Cup of Joe – May 20, 2023

House Republicans have paused their debt-limit talks with the White House, Punchbowl News reports.

The two sides are at an impasse on several issues. No follow-up talks are scheduled at the moment.

Said Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) to Bloomberg: “Look, they’re just unreasonable.”

Meanwhile, Donald Trump urged Republicans not to make a deal “unless they get everything they want (including the kitchen sink.)”

Playbook makes a good point about the stalled debt ceiling negotiations: “Of course, almost every D.C. negotiation looks like a failure up until the moment that it succeeds.”

And Jeff Stein notes that the latest snag “allows everyone to try to tell their side they are fighting hard for a deal.”

“For the first time in months, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy appear to be on the same page: The country cannot default on its debt and a compromise has to be reached to avert that outcome,” CNN reports.

“The two men remain far apart on how to actually reach that deal, but sources familiar with the negotiations pointed to the common recognition of the need for compromise and the more cordial tone of the meeting as a glimmer of progress.”

Playbook: “As negotiations drag on inside the Capitol, congressional leaders have signaled this morning that members may be inching closer to a solution to a looming federal default.”

Punhbowl News: “We had a long gaggle with Speaker Kevin McCarthy this morning. McCarthy told reporters that he thinks a debt-limit deal needs to be on the House floor next week to avoid default.”

Politico: “Senior Biden officials have told progressive activists and lawmakers in recent days that they do not see the 14th Amendment — which says the “validity of the public debt” cannot be questioned — as a viable means of circumventing debt ceiling negotiations. They have argued that doing so would be risky and destabilizing, according to three people familiar with the discussions.”

“The White House has studied the issue for months, with some aides concluding that Biden would likely have the authority to declare the debt limit unconstitutional as a last-ditch way to sidestep default. But Biden advisers have told progressives that they see it as a poor option overall, fearing such a move would trigger a pitched legal battle, undermine global faith in U.S. creditworthiness and damage the economy. Officials have warned that even the appearance of more seriously considering the 14th Amendment could blow up talks that are already quite delicate.”

Axios: House progressives warn they won’t support “bad deal” on debt ceiling.

“White House negotiators are willing to make some concessions to tighten work requirements for federal cash aid as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling,” Politico reports.

“The negotiators are narrowing in on possible changes that would further restrict access for low-income Americans to the emergency aid program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families… Republicans are also pressing the White House team to agree to expanded work requirements for some adults without children receiving food assistance.”

“About two-thirds of U.S. adults say they are highly concerned about the impact on the national economy if the U.S. debt limit is not increased and the government defaults on its loans, according to a new poll, even as few say they have a solid understanding of the ongoing debt limit negotiations,” the AP reports.

“The poll shows about 6 in 10 say they want any increase in the debt limit to be coupled with agreed-upon terms for reducing the federal budget deficit.”

Former Attorney General Bill Barr told CBS News that he believes Donald Trump will be “very exposed” legally if he was playing “any games” with the documents marked as classified that were kept at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Said Barr: “It doesn’t go a lot on intent or anything like that. It’s very clear that he had no business having those documents.”

He added: “He was given a long time to send them back. And they were subpoenaed…. The problem is what did he do after the government asked for them back and subpoenaed them? And if there’s any games being played there, he’s going to be very exposed.” 

“Walt Disney Co. has canceled its plan to open a new Florida campus that would’ve relocated some 2,000 employees to the state, a change that comes as the company is engaged in a long brawl with the state’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

The New York Times reports Disney is also “pulling the plug on a nearly $1 billion office complex that was scheduled for construction in Orlando.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) said she takes “great offense” to being called a white supremacist.

Said Greene: “That is like calling a person of color the n-word, which should never happen. Calling me a white supremacist is equal to that.”

When discussing Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), with whom she got into a public argument yesterday, she added: “His physical mannerisms are aggressive. I am concerned about it—I feel threatened by him.”

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) said that she will introduce articles of impeachment against President Biden, Politico reports. Greene said the articles would deal with Biden’s handling of border security, accusing him of an “absolute failure … to protect the states.”

“The Georgia prosecutor leading an investigation into former President Donald Trump and his allies has taken the unusual step of announcing remote work days for most of her staff during the first three weeks of August, asking judges in a downtown Atlanta courthouse not to schedule trials for part of that time as she prepares to bring charges in the inquiry,” the New York Times reports.

“The moves suggest that Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, is expecting a grand jury to unseal indictments during that time period.”

“Two former FBI employees acting as so-called whistleblowers about the federal government’s unfair persecution of conservatives on Thursday admitted that they had received money from a former adviser to Donald Trump,” the Daily Beast reports.

