YOUNG'S LANDMARK ENDLESS FRONTIER ACT PASSES SENATE: U.S. Sen. Todd Young’s Endless Frontier Act, a landmark bill to out-compete China in key emerging technology areas critical to our national security, passed the Senate today by a vote of 68-32. The bill, which was reintroduced in April, now heads to the House (Howey Politics Indiana). “Americans have always looked towards the frontier and forward to new horizons. This bill, this moment, it’s not only about beating the Chinese Communist Party; the Endless Frontier Act is about using their challenge to become a better version of ourselves through investment in innovation. I’m proud the Senate voted to advance this bill to outcompete China and invest in the U.S. Let history record that, at this moment, we stood united. That by confronting the challenges of today, we built a brighter tomorrow for Americans. That a new generation of doers and dreamers pressed America on, once again, towards the endless frontier – through the Endless Frontier Act,” said Senator Young. Earlier last month, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, favorably reported the bill by a strong bipartisan vote of 24-4. A substitute amendment on the Senate floor then incorporated contributions from a variety of other Senate committees on related policy issues, under the new bill title of the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) of 2021. Click here for a summary of the substitute amendment.

 

TAKEAWAYS FROM BRUTAL SENATE JAN. 6 REPORT:  A Senate report examining the security failures surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol says missed intelligence, poor planning and multiple layers of bureaucracy led to the violent siege. It does not fault former President Donald Trump, who told his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat just before hundreds of them stormed the building (AP). In an effort to be bipartisan — and to find quick agreement on security improvements to the Capitol — Senate Democrats wrote the report with their Republican counterparts and largely steered clear of addressing the former president’s role. The investigation by the two panels, the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Rules Committee, makes 20 recommendations for immediate security changes, including legislation to give the Capitol Police chief more authority, better training and equipment for law enforcement and an overhaul of the way intelligence is collected ahead of major events in Congress. The report also details the violence of the day. Senate investigators collected statements from more than 50 police officers who fought the insurrectionists in brutal hand-to-hand combat.

 

30% OF REPUBLICANS BELIEVE TRUMP WILL BE REINSTATED: Donald Trump believes he’ll be reinstated as president after it’s proven that Biden cheated in the election. And lo and behold, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, three out of 10 Republican voters think that it’s going to happen, too. The vast majority of Americans dismiss the Trumpian fantasy: 84% of Democrats, 70% of independents and 61% of Republicans. Yet a third of Republicans isn’t nothing: While Trump hasn’t said publicly he thinks he’ll be reinstated, the poll is another reflection of the grip he has on the GOP base. Speaking of which, 59% of GOP voters polled think Trump should play a major role in the party going forward.

 

CITY COUNCILS MOVING FORWARD WITH OWN OPIOID LAWSUITS: City councils in West Lafayette and Lafayette voted on Monday to move forward with their lawsuits against opioid distributors and manufacturers separately from Indiana’s opioid litigation.  A new state statute requires local governments pursuing damages to “opt out” of any state settlement funds in order for local cases to move forward (Thorp, Indiana Public Media). West Lafayette and Lafayette are among an estimated 50 local governments in the state pursuing lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids for damages caused by the opioid crisis. Richard Shevitz is an attorney representing West Lafayette and Marion County in their lawsuits over the opioid crisis. He said under the state’s umbrella, 15% of any settlement would be divided among local governments, 15% would go to the state, and the remaining 70% would be distributed by Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration. “It’s like any pot of money. Everybody would like to get their hands on it,” he said. “The state would like to see it go through the state process so they can control it at that level.” Local governments have until June 30 to opt out of the statewide suits, but will have 60 days from the date of their withdrawal to opt back in.

 

BIDEN HEADING OUT ON FIRST OVERSEAS TRIP: Set to embark on the first overseas trip of his term, President Joe Biden is eager to reassert the United States on the world stage, steadying European allies deeply shaken by his predecessor and pushing democracy as the only bulwark to rising forces of authoritarianism (AP). Biden has set the stakes for his eight-day trip in sweeping terms, believing that the West must publicly demonstrate it can compete economically with China as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. Building toward his trip-ending summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden will aim to reassure European capitals that the United States can once again be counted on as a dependable partner to thwart Moscow’s aggression both on their eastern front and their internet battlefields. The trip will be far more about messaging than specific actions or deals. And the paramount priority for Biden, who leaves Wednesday for his first stop in the United Kingdom, is to convince the world that his Democratic administration is not just a fleeting deviation in the trajectory of an American foreign policy that many allies fear irrevocably drifted toward a more transactional outlook under former President Donald Trump.

