“House Republican leadership is coming to grips with needing to revise its debt ceiling bill to get through its own caucus,“ Axios reports.
“This is Kevin McCarthy’s first real legislative challenge as speaker. Failure to get a deal that raises the government’s debt ceiling means catastrophic default on the national debt.”
Paul Kane: “House Republicans, after months of pledging to devolve power to legislative committees conducting business out in the open, have reverted to the tradition of working behind closed doors.”
“For almost two months, Republicans of all stripes filed into House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s office to cobble together a sweeping 320-page bill that would touch many aspects of domestic policy while also allowing the Treasury to continue borrowing another $1.5 trillion to fund the federal government.”
“Not a single committee held a hearing on a bill that would slash trillions of dollars from federal agency budgets and revoke clean climate tax credits. Not one committee held the traditional legislative markup to consider amendments and further debate on the measure. Not one Democrat had input into the measure.”
“And a surprising thing happened along the way. The Republicans, even the most conservative antagonists who decried this type of legislating, learned to like backroom dealmaking despite their demands in early January for McCarthy (R-CA) to promise a more open legislative process in exchange for their votes for speaker.”
“Voters pushed back decisively after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, approving ballot measures that established or upheld abortion rights in all six states where they appeared,” the New York Times reports.
“Now, with abortion rights groups pushing for similar citizen-led ballot initiatives in at least six other states, Republican-controlled legislatures and anti-abortion groups are trying to stay one step ahead by making it harder to pass the measures — or to get them on the ballot at all.”
Dan Balz: “For 111 years, Ohio voters have lived with a set of rules for amending their state constitution through citizen initiative. The requirements have not changed and the threshold for enactment has always been 50 percent plus one. Today, Republicans in the legislature want to change that. The reason is abortion, and the maneuvering underway there adds to a bigger story about the Republican Party.”
“The story in Ohio is somewhat convoluted, as legislative and parliamentary processes often are. But the motive is clear: Facing the possibility that abortion rights could be enshrined into the state constitution by a vote of the people later this year, Republicans want to change the rules by making it tougher to pass such amendments by requiring them to receive 60 percent of the vote.”
A new AP-NORC poll finds that 70% of Americans, including 44% of Republicans, do not want Donald Trump to run for president again.
“A whopping two-thirds of Republican primary voters say they stand behind former President Donald Trump and dismiss concerns about his electability, despite his recent criminal arrest and the other legal investigations into his past conduct,” a new national NBC News poll finds.
“That — along with his double-digit lead over his nearest potential GOP rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — makes Trump the clear frontrunner in the early race for the Republican presidential nomination.”
“The Republican Party’s continued enthusiasm for Trump stands in contrast to an anxious nation’s displeasure with how the 2024 race is shaping up. Substantial majorities of all Americans don’t want Trump or President Joe Biden to run for president in 2024, setting up a potentially divisive and uninspiring general-election rematch between the two men, with Biden expected to launch his re-election bid in the coming days.”
“Donald Trump, stinging from a rebuke by the nation’s leading anti-abortion group, used a speech Saturday before influential evangelicals in Iowa to spotlight his actions as president to try to restrict abortion rights,” the AP reports.
“Chief among the accomplishments Trump listed were his nominations of three conservative judges to the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Said Trump: “Those justices delivered a landmark victory for protecting innocent life. Nobody thought it was going to happen. They thought it would be another 50 years. Because Republicans had been trying to do it for exactly that period of time, 50 years.”
Wall Street Journal: “A second showdown, this time with Mr. Biden in the White House and Mr. Trump as the outsider, could determine how the U.S. proceeds in its support for Ukraine’s war against Russia and its work to counter the effects of climate change, as well as how it would balance domestic and military spending and economic policies at a time of high inflation.”
“A 2024 campaign would likely be different from the first encounter, when Mr. Biden limited his in-person campaign events and rallies because of the Covid-19 pandemic and Mr. Trump used the trappings of the White House in his campaign, often featuring Air Force One in the backdrop of airport rallies.”
