MIAMI — The hiring of Art Acevedo as Miami’s police chief seemed like an ideal match. Chief Acevedo, fresh off a high-profile stint in Houston, brought stature and swagger to a city infatuated with both. And as a Cuban immigrant maintaining law and order in the country’s largest concentration of Cuban Americans, his arrival had an air of celebratory inevitability.
That was six months ago. Now Chief Acevedo is at the center of an archetypal Miami political drama, replete with references to Cuban Communism and corruption, that has roiled City Hall and threatened his job.
Even before he moved to Miami, Chief Acevedo was something of a celebrity police chief, known as an outspoken critic of former President Donald J. Trump — despite being a Republican himself — and as a prominent proponent of police reform, especially toward communities of color and immigrants.
But the Miami imbroglio is not over policy. It is a clash of personalities between an ambitious new outsider and powerful city commissioners miffed over both Chief Acevedo’s surprise appointment and his tendency to say exactly what he thinks.
wrote in an eight-page letter on Friday in which he denounced how commissioners tried to influence an internal affairs investigation and then retaliated by defunding top positions in the Police Department’s budget. “If I or M.P.D. give in to the improper actions described herein,” he added, “as a Cuban immigrant, I and my family might as well have remained in Communist Cuba, because Miami and M.P.D. would be no better than the repressive regime and the police state we left behind.”
ended five years of oversight of the Police Department, which began after an investigation into the police killings of seven Black men.
Chief Acevedo was supposed to bring that era to a conclusion by enacting reforms and promoting an equitable, merit-based chain of command in the police force.
But he wasted no time in generating controversy of his own. He terminated two high-ranking officers and demoted the department’s second-highest-ranking female Black officer. He said his own department — rather than the Florida Department of Law Enforcement — should investigate police shootings. And he angered the police union by telling a local radio station that officers should get vaccinated against the coronavirus or risk losing their jobs.
Last week, a majority of members polled by the Fraternal Order of Police said that they had no confidence in the chief and that he should be fired or forced to resign.
Meantime, Chief Acevedo was making new enemies outside the Police Department as well.
At a demonstration in support of freedom activists in Cuba outside Miami’s iconic Versailles restaurant, the chief was caught posing for a photo with a prominent member of the Proud Boys. (He did not know who it was, the chief said.) Someone that day also recorded him swearing at a man who asked why he hung out with Marxists and Communists and supported the Black Lives Matter movement.
What especially incensed commissioners, in addition to the housecleaning at Police Headquarters, was when Chief Acevedo told a group of officers this summer that the department was run by a “Cuban mafia.” The chief later apologized, saying he intended it as a joke and had not realized that Fidel Castro had used the same phrase to refer to Cuban exiles in Miami who opposed his Communist regime.
The commissioners’ meeting to confront the chief on Monday quickly devolved into Miami-style political theatrics.
At one point, Commissioner Joe Carollo frame-grabbed a video clip of Chief Acevedo, taken before he worked in Miami, performing a raunchy dance at a fund-raiser. (In another clip, he was dressed like Elvis, prompting Mr. Carollo to tut-tut the tightness of the chief’s pants.)
A supporter of the chief at one point yelled at the dais and, as he stomped out of the chambers, extended a finger to the commissioners.
Mr. Carollo spent several hours reading news clippings and other documents about Chief Acevedo’s record in law enforcement agencies in California and Texas, including at least one allegation of sexual harassment that the chief has denied. Mr. Carollo repeatedly asked Mr. Noriega if he had been aware of those controversies before hiring Chief Acevedo.
“No, sir,” Mr. Noriega responded.
“He’s not accountable to anyone,” Mr. Carollo said of Chief Acevedo. “He’s not accountable to the city manager, not accountable to the residents of Miami — not accountable, period.”
Mayor Francis Suarez, who recruited the high-profile police chief from Houston in what was widely seen as a way to bolster the mayor’s national prominence ahead of his November re-election, did not attend the meeting. Commissioner Ken Russell, the acting chairman, was absent.
Mr. Noriega said he hired the chief in March after Mayor Suarez heard he might be available for the job and Houston’s mayor recommended him. But that circumvented a search committee that Miami had created to review police chief applications. Chief Acevedo never applied for the position. Now he makes $315,000 a year, though his total compensation package, with benefits, is worth more than $437,000.
For his part, Chief Acevedo, who did not address the Commission, said in his letter that he believed he had angered some of the commissioners by refusing to arrest unspecified “agitators” and “Communists” at a public gathering in June — there were no agitators, his officers later concluded — and by declining to get caught up in commissioners’ unsubstantiated claims of code enforcement violations in one another’s districts.