Stacey Plaskett, the ranking member on Jim Jordan’s “weaponization” subcommittee, is proving to be the perfect counterweight to Jordan despite her status as a non-voting delegate from Virgin Islands.

Here she is blowing things up in yesterday’s committee hearing that focused on the GOP’s newfound anti-FBI fervor, with Jordan hauling in purported “whistleblowers” whose security clearances have been revoked because of questions about their allegiance to the Constitution.

New York Times:  “Ms. Feinstein’s frail appearance was a result of several complications after she was hospitalized for shingles in February, some of which she has not publicly disclosed. The shingles spread to her face and neck, causing vision and balance impairments and facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

The virus also brought on a previously unreported case of encephalitis, a rare but potentially debilitating complication of shingles that a spokesman confirmed on Thursday after The New York Times first revealed it, saying that the condition had “resolved itself” in March.

Characterized by swelling of the brain, post-shingles encephalitis can leave patients with lasting memory or language problems, sleep disorders, bouts of confusion, mood disorders, headaches and difficulties walking. Older patients tend to have the most trouble recovering. And even before this latest illness, Ms. Feinstein had already suffered substantial memory issues that had raised questions about her mental capacity.”

“It’s a very hard situation because, let’s face it, when I’m 89 years old, I’ll be long dead. Trust me.”— Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), quoted by Politico, on Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) still serving in the U.S. Senate.

The Biden administration has signaled to European allies in recent weeks that the US would allow them to export F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine,” CNN reports.

“Leaders of the Group of Seven have committed to a set of further measures to pressure Russia, as its invasion of Ukraine continues for a second year,” CNBC reports.

“The restrictions were announced as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to fly to Japan to attend the G-7 summit.”

New York Times: “Pentagon officials realized their mistake almost two months ago… But instead of placating Congress’s concerns, the revelation was met with frustration and anger, as some lawmakers criticized the Biden administration for what they said was an extremely troublesome error.”

We could roll back a lot of the insane new gun laws in America if Black men rose up as one and started taking advantage of them to openly carry guns. Remember, most conservative or Trumpist whites are vehement racists, so it will be interesting to see their hyprocrisy play out.

Politico: “Despite their move deep-sixing the Title 42 fight, the justices could soon be confronted by legal issues arising from the Biden administration’s attempt to replace the pandemic-related rules with other policies designed to discourage asylum-seekers from simply showing up at border stations or crossing without being checked by immigration officers.”

“The Supreme Court on Thursday punted the issue of when internet companies are protected under a controversial liability shield by resolving the case on other grounds,” The Hill reports. “The justices were considering two lawsuits against Google and Twitter, both brought by families of terrorist attack victims, who said the companies should be held liable for their relatives’ deaths by aiding-and-abetting ISIS.”

“Republican state leaders’ broadest effort to prevent Democratic-run cities and counties from enacting progressive policies — which could drastically limit local government’s ability to make rules on areas like labor rights, drought restrictions and even noise complaints — is one step closer to becoming law,” the Texas Tribune reports.

“The sweeping legislation — authored by state Rep. Dustin Burrows, a Lubbock Republican — would bar cities and counties from issuing local ordinances that go further than what’s already allowed under broad sections of state law, including labor, agriculture, natural resources and finance.”

“The United States is suffering the deadliest drug epidemic in its history,” Foreign Affairs reports. “Overdoses claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Americans between August 2021 and August 2022 alone. Over the span of just a few years, drug deaths have doubled. Most of these overdoses involve fentanyl, which now kills around 200 Americans every day.”

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour went public with her objections to the so-called “townhall” format the network gave Donald Trump last week, telling a Columbia University audience she had a “very robust exchange of views” with CNN CEO Chris Licht about the matter.

CNN is getting more Republicans on the air as it seeks political diversity, the chief executive of parent company Warner Bros Discovery said on Thursday, adding he and CNN chief Chris Licht have told Republicans “they’re not going to get one more vote on Fox News,” Reuters reports.

“Former New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney’s nomination to serve on the First US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston is expected to be withdrawn soon because he lacks the votes to advance out of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” the Boston Globe reports.

“Three Democrats on the committee — Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii — have indicated publicly they had concerns about Delaney’s nomination.”

“Delaney’s nomination has been criticized because of his role representing St. Paul’s School in a civil suit resulting from the 2014 sexual assault of Chessy Prout, then 15, by an 18-year-old senior, Owen Labrie, at the elite Concord, N.H., boarding school.”

The poor woman in the thankless role of communications director for Rep. George Santos (R-NY) quit with one of the best parting shots ever: “Unfortunately, you never took one point of professional advice given.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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