Today, Joe Biden became the first sitting US president in modern memory to visit a union picket line, traveling to Van Buren township, Michigan, to address United Auto Workers members who have walked off the job at the big three automakers. The president argued that the workers deserve higher wages, and appeared alongside the union’s leader, Shawn Fain – who has yet to endorse Biden’s re-election bid.
Back in Washington DC, Congress is as troubled as ever. The Senate passed a stopgap funding bill to temporarily avoid a government shutdown, but hard-right holdouts in the House have refused to consider such a measure. Instead, House Republicans are focusing on four long-term appropriations bills that won’t actually avert a shutdown.
Read our full coverage of today’s shutdown developments here.
The supreme court told Alabama’s Republican leaders that they have to draw another majority-Black congressional district. They tried very hard to get out of doing so.
Donald Trump added at least two veteran attorneys to his criminal defense team, as he prepares to fight 91 criminal charges under four indictments.
– Chris Stein and Maanvi Singh
The goverment could shut down 1 October. Here's what it means
What happens when a US government shutdown takes place?
Thousands of federal government employees are put on furlough, meaning that they are told not to report for work and go unpaid for the period of the shutdown, although their salaries are paid retroactively when it ends.
Other government workers who perform what are judged essential services, such as air traffic controllers and law enforcement officials, continue to work but do not get paid until Congress acts to end the shutdown.
Depending on how long it lasts, national parks can either shut entirely or open without certain vital services such as public toilets or attendants. Passport processing can stop, as can research – at national health institutes.
The Biden administration has warned that federal inspections ensuring food safety and prevention of the release of dangerous materials into drinking water could stop for the duration of the shutdown.
About 10,000 children aged three and four may also lose access to Head Start, a federally funded program to promote school readiness among toddlers, especially among low-income families.
What causes a shutdown?
Simply put, the terms of a piece of legislation known as the Anti-Deficiency Act, first passed in 1884, prohibits federal agencies from spending or obligating funds without an act of appropriation – or some alternative form of approval – from Congress.
If Congress fails to enact the 12 annual appropriations bills needed to fund the US government’s activities and associated bureaucracy, all non-essential work must cease until it does. If Congress enacts some of the bills but not others, the agencies affected by the bills not enacted are forced to cease normal functioning; this is known as a partial government shutdown.
How unusual are US government shutdowns?
For the first 200 years of the US’s existence, they did not happen at all. In recent decades, they have become an increasingly regular part of the political landscape, as Washington politics has become more polarized and brinkmanship a commonplace political tool. There have been 20 federal funding gaps since 1976, when the US first shifted the start of its fiscal year to 1 October.
Three shutdowns in particular have entered US political lore:
A 21-day partial closure in 1995 over a dispute about spending cuts between President Bill Clinton and the Republican speaker, Newt Gingrich, that is widely seen as setting the tone for later partisan congressional struggles.
In 2013, when the government was partially closed for 16 days after another Republican-led Congress tried to use budget negotiations to defund Barack Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.
A 34-day shutdown, the longest on record, lasting from December 2018 until January 2019, when Donald Trump refused to sign any appropriations bill that did not include $5.7bn funding for a border wall along the US border with Mexico. The closure damaged Trump’s poll ratings.
Matt Gaetz, the far-right Florida congressman who has been leading resistance against Kevin McCarthy, essentially said he plans to have the speaker removed.
“The one thing I agree with my Democrat colleagues on is for the last eight months, the House has been poorly led,” he said, speaking on the House floor. “We have to do something about it.”
Gaetz is leading the charge to focus on these separate spending bills, and has held that he and seven members who would block any plan to pass a stopgap measure to avert a shutdown on 1 October.
Meanwhile, the House is debating rules for four longterm appropriations bills, which would fund defense, agriculture, the state department and homeland security for a hear – but will not avert a shutdown.
Even if all these measures pass, large swathes of the government will remain without funding, and would shut down. But more importantly, these appropriations bills, which contain funding cuts supported by far-right House members, would be dead on arrival in the Senate, where the Democratic majority would reject them.
