“The introduction of President Biden’s budget on Capitol Hill on Thursday is the ‘starter’s gun’ in the negotiations with Republicans over raising the debt limit, ratcheting up pressure on Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to unveil his own detailed budget plan, which he has not yet done,” The Hill reports.
Playbook: “No one in the White House seriously believes that Congress will adopt it in its current form. In private, administration officials readily admit that they know it’s not going anywhere.”
“So why does it matter? Beyond the obvious implications for governing, we’re told it’ll constitute the crux of Biden’s pitch as he’s expected to launch his reelection campaign in the near future.”
New York Times: Biden will release dead-on-arrival budget, picking fight with GOP.
“President Joe Biden is proposing a series of new tax increases on billionaires, rich investors and corporations in his latest proposal for how Congress should prioritize taxes and spending,” Bloomberg reports.
“Biden’s budget request to Congress, which is slated to be released Thursday, calls for a 25% minimum tax on billionaires… The plan would also nearly double the capital gains tax rate for investment to 39.6% from 20% and raise income levies on corporations and wealthy Americans.”
“President Joe Biden’s upcoming budget proposal aims to cut deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade,” the AP reports.
“That deficit reduction goal is significantly higher than the $2 trillion that Biden had promised in his State of the Union address last month. It also is a sharp contrast with House Republicans, who have called for a path to a balanced budget but have yet to offer a blueprint.”
Meanwhile, CNN reports Republicans aren’t likely to have their own proposal until mid-May.
“Hard-right House Republicans are readying a plan to gut the nation’s foreign aid budget and make deep cuts to health care, food assistance and housing programs for poor Americans in their drive to balance the federal budget, as the party toils to coalesce around a plan that will deliver on their promise to slash spending,” the New York Times reports.
“Republicans are ready this week to condemn President Biden’s forthcoming budget as bloated and misguided, and have said they will propose their own next month. But uniting his fractious conference around a list of deep cuts to popular programs will be the biggest test yet for Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who will need to win the support of Republicans in competitive districts and conservative hard-liners to cobble together the 218 votes needed to win the passage of a budget plan.”
“Privately, even some top party officials have questioned how Republicans will meet their spending objectives while keeping their members in line.”
“Speaker Kevin McCarthy often spent the last two years avoiding much discussion about the January 6, 2021, attack,” CNN reports.
“Now, he’s effectively put the issue back in the spotlight and on the investigative agenda – a gambit that has divided House and Senate Republicans and reopened ugly wounds inside the GOP.”
“Republicans in the House are beginning to plot multiple probes into the 2021 Capitol attack, including looking into the Democratic-led select committee’s actions from the last Congress, the security failures from that day and potentially even the treatment of January 6 defendants… The move comes as McCarthy green-lit the release of January 6 security footage to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who sought to whitewash the severity of the attack and caused a major uproar among Senate Republicans on Tuesday.”
Amanda Carpenter: “McCarthy made an affirmative decision to collaborate with Fox News, even as the company is embroiled in a billion-dollar lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems, which has exposed in granular detail how Fox’s two-faced hosts, executives, and producers brazenly air content they know is untruthful. That makes this not just a Fox problem, but a Republican party problem, too.”
“What McCarthy is doing for power is precisely what Fox does to retain its ratings. Unsure how to navigate in a political environment controlled mainly by former President Donald Trump, they let the most radical elements of the MAGA coalition call the shots. It’s almost as if a “demonic force” came over them all.”
“The White House joined in widespread condemnation of Fox News star Tucker Carlson on Wednesday, singling out the prime-time ratings king for his misleading portrayal of the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021,” Politico reports.
Said White House spokesperson Andrew Bates: “We agree with the chief of the Capitol Police and the wide range of bipartisan lawmakers who have condemned this false depiction of the unprecedented, violent attack on our Constitution and the rule of law — which cost police officers their lives.”
He added: “We also agree with what Fox News’s own attorneys and executives have now repeatedly stressed in multiple courts of law: that Tucker Carlson is not credible.”
“Mere hours after Tucker Carlson’s latest segment minimizing the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, House Republicans were eager to change the subject from the Fox News host’s riot revisionism,” Politico reports.
“While Carlson continued to roil Washington, many GOP lawmakers who gathered Wednesday morning were celebrating their unexpected win on a bill rolling back progressive D.C. crime laws and plotting their response to Thursday’s White House budget.”
Dan Pfeiffer: “In some ways, my career in political communications has been defined by the rise of Fox News and the rest of the Right Wing media. For the entirety of the twenty-first century, Fox News has been the most powerful weapon in the Right’s arsenal. From Capitol Hill, the campaign trail, the White House, and now from my perch in progressive media, I watched Fox start wars, beat Democrats into submission, drive reams of mainstream press coverage, and make Donald Trump President.”