The department had “wasted untold hours” doing investigations because of the “improper political influence” of these commissioners, he said.
Monday’s meeting began an hour late. Commissioners then took a two-hour lunch break. When they finally allowed public comment, five hours in, people lined up at the microphones, many of them angry at their elected officials for the day’s spectacle. Others raised commissioners’ own notorious records. Quite a few supported the chief.
The meeting ended in the evening, with commissioners scheduling a follow-up discussion for Friday. The mystery of Chief Acevedo’s fate lingered.
Shares soar as, along with ITP Aero sale, firm wins multibillion-dollar contract from US air force
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Rolls-Royce’s finances were hit hard because the company is paid on the basis of the number of hours flown by the aircraft that use its engines.
“Today’s announcement is a significant milestone for our disposal programme as we work to strengthen our balance sheet, in support of our medium-term ambition to return to an investment-grade credit profile,” said Warren East, the chief executive of Rolls-Royce. “The creation of an independent ITP Aero is a great opportunity for the company, its people and other stakeholders. It will remain a key strategic supplier and partner for decades to come.”
The sale and contract cap a strong month for Rolls-Royce, whose share price has risen along with other aviation stocks after the UK government simplified international travel rules and scrapped Covid PCR tests for fully vaccinated travellers.
The company’s shares rose 10.5%, making Rolls-Royce the top riser on the FTSE 100 on Monday afternoon.
“The lift-off of Rolls-Royce shares following the relaxation of transatlantic travel rules was given added thrust today with news of a big contract with the US air force,” said Susannah Streeter, a senior investment and market analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. “Rolls-Royce engines will power the USAF B-52s for the next 30 years, and the clinching of this deal, which could be worth up to $2.6bn, is yet another ray of sunlight for the engineering firm, which finally seems to be leaving the pandemic storm clouds behind.”
ITP Aero, a maker of turbine blades based in the Basque region of Spain, reported revenues of €735m and profits of €40m last year. The business was the biggest asset that Rolls-Royce identified for sale in a recovery plan announced last August. Smaller assets that have been offloaded include a stake in Air Tanker Holdings, its Bergen Engines unit in Norway, and a civil nuclear instrumentation and control business.
“Today’s announcement effectively marks the end of the disposal programme,” a spokesman for Rolls-Royce said. “We continually evaluate non-core assets in the portfolio and will always focus on maximising shareholder value.”
The Bain-led consortium also includes Sapa and JB Capital.
“All of us at ITP Aero are eager to start the next chapter of our story as an independent company with a strong strategic plan and financial support behind us,” said Carlos Alzola, the chief executive of ITP Aero.
WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said on Sunday night that the House would vote on a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Thursday, giving Democrats more time to reach a consensus on President Biden’s sprawling domestic policy package.
The vote will come hours before government funding — as well as key transportation programs addressed in the infrastructure bill — is scheduled to lapse on Oct. 1, leaving lawmakers with a narrow margin for error.
Ms. Pelosi had committed last month to holding a vote on the legislation by Monday, after a group of centrist Democrats threatened to vote against a budget blueprint needed to push through the party’s signature $3.5 trillion social policy and climate change bill unless they were promised a quick vote on the infrastructure measure, which the Senate passed last month.
But progressive lawmakers have vowed not to support the infrastructure bill until Congress acts on the $3.5 trillion plan to provide vast new investments in education, health, child care, paid leave and climate programs. That package has yet to be completed.
the difficulty of the task that Democratic leaders face as they feverishly try to knit together a compromise to move forward with Mr. Biden’s agenda.
“I’m never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn’t have the votes,” Ms. Pelosi said of the infrastructure bill on “This Week” on ABC on Sunday.
Mr. Biden and members of his cabinet huddled with lawmakers over the weekend in a bid to push the two bills over the finish line, according to a White House official familiar with the discussions.
With a razor-thin majority, Ms. Pelosi can lose only three votes for the social policy plan, and Senate Democrats hope to push it through using the fast-track budget process known as reconciliation to shield it from a filibuster. House Republicans have urged their members to oppose the $1 trillion infrastructure package, so more than a few defections can sink that bill.
Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington and the chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, pledged again on Sunday that liberal lawmakers would not support the infrastructure bill unless it was accompanied by action on the $3.5 trillion plan.
