President Biden is set to announce on Monday afternoon efforts to make it easier for employers to hire new workers and to help more people take jobs, following several days of criticism from Republicans over a disappointing employment report released on Friday.
A White House official who was not authorized to speak on the record about the president’s scheduled remarks said Mr. Biden would announce new measures to get Americans back to work.
The official suggested that many of those efforts would be related to the continued implementation of the American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion economic aid bill that Mr. Biden signed into law in March. Those efforts include disbursing more than $360 billion to state, local and tribal governments, along with assistance to child-care providers and aid to employers for rehiring and retraining workers.
The Labor Department reported on Friday that the economy added 266,000 jobs in April, well below the 1 million jobs that most forecasters expected. Republicans quickly criticized Mr. Biden for the disappointment and blamed a provision in his rescue plan that extended a $300-per-week federal supplement for unemployed Americans. They say those benefits are depressing hiring by discouraging Americans from returning to work.
“It is a terrible jobs report, not what we were expecting at all,” Gov. Spencer Cox, Republican of Utah, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “But that’s what happens when we pay people not to work.”
Mr. Biden will discuss the rules of unemployment insurance benefits on Monday, the White House official said. That could mean reiterating that workers who turn down job offers are ineligible to receive state and federal unemployment aid, including the $300 supplement.
Karl Rove, the Republican strategist and former aide to President George W. Bush, said on “Fox News Sunday” that “I had dinner last week with about eight C.E.O.’s of companies from around the country, mostly family-run, privately held companies. And I said, what’s the No. 1 issue you’re facing? Every one of them said, ‘I — we can’t get enough workers.’ Particularly, and this caught my ear. They said, ‘If the job pays $50,000 or $60,000 or less, it is virtually impossible for us to find workers.’”
An aide to Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the minority leader, emailed reporters on Monday, accusing Mr. Biden of placing “handcuffs” on the recovery by extending the jobless benefits.
Mr. Biden rejected that argument on Friday, saying in remarks at the White House that “the data shows that more workers are looking for jobs and many can’t find them.”
The president is also meeting with lawmakers on Monday, including Democratic Senators Tom Carper of Delaware and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, concerning his infrastructure plan.
The F.B.I. on Monday confirmed that DarkSide, a hacking group, was responsible for the ransomware attack that closed a U.S. pipeline that provides the East Coast with nearly half of its gasoline and jet fuel.
The confirmation of the hack, which prompted emergency White House meetings over the weekend, comes as the Biden administration in the coming days is expected to announce an executive order to strengthen America’s cyberdefense infrastructure.
Colonial Pipeline, the operator of the system, issued a statement on Monday saying that restoring service “takes time.” It added that while the situation “remains fluid and continues to evolve,” the company will restore service incrementally, with the goal of “substantially” restoring service by the end of the week.
Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technologies, said Monday afternoon that the government believes DarkSide is “a criminal actor” but is looking for any ties the group may have to nation-states.
She added that Colonial has not sought cyber support from the government, and could not confirm if the company, a private corporation, has paid any ransom.
Colonial’s pipeline transports 2.5 million barrels each day, taking refined gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel from the Gulf Coast up to New York Harbor and New York’s major airports. Most of that goes into large storage tanks, and with energy use depressed by the coronavirus pandemic, the attack was unlikely to cause any immediate disruptions.
Late Friday, Colonial said in a vaguely worded statement that it had shut down its 5,500 miles of pipeline, which it said carried 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel supplies, in an effort to contain the breach. Earlier in the day, there had been disruptions along the pipeline, but it was not clear at the time whether that was a direct result of the attack or of the company’s moves to proactively halt it.
Energy analysts warned that a prolonged suspension of an oil pipeline could raise prices at the pump along the East Coast and leave some smaller airports scrambling for jet fuel.
The Biden administration announced Monday that health care providers cannot discriminate against transgender individuals, the latest step in President Biden’s efforts to restore civil rights protections for L.G.B.T.Q. people that were eliminated by his predecessor.
Under the new policy, the Department of Health and Human Services will once again prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity by health care organizations that receive federal funding.
The move will reverse a policy adopted by H.H.S. under President Donald J. Trump which said that anti-discrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 did not apply to transgender people. That move had been hailed by social conservatives and harshly criticized by gay rights supporters.
“Fear of discrimination can lead individuals to forgo care, which can have serious negative health consequences,” Xavier Becerra, Mr. Biden’s health secretary, said in a statement. “It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone — including L.G.B.T.Q. people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period.”
The move is part of a broader effort by the president to include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people — and particularly transgender individuals — in protections against discrimination. In his first address to a joint session of Congress last month, Mr. Biden pledged his support for the Equality Act, which would broaden civil rights laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
“To all transgender Americans watching at home, especially the young people: You’re so brave,” Mr. Biden said in his speech. “I want you to know your president has your back.”
