New Mexico wildfire prompts evacuations and protection for undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens: Morning Rundown

President Joe Biden pushes for higher taxes on the wealthy when Trump-era cuts expire. A fast-moving New Mexico wildfire prompts evacuations. And an executive action to protect undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens from deportation is announced.

Here’s what to know today.

Biden pushes to end Trump-era tax cuts and raise taxes on the wealthy

The impending expiration of major parts of the 2017 Trump tax cuts has President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump — and members of their parties in Congress — split over whether to extend them. Biden said he wants to raise taxes on the wealthy if he is elected this fall. Trump has promised even deeper cuts if he returns to the White House.

The scheduled expiration isn’t until the end of 2025, meaning the outcome will be decided by whoever ends up controlling the White House and Congress. Still, both candidates are bringing up the topic on the campaign trail.

Biden has promised to end tax breaks for incomes above $400,000, while vowing not to raise taxes for those making less. And many liberals in Congress see the expiration date as an opportunity. Sen. Elizabeth Warren called 2025 an opportunity to “reflect our nation’s values by raising taxes on the wealthy.”  

Meanwhile, Trump has touted his 2017 tax cuts on the campaign trail and has promised he’ll bring “the biggest tax cut” — something many Republicans want to see.

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Trump is also floating the idea of ending taxes on money earned from tips — but, so far, it’s unclear whether the talking point will materialize as a serious policy plan. Plus, several influential Republicans said they’re skeptical of the idea

Biden’s goal of undoing tax cuts for people with incomes above $400,000 will be easier said than done, though, and a concrete policy proposal hasn’t been fleshed out yet. Read the full story here.

More tax news: 

  • The IRS estimates it will raise more than $50 billion over the next decade by closing a loophole often exploited by wealthy filers seeking to avoid paying taxes.

Fast-moving wildfire prompts evacuation of New Mexico village

Intense smoke fills the sky from the South Fork Fire in Ruidoso, N.M., on June 17, 2024.Courtesy Pamela L. Bonner/X.com

Residents in Ruidoso, New Mexico, were told to evacuate immediately yesterday after a wildfire that was discovered west of town, officials said. As of last night, the South Fork Fire on the Mescalero Reservation west of the village had grown to an estimated 5,252 acres and was zero percent contained, officials said. Here’s what we know.

In California, firefighters increased their containment of the Post Fire, north of Los Angeles. And from the Midwest to the East Coast, a heat wave expected to last through Friday will affect millions of people.

Biden announces protections for undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens

The Biden administration is taking executive action to protect undocumented spouses of American citizens — a move that would shield about 500,000 immigrants from deportation. The White House announced the election-year policy this morning, framing it as “new action to keep families together.” The action comes after urging from immigration advocates and Democratic lawmakers and as President Joe Biden courts Latino voters in crucial battleground states.

Lawmakers have been briefed on the plan and at least some have been invited to the White House for the announcement, sources said.

“This is the biggest thing since DACA,” said a source familiar with the matter, an immigration advocate, adding that it was a smart political move by the Biden administration. Foreshadowing the likely battles to come over the policy, the White House was keen to stress that it has been tough on unlawful border crossings and has worked to dismantle people-smuggling networks.

Pastor who advised Trump admits ‘moral failure’ after child sex abuse allegation 

President Donald Trump is greeted by Pastor Robert Morris at Gateway Church
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters file

A Texas megachurch pastor who served as a spiritual adviser to former President Donald Trump has confessed to a “moral failure” four decades after a woman accused him of repeatedly molesting her as a child. The woman, Cindy Clemishire, described to NBC News her first encounter with Pastor Robert Morris when he was staying with her family on Christmas night 1982. She was 12; he was 21. It was the first of several similar encounters that would span the next 4½ years, said Clemishire, now 54.

Clemishire’s accusations were made public Friday. Morris acknowledged the next day in a statement what he called “inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady” when he was in his 20s. The statement seemingly confirmed the timeline that Clemishire described, and Morris said he confessed to church elders at the time and sought forgiveness. Morris hasn’t been charged with a crime.

Morris is now a senior pastor at Gateway Church, one of the country’s largest megachurches, but his reach and influence extend far beyond that role. Senior investigative reporter Mike Hixenbaugh explains his ties to the Trump presidency and spoke to Clemishire about the accusations against Morris.

Boston Celtics beat Dallas Mavericks for the NBA title

Image: 2024 NBA Finals - Game Five Jayson Tatum game 5 celebration win
Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics celebrates the team’s win on Monday against the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the 2024 NBA Finals.Adam Glanzman / Getty Images

The Boston Celtics are NBA champions for the first time in more than 15 years. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown led the team to a 106-88 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in last night’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals, earning them the 2024 title. The result marked the Celtics’ 18th championship, breaking a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the most in league history. 

The team boasted the NBA’s best regular-season record at 64-18 and had one of the greatest offenses in the league’s history. It also had a No. 2-ranked defense. Read more about the Celtics’ win.

Politics in Brief 

Today’s primaries: Rep. Bob Good, who chairs the far-right House Freedom Caucus, hopes to prevail in the Republican House primary for Virginia’s 5th District despite opposition from Trump and former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. And in Oklahoma, Republican Rep. Tom Cole, an Appropriations Committee leader who has faced criticism from his own party, faces a primary opponent accused of actually being a Texan. Here are other key races to watch.

Agent robbed: A Secret Service agent was robbed at gunpoint during Biden’s campaign trip to California, authorities said. 

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Staff Pick: Small joys in Gaza despite displacement and loss

social media creator Gazan youth Medo Halimy medohalimy tiktok
@medohalimy via TikTok

In much of the world, sharing content on social media might feel like a seamless part of daily life. For content creators in Gaza, it’s an arduous process that 19-year-old Medo Halimy said costs him “about $3, which is a lot here.” But it’s important to Halimy and others who upload vlogs to social media to show a different perspective on what living in a war zone is like. There are soccer matches, chores and trips to secure food — and, of course, these vloggers aren’t immune to the realities of living in a war zone. One expert put it simply: “These are still humans trying to have a life.”  — Elizabeth Robinson, newsletter editor

In Case You Missed It

  • Tobacco giant Philip Morris International said it would suspend online sales nationwide on Zyn.com as the nicotine pouch maker responds to a subpoena.
  • The driver of a Maserati who responded to being cut off by shooting at a woman’s car and then turning and firing at bystanders in Washington, D.C., was sentenced yesterday to more than 32 years in prison, prosecutors said.
  • Actor Ian McKellen is in “good spirits” after a fall while performing in London’s West End.

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