Conversely, hard-right Republicans in the House are refusing to consider the stopgap measure the Senate just passed.
Senate votes to advance stopgap funding bill to avoid shutdown
The Senate voted to advance a temporary government funding bill that aims to avoid a partial government shutdown on Sunday.
The vote puts the Senate on a path to pass a continuing resolution (CR) later this week, that could then send to the House.
Donald Trump plans to appeal a New York judge’s ruling that found the former president committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House, according to his lawyer.
The statement from Trump general counsel Alina Habba reads:
Today’s decision is fundamentally flawed at every level. It is important to remember that the Trump Organization is an American success story. The fact that this Court summarily found that there is no question of fact, finding in part that Mar-a-Lago is worth approximately $20 million and issue a decision of this magnitude is an affront to our legal system.
We intend to immediately appeal this decision because President Trump and his family, like every American business owner, is entitled to their day in court.
Trump adds at least two attorneys to criminal defense team - report
Donald Trump has added at least two veteran attorneys to his criminal defense team as he faces 91 criminal charges under four indictments.
Rormer federal prosecutor Emil Bove and seasoned white collar defense lawyer Kendra Wharton have signed onto the legal team organized by Trump attorney Todd Blanche, according to a Politico report.
Bove, who was co-chief of the national security unit at the Manhattan US attorney’s office, and Wharton are expected to work on Trump’s New York criminal case brought by Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg and the federal cases filed by special counsel Jack Smith, according to the report.
The hires are the most significant new legal additions to Trump’s criminal defense team as he prepares for multiple criminal trials scheduled for next year. They coincide with Smith’s own addition to his team, the report says.
Wael Hana, an Egyptian American businessman indicted in a bribery scheme with New Jersey senator, Bob Menendez, pleaded not guilty and was released on bail in federal court.
Hana, 40, entered the plea at a hearing in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday, after he was arrested at John F Kennedy international airport upon his voluntary return from Egypt.
Hana faces one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, which carry maximum prison sentences of five and 20 years respectively.
Prosecutors say Hana arranged meetings in 2018 between Menendez and Egyptian officials, in which officials pressed the senator and chair of the Senate foreign relations committee to sign off on military aid Washington had withheld over concerns about the country’s human rights record.
Prosecutors say Hana gave the senator’s wife, Nadine Menendez, a “low-show or no-show job,” paid $23,000 toward her home mortgage, wrote $30,000 checks to her consulting company, promised her envelopes of cash, sent her exercise equipment and bought some of the gold bars that were found in the couple’s home, AP reported.
New Jersey first lady Tammy Murphy is facing calls to run for the seat held by embattled Senator Bob Menendez.
Murphy is “seriously considering a run” after speaking to Democrats about potentially running for Menendez’s seat, according to multiple reports.
The 79-page stopgap spending bill, unveiled by the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, would not include any border security measures, a major sticking point for House Republicans, Reuters reported.
The short-term bill would avert a government shutdown on Sunday while also providing billions in disaster relief and aid to Ukraine.
The bill includes $4.5bn from an operations and maintenance fund for the defense department “to remain available until Sept. 30, 2024 to respond to the situation in Ukraine,” according to the measure’s text.
The bill also includes another $1.65bn in state department funding for additional assistance to Ukraine that would be available until 30 September 2025.
Senate leaders reach deal on stopgap funding bill to avoid shutdown
The Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, reached an agreement on a stopgap spending plan that would keep the government open past Saturday.
A bipartisan Senate draft measure would fund the government through 17 November and include around $6bn in new aid to Ukraine and roughly $6bn in disaster funding, Reuters reported.
Speaking earlier today, Schumer said:
We will continue to fund the government at present levels while maintaining our commitment to Ukraine’s security and humanitarian needs, while also ensuring those impacted by natural disasters across the country begin to get the resources they need.
Joe Biden’s dog, Commander, bit another Secret Service agent at the White House on Monday.
In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson, Anthony Guglielmi, said:
Yesterday around 8pm, a Secret Service Uniformed Division police officer came in contact with a First Family pet and was bitten. The officer was treated by medical personnel on complex.
