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Live Updates: Biden Agrees to Bipartisan Group’s Infrastructure Plan


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Biden Agrees to Bipartisan Group’s Infrastructure Plan

President Biden agreed to a bipartisan infrastructure plan on Thursday that would provide about $579 billion in new investments in roads, broadband internet, electric utilities and other projects.

We had a really good meeting, and to answer your direct question, we have a deal. And I think it’s really important. We’ve all agreed that none of us got what we all wanted. I clearly didn’t get all I wanted. They gave more than I think maybe they were inclined to give in the first place. But this reminds me of the days we used to get an awful lot done up in the United States Congress. We actually work with — we got a bipartisan deal, bipartisan deals mean to compromise. One of the things that I’ve made clear, I’ve signed on and I’m going to let them give you the detail because, and you can ask them, and I will talk to you all later in next hour or two. But I promise, I’m not going away. But one of the things that we agreed on infrastructure, we made serious compromises on both ends. There is, and they’ll give you the numbers, but we did not — they did not, and I understand their position — Republicans in this group did not want to go along with many of my family plan issues, the child care tax credit, the human infrastructure that I talk about, and that, we’ll see what happens in a reconciliation bill, in the budget process, if we could get some compromise there. And if we can’t, see if I can attract all the Democrats to a position.

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President Biden agreed to a bipartisan infrastructure plan on Thursday that would provide about $579 billion in new investments in roads, broadband internet, electric utilities and other projects.CreditCredit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times

President Biden struck an infrastructure deal on Thursday with a bipartisan group of senators, signing on to their plan to provide about $579 billion in new investments in roads, broadband internet, electric utilities and other projects in hopes of moving a crucial piece of his economic agenda through Congress.

“We have a deal,” Mr. Biden said outside the White House, standing beside a group of Republicans and Democrats after a meeting in the Oval Office where they outlined their proposal. “I think it’s really important we’ve all agreed that none of us got all that we wanted.”

His endorsement marked a breakthrough in his efforts to forge an infrastructure compromise, but it was far from a guarantee that the package would be enacted. Top Democrats have made it clear that the plan, which constitutes a fraction of the $4 trillion economic proposal Mr. Biden has put forth, can only move in tandem with a much larger package of spending and tax increases that Democrats are planning to try to push through Congress unilaterally, over the opposition of Republicans.

The two-track strategy promises to be a heavy lift for Democrats in a Congress where they have only the thinnest of majorities, and moderates and progressives have very different priorities.

On Thursday, though, Mr. Biden and the centrist senators at the White House cheered their compromise. The president, who spent more than three decades in the Senate and has staked his success on his reputation as a dealmaker, said the agreement “reminds me of the days we used to get an awful lot done up in the United States Congress.”

“This does represent a historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure,” Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, who helped spearhead the talks that led to the agreement, said at the White House.

Many details of the framework have yet to be laid out. It is expected to be paid for with a suite of revenue increases that do not violate either Mr. Biden’s pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class or Republicans’ red line of not reversing business tax cuts passed under President Donald J. Trump in 2017, though the details of the revenue sources have not yet been finalized.

“We’ve agreed on the price tag, the scope, and how to pay for it,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine.

But it would leave large swaths of the president’s economic proposals — including much of his proposed spending to combat climate change, along with investments in child care, education and other social programs — for a potential future bill that Democrats would try to pass without any Republican votes using a procedural mechanism known as reconciliation.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats signaled openness to accepting the initial details of the agreement, provided that their moderate colleagues accept a second, much larger package that would address key priorities and be passed using the fast-track budget reconciliation process, which would bypass the need for Republican votes in the Senate.

“There ain’t no infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill,” Ms. Pelosi told House Democratic leaders on a private call, according to two officials who disclosed the remarks on condition of anonymity.

A number of hurdles remain for both pieces of legislation, given that a majority of lawmakers on Capitol Hill have not seen the most recent details of the framework and legislative text needs to be drafted. With razor-thin margins in both chambers, Democratic leaders will also have to balance competing priorities and wariness that the moderate negotiators will balk at another infrastructure bill.