 

BIDEN/CAPTIO TALKS IN INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: President Joe Biden's infrastructure talks with Republicans collapsed on Tuesday, the lead GOP negotiator said (NBC News). "I spoke with the president this afternoon, and he ended our infrastructure negotiations," Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, of West Virginia, said in a statement. The end of talks will increase pressure on Democrats to pass a sweeping package using a special process that doesn't require any Republican votes. Weeks of negotiations between the White House and Republicans failed to bring the two parties close to a deal. They remained far apart on a total price tag for a bill, which types of projects should be included and whether to raise any new taxes. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that as negotiations “seem to be running into a brick wall, Democrats are “pursuing a two-path proposal” that includes focusing on new talks between a group of senators from both parties, including Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. "So that's good. But that's not going to be the only answer. We all know as a caucus we will not be able to do all the things that the country needs in a bipartisan way. So at the same time, we are pursuing the pursuit of reconciliation," Schumer said, referring to the process of passing legislation with a simple majority in the Senate, which Democrats used to advance the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief law.

 

25 RICHEST AMERICANS PAID VERY LITTLE INCOME TAXES:  The 25 richest Americans including Jeff Bezos, Michael Bloomberg and Elon Musk paid relatively little — and sometimes nothing — in federal income taxes between 2014 and 2018, according to an analysis from the news organization ProPublica that was based on a trove of Internal Revenue Service tax data (New York Times). The analysis showed that the nation’s richest executives paid just a fraction of their wealth in taxes — $13.6 billion in federal income taxes on $401 billion of their wealth, which was tabulated by Forbes. The documents reveal the stark inequity in the American tax system, as plutocrats like Mr. Bezos, Mr. Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn and Mr. Musk were able to benefit from a complex web of loopholes in the tax code and the fact that the United States puts its emphasis on taxing labor income versus wealth.

 

HEALTH OFFICIALS FRET LOW VACCINE RATE: Upon taking office, President Biden set July 4 as a benchmark for getting 70% of the nation fully vaccinated from the COVID-19 virus (Pinsker, Indiana Public Media). However, public health experts say it is unlikely Indiana will reach that goal with just weeks until the deadline.  “We're still hearing a lot of hesitancy among younger people about fertility issues. Unfortunately, a lot of false information is made on social media. There's no scientific basis to any of that,” said Shandy Dearth, director of the undergraduate epidemiology program at IU’s Fairbanks School of Public Health. She worries about an uptick in COVID-19 cases this fall if vaccination numbers continue to stagnate. “We do all kind of expect a bump in numbers in early fall and everyone gets back together because again, we won't have the kids vaccinated yet.”

 

98.9% OF COVID CASES COME IN UNVACCINATED HOOSIERS: The first Hoosiers to be vaccinated, in December, reached full effectiveness Jan 18 (Berman, WIBC). Since that date: Indiana has had 154,767 new #COVID19 cases, 98.776% of them unvaccinated people. 2.6M Hoosiers have been fully vaccinated; 99.926% of them have not gotten #COVID. Percentage of % of Hoosiers fully vaccinated: 37.6%; of those eligible 44.7%. There were 302 new Indiana #coronavirus cases, fourth straight day under 400, with 2.7% of today's batch of tests coming back positive. The 7-day positivity rate, which runs a week behind, drops sharply to 3.6%, lowest since Mar 29.

 

MILLIONS OF VACCINE DOSES AT RISK OF EXPIRING: Hospitals, state health departments and the federal government are racing to decide how to use up millions of Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ -0.88% Covid-19 vaccine doses that are set to expire this month (Wall Street Journal). The prospect of so many doses going to waste in the U.S. when developing nations are desperate for shots would add pressure on the Biden administration to share stockpiled vaccines. But there are few practical solutions to administering them quickly in the U.S. or distributing them in time to foreign countries, according to those involved in the vaccination drive. The stockpile is, in part, an unintended consequence of the U.S.’s decision in April to temporarily suspend administration of J&J doses to assess a rare blood-clot risk. The pause forced states and providers to cancel large blocks of appointments that were never rescheduled, leaving a surplus of supply, and in some areas increasing hesitancy over the J&J vaccine’s safety, according to industry officials.

 

WHAT IS PETE BUTTIGIEG DOING? Pete Buttigieg stopped on a spring afternoon to pet an Amtrak-police dog on his way to greet the conductor and the rest of the crew. We were somewhere between Raleigh and Greensboro, North Carolina, traveling between two events aimed at promoting the Biden administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal (Isaac-Dovere, The Atlantic). Although Buttigieg came closer to being the Democratic presidential nominee than senators and governors with decades more experience, this is what most of his days as Joe Biden’s secretary of transportation look like: He’s notable enough to have a security escort, but not significant enough to have the train employees stand up when he stops in on their break. Here’s the winner of the 2020 Iowa caucus, living out his grand political plan to … how exactly would it work? Something like: He takes an inherently snoozer job as a low-ranking Cabinet official, spends a few years quietly kissing up to mostly forgettable members of Congress with talk about railroads and broadband, and going on TV to defend the administration. Along the way, he counts on Biden not to run again and Kamala Harris not to emerge as Biden’s natural heir. If everything comes together perfectly, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, becomes the first president since Herbert Hoover to have come out of the Cabinet.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: The Morning Consult Poll showing 30% of Republicans believe that Donald Trump will be restored to the presidency is disturbing. This notion is lunacy, as there is no constitutional or statutory route for this to happen. Elections still matter, right?  - Brian A. Howey

