Your Monday Briefing: U.S. Senate Passes Major Legislation
Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act at the Capitol.Credit…Kenny Holston for The New York Times
U.S. Senate passes a landmark bill
Congress edged closer to realizing a slew of Democratic priorities when the Senate passed the climate and tax bill after an all-night legislative bender known as a vote-a-rama.
The Democratic caucus had to remain united to ward off changes proposed by Republican senators, who uniformly opposed the bill.
All 50 Democratic senators voted in the package’s favor to move it to the House, where it is expected to be approved on Friday.
The climate provisions, which at nearly $400 billion are the most significant federal investment in history to counter climate change, could have global impact. The bill also includes plans to lower the costs of prescription drugs and make the tax code more equitable.
Australia: The country just passed its own landmark climate bill. In our Australia newsletter, Damien Cave explains why it matters.
Other U.S. political news:
President Biden is being called on to lead the fight for abortion rights, an issue that he has spent decades sidestepping.
Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat who was the first openly gay woman elected to Congress, has helmed the effort to win over 10 Republican senators on a marriage equality bill.
Polls show that Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who has helped investigate Donald Trump, is virtually certain to lose her primary to a Trumpist candidate.
China’s military exercises could alienate Taiwan
China’s 72-hour spectacle of warships, missiles and fighter jets swarming Taiwan’s borders was meant to smack down international defiance of China’s claim to the democratically governed island nation.
But even if China’s display of military might discourages Western politicians such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from visiting Taiwan, it also narrows the hope of winning over the island through negotiations and increases the risk of conflict.
“The attractiveness of the carrots in China’s Taiwan policy — economic inducements — has now fallen to its lowest point since the end of the Cold War,” said Wu Jieh-min, a political scientist at Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan.
In an increasingly democratic Taiwan, few see themselves as future Chinese citizens. Polls show that a vast majority of the country wants some version of the ambiguous status quo, not unification on China’s terms.
History: Taiwan has never been ruled by the Communist Party, but Beijing maintains that it is historically and legally part of Chinese territory. Since the late 1970s, Chinese leaders have tried to coax Taiwan into unification under a “one country, two systems” framework.
Context: Xi Jinping, China’s leader, is consumed with worry about perceived threats to his rule and the Communist Party’s control.According to a new textbook that explains Xi’s vision, opponents of China’s claims over Taiwan are “the biggest obstacle to unification of the motherland.”
Rockets strike near a Ukrainian nuclear plant
Rockets exploded near a spent-fuel storage facility at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power complex in Ukraine, further raising concerns of an accident.
One person was wounded by shrapnel and three radiation detection monitors were damaged, but a catastrophe was “miraculously avoided,” Ukraine’s nuclear energy company said on Telegram.
Russia, which controls the plant, blamed Ukraine for the attack. Ukraine blamed Russia, with President Volodymyr Zelensky saying that the invading nation had become the first in the world “to use a nuclear plant for terror.”
More news from the war in Ukraine:
Amnesty International accused Ukrainian soldiers of using tactics that endanger civilians, leading the group’s Ukraine director to resign.
Children’s advocates say there is still time to change how young people emerge from the conflict.
Ukraine’s farmers face the same dangers as soldiers as they reap this year’s harvest.
THE LATEST NEWS
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that their nations were committed to strengthening their military alliance and dealing with tensions in Asia.
Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador to Australia, and Wendy Sherman, the U.S. deputy secretary of state, visited the island of Guadalcanal on the 80th anniversary of the World War II battle there and spoke about the current fraught diplomatic moment.
Mechai Viravaidya — “Captain Condom” — educated people in Thailand about family planning when nobody else in the country would and developed an approach the World Bank called “one of the most effective” in the world.
Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants agreed to a cease-fire, potentially ending a three-day conflict that killed dozens of Palestinians and paralyzed parts of Israel.
At least 44 people have been killed so far in Gaza and 311 wounded, according to the health ministry.
Gaza’s hospitals could shut down because of power cuts.
Islamic Jihad militants fired rockets toward Jerusalem, but the Israeli military said air defense missiles intercepted them.
The Israeli military said it killed two Islamic Jihad commanders during the rocket exchanges.
Iran began a sweeping crackdown on its long-persecuted Baha’i community.
A Kenyan railway designed, funded and built by China has become a national fiasco, and a hot-button issue leading up to Tuesday’s presidential election.
As countries grapple with inflation, perhaps none understands how to live with it better than Argentina.
What Else Is Happening
A 12-year-old British boy who had been in a coma since April died after his life support was withdrawn, following a lengthy legal battle.
U.S. officials are weighing whether to use a lower dose of monkeypox vaccine to stretch the limited supply.
The safe haven movement seeks to make it easier for American mothers to anonymously put their babies up for adoption, even building “baby boxes” where infants can be left.
A Morning Read
Francia Márquez, Colombia’s first Black vice president, has become the most visible ambassador of an Afro-Colombian aesthetic boom by choosing bold print dresses. Esteban Sinisterra Paz, the young designer who makes her clothing, said that he aims for the “decolonization of the human being.”
ARTS AND IDEAS
A woman to watch in Kenya
Kenya holds national elections on Tuesday, but the campaign may already have changed the country’s politics. Voters will decide whether to pick Martha Karua as their first female deputy president, and her candidacy has shifted the focus to women.
Analysts say Karua could convince the undecided that the presidential candidate on her ticket — Raila Odinga, a familiar face in Kenyan politics — could offer something new. Karua is also part of the Kenyan political establishment, but her strong anticorruption track record counts in her favor.
Like other women politicians, she is not immune to gender-based scrutiny. But Karua, a savvy politician, has leaned into it, embracing her role as a grandmother and sewing her own dress on the campaign trail.
Her prominence has put the spotlight on other female candidates, and at least two are running in races for governor. Some have been harassed or intimidated.
“These polls have seen much greater awareness and mainstreaming of women’s participation, in higher numbers and at many more levels,” said Njoki Ngumi, a social commentator who’s part of the Nest Collective, an art collective based in Nairobi.
With a third of Kenyan households headed by women, Ngumi says she hopes the conversation around the election will begin to create an “honest or caring awareness of women’s lived experiences” among Kenyans. —Lynsey Chutel, Briefings writer based in Johannesburg.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
This recipe for cod and corn with Old Bay butter turns any day into a beach day.
What to read
Adam Levin’s “Mount Chicago” is one of those sweeping, polyphonic, epic novels they used to make, our critic writes.
what to watch
Amber Midthunder is a rare Native American actress playing an action lead in “Prey,” the latest installment in the “Predator” franchise.
Now Time to Play
Play today’s Mini Crossword. And a clue: Highly poisonous snake (5 letters).
Here are today’s Wordle and today’s Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Dan
P.S. John White, Sara Curtis and Alex Barron are new producers on The Times’s audio team.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on vacationing in the time of Covid.
You can reach Amelia and the team at [email protected].