In This Episode
- Congressional Republicans have countered President Biden’s nearly $2 trillion infrastructure proposal with their own plan and a lower price tag: $928 billion. It came as Biden is expected to unveil a $6 trillion budget on Friday, too. We breakdown what’s in the GOP version of the infrastructure bill, and where this puts negotiations.
- The filibuster is also coming into play as Senate Republicans vow to block the creation of a bipartisan commission that would’ve investigated the January 6th Capitol insurrection.
- And in headlines: three Tacoma, Washington, police officers charged for the killing of 33-year-old Black man Manuel Ellis, Super Smash Bros becomes a high school varsity sport, and Usher announces a sequel to “Confessions.”
Akilah Hughes: It’s Friday, May 28th, I’m Akilah Hughes.
Gideon Resnick: And I’m Gideon Resnick, and this is What A Day, where we are finally kicking off our campaign to get Ratatouille: The Musical it’s much deserved Tony nominations.
Akilah Hughes: Gideon. I think it’s definitely too late. I mean, they already announced the nominees. And furthermore, I don’t even think it was close to being eligible.
Gideon Resnick: OK, I’m big enough to admit we could have planned this better. On today’s show, Senate Republicans are expected to block a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6th riot at the Capitol. Plus, we’ll have headlines.
Akilah Hughes: But first, the latest.
[clip of President Biden] Like when we brought electricity to every household in the country in 1930s, or we connected the country to the interstate highway system in the ’50s—they created millions of jobs, good-paying jobs. They set the economy up to grow more quickly and share prosperity more broadly for decades to come.
Akilah Hughes: Yeah, so that was President Biden in Ohio yesterday, making the case for the country to reinvest in that kind of infrastructure that he is talking about. When he said that they did that in the ’30s, there was a part of me that thought: was it him in particular. [laughs]
Gideon Resnick: Right. Right. All him.
Akilah Hughes: But I, you know, I let that subside. But, Giddy, we haven’t checked in on the president’s proposed $1.7 trillion infrastructure bill in a long time. We are now reaching the self-imposed deadline of Memorial Day that the White House had set for negotiations. So let’s break down where things are at the moment, beginning with this Republican counterproposal yesterday.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, this was the big talk of the town. So West Virginia Senator Shelley Capito presented the GOP’s own package here worth about $928 billion. And some of the things in it include over 500 billion for roads and bridges, almost 100 billion for public transit, over 50 billion for airports, and then billions for broadband and some other things.
Akilah Hughes: Yeah, but this is also like half of what Biden wanted. So what was the reaction to these cheapskates out here tightening the purses. Open them bags!
Gideon Resnick: Yup. That’s basically what the White House said. They first indicated that the counteroffer could lead to more negotiations next week perhaps—pass this target date of Memorial Day—while not seeming particularly enthused by all of this. And then a bipartisan group, including Senator Mitt Romney, is also expected to come up with their own plan that I guess could hypothetically keep conversations going. But at this point, Senate Democrats specifically are getting impatient and sound close to walking away soon. As an example here is Senator Warren on MSNBC yesterday:
[clip of Sen. Warren] I don’t really think this is a serious counteroffer. First of all, they don’t have pay-fors for this. It’s not real. They have this illusory notion of how we’re going to take money that’s already been committed to other places and other spending.
Akilah Hughes: They um, [laughs] Liz ain’t having it. All right. Well, are there any indications on what the White House is willing to pare back and negotiate on? Hopefully it’s nothing. But is there anything?
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, there are, actually. So Biden’s bill currently at 1.7 trillion with a T, is over 500 billion less than what was actually first put on the table here. So the White House took out some of the money devoted to broadband, for example, and reduced proposed spending on highways, among other things. And even at that stage, progressives in the Senate were already preparing, and in some cases actually kind of maybe hoping, for starting the budget reconciliation process for this, thinking that a bipartisan deal is just not going to work, not going to happen. And beyond even the differences in numbers that we’re talking about that are attached to these various proposals, the ideas of how to even pay for it are even more different. So for one thing, this new Republican offer actually only puts forward about 257 billion in new funding. That’s the big asterisk on this. That’s because Republicans want to pay for most of the bill by repurposing money from the most recent pandemic relief law—they’re not even coming up with new stuff. And the White House is not cool with that. And from the Biden side of things, they have talked about tax increases on corporations and the wealthy to pay for the infrastructure bill, which unsurprisingly, Republicans are not cool with either.
Akilah Hughes: I mean, I think that they should just try to be cool with it, quite frankly, you know.