 

Campaigns

 

TRUMP CALLS FOR NATIONS TO BAN TWITTER, FACEBOOK: Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America (Howey Politics Indiana): "Congratulations to the country of Nigeria, who just banned Twitter because they banned their President. More COUNTRIES should ban Twitter and Facebook for not allowing free and open speech—all voices should be heard. In the meantime, competitors will emerge and take hold. Who are they to dictate good and evil if they themselves are evil? Perhaps I should have done it while I was President. But Zuckerberg kept calling me and coming to the White House for dinner telling me how great I was. 2024?"

 

TRUMP CONSIDERING DeSANTIS FOR VEEP: Donald Trump said on Monday he is considering tapping Florida Governor Ron DeSantis instead of Mike Pence as his running mate if he enters the 2024 race (Daily Mail). Trump said, "Sure I would," when asked by Varney in the phone interview if he would consider the Florida governor for his No. 2. "But, you know, there are numerous people that are great," he deflected. "I would certainly consider Ron. I was at the beginning of Ron. I was the first one to endorse him when he came out as a congressman that a lot of people didn't know and my endorsement helped him tremendously and I know him very well. He's a great guy," Trump added.

 

PENCE TO HEADLINE IOWA EVENT IN JULY: Former Vice President and former Indiana Governor Mike Pence will be in Des Moines, Iowa this summer (WIBC). Bob Vander Plaats, CEO of The Family Leader, says Pence will headline the Family Leadership Summit at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center on July 16th. Several other politicians will also speak at the event including South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

 

HILL, YODER CONTINUE INDEM TOUR: Former congressman Baron Hill and State Sen. Shelli Yoder and the Indiana Democratic Party will continue its American Rescue Plan Tour today in a statewide campaign to help deliver the good news about President Joe Biden and the Democrats’ COVID-19 relief package and how it’s helping all of Indiana’s 92 counties and its communities put the pandemic firmly in the rearview mirror (Howey Politics Indiana). They will be at Coffeehouse, 41 W. Monroe St, Franklin from 8-9:30 p.m., at Larrison’s Diner, 200 South Chestnut Street, Seymour from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., and The Chicken House, 7180 SR111, Sellersburg, from 3 to 5 p.m.

 

HUCKABEE SANDERS TO KEYNOTE GOP DINNER FRIDAY:  Republican candidate for governor of Arkansas and former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will keynote the 2021 Indiana Republican Party spring dinner. The dinner will attract hundreds of supporters and will be the first large-scale, in-person gathering of Hoosier Republicans since the onset of the pandemic (Howey Politics Indiana). “We’re thrilled to have Sarah Huckabee Sanders as the keynote speaker for our spring dinner. We’re looking forward to hearing about her experiences in the White House and are glad she’s found a new way to serve by running for governor of Arkansas. The opportunity to hear from an up-and-coming Republican leader is something we couldn’t pass up,” said Indiana GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer.

 

STONEWALL DEMS APPLAUD CITY COUNCILS: The Indianapolis City-County Council and Carmel City Council passed proclamations Monday to recognize June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month while celebrating the enriched contributions the LGBTQ+ community has made on the nation (Howey Politics Indiana). The proclamations commemorate the history of the LGBTQ+ movement, inform Hoosiers on how to safely and responsibly celebrate Pride, and show broader support for ongoing queer advocacy happening across Indiana. For the first time, June is officially proclaimed Pride Month in Carmel with support from Mayor Jim Brainard. Last month, the Evansville City Council passed a resolution 8-1 recognizing the 52nd anniversary of the Stonewall riots and the June celebrations that commemorate them being the first city in the state to recognize the events this year. “LGBTQ Hoosiers, especially queer and trans people of color, have long deserved to be recognized for their relentless resilience and heart in fighting for opportunity and acceptance in our state, and it’s an honor to recognize how far we’ve come while acknowledging the work we have left to do,” City-County Councillor Keith Potts said in a statement. “We encourage cities and counties across the state to join us this month in recognition.”

 

McAULIFFE WINS VA DEM PRIMARY: Terry McAuliffe’s comeback bid aced its first test Tuesday, as the former Virginia governor cruised to victory in the state's Democratic gubernatorial primary (Politico). He easily defeated his two main rivals, former state Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy and state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, capturing about 60 percent of the vote in a five-candidate race in which he was the wire-to-wire favorite since entering last December. His victory sets up a matchup with Glenn Youngkin, the former Carlyle Group chief executive who won the Republican nomination in a party convention about a month ago.

