Biden’s new push to protect LGBTQI+ health care- POLITICO

At an LGBTQI+ Pride Month event this afternoon, President JOE BIDEN will sign an executive order directing the HHS Department to move to protect members of the community including (1) starting efforts to ban so-called conversion therapy and (2) expanding access to gender-affirming treatment following attempts from a number of red states to ban or otherwise limit transgender health care, particularly for children, Sarah Owermohle and Eugene report.

What it would do: The executive order calls on HHS to clarify “that federally funded programs cannot offer conversion therapy, a widely discredited practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and work on a public information campaign about the practice.” Biden is also directing HHS to take “steps to address the barriers and exclusionary policies” to certain types of health care and treatment.

— The context: The order comes on the heels of Florida Gov. RON DESANTIS’ move to end gender-affirming care for minors and Republican Gov. GREG ABBOTT’s February order that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services investigate parents who provide their children with gender-affirming care, comparing it to “child abuse.”

An administration official said Biden will sign the order surrounded by LGBTQI+ kids from Texas and Florida who “have been personally impacted” by those policies. One of the children, who organized student walkouts over Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, will introduce the president.

What comes next: The executive order is likely to lead to a fresh round of legal challenges and battles with governors and anti-transgender advocates advancing limits to transgender rights. “We’re prepared for what Biden throws our way,” DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential contender, said earlier this month during a press conference at which he criticized a federal policy that would require schools that receive food and nutrition aid to adopt anti-discrimination language around gender identity.

GUN DEAL LATEST — Sen. JOHN CORNYN (R-Texas) is sounding a bit more tempered in his expectations for the Senate’s gun safety framework today. Cornyn told reporters he is “concerned” that there could be outstanding issues related to red-flag laws and the so-called “boyfriend loophole.” “At some point, if we can’t get to 60 then we’re going to have to pare some of this, some of it down,” Cornyn said, per NBC’s Frank Thorp. “I don’t think we’re at that point yet, [because] if we can settle these two issues, I think we’re on our way, but I am concerned now, given the time it takes and the need to complete our work, really by tomorrow, that we got to settle these issues.”

But in light of Cornyn’s caution, Democrats aren’t so concerned:

— Sen. CHRIS MURPHY (D-Conn.): “I think we’ve got more issues than that,” he said, referring to Cornyn’s comments. “But they’re all overcomeable. … There’s always going to be some polite disagreements in terms of how that turns into text, but yeah, I was glad to know that he thought we only had two issues remaining to solve.”

— Sen. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-Ariz.): “We’re actually doing well. … We’re working through all the language, we’re doing great. We’re gonna get the bill done.”

Cornyn will meet “with the other key negotiators this afternoon,”per Marianne LeVine.

SHOCKING VIDEO — The Jan. 6 select committee released a video on its Twitter account today offering evidence that a man who was given a tour of the Capitol building on Jan. 5, 2021, by Rep. BARRY LOUDERMILK (R-Ga.) was part of the mob that marched to the Capitol on the next day — though it’s unclear at this time whether he actually entered the building. “The video … appears to show a man taking photos of tunnels, hallways and staircases within the Capitol complex while on a tour led by Loudermilk,” CNN’s Annie Grayer, Zachary Cohen and Ryan Nobles write. “The committee has not identified the man, but sources say the committee has interviewed him.”

In the video, the man is heard making threatening comments about NANCY PELOSI, CHUCK SCHUMER, JERRY NADLER and ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: “There’s no escape, Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler — we’re coming for you. We’re coming in like white on rice for Pelosi, Nadler, Schumer, even you AOC. We’re coming to take you out. Pull you out by your hairs.” The video also shows images that were taken on the Jan. 5 tour, including pictures captured right outside of Nadler’s office.

“The video released by the committee seems to challenge the findings of U.S. Capitol Police as detailed in a letter sent to Republican lawmakers this week, which said the department conducted a review of security footage from January 5 and did not observe any activities it deemed to be suspicious or consistent with a reconnaissance tour,” notes CNN.

