Price tag shrinks but stakes grow as Biden presses for deal: The Note
There are three upcoming deadlines for Democrats to act on their massive agenda.
The TAKE with Rick Klein
President Joe Biden is now talking publicly about a social-spending bill with a price tag of $1.75 trillion -- half of the $3.5 trillion he initially sought, and further still from the $6 trillion that marked the initial progressive ask.
Yet even as the bill shrinks, the stakes for Biden and his party have managed to grow. The measure is being touted as an answer to employment gaps, rising gas prices and supply-chain disruptions, in addition to its original sweeping goals of grappling with climate change and working toward economic fairness.
It's also now seen as a way -- perhaps the last and best way -- for the Democratic Party to unify and rediscover some motivation in time for the midterms.
The president campaigns in Virginia Tuesday for Democrat Terry McAuliffe, as Democrats face the very real prospect of losing the year's biggest race for governor amid lagging enthusiasm. On Monday, Biden was in New Jersey, where the year's only other gubernatorial race is too close for Democrats' comfort.
Those elections are just a week away. That makes three deadlines for Democrats to act on their still-massive agenda: Election Day, Biden's departure for the climate summit Thursday, and the Oct. 31 date for action set by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
"What in God's name are we doing?" the president asked Monday, in pushing his "Build Back Better" agenda.
The question was rhetorical, of course. Democrats are about to answer it anyway.
The RUNDOWN with Alisa Wiersema
Just days after announcing he would convene a special session of the Florida legislature to address vaccine mandates, Gov. Ron DeSantis appears to be merging the topic of vaccine requirements with support for law enforcement.
In August, DeSantis introduced an initiative to recruit police officers from out of state, which included a $5,000 signing bonus. The governor recently resurfaced that push in the wake of rising instances of officers across the nation refusing to adhere to immunization mandates.
"We're looking to capitalize off a lot of communities across our country who've turned their back on law enforcement who aren't providing them the support," DeSantis said at a press conference Monday, while insisting that the incentivized recruitment policy is not "a vaccine issue."
"They've been mistreated for a long time. I don't think police officers should be fired over shots, I don't think that that's correct," he added. "If you're in NYPD, and you're not getting the support you need, and you're qualified you come down here, you're going to get a bonus because we've got your back and it's a way to say thank you."
Although DeSantis -- a speculated 2024 Republican contender -- appears to be indicating that his policy positions regarding vaccine mandates are not politically motivated, his repeated references to cities led by Democrats as examples of places where police are struggling seems to imply otherwise.
The TIP with Quinn Scanlan
The parade of top surrogates stumping for Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia, continues Tuesday with the president headlining a rally for his longtime friend.
The events with big-name Democrats are in bluer, vote-rich regions of the commonwealth. It's an understandable -- and perhaps, necessary -- strategy given one of the biggest hurdles Democrats must overcome is weak voter enthusiasm.
A Monmouth poll published last week found that by a 23-point margin, GOP voters report feeling more enthusiastic about this gubernatorial election compared with years past than Democratic voters do. That same poll showed that while 80% of Black voters support McAuliffe over Republican Glenn Youngkin, about three quarters also feel no more enthusiastic about this election than in years past. A surge of prominent names in the final stretch could help change that.
The rally with President Barack Obama Saturday was in Richmond, the state capital where about two in five residents are Black. On Friday, Vice President Kamala Harris campaigns with McAuliffe again, this time in Norfolk, where Black residents make up a similar share of the population. Record producer and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams will join them and perform a concert.
Douglas Wilder, Virginia's first and only Black governor, isn't sold on the strategy, however. The Democrat, who has not endorsed a candidate, told the Washington Examiner in an interview, "Surrogates are not going to determine the outcome of this election. People will."
ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Tuesday morning's episode begins with the leak of the Facebook papers raising questions about the social media giant and whether it fuels hate. ABC News' Elizabeth Schulze breaks down some of the takeaways and Mark Zuckerberg's response to the leaked documents. Then, ABC News' Conor Finnegan reports on the military takeover in Sudan as the U.S. embassy there warns Americans to shelter in place. And, gun violence in Philadelphia is taking a toll on the city's youth and ABC's Zachary Kiesch sits down with students who describe the environment as "passing through a warzone." http://apple.co/2HPocUL
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