Wall Street Journal: “For seven days in a row, through Wednesday, daily airport passenger volumes exceeded two million people, a streak not seen since before the pandemic, according to the Transportation Security Administration. U.S. airports bustled with over 2.3 million people Wednesday—the most hectic day since February 2020. Sunday is expected to be even busier, TSA officials have said.”
New York Times: “Even in normal times, the days around Thanksgiving are a delicate period for the airlines. But this week is the industry’s biggest test since the pandemic began, as millions more Americans — emboldened by vaccinations and reluctant to spend another holiday alone — are expected to take to the skies than during last year’s holidays.”
“A lot is riding on the carriers’ ability to pull it off smoothly…”
“The Transportation Security Administration said it expected to screen about 20 million passengers at airports in the 10 days that began Friday, a figure approaching prepandemic levels. Two million passed through checkpoints on Saturday alone, about twice as many as on the Saturday before last Thanksgiving.”
“The number of airline passengers traveling for Thanksgiving this year is expected to rebound to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels,” the AP reports.
“Pete Buttigieg’s potentially legacy-making opportunity to help steer $550 billion in new infrastructure cash also offers Republicans their best opening yet to hobble his political future,” Politico reports.
“His agency’s newly filled coffers will give Buttigieg the chance to blitz the airwaves and crisscross the country handing out money for bridges and roads, further adding to his already robust media presence. But such huge dollar signs also mean Buttigieg will face aggressive oversight for how the Department of Transportation spends the funds, and any hint of waste or abuse — even outside his direct control — could endanger his prospects in a potential presidential run.”
Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) bragged about the “critical funding” that the bipartisan infrastructure bill provided for a highway in his district — about $369 million — even though he voted against the legislation.
In fact, just 10 days ago Palmer tweeted: “The Democrats’ recklessly expensive infrastructure bill finally passed tonight after weeks of disarray among their caucus.”
“President Biden on Monday signed into law a sweeping $1.2 trillion infrastructure measure, notching an achievement that had long eluded his predecessor in the White House, Donald Trump,” the Washington Post reports.
“Republicans and Democrats gathered at the White House on Monday as Biden signed the legislation, which is aimed at improving the country’s roads, bridges, pipes, ports and Internet connections.”
“Trump had repeatedly tried and failed to secure a bipartisan infrastructure deal.”
Playbook: “Biden will hold a big, splashy BIF-signing ceremony Monday, his first opportunity to begin to turn these numbers around. But despite the bill’s bipartisan support, it looks like it will be an overwhelmingly Democratic affair.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump escalated his hostilities against Republican officials who do not do as he wishes in a statement Saturday night, calling on “good and smart America First Republican patriots to run primary campaigns” against GOP House members who voted for the BIF.
“President Biden plans to install a point-person in charge of infrastructure to ensure his administration properly implements its trillion-dollar legislation,“ Axios reports.
“Biden and his top aides know they need to flawlessly execute on their mammoth plan. It may be Biden’s best — and, perhaps, only remaining — opportunity to show voters Democrats can deliver major changes to improve people’s lives.”
“It’s not yet known who Biden will pick to fill the job, but if history is a guide, it will be somebody he’s known for a long time and trusts implicitly.”
“It’s a godsend for Kentucky.”
— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), quoted by WKYT, on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
North Dakota state Rep. Jeff Hoverson (R) was barred from boarding a flight after he refused to allow a TSA agent to pat him down, KFYR-TV reports.
Said Hoverson: “It got that far, the embarrassment just caused me to just do kind of a natural, impulsive flinch, and move his hand away, and so, that I guess you’re not allowed to do. They called in a lot of supervisors and within a half hour, we were asked to leave, so we did peacefully.”
A new Quinnipiac poll finds Americans support a roughly $1 trillion spending bill to improve the nation’s roads, bridges, broadband, and other infrastructure projects, 62% to 34%.
In addition, Americans support a $3.5 trillion spending bill on social programs such as child care, education, family tax breaks, and expanding Medicare for seniors, 54% to 40%.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is withdrawing its support of the Senate-passed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill just hours after Punchbowl News reported House Republicans were booting it from its strategy calls, Axios reports.
“The pretense for the decision: President Biden formally linking the ‘hard’ infrastructure bill with the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package during a meeting with House Democrats on Friday.”
“The Senate’s bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and President Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending package could live or die this week — and take Democrats’ fortunes with them. But all the minute-by-minute political drama obscures how much America could change if even a fraction of it passes,” Axios reports.
“Anything short of total failure could have a transformative impact on day-to-day life — from how we move around to our access to the internet, paid family leave and child care, health care and college.”
“The five Senate Republicans who helped negotiate and draft the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill have been privately courting their Republican colleagues to pass the measure in the House,” Axios reports.
“House GOP leaders are actively urging their members to oppose the bill. The senators are working to undercut that effort as Monday shapes up as a do-or-die moment for the bipartisan bill.”
Playbook: “The House minority leader has made clear he opposes BIF, but he’s also under increased pressure to take the next step and urge his members to oppose it. On Tuesday, one of his allies, Republican Study Committee Chair Jim Banks (R-IN), became the latest member to call on McCarthy to muscle votes in opposition. McCarthy is also getting an earful from the House Freedom Caucus, whose support he needs to become speaker someday.”
“And don’t forget about Donald Trump, who ironically called for a big infrastructure bill as president but is now demanding they oppose the one Democrats are pitching. Will Trump lean on McCarthy to do more?”
“House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) on Friday affirmed the chamber will vote on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill on Sept. 27, signaling Democratic leaders are still plowing full speed ahead on their planned timeline even though the larger $3.5 trillion bill to invest in social safety net programs still faces tough hurdles,” The Hill reports.
Air travelers who refuse to wear masks can now be fined up to $3,000, CBS News reports.
The Transportation Security Administration announced it will double fines for those who flout federal mask mandates for air travel.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten, announced that they had welcomed two new babies to their family.
It is unclear whether the transportation secretary will take paternity leave.