“I think it’s important for all of us to maintain an open mind — everyone has staked out their positions,” said Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, one of several Democrats who have warned that his support is contingent on a series of climate provisions being addressed in the fast-track budget reconciliation package, if not a bipartisan package. But he added that the fate of the legislation depended on whether reconciliation could pass, saying, “That’s the way it is.”

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Pelosi to Form Commission to Investigate Jan. 6 Capitol Assault

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she would create a select committee to further investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. About 140 police officers were injured during the violent assault and seven people died in connection with the siege.

With great solemnity and sadness, I’m announcing that the House will be establishing a select committee on the Jan. 6 insurrection. Again, Jan. 6 was one of the darkest days in our nation’s history. I’ve said it now three times. It is imperative that we establish the truth of that day, and ensure that an attack of that kind cannot happen. And that we root out the causes of it all. The select committee will investigate and report on the facts and the causes of the attack, and it will make report recommendations. So we see this as complementary, not instead of, and hopeful that there could be a commission at some point. As I said on the House floor when we passed the legislation on the commission, the Capitol of the United States has always been a glorious beacon of democracy for the American people, and the world, I say it again. The select committee is about our democracy and about ensuring that the Capitol dome remain a symbol of freedom, about preserving America’s role as an emblem of resilience, determination and hope.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she would create a select committee to further investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. About 140 police officers were injured during the violent assault and seven people died in connection with the siege.CreditCredit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she would create a select committee to further investigate the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, after Senate Republicans blocked a bipartisan effort to form an independent commission of experts to look into the riot.

“Jan. 6 was a day of darkness for our country,” Ms. Pelosi told reporters. “Our temple of democracy was attacked by insurrectionists.”

The move came after Ms. Pelosi had signaled for weeks that she planned to take such a step to scrutinize the storming of the Capitol by a mob of supporters of President Donald J. Trump, who sought to disrupt Congress’s counting of electoral votes to formalize President Biden’s victory.

On Tuesday, Ms. Pelosi told top House Democrats that she planned to announce her decision on a select committee this week. She has maintained that her preference was for the Senate to approve a bipartisan commission, modeled after the one that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But with Republicans opposed and many G.O.P. lawmakers working to whitewash and downplay the riot, she has conceded that no longer seemed possible. Fewer than 10 Republicans — the amount needed to overcome a legislative filibuster — supported such an inquiry when it came to a vote in the Senate this month.

“It is imperative that we seek the truth,” Ms. Pelosi said on Thursday. “It is clear the Republicans are afraid of the truth.”

She said the committee would investigate the root causes of the attack, including white supremacist and extremist groups, and also Capitol security failures.

“Most of us had our hearts set on an independent bipartisan commission similar to the 9/11 Commission,” Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a member of Ms. Pelosi’s leadership team, said. “We just ran into a brick wall of G.O.P. opposition. They apparently see no political mileage in undertaking any inquiry.”

Mr. Raskin, who led the impeachment case against Mr. Trump over a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 riot, said his team was “not able to follow many leads about the president’s organization and mobilization of different groups to participate in the events of that day” and he hoped the select committee could pick up that work.

“We need to learn about how that coalition of extremists came together and who facilitated it. to what extent it’s a threat to us in the future,” he said.

It was not immediately clear who would chair the committee or be included in its membership. Ms. Pelosi said she would make those announcements at a later date and said she hoped that Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the minority leader, would name “responsible” people to participate.

Mr. McCarthy said Wednesday that his preference was to allow Senate committees that have already been looking into the attack to continue, rather than to create the new body that Ms. Pelosi was proposing.

“When it comes to what happened on Jan. 6, we want to get to the bottom of that; it’s disgusting what transpired that day,” Mr. McCarthy said Wednesday. “Unfortunately, the speaker has always played politics with this. Time and again. She’s never once talked to me about it.”

But Representative Liz Cheney, Republican of Wyoming, who was the No. 3 Republican before she was ousted from her leadership post over her criticism of Mr. Trump — endorsed the idea of moving forward with the committee.