Eight people were arrested and three others indicted on Friday after an investigation into the death of Adam Oakes, a student at Virginia Commonwealth University who died in February from alcohol poisoning at a fraternity party, the authorities said.
All eight who were arrested face charges of unlawful hazing of a student, the Richmond, Va., police said in a statement. Three of them face an additional charge of buying and giving alcohol to a minor.
According to Mr. Oakes’s family, the young man’s death, which drew national attention and renewed questions about hazing in Greek organizations across the country, occurred at an off-campus party on Feb. 26 at the Delta Chi fraternity house, where he was given a bottle of Jack Daniel’s whiskey and told to drink it.
Mr. Oakes, 19, was found dead the next morning by Richmond police officers, the authorities said.
Courtney White, Mr. Oakes’s cousin, said on Saturday that while the family was feeling “a little bit of relief” because the case was moving forward, it was still painful to know that nothing, including the charges, was “going to bring him back.”
said on Facebook that they were “grateful for some measure of justice these charges and arrests may produce, as well as the protection from hazing they may give young, impressionable college students.”
“The past 7 months have been agonizing for our family,” they wrote. “This is the first time these young men have been held accountable for their historically toxic and destructive traditions, manipulation of the VCU disciplinary systems, and for Adam’s death.”
The Richmond Police Department did not say whether those charged were students at Virginia Commonwealth University, and the university did not immediately respond to questions on Saturday. But Mr. Oakes’s family said that all of those arrested were current or former students at the university.
The police named those arrested as Benjamin J. Corado, Quinn A. Kuby, Riley K. McDaniel, Alessandro Medina-Villanueva, Jason B. Mulgrew, Christian G. Rohrbach, Colin G. Tran and Enayat W. Sheikhzad. They range in age from 19 to 22.
website for Delta Chi listed Mr. Corado, Mr. Kuby, Mr. Medina-Villanueva, Mr. Mulgrew, Mr. Rohrbach and Mr. Tran as part of the V.C.U. chapter’s leadership team.
The university said in a statement that “V.C.U. continues to mourn the tragic death of Adam Oakes and is grateful to the Richmond Police Department for its investigation.”
“V.C.U. is dedicated to continuing its efforts, announced this summer, to promote a safe and welcoming fraternity and sorority life culture for all,” the university said.
V.C.U. permanently expelled Delta Chi from campus in May, after it hired a consulting firm to study its Greek culture. The firm, Dyad Strategies, announced in an August report that while the university wasn’t an outlier compared with other colleges’ Greek organizations, it still struggled to address concerns about binge drinking and hazing.
Seven of those arrested were taken into custody by the Virginia Commonwealth University Police and are being held without bond at the Richmond Justice Center. Mr. Sheikhzad was arrested by the Virginia State Police and was released on bond. The remaining three are expected to turn themselves in soon, but their names have not been released, the Richmond police said in their statement.
Fraternity organizations have been under intense scrutiny in recent years, following high-profile cases that have drawn the ire of anti-hazing activists and victims’ loved ones who say that the culture of Greek life is dangerous and shrouded in secrecy. In 2017, Timothy Piazza, a student at Penn State University, died after he became drunk, fell and was left overnight by fraternity members who knew he needed help but failed to seek it.
Chun Hsien Deng, an 18-year-old Baruch College freshman, died in 2013 after sustaining major brain trauma while taking part in a fraternity hazing ritual.
“Bullying keeps you out of a group; hazing is having to prove yourself to be a part of this group,” said Dennis Goodwin, a co-founder of Anti-Hazing Collaborative, an organization devoted to preventing hazing among young people.
While many fraternity members call one another “brothers,” Mr. Goodwin said he didn’t think students should be part of “families” that force them to “do something that could lead to death.”
Some anti-hazing activists said they are hopeful that prosecutions in cases such as Mr. Oakes’s will prove that these crimes are now taken seriously.
Rae Ann Gruver, the founder and president of the Max Gruver Foundation, has spent years trying to end hazing on college campuses. Her son, Max, died in 2017 “as a direct result of fraternity hazing,” the organization says online.
“The more and more these kids get prosecuted and indicted and actually see punishment, and that prosecutors are ready to prosecute them, that’s really going to deter these kids,” Ms. Gruver said.
Many states’ hazing laws are classified as misdemeanors, she said, which means less time in prison if convicted. If those laws change into felonies, no young adult “is going to want that on their record,” Ms. Gruver said.
Virginia, where Mr. Oakes’s case is taking place, hazing is a misdemeanor.
