Biden's complicated relationship with bipartisanship continues: The Note

The TAKE with Rick Klein

Are Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema standing in the way of the Biden agenda or actually doing what President Joe Biden wants?

Is Biden himself pursuing a deal that he is alone in the White House in wanting?

The “constructive and frank conversation” the White House reported Biden having had with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito on Wednesday again reveals the complicated relationship the president has with the notion of bipartisanship.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House,May 13, 2021.

Working with the other party is a stated goal of his. But another meeting with Capito on Friday could reveal whether it’s a big enough priority for him to cut a vastly smaller deal than he’s on record as wanting — assuming, that is, he could even get something passed at this stage without GOP buy-in.

As for Biden’s own party, the president this week seemed to call out Manchin and Sinema when he asserted — inaccurately — that the current Democratic majority includes “two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested that was merely a nod to the senators’ well-known “independent streaks.” If that’s the case, then when Sinema was asked about it Wednesday, she almost sounded Bidenesque.

“While there are some who don’t believe bipartisanship is possible, I think that I’m a daily example that bipartisanship is possible,” she said during a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

The next few days are likely to determine whether Sinema’s broader point applies in the case of Biden. The choices, as always, are complicated.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

Ahead of the New York mayoral primary, eight Democratic candidates took the debate stage in person Wednesday night for the first time. Each mayoral hopeful outlined their plan to tackle both crime and calls to reallocate funds from the New York Police Department.

Moderators cited the 77% increase in shootings in comparison to a year prior. In heated debate, all candidates acknowledged the sobering spike in violent crime, but vehemently disagreed on how to address the issue.

Several candidates have pledged to defund the police in some way — and have previously made forceful calls to do so — but as the conversation around a surge in crime emerged during Wednesday’s debate, many changed their tone.

Last month, in a previous Democratic primary debate, progressive candidates eagerly boasted how much they would direct away from the NYPD and toward community initiatives. This time around, candidates seemed to collectively distance themselves from how much they would reallocate.

PHOTO: Democratic candidates for New York City Mayor take part in a mayoral debate organized by WABC in New York, June 2, 2021.

Former HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said the mayor should be “focused on both safety and respect.” NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer said, “Policing matters, but do it in a fair and just way.” Maya Wiley, former counsel to Bill de Blasio, called for “smart policing.”

The change in tone is illustrative of the balance each candidate hopes to strike in addressing both policing and public safety.

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

In aftermath of the dramatic conclusion of the Texas legislature’s regular session, state Republicans appear to be mapping out their approach to the issue of “election integrity” in the yet-to-be-determined special session.

At least one Texas Republican is now saying that his party plans to go into the overtime session with the goal of addressing a provision drafted into SB7 that limited Sunday voting hours. Voting rights advocates said, if enacted, that provision would have disproportionally affected “Souls to the Polls” events — a longtime tradition in Black communities after church services.

PHOTO: House Speaker Dade Phelan, leaves a Democratic caucus on SB 7 that lasted over an hour during a pause in the House session, May 30, 2021, Austin, Texas.

In a recent NPR interview, Republican state Rep. Travis Clardy claimed the limited voting hours outlined in the bill were a typo. He said that instead of opening voting hours at 1 p.m. on Sunday, the language should have said 11 a.m. Despite this explanation, no Republicans countered this alleged typo when the final debates over the bill were happening in either chamber.

House Democrats posted a lengthy Twitter thread pushing back on Clardy’s claim and pointed out that the author of SB7, state Sen. Bryan Hughes, defended the limited voting hours by saying that the shortened timeframe would allow poll workers to attend church on Sundays.

ONE MORE THING

Democratic state Rep. Melanie Stansbury easily defeated Republican state Sen. Mark Moores by 25 percentage points in a special House election in New Mexico for Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s old seat. This was the first head-to-head matchup between a Democrat and a Republican for a congressional seat in Joe Biden’s presidency, and the fact that Stansbury won by such a comfortable margin could be a positive sign for Democrats headed into the 2022 midterm elections.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. Thursday morning’s episode features Harvard Medical School epidemiologist and ABC News contributor Dr. John Brownstein, who discusses President Joe Biden’s push to vaccinate more Americans ahead of July 4. ABC News Deputy Political Director Averi Harper explains what a special congressional election in New Mexico can tell us about Democrats’ approach to crime. And ABC News’ Conor Finnegan brings us the latest on reported cases of “Havana syndrome” on U.S. diplomats. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew looks at how some of the most competitive 2022 primaries are shaping up. They also ask whether a recent poll that found that about 15% of Americans believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory is a good or bad use of polling. https://apple.co/23r5y7w

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

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The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top stories in politics. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

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