Gideon Resnick: They could, just once, see what it’s like. So we go into next week still somewhat close to where this whole process began.
Akilah Hughes: OK, so this is how things are going between the White House and Republicans. But what more are we hearing from other Democrats about all of it?
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, that is another wrinkle in here as well. So there are at least two other things that progressives are focused on getting included here. But importantly, they’ve also gotten a huge range of support from across the party for them. So one is going after a big expansion of Medicare in the infrastructure package by lowering the eligibility age to 60 from 65. They also wanted to cover things like dental and vision and allow the program to negotiate drug prices. This is all to get the president to follow through on a campaign promise to expand the benefits. And more than 150 House Democrats are on board with this idea, as well as something like 20 senators.
Akilah Hughes: Well, there you go. You know, I just feel like they can retire finally. [laughs] Maybe we get some new blood in the damn Congress.
Gideon Resnick: That’s exactly why they’re doing it. The second thing the progressives want here is a push from over 200 House Democrats to get strong labor standards attached to any clean energy projects that are funded by this plan. That includes, among other things, like codifying union rights, which is part of a bill that we’ve talked about before, the Pro Act. And Akilah, it’s actually possible that House Democrats might not support an infrastructure package that does not have these labor standards attached to them. But we’ll see.
Akilah Hughes: All right. So last thing on a busy few days here for the Bush administration: the president is expected to propose an overall budget plan today. What do we know about it?
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, it’s supposed to be around six trillion dollars set for 2020, but it just includes some of the major proposed bills that we’ve talked about, like the infrastructure plan and the education and families plan, but this would all amount to the highest federal spending since World War Two, according to reporting from places like The New York Times. Additionally, they also said that Biden is going to call on Congress to create a public option for health care as part of this overall proposal, and express support for that Medicare plan that we just mentioned. So that is a fast and furious overview of where this all stands going into the weekend. We will update you when you get back. Do not worry at all at your respective grilling occasions that you’re going to have. But Akilah, there’s even more news out of D.C. these past few days, the January 6th Commission. What is the word there?
Akilah Hughes: As we go to record on Thursday night, elected Republican officials in our Senate are expected to use the filibuster to obstruct the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6th insurrection attempt that led to the record second, impeachment of a president. On the right, the only support for the investigation came from Collins, Murkowski and Romney. Joe Manchin, destroyer of our government shrugged.
Gideon Resnick: Just like Atlas. And this is especially damning, not just because this happened less than six months ago, and not just because several people were killed, and not just because Republicans are still telling the big lie that the election was stolen and there hasn’t really been accountability, but also because some Capitol Police officers and the family of the officer who died the next day were not enough to sway them.
Akilah Hughes: That’s right. The Conservative Party believes that blue lives matter only to shut up people who want to say Black lives matter in this country, not like in any real way. Some conservatives met with the fallen officer’s family and weren’t convinced that investigation into the death of Americans serving the government at the hands of alleged treasonists was worthwhile.
Gideon Resnick: Yeah, and I think the big question here is, why are Republicans so reticent to investigate a day that also happened to them?
Akilah Hughes: Yeah, well, for starters, they come out of it looking like assholes. More than being assholes, they look like sore losers. They complain about mail voting even though Trump voted by mail. They wanted to keep counting votes in Arizona, but stopped counting votes in Pennsylvania or vice versa. Who even remembers at this point? And they just lost the Senate literally the night before. So rehashing that for the public might not make them seem like the patriots they really want to be seen as this Memorial Day or Independence Day or the 20th anniversary of 9/11 or the upcoming midterm elections. But regarding those elections, I can’t see how a commission that might happen at the same time is any worse than, say, Donald Trump being actively investigated and almost certainly being charged for tax fraud by the state of New York in relation to all of his business dealings and those $700 in taxes,
Gideon Resnick: Trust me, he is going to be asking Republican candidates if they think the charges are phony or not. I can almost guarantee it. They’re going to have to answer for it. So without a bipartisan commission, is all hope of a thorough investigation lost here?
Akilah Hughes: Nah. [laughs] So to the Republicans chagrin, absolutely not. A congressional committee can still hold hearings and issue subpoenas, and the feds can and still are investigating and charging people over it. The big loss here is simply that the political theater, having people sit and testify before the country, is unlikely. We’ll be talking about the failed insurrection attempt and the deaths of the officers at the Capitol perpetuated by former President Trump over here, whether our Congress has enough integrity to or not. But that’s the latest for now.