“It’s really important for us to make sure we have a full investigation into what happened Jan. 6,” Ms. Cheney said.

About 140 police officers were injured during the most violent assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812. Seven people died in connection with the siege, including one officer who had multiple strokes after sparring with rioters.

A New York court said that Rudolph W. Giuliani’s actions had posed “an immediate threat” to the public and he would likely face “permanent sanctions” after the proceedings conclude.
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

A New York appellate court suspended Rudolph W. Giuliani’s law license on Thursday after a disciplinary panel found that he made “demonstrably false and misleading” statements about the 2020 election as Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer.

The court wrote in a 33-page decision that Mr. Giuliani’s conduct threatened “the public interest and warrants interim suspension from the practice of law.”

Mr. Giuliani helped lead Mr. Trump’s legal challenge to the election results, arguing without merit that the vote had been rife with fraud and that voting machines had been rigged.

“We conclude that there is uncontroverted evidence that respondent communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at re-election in 2020,” the decision read.

Mr. Giuliani now faces disciplinary proceedings and can fight the suspension. But the court said in its decision that Mr. Giuliani’s actions had posed “an immediate threat” to the public and that it was likely he would face “permanent sanctions” after the proceedings conclude.

Mr. Giuliani’s lawyers, John Leventhal and Barry Kamins, said in a statement that they were disappointed that the panel took action before holding a hearing on the allegations.

“This is unprecedented as we believe that our client does not pose a present danger to the public interest,” they said. “We believe that once the issues are fully explored at a hearing, Mr. Giuliani will be reinstated as a valued member of the legal profession that he has served so well in his many capacities for so many years.”

U.S. soldiers spoke with villagers through an interpreter in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province in 2009. More than 18,000 Afghans who assisted the United States during the war have been trapped in bureaucratic limbo after applying for special immigrant visas.
Credit…David Guttenfelder/Associated Press

The Biden administration is preparing to relocate thousands of Afghan interpreters, drivers and others who worked with American forces to other countries in an effort to keep them safe while they apply for entry to the United States, senior administration officials said.

With the American military in the final phases of withdrawing from Afghanistan after 20 years of war, the White House has come under heavy pressure from lawmakers and military officials to protect Afghan allies from revenge attacks by the Taliban and speed up the lengthy and complex process of providing them special immigrant visas.

On Wednesday, administration officials started notifying lawmakers that they will soon begin what could be a wholesale move of tens of thousands of Afghans. Officials said the Afghans would be moved out of Afghanistan to third countries to await the processing of their visa requests to move to the United States.

More than 18,000 Afghans who have worked as interpreters, drivers, engineers, security guards, fixers and embassy clerks for the United States during the war have been trapped in a bureaucratic limbo after applying for special immigrant visas, available to people who face threats because of work for the U.S. government. Those applicants have 53,000 family members, officials said.

The officials declined to say where the Afghans would await the visa processing, and it is not clear whether third countries have agreed to take them. The opportunity to move will be given to people who have already begun the application process.

A senior administration official said that under the plan, transportation out of Afghanistan will not come with any assurance that a visa to the United States will be granted. It was unclear whether people who somehow do not qualify would be sent back to Afghanistan or left in a third country.

The officials spoke on grounds of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly about the decision.

The decision comes as President Biden prepares to meet on Friday with President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan amid a worsening security situation in the country.

A Maricopa County constable posting an eviction order for non-payment of rent last October in Phoenix.
Credit…John Moore/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday approved a one-month extension of the national moratorium on evictions, scheduled to expire on June 30, as officials emphasized this will be the final time they will push back the deadline.

The moratorium, instituted by the agency last September to prevent a wave of evictions spurred by the economic downturn associated with the coronavirus pandemic and extended earlier this year, has significantly limited the economic damage to renters and sharply reduced eviction filings.

On Thursday, the C.D.C. director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, signed the extension, which goes through July 31, after a week of internal debate at the White House over the issue.

Local officials and tenants rights groups have warned that phasing out the freeze could touch off a new, if somewhat less severe, eviction crisis than the country faced last year during the height of the pandemic.