“But they have never been more vulnerable. Here’s how Democrats should adjust their approach to Fox News.”
David Graham: “That Tucker Carlson thinks his viewers are stupid is not new, though his first swing at spinning unseen footage of the January 6 insurrection provides a fresh test of just how credulous they are.”
“The notable news from Carlson’s show yesterday is not the video itself, which is similarly stale, but the crystallization of a Trumpist narrative about the assault on the Capitol that portrays it not as a disaster, nor as an unfortunate but minor event, but as a triumph to be celebrated.”
NBC News: “Video that Carlson didn’t air shows police and rioters engaged in hours of violent combat. Nearly 1,000 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack. About 140 officers were assaulted that day, and about 326 people have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or employees, including 106 assaults that happened with deadly or dangerous weapons. About 60 people pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement. Two pipe bombs were also planted nearby but were not detonated.”
CBS News: “The narrative last night ignores the tens of thousands of pages of court filings we’ve read and the tonnage of footage already released by the Justice Department and shown in open court… And it ignores the powerful and at times tearful accounts of injured officers who are testifying under oath.”
Tom Nichols: “It’s one thing to assume that the Fox audience isn’t very bright and will believe almost anything—I will gladly stipulate to that—but it’s another to ask them to leap across a chasm of credulity…”
“As counterintuitive as it might be, perhaps the best thing for American democracy would be for Carlson to keep bumbling his way through more January 6 footage and to keep images of the insurrection in front of millions of viewers for as long as possible.”
“If that’s how McCarthy and Carlson intend to restore the image of the GOP as a normal political party, who are any of us to argue with such public-relations geniuses?”
“That’s the last four years. We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it’s been is too tough to digest. But come on. There isn’t really an upside to Trump.” — Tucker Carlson, in a text two days before the January 6 Capitol riots.
“The idea of Tucker Carlson being in that mob that day and not wetting his pants is hard to imagine.” — Anderson Cooper, on CNN, criticizing the Fox News host’s attempt to re-write what happened on January 6.
NBC News: “One of the offices, federal prosecutors recently disclosed, belonged to Republican Jim Risch, the 79-year-old junior senator from Idaho, where Trump is tremendously popular.”
“Video shows a rioter — who has pleaded guilty to driving a stun gun into a police officer’s neck, nearly killing him — smashing out Risch’s window overlooking the Washington Monument and the national mall in an attempt to let more rioters into the building. Additional video released this week shows Risch’s trashed desk, including what looks like a framed campaign image bearing his last name.”
“A review of Risch’s public statements on the Jan. 6, 2021, riot show no indication that he has ever mentioned what happened to his office that day. Asked by NBC News this week about his office being trashed and told about the new footage of rioters in his hideaway, Risch demurred.”
Vice News: “The sudden disappearance of the Boogaloos fueled speculation that the slew of DOJ investigations and arrests had literally taken them off the board—perhaps destroying the movement forever…”
“While it’s true that the threat of prosecution caused the Boogaloo Bois to lower their profile, the fierce anti-government ideology underpinning the movement never went anywhere. And now, the Boogaloo Bois appear to be regrouping, plotting their public comeback to coincide with what many fear could be a tense, even violent, presidential election season.”
“Congress on Wednesday voted to overturn local D.C. legislation for the first time in more than 30 years, as some Senate Democrats joined Republicans in blocking a major overhaul of the city’s criminal sentencing laws,” the Washington Post reports.
“President Biden already has indicated he will sign the disapproval resolution, which will keep D.C. from enacting the most comprehensive revision of its criminal code in a century.”
“President Biden’s abrupt shift toward a tougher ‘law and order’ stance on crime and immigration has progressives nervous about where he’s headed next,” Semafor reports.
“One thing that both the immigration and crime moves had in common: Key allies complained they were given little warning about a sudden change in Biden’s position.”
Dick Morris had a word for it.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has been hospitalized following a fall at a hotel in Washington, the Washington Post reports.
Punchbowl News: “The 81-year-old McConnell was at the Waldorf Astoria DC when the fall occurred… We don’t have any more information at this time on the extent of McConnell’s injuries or his prognosis.”
“Widespread missile attacks and explosions were reported across Ukraine early Thursday, with air raid sirens sounding throughout the country in predawn hours, according to local officials,” the New York Times reports.
“Explosions were reported in the southern city of Odesa, where the regional military administrator said energy infrastructure and residential buildings were hit, and explosions in the northeastern city of Kharkiv caused power outages, according to the mayor.”
