Cup of Joe – September 19, 2023

“This is an enormous week for Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans,” Punchbowl News reports.

“The federal government will shut down in 13 days unless Congress greenlights more funding. And House Republicans are pushing a partisan stopgap spending bill that won’t go anywhere in the Senate and will fall on deaf ears in the White House. It seems doubtful McCarthy can even pass it in first place.”

“There will also be a critical visit to Capitol Hill by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have already announced Zelensky will attend an “all senators” meeting on Thursday morning. McCarthy will have to figure out how to handle an enormously sensitive issue that has split House Republicans.”

Washington Post: “It would ultimately be up to Democrats to eject McCarthy from the speakership. If all Democrats voted with a handful of Republicans on a motion to vacate, McCarthy would lose his job.”

“But McCarthy’s launch of an impeachment inquiry into President Biden hasn’t built up any goodwill among Democrats, and McCarthy would need to show an attempt at bipartisanship on government funding for Democrats even to consider helping him, according to one Democratic lawmaker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.”

“Still, if Democrats helped get rid of McCarthy, it is unclear who would succeed him, and the party would probably own some of the chaos that could ensue. So, it’s not a sure thing they would band together with rebellious Republicans against the speaker.”

As negotiations to avoid a shutdown get down to the wire, House Democrats are making it clear to Speaker Kevin McCarthy that he’ll need their votes, Axios reports.

Said Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL): “There is no scenario where the government doesn’t continue operating without a bipartisan agreement.”

“Half a dozen House Republicans announced a deal on Sunday to temporarily fund the government with the goal of averting a shutdown at the end of the month. But it’s far from certain that the proposal would unite their fractious conference to send a bill to the Senate, where it is expected to get rejected,” the Washington Post reports.

“The short-term funding bill would keep the government running until Oct. 31 and trigger a one percent cut to current fiscal levels.” But it seemed that deal has already collapsed. See below.

Playbook: “As details of the deal hashed out by leaders of the Main Street Caucus and House Freedom Caucus trickled out, a bevy of conservative hardliners piped up with various versions of ‘Hell No’ — rejecting a measure that would impose an 8% cut to most non-defense programs and implement an array of GOP border policies while extending government funding for a month.”

“It all adds up to brutal math for McCarthy, who can afford to lose no more than four votes assuming all Democrats vote against it (take it to the bank) and all of his members show up this week (iffy, with at least three members at least temporarily sidelined).”

“It also highlights just how unmanageable the House GOP truly is, with Freedom Caucus leaders — including Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), its chair — endorsing a deal only to see it publicly rejected by a good chunk of its membership within a matter of minutes.”

Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that the Defense Department appropriations bill that was paused last week before it even made it to the floor for debate will come up for a vote this week “win or lose,” CNN reports.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said he didn’t know if Republicans could pass the new short-term funding bill, Punchbowl News reports.

Said McCarthy: “It’s a good thing I love a challenge. Because every day is going to be a challenge.”

He added: “I’ve never seen anybody win a shutdown. You only put the power in the hands of the administration… If you’re not willing to pass appropriations bills and you’re not willing to pass a continuing resolution to allow you to pass the rest of the appropriations bills and you don’t want an omnibus, I don’t quite know what you want.”

“President Joe Biden derided the House’s impeachment probe against him, responding with sarcasm when asked about the inquiry launched by Speaker Kevin McCarthy last week,” Bloomberg reports.

Said Biden: “Lots of luck.”

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) called on Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Sunday to follow through on his vow to introduce a motion to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), The Hill reports.

Said Mace: “It hasn’t happened yet, and I am not going to comment on conjecture here. Either he is going to file it or he’s not. If he’s going to do it, put his money where his mouth is.”

Rep. Victoria Spartz called Kevin McCarthy a “a weak speaker” and said that “real leadership takes courage and willingness to fight for the country, not for power and a picture on the wall,” CNN reports.

NBC News: “McCarthy’s decision to proceed with the impeachment inquiry has faced scant public pushback from House Republicans, even though many of them objected to taking that momentous step.”

“The softening of stances is the latest example of swing-district and center-right Republicans standing by their leadership team, even as it bends to pressure from far-right lawmakers to take actions that could backfire politically on these more centrist members and endanger their competitive seats.”

“Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said Sunday the House Republicans investigating President Biden and his son Hunter Biden will eventually subpoena the younger Biden, but only when the timing is right,” The Hill reports.

“Hunter Biden filed a lawsuit Monday against the Internal Revenue Service, charging that when agents who were investigating him told Congress and news reporters about their concerns that the case was not being managed properly, they violated his privacy rights as a taxpayer,” the Washington Post reports.

“United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain said Sunday that the union is rejecting an offer from one of the Big Three automakers for a 21% wage increase as autoworkers for Ford, General Motors and Chrysler parent company Stellantis went on strike Friday,” CBS News reports.

“The union has asked for 40% pay increases to match the average pay increases of the CEOs at the three companies in recent years.”

NBC News: “Biden named White House adviser Gene Sperling and acting Labor Secretary Julie Su last week to go to Detroit to help reach a deal to end the walkout by the United Auto Workers union, which began early Friday. Sperling has been the point person on key issues connected to the union and the companies, and he has been coordinating with Su.”

Washington Post: “The sharply different approaches between the likely 2024 presidential nominees over the UAW strike highlights the broader contrast between Biden and Trump around unions, the clean energy transition and the economy more generally. Biden, who claims to be the most pro-union president in American history, aimed to show support for labor — while Trump, during whose administration the UAW also went on strike against GM, has picked personal fights and bashed Democrats for pushing the auto industry to transition to electric vehicles.”

“Concentrated in Midwestern states that could help decide the next election, the strike could prove both an economic threat to the White House and a political test.”

“Republicans are testing whether they can widen the Democratic Party rift exposed by the United Auto Workers strike as they try to reclaim the Senate and the White House,” Politico reports.

“The GOP sees the UAW walkout as a potential lifeline in Michigan, where politically weakened Republicans are now plotting how best to seize on a tension point between Democrats’ clean-energy agenda and their pro-labor roots. President Joe Biden is pressing for more electric vehicles to achieve his climate goals, but workers who produce parts like batteries for those cars are often non-union and make less money.”

New York Times: Little progress in talks to end strike against 3 Detroit automakers.

Donald Trump’s lawyers must really wonder why their client insists of doing television interviews.

When Trump told NBC News over the weekend that it was his — and not that of his lawyers — to challenge the 2020 presidential election result, he torpedoed one of his key legal defenses.

Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe later commented that Trump “just threw his whole ‘following my lawyers’ advice’ defense under the bus.”

Then he added: “No, let me correct that: not just under the bus but under a roaring, speeding, ginormous freight train.”

Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann agreed, telling MSNBC it was actually a “twofer” admission because Trump also admitted that he’d demanded the votes stop being counted.

Said Weissmann: “He just said it on air to NBC, stop counting the votes. Well, that’s not allowed.”

“Donald Trump said he dismissed the views of his own lawyers in continuing to challenge his 2020 defeat because he did not respect them, saying in an interview aired on Sunday that he had made up his own mind that the election had been ‘rigged’ – a false claim that he continues to make,” Reuters reports.

Donald Trump told NBC News that he isn’t losing sleep over the prospect that he could end up behind bars.

Said Trump: “I don’t even think about it. I’m built a little differently I guess, because I have had people come up to me and say, ‘How do you do it, sir? How do you do it?’ I don’t even think about it.”

He added: “When you say, do I lose sleep? I sleep. I sleep. Because I truly feel that, in the end, we’re going to win.”

“Donald Trump repeatedly declined in an interview aired Sunday to answer questions about whether he watched the Capitol riot unfold on television,” the AP reports. Said Trump: “I’m not going to tell you. I’ll tell people later at an appropriate time.”

Jenna Ellis – the Donald Trump lawyer who like the former president faces criminal charges regarding attempted election subversion in his defeat by Joe Biden in 2020 – says she will not vote for him in the future because he is a “malignant narcissist” who cannot admit mistakes, The Guardian reports.

Said Ellis: “I simply can’t support him for elected office again. Why I have chosen to distance is because of that frankly malignant narcissistic tendency to simply say that he’s never done anything wrong.”

