“Every House Democrat has endorsed the discharge petition to force a vote on legislation to hike the debt ceiling and prevent a default,” The Hill reports.
“The signatures of the last final holdouts — Reps. Jared Golden (D-ME) and Ed Case (D-HI) — puts the total number at 213, meaning Democratic leaders still need to find five Republicans if the petition is to be successful.”
“House Democratic lawmakers are voicing frustration over President Biden’s approach to negotiating a debt ceiling deal with Republicans, worrying that their priorities are not being championed aggressively enough and that Biden hasn’t more forcefully pushed back publicly against Republican demands,” the Washington Post reports.
Fitch Ratings: “The brinkmanship over the debt ceiling, failure of the U.S. authorities to meaningfully tackle medium-term fiscal challenges that will lead to rising budget deficits and a growing debt burden signal downside risks to U.S. creditworthiness.”
Punchbowl News: “OK, here’s the current state of play with seven days to go until the U.S. could default on its debt: The House Republican leadership feels exceedingly confident that they’ll clinch a deal with the White House to raise the debt limit and pare back federal spending. Republicans expect the compromise will come together sometime in the next few days. There’s intense pressure to wrap negotiations up as soon as possible in order to get a bill through Congress in a timely fashion.”
“We anticipate that the debt limit will be extended through 2024 as part of any agreement.”
“And the GOP leadership feels as if they will be able to win the support of the majority of the House Republican Conference for this eventual package.”
Also important: “We also want to lay down a marker once again and tell you that the anger in the House Democratic Caucus right now is palpable.”
Reality check from the New York Times: Potential debt ceiling deal would barely change federal spending path.
“Speaker Kevin McCarthy appears set to send members home after votes on Thursday, signaling that debt negotiations with the White House will continue as the risk of a first-ever default grows,” CNN reports.
“Few knew what to expect from Ron DeSantis when he was first elected Florida governor in 2018 as a little-known congressman. He had barely eked out a victory. He had almost no ties to the State Capitol. His policy agenda seemed unclear,” the New York Times reports.
“But he knew, at least, how he wanted to govern: He directed his general counsel to figure out just how far a governor could push his authority. He pored over a binder enumerating his varied powers: appointing Florida Supreme Court justices, removing local elected officials and wielding line-item vetoes against state lawmakers.”
“Then he systematically deployed each one.”
“A Texas House committee on Wednesday heard explosive new testimony from lawyers investigating Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, including that he appeared to provide a friend with confidential FBI documents and committed other potentially impeachable crimes in an effort to help him retaliate against adversaries and federal officials,” the Houston Chronicle reports.
“Many of the details have been outlined in a whistleblower suit that accuses Paxton of firing four top aides as retaliation after they reported the alleged misconduct to federal authorities.”
“But Wednesday’s testimony painted the fullest picture yet of the ways in which Paxton allegedly leveraged the resources of his office to help the friend and campaign donor, Nate Paul. It also created a new and immediate threat for Paxton, who has denied all wrongdoing, since the House General Investigating Committee could recommend that the chamber censure him or begin impeachment proceedings.”
Democrats erupted in laughter on the House floor Wednesday when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) — who was presiding over the chamber — called for decorum.
“The Jan. 6 rioter who was photographed with his foot propped on a desk inside then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and then tried to raise money off the images was sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison Wednesday,” the Washington Post reports.
“The photograph of Richard ‘Bigo’ Barnett in the California Democrat’s suite of offices became one of the defining images of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol. Soon after his arrest, Barnett offered autographed photos of the scene for $100.”
“U.S. officials said the drone attack on the Kremlin earlier this month was likely orchestrated by one of Ukraine’s special military or intelligence units, the latest in a series of covert actions against Russian targets that have unnerved the Biden administration,” the New York Times reports.
“U.S. intelligence agencies do not know which unit carried out the attack and it was unclear whether President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine or his top officials were aware of the operation, though some officials believe Mr. Zelensky was not.”
House Republicans passed a resolution on Wednesday that overturns President Biden’s student debt relief plan that would give up to $20,000 in loan forgiveness to borrowers,” The Hill reports.
“The Biden proposal, which is also currently at the mercy of the conservative-leaning Supreme Court, is estimated to cost around $400 billion.”
New York Times: “The code, which Microsoft said was installed by a Chinese government hacking group, raised alarms because Guam, with its Pacific ports and vast American air base, would be a centerpiece of any American military response to an invasion or blockade of Taiwan.”
“It was installed with great stealth, sometimes flowing through routers and other common internet-connected consumer devices, to make the intrusion harder to track.”
“But unlike the balloon that fascinated Americans as it performed pirouettes over sensitive nuclear sites, the computer code could not be shot down on live television. So instead, Microsoft and the National Security Agency were set on Wednesday to publish details of the code that would make it possible for corporate users, manufacturers and others to detect and remove it.”
Kandiss Taylor, a recently elected Republican district chair in Georgia, told the Jesus, Guns, and Babies podcast that Earth is flat.
Said Taylor: “All the globes, everywhere. I turn on the TV, there’s globes in the background… Everywhere there’s globes. You see them all the time, it’s constant. My children will be like ‘Mama, globe, globe, globe, globe’ — they’re everywhere.”
She added: “That’s what they do, to brainwash. For me if it’s not a conspiracy. If it is real, why are you pushing so hard everywhere I go? Every store, you buy a globe, there’s globes everywhere. Every movie, every TV show, news media — why? More and more I’m like, it doesn’t make sense.”
“Illinois’ attorney general released the results of a sweeping investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy on Tuesday, saying investigators found that 451 clergy sexually abused nearly 2,000 children since 1950 — far more than the 103 individuals the church had named when the state review began in 2018,” the AP reports.
New York Times: “The priest’s tactics were well enough known that they became a topic of conversation among the victim’s peers.”
“The candidate who came in third in Turkey’s presidential election last week announced on Monday that he was endorsing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the runoff vote on Sunday, granting Mr. Erdogan an additional boost against his remaining challenger,” the New York Times reports.
“China is likely to see its Covid-19 wave peaking at about 65 million infections a week toward the end of June, according to a senior health adviser, while authorities rush to bolster their vaccine arsenal to target the latest omicron variants,” Bloomberg reports.
Ousted Fox News host Tucker Carlson “and his loyalists have begun an intense pressure campaign against Fox News in the hopes of getting him released from a noncompete clause” and the “squabble may only get worse as the fired primetime star may know where some proverbial bodies are buried,” the Daily Beast reports.
“A developer quietly paid Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (R) at least $170,000 over the past two years to help cut through red tape and secure critical permits for his stalled real estate project in Coconut Grove,” according to internal corporate records exclusively obtained by the Miami Herald.
CNN will host a town hall meeting with Nikki Haley on June 4 at 8 p.m. ET.
“You have to think of him not as a former president or even as a presidential candidate so much as a cult leader… He has a hold on a significant portion of the Republican Party.”— Hillary Clinton, quoted by Time, on Donald Trump.