Commander has been involved in at least 11 biting incidents at the White House and at the Biden family home in Delaware. One such incident in November 2022 left an officer hospitalized after being bitten on the arms and thighs.
Another of the president’s dogs, Major, was removed from the White House and relocated to Delaware following several reported biting incidents.
Judge orders some of Trump's business licenses to be rescinded
Ruling in a civil lawsuit brought by the New York attorney general Letitia James, Judge Arthur Engoron ordered that some of Donald Trump’s business licenses be rescinded as punishment after finding the former president committed fraud by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth.
The judge also said he would continue to have an independent monitor oversee the Trump Organization’s operations.
James sued Trump and his adult sons last year, alleging widespread fraud connected to the Trump Organization and seeking $250m and professional sanctions. She has said Trump inflated his net worth by as much as $2.23bn, and by one measure as much as $3.6bn, on annual financial statements given to banks and insurers.
Assets whose values were inflated included Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, his penthouse apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower, and various office buildings and golf courses, she said.
In his ruling, Judge Engoron said James had established liability for false valuations of several properties, Mar-a-Lago and the penthouse. He wrote:
In defendants’ world: rent regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air; a disclaimer by one party casting responsibility on another party exonerates the other party’s lies. That is a is a fantasy world, not the real world.
Judge's ruling marks major victory for New York attorney general's civil case against Trump
Judge Arthur F Engoron’s ruling marks a major victory for New York attorney general Letitia James’s civil case against Donald Trump.
In the civil fraud suit, James is suing Trump, his adult sons, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump, and the Trump Organization for $250m.
Today’s ruling, in a phase of the case known as summary judgment, resolves the key claim in James’s lawsuit, but six others remain.
Trump has repeatedly sought to delay or throw out the case, and has repeatedly been rejected. He has also sued the judge, with an appeals court expected to rule this week on his lawsuit.
Judge finds Donald Trump committed fraud in New York civil case
A New York state judge has granted partial summary judgment to the New York attorney general, Letitia James, in the civil case against Donald Trump.
Judge Arthur F Engoron found that Trump committed fraud for years while building his real estate empire, and that the former president and his company deceived banks, insurers and others by massively overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth on paperwork used in making deals and securing financing, AP reports:
Beyond mere bragging about his riches, Trump, his company and key executives repeatedly lied about them on his annual financial statements, reaping rewards such as favorable loan terms and lower insurance premiums, Engoron found.
Those tactics crossed a line and violated the law, the judge said in his ruling on Tuesday.
The decision by Judge Engoron precedes a trial that is scheduled to begin on Monday. James, a Democrat, sued Trump and his adult sons last year, alleging widespread fraud connected to the Trump Organization and seeking $250m and professional sanctions.
Joe Biden has warned that Americans could be “forced to pay the price” because House Republicans “refuse to stand up to the extremists in their party”.
As the House standoff stretches on, the White House has accused Republicans of playing politics at the expense of the American people.
For an idea of the state of play in the House, consider what Republican speaker Kevin McCarthy said to CNN when asked how he would pass a short-term funding measure through the chamber, despite opposition from his own party.
McCarthy has not said if he will put the bill expected to pass the Senate today up for a vote in the House, but if he does, it’s possible it won’t win enough votes from Republicans to pass, assuming Democrats also vote against it.
Asked to comment on how he’d get around this opposition, McCarthy deflected, and accused Republican detractors of, bizarrely, aligning themselves with Joe Biden. Here’s more from CNN, on why he said that:
In a marked contrast to the rancor and dysfunction gripping the House, the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, also endorsed the short-term government funding bill up for a vote today, Politico reports:
McConnell’s comments are yet another positive sign it’ll pass the chamber, and head to an uncertain fate in the House.
The Senate’s Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, says he expects a short-term government funding measure to pass his chamber with bipartisan support, Politico reports:
The question is: what reception will it get in the House? If speaker Kevin McCarthy puts the bill up for a vote, it may attract enough Democratic votes to offset any defections from rightwing Republicans. But those insurgents have made clear that any collaboration between McCarthy and Democrats will result in them holding a vote to remove him as speaker.
