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Biden lowers the temperature, and gets another bipartisan victory

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
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If it’s FRIDAY… Senate passes debt-ceiling bill by 63-36 vote, and it now heads to President Biden’s desk for his signature… Biden, from the Oval Office, addresses the nation on the legislation at 7:00 pm ET… Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis tussle over how long they could serve as president and how quickly they could enact change… And Trump, at Fox News town hall, responds to latest over those classified documents at Mar-a-Lago: “I know nothing about it. All I know is this: Everything I did was right.”

But FIRST... President Joe Biden just racked up another bipartisan accomplishment — with Congress passing legislation to raise the debt limit. 

It certainly wasn’t easy. Biden originally didn’t want to negotiate. The White House struggled on the messaging front. And the country came close, once again, to default.

But both Biden and congressional Republicans got something they wanted. For Biden and Democrats, they averted a potential economic disaster (with the 2024 election coming up), and they made the spending cuts Republicans wanted less painful than they could have been.

For Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Republicans, they got the cap on non-discretionary spending, and (more importantly for them) they brought Biden to the negotiating table and won the argument of linking the debt limit to spending cuts.

The end result reminds us of these lines from Biden’s inaugural address, in which he stressed unity after the Jan. 6 attack.

“History, faith, and reason show the way, the way of unity.

“We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors.

“We can treat each other with dignity and respect.

“We can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature.

“For without unity, there is no peace, only bitterness and fury.”

It also reminds us of the 2019-2020 Democratic presidential primaries, when progressives mocked Biden for saying he could work with Republicans. (Notably, Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., voted no on the debt-ceiling deal).

And it stands in sharp contrast to Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis as the GOP presidential race begins to escalate.

Biden’s Thursday summed up the entire debt-ceiling chapter for the president: He fell down, he got back up and he turned a lemon into lemonade.

Headline of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 63

That’s the number of senators who voted to pass the deal to suspend the debt limit through 2024, sending the compromise to President Joe Biden’s desk and setting up the end to the debt-ceiling standoff. 

All but five Democrats (or Democratic-aligned senators) voted for the bill — John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont voted against the package negotiated primarily by Biden and House Republicans. 

But 31 Republicans voted no, including presidential hopeful and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and the party’s two top senators facing re-election next year, Florida Sen. Rick Scott and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. 

Read more about how the vote made it to the finish line on  

Other numbers to know

52: How many senators voted Thursday to block Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, including Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, and Arizona Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. Biden is expected to veto the measure.  

8: The number of House members, out of 71, who won their seats in 2022 by less than ten points and voted against the deal to raise the debt ceiling on Wednesday.

9%: The share of adults across 30 countries that identify as LGBTQ, per a new global survey from the market-research company Ipsos.

4: How many days prior to an Iowa apartment building collapse that an engineering firm warned that the building could fall

3,000: The number of migrants illegally crossing the border who are apprehended each day, the lowest point in the Biden administration.

32: The number of school districts in Mississippi still under federal desegregation orders. 

More than 4: The number of years which Roberto Minuta, a former member of the Oath Keepers who guarded Roger Stone before the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, was sentenced to prison on Thursday.

3: The number of charges to which a man pleaded guilty in connection with attacking Democratic Rep. Angie Craig in her apartment building in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.

14: The age of Dev Shah, the 14-year-old Floridian who won the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday

Eyes on 2024: Trump v. DeSantis: a lesson in contrasts

While most of the Republican presidential field continues to tiptoe around former President Donald Trump, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis sees enough room for a contrast. 

A number of flash points have emerged this week as the two men hit the campaign trail. 

They’ve sparred over the length of time each man could serve as president — DeSantis has repeatedly suggested that his ability to serve two terms will be an asset, telling NBC News’ Gabe Gutierrez on a rope line that “If you only serve one lame-duck term, the bureaucrats will just wait you out and then they’ll go back to business as usual.”

DeSantis has also been willing to criticize Trump’s administration from the right on issues like Covid. Multiple times this week, DeSantis called for a “reckoning” over the federal government’s “disastrous” pandemic policies and criticized former public health official Dr. Anthony Fauci. (The implicit dig on the Trump administration is clear, even as CNN reports that DeSantis praised Fauci in the early weeks of the pandemic.)

And we’ve even seen a contrast in the image DeSantis is presenting of himself, one of a family man with his wife center-stage and his children in tow, another implicit contrast amid Trump’s legal woes related to allegations he paid off a porn star and a recent jury verdict finding him liable for sexual abuse. 

For Trump, his entire campaign is about contrasts — he’s attacked DeSantis as disloyal and not conservative enough, with pejorative nicknames to boot. And his allied super PAC has spent millions trying to bury the governor on the airwaves on issues like Social Security and taxes. 

But if there’s one takeaway from DeSantis’ first big week on the trail, it’s that, unlike many other Republicans, he’s just fine punching back. 

In other campaign news … 

Scott’s cavalry: Trust in the Mission PAC, a super PAC backing Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., is launching a new TV ad as part of a $7.25 million ad buy, per Fox News. 

Meet David Sacks: CNBC’s Brian Schwartz delves into David Sacks, the venture capitalist who co-hosted DeSantis’ Twitter Spaces event announcing his presidential campaign, unpacking how Sacks “is working to become a GOP kingmaker.” 

Haley’s haul: Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has called for a ban on foreign lobbying, but some of her donors include current or former lobbyists for foreign clients, per ABC News. 

Not mailing it in: Iowa GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law requiring Iowa caucuses to be held in person, clashing with Democrats who want to offer caucus-goers an opportunity to participate by mail, per the Des Moines Register. 

Going for gov: Democratic state Sen. Mark Mullet jumped into the race to succeed retiring Gov. Jay Inslee in Washington, per the Seattle Times. And in New Hampshire, Democrat Cinde Warmington, the only Democrat on the state’s Executive Council, announced that she is running for governor, per WMUR. 

Sights on the Senate: Steve Garvey, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, is weighing a run for California’s open Senate seat as a Republican, per the Los Angeles Times. And in Delaware, Democratic Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester is planning to launch her Senate campaign this month, Politico reports. 

Taking sides: Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer, the former House Majority Leader, took sides in the open Maryland Senate race on Thursday, backing Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. The race also includes Hoyer’s House colleague, Democratic Rep. David Trone.

Curding him into it: Politico reports on how Senate Republicans are still trying to convince Wisconsin Rep. Mike Gallagher to run for Senate this cycle against Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin. 

Stepping aside: Republican Bill Gates is not running for re-election to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in Arizona, after facing threats for his work overseeing the 2022 elections. 

ICYMI: What ELSE is happening in the world:

A former GOP candidate was indicted on federal charges related to multiple shootings at the homes of state and local officials in Albuquerque, N.M.,

At least 10 political nonprofits are being investigated by federal prosecutors for potentially defrauding donors, the New York Times reports.

President Biden will pick former North Carolina health secretary Mandy Cohen to lead the CDC, The Washington Post reports.