 

TRUMP CANDIDATE LOSES NJ GOV NOMINATION: New Jersey Republicans looked past Donald Trump Tuesday, nominating a challenger to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy who once called the former president a “charlatan” and later acknowledged Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election (Politico). Jack Ciattarelli, a three-term former member of the New Jersey General Assembly who was backed by the state’s GOP establishment, defeated three other Republicans — two of whom centered their campaigns around loyalty to the former president — to win his party’s gubernatorial nomination. The selection of Ciattarelli in heavily Democratic New Jersey bucks a national trend of Republicans supporting candidates linked to the former president.

 

TOP TRUMP FUNDRAISER OUT: Former President Donald Trump’s post-election political team has fired one of its top fundraisers who played a key role in organizing the January 6 ‘Save America Rally’ that preceded Trump supporters’ attack on the US Capitol, Republican strategists and Trump advisors told Tom LoBianco of Business Insider. The Trump-approved group America Alliance fired veteran fundraiser Caroline Wren at the end of last month, according to the Trump advisors. Other Trump fundraising groups sent cease-and-desist letters to Wren demanding she not cite Trump in her own efforts to recruit high-dollar donors, they said.

 

Polls

 

GALLUP FINDS 70% SUPPORT SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: U.S. support for legal same-sex marriage continues to trend upward, now at 70% -- a new high in Gallup's trend since 1996. This latest figure marks an increase of 10 percentage points since 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriages. These data are from Gallup's annual Values and Beliefs poll, conducted May 3-18. Today's 70% support for same-sex marriage marks a new milestone in a trend that has pointed upward for a quarter of a century. A small minority of Americans (27%) supported legal recognition of gay and lesbian marriages in 1996, when Gallup first asked the question. But support rose steadily over time, eventually reaching the majority level for the first time in 2011. Republicans, who have consistently been the party group least in favor of same-sex marriage, show majority support in 2021 for the first time (55%). The latest increase in support among all Americans is driven largely by changes in Republicans' views.

 

RASMUSSEN FINDS 40% BELIEVE DR. FAUCI: As investigators pursue evidence that the COVID-19 virus may have originated in a Chinese research laboratory, many voters doubt that Dr. Anthony Fauci has told the truth about American funding of such research. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 40% of Likely U.S. Voters believe Fauci has told the truth about U.S. government funding for so-called “gain-of-function” virus research. Forty-six percent (46%) of voters believe Fauci has not told the truth about U.S. funding of such research, and 15% are not sure.

 

Congress

 

BRAUN INTRODUCES AFT ACCOUNTABILITY BILL: U.S. Senator Mike Braun of Indiana along with Senators: Barrasso (R-WY), Blackburn (R -TN), Cramer (R-ND), Crapo (R-ID), Lummis (R-WY), Risch (R-ID), and R. Scott (R-FL) introduced the ATF Accountability Act to provide transparency to gun owners across America on rules made by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (Howey Politics Indiana). The ATF engages in a secretive classification review process where the agency makes decisions about whether a particular firearm is regulated by the National Firearms Act. “American gun owners and manufacturers have been left in the dark for far too long with closed-door rule changes by the ATF. Americans exercising their Second Amendment rights shouldn’t be the last to know the classification status of firearms, or what licenses or tax stamps they need to avoid running afoul of the law. The ATF needs accountability and transparency, which this bill accomplishes.”

 

BRAUN INTRODUCES FIREARM PROTECTION BILL: Senator Mike Braun has introduced the Right to Protect and Bear Arms Act with Senators Barrasso (R-WY), Blackburn (R-TN), Boozman (R-AR), Cotton (R-AR), Cramer (R-ND), Crapo (R-ID), Cruz (R-TX), Daines (R-MT), Ernst (R-IA), Hawley (R-MO), Hoeven (R-ND), Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Lankford (R-OK), Lummis (R-WY), Marshall (R-KS), Moran (R-KS), Risch (R-ID), Rounds (R-SD), R. Scott (R-FL), S. Scott (R-SC), Thune (R-SD), Tillis (R-NC), Wicker (R-MS), and Young (R-IN) (Howey Politics Indiana). This bill would prevent the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services from declaring certain emergencies or disasters for the purpose of imposing gun control. In various reports, gun control organizations are encouraging the Biden Administration to administratively restrict your right to keep and bear arms. One such idea is to declare “gun violence” a public health emergency. The central idea is that declaring gun violence as a “public health emergency” would open “a broad set of powers to accelerate steps to prevent gun violence.”