“I do think fraternity headquarters are getting more on board and really having a no-tolerance policy and getting down to it, but it’s taking time,” Ms. Gruver said.
If someone hazes, she said, “it is against the law, and you should be prosecuted just like any other crime.”
“In states like OHIO where Trump won by massive margins, he probably actually won by even larger margins were it not for the Democrat cheating,” Josh Mandel, a Republican running for Senate in Ohio, said on Twitter.
Democrats, voting rights advocates and moderate Republicans reacted to the Arizona election report’s release with a mix of resignation and fury, calling the endeavor a waste of time, money and attention. But some darkly expressed an understanding that the flow of lies about the 2020 election would not ebb.
Katie Hobbs, who as the Democratic secretary of state in Arizona pushed back forcefully on the review, wrote in a fund-raising appeal that “I wish I could tell you that I’m excited to put all this to rest, but I’m not naïve.” Ms. Hobbs, who is running for governor in 2022, added, “I know far-right Republicans and conspiracy theorists will continue to come after me regardless of the results.”
In some states where Republicans control the levers of government, the effort to undermine confidence in elections has been incorporated into official policy.
Late Thursday, the Texas secretary of state’s office announced that it would review results from four large counties, three won by Mr. Biden and one carried by Mr. Trump. Pennsylvania legislators have sought the personal information, including driver’s license numbers, of roughly seven million voters as part of a sprawling Republican review. And in Wisconsin, the Republican speaker of the State Assembly tapped a conservative former State Supreme Court Justice to conduct an election investigation — days after Mr. Trump threatened the state’s G.O.P. leaders with consequences if they did not take action.
None of it has been enough to satisfy Mr. Trump or his most fervent supporters.
In Wisconsin, a right-wing group called Rise Up, led by David A. Clarke Jr., a former Milwaukee County sheriff known for spreading conspiracy theories and wearing audacious cowboy hats, has for months applied public pressure on Republican lawmakers to carry out an Arizona-style review of the state’s 2020 results.
But on Friday morning, after news of the Arizona report had circulated for hours, the group sent supporters a warning: “Arizona is either going to support our efforts in Wisconsin,” it wrote, “or it will cause us to be a dog with our tail between our legs and run for the hills!”
Vehicles sit in a nearly empty lot at a car dealership in Richmond, Calif., on July 1. The global semiconductor shortage has hobbled auto production worldwide, making it difficult to find a car to buy. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Vehicles sit in a nearly empty lot at a car dealership in Richmond, Calif., on July 1. The global semiconductor shortage has hobbled auto production worldwide, making it difficult to find a car to buy.
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
If you want to know why it’s hard to buy a car these days, just take a look at all the vacant spots at your local dealerships.
When Sarah Chismar, a Toyota salesperson, surveyed the empty pavement at her dealership in Missouri this week, she sighed.
“In a normal month, we probably will have, like, 120 new cars,” she said. “Right now, I think we have maybe 10.”
And she’s happy to have 10.“Last week we had five,” she added.
Her dealership has rearranged its vehicles to try to make the lot look fuller. But you can’t really hide the difference between 10 and 120. The used-car selection is two-thirds smaller than usual too.
Automakers are struggling with persistent shortages of essential parts — especially semiconductors, which are embedded throughout vehicles these days and whose production hasn’t kept up with the roaring demand for vehicles.
The result is a severe car shortage: Auto-sales site CarGurus reports inventory levels are down 64% over last year. And that has driven average prices up by thousands of dollars in just a few months.
But it is still possible to buy a vehicle — as long as you’re willing to make some compromises.
President Biden holds a chip during remarks before signing an executive order on the economy on Feb. 24. The Biden administration is taking steps to try to improve the supply of semiconductors in the United States. Doug Mills/Pool via Getty Images hide caption
Doug Mills/Pool via Getty Images
President Biden holds a chip during remarks before signing an executive order on the economy on Feb. 24. The Biden administration is taking steps to try to improve the supply of semiconductors in the United States.
Doug Mills/Pool via Getty Images
Be flexible: Consider other makes, models or sizes
The car market in 2021 is not kind. Take Sonja Simpson, a mom of three in Ohio.
But if you have a vehicle you’re trading in, you can use the tight market to your advantage and shop around for the best offer. Instead of haggling down on your purchase price, haggle up on your trade-in value, and you may be able to offset the sticker shock.
