Today’s edition of quick hits.
* The new phase of the war: “Ukraine’s military has launched its long-awaited counteroffensive against Russian forces, one senior officer and one soldier near the front lines told NBC News. After months of buildup to a campaign that could prove crucial in Kyiv’s bid to reclaim occupied territory, a wave of attacks Thursday focused on the war’s southeastern front lines and appeared to represent a significant new push.”
* In related news: “Ukraine on Thursday accused Russian forces of shelling civilians fleeing floodwaters caused by the catastrophic dam collapse this week.”
* The other big SCOTUS story of the day: “The Supreme Court upheld a key mechanism for beneficiaries of federal spending programs to sue if states violate their rights Thursday, the conclusion of a case that spawned protests, hearings and bottomless worry from activists and experts terrified that the Court would use it to hobble programs like Medicaid.”
* Keep an eye on this one: “China and Cuba have reached a secret agreement for China to establish an electronic eavesdropping facility on the island, in a brash new geopolitical challenge by Beijing to the U.S., according to U.S. officials familiar with highly classified intelligence.”
* President Joe Biden’s new op-ed ran today, and it focuses on economic policy: “Our work isn’t finished, and we could see setbacks along the way. Our hard-won progress over the past two years has reaffirmed my bedrock belief that it is never a good idea to bet against hardworking Americans or the American economy.”
* Speaking of Biden: “President Joe Biden vetoed legislation on Wednesday to block his attempt to grant student debt relief through executive action.”
* Remember when supply chains were a major topic of conversation? “White House officials on Thursday hailed the unclogging of supply chains and suggested that further easing of bottlenecks will help cool inflation.”
* Virginia’s latest step backwards: “Virginia regulators voted on Wednesday to advance Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s plan to withdraw from a multistate carbon cap-and-trade program.”
* The final vote was 54 to 42: “The Senate on Thursday confirmed Dilawar Syed as deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration, ending more than two years of delays after a blockade by Republicans in the last Congress. Syed will be the highest-ranking Muslim official in the U.S. government.”
* Zients doesn’t want to deal with cabinet vacancies during an election season: “White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients has been calling members of President Biden’s Cabinet to deliver a subtle message: If you plan to leave, please do so in the next few months.”
See you tomorrow.