House and Senate plan late afternoon votes to head off shutdown
The House and Senate will in a few hours hold votes that will be crucial to the broader effort to stop the government from shutting down at the end of the week.
The federal fiscal year ends on 30 September, after which many federal agencies will have exhausted their funding and have to curtail services or shut down entirely until Congress reauthorizes their spending. But lawmakers have failed to pass bills authorizing the government’s spending into October due to a range of disagreements between them, with the most pronounced split being between House Republicans who back speaker Kevin McCarthy and a small group of rightwing insurgents who have blocked the chamber from considering a measure to fund the government for a short period beyond the end of the month.
At 5.30pm, the Democratic-dominated Senate will vote on a bill that extends funding for a short period of time, but lacks any new money for Ukraine or disaster relief that Joe Biden’s allies have requested. Those exclusions are seen as a bid to win support in the Republican-led House.
The House is meanwhile taking procedural votes on four long-term spending bills. If the votes succeed, it could be a sign that McCarthy has won over some of his detractors – but that alone won’t be enough to keep the government open.
As GOP House speaker Kevin McCarthy mulls a meeting with Joe Biden to resolve the possibility that the federal government will shut down at the end of this week, here’s the Guardian’s Joan E Greve with the latest on the chaotic negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in both chambers of Congress on preventing it:
With just five days left to avert a federal shutdown, the House and the Senate return on Tuesday to resume their tense budget negotiations in the hope of cobbling together a last-minute agreement to keep the government open.
The House will take action on four appropriations bills, which would address longer-term government funding needs but would not specifically help avoid a shutdown on 1 October.
The four bills include further funding cuts demanded by the hard-right House members who have refused to back a stopgap spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, that would prevent a shutdown.
The House is expected to take a procedural vote on those four bills on Tuesday. If that vote is successful, the House Republican speaker, Kevin McCarthy, may attempt to use the victory as leverage with the hard-right members of his conference to convince them to back a continuing resolution.
But it remains unclear whether those four appropriations bills can win enough support to clear the procedural vote, given that one of the holdout Republicans, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, has said she will not back the spending package because it includes funding for Ukraine.
Donald Trump has launched a lengthy and largely baseless attack on wind turbines for causing large numbers of whales to die, claiming that “windmills” are making the cetaceans “crazy” and “a little batty”.
Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, used a rally in South Carolina to assert that while there was only a small chance of killing a whale by hitting it with a boat, “their windmills are causing whales to die in numbers never seen before. No one does anything about that.”
“They are washing up ashore,” said Trump, the twice-impeached former US president and gameshow host who is facing multiple criminal indictments.
You wouldn’t see that once a year – now they are coming up on a weekly basis. The windmills are driving them crazy. They are driving the whales, I think, a little batty.
Trump has a history of making false or exaggerated claims about renewable energy, previously asserting that the noise from wind turbines can cause cancer, and that the structures “kill all the birds”. In that case, experts say there is no proven link to ill health from wind turbines, and that there are far greater causes of avian deaths, such as cats or fossil fuel infrastructure. There is also little to support Trump’s foray into whale science.
McCarthy says it would be 'very important' to meet with Biden on averting shutdown
The House speaker, Kevin McCarthy, said it would be “very important” to meet with Joe Biden to avert a government shutdown, and suggested the president could solve the crisis at the southern border unilaterally.
Asked why he was not willing to strike a deal with congressional Democrats on a short-term funding bill to keep the government open, NBC reports that McCarthy replied:
Why don’t we just cut a deal with the president?
The president, all he has to do … it’s only actions that he has to take. He can do it like that. He changed all the policies on the border. He can change those. We can keep government open and finish out the work that we have done.
Asked if he was requesting a meeting with Biden, McCarthy said:
I think it would be very important to have a meeting with the president to solve that issue.
Here’s a clip of Joe Biden’s remarks as he joined striking United Auto Workers members (UAW) outside a plant in Michigan.