White House officials agreed and pressed reluctant C.D.C. officials to extend the moratorium, which they see as needed to buy them more time to distribute $21.5 billion in emergency federal housing aid funded by a pandemic relief bill passed this spring.

Administration officials, speaking on a conference call with reporters on Thursday, unveiled a range of other actions intended to blunt the impact of lifting the moratorium and the lapsing of similar state and local measures.

Among the most significant is a new push by the Justice Department, led by Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, to coax local housing court judges to slow the pace of evictions by forcing landlords to accept federal money intended to pay back rent.

In a letter to state court officials, Ms. Gupta urged judges to adopt a general order requiring all landlords to prove they have applied for federal aid before signing off on evictions, while offering federal funding for eviction diversion programs intended to resolve landlord-tenant disputes.

Other initiatives include a summit on housing affordability and evictions, to be held at the White House later this month; stepped-up coordination with local officials and legal aid organizations to minimize evictions after July 31; and new guidance from the Treasury Department meant to streamline the sluggish disbursement of the $21.5 billion in emergency aid included in the pandemic relief bill in the spring.

White House officials, requesting anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, said recently that the one-month extension, while influenced by concerns over a new wave of evictions, was prompted by the lag in vaccination rates in low-income communities.

Ms. Walensky was initially reluctant to sign the extension, according to a senior administration official involved in the negotiations. She eventually concluded, the official said, a flood of new evictions could lead to greater spread of the virus by displaced tenants,

Forty-four House Democrats wrote to Ms. Walensky, on Tuesday, urging them to put off allowing evictions to resume. “By extending the moratorium and incorporating these critical improvements to protect vulnerable renters, we can work to curtail the eviction crisis disproportionately impacting our communities of color,” the lawmakers wrote.

Groups representing private landlords maintain that the health crisis that justified the freeze has ended and that continuing the freeze even for an extra four weeks would be an unwarranted government intrusion in the housing market.

“The mounting housing affordability crisis is quickly becoming a housing affordability disaster fueled by flawed eviction moratoriums, which leave renters with insurmountable debt and housing providers holding the bag,” said Bob Pinnegar, president of the National Apartment Association, a trade group representing owners of large residential buildings.

Demonstrators gathered this month in Minnesota for a traditional Indigenous water ceremony during a protest against the Line 3 project.
Credit…Kerem Yucel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Biden administration has defended a contentious pipeline project that would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil through Minnesota’s delicate watersheds, urging in a court brief that a challenge brought by local tribes and environmental groups be thrown out.

The closely watched filing in federal court was the latest in a series of actions taken by the administration to back Trump-era approvals of oil and gas infrastructure, despite President Biden’s pledge to aggressively cut emissions from fossil fuels, a major driver of climate change. The pipeline, which is known as Line 3 and is being built by Canadian pipeline company Enbridge Energy, has been the focus of mass protests in recent weeks.

Mr. Biden could still decide to withdraw the federal permits that the pipeline depends upon for construction to proceed. But for now, the administration is defending a decision by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to issue those permits. That decision was made in the closing days of the Trump Administration.

The clash between Mr. Biden’s pledges on climate change and his recent decisions has disappointed those who had hoped that the United States would finally start taking aggressive steps to ward off the worst effects of global warming. It also illustrates the difficulties of weaning the country off the oil and gas that has long powered its economy.

Indigenous groups have also been trying to flex newfound political clout. Native Americans, like the secretary of the interior, Deb Haaland, now hold important positions within the Biden administration and have said they intend to hold Mr. Biden to his campaign promises on racial equity, particularly for tribal communities.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Biden Administration continues the Trump Administration’s policy of ignoring tribal rights, environmental justice, and climate concerns in favor of fossil fuel industry profits,” Moneen Nasmith, of the environmental legal organization Earthjustice, one of the lawyers on the case, said in an email.

The Enbridge project, which received its final approvals under President Donald J. Trump, is a 340-mile rerouting in a wider pipeline network. Once completed, it would carry 760,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta across northern Minnesota and into Wisconsin to the tip of Lake Superior.