A small assortment of unsold 2022 models sits outside a Mini dealership in Highlands Ranch, Colo., on Sept. 12. Being flexible and staying patient are among the things to keep in mind if you are shopping for a car. David Zalubowski/AP hide caption
A small assortment of unsold 2022 models sits outside a Mini dealership in Highlands Ranch, Colo., on Sept. 12. Being flexible and staying patient are among the things to keep in mind if you are shopping for a car.
Place an order and wait … and wait
Ramon and Claire Castillo, who live near Tampa, Fla., were looking for a new Toyota RAV4. And they specifically wanted a hybrid — Ramon was driving a hybrid Ford Fusion and loved it.
“It’s amazing to see 41 miles to the gallon on the trip computer,” he says, “just fantastic.”
But after months of looking at what dealers had available, all over the state of Florida, they hadn’t found a single hybrid RAV4 on a lot. So, for the first time in their decades of car-buying, they worked with a dealer to place an order direct with Toyota.
Ordering a new vehicle from the factory — with exactly the color and features you want and a weekslong wait for delivery — is commonplace in Europe. But like many Americans, the Castillos had never even considered it.
It took a little over two months for their RAV4 to arrive. But Ramon Castillo says it was a positive experience. “I would be comfortable doing this again,” he said.
Ordering a vehicle is one way to cope with the current lack of options on dealer lots, and it could also have big implications for the future of U.S. auto sales.
Ford’s CEO recently said he’s “committed” to switching toward an order-based system — and electric-automakers like Tesla and Rivian have built their business models around vehicle orders, with no dealerships involved at all.
Just pay up, if you can afford to
Of course, if you’re willing to pay significantly more than a car would typically cost, car shopping right now can be pretty easy.
“We are marking some of our vehicles up $5,000 over MSRP,” Chismar, the Toyota salesperson, says, referring to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. “That’s a hard pill to swallow. And people are doing it. It shocks me all the time.”
“Pay more” is not exactly a top-secret pro shopping tip, we know.
But some shoppers are flush with cash, thanks to foregone vacations, saved relief checks or a surprisingly valuable trade-in.
Others are just at the end of their rope — or as one exasperated shopper told NPR, “I was willing to spend the extra money because I was tired of shopping for cars.”
Two unsold 2021 Subaru SUVs sit in an otherwise empty storage lot at a Subaru dealership in Littleton, Colo., on Sept. 12. Ordering a car directly from an automaker can mean long waits, but doing so can be easier than finding a car you want at a dealer. David Zalubowski/AP hide caption
Two unsold 2021 Subaru SUVs sit in an otherwise empty storage lot at a Subaru dealership in Littleton, Colo., on Sept. 12. Ordering a car directly from an automaker can mean long waits, but doing so can be easier than finding a car you want at a dealer.
Can you travel? Look farther afield
Some shoppers are trawling the internet and calling up dealerships far from home to expand their options — ultimately driving hours or even hopping on a plane to buy the vehicle they want without forking over thousands extra.
Ian Scott-Fleming, who lives in Lubbock, Texas, was determined to get a plug-in hybrid, a vehicle that can run on pure electric power in addition to gasoline. But Texas dealerships said that not only did they have none in stock, but they wouldn’t even be able to get one for him. So he started calling dealerships that were farther and farther away.
Finally, he said with a chuckle, “I found a dealer in Massachusetts that actually believed me when I said that I would be willing to drive 2,000 miles to go to get a new car.”
That kind of road trip is unusual, for sure. But many shoppers are driving an hour or more to find a (relative) bargain or a vehicle in short supply.
Finally, ask yourself: Do you have to buy a car now?
That’s a question lots of frustrated car shoppers are asking themselves.
Pedro Moncada and Stefanie Franc live in Salt Lake City with their 21-month-old son. They are hoping to have a second child, so this spring, they went looking for a bigger vehicle that could fit two car seats, unlike their current compact sedans.
They’d set what had seemed like a reasonable budget for a late-model used crossover. But they were shocked by the prices they were seeing — virtually as much as for a brand-new vehicle.
After months of searching, they found exactly one vehicle they liked in their price range.
But then, Franc says, “as we were driving around, we noticed it kind of smelled strange and there was, like, mud in the crevices.” It was a branded title — a vehicle that had been totaled in a hurricane, then repaired, and would be sold without a warranty.
Their only viable option was off the table.
“And that’s when we kind of realized, maybe we should put a little timeout in the planning to expand our family for now,” Moncada says.
