5 things to know for June 15: Biden trip, infrastructure, coronavirus, SCOTUS, Hungary

Speaking at the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, President Biden called on foreign leaders to protect against those who prey on division and push "phony populism," saying it is on the democratic nations to prove democracy can prevail.

Posted: Jun 15, 2021 8:20 AM
Updated: Jun 15, 2021 8:20 AM

It's been more than two months since that giant shipping vessel got stuck in the Suez Canal, but companies like IKEA and Lenovo are still fighting to get their products from the now-impounded ship.

Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Biden trip

President Joe Biden is participating in the US-EU summit today in Brussels after yesterday's NATO meeting. Biden and EU leaders will discuss a range of topics aimed at strengthening transatlantic ties, including global health security, global economic recovery, climate crisis solutions, and trade cooperation. Biden will also meet with King Philippe of Belgium and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. During yesterday's NATO summit, NATO members issued a communiqué highlighting the "threat" presented by Russia and the "challenges" posed by China. They also largely supported the US decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Biden met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan afterward, adding to his long list of one-on-ones with heads of state during this extended international trip. (After today's meeting with the Belgian King, it's Russian President Vladimir Putin tomorrow.)

2. Infrastructure

Momentum is building in the Senate behind a $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal. After some rocky negotiations last week, new pressure to get a deal done has led some liberal leaders to warm to a possible smaller package with some assurances from more moderate Democrats that an expanded package could be passed later. Republican leaders say there could be enough support from their side to avoid a filibuster attempt. Details of this plan, announced by a bipartisan group of senators last week, are still not publicly known. Meanwhile, it's no secret that supply chain issues are snarling commerce across the country, and retailers are pleading with the Biden administration to address major logjams at US ports.

3. Coronavirus

Covid-19 infections are on the decline, but vaccination efforts could be a top priority for years to come, experts warn. That's because the virus mutates over time -- we've already seen it happen with the several dangerous variants that have emerged. As these variants circle the globe, vaccine rates have to be kept high to prevent more infectious versions from spreading. Right now, rising cases of the Delta variant in the UK have led Prime Minister Boris Johnson to extend long-standing pandemic restrictions. In California, it's a different story: The state has lifted most of its Covid-19 restrictions as part of a "grand reopening" that will see the end of capacity limits, physical distancing and mask requirements for vaccinated citizens.

4. SCOTUS

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to block a possible Biden Supreme Court pick in election year 2024 if the GOP wins back the Senate next year. McConnell, who made the remarks on a conservative radio show yesterday, didn't even guarantee he would support a confirmation in 2023. McConnell was the one who blocked then-President Barack Obama's Supreme Court pick, Merrick Garland, eight months before the 2016 election. Yet, he supported the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett, Trump's SCOTUS pick, just days before the 2020 election. This latest vow has set off alarm bells among Democrats, and the issue of a new SCOTUS justice could come in the foreseeable future. Some liberals are urging Justice Stephen Breyer to retire after the current court session.

5. Hungary

Thousands of Hungarians gathered outside parliament in Budapest yesterday to protest against legislation that would ban discussions of homosexuality or gender change in schools. The legislation is part of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's long and controversial anti-LGBTQ agenda. In the past, Orban's government has redefined marriage in the constitution as the union between one man and one woman, and limited gay adoption. It also outlawed legal status for transgender people. Opposition parties and rights groups have urged parliament not to vote on the new law today. Orban's policies have deeply divided the central European nation, which could see even more rancor as the country faces new elections in 2022.

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TODAY'S NUMBER

125°

That's the all-time high heat record for the state of Nevada, set in 1994. That and several other heat records could be broken this week as a historic drought and heat wave envelops the western US.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"The participation of some domestic violent extremists (DVE) who are also self-identified QAnon adherents in the violent siege of the US Capitol on 6 January underscores how the current environment likely will continue to act as a catalyst for some to begin accepting the legitimacy of violent action."

an FBI memo to lawmakers warning that QAnon conspiracy theorists may carry out more acts of violence if they take their actions from online into the real world.

