President Biden will travel to western Pennsylvania Wednesday afternoon to unveil his $2 trillion infrastructure plan, a far-reaching proposal that he will seek to pay for with a substantial increase in corporate taxes.
Mr. Biden will lay out the plan in an afternoon speech at a carpenters training center outside Pittsburgh. It is the first step in a two-part agenda to overhaul American capitalism, fight climate change and attempt to improve the productivity of the economy.
The scale of the infrastructure program he is rolling out — one of the most ambitious attempts in generations to shore up the nation’s aging roads, bridges, rail lines and utilities — is so big that it will require 15 years of higher taxes on corporations to fully offset eight years of spending.
Despite his ambitious programs, Mr. Biden had pledged that his long-term economic agenda would not add further to the growing national debt. But the fact that his proposed tax increases would not cover his spending over the same period shows the challenge he has in balancing his big goals and the deficit.
Mr. Biden’s proposals include raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent and efforts to force multinational corporations to pay significantly more in tax to the United States on profits they earn and book overseas. The corporate tax rate had been cut under President Donald J. Trump to 21 percent from 35 percent.
The new plans come on top of the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan Mr. Biden signed into law this month, which was financed entirely by borrowing and was passed with no Republican support. The programs reflect Mr. Biden’s campaign promises and a leftward shift in his party in recent years.
If his full set of proposals become law, they would mark a new era of ambitious federal spending to address longstanding social and economic problems. Their odds of passing Congress have risen in the midst of a pandemic in which lawmakers have approved record amounts of government spending to rescue the economy from recession.
The spending in the first phase of Mr. Biden’s two-part agenda includes a wide range of investments in physical infrastructure, including highways, mass transit and electric vehicle charging systems and upgrades to water pipes, the electric grid and veterans’ hospitals. It also includes a big increase in federal research and development spending and efforts to provide home-based care to older and disabled Americans.
The second step, which officials have suggested will come next month, will feature spending and tax credits meant to invest in what liberal economists call human infrastructure. It will include aid to the poor, paid leave for workers and measures meant to reduce the cost of child care and help women work and earn more.
Together, those two proposals could cost as much as $4 trillion between spending increases and tax incentives. The second phase of the proposals is expected to include tax increases on high-earning individuals.
Democrats in Congress are quietly splintering over how to handle the expansive voting rights bill that they have made a centerpiece of their ambitious legislative agenda, potentially jeopardizing their chances of countering a Republican drive to restrict ballot access in states across the country.
President Biden and leading Democrats have pledged to make the elections overhaul a top priority, even contemplating a bid to upend bedrock Senate rules if necessary to push it through over Republican objections. But they are contending with an undercurrent of reservations in their ranks over how aggressively to try to revamp the nation’s elections and whether, in their zeal to beat back new Republican ballot restrictions moving through the states, their proposed solution might backfire, sowing voting confusion and new political challenges.
The hand-wringing demonstrates how urgent the voting issue has become for both parties since November, when President Donald J. Trump spread false claims of voter fraud that many Republicans believed. In the months since, Republican-led statehouses have advanced a wave of new laws clamping down on ballot access.
Democrats have coalesced around the idea that pushing back on such measures is a modern-day civil rights battle that the party cannot afford to lose. “Failure,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, said last week, “is not an option.”
But while few Democrats are willing to publicly say so, the details of the more than 800-page bill — which would radically reshape the way elections are run and make far-reaching changes to campaign finance laws and redistricting — have become a point of simmering contention. Some proponents argue that Democrats should break off a narrower bill dealing strictly with protecting voting rights to prevent the legislation, known as the For the People Act, from collapsing amid divisions over other issues.
“Democrats have a narrow opportunity. There is a window here that could close anytime,” said Richard L. Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine. “I worry the kind of fights necessary to keep even the Democratic coalition together could blow up the whole thing and lose the chance to get anything done.”
Two Capitol Police officers who were on duty during the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol sued former President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday, saying he was responsible for the physical and emotional injuries they had suffered as a result of the day’s events.
Supporters of Mr. Trump overran the Capitol as Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s victory over Mr. Trump in the November presidential election. Before the incursion, Mr. Trump spoke at a nearby rally, where he urged his supporters to “show strength” and “fight like hell.”
Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died in the mayhem. Mr. Trump was later impeached by the House of Representatives on a single charge of “incitement of insurrection,” but was acquitted in February after a brief Senate trial in which few Republicans broke ranks to vote guilty.
The Capitol Police officers who sued Mr. Trump, James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby, filed their complaint in the Federal District Court in the District of Columbia, and are each seeking compensatory damages in excess of $75,000, plus punitive damages.