New York Times: “A hero’s welcome awaited President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on his first trip to the United States after Russia’s full-scale invasion, which came on the heels of two back-to-back military advances that showcased Ukrainian momentum to the West. Mr. Zelensky spoke to a joint session of Congress last December, highlighting the successes and appealing for continued aid.”

“Mr. Zelensky’s second visit, beginning on Tuesday, is a more delicate political mission, coming in the face of skepticism over assistance to Ukraine from some Republican lawmakers and amid a slow-moving and so far inconclusive counteroffensive on which many hopes in the war had been pinned.”

Washington Post: “Report card” grading House Republicans on Ukraine aid shows stark split.

All six of Ukraine’s deputy defense ministers were dismissed on Monday, weeks after the defense minister was replaced, the New York Times reports.

Five Americans who have been imprisoned in Iran are expected to be released Monday as part of a wider U.S.-Iran deal, CNN reports.

Associated Press: Iran-U.S. prisoner swap likely set in motion as $6 billion of once-frozen Iranian assets reaches Qatar.

“On the eve of recessions in 1990, 2001 and 2007, many Wall Street economists proclaimed the U.S. was on the cusp of achieving a soft landing, in which interest-rate increases corralled inflation without causing a recession,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Similarly, this summer’s combination of easing inflation and a cooling labor market has fueled optimism among economists and Federal Reserve officials that this elusive goal might be in reach.”

“But soft landings are rare for a reason: They are tricky to pull off.”

New York Times: “The exchange, which prosecutors will almost certainly use against Mr. Meadows at trial, underscored the high-stakes gamble that he took by testifying. So far, the gamble has not paid off: In early September, U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones declined to move his case to federal court.”

“Mr. Meadows has appealed. But his testimony may have given ammunition to Georgia prosecutors as they prepare to try him, Mr. Trump and the 17 other defendants. Legal experts say that Mr. Meadows may have damaged his credibility while weakening his claim to immunity from state prosecution as a federal official, given his struggles to articulate how the actions ascribed to him in the indictment were part of his official duties rather than in service of the Trump campaign.”

“Donald Trump said he hoped Mark Meadows — his final White House chief of staff and a co-defendant in a sweeping racketeering indictment in Georgia stemming from efforts to thwart the 2020 election — was still ‘loyal’ to him,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump made his comment during a lengthy interview with Kristen Welker, the new moderator of NBC’s ‘Meet The Press,’ broadcast on Sunday morning. Mr. Trump has been warned by the federal judge in a case also stemming from his efforts to stay in office, brought against him by the special counsel Jack Smith, to avoid saying anything that might affect the testimony of witnesses. His comment about Mr. Meadows could attract new interest.”

A bar owned by Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) apparent new boyfriend staged a drag show earlier this year, the New York Post reports.

“Quinn Gallagher, a Democrat, was caught on video getting frisky with Boebert, apparently grabbing her breast while she appeared to rub his crotch as the pair took in a performance of ‘Beetlejuice’ and the Buell Theater in Colorado.”

As Jews around the country celebrated Rosh Hashanah, Donald Trump slammed “liberal Jews” for not supporting him.

Said Trump: “Just a quick reminder for liberal Jews who voted to destroy America & Israel because you believed false narratives! Let’s hope you learned from your mistake & make better choices moving forward! Happy New Year!”

“Keir Starmer has promised to seek a major rewrite of Britain’s Brexit deal in 2025 if the Labour party wins the next general election, saying he owes it to his children to rebuild relations with the EU,” the Financial Times reports.

“Pope Pius XII knew details about the Nazi attempt to exterminate Jews in the Holocaust as early as 1942, according to a letter found in the Vatican archives that conflicts with the Holy See’s official position at the time that the information it had was vague and unverified,” Reuters reports.

An armed protestor was spotted Sunday near President Biden’s home in Delaware.

“International Trump support reflects a global phenomenon: The hard right, once fringe, is gaining power and popularity across Europe, Latin America and elsewhere,” Axios reports.

“Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a law Thursday restricting release of her travel and security records after the Legislature wrapped up a special session marked by a fight to more broadly scale back the state Freedom of Information Act,” the AP reports.

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

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