FWIW, Loudermilk released a statement defending the tour: “The Capitol Police already put this false accusation to bed, yet the Committee is undermining the Capitol Police and doubling down on their smear campaign,” he said. Watch the 2:47 video released by the committeeRead Loudermilk’s statement Read the letter the committee sent to Loudermilk

Good Wednesday afternoon.

BUFFALO LATEST — “The white gunman who killed 10 Black people in a racist attack at a Buffalo supermarket was charged Wednesday with federal hate crimes and could face the death penalty,” AP’s Carolyn Thompson writes from Buffalo.


NEW PENNSYLVANIA POLL — A new USA Today Network/Suffolk University poll has some interesting findings out of the Keystone State. The big takeaways: Dems hold the advantage right now, but the margins don’t leave much wiggle room. The details, via Bruce Siwy:

  • “Democrat JOHN FETTERMAN holds a 9-point lead over Republican MEHMET OZ in Pennsylvania’s closely watched U.S. Senate race.”
  • “In the state’s gubernatorial race, Democrat JOSH SHAPIRO has a 4-point advantage over Republican DOUG MASTRIANO, which is within the poll’s plus or minus 4.4-percentage-point margin of error.”

MUSK READ — Billionaire tech mogul ELON MUSK said today that he voted for MAYRA FLORES, who won Tuesday night’s Texas special election in the 34th Congressional District, noting that it was the first time he’s voted for a Republican candidate. But he also weighed in on his current preference in the 2024 presidential race, saying that he’s leaning toward supporting DeSantis,Matt Dixon writes, despite the fact that the Florida governor has not formally announced a campaign.

DeSantis, responding to the tweet from the South Africa-born billionaire: “I welcome support from African-Americans, what can I say.”

— Musk also tweeted: “I’m thinking of creating a ‘Super Moderate Super PAC’ that supports candidates with centrist views from all parties.”


FOR YOUR RADAR — JOSEPH BIGGS, a member of the Proud Boys charged with seditious conspiracy for his role in the Capitol attack, is asking a federal judge to move his pending trial from D.C. to Florida because he’s worried that the select committee’s public hearings will affect how a jury treats him. “In a seven-page filing late Tuesday, Biggs contended that ‘media-attentive’ Washingtonians will accept the select committee’s presentation about Biggs, which cast him as a central figure in igniting the breach,” Kyle Cheney reports. “The filing, which is now on the docket of U.S. District Court Judge TIM KELLY, underscores the degree to which high-profile Jan. 6 defendants are likely to use the select committee’s June hearings to benefit their defense.”


ABORTIONS INCREASED DURING TRUMP ERA — Alice Miranda Ollstein explores a fascinating trend: “The number of abortions in the U.S. jumped 8 percent between 2017 and 2020 — the first documented increase after more than three decades of declining demand for the procedure amid improved access to contraception and sex education.”

IN THE STATES — “Before Roe Ruling, All Clinics in Some States Have Already Stopped Abortions,” by NYT’s Claire Cain Miller and Margot Sanger-Katz: “Although Roe v. Wade remains the law of the land, women can no longer get a legal abortion in two states, Oklahoma and South Dakota. In at least one other, Missouri, they can no longer make an appointment. And in a fourth state, Wisconsin, clinics will not schedule abortions for after the end of the Supreme Court’s term in late June. … The changes in the last few weeks suggest how quickly an overturning of Roe could reduce abortion access across the South and Midwest, which would be a hard-fought victory for the anti-abortion movement.”

THE GLOBAL PUSH — The Supreme Court’s draft opinion that would strike down Roe v. Wade is reverberating across the world. “Abortion-rights advocates from around the world have met with congressional, USAID, HHS and State Department leaders to discuss worries that their countries will be next to see more restrictions if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade,” Daniel Payne reports this morning. “In meetings last week, the activists said they spoke to officials not only about their fears of the international impact if Roe were to fall but also proposed changes to U.S. policy that has long restricted funding for abortions abroad.”


