“The Biden administration is under pressure from Capitol Hill lawmakers and student debt advocates to develop contingency plans to cancel billions of dollars in student debt and to move forward quickly if the Supreme Court strikes down the administration’s initial executive action,” Bloomberg reports.
“One alternative would involve swapping out the current legal rationale for a new one.”
Daily Beast: “Determined to prevent a rerun of the Obama years, top Democrats are standing up a pair of outside groups — the Congressional Integrity Project and Facts First USA — and building them for the sole purpose of running aggressive interference for Biden on the barrage of GOP probes from Capitol Hill.”
“Staffed by the Democratic Party’s masters of the dark arts of opposition research and spin, the groups are promising to apply bare-knuckled tactics in dealing with Republicans.”
“Republican members of the newly created House subcommittee investigating the ‘weaponization’ of the federal government discussed the possibility of issuing subpoenas during their first closed-door meeting on Friday,” Axios reports.
“It’s a clear indication of the aggressive posture and approach that the committee has been expected to take in probing federal law enforcement including the Justice Department and FBI.”
New York Times: “Over the past six weeks on his social media platform, Truth Social, Mr. Trump has been posting videos about his policy positions, including plans to protect Social Security and Medicare and ban Chinese nationals from owning U.S. farmland or telecommunications, energy, technology or medical supply companies.”
“The videos, in which the former president speaks directly to the camera, are aimed at reassuring supporters that he’s focused on topics other than his 2020 defeat, an issue that flopped with midterm voters.”
“Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, the architect of President Vladimir V. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, took over the day-to-day running of Russia’s war effort this month by convincing his boss that his predecessor was too passive, American and European officials say,” the New York Times reports.
“But General Gerasimov’s turbocharged strategy is what led to Russia’s problems to begin with, and Moscow still does not have the troops, ammunition or equipment that military officials say it needs to mass the big offensive promised by the country’s senior military leader.”
“The Food and Drug Administration unveiled new guidance Friday to relax blood donor restrictions for gay and bisexual men,” Axios reports. “The FDA’s plan would ease restrictions that were set during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s, which several medical and LGBTQ organizations say are discriminatory.”
“Something unusual is happening in the Capitol: Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries are getting along,” Punchbowl News reports.
“Let’s be clear: It’s very early in the new Congress. And these two will be at each other’s throats for the foreseeable future over politics, policy, personnel and morals.”
“But the New York Democrat and the California Republican have found an initial good vibe, according to multiple sources close to both men. The rapport has surprised aides on McCarthy and Jeffries’ teams.”
Enrollments under the Affordable Care Act have reached an all-time high on the federal and state exchanges, helping drive the nation’s uninsured rate down to record lows despite steeper monthly premium costs,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The Biden administration Wednesday provided the most comprehensive look so far at sign-up activity during the ACA’s most recent open-enrollment period, which marks the 10th for the Obama-era health law.”
Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) “will serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee this Congress, the only new senator to join the panel on the Democratic side,” Roll Call reports.
“His assignment — which Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced Thursday along with other Democratic committee rosters — is likely a reward for Peters agreeing to serve as Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chair for another election cycle.”
Greg Sargent: “It seems almost like a vast controlled experiment. Can enormous amounts of federal spending launched under President Biden, much of it destined for MAGA country, dampen the right-wing populist fervor unleashed by his predecessor Donald Trump?”
“Two new reports illustrate the scale of spending that is coming under Biden’s biggest policy achievements — and illuminate the geography of that spending as well.”
“Congress’ influential Blue Dog Coalition is getting chopped nearly in half after an internal blow-up over whether to rebrand the centrist Democratic group,” Politico reports.
“Seven of the 15 members expected to join the Blue Dogs this year, including Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), are departing after a heated disagreement over a potential name change for the moderate bloc. For now that’s left the Blue Dogs with seven, all male members — their smallest roster in nearly three decades of existence. One freshman member remains undecided.”
You remember the minor German nobleman with alleged fever dreams of restoring the Second Reich, circa 1871? It turns out that investigation was merely a spinoff from another coup probe which was unveiled yesterday by German authorities. The two alleged plots have similar underlying origins in the extremist Reichsbürger movement, but the latest revelations have their own eye-popping details. Among the alleged aims of the five people arrested:
- blow up power supply facilities;
- kidnap Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and subject him to a show trial;
- put an actor on TV pretending to be the president or chancellor and announce that the government had been deposed and that the constitution of 1871 was in force again.
Reactionary revanchism is the emerging theme of the early 21st century.
“Pakistan’s prime minister on Tuesday apologized to the nation for a major, daylong power outage that disrupted normal life across the country and drew criticism from millions who were left without electricity amid the harsh winter weather,” the AP reports.
Special Operations troops killed a senior Islamic State leader in a helicopter raid in a remote area of Somalia on Thursday, the New York Times reports.
“The month before the riot at the U.S. Capitol, members of the Proud Boys were growing increasingly angry about the outcome of the 2020 election and were expecting a ‘civil war,’ a former member told jurors on Tuesday as he took the stand in the seditious conspiracy case against the group’s former leader,” the AP reports.
“Republicans in Arizona’s Legislature have voted along party lines to approve new rules that will allow state lawmakers to destroy emails after 90 days and delete text messages as quickly as they arrive,” the AP reports.