 

BRAUN PRESSES BLINKIN ON COVID ORIGINS: in a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee, U.S. Sen. Mike Braun asked Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the State Department probe into the lab leak hypothesis of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic that Biden administration officials ended earlier this year (Howey Politics Indiana). Senator Braun's questions noted the Wall Street Journal's reporting today that a U.S. national lab conducted a study in May 2020 that found the lab leak hypothesis was plausible and required further investigation.

 

SENATE APPROVES FIRST BIDEN JUDGE: The Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Biden's first nominee to the federal bench, approving with bipartisan support Julien Neals for the U.S. district court in New Jersey (CBS News). Neals was confirmed 66 to 33, with only Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont not voting. Included among the first slate of judicial nominees announced by the White House in late March, Neals' nomination received the backing of five Republicans, as well as all Democrats, on the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.

 

MANCHIN MEETS WITH CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS: Senator Joe Manchin met with leaders of several civil rights organizations on Tuesday morning, two days after the moderate Democrat from West Virginia announced he would not support an expansive but controversial voting rights and elections reform bill (CBS News). Manchin's public opposition has all but doomed H.R. 1, known as the For the People Act, which the Senate will still consider later this month amid sweeping efforts by Republican-led states to pass laws restricting voting rights. Participants in Tuesday's virtual meeting included NAACP President Derrick Johnson, National Urban League President Marc Morial, and Reverend Al Sharpton; as well as representatives from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Council of Negro Women and National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Manchin told reporters after the meeting that it was "very productive" and "very informative," and that participants "had a constructive conversation." He said that "everyone's position was discussed," but also acknowledged he didn't believe anyone changed their stance.

 

THE HOUSE is out. Acting OMB Director Shalanda Young will testify before the Budget Committee at 11 a.m. and an Appropriations subcommittee at 3 p.m. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will testify before the Education and Labor Committee at noon. Colonial Pipeline CEO JOSEPH BLOUNT will testify before the Homeland Security Committee at noon.

 

THE SENATE is in. Attorney General Garland will testify before an Appropriations subcommittee at 2 p.m.

 

State

 

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SCHEDULE - Gov. Holcomb Public Schedule for Friday, June 11: 2021 Southwest Indiana Chamber "Lunch with the Governor": Gov. Holcomb and Southwest Indiana Chamber. The governor will participate in a Q & A. 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. CST, Old National Events Plaza, 715 Locust Street, Evansville.

 

ISDH: TUESDAY COVID STATS - The Indiana Department of Health announced Tuesday that 302 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at state and private laboratories. That brings to 747,447 the number of Indiana residents now known to have had the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard. To date, 13,278 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 10 from the previous day. Another 418 probable deaths have been reported to date based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record. A total of 3,527,622 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 3,525,889 on Monday. A total of 10,572,711 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26, 2020.

 

COVID: MASK MANDATE STILL IN EFFECT AT INDY AIRPORT: If you’re going to visit the Indianapolis International Airport any time soon, you’ll need to wear a face mask (Fowler, WIBC). Per the TSA, masks are required at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road-buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems through Sept. 13. TSA announced the extension of the federal mask mandate on April 30. Exemptions to the face mask requirement for travelers under the age of two and those with certain disabilities will continue. Fines are still possible for people who do not comply with the mandate. Fines start at $250 and rise to $1,500 for repeat offenders.

 

INDOT: LANE CLOSURES EXTENDED ON OHIO RIVER BRIDGE - A bridge over the Ohio River that connects Kentucky and Indiana needs repair work, which means some lanes will be closed longer than expected, officials said (AP). The three left lanes of the Interstate 65 Kennedy Bridge were closed Monday for an inspection and crews determined an expansion joint needed to be repaired, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said in a statement. Three of the six bridge lanes connecting Jeffersonville, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky, will remain closed until the repairs are completed to avoid damaging vehicles traveling across the span, the statement said. A timeline for repairs wasn’t given.A bridge over the Ohio River that connects Kentucky and Indiana needs repair work, which means some lanes will be closed longer than expected, officials said. The three left lanes of the Interstate 65 Kennedy Bridge were closed Monday for an inspection and crews determined an expansion joint needed to be repaired, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said in a statement. Three of the six bridge lanes connecting Jeffersonville, Indiana, and Louisville, Kentucky, will remain closed until the repairs are completed to avoid damaging vehicles traveling across the span, the statement said. A timeline for repairs wasn’t given.

