Iran’s president-elect won’t meet Biden; Congress in summer grind; Olympics allowing limited local fans

Today is Monday, June 21, 2021. Let’s get caught up.

These headlines are in the news this morning: Iran’s president-elect said Monday he wouldn’t meet with President Joe Biden; Biden and Congress face a summer grind to create infrastructure legislation; and the Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend.

Read on for these stories, other top headlines, celebrity birthdays and more.


TOP STORIES

Iran’s president-elect says he won’t meet with Biden

Iran’s president-elect said Monday he wouldn’t meet with President Joe Biden nor negotiate over Tehran’s ballistic missile program and its support of regional militias, sticking to a hard-line position following his landslide victory in last week’s election.

Judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi also described himself as a “defender of human rights” when asked about his involvement in the 1988 mass execution of some 5,000 people.

Raisi made the comments in his first press conference in Tehran.

“The U.S. is obliged to lift all oppressive sanctions against Iran,” he said.

The victory of Raisi, the protege of Iran’s supreme leader sanctioned by the U.S. in part over his involvement in the mass executions, came amid the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history. Millions of Iranians stayed home in defiance of a vote they saw as tipped in Raisi’s favor.

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Biden, Congress face summer grind to create legislation

Until recently, the act of governing seemed to happen at the speed of presidential tweets. But now President Joe Biden is settling in for what appears will be a long, summer slog of legislating.

Congress is hunkered down, the House and Senate grinding through a monthslong stretch, lawmakers trying to draft Biden’s big infrastructure ideas into bills that could actually be signed into law. Perhaps not since the drafting of the Affordable Care Act more than a decade ago has Washington tried a legislative lift as heavy.

It’s going to take a while.

“Passing legislation is not a made-for-TV movie,” said Phil Schiliro, a former legislative affairs director at the Obama White House and veteran of congressional battles, including over the health care law.

Biden appears comfortable in this space, embarked on an agenda in Congress that’s rooted in his top legislative priority — the $4 trillion “build back better” investments now being shaped as his American Jobs and American Families plans.

On Monday, Biden is expected to launch another week of engagement with members of both parties, and the White House is likely at some point to hear from a bipartisan group of senators working on a scaled-back $1 trillion plan as an alternative.

At the same time, the administration is pushing ahead with the president’s own, more sweeping proposals being developed in the House and Senate budget committees, tallying as much as $6 trillion, under a process that could enable Democrats to pass it on their own. Initial votes are being eyed for late July.

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Tokyo Olympics to allow limit of 10,000 local fans in venues

The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday.

Organizers set a limit of 50% of capacity up to a maximum of 10,000 fans for all Olympic venues.

The decision was announced after so-called Five Party talks online with local organizers, the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, the Japanese government and the government of metropolitan Tokyo.

The decision contradicts the country’s top medical adviser, Dr. Shigeru Omi, who recommended last week that the safest way to hold the Olympics would be without fans. He had previously called it “abnormal” to hold the Olympics during the pandemic.

The Tokyo Games are set to open on July 23.

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