Most people aren’t putting off pregnancies because of the terrible car market. But plenty of people are putting off car purchases: A survey from Kelley Blue Book found that nearly 50% of vehicle shoppers are delaying their purchases, prepared to wait for up to a year and hoping for the market to get back to something like normal.
Of course, nobody knows how long that will take. Lots will not stay this empty forever; the problem is, no one can predict exactly when things will get better either.
WASHINGTON — Democrats are facing agonizing choices over what to keep and what to drop from their expansive $3.5 trillion social safety net package, as they labor to pacify the most conservative lawmakers in their ranks who have balked at its cost and scope.
With moderates and liberals feuding over competing priorities, Democrats have a variety of options for cutting the package down to size, from jettisoning proposed programs outright to curtailing them or using gimmicks to control their cost. But they have little room for error given their slim majorities in Congress, where they need the support of every Democrat in the Senate and all but a few in the House to deliver it to President Biden’s desk.
Top Democrats inched toward narrowing the differences in their ranks over the bill on Thursday, claiming progress on what they called a “framework agreement” on how to finance the plan. But they offered no details about what programs would be included or what the total cost would eventually be, and left crucial disagreements unresolved about which tax increases would be included, and how large they would be.
Among the issues at stake — even if the price tag remains at $3.5 trillion — are how long to maintain monthly payments to families with children, incentives for companies to transition to clean fuels, and the scale of tax increases for wealthy people and corporations.
“I’m not interested in checking a box and putting half as much money as is necessary to actually make an impact in people’s lives,” said Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut. “The decisions will be tough, but I think we’d be better off to make the decisions, rather than to put a little money into everything.”
Hanging over the process are strict Senate rules about what can be included in the bill, which Democrats plan to push through using a fast-track process known as reconciliation that shields it from a filibuster but subjects it to stringent budgetary requirements.
Complicating matters further, key moderates who have called for a smaller package have yet to say how large a bill they could accept, or name their top priorities for inclusion.
Administration officials have said that the sheer scope of the bill serves as a sort of binding agent to keep their coalition together, offering something for everyone — moderates and progressives alike — and a range of programs that opinion polls show are popular with Americans across the political spectrum.
Mr. Biden, gathering nearly two dozen Democrats in the Oval Office this week, urged some of those moderates to outline for him what they were comfortable spending and what policies they wanted to prioritize. But at least two present — Senators Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia — have not yet publicly committed to a specific spending level they are willing to support.
Some liberal Democrats remain firmly wedded to the $3.5 trillion figure, brushing off questions about what compromise amount they would accept. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent and chairman of the Budget Committee, took to the Senate floor to double down on that price tag and issue a reminder that he originally wanted nearly twice that much spending.
Democratic leaders tried on Thursday to quell some of the confusion by talking up their “framework agreement,” which appeared to be largely a list of tax proposals that have been made public by both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.
Aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the committees already saw eye to eye on a top income tax rate of 39.6 percent, a crackdown on tax-preferred conservation easements, and closing a loophole that can shield huge investment gains from taxation within an individual retirement account.
“It’s a memo; it’ll give us ample ability to pay for the level of investments that we — of course hasn’t been decided yet — that we choose to make,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader. “It’s hardly conclusory, but it was a good step of progress.”
Party leaders hope to coalesce around a compromise on a total cost and the key components of the social safety net bill by Monday, when a vote is planned on a Senate-passed $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. Concerned that their more conservative-leaning colleagues may refuse to support the larger plan once the infrastructure measure is enacted, liberals have said they will withhold their votes for that bill until the so-called Build Back Better plan clears the Senate.
“It’s about values, not dollars,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. “Our goal is to have very specific priorities clearly presented.”
Part of the debate over the scope of the package is how much of the legislation should be devoted to existing programs, and how much to new initiatives.
“My preference is to fully fund and expand existing programs that we know work rather than to build programs from scratch,” Representative Stephanie Murphy, Democrat of Florida, said after meeting with Mr. Biden this week.
Some moderates have floated the possibility of restricting eligibility for certain programs, including free community college and some tax credits, to lower-income earners to whittle down their cost.
Democrats could also choose to shorten the duration of certain programs, another way to reduce the cost without sacrificing cherished priorities, a method they used to narrow the original $6 trillion price tag Mr. Sanders proposed. House and Senate Democrats both support extending expanded monthly payments to families with children to at least 2024, for example, but adding on an additional year would substantially increase the cost of the bill.
And placement of the end date on a program is a gamble, because there is no guarantee that future Congresses — particularly under Republican control — would be willing to keep funding it.