The lawsuit is the first to be brought against the former president by Capitol Police officers. The force has more than 2,000 officers.
Lawyers for the officers and for Mr. Trump could not be reached for comment early Wednesday. Mr. Trump has previously denied responsibility for the attack.
The complaint said the “insurrectionist mob” that stormed the Capitol was “spurred on by Trump’s conduct over many months in getting his followers to believe” his false assertions of widespread electoral fraud in November. The complaint also said that Mr. Trump’s supporters believed swarming the Capitol was their last chance to stop Mr. Trump from being unfairly forced out of the White House.
Mr. Trump “inflamed, encouraged, incited, directed, and aided and abetted” the mob that overran the building and attacked police personnel inside, the complaint said. It cited Mr. Trump’s Jan. 6 speech and other conduct, including what it said was his failure that day to “take timely action to stop his followers from continued violence.”
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken declared on Tuesday that women’s access to contraceptives and reproductive care is a global human right that will be monitored by the United States, reversing a Trump administration policy that overlooked discrimination or denials of women seeking sexual health services worldwide.
The announcement was one of several departures Mr. Blinken made from the previous administration’s approach as the State Department issued its annual report on human rights violations.
The report was completed during the Trump administration and, Mr. Blinken said, did not include examples of women who were refused health care and family planning information in nearly 200 countries and territories in 2020. He has directed officials to compile that data and identify violators this year “because women’s rights — including sexual and reproductive rights — are human rights,” Mr. Blinken told reporters at the department.
Mr. Blinken also announced that he had dismantled an advisory committee, set up by Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state at the time, that had prioritized religious liberties and property rights among universal freedoms. Critics of the panel had accused Mr. Pompeo of using it to promote his evangelical Christian beliefs and conservative politics.
On Tuesday, Mr. Blinken said his disbanding of the panel, the Commission on Unalienable Rights, was to “repudiate those unbalanced views.”
“There is no hierarchy that makes some rights more important than others,” he said.
Mr. Blinken also said the Biden administration would call out foreign governments’ persecution of dissidents, not just within their borders, but abroad as well — a reference to the 2018 killing of the journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey by a squad of hit men from Saudi Arabia. The administration released an intelligence report in February that concluded Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia had approved the assassination, although the United States has not announced penalties against him.
An effort by former President Donald J. Trump’s campaign to silence a former campaign worker who claimed she was the target of abusive treatment and sexual harassment by another member of Mr. Trump’s campaign was effectively voided on Tuesday by a federal court judge in New York.
Judge Paul G. Gardephe nullified a confidentiality agreement signed in 2016 by Jessica Denson, who had worked on Mr. Trump’s campaign that year as a phone bank supervisor and Hispanic outreach coordinator. Judge Gardephe concluded the agreement was “invalid and unenforceable.”
Mr. Trump’s campaign had won a $50,000 award against Ms. Denson after asserting that she had violated the confidential agreement when she first raised the mistreatment claims. That award was overturned by a New York State court last year.
Ms. Denson then sued on behalf of herself and other Trump campaign aides who had been forced to sign confidentiality agreements, asking that they all be invalidated as too broad and illegal in New York because they lasted indefinitely.
Judge Gardephe declined on Tuesday to invalidate all of the confidentiality agreements. But he did rule that the one Ms. Denson had signed was invalid.
“It is difficult if not impossible for Denson or another campaign employee to know whether any speech might be covered by one of the broad categories of restricted information,” the ruling says.
Ms. Denson’s lawyers — David K. Bowles of Bowles & Johnson, Joe Slaughter of Ballard Spahr, and John Langford from the nonprofit group Protect Democracy — worked on the case pro bono and now intend to ask the court to consider broadly invalidating all of the confidentiality agreements that Trump campaign workers signed.
Ms. Denson claimed she was “subject to a hostile work environment and experienced sex discrimination, and that after she complained, high-ranking persons in the campaign retaliated against her.”
Mr. Trump’s post-presidential office did not respond to a request for comment.
Her case was one of several in which Mr. Trump — using lawyers paid for by his campaign or at times even the Justice Department — went after former aides that criticized him or his campaign, including Sam Nunberg, a former political adviser to Mr. Trump, and Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former White House aide.
“The campaign has been using this to beat up campaign workers for years,” Mr. Bowles said on Tuesday. “Our position is now these things are illegal.”
The Justice Department is investigating whether Representative Matt Gaetz, a Republican of Florida and a close ally of former President Donald J. Trump, had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him, according to three people briefed on the matter.