Addressing the picketing workers, the president said they had made a lot of sacrifices when their companies were in trouble. He added:
Now they’re doing incredibly well. And guess what? You should be doing incredibly well, too.
Asked if the UAW should get a 40% increase, Biden said yes.
The day so far
Joe Biden became the first sitting US president in modern memory to visit a union picket line, traveling to Van Buren township, Michigan, to address United Auto Workers members who have walked off the job at the big three automakers. The president argued that the workers deserve higher wages, and appeared alongside the union’s leader, Shawn Fain – who has yet to endorse Biden’s re-election bid. Back in Washington DC, Congress is as troubled as ever. The leaders of the House and Senate are trying to avoid a government shutdown, but there’s no telling if their plans will work. Meanwhile, more and more Democratic senators say Bob Menendez should resign his seat after being indicted on corruption charges, including his fellow Jerseyman, Cory Booker.
Here’s what else is going on:
The supreme court told Alabama’s Republican leaders that they have to draw another majority-Black congressional district. They tried very hard to get out of doing so.
Here was the scene in Van Buren township, Michigan, as Joe Biden visited striking United Auto Workers members, in the first visit to a picket line by a US president:
Biden endorses striking workers' demands for higher wages
Biden concluded his visit to striking UAW workers by endorsing their demands for higher wages:
As the Associated Press reports, he appears to have signed on to the union’s demand for a 40% wage bump:
Biden was followed by UAW president Shawn Fain, who noted that the workers were striking against a plant that used to manufacture military armaments during the second world war.
“Today, the enemy isn’t some foreign company miles away. It’s right here in our own area – it’s corporate greed,” Fain said as Biden, wearing a UAW baseball cap with the words “Union Yes” on the side, looked on. He later put his arm around one of the red T-shirt-wearing UAW strikers.
“And the weapon we produce to fight that enemy is the liberators, the true liberators – it’s the working-class people,” Fain added.
Wearing a baseball cap and a blue jacket, Joe Biden spoke through a bullhorn to striking United Auto Workers members (UAW) outside a plant in Michigan.
“The fact of the matter is that you guys, UAW, you saved the auto industry back in 2008,” the president said.
The union “made a lot of sacrifices, gave up a lot when the companies were in trouble,” Biden said. “Now they’re doing incredibly well. And guess what? You should be doing incredibly well, too.”
The workers cheered as he spoke.
Biden visits the UAW picket line in Michigan
Joe Biden is now at a United Auto Workers picket line in Michigan and addressing striking workers.
We’ll cover his remarks live here, and you can watch his appearance at the live stream embedded at the top of the page.
The Guardian’s Tom Perkins is outside one of the plants where United Auto Workers members have walked off the job in Michigan, and has this report:
On a damp and windy day in Wayne, Michigan, United Auto Workers (UAW) picketing outside the sprawling plant, one of the original to strike earlier this month, burned logs in barrels for warmth, as horns from passing traffic on the busy highway blared in support.
The strike has pushed into its third week, and Biden’s visit will be followed by a Wednesday stop by Donald Trump at an auto facility in nearby Macomb county in what feels like the unofficial kickoff to the 2024 campaign season. Workers here say the appearance by the president is a boost to morale, and Larry Hearn, a 61-year-old UAW committee member, views it as a “monumental and history-making” visit that marks the first time a sitting US president has joined a picket line.
“We’re out here on the frontline, taking the brunt for everybody, losing money,” Hearn said. “The support feels good. We don’t need him to get in our business and secure us a contract, but his support is enough, it hits home with people.”
The Trump campaign called Biden’s visit to the picket line a “cheap photo-op”, but at least some workers disagree with that assessment.
“As long as Biden is going to come here then do something to help working people when he returns to Washington, then he is welcome,” said Walter Robinson, a 57-year-old quality inspector. “He is going to have to do that if he wants our endorsement. I think he will.”
The UAW has withheld an endorsement so far, but union leadership has been critical of Trump, who has sought to capitalize on the strike and siphon support from the majority-Democratic unions. Trump visits a non-union shop tomorrow, which was not lost on those outside the Wayne plant.