Administration officials said the new policy is based on a ruling by the Supreme Court last summer in which the justices said that civil rights laws protects L.G.B.T.Q. workers from employment discrimination.
The health agency’s new approach does not cover employment, but officials cited the Supreme Court’s decision as support for the change. They said that the department’s Office of Civil Rights will interpret the Affordable Care Act’s anti-discrimination provisions to include “(1) discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination on the basis of gender identity.”
The new interpretation will apply to “covered health programs or activities,” which includes doctors, hospitals and other health care organizations which receive public funding.
“The mission of our department is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, the department’s assistant secretary for health and the Biden administration’s most senior transgender official.
“All people need access to health care services to fix a broken bone, protect their heart health, and screen for cancer risk,” she said. “No one should be discriminated against when seeking medical services because of who they are.”
House Republicans are barreling ahead this week with their plan to oust Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, their No. 3, from her leadership post, the latest sign of the immense sway former President Donald J. Trump continues to hold over the party.
Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, on Sunday officially endorsed Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, who has revived Mr. Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election, to replace Ms. Cheney, the Republican conference chairwoman. Ms. Cheney has drawn fire from Mr. Trump and others in the party for repudiating those lies. The vote is expected on Wednesday.
“Yes, I do,” Mr. McCarthy told the Fox News host Maria Bartiromo when she asked whether he supported Ms. Stefanik’s bid.
“We need to be united, and that starts with leadership,” Mr. McCarthy said. “That’s why we will have a vote.”
The choice to stick with Ms. Cheney or remove her is widely seen as an indicator of the path the party will take in the post-Trump era. Will it return to the conservative tradition represented by Ms. Cheney, the daughter of a Republican vice president? Or will it continue marching in lock step with Mr. Trump — who remains popular with the Republican base even though the party lost the House, the Senate and the White House during his tenure — no matter how outlandish his claims?
Critics of Ms. Cheney insist that the vote is also about a lack of message discipline as the party heads into the 2022 midterm elections. While many Republicans quietly agree that President Biden was legitimately elected and that Mr. Trump bore some blame for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, they say they would rather focus on countering Mr. Biden’s agenda instead of purging their party of lies and extremism.
For days, Mr. McCarthy had been working behind the scenes on behalf of Ms. Stefanik, who has a less conservative voting record than Ms. Cheney but has increasingly aligned herself with Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump and Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican, have also endorsed her.
Representative Jim Banks of Indiana, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee who has sponsored legislation with Ms. Cheney opposing troop reductions in Afghanistan, made the case against her on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Right now it’s clear that she doesn’t represent the views of the majority of our conference,” he told the show’s host, Chris Wallace.
Some House Republicans tried to oust Ms. Cheney from her leadership post in February after she voted to impeach Mr. Trump for his role in inciting the attack on the Capitol. Ms. Cheney easily turned back that challenge — winning a 145-to-61 caucus vote — after Mr. McCarthy delivered an impassioned speech in her defense.
But now it is other Republicans who are rallying to her side.
Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who also voted to convict Mr. Trump in his second impeachment trial, argued that the party needed to adopt a bigger-tent philosophy in which both supporters and critics of Mr. Trump were welcome.
“You look at polls, there’s a whole group of folks that agree with Liz Cheney, and so for us to win in 2022 and 2024, we need everybody,” Mr. Cassidy said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Representative Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, pointed out that Mr. McCarthy had said Mr. Trump bore responsibility for the Capitol riot — only to later insist that others stop talking about it.
“For me, I’m a conservative,” he added during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I’m going to fight for the soul of this party. But every member, not just leadership, every congressman, every state representative, every member of the party that pulls a ballot in the primary has to decide, are we going to exist on lies or exist on the truth?”
A pipeline that provides the East Coast with nearly half its gasoline and jet fuel remained closed on Sunday after yet another ransomware attack, prompting emergency White House meetings and new questions about whether an executive order strengthening cybersecurity for federal agencies and contractors goes far enough even as President Biden prepares to issue it.
The order, drafts of which have been circulating to government officials and corporate executives for weeks and summaries of which were obtained by The New York Times, is a new road map for the nation’s cyberdefense.
It would create a series of digital safety standards for federal agencies and contractors that develop software for the federal government, such as multifactor authentication, a version of what happens when consumers get a second code from a bank or credit-card company to allow them to log in. It would require federal agencies to take a “zero trust” approach to software vendors, granting them access to federal systems only when necessary, and require contractors to certify that they comply with steps to ensure that the software they deliver has not been infected with malware or does not contain exploitable vulnerabilities. And it would require that vulnerabilities in software be reported to the U.S. government.
Violators would risk having their products banned from sale to the federal government, which would, in essence, kill their viability in the commercial market.
The order, which is expected to be issued in the coming days or weeks, would also establish a small “cybersecurity incident review board.” The board would be loosely based on the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates major accidents at air or sea.