Democrats are currently confronting a similar situation over the debt ceiling: After a bipartisan vote to lift the limit on federal borrowing under the Trump administration, Republicans are now refusing to endorse similar legislation under a Democratic-controlled government.
“You have to be, but that’s the process of reconciliation more than anything else,” Representative Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, said this month when asked if he was concerned about setting up a series of deadlines that could ultimately be ignored. “It’s not based on philosophy.”
Coral Davenport, Jim Tankersley and Jonathan Weisman contributed reporting.
WASHINGTON — President Biden, declaring the coronavirus an “all-hands-on-deck crisis,” set out ambitious goals on Wednesday for ending the pandemic and urged world leaders, drug companies, philanthropies and nonprofit groups to embrace a target of vaccinating 70 percent of the world by next year.
But the course that Mr. Biden charted, at a virtual Covid-19 summit meeting that he convened on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, may be difficult to turn into reality. And pressure is mounting on the president to lean harder on U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturers, which are resisting sharing their Covid-19 technology with poorer countries.
The daylong meeting, the largest gathering of heads of state to address the pandemic, was a reflection of Mr. Biden’s determination to re-establish the United States as a leader in global health after President Donald J. Trump severed ties with the World Health Organization last year, at the outset of the coronavirus crisis.
Mr. Biden announced a series of actions, including the purchase of an additional 500 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine at a not-for-profit price to donate overseas and $370 million to administer the shots. Vice President Kamala Harris announced that the United States would donate $250 million to a new global fund that aims to raise $10 billion to prevent future pandemics.
booster doses to fully vaccinated Americans when millions of people around the world, including health care workers, have yet to receive a first dose. In his speech at the United Nations on Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya said that such inequities were hindering efforts to rebuild the global economy, which requires confidence and investment.
“The surest way to building that confidence is by making vaccines available to the world, in an equitable and accessible manner,” Mr. Kenyatta said. “That, sadly, is currently not the case. The asymmetry in the supply of vaccines reflects a multilateral system that is in urgent need for repair.”
In his opening remarks, Mr. Biden cited two especially urgent challenges: vaccinating the world against Covid-19 and solving a global oxygen shortage, which is leading to unnecessary deaths among Covid-19 patients who might survive if oxygen were more available.
But as soon as the president finished speaking and the television cameras were turned off, the director general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called on countries and companies to immediately share doses, intellectual property and technical know-how for manufacturing vaccines, according to one person who attended the summit and took notes on the remarks.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa was equally pointed, the person said. Mr. Ramaphosa called the vaccine inequities “unjust and immoral” and reiterated his proposal that developing countries should be able to manufacture their own doses.
More than 4.7 million people around the world, and more than 678,000 in the United States, have died of Covid-19 — a “global tragedy,” Mr. Biden said. While three-quarters of Americans have had at least one coronavirus shot, less than 10 percent of the population of poor nations — and less than 4 percent of the African population — has been fully vaccinated.
according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford. Covax, the W.H.O.-backed international vaccine initiative, is behind schedule in delivering shots to low- and middle-income nations that need them the most.
granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people 16 and up, paving the way for an increase in mandates in both the public and private sectors. Private companies have been increasingly mandating vaccines for employees. Such mandates are legally allowed and have been upheld in court challenges.
Mask rules. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in July recommended that all Americans, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in indoor public places within areas experiencing outbreaks, a reversal of the guidance it offered in May. See where the C.D.C. guidance would apply, and where states have instituted their own mask policies. The battle over masks has become contentious in some states, with some local leaders defying state bans.
College and universities. More than 400 colleges and universities are requiring students to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Almost all are in states that voted for President Biden.
Schools. Both California and New York City have introduced vaccine mandates for education staff. A survey released in August found that many American parents of school-age children are opposed to mandated vaccines for students, but were more supportive of mask mandates for students, teachers and staff members who do not have their shots.
Hospitals and medical centers. Many hospitals and major health systems are requiring employees to get a Covid-19 vaccine, citing rising caseloads fueled by the Delta variant and stubbornly low vaccination rates in their communities, even within their work force.
New York City. Proof of vaccination is required of workers and customers for indoor dining, gyms, performances and other indoor situations, although enforcement does not begin until Sept. 13. Teachers and other education workers in the city’s vast school system will need to have at least one vaccine dose by Sept. 27, without the option of weekly testing. City hospital workers must also get a vaccine or be subjected to weekly testing. Similar rules are in place for New York State employees.