“That’s where his loyalties lie,” Robinson said “If he wants to be with working people who are struggling, then he would be here. I don’t know who he is playing for – is he playing for working people, or corporations?”
Trump gets a lot of support among union members because of “guns, gays and taxes”, Robinson said, and inflation has not helped Biden.
“That resonates with a certain sector of people,” he added, estimating that there is about a 60-40 split in support at the plant for Biden and Trump.
“He has to go to a non-union plant because if he came here we wouldn’t let him in,” Hearn said. “If he pulled up in his motherfuckin’ motorcade right now, we would not let him in.”
Hearn said he is a Democrat and most union members will say they are, but added: “You never what someone is going to do when they get behind the [voting] booth.”
Here’s a photo from the Associated Press of Joe Biden on the ground in Romulus, Michigan, where he’s been greeted by United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain.
Fain invited Biden to visit a picket line last week, and the president took him up on the invitation:
'Pro-union' Biden to make historic visit to UAW picket line in Michigan
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Joe Biden will make the first visit by a US president to a union picket line in modern times this afternoon, when he joins striking United Auto Workers members in Michigan.
“This is the most pro-union president in modern times,” Jean-Pierre told reporters on Air Force One during the flight to Wayne County, Michigan. “President Joe Biden’s continuing to show his support for union workers, in this case, autoworkers. This is something that he believes and you see that in his economic policy, and it’s in the big pieces of legislation that he’s gotten to pass and also sign, that he puts workers at the center of it.”
Jean-Pierre declined to say which picket line Biden would visit. His itinerary takes him to the Detroit area, where the big three American automakers are headquartered, and where UAW members at Ford, General Motors and Stellantis plants and distribution centers have walked off the job amid protracted contract negotiations.
Here’s audio of White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre not answering the question when asked if Joe Biden thinks Bob Menendez should resign:
Dodging questions on the president’s behalf is, of course, part of Jean-Pierre’s job.
White House spokeswoman avoids answering whether Biden believes Menendez should resign
At her ongoing press briefing on Air Force One, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre continues to dodge when asked if Joe Biden believes Bob Menendez should resign his Senate seat.
“This is a serious matter. We take this very seriously. As I said yesterday, we think the senator did the right thing by stepping down from his chairmanship” of the foreign relations committee, which he did last week, she said. “As it relates to resigning, that is something that’s up to him and the leadership in the Senate. But, look, we take this very seriously.”
Reporters continued trying to get her to reveal the president’s thoughts, but the effort was fruitless.
The ranks of Democratic senators calling for Bob Menendez to leave the chamber continue to grow.
“As with all Americans, Senator Menendez must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, and will face his day in court. The nature of these charges erodes public trust in Congress. No one is entitled to serve in the US Senate, and he should step aside,” Colorado’s Michael Bennet said in a statement.
Here’s New Mexico’s Martin Heinrich:
Republicans have been far less vocal – perhaps because the frontrunner for the party’s presidential nomination, Donald Trump, is facing not one, not two, not three but four indictments. However, Arkansas senator Tom Cotton is publicly saying Menendez should stay:
Fellow New Jersey senator Booker calls on Menendez to resign over corruption indictment
In a major blow to Bob Menendez’s support, Cory Booker, his fellow Democratic senator from New Jersey, says he should resign following his indictment on corruption charges last week.
“I believe stepping down is best for those Senator Menendez has spent his life serving,” said Booker, who supported Menendez when he previously faced corruption charges in 2015.
Here’s Booker’s full statement:
Joe Biden is on his way to Michigan for what is expected to be a history-making visit to the striking United Auto Workers picket line.
The president is expected to appear at the picket line at 12.45pm. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will speak with reporters in a few minutes on Air Force One, where they’ll undoubtedly ask her if the president thinks Bob Menendez should resign as senator.
More Democrats are calling on Senator Bob Menendez to resign following his corruption indictment.
