How the White House sees the June jobs report- POLITICO


SPOTTED outside the White House gates this morning: the “Face the Nation” production crew going through security before VP KAMALA HARRIS sits down for an interview on the White House campus with BOB COSTA that begins airing tonight on “CBS Evening News.”

JOBS DAY The country added 372,000 jobs last month, over 100,000 more than most estimates pegged, which extends months of strong labor market gains. Here are the top-line numbers:

— Unemployment rate … Was 3.6%. The rate has held at the same level for four months.

— Average hourly wage … Grew 5.1% in June compared to last year.

— Labor force participation rate … Ticked down just a bit to 62.2%.

— Wages … Grew 5.1% from last year.

Some insight from AP’s Christopher Rugaber: “The steadily robust pace of hiring shows that many businesses still want to add workers to meet high customer demand — a trend that should dispel concerns that the U.S. economy might be on the verge of a recession. With the nation gaining many additional jobs, more Americans are earning paychecks and are able to spend despite the highest inflation in four decades.”

— The not-so-great news is that the strong jobs report means the Federal Reserve is likely on track to raise interest rates by 0.75 points at its meeting later this month. (A White House official says this is what they are expecting.)

THE VIEW FROM 1600 PENN — In remarks this morning, President JOE BIDEN called the report “good economic news,” adding that “we have more Americans working today in the private sector than any day under my predecessor. More today than any day in American history.”

He also addressed the inflation-sized elephant in the room: “I know times are tough. Prices are too high. Families are facing a cost of living crunch, but today’s economic news confirms the fact that my economic plan is moving this country in a better direction.”

A White House official told Eugene this morning they feel like the report was in a sweet spot: strong but not too strong that overheating is a huge issue — but also not slow enough to scare people into thinking a recession is right around the corner. (Though some analysts are “raising forecasts for a possible recession as early as the first half of 2023,” according to our Morning Money team).

“This is not what a recession looks like,” the aide said.

Something to watch for next week: the Consumer Price Index numbers, which will give more insight into where inflation is right now.

BIDEN’S ABORTION MOVES — After weeks of agita on the left over the Biden administration’s response to the end of Roe v. Wade, the president today signed a new executive order on abortion. The order, among other things, directs the HHS secretary to take action on protecting access to medication abortion, creates an interagency task force on reproductive health care access and urges the FTC to protect people’s privacy when they look up reproductive care info.

An angry Biden excoriated the Supreme Court’s conservative majority ahead of signing the order this morning: “This was not a decision driven by the Constitution,” he said. “I don’t think the court, or for that matter Republicans who for decades have pushed an extreme agenda, have a clue about the power of American women. But they’re about to find out.”

The EO is, of course, quite limited: There’s not much Biden can do to maintain abortion access in red states that are banning or severely limiting the practice. And in some cases, there’s not much the administration is willing to do: Bloomberg’s Shira Stein scooped this morning that officials weighed the prospect of declaring a public health emergency, but ultimately rejected the idea. They “were concerned the declaration wouldn’t make a substantial impact, that it might be seen merely as a public relations maneuver and that it would draw lawsuits … [or that it] would take money from Covid-19 programs.”

More from Biden: The president said he’d stop by the Japanese Embassy today to sign a condolence book after the assassination of SHINZO ABE. He also highlighted Japan’s much lower incidence of gun violence than the U.S. And Biden told reporters he hasn’t yet made a decision on lifting China tariffs.

Happy Friday afternoon.


SWING-STATE ELECTION SHAKEUP — The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s conservative majority today barred the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots in this year’s election, a victory for Republicans. They’ve long been used in the state, but drop boxes became much more common in the pandemic — and a target of GOP ire when DONALD TRUMP criticized them. Conservatives have labeled the drop boxes “ballot harvesting,” while voting rights advocates warned that the 4-3 decision would make it harder for people (especially those with limited mobility) to vote. More from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

POLL OF THE DAY — Americans increasingly name inflation, the economy and personal finances as top issues they want the government to address in the latest AP/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll. That could be good news for Republicans in the midterms, though guns and abortion/women’s rights are also rising as top issues. Covid-19, meanwhile, is fading big time: Just 4% of Americans named it among their top five priorities.

KFILE STRIKES AGAIN — GOP Georgia Senate nominee HERSCHEL WALKER worked as a spokesperson in 2012 for Momentis, a subsidiary of Just Energy, “which was repeatedly targeted by states’ attorneys general and utility agencies over allegedly deceptive practices,” CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck report. Walker’s company partnered with Momentis on marketing.

CASH DASH — Rep. TIM RYAN’s Ohio Democratic Senate campaign raised $9.1 million in the second quarter.

AD WARS — Former VP MIKE PENCE’s Advancing American Freedom has majorly ramped up its Facebook and Google acquisition ad spending since the overturning of Roe, per FWIW’s Kyle Tharp and Nick Seymour, as he builds up his digital presence ahead of a possible 2024 bid.

FIRST PERSON — In a POLITICO Magazine excerpt from her new book, “Any Given Tuesday” ($22.39), LIS SMITH goes behind the scenes of former New York Gov. ANDREW CUOMO’s downfall, “as it became increasingly clear that Cuomo wasn’t being straight with any of us — myself included. He’d led us down a path of defending him against claims of sexual harassment without giving us the full truth. We felt betrayed and misled.” She describes how Cuomo’s team initially tried to stand firm and push through — using Virginia Gov. RALPH NORTHAM’s blackface scandal as an example — before more and more new allegations turned the tide. (But former President BILL CLINTON still encouraged Cuomo to stick it out.)

