Democrats send mixed signals on oil and border politics: The Note

The TAKE with Rick Klein

There’s a broken pledge to contend with, as well as promises being kept that some wish weren’t. There are Trump policies being affirmed and others about to be revoked.

President Joe Biden’s administration starts Earth Week offering new oil and natural gas leases on federal lands for the first time in the Biden presidency. It’s the latest move to address soaring gas prices but also the latest to enrage environmental advocates — armed this time with a Biden campaign pledge to the contrary.

The Biden administration is also just weeks away from lifting the Title 42 order that allowed federal authorities to quickly expel most migrants coming to the US since the early days of the pandemic. That’s in line with the president’s longstanding vow to follow the science when it comes to emergency COVID-19 measures, and with Democrats’ aversion to almost everything former President Donald Trump did during the pandemic.

But an array of Democrats facing tough races this fall fear it’s nowhere near in line with the politics of the moment. Incumbent Democrats in states including Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Nevada and New Hampshire are raising concerns that Title 42 is being lifted too quickly.

One refrain in particular might sting if the expected surge at the border materializes.

“I have yet to hear a plan from the Biden administration,” said Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Texas.

“This administration does not have a plan,” Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., warned last week. “It’s going to be a crisis on top of a crisis.”

Plan or no plan, there continues to be broad agreement inside the Democratic Party about its dire political outlook. Where they lack agreement is on what can or should be done to respond.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

Mass shootings in Columbia, South Carolina, and Pittsburgh over the holiday weekend put a continued spotlight on gun violence and, more broadly, violent crime across the country.

The South Carolina shooting, at a crowded mall, injured 14 people, and the Pennsylvania shooting, at a house party, killed two minors and injured nine others.

Both came on the heels of the Brooklyn subway shooting, which injured more than two dozen people and led to a subsequent manhunt for alleged gunman Frank James.

“This is a national issue,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams told ABC “This Week” Anchor George Stephanopoulos when asked about the uptick in crime in the nation’s largest city. “It’s not a red state, blue state. In fact, red states are experiencing a higher murder rate than blue states.”

There have been 138 mass shootings in the US since the start of this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that identifies mass shootings as cases in which four or more people are shot and tracks them through public data, news reports and other sources.

The Biden administration announced last week it was moving forward with actions to curb ghost guns — guns sold in parts that can be put together at home and are often untraceable. The administration has called on Congress to pass legislation that could offer more substantial reforms, but advocates say communities from coast to coast can’t afford to wait on Congress, where it remains improbable that gun reform could pass since many Republican lawmakers strongly oppose such legislation .

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

In less than a week, Michigan Republicans will vote to nominate candidates to challenge incumbent Democrats for statewide offices in November. The event is sure to heighten existing intraparty tensions between Trump loyalists — some of whom continue to question the outcome of the 2020 election — and Republicans who want to create a path forward without the former president’s election denials dominating their campaigns.

Having lost the 2020 battleground by just over 150,000 votes, Trump is now visibly mapping out paths to remain a commanding figure in Michigan’s political landscape, which includes getting involved in state legislative contests. The former president has already endorsed nearly a dozen state Senate candidates and is also backing a top contender for speaker of the Michigan state House.

Meanwhile, his endorsements for attorney general and secretary of state have been vocal in challenging the results of the 2020 election, and if elected, would be involved with validating future election results.

The divides within state parties and their implications are microcosms of concerns that extend to Capitol Hill, where, according to retiring Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, Republicans are poised to have a majority in the House following this year’s midterm elections. Even with those prospects, Upton told NBC News that achieving party unity could be tough.

“I don’t think it’s going to be this wild swing knowing that we picked up a lot of seats in the last election despite Biden winning. So, you know, what’s the over/under? So that’s going to make a big determination, Upton said.

“It will be very hard to govern for Republicans if we’re under 230, knowing that we’ve got the [Marjorie Taylor Greene] element that’s really not a part of a governing majority,” he added, in reference to a party needing 218 members to have a majority in the House.

NUMBER OF THE DAY, powered by FiveThirtyEight

737. That’s the number of calls placed to abortion clinics across the country that FiveThirtyEight analyzed, finding that wait times of a week or more for an abortion are already fairly common, even in deep blue states like California and New York. And as FiveThirtyEight’s Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux writes, it’s even worse in states surrounding Texas, where a law that effectively bans abortions after six weeks went into effect last September. In those states, waits of two or three weeks for an abortion appointment are very common, giving us a snapshot of what’s potentially in store for the rest of the country if the Supreme Court upholds Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks.


ABC News’ “Start Here” Podcast. “Start Here” begins Monday morning with ABC’s James Longman in Ukraine as forces on the ground struggle to hold onto the key port city of Mariupol. Then, ABC’s Bob Woodruff reports on the growing fentanyl crisis in America. And, in time for Tax Day, we explain what the deal is behind a monthslong backlog at the IRS.


  • President Joe Biden will give remarks at the White House Easter Egg Roll at 10:15 am as the event returns for the first time in three years. First lady Jill Biden will also deliver remarks for the “EGGucation”-themed roll.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki will brief the press at 4 pm
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    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day’s top stories in politics. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.


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