“Air raid alarms rang out in more than a dozen regions across the country, including in the capital, Kyiv, where the regional military administration said on its Telegram channel that air defense systems were working.”
A new U.S. intelligence community report found Russia conducted malign influence operations in the 2022 U.S. midterm elections and is using increasingly clandestine means to “penetrate the Western information environment,” CNBC reports.
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally’s (R) official Instagram account repeatedly commented on nearly naked photos of a 20-year-old gay man, WKRN reports.
On one photo showing a man’s backside, the account commented with heart emojis and fire emojis and said, “you can turn a rainy day into rainbows and sunshine!”
McNally’s critics say it shows he is a hypocrite as the legislature passes anti-LGBTQ legislation.
“A Republican-backed proposal to rename of a portion of Nashville’s Rep. John Lewis Way after former President Donald Trump is off the table,” the Tennessean reports.
“Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed into law this week legislation that rolls back significant portions of the state’s child labor protections,” the Washington Post reports.
“The law eliminates requirements for the state to verify the age of children younger than 16 before they can take a job.”
“Oklahoma Republicans formally censured their nonbinary Democratic colleague Tuesday after state troopers said the lawmaker blocked them from questioning a transgender rights activist accused of assaulting a police officer during a protest over anti-trans legislation,” the AP reports.
“The party-line vote means Rep. Mauree Turner, who uses they/them pronouns, will be removed from all committee assignments unless the second-term lawmaker issues a formal apology, including to the Highway Patrol, which provides security at the Capitol complex.”
“A federal judge is set to hear arguments Thursday over special counsel Jack Smith’s push to extract more grand-jury testimony from a lawyer for Donald Trump,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Daily Beast: “When the Department of Justice took the position this week that former President Donald Trump acted improperly by urging his followers to attack Congress in 2021, prosecutors did more than open the door to a potential flood of civil lawsuits from police officers who were injured on Jan. 6.”
“What they actually did, according to legal scholars, is lay the groundwork for a potential criminal indictment against Trump for inciting the insurrection.”
“At a time of hyperpolarization over voting and elections, Democrats and Republicans had largely managed to agree on one thing — that a little-known data-sharing consortium of more than 30 states has helped keep voter rolls updated and free of opportunities for fraud,” the Washington Post reports. “But the Electronic Registration Information Center, as the consortium is known, has been straining lately under the weight of accusations and misinformation from election deniers. Critics, some of whom have aligned themselves with the false stolen-election narrative of former president Donald Trump, have claimed that the group is actually a left-wing vehicle that shares sensitive voter data with liberal groups, encourages bloated and inaccurate rolls and enables the very fraud it is intended to stamp out. ERIC’s leaders deny these accusations.”
“Now, ERIC’s survival is in jeopardy, with Republican-led states withdrawing, others threatening to do so and heated disputes breaking out among members over how to save the organization.”
“Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, made clear on Tuesday that the central bank is prepared to react to recent signs of economic strength by raising interest rates higher than previously expected and, if incoming data remain hot, potentially returning to a quicker pace of rate increases,” the New York Times reports.
Financial Times: “Powell’s remarks come after the US central bank spent months reducing the size of rate rises from a peak of 0.75 percentage points, which was sustained from June to November. In December, it scaled back to a half-point rate rise and then shifted down again in February to the more traditional quarter-point increase.”
“The Trump and Biden families are inspiring potentially bipartisan House legislation,” Axios reports. “The House Oversight Committee’s top leaders are seeking to channel intense partisan hostilities into reforms for classified documents and presidential family finances.” Said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD): “There are seeds of real legislative promise.”
“In his latest clash with the White House, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) sharply criticized the Biden administration Wednesday for delays on a new federal offshore drilling plan that the Interior Department says it needs until December to put into effect,” the Washington Post reports.
“Manchin, who remains a key swing vote in the Senate, has recently pushed back against the administration for its appointments and its implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, including on how it affects oil and natural gas leasing in Alaska.”
“A Senate committee voted in favor of former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nomination to be US ambassador to India, clearing the way for Senate action despite questions over his handling of a sexual harassment case,” Bloomberg reports.
“Garcetti’s nomination advanced from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on a 13-8 vote, with Republicans Todd Young and Bill Hagerty joining Democrats in favor. Their support means he’s likely to get enough votes when the nomination goes before the full Senate.”
“Donald Trump has privately told confidants that, should he be re-elected president, he could pardon any of his allies if they face charges from the Biden-era Justice Department in two major probes,” Rolling Stone reports.
“The former president has told some of those close to him that the pardons would be for higher-level people and could come early in his time in office, effectively wiping away a multi-year effort to hold powerful people and their cohorts legally accountable for their actions during and after Trump’s first term.”