for its stance on Cuba and Haiti.
The TIP with Alisa Wiersema
The high-profile GOP campaign stop will include events with two Youngkin campaign coalitions, Women for Glenn and Veterans for Youngkin, to discuss veterans and economic issues. Politically, the moves also put the pair of Republicans in reliably blue territory as Youngkin attempts to portray himself as a moderate Republican option in hopes of winning the support of voters across the Democrat-controlled state.
But that moderate branding is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain given Trump's continued, vocal backing. In a statement released this week, Trump called Youngkin "a great candidate" compared to Ed Gillespie, a Republican who lost to the state's current Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam in the last cycle. The former president also appeared to baselessly allege that Youngkin could be susceptible to election fraud.
That claim was welcomed by Democrats, which further indicates their early confidence about ultimately coming out on top. Across the aisle, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, even challenged Trump to come to Virginia to campaign with Youngkin, but there is no indication the former president has plans to hit the campaign trail at this point.
ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Wednesday morning's episode features ABC News' Elizabeth Schulze, who explains what's behind the rising inflation numbers. ABC News' Laura Romero tells us what we've learned about what may have caused the building collapse in Surfside, Florida. And ABC News' Anne Flaherty explains how the Biden administration is carefully handling the debate over COVID booster shots. http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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