Supercreator AM: Apple Pay Later, FLOTUS’s Tokyo plans, Twitter’s new anti-harassment feature

Plus: Details on the Senate Democrat’s $3.5 trillion plan to deliver on President Biden’s top economic priorities.

Good morning and welcome to Supercreator AM. It’s WednesdayJuly 14. I’m Michael, writing to you from New York City. Here’s what you need to know as you start your day:

  • Biden to attend CNN town hall next week ⇢ CNN: Next Wednesday, the president will join Don Lemon in Cincinnati to discuss a range of issues from the economy to the pandemic to voting rights. The event will take place in the hometown of Republican Sen. Rob Portman, one of the negotiators of the bipartisan infrastructure framework.

  • Jill Biden will attend the Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony ⇢ Alexandra Jaffe and Darlene Superville at AP News: In her first solo trip abroad as first lady, Dr. Biden is also expected to attend some sporting events and hold official events in Alaska and Hawaii on the way to and from Japan. Despite the city’s state of emergency over a rise in coronavirus cases, Dr. Fauci said last week that he is unconcerned about Biden’s trip since she is fully vaccinated and the protocols to protect her health are “rather stringent.”

  • Twitter adds a new post-tweet safety feature ⇢ Jay Peters at The Verge: The social app introduced a new global web and mobile feature that enables people to change who can reply to a tweet after they’ve posted it, a step in its ongoing campaign to help reduce online harassment. Prior to the update, you could already limit who replied to your tweets but the preference had to be set while writing the tweet.

  • Facebook to enable people to classify experts in their groups ⇢ Queenie Wong at CNET: Facebook will now enable administrators to designate experts in their public or private groups to help combat misinformation. If people accept the role as an expert in a group, they’ll receive a badge next to their name so others will know they’re knowledgeable about a certain topic.

  • Apple is reportedly developing a pay later feature ⇢ Mark Gurman and Sridhar Natarajan at Bloomberg: The company is working with investment bank Goldman Sachs on a service called “Apple Pay Later” that will allow customers to settle purchases over time, including ones they make at physical retailers. Goldman Sachs has been Apple’s partner for the Apple Card credit card since 2019, but the Pay Later service doesn’t require the use of an Apple Card.

◆◇ ALLOW ME TO EXPLAIN ◆◇

Senate Dems announce a $3.5 trillion initial agreement ⇢ Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer joined top Democratic lawmakers at a press conference late yesterday evening to announce an early agreement for a $3.5 trillion bill to deliver on President Biden’s top economic priorities that will be excluded from the bipartisan framework that will focus on roads, water systems and other infrastructure projects.

While the price tag is lower than the $6 trillion Sen. Bernie Sanders — who chairs the Senate Budget Committee — wanted, the plan includes progressive priorities like a Medicare expansion of vision, hearing and dental benefits for older Americans and investments to confront the climate crisis.

This is significant because it unites both the flanks of the Democratic Party: The centrists who were wary of too much spending and progressives who feel this is their best shot to expand the social safety net and move America towards a clean energy future.

Also important: The agreement is fully paid for without raising taxes, which will likely satisfy Sen. Joe Manchin, who said yesterday: “We’ve put enough free money out.” The plan will also honor Biden’s commitment to not raise taxes on people making less than $400,000 per year or small businesses.

Democrats will attempt to pass the bill via reconciliation, a process that requires a simple majority for bills and is exempt from a Republican filibuster.

Schumer said Biden will attend a closed-door lunch on Capitol Hill with all Senate Democrats to plan their next steps in the process.

◆◇ IN CASE YOU MISSED IT ◆◇

The voting rights crisis in Texas ⇢ Texas Democrats traveled to Washington this week to deny Republicans the minimum number of members they need to pass a controversial anti-election bill.

As I wrote in yesterday's Supercreator PM, the lawmakers know they're on borrowed time and realize it's unlikely they'll be able to stop the bill from passing on their own. Instead, their goal is to influence congressional Democrats to increase their pressure on Senate Republicans, who blocked the For The People Act, the federal legislation that would roll back some of the restrictions in these state-led anti-voter laws. “We can’t hold this tide back forever. We’re buying some time,” State Rep. Chris Turner, the Texas House Democratic Leader, said.

But here's the reality: Democrats, while energized by a vocal grassroots campaign to expand voting rights, simply don't have the votes to their legislation. And there’s currently no incentive for Republicans to support any of the president’s priorities so speeches like the one Biden gave in Philly yesterday on “the sacred right to vote” is just him preaching to the choir.

We’re in a crisis moment that is likely to worsen unless Senate Democrats reform or eliminate the filibuster if only to expand voting rights. And until President Biden and Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema agree, Democrats will only have themselves to blame for the fallout that’s on the way from voters who are tired of the talk and just want to see action.

◆◇ THE MORNING READ ◆◇

“For women, remote work is a blessing and a curse” ⇢ Rani Molla at Recode:“While the ability to work from home has been a godsend for working parents who were able to keep their children and jobs safe during the pandemic, it’s also exacerbated deeply ingrained gender inequality. Too often a crying toddler makes a cameo on a mother’s Zoom call and not a father’s. In a spare moment, women turn over the laundry while men don’t. Day-to-day scheduling, schooling, as well as decisions about their family’s health amid a global health crisis disproportionately fall to women.

“And that’s only talking about women fortunate enough to be able to work from home — typically knowledge workers, whose relatively high-paying jobs have also afforded them a measure of physical safety. For many women, working from home isn’t an option at all. Women who have to work outside the home and care for children, especially without a partner at home, have to face a whole different set of challenging, and dangerous, circumstances.

“Even before the pandemic, women were doing what sociologists describe as the ‘second shift,’ where they complete an inordinate amount of household and caregiving chores after they’ve finished their paid labor. The pandemic has made things even worse, since much of the infrastructure that helps alleviate those tasks — schools, day care, elder care, cleaning services — has been off-limits. While women and men alike have worked from home, employed women are three times more likely than men to be their children’s main caregiver during this period. Additionally, telecommuting moms significantly increased the amount of housework they did while working from home (men didn’t).”


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