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Live Updates: Garland Will Seek More Funding to Fight Extremism and Gender Violence

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Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland is expected to tell lawmakers on Tuesday that the Justice Department needs more money for Biden administration priorities including combating domestic extremism, racial inequality, environmental degradation and gender violence.

In his first congressional hearing since his confirmation, Mr. Garland will appear before the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees the Justice Department to discuss his $35.2 billion budget request for the fiscal year that begins in October, a 11 percent increase from the previous year.

The budget request reflects a commitment to ensure “the civil rights and the civil liberties” of Americans, Mr. Garland is expected to say in his opening remarks.

The request also shows that Mr. Garland will prioritize attempts to fight domestic terrorism and protect civil rights work over the efforts to fight street crime and gangs that marked the Trump-era Justice Department.

The budget request includes an additional $101 million to address the rising threat of domestic terrorism, including $45 million for the F.B.I. and $40 million that federal prosecutors can use to manage their increasing domestic terrorism caseloads.

It also includes $209 million for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights division and other civil rights programs, a nearly 16 percent increase from the previous year, to protect voting rights and prosecute hate crimes.

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The department’s civil rights work “is critical to protecting the American dream,” Mr. Garland’s statement said.

The committee will probably ask Mr. Garland about his request for $1 billion for Justice Department programs related to the Violence Against Women Act, nearly double the 2021 level.

The administration has said that the money would fund services for transgender survivors of domestic abuse, support women at historically Black colleges and in Hispanic and tribal institutions; and provide funding for domestic violence hotlines, cash assistance programs, medical services and emergency shelters. It would also help address the nation’s backlog of unprocessed rape kits and fund new training programs for law enforcement officers and prosecutors dedicated to investigating gender-based violence.

The Justice Department also wants $1.2 billion — $304 million more than the previous year — to support community-oriented policing and programs that address systemic inequities in policing.

It also requested an additional $232 million to combat gun violence, and will use it to fund federal law enforcement resources, grants for community violence intervention programs, improved background checks and more comprehensive red-flag laws.

And as the United States struggles to handle the rising number of migrants trying to enter the country along the southern border, Mr. Garland is seeking a 21 percent increase in funding to the nation’s immigration courts, which are overseen by the department. The money would support 100 new immigration judges and technology to reduce the case backlog at the courts.

Harka Gurung and her 8-year-old daughter, Eden, are part of a family from Bhutan who moved to Columbus, Ohio, from a refugee camp in Nepal.
Credit…Martha Irvine/Associated Press

President Biden reversed himself on Monday and said he would allow as many as 62,500 refugees to enter the United States in the next six months, eliminating the sharp limits that former President Donald J. Trump had imposed on those seeking refuge from war, violence or natural disasters.

“This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees,” Mr. Biden said in a statement issued by the White House.

The action came about two weeks after Mr. Biden said he would leave Mr. Trump’s limit of 15,000 refugees in place. That announcement drew widespread condemnation from Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill and from refugee advocates who accused the president of reneging on a campaign promise to welcome those in need.

White House officials had insisted that Mr. Biden’s intentions in mid-April were misunderstood. But his decision to increase the refugee limit to 62,500 indicates that he felt pressure to act.

In his statement, Mr. Biden acknowledged that the government was unlikely to resettle 62,500 refugees because of budget and staffing cuts that agencies sustained during Mr. Trump’s administration. Mr. Biden did not say whether the government had already managed to accept the 15,000 refugees allowed by his predecessor.

“The sad truth is that we will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year,” he said. “We are working quickly to undo the damage of the last four years. It will take some time, but that work is already underway.”

Asylum-seeking migrants’ families climbed out of an inflatable raft used to cross the Rio Grande River into the United States from Mexico last month, landing in Roma, Texas.
Credit…Go Nakamura/Getty Images

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, is quietly considering trying to use a fast-track budget maneuver to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants should bipartisan talks on providing a pathway to citizenship fall apart.

