House GOP agenda sets sights on 2023September 23, 2022
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SO LONG, FAREWELL, THE CR WAIT IS NIGH — Congress is gone but the countdown until there’s a deal to fund the government past next Friday is still ticking. Don’t let the first procedural moves in the Senate fool you. There’s not a bill yet.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) set up a test vote for early next week on a bill that is not yet finalized. That vote, with a 60-vote threshold, is looking like it will be on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Lawmakers have said the stopgap would likely keep the government funded through Dec. 16.
Perpetual permitting drama: The future of Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) energy permitting proposal to speed up the approval of new projects is still unclear. Schumer wants to tie it to the spending bill and dare opponents of Manchin’s measure to vote against keeping the government funded. Manchin’s deal now has the backing of fellow West Virginian Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R). But more Republicans would be needed to move the deal across the finish line.
Plus, plenty of progressives have doubts and are building support for severing the energy measure from spending. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is not thrilled about the permitting measure because he wasn’t consulted even though 100 miles of the Mountain Valley Pipeline would run though his state.
“I just don’t see any enthusiasm for Joe’s package,” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) said Thursday. “And if people like Tim Kaine are upset about it, I just don’t see how it pieces together within their coalition.”
Cramer isn’t alone in predicting that the stopgap funding will eventually have to move without the permitting provisions.
With just a week to go, there is still confidence that Congress can avoid a government shutdown. Lawmakers and staff are still saying they expect a deal to come together in time. The motivation to avert a shutdown is strong on both sides of the aisle. If it comes down to the wire, there is always the chance of a two or three day spending patch to buy them time for a more substantial stopgap bill.
GOOD MORNING! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill, on this Friday, September 2022, where the action is out near Steel City today.
HUDDLE’S WEEKLY MOST CLICKED: Cafe Meeting Turns Into Tense Car Chase for U.S. Senate Aides in Zimbabwe, from Robbie Gramer at Foreign Policy
THE BIG REPUBLICAN ROLL OUT— House Republicans are laying the groundwork to prove they can walk and chew gum at the same time, taking action on their cornerstone policy ideas while slamming Joe Biden.
Sarah reports from Western Pennsylvania where House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), alongside Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) will formally unveil an agenda today that, after four years in the minority, could actually be put to use next year.
The plan, which was rolled out to members on Thursday, saw support from all corners of the sometimes fractured GOP conference, from Freedom Caucus members to battleground Republicans like Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.).
With 50 days until the midterm elections, Republicans wanted to back up their Biden criticisms with ideas of their own.
“That’s why we waited until now — now, people are focused on the election. Now, people are going to listen. I think it’s a good thing,” said Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), who serves as GOP conference secretary. “We’re all on the same songbook.”
More from Sarah, who’s in Monongahela, Pa, and with the House GOP, and Olivia: House GOP deploys a 2023 agenda it can use in November
COUNTERPROGRAMMING— House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) is swooping into Pennsylvania this morning to tout Democratic legislative successes alongside the influential steelworkers union in Pittsburgh. It’s no coincidence that his event, scheduled for 8:15 a.m., is just 40 minutes drive from the big GOP agenda announcement. The move is aimed at countering the Republican message that Democratic leadership has been ineffective
And Hoyer won’t be subtle.
“Leader McCarthy and 199 other House Republicans voted against fixing and upgrading America’s infrastructure, against jobs for American workers, and against supply chains that work. Maybe that’s why he chose not to come to the City of Pittsburgh today to hold his event – too many bridges to remind him of that fact,” Hoyer will say, according to planned remarks.
SPEAKING OF GOP AGENDAS— “The course of U.S. aid to Ukraine could hinge on the outcome of the November midterm elections,” writes POLITICO’s Connor O’Brien. “Congress is poised to approve billions more in military aid next week as part of a deal to keep the government open past the Nov. 8 elections, but future deals may be caught up in Republican infighting over federal spending that’s emerged in recent months, primarily in the House, if they win in November.”