Akilah Hughes: It’s Friday, WAD squad, and for today’s temp check, we have our own conspiracy theories that we want to air out. If you’ve been enjoying the accents, the grey weather, the dismal state of the community, and some ice-cold Rolling Rock beers each Sunday, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It is the finale of our TV obsession with Mare.
[clip from Mare of Easttown] What can I get you, sweetheart?
[clip from Mare of Easttown] A Rolling Rock and a shot of Jameson.
[clip from Mare of Easttown] Wawa coffee.
[clip from Mare of Easttown] I ordered an extra cheesesteak from [unclear]. You know it’s not about you. She misses her daughter.
[clip from Mare of Easttown] Rolling Rock, of course. Hoagies from the [unclear]. Cheese steaks from Coco’s.
[clip from Mare of Easttown] Are those cold?
Akilah Hughes: Well, just in case you’re still mainlining reruns of Friends and the Office, we’re here to let you know that the season finale of Mare of Easttown airs this weekend on HBO. And I myself am feeling like a small town detective haunted by the tragedies of my past as on my own tiny notebook. It’s actually kind of huge. [laughs] I have written down in detail my theories on how it’s all going to go down in Easttown. For our listeners who aren’t caught up with Mare’s affairs, please feel free to smash that skip button up to the ads, because I’m about to drop some spoiler-filled fire. Before I really break it down, though, Giddy, I know you had some theories of your own. So you care to share your Mare-wares?
Gideon Resnick: I do. I don’t have a notebook. I apologize to everybody that is out there.
Akilah Hughes: [laughs] You didn’t do the assignment.
Gideon Resnick: I did not, I did not do the assignment. My strong suspicion going into the most recent episode and, in fact after it, despite what happened in it, is that John is the killer of Aaron, and that the revelation in this most recent episode that Billy, his brother, cousin? I don’t know.
Akilah Hughes: Brother. Brother.
Gideon Resnick: Brother. Yeah, yeah. Actually helped move the body for him. Hence the scene that we got where there’s the revelation of him having been covered in blood. And that John has sort of manipulated the situation such that Mare does not think that it is him to basically cast doubt on it. But anyway, I’ve spoken too much.
Akilah Hughes: Wow. No, I like this. I mean, I’ll try to, I’ll try to give you my theory. I think you’re, you’re, you’re warm with John, but here is my theory. We’ll start with who killed Aaron. OK.
Gideon Resnick: OK.
Akilah Hughes: I believe that John’s son Ryan killed Aaron.
Gideon Resnick: Oh, I could see that as well.
Akilah Hughes: And here’s why. In the first episode [laughs] they said that she was shot at point blank range, they have to be face to face. And then the second episode, they said she was fifty or sixty inches long. She was five feet tall. The only person short enough to have been right there with no angle is him.
Gideon Resnick: Oh, true.
Akilah Hughes: We also had that shot of him being violent in the lunchroom, which I think wasn’t nothing. And here’s the motive that I’ve come up with, I think at this family reunion was when Aaron perhaps had some relations, whatever, with her gross Uncle John. I think that Ryan found out about it.
Gideon Resnick: He did.
Akilah Hughes: That was a secret they had, but they lied to Laurie. I think that the family agreement was we’re not going to tell your mom who it was, here’s this person that I’m having an affair with, and that’s the lie we’re going to tell. So he was really keeping two secrets, which was that he was having an affair, but also it happens to be with a relative. And I think that because Aaron called in the middle of the night [laughs] and probably called the house, Brian was home because he wasn’t at the engagement party and the dad was out and the mom was at the basketball thing, I think, and maybe his sister was asleep. I think he was like: OK, he’ll come meet you in the woods. And he shot her. And then he was like: Dad, come quick, I shot her. And so he showed up and made Billy helped drag the bloody body. They took the clothes to make it look like it was something else. And yeah, that’s my, that’s my theory on that. I think it’s going to be Shakespearean, I think it’s going to be the best finale we’ve seen on TV in a long time. Also, if I’m wrong, I’m going to be so happy to be wrong. I think I wrote a great episode of TV that, you know, if they want to have just a reshoot, that sounds great. Well, just like that we’ve checked our temps. They are up there. They are much warmer than the city of Easttown. We are very excited to find out who done it. Stay safe. Get caught up on Mare if you’re not caught up. If you are caught up, tweet us your theories. You know? Do it, and we’ll be back after some ads.
Akilah Hughes: Let’s wrap up with some headlines.