“Mr. Biden is expected to open his re-election bid with a video announcement. Advisers are considering a Tuesday launch to coincide with the fourth anniversary of his entry into the Democratic primaries in 2019… Mr. Trump is planning a response to the announcement…”
Ross Douthat: “Biden has…avoided the kind of gambits and defeats that might leave a large constituency ready to revolt. (Build Back Better diminished into the Inflation Reduction Act, but it eventually passed; our involvement in Ukraine has satisfied liberal hawks while stopping short of the direct conflict with Russia that might make the antiwar left bestir itself.) And he’s benefited from the way that polarization and anti-Trumpism has delivered a more unified liberalism, suffused by a trust-the-establishment spirit that makes the idea of a primary challenge seem not just dangerous but disreputable.”
“None of this eliminates the difficulty of imagining his campaign for four more years. But it’s outstripped by the difficulty of seeing how any serious and respectable force inside the Democratic Party could be organized to stop it.”
“The Wagner group is moving aggressively to establish a ‘confederation’ of anti-Western states in Africa as the Russian mercenaries foment instability while using their paramilitary and disinformation capabilities to bolster Moscow’s allies,” the Washington Post reports.
“The Air National Guardsman accused of leaking classified documents to a small group of gamers had been posting sensitive information months earlier than previously known and to a much larger chat group,” the New York Times reports.
“In February 2022, soon after the invasion of Ukraine, a user profile matching that of Airman Jack Teixeira began posting secret intelligence on the Russian war effort on a previously undisclosed chat group on Discord, a social media platform popular among gamers. The chat group contained about 600 members.”
Graydon Carter: “Fox News was in the dock for its relentless, inaccurate attacks against Dominion voting machines following the 2020 presidential election. The courtroom reckoning promised to be a highlight of the Twitterati/media season. Instead, the Fox-Dominion case ended like a sexual liaison with Trump—with gasps, an abrupt ending, and a check being written.”
Donald Trump said he’s already plotting a purge of “radical” prosecutors.
Said Trump: “On day one of my new administration, I will direct the DOJ to investigate every radical DA and Attorney General in America for their illegal racist in reverse enforcement of the law.”
“Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg agreed Friday to let Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee question an ex-prosecutor about the criminal case against former President Donald Trump,” the AP reports.
“Under the agreement, committee members will be able to question Mark Pomerantz under oath next month in Washington. The deal resolves a lawsuit in which Bragg had sought to block Pomerantz from testifying, ending a legal dispute that escalated to a federal appeals court just weeks after Trump’s historic indictment.”
Gerald Seib: “The movement to weaken the national party structures that began in 1968 has reached its logical result: The power of the two national party organizations has declined so dramatically that they sometimes appear to be bystanders to a political system in which they were once central actors.”
“This trend, some in both parties believe, is too much of what once seemed a good thing and is now contributing to the polarization and dysfunction of America’s political system. The decline of party organizations has opened the way for the rise of more extreme voices and, crucially, turned much of the financing of campaigns over to less-accountable players. The extremes of left and right have been strengthened in the process, and the center hollowed out. Paradoxical as it may sound, the decline of the parties has led to more ferocious partisanship.”
“The Texas Senate passed a bill Thursday requiring each public school classroom to display a copy of the Ten Commandments, a move that drew backlash from civil liberty advocates who say lawmakers should not dictate what religious materials students are exposed to,” CNN reports.
“Chief Justice John Roberts has declined to directly respond to a congressional request to investigate Justice Clarence Thomas’ alleged ethical lapses,” CNN reports.
“Roberts instead referred the request from Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin to the Judicial Conference, which serves as the policy-making body of the federal courts.”
“Less than two years after President Biden withdrew U.S. personnel from Afghanistan, the country has become a significant coordination site for the Islamic State as the terrorist group plans attacks across Europe and Asia, and conducts ‘aspirational plotting’ against the United States, according to a classified Pentagon assessment that portrays the threat as a growing security concern,” the Washington Post reports.
“Comity is a rare commodity in a divided Congress, but Todd Young is hoping the smorgasbord of sweets he’ll sneak into the Senate candy desk will help support friendships and even bipartisan deals,” Bloomberg reports.
San Francisco has struggled to stem its fentanyl crisis, prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom to direct the state National Guard and California Highway Patrol to join the city’s efforts to fight fentanyl trafficking,” KTVU reports.