It would replace an older crude oil pipeline, built in the 1960s, that has had problems with corrosion, leaks and spills, forcing Enbridge in 2008 to reduce its capacity by half. In 2015, Enbridge cited corroding pipes and future oil demand to say it would reroute Line 3, a move that would allow it to restore its original capacity.

Shade Lewis, on his farm in La Grange, Mo., in May, said he spent years struggling financially and searching for credit as he built his cattle herd.
Credit…Neeta Satam for The New York Times

A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked the Biden administration from making loan forgiveness payments to minority farmers as part of a $4 billion program intended to address a long history of racial injustice in American farming.

The judge, Marcia Morales Howard of U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, in Jacksonville, found that Scott Wynn, a white farmer in Jennings, Fla., who had challenged the program in a lawsuit in May, was likely to succeed on his claim that the program violates his right to equal protection under the law.

Known as Section 1005, the program was created as part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package that Congress passed in March. It was intended to provide debt relief to “socially disadvantaged farmers” — defined by the government as those who are Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander.

“Section 1005’s rigid, categorical, race-based qualification for relief is the antithesis of flexibility,” Judge Howard, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, wrote. “The debt relief provision applies strictly on racial grounds irrespective of any other factor.”

In defending the program, the Biden administration had said that the government had a compelling interest in remedying a well-documented history of discrimination against minority farmers in Department of Agriculture loan and other programs and in preventing public funds from being allocated in a way that perpetuates the effects of discrimination.

Nonwhite farmers have long endured discrimination, from violence and land theft in the Jim Crow South to banks and federal farm offices that refused them loans or government benefits that went to white farmers.

“It is undeniable — and notably uncontested by the parties — that U.S.D.A. had a dark history of past discrimination against minority farmers,” Judge Howard wrote.

But she agreed with Mr. Wynn who, echoing the sentiments of other white farmers, had argued that the program discriminated against white farmers and ranchers because of their race.

Socially disadvantaged farmers” may qualify for 120 percent debt relief under the program, regardless of the size of their farms and even if they are “having the most profitable year ever and not remotely in danger of foreclosure,” Judge Howard wrote.

She ordered Mr. Wynn and the Agriculture Department to submit by June 29 an expedited schedule to resolve the case. She also said that the Biden administration could continue to prepare to provide relief under the program “in the event it is ultimately found to be constitutionally permissible.”

The Agriculture Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday night.

John Boyd Jr., the president of the National Black Farmers Association, expressed disappointment that the payments had not been made before the ruling was issued.

Some congressional Democrats are softening their resistance to voter identification laws as part of an effort to move forward on legislation to protect voting rights.
Credit…Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Congressional Democrats, searching for any way forward on legislation to protect voting rights, find themselves softening their once-firm opposition to a form of restriction on the franchise that they had long warned would be Exhibit A for voter suppression: voter identification laws.

Any path to passing the far-reaching Democratic elections legislation that Republicans blocked with a filibuster on Tuesday will almost certainly have to include a compromise on the bill’s near-blanket ban on state laws that require voters to present photo identification before they can cast a ballot.

Such laws were first cropping up decades ago, and Democrats fought them tooth and nail, insisting that they would be an impossible barrier to scale for the nation’s most vulnerable voters, especially older people and people of color.

But in recent years, as the concept of voter identification has become broadly popular. The idea that voters bring some form of ID to the polls has been accepted by Democrats ranging from Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia on the center-right to Stacey Abrams of Georgia, a hero of the left.

“As I have always said, a person should have to confirm that they are who they are in order to vote,” Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat from Georgia and a key ally of Ms. Abrams, said in an interview. “What I get concerned about is when you say gun licenses are OK, when a student ID is not. Then I think any reasonable person has to ask, ‘Well, what’s that game?’”

Compared with newer state laws that restrict early voting and mail-in voting, limit ballot drop boxes and allow partisan elected officials to take on a greater role overseeing elections, voter identification suddenly seems like an expendable bargaining chip for some Democrats.

“I have been fighting voter ID since 1990 when I was in the State Legislature,” said Representative Gwen Moore, a Black Democrat from Wisconsin, where Republicans adopted an ID law a decade ago that Democrats said would devastate universal access to the ballot box.

