Cup of Joe – January 3, 2023

“Just hours before the speakership vote, Kevin McCarthy’s opponents are warning they still aren’t ready to give him the support he needs,” Politico reports.

“With the House slated to start voting on who will command the gavel around midday Tuesday, McCarthy remains short of the necessary 218 votes. And his last-ditch efforts, including a long list of concessions he released to his conference over the weekend, has done little to sway his most ardent detractors.”

“In fact, there were further signs Monday that the California Republican’s bid is in deep trouble. The influential conservative group Club for Growth released a whip notice for the speakership vote, urging a no vote on McCarthy — without explicitly naming him — if he didn’t concede to various rules being pushed by some of those opposing him, many of them members of the House Freedom Caucus.”

USA Today: What happens if McCarthy can’t get votes needed for speaker? Here’s how the election works.

Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) is hinting that Republicans opposed to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as House speaker have a backup candidate in mind, but he is playing coy on who they are, the Daily Beast reports. Said Good: “You’ll see that name tomorrow on the second ballot.” Good says he and McCarthy’s other detractors “have hidden the identity for several weeks.”

New York Times: McCarthy’s bid for speaker remains in peril even after key concessions.

New York Times: “The threat that some of Mr. McCarthy’s allies have dangled — that moderate Republicans could band together with Democrats to elect a Democratic speaker should he fail — is highly improbable.”

“But the landscape could quickly change should Mr. McCarthy falter on Tuesday, when the new Congress convenes and lawmakers vote to elect a new speaker. House precedent requires that lawmakers continue voting on ballot after ballot if no one is able to win the gavel. If Mr. McCarthy is unable to quickly win election, Republicans would be under immense pressure to coalesce around an alternative, ending a potentially chaotic and divisive fight on the floor that could taint the start of their majority in the House.”

An increasing number of House Republicans are vowing they’ll only vote for Kevin McCarthy for speaker, and that they’ll keep doing so “as long as it takes,” Politico  reports. “Two lawmakers said that their group of roughly 70 members met on Thursday and came to the consensus that they were prepared to vote for McCarthy for as long as necessary, that they had ‘strong reservations’ about potential rules changes that the GOP leader is considering in order to shore up his support. “

“The two lawmakers said the group would pull support for rules changes if McCarthy were not ‘expediently’ elected as speaker.”

Associated Press: “Choosing a speaker will be the first vote the House will take before new and returning lawmakers are even sworn into office on Tuesday. As set out under the Constitution, the session will begin at noon on Jan. 3, with all the lawmakers seated on the House floor and members from both parties joining in the vote for speaker.”

“The chamber cannot organize until it has a speaker since that person effectively serves as the House’s presiding officer and the institution’s administrative head.”

“House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy outlined some of the concessions that he has agreed to in his campaign for speaker on a Sunday evening conference call – including making it easier to topple the speaker,” CNN reports.

“But McCarthy could not say whether he would have the votes for the speakership, even after giving in to some of the right’s most hardline demands.”

“The California Republican told his members that after weeks of negotiations, he has agreed to a threshold as low as five people to trigger a vote on ousting the speaker at any given time, known as the ‘motion to vacate’ the speaker’s chair, and pitched it as a ‘compromise.’”

Nine conservative Republican House members released a letter Sunday night saying the concessions that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has made do not go far enough for them to back him as speaker, CNN reports.

From the letter: “Thus far, there continue to be missing specific commitments with respect to virtually every component of our entreaties, and thus, no means to measure whether promises are kept or broken.”

Wall Street Journal: “If a candidate doesn’t win a majority of House members voting and present on the first ballot, likely to be set at 218 votes, then another roll-call vote is taken. Both Mr. McCarthy’s supporters and opponents have indicated they think the vote could go to a second ballot, which hasn’t happened since 1923. That year, it took nine ballots to select a speaker.”

Punchbowl News: “The fate of Kevin McCarthy must be decided, including whether he has the votes to become the next speaker of the House. RIght now, the answer is no. And the signs aren’t good for the California Republican.”

“There are between five to 10 House GOP lawmakers who may oppose McCarthy during Tuesday’s speaker vote on the floor. Even close allies privately worry that it’s ‘hard to see a path’ for McCarthy to get the 218 votes he needs.”

“Yet so much remains fluid at the moment. And one can never underestimate how difficult it is for a member to publicly vote against their party leader for speaker.”

“If McCarthy were to fall, it would represent a new level of chaos for House Republicans, who have spent much of the last dozen years at war with the leadership of their party. Under this scenario, expect outright war between the middle of the conference and the 10 or so conservatives who blocked him from capturing the gavel.”

Playbook: “There’s no way to sugarcoat this: Seven years after his last, failed bid for the speakership, Kevin McCarthy’s dreams of wielding the gavel are again in peril. Despite years of political contortions aimed at winning over his critics on the far right, with just over 24 hours left until the critical floor vote, the California Republican’s math problem is getting worse, not better.”

New York Times: “If Republicans are unable to muster the votes for a speaker, it will make very clear from the outset they cannot be counted on to fulfill the body’s basic responsibilities, such as funding the government or preventing a credit default by lifting the debt ceiling, both of which will be required later this year.”

“We’re supposed to be hitting the ground running here, but instead it’s just a big belly flop. Believe me, it’s not just members of the Freedom Caucus who are aggravated. As the days and hours trickle on, the more aggravated people become.”— A GOP lawmaker, quoted by Politico.