More on the future of U.S. aid to Ukraine: Ukraine aid faces tougher crowd if Republicans take over
MITCH McCONNELL AND THE ECA— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is leaning towards backing the bipartisan effort to overhaul the 1887 statute that governs the counting of electors, according to senators in both parties. That would mark a stark difference from the House, where just nine Republicans — all of them leaving Congress next year — voted to update the 19th-century law that Trump’s allies sought to manipulate to keep him in power. House GOP leaders whipped against the legislation this week.
But, the Senate on most days might as well be a different planet. McConnell’s official position is likely to be illuminated on Tuesday, when he votes on the measure in a markup in the Senate Rules Committee. McConnell and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) both sit on the panel.
McConnell has been mostly hands-off as the bipartisan group spent months behind closed doors putting together their proposal to avert another attempt to subvert the transfer of power. But he hasn’t kept out of it entirely. Marianne and Burgess report that one of his senior aides provided the group with analysis and connected them with at least one constitutional scholar as it drafted the bill, according to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), its lead GOP sponsor.
But a yea vote from McConnell won’t be enough in the eyes of Democrats. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the bipartisan Electoral Count Act group, told Marianne: “there’s no doubt Senator McConnell could be doing a whole lot more to purge this sort of spirit of insurrection from his party.” More on McConnell and the Electoral Count Act: McConnell seeks a Jan. 6 mop-up on his terms
STOCK IN THE MUD— The House could take up legislation next week that would ban members of Congress from trading stocks, as soon as next week. Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said during a week-ending floor speech that the chamber "may consider legislation to reform the STOCK Act." House Administration Chair Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) sent a letter Thursday that included a framework for a stock trading ban, including banning Supreme Court justices from trading stocks and Congress from trading cryptocurrencies.
"Across the entire federal government, there have been significant stories regarding financial conflicts of interest in relation to stock trading and ownership," Lofgren wrote. "Collectively, these stories undermine the American people's faith and trust in the integrity of public officials and our federal government."
PULLING THE PLUG IN OHIO— What could drive the House GOP campaign arm to kill a $960,000 ad buy in a state that was looking like an easy pickup? It turns out Republican nominee J.R. Majewski lied about his resume, including claiming that he deployed to Afghanistan, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. By Thursday the National Republican Congressional Committee had backed off its investment in a batch of ads targeting incumbent Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio). Ally Mutnick has more on this shocker in Ohio.
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS— Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) got the glossy magazine treatment in the October issue of Elle, with a profile focused on her tough reelection campaign and status as the only Latina in the Senate, by Isabel González Whitaker.
UNION VOTE — Rep. Andy Levin’s (D-Mich.) Capitol Hill and district offices held a vote yesterday to form a union, the first members’ office in Congress to do so. The results will be tallied Monday.
Leave it to beagles… Beagles, lots of beagles, were on Capitol Hill Thursday with an animal welfare group as California Democratic Rep. Tony Cárdenas pushed for legislation to promote adoption of animals used for research. The pups were among those rescued from a breeding and research facility in Virginia. Jennifer Shutt from States Newsroom has the full story, plus beagle pictures.
Burr goes local… Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) waded into a pizzeria dispute in Nags Head, where he has a vacation home. The Outer Banks Voice has more on the drama and Burr’s testimony at a local meeting.
Open house… The House Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosts its inaugural open house today from 1 to 3 p.m.
Overheard… An announcement over the PA in terminal 2 at DCA on late Thursday afternoon: “Will passenger Miss Elissa Slotkin please report to the north security check for a very very important lost item.” Huddle has asked Slotkin’s office if she got her item back.
In Pennsylvania Senate race, $1 homes are all the rage, from Dasha Burns at NBC News
U.S. watchdog estimates $45.6 billion in pandemic unemployment fraud,, from Tony Romm at The Washington Post
TODAY IN CONGRESS
The House is out.
The Senate convenes at 11 a.m. for a pro forma session.
AROUND THE HILL
It’s quiet on Capitol Hill.
THURSDAY’S WINNER:Josh Altman correctly answered that Zachary Taylor is the only president whose remains were exhumed. They were tested for poisoning in 1991.
TODAY’S QUESTION from Josh: Which former United States senator, who first came to prominence as a noted economist, was wounded fighting at Okinawa in his 50s before serving three terms in the Senate?
The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your answers to [email protected]
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