“I don’t know that it’s less important,” Ms. Moore said, “but given the gravity of all the other things that they want to do, like shutting down polling sites, in the hierarchy of needs, I really believe we give them their old No. 1 thing.”

A voting rights protest in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Credit…Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times

For Democrats, the only way to break their voting rights legislation free of Republican opposition is by changing the Senate’s filibuster rules — an institution-shaking step that so far remains out of reach. But while the filibuster is proving hard to kill, it has been wounded.

The unanimous Republican refusal to allow the Senate to open a debate sought by every Democrat on the expansive elections and ethics measure — coupled with the recent filibuster of other legislation with bipartisan support — has armed opponents with fresh evidence of how the tactic can be employed to give the minority veto power over the majority.

Democrats and activists say the increasing Republican reliance on the filibuster will only intensify calls to jettison it and potentially bring about critical mass for a rules change as Democrats remain determined to pass some form of the elections measure and other parts of their agenda opposed by Republicans.

The White House, which has been criticized for not engaging aggressively enough on voting rights, is promising more from President Biden on the issue next week, though Mr. Biden, a senator for 36 years, has not explicitly endorsed eliminating the filibuster.

But to curb the power of the filibuster through a rules change, all 50 Democrats would have to agree to do so on the floor, and so far Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have expressed strong public opposition to doing that. Ms. Sinema’s latest pronouncement came in a Washington Post op-ed published just before this week’s procedural vote, much to the frustration of some of her colleagues.

Other Democrats also remain reluctant to make significant changes to the filibuster, though they are much less outspoken than their two colleagues. One of them, Senator Angus King, a Maine independent who votes with Democrats and has previously voiced openness to changing the filibuster rule, said Wednesday that doing so still felt premature.

“I don’t think we are done trying to find a solution,” Mr. King said, referring to long-shot attempts to lure Republicans to support a compromise on voting legislation. “We need to give them another chance to see how they feel about democracy.”

India B. Walton, 38, has never held political office but upset the four-term mayor of Buffalo in the Democratic primary.
Credit…Libby March for The New York Times

A self-described democratic socialist, India B. Walton, 38, has never held political office. She was challenging Mayor Byron Brown, 62, who was seeking a fifth term, had served as chair of the state Democratic Party and once was mentioned as a candidate for lieutenant governor.

Few people thought Ms. Walton could win, and her opponent mostly tried to ignore her campaign. But on Tuesday, she defeated Mr. Brown in the city’s Democratic primary, making it almost certain that she will become not only the first woman elected mayor in New York State’s second-largest city, but also the first socialist at the helm of a large American city in decades.

“I don’t think reality has completely sunk in yet,” said Ms. Walton, who is a registered nurse and community activist, in a phone interview on Wednesday. “I’m India from down the way, little poor Black girl who, statistically speaking, shouldn’t have amounted to much, yet here I am.”

Her upset on Wednesday shocked Buffalo and the nation’s Democratic establishment as most of the political world was more intensely focused on the initial results of the still-undecided mayoral primary in New York City. Ms. Walton’s win underscored the energy of the party’s left wing as yet another longtime incumbent in the state fell to a progressive challenger, echoing the congressional wins of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman.

While rare, socialist mayors are not unheard-of: Bernie Sanders took office in 1981 as mayor of Burlington, Vt., a city one-sixth the size of Buffalo, nearly a decade before being elected to Congress. But the last time a socialist was the mayor of a large American city was 1960, when Frank P. Zeidler stepped down as Milwaukee’s mayor.

Ms. Walton ran an unabashedly progressive campaign in a Democratic city of about 250,000 people — about 37 percent of them Black — that had elected mostly white men as mayors for nearly two centuries. (Mr. Brown became the city’s first Black mayor in 2006.) Her own life has been defined by hardship: a teenage single mother at the age of 14, a high school dropout, resident of a group home and a victim of domestic violence.

“This is proof that Black women and women belong everywhere in positions of power and positions of leadership,” Ms. Walton said, “and I’m just super-excited.”



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