Akilah Hughes: Three police officers in Tacoma, Washington, have been charged for the death of Manuel Ellis in March of last year. Ellis, a 33-year old black man, was aggressively attacked and restrained by officers to the point where he had to tell them that he could not breathe. His death was ruled a homicide caused by a lack of oxygen. The officers first said that Ellis initiated the aggression when he charged at one of them. But witnesses and footage from a home security camera revealed that they attacked him first unprovoked. Of course, the original internal investigation by the county sheriff’s office was botched and clouded by attempted cover ups. But then the state took over, leading to the attorney general charging the officers yesterday. The state is moving towards having more police accountability overall. Just last week, Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill banning the police use of chokeholds and creating an independent office to review deadly force cases.
Akilah Hughes: Senate Democrats introduced a bill yesterday that would allow college athletes to unionize. The College Athlete Right to Organize Act would change federal labor law to define all college athletes getting scholarships or other pay as employees of the universities that they attend. If passed, it would let the students collectively bargain for better wages, working conditions and other rights that employees get. The NCAA has long tried to argue against college athletes getting paid at all. The conference put out a statement yesterday condemning the bill, arguing that students are here for a degree, not money. I think some students might argue otherwise. That’s not why people play basketball typically, [laughs] just to get the degree. They wouldn’t have to. The bill is unlikely to make it out of Congress, given that there aren’t any Republican co-sponsors. But it does signal a growing support for the basic rights of college athletes.
Gideon Resnick: Right on. Move over Brayden, varsity quarterback and most popular boy in school, there is a new jock in town and they are not going to be getting very much vitamin D. They might. That’s not fair?
Akilah Hughes: How? Supplements? [laughs]
Akilah Hughes: People have lots of interests. Nintendo has entered a partnership with the organization PlayVS to get two of its top online games, Splatoon 2 and Super Smash Bros., recognized as official varsity high school sports for fall of 2021. While they’re currently gauging interest with a waitlist, select interested in schools are set to receive one free Nintendo Switch console and copies of the games to get their program started. Though I have a personal feeling, they’re going to want to buy some extra controllers. PlayVS has already worked with huge games like Rocket League, League of Legends, and FIFA to allow high schoolers to compete and organized statewide competitions as extracurricular activities. And as the video game sector continues to grow, we can only imagine more esports programs like these to follow—I went to school at clearly the wrong time. In fact, Mario Kart 8 is already set to join the PlayVS competitive lineup by spring of 2022. Super Smash on, my brothers and sisters, Super Smash on.
Akilah Hughes: Yeah, honestly I’m going back to high school. [laughs] Didn’t get enough out of it the first time.
Gideon Resnick: Yep.
Akilah Hughes: Well you know that feeling when an old pop legend is all of a sudden back in the spotlight and everyone’s like: hey, get out of here, you already had your chance? Well, this next story is nothing like that at all. R&B icon and in my opinion, the star of the 2019 movie Hustlers, Usher Raymond, has announced that he will be dropping a sequel to his Grammy Award-winning 2004 album Confessions sometime this year. This has led us all to ask: do we really need a Confessions sequel in 2021? And to quote my favorite poem, “Yeah!” featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And in conclusion: yeah. While Usher did not specify a definitive release date for the follow-up album, it’s expected to come out soon after he begins his Las Vegas residency in July. So you’re telling me that there’s a world where I could realistically be at the Usher concert, vaccine running through my veins and probably some other stuff, sweating on strangers and screaming the lyrics to the new Usher single? Better and brighter future: what took you so damn long?
Gideon Resnick: Had to suffer through the other 17-year drought of cicadas to get this good 17-year drought.
Akilah Hughes: You’re right, America’s great again. And those are the headlines. [laughs]
Gideon Resnick: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe, leave a review, support your local esports teams, and tell your friends to listen.
Akilah Hughes: And if you’re into reading, and not just “My Boo” lyric videos like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe.
Gideon Resnick: And we’ll be back on Tuesday because we are going to get our grill on for the Memorial Day weekend, too. That’s probably a lie, but see you soon.
Akilah Hughes: All right. I’m Akilah Hughes
Gideon Resnick: I’m Gideon Resnick.
[sung together] And these are our confessions!
Akilah Hughes: That’s right. Just when we thought we said all we could say.
Akilah Hughes: What A Day is a production of Crooked Media.
Gideon Resnick: It’s recorded and mixed by Charlotte Landes.
Akilah Hughes: Sonia Htoon and Jazzi Marine are our associate producers.
Gideon Resnick: Our head writer is Jon Millstein, and our executive producers are Leo Duran, Akilah Hughes and me.
Gideon Resnick: Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.