“Say what you will about Andrew Cuomo, but he died as he lived,” Smith writes, “with zero regard for the people around him and the impact his actions would have on them.”

Smith tells N.Y. Mag’s Shawn McCreesh that she’s not worried about the book damaging her career prospects: “Sure, there are people who won’t hire me after reading it … The decision I made was that, I don’t give a fuck. If you think I’m good at what I do, you’ll hire me. If this bothers you, then you weren’t worth my time anyway.” We also liked this nugget: Smith says the PETE BUTTIGIEG campaign wanted to use “Mr. Brightside” as their anthem, but they went with “High Hopes” because “our campaign lawyer said [the Killers song] had Me Too undertones.”


LOOK WHO’S TALKING — Oath Keepers head STEWART RHODES is planning to ask the Jan. 6 committee if he can testify publicly and live at the panel’s next hearing, “answering all questions and waiving his 5th Amendment rights,” per NYT’s Alan Feuer.

THE INVESTIGATIONS — The Fulton County, Ga., DA investigation into Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election has subpoenaed The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to try to get a recording of a January 2021 call with the then-acting U.S. attorney, the AJC’s Tamar Hallerman reports.


VP FILES — With guns and abortion in the spotlight, Harris’ relationship to Biden’s inner circle has been changing of late: “[A] Harris staff shake up has led to a closer relationship with those in the West Wing, contributing to greater involvement in the White House’s response at key moments,” NBC’s Mike Memoli and Carol Lee report. Her new chief, LORRAINE VOLES, is now at Biden chief of staff RON KLAIN’s daily meetings, and Harris is meeting with Klain every week.


ABORTION LATEST — House Dems are planning votes next week on two abortion-related bills, one that would codify Roe v. Wade and add other protections and another that would ensure women can travel across state lines to receive abortions, Sarah Ferris and Nick Wu report in Congress Minutes. Of course, they’re not expected to be able to pass the Senate.


HIGH PRICES — Housing in America in May was less affordable than at any time since 2006, per the latest National Association of Realtors housing affordability index out today, WSJ’s Nikki Friedman reports. Rising mortgage rates and eye-popping home prices have combined to make it much more difficult to enter the world of homeownership, though the market has cooled since May.


THE NEW RESTRICTIONS — After the Supreme Court put new limits on how states can restrict guns, Democratic-led states are trying to craft new restrictions — and seeing how far they can push it, Jeremy White and Katelyn Cordero report. Ahead looms “a years-long effort to defend and extend firearm rules under the court’s sweeping new Second Amendment test.”

— New York is trying a novel approach of reviewing concealed carry applicants’ social media accounts before approving permits, AP’s Marina Villeneuve and Maysoon Khan report. “It’s an approach applauded by many Democrats and national gun control advocacy groups, but some experts have raised questions about how the law will be enforced and address free speech concerns.”

THE SWISS CHEESE SYSTEM — In the past two years, more than 1 million gun sales — or about 4.2% — went through potentially before an FBI background check was completed because the process took longer than three days, NBC’s Joshua Eaton reports. The FBI ultimately completed about a quarter of those checks and found close to 12,000 sales that should not have been allowed. Hundreds of thousands more were never finished.


IMMIGRATION CLICKER — WaPo’s Nick Miroff has an illuminating border dispatch, with striking photos, from southern Arizona, where the extent of the policy and political challenge facing the Biden administration on immigration is vast across very different parts of the border. “Border crossers are arriving from more countries and in greater numbers than ever, at the same time that Mexican migration has surged to levels not matched since the mid-2000s.”


FLYNN FILES — The Army is seeking to recoup nearly $39,000 from former Trump national security adviser MICHAEL FLYNN over his failure to report unapproved payments from Russian sources, which were among other foreign monies cited by the Pentagon inspector general, WaPo’s Dan Lamothe and Craig Whitlock report. “The Army determined April 28 that Flynn violated the emoluments clause.”

— The Atlantic’s Barton Gellman is out with a big new feature on Flynn’s transformation over the past several years: “What Happened to Michael Flynn?: In military intelligence, he was renowned for his skill connecting the dots and finding terrorists. But somewhere along the way, his dot detector began spinning out of control.”


STAFFING UP — Kishla Askins is now deputy assistant secretary for the office of enterprise integration at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She most recently was CEO and co-founder of Global Bridge Health Strategies.

TRANSITIONS — Christian Walker is joining Cornerstone Government Affairs as a VP on the federal government relations team. He previously was deputy chief of staff and legislative director for Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.). … Zach Weber is now deputy director of federal affairs for the state of Michigan. He most recently was legislative director for Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.). … Virginia Poe is now director of public policy at the Interactive Advertising Bureau. She most recently was a legislative assistant for Rep. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.). …

… Will McDonald is now senior manager for comms and press at GiveDirectly. He previously was comms director for Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), and is a John Delaney and Amy Klobuchar alum. … Community Catalyst is adding Catherine-Mercedes Judge as chief of staff (previously in NYC city government) and Gena Madow as senior director of comms (previously at FleishmanHillard and Planned Parenthood). … Harlow Poteete is now scheduler for Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.). She most recently was scheduler for Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.).


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