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Capitol Riot, Memorial Day, French Open: Your Friday Evening Briefing 1
Erin Scott for The New York Times

1. It was a busy day in Washington, ahead of the long weekend.

Republican senators blocked the creation of a commission to investigate the Capitol riot, dooming the best chance for an independent inquiry on the attack. Only six G.O.P. senators joined Democrats to support advancing the measure as Republicans used their filibuster power in the Senate for the first time this year.

Top Republicans had entertained supporting the measure as recently as last week. But the vast majority of Republicans were determined to shield their party from potential political damage that could come from scrutiny of the storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, said that “the additional extraneous commission” would not “uncover crucial new facts or promote healing,” adding, “I do not believe it is even designed to do that.”

McConnell was not entirely correct. Here’s what an independent commission would have brought to the table.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

2. President Biden formally proposed his $6 trillion budget, which aims to create a path to the middle class, financed by the rich. But there’s one thing missing.

The president’s budget envisions a redistribution of wealth that will allow more Americans to enjoy prosperity, and it invests in climate change, education and infrastructure. For all of the administration’s focus on transformational policies, it’s not forecasting an outburst of economic potential, our economics correspondent writes.

The budget assumes G.D.P. growth is strong in 2021 and 2022 — but just strong enough to return the economy to its prepandemic trend line.

Hannah Beier for The New York Times

3. Summer is starting to look a bit more normal.

Heading into Memorial Day Weekend, parades and barbecues — canceled last year as the country was nearing 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus — are back on. Vaccinations have proved to be a game-changer in the past five months. President Biden has set a goal of vaccinating 70 percent of adults by July 4, and a new survey finds that goal is within reach. Above, a picnic in Philadelphia.

As Americans hit the road for the holiday, they may find things crowded, more expensive and with less staff to keep things running smoothly. Pack patience and sunblock.

Heading to camp this summer? Federal health officials said camps where everyone is vaccinated can drop many Covid restrictions and return to full capacity, with few limitations.

Patrick Endres/Design Pics Inc., via Alamy

4. President Biden has pledged to cut pollution from fossil fuels. But some of his recent decisions have clashed with that promise.

Over the past month, the Biden administration has quietly taken actions that will guarantee the drilling and burning of oil and gas for decades to come, backing three contested fossil fuel projects, including in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, above. As he tries to provide a safety net for people employed in the industry, Biden is also trying to avoid alienating lawmakers from oil, gas and coal states who will decide the fate of his legislative agenda in Congress.

The U.S. is aiming to eliminate as much greenhouse gas as it emits by 2050. To get there, wind and solar power will have to grow. These maps show what may change.


5. Russian intelligence appears to be behind a cyberattack that used emails from the U.S. international aid agency to target President Vladimir Putin’s critics.

This newly disclosed attack was particularly bold: Hackers sent out thousands of genuine-looking emails to more than 150 organizations that in many cases rank among Putin’s most potent critics. The emails were implanted with code that would give the hackers unlimited access to the recipients’ computer systems, according to Microsoft, which detected the hack.

The same group of hackers was behind an attack that breached at least seven government agencies last year. The discovery came just three weeks before President Biden is scheduled to meet with Putin.

Separately, the Biden administration said the U.S. would not rejoin the Open Skies Treaty with Russia that allows the countries to monitor each other’s military movements.

Andrew Snucins/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

6. A mass grave with the remains of 215 Indigenous children was found near a former school in British Columbia, a community leader said.

The remains are said to be those of children who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School, one of many Canadian schools set up to forcibly assimilate them. In a statement, Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation said the discovery was “an unthinkable loss that was spoken about but never documented.”

Separately, after years of negotiations, the German government agreed to recognize as genocide the killing of tens of thousands of people from two ethnic groups in Namibia. Germany said it would ask for forgiveness and establish a fund of more than 1 billion euros.

Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

7. The French Open gets underway on Sunday. Expect to see tennis’s biggest new star only on the court.

The second-seeded Naomi Osaka has won four Grand Slam singles titles, but the French Open, the only Grand Slam tournament played on clay, will be her biggest challenge. She has yet to get past the third round in four previous appearances, so she plans to approach the event differently: She will skip news conferences during the tournament to protect her mental health.

Osaka, now the highest paid athlete in the world, said that players were often asked questions that “bring doubt into our minds, and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.”

Searchlight Pictures

8. Ready to go to the movies? Now’s the time.

While the experience is anything but normal — concessions are unavailable in many theaters and deserted lobbies add to “the overwhelming zombie-mall weirdness of it all” — “the excitement of being back, however tinged by free-floating nervousness, can’t be downplayed,” writes one devoted moviegoer.

Here is a list of noteworthy films scheduled for release this summer, including “Summer of Soul,” above. Also among them: “Cruella,” a back story for the Disney villain starring Emma Stone (who loves playing an antiheroine), “Candyman” and “Zola” starring Colman Domingo.

Our photographers also captured cinematic scenes around the world.

Darryl Cheng

9. Your snake plant and Pothos are not the only ones out of control.

After a long winter and spring, your plants could use a little love — or maybe a complete overhaul. Our garden expert talked to Darryl Cheng, better known as @houseplantjournal, about bringing new plants to life from old by finding the right light and propagation.

“There are lots of ways to succeed,” Cheng said. “If you are the kind of person who can figure out how a system works, and then experiment within it, you can succeed.”

If you’re bringing your houseplants outside for the summer, a gardening website recently ranked the best (and worst) cities to tend to your plants in the nude.

Byron Smith for The New York Times

10. And finally, what an American summer tastes like.

The summer treat can be a powerful experience. It transcends its own amalgam of flavors — some fresh and wholesome, others cheap and chemical — and embodies all of the joys of the season itself: heat, indulgence, long days.

With that in mind, The Times asked its correspondents all over the U.S. to talk about their own beloved tastes of summer. The result was a variety of odes to fresh mango, BLTs, cold noodles and myriad combinations of ice and sugar. For your briefing writer, watermelon always hits the spot. A new study suggests one of summertime’s sweetest treats originated in East Africa.

Have an extra sweet long weekend.

We’re off for Memorial Day on Monday. See you on Tuesday.

Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.

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