Biden to focus on Covid-19, infrastructure, climate and cybersecurity at Cabinet meeting – CNN


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President Joe Biden speaks about the nation's economic recovery amid the Covid-19 pandemic in the State Dining Room of the White House on July 19, 2021.

(CNN)President Joe Biden is holding his second full Cabinet meeting on Tuesday to mark six months in office, and is expected to focus the discussion on Covid-19, infrastructure, climate and cybersecurity, a White House official tells CNN.

Tuesday will be the first time Biden's full Cabinet convenes in the Cabinet Room at the White House. The President's first full in-person Cabinet meeting took place earlier this year in the East Room due to social distancing constraints due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The meeting comes as the White House grapples with a recent surge in Covid-19 cases, which has led to increasing rates of hospitalizations and deaths. More than 160 million Americans are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, but many are refusing to get the shot, and the highly transmissible Delta variant is spreading in areas with low vaccination rates.

    The White House has ramped up efforts to combat misinformation about the vaccines and conduct more targeted outreach in communities across the country, including to young people.

      The President will discuss the push for his twin economic proposals to rebuild the nation's crumbling infrastructure and revamp the US economy in the wake of the pandemic.

        It's a critical time for negotiations on Capitol Hill. Senate Republican leaders threatened on Monday to block a vote later this week advancing the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless the negotiators strike a deal on it.

        The White House and a bipartisan Senate group agreed to a framework last month that focuses on "hard" infrastructure like roads and bridges. Democrats are also trying to pass a separate bill that invests in what Biden calls "human infrastructure," which includes funding for paid leave, education and child care.

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          The meeting will also focus on national security updates, particularly cybersecurity efforts. The cyber discussions follow an announcement by the White House on Monday that the US and its foreign allies were accusing China of widespread malfeasance in cyberspace, including through a massive hack of Microsoft's email system and other ransomware attacks. The move was a dramatic escalation in the increasingly urgent attempt by the Biden administration to stave off further breaches.

          The national security update follows Biden's first trip abroad as President, during which he attended a G7 summit, a NATO meeting, and met with several world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

          The President is also likely to tout his administration's accomplishments during the Cabinet meeting, including the national vaccine distribution effort and the massive $1.9 trillion Covid relief law that has provided checks to Americans across the country through provisions including the expanded child tax credit.

          Tens of millions of families have been sent the first payment of the expanded child tax credit, according to the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department. The beefed-up credit will provide these families with extra funds each month through the end of 2021 along with a tax break next year.

            The average number of new Covid-19 cases each day this past week was 32,278, which is a 66% jump from the average daily rate the previous week, and 145% higher than the rate from two weeks ago.

            Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a White House Covid-19 briefing on Friday: "This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated."

            CNN's Holly Yan and Madeline Holcombe contributed to this report.

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