Welcome to The Daily 202! Tell your friends to sign up here. On this day in 1856, Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina savagely beat anti-slavery Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts with a cane on the Senate floor.
The big idea
Backed up by G-7, Biden predicts he’ll talk to Xi ‘very shortly’
Three big things defined President Biden’s presence at the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Japan:
- The standoff with Republicans demanding deep spending cuts — and the reversal of several of his signature achievements — as the price for averting an unprecedented default;
- Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s surprise visit, coupled with an escalation of aid to his government in the form of F-16 deliveries that Biden had long opposed;
- Unusual G-7 unity of purpose in countering China’s “economic coercion,” including denunciations of the tactic and the emergence of a multilateral mechanism for resisting Beijing’s use of trade and investment to pressure America’s allies.
But as he wrapped up his stay in Hiroshima, Japan, Biden seemed bullish about the resumption of communications between himself and Chinese President Xi Jinping, which had been on a promising path until a Chinese spy balloon flew over sensitive American sites in February.
“I think you’re going to see that begin to thaw very shortly,” the president told reporters on Sunday. “We should have an open hotline. At the Bali conference, that’s what President Xi and I agree we were going to do and meet on.” The two leaders met in Bali in November.
(There’s a military-to-military hotline between Beijing and Washington, but China regularly refuses to engage. Current and former U.S. officials have regularly called for establishing a more reliable “hotline” for defusing crises, over frequently strenuous resistance from Beijing.)
Early test for the ‘thaw’ theory
Before the Chinese spy balloon incident, Biden and Xi had kept lines of communication open. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen were both due to visit China. The crisis postponed both visits indefinitely, though the United States wants them to happen. And China resisted the administration’s repeated public entreaties to resume talking.
Then, earlier this month, the U.S. ambassador to Beijing, Nicholas Burns, finally met with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang. And Biden national security adviser Jake Sullivan met in Vienna 10 days ago with a senior Chinese foreign policy official.
The next test for the thaw theory comes this week, when Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao is expected in Washington for talks with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and with U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai Wang will also attend Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings.
The G-7 goes after ‘economic coercion’
Biden’s upbeat assessment came after the G-7 — comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, host Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and joined by the European Union — took aim at what the group referred to as China’s “economic coercion.”
“We will work together to ensure that attempts to weaponize economic dependencies by forcing G7 members and our partners including small economies to comply and conform will fail and face consequences,” the G7 leaders said in a statement that did not mention China by name.
The G-7 leaders also:
- Agreed to beef up supply chains and reduce dependence on China for things like critical minerals or microchips;
- Agreed to create a “Coordination Platform on Economic Coercion.” While this still needs a lot of fleshing out, the animating idea is to foster collective action if and when China tries to use its trade or investment clout to coerce a given country. Notably, the response will reach “partners beyond the G7.”
Perhaps most significantly, Biden seemed to win G-7 buy-in (at least rhetorically) for extensive multilateral export controls. The U.S. — backed by Japan and the Netherlands — has tried to starve China’s economy (and military) of high-tech inputs, including microchips. By virtue of their greater dependence on China, other G-7 countries are unlikely to go that far.
“We affirm the importance of cooperation on export controls on critical and emerging technologies such as microelectronics and cyber surveillance systems to address the misuse of such technologies by malicious actors and inappropriate transfers of such technologies through research activities,” the leaders said in Hiroshima.
The big question for the G-7
The actual mechanics of the “coordination platform” and implementation of new exports controls still need to be worked out. But the internal challenge to unified action became clear almost immediately.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told German broadcaster ZDF on Sunday that “[m]embers of the Group of Seven rich nations will ensure big investments in China continue even as they pare risky exposure to the world's second-largest economy,” Reuters reported.
Scholz said “big investments would still continue, as would supply chains and exports to China [and] said that while the countries wanted to limit their risk exposure, no one had an interest in curbing growth in China,” Reuters said.
That may be in line with Biden, who said Sunday: “We’re not looking to decouple from China, we’re looking to de-risk and diversify our relationship with China.”
Or it may presage a debate over what “de-risk” means.
What’s happening now
Delaware’s Sen. Carper announces retirement, ending decades-long political career
“Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) said Monday that will not seek reelection to a fifth term next year, ending a political career that has spanned nearly a half-century and opening a seat in a Democratic-leaning state,” John Wagner reports.
Biden, McCarthy to meet on debt ceiling as Wall Street starts to worry
“President Biden is set to meet Monday with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to resume negotiations over raising the nation’s debt ceiling, as Washington races to resolve a crisis that is beginning to sow increasing anxiety on Wall Street,” Tony Romm reports.
Book removals may have violated student civil rights, Education Dept. says
“In a move that could affect how schools handle book challenges, the federal government has concluded that a Georgia school district’s removal of titles with Black and LGBTQ characters may have created a ‘hostile environment’ for students, potentially violating their civil rights,” Hannah Natanson and Dan Rosenzweig-Ziff report.
Tim Scott formally kicks off presidential bid, saying ‘our nation is retreating’
“Sen. Tim Scott, one of the country’s most prominent Black Republicans, kicked off his presidential campaign [in North Charleston, S.C. on] Monday, emphasizing his personal story while also attacking President Biden,” Marianne LeVine reports.
Lunchtime reads from The Post
As S.C. abortion vote nears, GOP women rebuke the men: ‘It’s always about control’
“When the fight over the right to abortion fell to the states, it landed awkwardly in Senate Office 601, where two Republicans who share the same suite, receptionist and voice-mail box have campaigned all year against each other’s idea of ‘pro-life,’” Danielle Paquette reports.