Investigators are examining whether Mr. Gaetz violated federal sex trafficking laws, the people said. A variety of federal statutes make it illegal to induce someone under 18 to travel over state lines to engage in sex in exchange for money or something of value. The Justice Department regularly prosecutes such cases, and offenders often receive severe sentences.
It was not clear how Mr. Gaetz met the girl, believed to be 17 at the time of encounters about two years ago that investigators are scrutinizing, according to two of the people.
The investigation was opened in the final months of the Trump administration under Attorney General William P. Barr, the two people said. Given Mr. Gaetz’s national profile, senior Justice Department officials in Washington — including some appointed by Mr. Trump — were notified of the investigation, the people said.
The three people said that the examination of Mr. Gaetz, 38, is part of a broader investigation into a political ally of his, a local official in Florida named Joel Greenberg, who was indicted last summer on an array of charges, including sex trafficking of a child and financially supporting people in exchange for sex, at least one of whom was an underage girl.
Mr. Greenberg, who has since resigned his post as tax collector in Seminole County, north of Orlando, was at the White House with Mr. Gaetz in 2019, according to a photograph that Mr. Greenberg posted on Twitter.
No charges have been brought against Mr. Gaetz, and the extent of his criminal exposure is unclear.
Mr. Gaetz said in an interview that his lawyers had been in touch with the Justice Department and that they were told he was the subject, not the target, of an investigation. “I only know that it has to do with women,” Mr. Gaetz said. “I have a suspicion that someone is trying to recategorize my generosity to ex-girlfriends as something more untoward.”
Mr. Gaetz called the investigation part of an elaborate scheme involving “false sex allegations” to extort him and his family for $25 million that began this month. He said he and his father, Don Gaetz, had been cooperating with the F.B.I. and “wearing a wire” after they were approached by people saying they could make the investigation “go away.”
In a second interview later Tuesday, the congressman said he had no plans to resign his House seat and denied that he had romantic relationships with minors. “It is verifiably false that I have traveled with a 17-year-old woman,” he said.
Representatives for the Justice Department and the F.B.I. declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Central Florida.
G. Gordon Liddy, a cloak-and-dagger lawyer who masterminded dirty tricks for the White House and concocted the bungled burglary that led to the Watergate scandal and the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon in 1974, died on Tuesday in Mount Vernon, Va. He was 90.
His death, at the home of his daughter Alexandra Liddy Bourne, was confirmed by his son Thomas P. Liddy, who said that his father had Parkinson’s disease and had been in declining health.
Decades after Watergate entered the lexicon, Mr. Liddy was still an enigma in the cast of characters who fell from grace with the 37th president — to some a patriot who went silently to prison refusing to betray his comrades, to others a zealot who cashed in on bogus celebrity to become an author and syndicated talk show host.
As a leader of a White House “plumbers” unit set up to plug information leaks, and then as a strategist for the president’s re-election campaign, Mr. Liddy helped devise plots to discredit Nixon “enemies” and to disrupt the 1972 Democratic National Convention. Most were far-fetched — bizarre kidnappings, acts of sabotage, traps using prostitutes, even an assassination — and were never carried out.
But Mr. Liddy, a former F.B.I. agent, and E. Howard Hunt, a former C.I.A. agent, engineered two break-ins at the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate complex in Washington. On May 28, 1972, as Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt stood by, six Cuban expatriates and James W. McCord Jr., a Nixon campaign security official, went in, planted bugs, photographed documents and got away cleanly.
A few weeks later, on June 17, four Cubans and Mr. McCord, wearing surgical gloves and carrying walkie-talkies, returned to the scene and were caught by the police. Mr. Liddy and Mr. Hunt, running the operation from a Watergate hotel room, fled but were soon arrested and indicted on charges of burglary, wiretapping and conspiracy.
Major, one of President Biden’s German shepherds, “nipped someone” during a walk on Monday, a spokesman for the first lady, Jill Biden, said on Tuesday.
The spokesman, Michael LaRosa, said that “out of an abundance of caution,” the individual, whom he did not identify, was seen by the White House medical unit “and then returned to work without injury.”
“Major is still adjusting to his new surroundings,” Mr. LaRosa said. The episode was reported earlier Tuesday by CNN, which said the individual was a National Park Service employee. A spokeswoman for the agency referred a request for comment to the White House.
The Bidens have two German shepherds: Major, the younger of the two, and Champ. Earlier in March, the dogs were sent back to Delaware for a time after a previous incident involving Major.
In that episode, Major “was surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury to the individual,” said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary.