Apr 11, 2021

Axios Sneak Peek

Welcome back to Sneak. Like the members, we're back after a holiday hiatus. We missed you.

Today's newsletter — edited by Glen Johnson — is 874 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Biden pollster urges blunt tax talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The top pollster for Joe Biden's presidential campaign is advising the White House to do something that often makes Democrats nervous: talk loudly and proudly about raising taxes on the rich, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.

Why it matters: John Anzalone says his extensive polling and research has found that few issues receive broader support than raising taxes on corporations and people earning more than $400,000 a year.

Anzalone says Republicans will brand Democrats as "tax increasers" regardless of what they do, so Democrats would be best served by framing the tax debate themselves.

  • "The middle class is tired of carrying the tax burden for the country," he said. "They are pissed off. They aren't anti-rich or anti-corporate. They are anti-not paying your fair share."

By the numbers: Poll after poll after poll after poll support Anzalone's analysis.

Keep reading.

2. Scoop: Trump campaign boosted by unsuspecting state GOPs

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Federal regulators are probing financial reporting discrepancies stemming from an effort to funnel $75 million through state Republican parties to the national GOP effort to reelect Donald Trump, Axios’ Lachlan Markay has learned.

Why it matters: In comments to Axios and filings with the Federal Election Commission, some state party officials seemed unaware of their roles.

What they’re saying: "I am not sure what report your (sic) looking at please point me toward it or forward the link to it to me," Vermont GOP chair Deb Billado told Axios when asked about nearly $400,000 sent to the state party by the Trump Victory joint fundraising committee last year and immediately routed to the RNC.

  • The Vermont GOP disclosed those transfers in its FEC filings, as required. But Billado said in an email the state party had "not interfaced with other states nor the national RNC on fundraising.” She did not respond to subsequent questions about how such large transfers could have taken place without her knowledge.
  • The FEC asked the Republican Party of New Mexico last month to explain why it initially failed to report more than $550,000 in payments in September from Trump Victory and to the RNC. The state party replied it wasn’t until about six weeks after the fact that “information was received” regarding those transfers.
  • The Hawaii Republican Party amended multiple FEC filings in February to note for the first time that it was a Trump Victory beneficiary — and to disclose nearly $1.7 million it received months earlier and immediately passed on to the RNC. It hasn’t responded to the FEC’s request for a more detailed explanation.

Keep reading.

3. House members still reeling from Capitol siege

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

House Democrats still reeling from the Jan. 6 Capitol assault have found a new refuge: a group text chain in which they share everything from their anxieties to recipes and other attention-shifters, Axios' Kadia Goba reports.

What they're saying: “I liken it to that experience when I was in combat,” said Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.), a decorated Army Ranger and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who's one of about 20 members in the “Gallery Group."

  • “When you go through a traumatic experience and a situation like that together, it brings you together in a way that is very unique," Crow said.
  • The group — whose members hunkered down together in the House Gallery as a pro-Trump mob tried to break into the chamber — was organized by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).

Keep reading.

4. On the front lines of the growing border crisis

A migrant mother and her children sit in the dirt at a temporary processing center under the Anzalduas International Bridge in McAllen, Texas. Photo: Stef Kight/Axios

At night, parents with young children march through the brush after crossing the Rio Grande River in the pitch black. By day, unaccompanied kids arrive at shelters, in one instance 17 of 17 testing positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: Axios' Stef Kight accompanied a delegation of Republican lawmakers to South Texas last week — followed by a unilateral visit to El Paso with Axios' Russell Contreras — to see in real time the challenges fueled by a border surge, the effects of actions taken by the previous administration and the lagging response by the new one.

What we saw: Abandoned flotation devices litter each bank of the Rio Grande between Mission, Texas, and Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico.

  • Smugglers and U.S. border agents peer at each other across the river late at night through night-vision goggles.
  • Just down the road, hundreds of recently arrived migrant parents and children sit in the dirt at a makeshift processing center under the Anzalduas International Bridge in McAllen, Texas. They are penned in with orange safety netting and provided Little Hug fruit barrels and water.
  • On a hot afternoon in El Paso, migrant adults and families are marched in single file back across the bridge into Juarez, Mexico — expelled without a chance for asylum under a Trump-era order kept in place by President Biden.
  • Just that morning, a dozen or so single males walked in the opposite direction across the same bridge after spending two years waiting under the so-called Remain in Mexico program.

Keep reading.

5. Jill Biden tests White House red-state message in Alabama

Jill Biden in Birmingham, Ala., on Friday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Pool/AFP

Jill Biden's visit to Alabama is an early look at how the White House plans to deploy the first lady to connect her husband's message to struggling Americans, in red states especially, Axios' Sarah Mucha writes.

Driving the news: She traveled with Biden on Friday to Birmingham, accompanying her to the James Rushton Early Learning Center and a YWCA where Biden spoke about how the administration's $1.9 trillion stimulus law can help address child poverty. Both centers she visited run Head Start programs that benefit from the law.

  • "This pandemic will not break us," Biden said in her remarks. "I know that you would do anything for your child. You want to give them the world. Every parent does."

Why it matters: Democrats passed the massive spending package with no Republican support. Now President Biden is seeking to highlight what's in it for Americans in every state, as the administration sets the table for an even bigger infrastructure bill the GOP leadership also has vowed to oppose.

Keep reading.

6. Pic du jour

Photo: Glen Johnson/Axios

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