A DECADE AFTER DACA — As DACA turns 10, there is a new reality emerging: “For the first time, a majority of the undocumented immigrants graduating from high schools across the United States have none of the protections offered over the past 10 years under an Obama-era program that shielded most of the so-called Dreamers from deportation and offered them access to jobs and help with college tuition,” writes NYT’s Miriam Jordan. It was intended to be a temporary fix while policymakers figured out a long-term one — but “a long-term political solution never materialized.”

To mark the anniversary, VP KAMALA HARRIS will be meeting with DACA recipients and Dreamers in her West Wing office this afternoon. A White House official described it as a listening session, and that Harris will talk about “the administration’s commitment to preserving and fortifying DACA.” She will also talk about the contributions of Dreamers to our communities and reiterate “the need for Congress to pass legislation that provides lasting protections.”


STAFF SHAKEUP —JULIE CHAVEZ RODRIGUEZ is taking on a new role in the White House as a senior adviser, CBS’ Ed O’Keefe reports, “making her the first Latina to ever hold a top West Wing staffing role.” She is currently director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and will keep that role.

And here’s a cool detail: “When the president consults his senior team in the Oval Office, there’s a 22-inch-tall bronze bust of CESAR CHAVEZ peering at them. Chavez is the late civil rights and farm worker leader who founded the union that eventually became known as the United Farm Workers — and Julie Chavez Rodriguez is his granddaughter.”


— Defense Secretary LLOYD AUSTIN is in Brussels today warning Western allies to “to redouble their military aid to Ukraine, warning that it “is facing a pivotal moment on the battlefield” in the nearly four-month war with Russia,” NYT’s Eric Schmitt and David Sanger report. “The United States and its allies are expected to announce the delivery of more weapons and equipment later on Wednesday in response to increasingly urgent pleas from President VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY for more heavy arms to retake eastern territory lost to Russia and to defend against Russian missile attacks.”


THE WATCHING WORLD — “Israel is looking to U.S. President Joe Biden’s Mideast trip next month to bolster its efforts to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia, a country with which it does not have official ties, according to Israel’s foreign minister,” AP’s Laurie Kellman reports from Jerusalem.

BEHIND THE SCENES — “​​How Biden Came Around to MBS’ Plan for a New U.S.-Saudi Partnership,” by Elise Labott for POLITICO Magazine: “The inside story of how the administration came to slowly realize that Saudi Arabia was too valuable to keep at arm’s length.”


OUT AND ABOUT — Belgian Ambassador Jean-Arthur Régibeau honored German Marshall Fund President Heather Conley on Monday night to mark the relaunch of the House Friends of Belgium Caucus. SPOTTED: Caucus co-chairs Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas) and Mike Turner (R-Ohio), caucus members Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Reps. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Colin Allred (D-Texas), Jan Briers, Karl Vanlouwe and David Cotter. Pic

TRANSITION — Nick Manriquez is now a legislative analyst for GrayRobinson’s government affairs and lobbying team. He previously was a paralegal in the Major Economic Crimes Bureau of the New York County District Attorney’s Office.

ENGAGED — Emily Vander Weele, director of public affairs at Weber Shandwick, and Michael Stablein, team lead for pipeline safety at Washington Gas, got engaged on Saturday at the Inn at Little Washington. The couple met at a White Ford Bronco concert at the 9:30 Club in 2017. Pic Another pic 

WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Chelsee Woodey, associate director, global government affairs at Kraft Heinz Company, and James Martin, senior housing specialist at HUD, welcomed Fields William Martin on June 1 exactly 79 years apart from his grandpa William Roy Woodey. Pic 

— Emilia Varrone, ophthalmology resident at VCU Health, and Andrew Hutson, senior media buyer at GMMB, welcomed Alfred Torbjørn Hutson on Thursday.

BONUS BIRTHDAY: ROKK Solutions’ Corinne Gorda

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