Mr. Schumer has privately told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in recent weeks that he is “actively exploring” whether it would be possible to attach a broad revision of immigration laws to President Biden’s infrastructure plan and pass it through a process known as budget reconciliation, according to two people briefed on his comments.

The move would allow the measures to pass the evenly divided Senate with a simple majority of 51 votes, shielding them from a filibuster and the 60-vote threshold for moving past one, which would otherwise require at least 10 Republican votes.

The strategy is part of a backup plan Mr. Schumer has lined up in the event that talks among 15 senators in both parties fail to yield a compromise. As the negotiations drag on with little agreement in sight, proponents are growing increasingly worried that Democrats may squander a rare opportunity to legalize broad swaths of the undocumented population while their party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House.

Mr. Biden’s immigration plan would provide a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, and increase diversity visas and border-security funding. But, conceding the long odds of achieving such extensive changes, lawmakers are focusing on cobbling together a package of smaller bills that would legalize about eight million or fewer undocumented immigrants.

They include House-passed legislation to grant legal status to people brought to the United States as children, known as Dreamers; immigrants who were granted Temporary Protected Status for humanitarian reasons; and close to one million farmworkers.

Law enforcement officers near the entrance to the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Va., after an F.B.I. involved shooting on Monday evening.
Credit…NBC New, via Reuters

An armed man was wounded in a shooting that involved an F.B.I. agent at C.I.A. headquarters outside Washington, early Monday evening, the F.B.I. said in a statement.

According to the F.B.I., the man emerged from his vehicle, was “engaged by law enforcement officers,” and was wounded around 6 p.m. After the episode, which was earlier reported by NBC News, the man was taken to a hospital. The hospital was not named.

“The F.B.I. takes all shooting incidents involving our agents or task force members seriously,” said Samantha Shero, a public affairs officer for the F.B.I.’s Washington Field Office, in an email. “The review process is thorough and objective, and is conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.”

A spokesperson for the C.I.A. said the agency’s headquarters remained secured and referred questions to the F.B.I., which released limited details. It was not immediately clear whether any agents or officers were injured.

The secure campus, in Langley, Va., has served the agency since 1961. Closed to the general public, the complex is accessible only to those with security clearances or by special arrangement. The C.I.A.’s website offers virtual tours of 32 sites at the complex, from the outdoor Kryptos sculpture with a coded message to a bust of former President George H.W. Bush, who served as the C.I.A. director from January 1976 to January 1977. The complex was named for him in 1999.

Just last month, a lone driver rammed into officers at the Capitol, as heavy security installed after the Jan. 6 riot had begun to wane around the grounds. One officer died and another was injured.

The episode on Monday at the C.I.A. headquarters echoed a 1993 shooting around the campus, when a Pakistani man killed two C.I.A. employees who were stopped in traffic outside the agency’s headquarters. The man, Mir Aimal Kasi, who also wounded three others, later said he was enraged by C.I.A. activity in Pakistan and other Islamic nations. He was executed by lethal injection in 2002 after evading prosecution for years in Pakistan. Virginia has since abolished the death penalty.

Employees tested the procedures for making the Covid-19 vaccine at a BioNTech facility in Marburg, Germany in March.
Credit…Thomas Lohnes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Biden, faced with surging Covid-19 crises in India and South America, is under intensifying pressure from the international community and his party’s left flank to commit to increasing the vaccine supply by loosening patent and intellectual property protections on coronavirus vaccines.

Pharmaceutical and biotech companies, also feeling pressure, sought on Monday to head off such a move, which could cut into future profits and jeopardize their business model. Pfizer and Moderna, two major vaccine makers, each announced steps to increase the supply of vaccine around the world.

The issue is coming to a head as the World Trade Organization’s General Council, one of its highest decision-making bodies, meets Wednesday and Thursday. India and South Africa are pressing for the body to waive an international intellectual property agreement that protects pharmaceutical trade secrets. The United States, Britain and the European Union so far have blocked the plan.