 

HIGHER EDUCATION: MEETING THURSDAY AT IUSB - The Indiana Commission for Higher Education will meet at Indiana University South Bend at 1 p.m. (ET) Thursday, June 10 at the Student Activity Center, 941 20th Street.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL: ROKITA ANNOUNCES $550M SETTLEMENT - More than 5,000 Hoosiers are receiving $261 checks as a result of a $550 million settlement with the nation’s largest subprime auto financing company, Attorney General Todd Rokita announced Tuesday. The checks were sent on June 4 (Moore, WANE-TV). The Office of the Indiana Attorney General said it reached the settlement last year with Santander Consumer USA Inc. The settlement, in which 33 states participated, resolves allegations that Santander violated consumer protection laws by making auto loans accessible to disadvantaged borrowers who had a high probability of defaulting. “As part of our mission to protect Hoosier consumers, we will continue to hold businesses accountable for following the law,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Hard-working families face enough challenges without having to contend with companies trying to take advantage of them.”

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: CHINA COMPLICATES EURO STEEL TARIFFS - European leaders are expected to press President Joe Biden in meetings starting this week to scrap the steel and aluminum tariffs that former President Donald Trump slapped on them. That will require reaching a deal that appeases Biden’s key constituencies at home — namely steelmakers and unions (Politico). Senior U.S. and European officials recently started negotiations to remove the duties in the latest sign that the Biden administration wants to rebuild relationships with key allies. But getting rid of the European tariffs won’t solve the problem that worried Trump and his predecessors: the global glut of steel coming largely from China, which produces more than half of the world's supply.

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN ADDRESSES PARKLAND STUDENTS - President Joe Biden on Tuesday surprised graduates of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with a speech praising their resolve after surviving a mass shooting and the Covid pandemic (Politico). "Three years ago, your lives and the lives of this community changed in an instant. This class lost a piece of its soul," Biden said in video remarks, referring to the 2018 massacre that killed 17 people and injured 17 others at the Broward County, Fla., high school. "You've been tested in ways no young person should ever have to face."

 

WHITE HOUSE: HARRIS DEFENDS MIGRANT STANCE - Vice President Kamala Harris had her first face-to-face meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday on her first foreign trip in office -- but a visit the administration said was focused on addressing the root causes of migration risks being overshadowed by criticism of the vice president, both from Republicans and members of her own party (ABC News). Harris, currently on the second half of a two-day visit to Guatemala and Mexico, has been getting attack by conservatives for not visiting the southern border since President Joe Biden tasked her with an immigration role in March, when a record-breaking number of unaccompanied minors were crossing the southern border. Now, she is hearing new backlash from progressives for using her international spotlight in Guatemala on Monday to tell immigrants, "Do not come." Speaking with reporters between events in Mexico City on Tuesday, Harris addressed criticism that she didn't include the border in her trip. "You can't say you care about the border without caring about the root causes," Harris said. Of simply traveling to the border, she said, "I don't think that anybody thinks that that would be the solution."

 

WHITE HOUSE: HARRIS RETURNS FROM CENTRAL AMERICA - Vice President Harris returned to Washington early today after her first foreign trip — a Latin America swing (Guatemala, then Mexico) aimed at building hope, so residents feel less compelled to flock to the U.S. border (Politico). "I welcome showing anyone, whatever your race or gender, that you may be the first to do anything, but make sure you're not the last," she said in Guatemala.

 

WHITE HOUSE: HARRIS INVITES 24 FEMALE SENATORS TO DINNER - VP Kamala Harris has invited all of the female senators to her residence for dinner next week — bringing back what were regular bipartisan dinner parties that dwindled after tough election cycles in 2016 and 2020 (Politico). All 24 female senators (16 Democrats and eight Republicans) were invited to the dinner on June 15 at the Observatory, according to three Senate sources — a get-together coming at the height of negotiations over infrastructure. A Harris aide confirmed the dinner is a go.

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE - 8:10 a.m.: President Biden and first lady Jill Biden will depart the White House en route to the U.K. 8 p.m. British Summer Time: The Bidens will arrive at Royal Air Force Mildenhall. 8:45 p.m.: The president and first lady will deliver remarks to U.S. Air Force personnel and their families stationed at Royal Air Force Mildenhall.  9:30 p.m.: They will depart Royal Air Force Mildenhall en route to Cornwall Airport Newquay, where they are scheduled to arrive at 10:55 p.m. BST.  11:20 p.m.: The Bidens will depart for St. Ives, Cornwall, where they are scheduled to arrive at 11:40 p.m. BST.

 

JUSTICE: WILL DEFEND TRUMP IN CARROLL LAWSUIT - The Justice Department argued in a brief filed Monday that it should be permitted to substitute itself for former President Donald Trump as defendant in a defamation lawsuit brought by a longtime magazine columnist, E. Jean Carroll, who accused him of rape, continuing the argument it had initiated under the previous administration even as the White House has changed hands (CNN). "Then-President Trump's response to Ms. Carroll's serious allegations of sexual assault included statements that questioned her credibility in terms that were crude and disrespectful," Justice Department lawyers wrote in a brief to the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals. "But this case does not concern whether Mr. Trump's response was appropriate. Nor does it turn on the truthfulness of Ms. Carroll's allegations." Rather, the lawyers wrote, because they believe Trump was an employee of the government and that he acted "within the scope of employment," the department, rather than Trump personally, should serve as defendant in the case.