At the federal level. The Pentagon announced that it would seek to make coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for the country’s 1.3 million active-duty troops “no later” than the middle of September. President Biden announced that all civilian federal employees would have to be vaccinated against the coronavirus or submit to regular testing, social distancing, mask requirements and restrictions on most travel.
Experts estimate that 11 billion doses are necessary to reach widespread global immunity. Before Wednesday, the United States had promised to donate more than 600 million doses. The additional 500 million that Mr. Biden pledged brings the total U.S. commitment to 1.1 billion doses, more than any other country.
“Put another way, for every one shot we’ve administered to pay in America, we have now committed to do three shots to the rest of the world,” Mr. Biden said.
But activists, global health experts and world leaders say donated doses will not be enough. They are calling for the Biden administration to do more to scale up global manufacturing of vaccines, particularly in Africa, where the need is greatest.
“The Covid-19 pandemic reminds us of the importance of diversification of production centers across the world,” President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, which has suffered one of the biggest surges in cases, said in his General Assembly speech. “We know that no one is safe until everyone is.”
selling — rather than donating — its vaccine to other countries.
“We should unite around the world on a few principles: that we commit to donating, not selling — donating, not selling — doses to low- and lower-income countries, and that the donations come with no political strings attached,” the president said.
He also announced a vaccine partnership with the European Union and said the United States was working to scale up production overseas through a partnership with India, Japan and Australia that was “on track to produce at least 1 billion vaccine doses in India to boost the global supply by the end of 2022.”
The doses the Biden administration is donating, however, have been trickling out slowly. So far, 157 million have been shipped overseas. Dr. Peter J. Hotez, an infectious disease expert at Texas Children’s Hospital who helped develop a coronavirus vaccine that is being manufactured in India, said the president should have laid out “a frank articulation of the magnitude” of the shortage.
“We don’t need it by 2023,” Dr. Hotez said. “We need it now, over the next six to eight months.”
Rick Gladstone contributed reporting from New York.
The fate of a bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure package remained in limbo on Tuesday, as the liberal and moderate wings of the House Democratic caucus continued to argue over whether that measure should pass while a sweeping, $3.5 trillion economic package was unfinished.
Moderate Democrats were adamant that the Senate-passed infrastructure package receive a floor vote next week. They previously secured a promise from party leaders that it would be sent to the House floor on Sept. 27, even if the larger bill, which some of them oppose, was not done.
But Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington, the chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus, emerged on Tuesday from a lengthy meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California to say that a majority of liberal lawmakers would oppose the bill until the Senate passed the second, far larger package, which is expected to carry the climate, child care and health care provisions they have championed.
“I wanted to make sure she understood exactly where we were,” Ms. Jayapal said, adding that she had requested the meeting. “Over half of our caucus has committed that we are planning to move both bills at the same time, but we can’t move one without the other.”
is also expected to host a series of meetings with other lawmakers from across the ideological spectrum, a second person confirmed on the condition of anonymity, to hear their perspectives and make the case for his agenda.
Veterans who were discharged from the military under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy may be eligible for full benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs under new guidance issued on Monday.
The announcement comes on the 10th anniversary of the policy’s repeal by President Barack Obama.
In a blog post on the V.A.’s website, Kayla Williams, the assistant secretary for public affairs in the V.A.’s Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, said that veterans who were given other than honorable discharges based on homosexual conduct, gender identity or H.I.V. status “are considered veterans” who may be eligible for all V.A. benefits. The “other than honorable” discharge blocked tens of thousands of veterans from obtaining the full range of services and care.
“L.G.B.T.Q.+ veterans are not any less worthy of the care and services that all veterans earn through their service, and V.A. is committed to making sure that they have equal access to those services,” Ms. Williams, who is a bisexual veteran, wrote.
Those affected by the policy may now qualify for benefits including guaranteed home loans, compensation and pension, health care, housing assistance and burial benefits, barring any statutory or regulatory issue with their military record.
“Although V.A. recognizes that the trauma caused by the military’s decades-long policy of discrimination against L.G.B.T.Q.+ people cannot be undone in a few short months, the Biden administration and Secretary McDonough are taking the steps necessary to begin addressing the pain that such policies have created,” Ms. Williams wrote, referring to the V.A. secretary, Denis R. McDonough.
“Don’t ask, don’t tell” was a policy enacted in 1994, under President Bill Clinton, that barred openly gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals from serving in the military. The V.A. reported that the policy led to the discharge of an estimated 14,000 service members during the 17 years it was in effect.