Inside the White House, health advisers to the president admit they are divided. Some say that Mr. Biden has a moral imperative to act, and that it is bad politics for the president to side with pharmaceutical executives. Others say spilling closely guarded but highly complex trade secrets into the open would do nothing to expand the global supply of vaccines.

Borrowing is not expected to abate any time soon as the Biden administration continues to dole out relief funds and as President Biden pushes trillions in infrastructure spending.
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

The Treasury Department said on Monday that it expects to borrow more than $1 trillion during the rest of the fiscal year as the United States continues spending heavily to combat the coronavirus crisis.

From April to June, Treasury now expects to borrow $463 billion, up from a February estimate of $95 billion, leaving it with a balance of $800 billion. The large balance is the result of aggressive borrowing in the past year as Treasury built up a cash cushion while responding to the economic upheaval.

Borrowing is expected to pick up even more rapidly over the summer, when Treasury expects to borrow another $821 billion from July through September.

For the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, the Treasury Department will have borrowed more than $2 trillion.

The Treasury Department said that the borrowing estimate this quarter will be larger than previously expected “primarily due to the government’s additional response to the Covid-19 pandemic.” In March, Congress passed a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill to help businesses and individuals stay afloat.

Last month, the Treasury Department said the United States budget deficit grew to a record $1.7 trillion in the six months since October.

The borrowing is not expected to abate any time soon as the Biden administration continues to dole out relief funds and as lawmakers consider the president’s plan for $4 trillion in spending on infrastructure.

Thomas Gregory, 16, received a dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine in Worcester, Mass., in April.
Credit…Joseph Prezioso/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to authorize use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in adolescents 12 to 15 years old by early next week, according to federal officials familiar with the agency’s plans, opening up the U.S. vaccination campaign to millions more people.

Some parents have been counting down the weeks since Pfizer announced results from its trial in adolescents showing that the vaccine is at least as effective in that age group as it is in adults. Vaccinating children is key to raising the level of immunity in the population and bringing down the numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.

The clearance, in the form of an amendment to the existing emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine, could come as early as late this week. If it is granted, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine advisory panel is likely to meet the following day to review the clinical trial data and make recommendations for the vaccine’s use in adolescents.

The expansion would be a major development in the country’s vaccination campaign and welcome news to some parents who are anxious to protect their children during summer activities and before the start of the next school year. It also poses another challenge to policymakers who are struggling to vaccinate a large percentage of adults hesitant to get the shot. Many more could refuse to inoculate their children.

Pfizer reported several weeks ago that none of the adolescents in the clinical trial who received the vaccine developed symptomatic infections, a sign of significant protection. The company said that volunteers produced strong antibody responses and experienced about the same side effects seen in people ages 16 to 25.

Stephanie Caccomo, a spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration, said she could not comment on the timing of the agency’s decision.

“We can assure the public that we are working to review this request as quickly and transparently as possible,” she said.

Over 100 million adults in the United States have been fully vaccinated. But the authorization would arrive in the middle of a delicate and complex push to reach the 44 percent of adults who have not yet received even one shot.

With much of the world clamoring for the surplus of vaccines made in the United States, the Pfizer-BioNTech shot’s use in adolescents will also raise questions about whether the supply should be targeted to an age group that so far appears to be mostly spared from severe Covid-19.

The Food and Drug Administration’s authorization is likely to substantially ease concern among middle school and high school administrators planning for the fall. If students are able to be vaccinated by then, that could allow more normal gatherings and let administrators plan further ahead in the academic year.

The current vaccine supply in the United States is substantial. As of Monday, about 65 million doses had been delivered but not administered, including 31 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, nearly 25 million doses of Moderna’s and 10 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s, according to figures collected by the C.D.C.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require two doses. Pfizer is authorized for ages 16 and up, while Moderna is authorized for ages 18 and up.

Tens of millions more Pfizer-BioNTech doses — about three weeks’ worth, according to one federal official — have been manufactured and are in various stages of readiness, awaiting final tests before being shipped.

Moderna expects results soon from its own clinical trial involving adolescents ages 12 to 17, followed by results for children 6 months to 12 years old later this year.





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