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) writes in the Daily Caller that he would work with Democrats to elect a speaker if Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is unsuccessful.

“Much has been made of me saying I would work with moderate Democrats to elect a more moderate speaker. But my actual words were that if the five refused to coalesce around what the vast majority of the conference wants, I’m willing to work across the aisle to find an agreeable Republican.”

“We cannot be held captive by a small number and run the risk of delaying the formation of committees and working on the agenda we promised Americans this past November.”

Politico: “The political isolation of the world’s largest money managers is a window into how the GOP’s recent pivot to populism on Big Business can paralyze industry lobbying efforts. It’s also forcing companies to rethink how they message environmental and social goals, even if they’re aimed at satisfying customers, investors and employees.”

“A growing list of major companies — not just limited to finance — are facing ire from Republican officials at the state and federal levels for their stances on climate and issues such as race, voting rights and guns.”

“Even as House Democrats shrink into the minority, the voices of progressive lawmakers — inspired by the so-called squad — are set to grow only louder,” Politico reports.

“An optimistic crop of liberal first-year lawmakers is confident they can pry back the majority from Republicans in two years. In the meantime, add another five members, aligned with the liberal Working Families Party, to the ever-expanding list of those vowing to push President Joe Biden’s administration to the left on priorities like workers’ rights, climate change and immigration.”

Politico: “Their departures [of “moderate” or reasonable Republicans] are coming at an inopportune time for Congress — with party control of the House and Senate split and both majorities razor-thin, legislating is expected to come to a near halt. But lawmakers will need bipartisan deal-makers to at least keep the government lights on and address inevitable crises.”

“And the GOP is at a crossroads following its disappointing performance in the midterms, dealing with an already scandal-plagued presidential run from former President Donald Trump and House conservatives threatening to hijack the speaker’s race.”

New York Times: “In recent weeks, after Mr. Biden helped impose a contract on railroad workers that four unions had rejected, partly over its lack of paid sick days, many labor activists and scholars have begun to ask: How supportive is the president, really?”

“To those reassessing Mr. Biden, the concern is that the president, by asking Congress to intervene and avert a strike, missed a rare opportunity to improve workers’ bargaining power in ways that could extend beyond the rail sector. They worry that the move essentially validated an employer strategy of waiting out workers in hopes that the pressure would fizzle.”

“Former U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and her husband, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, generally have stayed mum when former President Donald Trump slams them online, but on Thursday she responded after her ex-boss repeated a racist nickname he has used for her before,” the Louisville Courier Journal reports.

Chao called it a “racist taunt” and said he’s “trying to get a rise out of us.”

She added: “He says all sorts of outrageous things, and I don’t make a point of answering any one of them.”

New York Times: “The charity, the Supreme Court Historical Society, is ostensibly independent of the judicial branch of government, but in reality the two are inextricably intertwined. The charity’s stated mission is straightforward: to preserve the court’s history and educate the public about the court’s importance in American life. But over the years the society has also become a vehicle for those seeking access to nine of the most reclusive and powerful people in the nation. The justices attend the society’s annual black-tie dinner soirees, where they mingle with donors and thank them for their generosity, and serve as M.C.s to more regular society-sponsored lectures or re-enactments of famous cases.”

“The society has raised more than $23 million over the last two decades. Because of its nonprofit status, it does not have to publicly disclose its donors — and declined when asked to do so. But The New York Times was able to identify the sources behind more than $10.7 million raised since 2003, the first year for which relevant records were available.”

Associated Press: “North Korea fired three short-range ballistic missiles toward its eastern waters in its latest weapons display on Saturday, a day after rival South Korea launched a solid-fueled rocket as part of its efforts to build a space-based surveillance capability to better monitor the North.”

“Tensions between the rival Koreas rose earlier this week when South Korea accused North Korea of flying five drones across the rivals’ tense border for the first time in five years and responded by sending its own drones toward the North.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for “exponential” growth of the country’s nuclear arsenal in a recent ruling party meeting, the AP reports.

Alexander Burns: “Democrats, even in periods of electoral success, have shown themselves incapable of creating a political coalition broad and stable enough to defeat the tangled rules of the Senate and the rural bias of the American republic.”

“Several recent books… bring into relief the scale of the work ahead for Democrats if they want to rebuild their party and the country from the ravages of the Trump era.”

“Hundreds of thousands are expected to descend on Brazil’s capital Sunday to celebrate the inauguration of President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the stalwart of the Latin American left returning to the office he held more than a decade ago,” the Washington Post reports.

“But the carnival-like party on New Year’s Day comes against a tense backdrop, as supporters of outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro remain camped outside army barracks here and across the country, calling for a military overthrow of the incoming government to keep their candidate in office.”

“Two days before leaving office, ending a tumultuous four years as the race-baiting, Amazon-developing, coronavirus-downplaying, vaccine-skeptical leader of Latin America’s largest country, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro remained defiant in a teary farewell address on Friday, defending his record and saying the election that led to his ouster was not impartial, but condemning violence against the result,” the Washington Post reports.

“Then he flew to Florida, Brazilian media reported, where in the past he has met with former president Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago. He apparently planned to skip the inauguration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on Sunday, when the outgoing leader traditionally presents the presidential sash to his successor, a ceremony intended to reaffirm the country’s young democracy.”

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