The latest calls come from Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, as reported by the Boston Globe:
And Jacky Rosen of Nevada:
Joe Biden is traveling to Michigan to picket with UAW workers at the invitation of the union’s leader, Shawn Fain, who hasn’t had the easiest relationship with the president. The Guardian’s Michael Sainato has more on the union chief, and the historic strike he is leading:
Shawn Fain isn’t messing around. Just six months into his job as president of the United Auto Workers (UAW), he is leading US car workers in their biggest strike in a generation and on Tuesday secured a historic first: getting a sitting US president to join the pickets.
The 54-year-old is the grandson of two UAW retirees and won the union’s presidency in a close-fought election in March. From the get-go he has taken an aggressive, uncompromising stance as the UAW has negotiated new contracts with Detroit’s big three automakers.
Before his election, the UAW was rife with corruption. Senior figures, including the former president Gary Jones, were jailed for embezzlement. The scandal led to the UAW’s first-ever election by direct vote rather than by a convention of delegates. Fain won on a promise of internal reform and external action.
“This is our shot for true reform of the UAW, to put the power and control of our union back in the hands of the membership by electing leaders who will be held accountable by the membership,” his campaign page said.
More Democratic senators call on Menendez to resign following corruption indictment
What was a trickle of Democratic senators calling on their New Jersey colleague Bob Menendez to resign following his indictment on bribery charges last week has become something of a stream, if not a flood. Several more lawmakers today announced they think he should go, including:
Jon Tester of Montana, who is facing a tough re-election fight in the red state next year:
Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin:
Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey:
And yesterday, another red state Democrat up for re-election, Ohio’s Sherrod Brown, joined in the chorus:
Expect more lawmakers to weigh in today. Two names to watch for in particular are Menendez’s fellow Jerseyman Cory Booker and Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, whose calls to resign, if they come, would be influential.
Supreme court rejects Alabama GOP's attempt to avoid drawing second majority-Black congressional district
The supreme court has turned down an attempt by Republican lawmakers in Alabama to defy a recent ruling and avoid drawing a second majority-Black congressional district in the state, CNN reports:
In June, the supreme court ordered Alabama to draw a second congressional district where a majority of voters are African American, a decision expected to benefit Democrats, who tend to be favored among the group. The 5-4 decision citing the Voting Rights Act was something of a surprise, since it was signed on to by two of the court’s conservative majority, which is often skeptical of the landmark civil rights legislation.
The decision was expected to affect other southern states and likely help Democrats in their quest to retake the majority in the House in next year’s elections. But rather than follow the decision, Republican lawmakers in Alabama drew new congressional maps that, like the previous version, included just one majority-Black district. Lawsuits were then filed against the maps, which have reached their conclusion with today’s supreme court decision.
It’s no accident the picket line Joe Biden is visiting is in Michigan – the state is crucial for him to win if he’s to return to the White House for a second term. The Guardian’s Steven Greenhouse reports on how the president is hoping today’s visit gives him a boost among a constituency vital not just to his own presidency, but to Democrats’ successes nationwide:
In the more than 150 years since workers first formed labor unions in the United States, no American president has ever stood “in solidarity” with workers on a picket line. Joe Biden has vowed to do exactly that with striking autoworkers in Michigan on Tuesday.
“This is genuinely new – I don’t think it’s ever happened before, a president on a picket line,” said Nelson Lichtenstein, a longtime labor historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “Candidates do it frequently and prominent senators, but not a president.”
Biden’s visit to the picket line, labor experts say, will give him a political boost in Michigan and other industrial swing states and might also help nudge the United Auto Workers (UAW) and automakers to a quicker settlement. But some experts say his visit could backfire if the walkout drags on for months or seriously hurts the nation’s economy.
Biden’s predecessors were often far more hostile toward strikers. In 1894, Grover Cleveland dispatched federal troops to help shut down a railroad strike; during the Korean war in 1952, Harry Truman seized the nation’s steel mills in response to a steelworkers’ strike; and in 1981, Ronald Reagan fired 11,345 striking air traffic controllers.
