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Written by on May 10, 2021

Welcome to another edition of Ringside Politics with Jeff Crouere

Today’s Hot Topics:

1) Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said an infrastructure plan should cost no more than $800 billion, setting down a marker ahead of a critical week for efforts to craft a bill that would refresh U.S. transportation, broadband and water systems.

“The proper price tag for what most of us think of as infrastructure is about 6-to-800 billion dollars,” the Kentucky Republican told his state’s PBS TV station KET on Sunday, again criticizing President Joe Biden for putting what he called unrelated items in his $2.3 trillion proposal.

McConnell outlined his desired spending cap ahead of Biden’s first meeting with the top four congressional leaders on Wednesday. The president is expected to discuss infrastructure with McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

2) Sen. Ted Cruz’s vocal criticism of President Biden — and backing of former President Trump — appears to be paying off.

The two-term Republican senator from Texas and 2016 GOP presidential candidate announced on Tuesday that he raised a massive $5,317,000 in the January-March first quarter of fundraising (Q1) this year.

Cruz’s fundraising – which was shared first with Fox News — was divided between Ted Cruz for Senate, which is his reelection committee, the Jobs, Freedom, Security PAC, which is the senator’s leadership political action committee, and the Ted Cruz Victory Committee, a joint fundraising committee that sends contributions to the reelection committee and his leadership PAC.

Cruz reported having more than $5.6 million cash on hand.

3) Top U.S. Republicans on Sunday sought to portray their expected ouster of Representative Liz Cheney as an act of unity, despite warnings that the move could deepen divisions over former President Donald Trump and sink party hopes in the 2022 elections.

In the strongest sign yet that Cheney faces defeat in a party vote expected on Wednesday, the top Republican in the House of Representatives said he would back congresswoman Elise Stefanik to replace the Wyoming Republican as chair of the 212-member House Republican Conference.

Republicans hope to reclaim majorities in the Senate and the House of Representatives in next year’s congressional elections. Most lawmakers have sought to placate Trump and the Republican voters who enthusiastically support him, despite the loss of both chambers and the White House during his presidency.

4) With over one-third of U.S. adults fully vaccinated against coronavirus and the seven-day average for new infections substantially down from winter-time peaks, Dr. Anthony Fauci and former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb suggest it’s time to ease indoor mask guidance.

While the CDC updated its mask guidance last month, advising fully vaccinated populations can go without masks outdoors except in crowded settings, the agency still says fully vaccinated people should wear masks indoors around unvaccinated people from multiple households, and in indoor public settings like movie theaters, malls, museums and restaurants. The agency also recently published a brief indicating small virus droplets can travel more than six feet under certain conditions, posing a risk for infection.

Today’s Guests:

1) Adam Roosevelt, CEO of AR International; Army Veteran; Security Expert