The measures are intended to address the fact that the software company SolarWinds made for such an easy target for Russia’s premier intelligence agency, which used its software update to burrow into nine federal agencies as well as technology firms and even some utility companies. (Despite SolarWinds’ incredible access to federal networks, an intern had set the firm’s password to its software update mechanism to “SolarWinds123.”)
But federal officials concede that the regulations would still almost certainly have failed to thwart the most skilled nation-state intrusions and disruptions.
Theoretically, the order could be more effective against the kind of criminal ransomware attack that took over Colonial Pipeline’s headquarters networks last week. But it was unclear whether Mr. Biden’s executive order would apply to the privately held Colonial Pipeline.
When federal regulators late last year accused one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency platforms of illegally selling $1.38 billion worth of digital money to investors, it was a pivotal moment in efforts to crack down on a fast-growing market — and in the still-nascent industry’s willingness to dive deeply into the Washington influence game.
The company, Ripple Labs, has enlisted lobbyists, lawyers and other well-connected advocates to make its case to the Securities and Exchange Commission and beyond in one of the first big legal battles over what limits and requirements the government should set for trading and using digital currency.
Ripple has hired two lobbying firms in the past three months. It has retained a consulting firm staffed with former aides to both Hillary Clinton and former President Donald J. Trump to help it develop strategy in Washington. And to defend itself against the S.E.C., it hired Mary Jo White, a former chairwoman of the commission during the Obama administration.
Ripple is just one of a long list of cryptocurrency companies scrambling for influence in Washington as the Biden administration begins setting policy that could shape the course of a potentially revolutionary industry that is rapidly moving into the mainstream and drawing intensifying attention from financial regulators, law enforcement officials and lawmakers.
“There is a tectonic shift underway,” Perianne Boring, the president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, a cryptocurrency lobbying group, told other industry lobbyists, executives and two House lawmakers who serve as industry champions, during a virtual gathering last month. “If we don’t start planning and taking action soon, we have everything to risk.”
The A.F.L.-C.I.O. and other groups filed a complaint with the Biden administration on Monday over claims of labor violations at a group of auto parts factories in Mexico, a move that will pose an early test of the new North American trade deal and its labor protections.
The complaint focuses on the Tridonex auto parts factories in the city of Matamoros, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. said workers there have been harassed and fired over their efforts to organize with an independent union, SNITIS, in place of a company-controlled union. Susana Prieto Terrazas, a Mexican labor lawyer and SNITIS leader, was arrested and jailed last year in an episode that received significant attention.
The trade deal, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, was negotiated by the Trump administration to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement and took effect last summer. While it was negotiated by a Republican administration, the deal had significant input from congressional Democrats, who controlled the House and who insisted on tougher labor and environmental standards in order to vote in favor of the pact, which needed approval from Congress.
The trade pact required Mexico to make sweeping changes to its labor system, where sham collective bargaining agreements known as protection contracts, which are imposed without the involvement of employees and lock in low wages, have been prevalent.
The complaint is being brought under a novel “rapid response” mechanism in the trade deal that allows for complaints about labor violations to be brought against an individual factory and for penalties to be applied to that factory. The complaint was filed by the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the Service Employees International Union, SNITIS and Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch.
The trade deal seeks to improve labor conditions and pay for workers in Mexico, which proponents say would benefit American workers by deterring factory owners from moving their operations to Mexico from the United States in search of cheaper labor. Enforcement of the pact is one of the main trade challenges facing the Biden administration.
On March 21, 1950, an Illinois congressman named Ralph Church suddenly slumped in his seat while testifying before a House committee. His colleagues rushed to administer aid, but he was pronounced dead of a heart attack at 66.
He was neither the first nor the last member of Congress to die in office. “You look back in history, nearly one in 10 members of Congress have,” said Jane L. Campbell, president of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society.
That history has some Democrats worried that deaths or illnesses could derail President Biden’s efforts to pass ambitious bills through Congress, which his party controls by the narrowest margins in decades.
“Our ability to make good on Biden’s agenda is pretty much dangling by a thread,” said Brian Fallon, a former aide to Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader. “I don’t think it’s uncouth to talk about it. I think it’s a reality that has to inform the urgency with which we approach those issues.”
More than 1,160 sitting members and members-elect have died from accidents, disease and violence since the first Congress met in 1789, according to a New York Times analysis of House and Senate records. They include multiple House speakers, famed senators and two former presidents: John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson, who both returned to Congress after leaving the White House.
The pandemic and the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising fueled fears that this Congress was particularly vulnerable to such deaths. But with most members vaccinated and security tightened, old age may be a bigger threat. The average age of a sitting senator is 64, and for a representative it’s 58, making this Congress one of the oldest.
“Heart disease and cancer are really the two most common causes of mortality, and they are both things that increase with age,” said Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, who served on Mr. Biden’s pandemic task force before he took office.