Apr 13, 2021

Axios Sneak Peek

Welcome back to Sneak. The Capitol machinery cranked back into gear this afternoon.

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Today's newsletter — edited by Glen Johnson — is 584 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: Biden's immigration tightrope

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The ACLU and migrant advocacy groups are fed up with President Biden for continuing some of the controversial immigration practices used by President Trump, Axios' Alayna Treene and Stef Kight report.

Why it matters: With the president approaching his 100th day in office, the situation at the southern border has become his administration's biggest problem and threatens the Democrats' chances in the pivotal 2022 midterms.

What we're hearing: Administration lawyers have been slow-walking negotiations with the American Civil Liberties Union, trying to get the group to hold off on a lawsuit that could dismiss Title 42, sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

  • Trump enacted the controversial policy in March 2020, allowing officials to rapidly return people who illegally crossed the border back to Mexico, including asylum seekers.

While Biden ended Trump's hardline Migration Protection Protocols (MPP), his administration is expelling single adults and some families to Mexico without due process under Title 42.

And the president has yet to reunite a single family separated under the Trump administration.

Keep reading.

2. Scoop: Biden weighs Ken Salazar for ambassador to Mexico

Joe Biden and Ken Salazar embrace at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Biden administration is vetting Ken Salazar, a former senator and Interior secretary, to serve as U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Axios' Hans Nichols has learned.

Why it matters: Biden is close to publicly naming a slate of ambassadors. In considering a former Senate colleague for Mexico City, he's acknowledging the crisis on the border will require both diplomatic and political skills to solve.

Driving the news: Biden has started to call some of his potential ambassadors to offer them foreign postings, people familiar with the matter say.

  • The process is in its early stages, and not everyone who will end up getting an ambassadorship has been contacted, a person familiar with the matter told Axios.
  • "The president has not made the decision about the vast majority of his ambassadorial nominations," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.
  • The White House declined any comment on a potential nomination for Salazar.

Keep reading.

3. White House pounds Capitol Hill to sell infrastructure bill

White House press secretary Jen Psaki outlines benefits of the infrastructure bill today. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Top Biden officials have meetings planned with more than a dozen congressional committees this week as they try to pass a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure package on an accelerated timeline, senior White House sources tell Axios' Sarah Mucha and Jonathan Swan.

Why it matters: Democrats are anxious to pass their massive tax-and-spend package before the August recess. If negotiations stretch beyond the summer break, the chances increase they drag into 2022. It's hard to get members to take tough votes during election years.

The details: White House legislative affairs director Louisa Terrell and National Economic Council director Brian Deese have set up multiple meetings each day.

  • The sessions involve members of Congress and National Economic Council staff and a group of Cabinet secretaries the White House has tapped to sell infrastructure.

Keep reading.

4. 5 things to watch in each party's Q1 fundraising reports

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats and Republicans will be looking far beyond the bottom-line numbers as they examine first-quarter campaign fundraising reports due Wednesday, Alayna and Axios' Lachlan Markay write.

Between the lines: We spoke with aides to House and Senate leadership, allies of former President Trump and top Democrats about their focus. They'll be looking for any proof Republicans were hurt by the Jan. 6 Capitol siege and whether Democrats are headed for midterm trouble.

For Republicans

1. Where are people in Trumpworld giving money?

2. How are the 10 House Republicans and seven GOP senators who voted to impeach Trump faring?

3. Do Trump endorsements translate to hard cash?

4. Which House GOP freshmen raised a lot of money?

5. Are targets of corporate PAC boycotts making up for shortfalls with small-dollar donations?

For Democrats

1. How is Jared Golden of Maine faring?

2. Is Big Tech stepping up its donations to Democrats in light of increasing GOP hostility?

3. How did moderate Democrats' numbers do vs. progressives?

4. What do the tea leaves show for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer?

5. Who's giving to the earmarkers?

Keep reading.

5. Pic du jour

Photo: Mandel Ngan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken posed with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio before hosting his first bilateral meeting at the State Department.

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