At 12pm today, Joe Biden will go where no president has gone before: a union picket line. The Guardian’s Robert Tait reports on why Biden’s visit to striking autoworkers in Michigan is significant:
Joe Biden will make a rare presidential appearance on a picket line in Michigan on Tuesday to show solidarity with striking members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union locked in an escalating dispute with America’s three biggest carmakers.
In a high-stakes effort to steal a march on Donald Trump, Biden will offer his backing to strikers at a plant in the Detroit area as part of an all-out bid to retain the support of union members in Michigan, seen as a key presidential election battleground state.
The US president’s visit comes a day before Trump, his expected Republican opponent in next year’s poll, visits Detroit – the historic centre of the US car industry – to address workers in his own pitch for the strikers’ support.
Trump, who won Michigan with the help of union members’ support in his 2016 election victory over Hillary Clinton before losing it four years later in his defeat to Biden, is not expected to visit a picket line.
Biden’s trip is designed to burnish his self-proclaimed credentials as the most union-friendly president in US history and possibly also to earn the explicit backing of the UAW, which has yet to endorse his bid for re-election.
In a post on X, the social media platform that was formerly Twitter, the president said the aim of his visit was “to join the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create”.
He added: “It’s time for a win-win agreement that keeps American auto manufacturing thriving with well-paid UAW jobs.”
Hunter Biden alleges 'total annihilation' of privacy in newly filed lawsuit against Giuliani, lawyer - report
In the latest development in Hunter Biden’s legal counterattack against conservatives who have demonized him, the president’s son today sued Rudy Giuliani and his attorney, alleging they broke the law by accessing his electronic devices, CNN reports.
Giuliani and Robert Costello spent years “hacking into, tampering with, manipulating, copying, disseminating, and generally obsessing over data that they were given that was taken or stolen from” his devices, alleges the lawsuit, which was filed in a California federal court and claims the pair caused “total annihilation” of his digital privacy.
Hunter Biden has been at the center of Republicans’ impeachment efforts against Joe Biden, over unproven claims that the president benefited from allegedly corrupt business activities his son took part in overseas.
It’s the third lawsuit by the president’s son against rightwing figures he claims have invaded his privacy in their quest to prove corruption. Last week, he sued the Internal Revenue Service, claiming the tax authority violated his privacy rights when two agents, saying they were whistleblowers, went public with allegations of political interference in an investigation of his conduct. He is also suing a former Donald Trump White House aide over claims of illegal hacking.
CNN spoke to a source on Biden’s legal team, who signaled that more lawsuits would be coming. “Everyone involved in stealing and manipulating Hunter’s data should be hearing footsteps right about now,” the source said.
House and Senate race against time to outmanoeuvre extreme rightwing Republicans and avert government shutdown
The House and Senate are both back in session today and will make a last-ditch effort to stop the government shutdown expected on 1 October. According to media reports, the Senate’s Democratic leadership plans at 5.30pm eastern time today to hold a vote on a measure that will keep the government open for 45 days and include little funding for disaster relief or Ukraine’s war effort that party leaders want. Assuming the so-called “clean” continuing resolution passes the chamber, it will go the House, where such a bill would normally attract bipartisan support.
But with extreme rightwing lawmakers threatening to force a vote on ousting Republican speaker Kevin McCarthy if he shows any sign of working with the opposition, and there’s no saying yet if he’ll put the Senate’s legislation to a vote. McCarthy plans to at 6.30pm today hold a procedural vote on his own spending bill – the same kind of vote that failed last week due to the ongoing revolt by the far right. The prospects of the speaker’s effort therefore remain unclear, but one thing is for sure: if Congress doesn’t make any progress resolving this today, the shutdown odds increase.
Here’s what else is going on today:
Joe Biden is heading to Michigan for a visit to a United Auto Workers picket line in what is expected to be a historic show of solidarity for an American president. He’ll be there at 12pm.
Now that they’re back at the Capitol, expect every senator to be asked if they think Robert Menendez, New Jersey’s Democratic senator who was last week indicted for using his position to do favors for the government of Egypt, should resign.
Hunter Biden filed another lawsuit against his conservative antagonists, this time alleging Rudy Giuliani and his ex-attorney tried to hack his devices, CNN reports.