- “On one side of the roughly 800-square-foot space is Sen. Rex Rice, 66, who said every pregnancy represented ‘God’s child’ and pushed for a near-total ban on abortion in South Carolina. On the other is Sen. Sandy Senn, 59, who, loudly enough for him to hear, slammed that approach as ‘all about controlling women.’”
Seniors are flooding homeless shelters that can’t care for them
“Advocates for homeless people in many big cities say they have seen a spike in the number of elderly homeless, who have unique health and housing needs. Some communities, including Phoenix and Orange County in California, are racing to come up with novel solutions, including establishing senior shelters and hiring specially trained staff,” Christopher Rowland reports.
Republicans deploy new playbook for abortion bans, citing political backlash
“Lawmakers in some Republican-led states have started coalescing behind bans that allow most abortions to continue — a reaction, some Republicans say, to the sustained political backlash to abortion restrictions that has been mounting since the landmark decision in June,” Rachel Roubein, Caroline Kitchener and Colby Itkowitz report.
… and beyond
The decisions we forget
“Too often, we look at these rulings in isolation, missing their full impact. But Supreme Court decisions on religion, speech, states’ rights, and abortion all intersect. The path to how so many Americans live now—with dramatically restricted access to reproductive health care that often turns dangerous and even deadly—began well before the Supreme Court overturned Roe in 2022’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It began when the increasingly conservative court facilitated an explosion in crisis pregnancy centers across the country,” Mark Joseph Stern reports for Slate.
An Iranian nuclear facility is so deep underground that US airstrikes likely couldn’t reach it
“Near a peak of the Zagros Mountains in central Iran, workers are building a nuclear facility so deep in the earth that it is likely beyond the range of a last-ditch U.S. weapon designed to destroy such sites, according to experts and satellite imagery analyzed by The Associated Press,” the AP’s Jon Gambrell reports.
Why was Gandhi killed? After official edit, India’s textbooks don’t say
“A revised version of the Class 12 history book, whose printed copies became available this year … identifies Nathuram Godse as Gandhi’s killer, but provides no information about him or his motive. Also deleted are broader references to Hindu hard-liners who opposed Gandhi’s vision of religious pluralism for newly independent India 75 years ago,” the Wall Street Journal’s Krishna Pokharel reports.
- “The edits are among recent changes under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to what students learn about their country’s past. Members of his political party—which is linked to a decades-old movement to shape India into a Hindu-dominant nation—have long criticized school curriculum as unbalanced and biased against Hindus.”
The Biden agenda
Colorado River states reach deal with Biden to protect drought-stricken river
“The states along the Colorado River — a vital source of water and electricity for the American West — reached an agreement with the Biden administration on Monday to conserve an unprecedented amount of their water supply in exchange for about $1 billion in federal funding, according to people familiar with the situation,” Joshua Partlow reports.
- “After nearly a year of negotiations and multiple missed deadlines, the deal amounts to a temporary solution intended to protect the country’s largest reservoirs — Lake Powell and Lake Mead — from dropping to critical levels over the next three years.”
Biden gets low ratings on economy, guns, immigration in AP-NORC Poll
“As President Joe Biden embarks on his reelection campaign, just 33% of American adults say they approve of his handling of the economy and only 24% say national economic conditions are in good shape, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research,” the AP’s Aamer Madhani and Emily Swanson report.
Mayor Adams hits Biden on migrant crisis, says NYC is ‘paying for a national problem’
“Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday called on President Joe Biden to send more aid to New York as the city continues to welcome thousands of asylum-seekers every week. During an appearance on CBS’s ‘Face the Nation,’ Adams said the $30.5 million federal grant approved for New York earlier this month to help migrants fell far short of what the city needs,” the Gothamist’s Clayton Guse reports.
How the Patriot missile system works, visualized
“This week, the newly arrived U.S.-made Patriot air defense system shot down missiles aimed at Kyiv, Ukrainian officials said, including advanced missiles that have previously eluded outmatched air defense equipment,” Alex Horton, Ruby Mellen, Samuel Granados and Artur Galocha report.
Hot on the left
Back in hoodies and gym shorts, Fetterman tackles Senate life after depression treatment
“People close to Fetterman say his relaxed, comfortable style is a sign that the senator is making a robust recovery after six weeks of inpatient treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where his clinical depression was treated with medication and he was fitted for hearing aids for hearing loss that had made it harder for him to communicate. His hospitalization came less than a year after he had a stroke during his Senate campaign that he has said nearly killed him, and from which he continues to recover,” the AP’s Mary Clare Jalonick and Marc Levy report.
Hot on the right
The battle to defeat Jon Tester in Montana is personal for Republicans
“Tester’s allies essentially agree that the race will be a test of whether the senator’s authenticity and connection with his home state’s voters can override most Montanans’ inclination to vote Republican,” Liz Goodwin reports.
- “Trump carried the state by 16 percentage points in 2020 — less than he won it by in 2016. But in 2022, Democratic state lawmakers lost races in the party’s former stronghold of Great Falls and Cascade County — Tester’s backyard — and the GOP gained a supermajority in the Montana state legislature.”
Today in Washington
At 5:30 p.m., Biden will meet with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in the Oval Office.
Endless posing: The constant, awkward photos at world summits
“They came, from miles and hours away. They saw, viewing the sobering and spectacular sites the area has to offer. And they took photos. Lots and lots of photos,” Matt Viser reports.
Thanks for reading. See you tomorrow.