Biden says he’s ‘not open to doing nothing’ on infrastructure amid Republican criticisms of plan – live

5.13pm EDT17:13

Biden to nominate gun control group adviser Chipman to lead ATF – reports

Joe Biden intends to nominate David Chipman, a former federal agent and a senior adviser to the gun control group Giffords, to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to multiple reports.

The AP reports:

If confirmed, Chipman would be the agency’s first permanent director since 2015.

Two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that Chipman’s nomination is expected to be announced Thursday. The people could not discuss the matter publicly ahead of an official announcement and spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity.

Chipman is a retired ATF agent who has for years worked as a senior policy adviser at Giffords, which advocates to strengthen gun laws.

The White House said earlier today that the president intends to make an announcement on gun regulations tomorrow.

A number of Biden’s allies have pressed him to take executive action to end gun violence after the mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, and Boulder, Colorado.

5.01pm EDT17:01

Today so far

4.41pm EDT16:41

Chauvin used deliberate and excessive pain technique on Floyd, expert says

An expert police witness has told the Derek Chauvin murder trial in Minneapolis that the accused former officer used a technique designed to deliberately inflict pain and subjected George Floyd to it for an extended period.

Sgt Jody Stiger, a Los Angeles police specialist on the use of force, said on Wednesday that video shows Chauvin applying a “pain compliance” procedure by pulling the 46-year-old Black man’s wrist into the handcuffs, which can be heard clicking tighter.

Stiger said the technique, which also involves squeezing the knuckles together, is normally used to inflict pain in order to persuade a person to comply with an officer’s commands – but at that point Floyd was not resisting and was lying prone on the ground.

The procedure was also used for much longer than was necessary, Stiger told the jury.

The prosecutor asked Stiger what the effect is of using the pain compliance procedure if there is no opportunity for compliance.

“At that point it’s just pain,” he said.

4.19pm EDT16:19

3.57pm EDT15:57

EPA reverses Trump stance in push to tackle environmental racism

Michael Regan, head of the US Environmental Protection Agency, has sought to revive the effort to confront environmental racism by ordering the agency to crack down on the pollution that disproportionately blights people of color.

On Wednesday, Regan issued a directive to EPA staff to “infuse equity and environmental justice principles and priorities into all EPA practices, policies, and programs”. The memo demands the agency use the “full array of policy and legal tools at our disposal” to ensure vulnerable communities are front of mind when issuing permits for polluting facilities or cleaning up following disasters.

The directive states there should be better consultation with affected communities and indicates the EPA will be tougher on companies that violate air and water pollution mandates. Regan’s memo calls for the EPA to “strengthen enforcement of violations of cornerstone environmental statutes and civil rights laws in communities overburdened by pollution”.

Enforcement of pollution violations dropped steeply under Donald Trump’s administration, with the EPA even suspending routine inspections of facilities while the Covid-19 pandemic raged in the US last year.

3.39pm EDT15:39

3.15pm EDT15:15

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio had some great news this morning for Covid 19-weary residents: the city’s pools and beaches will be open this summer.

“Grab your towel and pack your sunscreen because summer is just around the corner and our beaches and pools will be BACK!” de Blasio says.

“We’re going to do it the safe way,” Bloomberg reports de Blasio also saying.

Indeed, a smiling de Blasio held up a giant flag to demonstrate safety measures.

NYC Mayor’s Office

Beaches and pools are coming back this summer, but remember:

April 7, 2021

De Blasio’s cheery tweets and flag-pose come as welcome news to New Yorkers.

Last spring, New York City, and state, became a global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. There have been 31,531 deaths in New York City and 50,239 in the state, according to New York Times data.

Restrictions to combat the pandemic in New York City and state were among the most strict across this country. While this has helped prevent a return to the chaos seen elsewhere, New Yorkers are tired after a year of emotional, economic, cultural, and social hardships.

Being able to fully enjoy the sun is one step back toward normalcy.

The opening of beaches and pools comes on the heels of more good news: a New York City health official recently said that the five boroughs “can be completely out of this within six to eight weeks of very aggressive vaccination,” WABC reports.

De Blasio said Tuesday that more than 4.6 doses had been administered in the city, and announced the launch of a mobile vaccination programme, with vans and busses headed to hard-to-reach residents.

2.59pm EDT14:59

2.41pm EDT14:41

Biden hints at willingness to negotiate on corporate tax rate

Joe Biden took a quick media question at the end of his address at the White House just now and signaled that although he wants to raise the corporate tax rate above the current 21% introduced by Donald Trump, it does not have to be as high as the 28% now being proposed by the White House and Treasury Department.

Joe Biden speaks at the White House on the American Jobs Plan. Vice President Kamala Harris is at left.

Joe Biden speaks at the White House on the American Jobs Plan. Vice President Kamala Harris is at left. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

“We have got to pay for this,” he said, indicating his $2tn American jobs plan, but added: “But I’m willing to negotiate that.”

He said he was open to talking with bipartisan groups and Republican-only groups of lawmakers at the White House, issuing an open invitation. But they had to be open to compromise.

And while he may be open to movement on corporate tax rates he reiterated his pledge not to raise taxes on any American making less than $400,000 a year.

And the president criticized Republicans who came to the White House with the purported intention of negotiating prior to the passage of the $1.9tn coronavirus relief bill titled the American Rescue Plan and then didn’t bargain.

Biden said they proposed a $600bn alternative plan.

“And that was it. I would have been prepared to compromise but they didn’t, they didn’t budge an inch,” he said.

He made a final appeal for a bipartisan deal on infrastructure.

“These are not Republican bridges, Democratic airports, Republican hospitals, Democratic power grid [upgrades]. We are one America, united and connected,” he said.

And Biden reminded Republicans in Congress that the improvements are popular with the general public.

at 2.55pm EDT

2.31pm EDT14:31

Biden is talking up his “blue collar blueprint” for jobs for working class people in the US.

Of the programs and job creation he is proposing within the $2tr infrastructure bill, “almost 90% of jobs can be filled by people who do not have a college degree,” he said, and three quarters by people without an associates degree.

It’s amazing how Joe Biden can sound angry even when he’s talking about good things. It’s his way of being emphatic, he shouts his announcements, but he yells “jobs!” like it’s a curse sometimes.

Of course he is frustrated that Republicans have been bashing the plan outright as “too big” and a ridiculous wish list.

Minority leader Mitch McConnell called it a Trojan horse for “massive tax increases on all the productive parts of our economy”.

Biden said moments ago:“We have to show ourselves democracy works. That we can come together. It’s the United States of America, for God’s sake,” he says, impatiently. He called the plan “fiscally responsible”.

He called on Republicans to come to the White House for “good faith negotiations” and show that democracy in the US works and not with “trickle down economics from the very top”.

at 2.51pm EDT