 

JUSTICE: IOWA MAN CHARGED AT CAPITOL FEELS DECEIVED - A Des Moines, Iowa, man pictured prominently with a QAnon shirt ahead of a crowd of insurgents inside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack asked a judge on Monday to release him from jail, saying "he feels deceived, recognizing that he bought into a pack of lies" (AP). Douglas Jensen, in a document filed by his attorney, said he believed he was a "true patriot" for going to Washington at the urging of President Donald Trump. He said his intention was to only observe. Jensen claims he is "a victim of numerous conspiracy theories that were being fed to him over the internet by a number of very clever people, who were uniquely equipped with slight, if any, moral or social consciousness."

 

CANADA: U.S. BORDER TO REOPEN JUNE 22 - The mayors of Canadian border cities say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has signaled it could start easing Covid-19 restrictions at the Canada-U.S. frontier on June 22 if the country’s vaccination campaign stays on its current trajectory (Politico). Jim Diodati, mayor of Niagara Falls, Ontario, told POLITICO that Public Safety Minister Bill Blair delivered the message during a recent virtual meeting of border mayors from the province. “He didn’t put it in stone but he suggested that [June 22] is the date they’re looking at,” Diodati said Monday of the May 28 meeting with Blair, who is Trudeau’s cabinet minister responsible for the border. “We’re hoping to get some more confirmation this week.”

 

WASHINGTON: STATE OFFERS 'JOINTS FOR JABS' - Adults can claim a complimentary joint of marijuana in Washington state this week when they receive a COVID-19 vaccine shot (ABC News). The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced Monday that the promotion, called "Joints for Jabs," was effective immediately and would run through July 12. During the afforded time period, state-licensed cannabis retailers are permitted to give one free pre-rolled joint to customers who are 21 or older when they receive their first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at an active, on-site vaccination clinic. Customers can only claim the complimentary joint from the retail location during the same visit as receiving the jab, according to the board.

 

MLB: VAUGHN LEADS CHISOX OVER BLUE JAYS 6-1 - Andrew Vaughn got one last chance against Robbie Ray, and he delivered (ESPN). Then Vaughn and company landed the knockout blow. Vaughn homered in the seventh inning and connected for a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth, helping the Chicago White Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1 on Tuesday night.

 

MLB: CUBS DRUB PADRES 7-1 -  Zach Davies allowed just one hit in six scoreless innings, Anthony Rizzo homered and drove in four runs, and Patrick Wisdom went deep again for the Chicago Cubs as they defeated the San Diego Padres 7-1 Tuesday night (ESPN). Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs, who are 4-1 against the Padres in a span of nine days. Chicago swept the Padres at Wrigley Field last week, when Wisdom homered three times — including twice in the first game. San Diego won the opener of this series 9-4 on Monday night.

 

MLB: BREWERS DOWN REDS 5-1 - Avisail Garcia homered and singled home another run and the streaking Milwaukee Brewers beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-1 on Tuesday night for their fifth straight win (ESPN). The NL Central-leading Brewers were coming off a four-game sweep of Arizona and have won 10 of their last 11.

 

Local

 

FORT WAYNE: COUNCIL TO WEIGH VAX PASSPORT RESOLUTION - Fort Wayne City Council voted to introduce a resolution that opposes government-required COVID-19 vaccine passports at Tuesday’s meeting. Councilmen Jason Arp (4th district) and Paul Ensley (1st district) are the resolution’s co-sponsors (Clydesdale, WANE-TV). “The resolution helps to offer some protection against discrimination based upon someone’s medical decisions in places of public accommodation,” Ensley said. “It really extends the message to our constituents who have had a lot of their freedoms sidestepped or trampled upon, you know, put on the back burner over the last 15 months.” At Tuesday’s meeting, the councilmembers voted 6-3 to allow it to be introduced. At the end of the meeting, 14 Fort Wayne residents spoke in support of the resolution during the allotted time for public comment. “I hope you will all stand for freedom because the vaccine passport tramples over top of it,” said June Hapfield, a Fort Wayne resident. “It opens up a Pandora’s box to tyranny. Some say it’s a slippery slope, I think it’s a deep dive into tyranny. It takes me back to the papers required of German citizens in order for them to travel about freely in their cities under Adolf Hitler.” Others called vaccine passports “discriminatory” and “un-American.” “Come on, man. What happened to America?” said another resident. “This isn’t the America I fell in love with. It’s passed the time to start sticking up for your voter’s rights.”