TODAY'S WEATHER

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AND FINALLY

Just toss it against a wall and see what sticks 

Watching how food commercials are produced will somehow make you hungry AND make you lose your appetite at the same time. (Click here to view)

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1590342

Reported Deaths: 26979
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook60937610925
DuPage1031521352
Will865801083
Lake764741056
Kane65399842
Winnebago38682543
Madison37731569
St. Clair34758561
McHenry32773313
Peoria25738361
Champaign25601182
Sangamon24263266
McLean21611205
Tazewell19559326
Rock Island17631342
Kankakee16523233
Kendall15274105
LaSalle14349275
Macon14248233
Vermilion12908182
Adams12589147
DeKalb11542127
Williamson11206156
Whiteside7813176
Boone756681
Jackson756683
Coles7175112
Ogle705385
Grundy693181
Clinton676498
Franklin669694
Knox6528163
Marion6454135
Macoupin636597
Henry610272
Jefferson5981131
Effingham588980
Livingston564394
Woodford549791
Stephenson540089
Randolph522996
Monroe503299
Christian481980
Morgan479995
Fulton479069
Logan473573
Montgomery462876
Lee454956
Bureau423087
Perry411171
Saline399263
Iroquois391171
Fayette387756
McDonough352155
Jersey319753
Douglas303336
Shelby300343
Crawford298930
Lawrence294631
Union293846
Wayne267957
White261530
Richland256852
Hancock253434
Pike252256
Cass247728
Clark244138
Bond242224
Clay233347
Ford233056
Edgar229844
Carroll223937
Warren220456
Moultrie209331
Johnson208922
Washington204927
Jo Daviess203525
Greene199339
Mason196251
Wabash196115
Massac195144
De Witt192730
Piatt188814
Mercer187035
Cumberland174123
Menard155812
Jasper149518
Marshall133721
Hamilton127221
Brown10138
Pulaski97311
Schuyler9608
Edwards94815
Stark76027
Gallatin7285
Scott6895
Alexander66411
Calhoun6382
Henderson63114
Hardin55713
Putnam5414
Pope4725
Unassigned1582432
Out of IL80

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 926604

Reported Deaths: 15083
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1262201958
Lake626901087
Allen52772747
Hamilton43283445
St. Joseph41475584
Elkhart33129488
Vanderburgh29927439
Tippecanoe26589247
Johnson23267415
Hendricks21902340
Porter21473341
Clark17150224
Madison17065379
Vigo15815273
Monroe14298190
LaPorte14108237
Delaware13771219
Howard13635262
Kosciusko11232134
Hancock10637160
Warrick10523176
Bartholomew10341167
Floyd10200202
Wayne9690218
Grant8939196
Morgan8734158
Boone8299109
Dubois7596123
Henry7469128
Dearborn745187
Noble7294101
Marshall7237128
Cass7097117
Lawrence6862150
Shelby6457107
Jackson643981
Gibson6036106
Harrison595585
Huntington591891
Montgomery5706102
DeKalb563591
Knox537599
Miami531983
Clinton527164
Putnam525367
Whitley516251
Steuben486367
Wabash477492
Jasper471961
Jefferson461991
Ripley444175
Adams439365
Daviess4064106
Scott394963
White386257
Clay382356
Greene380189
Wells379683
Decatur379595
Fayette367176
Posey354941
Jennings346356
Washington325847
LaGrange315774
Spencer313034
Fountain309753
Randolph305487
Sullivan299447
Owen279161
Starke272761
Orange272659
Fulton268851
Jay250634
Perry247451
Carroll241127
Franklin233637
Vermillion229750
Rush228930
Parke215220
Tipton206754
Pike202538
Blackford165634
Pulaski158751
Crawford142818
Newton140742
Benton139816
Brown132646
Martin126916
Switzerland123510
Warren113416
Union93511
Ohio77211
Unassigned0468