 

BLOOMINGTON: HAMILTON TO ASK COUNCIL FOR RELIEF FUNDS - The City of Bloomington is preparing to roll out its long-term strategy for addressing housing insecurity and homelessness within the next few weeks (Indiana Public Media). Local officials hosted a press conference Tuesday afternoon to report on some preliminary plans and provide an update on the progress made by community partners. “In recent months, we helped bring a broad coalition around the table to begin addressing the many components of achieving what some may call ‘functional zero’, a milestone indicating a community has measurably ended homelessness,” said Efrat Feferman, executive director of United Way Monroe County.

 

FORT WAYNE: TINCAPS GO TO FULL CAPACITY — The Fort Wayne TinCaps have announced Tuesday afternoon they will begin selling all seats at Parkview Field, with a return to full capacity on Tuesday, June 29. Tickets will go on sale for all remainder 2021 home games starting Tuesday, June 15 at 10 AM (WANE-TV). Beginning Wednesday, fans who purchased a ticket for the cancelled 2020 season also have early access to exchange their ticket for any remaining 2021 home game.

 

MICHIGAN CITY: HEALTH OFFICIALS TURN TO CHURCHES TO BOOST VAX — New Hope Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Jacarra Williams says the best time to reach people is Sunday mornings (LaPorte Herald-Dispatch). With that in mind, Franciscan Health officials recently brought information on the COVID-19 vaccines to two Michigan City church congregations. Hospital president and CEO Dean Mazzoni, and Community Health Improvement coordinator Nila Williams were joined by Franciscan Health physicians to speak and answer questions at New Hope and Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church.

 

INDIANAPOLIS: CITY TURNS TO CHURCHES TO BOOST VACCINE RATE - The city is mobilizing churches, community groups and nonprofits to boost its COVID vaccination rate (Berman, WIBC). 86 Indianapolis churches and community organizations have received a million dollars in grants from the city and the Marion County Health Department, to help break down uncertainty about the vaccine. Indianapolis Urban League family services director Mark A. Russell says organizations like the Urban League have built a level of trust with their clients through daily contact that county or state government can’t match. The grant recipients include several groups whose usual focus isn’t public health, from the Children’s Museum to Gleaners Food Bank to the anti-crime Ten Point Coalition. Founder Charles Harrison says Ten Point volunteers will hand out vaccine information during their neighborhood patrols, and at Sunday church services, and will provide transportation for people who need help getting to a vaccine clinic.

 

INDIANAPOLIS: ELSENER REACTS TO COVID MANDATE CHANGES - Marion County Republican Chairman Joe Elsener reacted to the City-County Council moves on COVID-19 pandemic mandates Monday (Howey Politics Indiana): "Throughout the COVID 19 pandemic, national, state, and local leaders have advocated that we must “follow the science” to defeat COVID 19. I have appreciated the state’s leadership in balancing lives and livelihoods and the support for local discretion. Unfortunately, at last night’s City-County Council meeting the Democrat super majority voted to keep burdensome restrictions on businesses without posting the proposal publicly and without allowing full debate on the topic. While Democrats chose to ignore transparency and science, Republicans advocated that it is time to follow the science and open Indianapolis 100% for residents to live and businesses to operate at maximum capacity. Despite CDC guidelines, vaccine availability, and most other cities nationally of like or even much larger size opening, Democrats in Indianapolis want to continue to keep in place burdensome requirements on businesses until at least July. Furthermore, President Osili and the rest of Democrat Caucus will not even allow debate on the topic."

 

WESTFIELD: MAYOR, CLERK END LEGAL TUSSLE - Westfield Mayor Andy Cook and Clerk-Treasurer Cindy Gossard have agreed to end a legal battle over the administration’s access to city records and how those records were handled as part of an investigation into the city’s finances (Christian, IBJ). In January, Cook filed a complaint in Hamilton County Superior Court 2 to force Gossard to cooperate with a financial investigation by providing the administration and its appointed examiners direct access to city files. Gossard said the administration conceded, and they will not have the full access to personnel financial files as they originally sought. She has given the city’s leaders access to some of the city’s systems, but there are still areas they can’t view or edit. “They have view-only access and they can run reports in specific modules, but as far as them having full and unfettered access to everything? No, they do not,” she said. “I don’t believe that administration should be able to get into the employees accounts and see their bank information and that sort of thing.”

 

LAKE COUNTY: COUNCIL MOVES AHEAD WITH PURCHASING - The Lake County Council is preparing to move ahead with its takeover of the county's purchasing and data processing departments from the Lake County Commissioners, despite a pending legal challenge aimed at stopping it (Carden, NWI Times). On Tuesday, Lake County's seven-member legislative body unanimously agreed to finalize at its July 15 meeting the paperwork it believes is necessary to complete the transfer of the two departments from the county's three-member executive branch. Councilman Christian Jorgensen, R-St. John, said if everything goes according to plan, the county's purchasing and data processing departments officially will be managed by the council, instead of the commissioners, beginning July 26.