Cup of Joe – September 26, 2023

“House Republicans are gearing up for one last attempt to pass a spate of party-line government spending bills before government funding runs out on Sept. 30,” Axios reports.

“Top GOP lawmakers hope that passing the bills will put them in a stronger negotiating position with the Senate as they try to avert a government shutdown without touching off a right-wing revolt.”

Associated Press: “In public overtures and private calls, Republican lieutenants of the embattled speaker pleaded with a handful of right-flank holdouts to resist further disruptions that have ground the House to a halt and back McCarthy’s latest plan to keep government open before next weekend’s Sept. 30 deadline for a shutdown.”

Playbook: “The new plan: Package several full-year appropriations bills together and try to get them moving in the House, bowing to the wishes of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and a handful of other members.”

“On its face, it’s a strategy to nowhere: (1) There’s no guarantee McCarthy will be able to muster the votes to move forward — in fact, you’d have to bet against it, particularly after a top ally, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), announced yesterday that she remains a ‘hard no.’”

“And (2) even if Republicans move forward with the full-year bills, that does nothing to avert a government shutdown next weekend. Those bills are DOA in the Senate, and Gaetz and a handful of like-minded hardliners insist that they won’t vote for any continuing resolution to keep the government open temporarily — even one that reportedly includes a 27% nondefense spending cut.”

“Think about what this means for transportation … Some of the very same House Republicans who were lining to try to make a partisan political issue of air travel disruptions are proposing cuts that would make it harder to modernize our systems.”— Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, on CNN.

“The costly truth about U.S. government shutdowns: They don’t save taxpayers a dime,” Bloomberg reports.

“Government services may grind to a halt as federal workers get sent home. But, thanks to uncollected entrance fees at national parks, lack of sales from government gift shops and back pay provided to government employees, shutdowns can end up costing billions of dollars.”

Punchbowl News: “Moderate Republicans who belong to the Problem Solvers Caucus are already talking about endorsing a compromise proposal to end any shutdown by signing onto a Democratic discharge petition. Six Republicans are needed to hand control of the floor to Democrats, who can then pass a funding bill.”

“Of course, McCarthy doesn’t want this to happen, but he probably wouldn’t mind keeping his hands clean here. It’s too late to avoid a shutdown, but a bill to reopen government agencies can be enacted this way.”

Washington Post: Could a discharge petition keep the government open?

Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), one of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s closest allies, told CNN that he’s fed up with conservative critics dangling the threat of McCarthy’s ouster, saying that he’s prepared to put the debate to rest by forcing a vote on the threat.

Said Graves: “I don’t think the speaker is even remotely concerned about some of the theatrics going on right now. As a matter of fact… I drafted a motion to vacate for the speaker as well. I’ve got it sitting on my desk right now. And I said, ‘Look, if you’re going to keep hanging this over his head and playing these games, let’s just do it now, let’s get it over with. Get your little games over with and then we’ll get back to the things that actually matter.’”

“I’ll bet on Kevin McCarthy any day. And we certainly have time yet to go. But he’s in a very difficult position because the holdouts keep saying to Kevin McCarthy, don’t bring bipartisan bills to the floor. We don’t want you to use Democrat votes to try to avert a shutdown.”— Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), quoted by Politico.

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) said that Kevin McCarthy “may have the title of House speaker but there are other Republicans holding the reins as the government stumbles toward a shutdown,” Politico reports. Said Swalwell: “Kevin McCarthy is a spectator speaker. He may have the title, but Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, they all share the job.”

“The Republican Party is in complete disarray. It is chaotic. The speaker is on his knees begging, but he sold his soul when we had 15 roll calls that was taken in order for him to get to be speaker, and now he has no control. We’re headed for a shutdown.”— Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), quoted by Politico.

“I honestly don’t know what to say to my fellow Republicans other than you’re gonna eat a shit sandwich, and you probably deserve to eat it.”— Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), talking to Fox News about the impending government shutdown.

Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) said he would consider voting to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., should the speaker opt to work with Democrats to pass funding measures ahead of the Sept. 30 funding deadline, The Messenger reports.

“House Republicans have vowed to take a long, methodical approach to investigating President Biden over potential wrongdoing,” the Washington Post reports.

“But there are whispers from some rank-and-file Republicans that their leadership got too fixated on these investigations, losing focus on processing the government funding bills from the House Appropriations Committee.”

“That’s now left the House GOP certain to face the blame if there’s a shutdown of the federal government starting next Sunday — unless they can pull off a fast legislative trick.”

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) “will hold a press conference on Monday morning in Hudson County, where he grew up and where he launched his political career as a 20-year-old school board member, making his first public comments since his indictment on federal corruption charges on Friday,” the New Jersey Globe reports.

“Menendez is not expected to resign, but rather take a defiant stand against the allegations against him… Indeed, he is expected to double-down and say he plans to seek re-election in 2024, even if he needs to run off the organization line.”

Menendez has tapped Abbe Lowell, the same attorney defending Hunter Biden against his tax and firearm charges, to represent him in his federal bribery case, Law 360 reports.

Former Trump White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson says in her new memoir said that Mark Meadows burned so many documents in the waning days of the administration that his wife complained to her about the dry-cleaning bills to remove the “bonfire aroma” from his clothes, the New York Times reports.

“Hutchinson, now 26, dropped out of sight last year after she testified in damning detail in a nationally televised committee hearing about President Donald Trump’s actions during and after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. Facing blistering social media attacks from Mr. Trump and threats from his supporters, she retreated from Washington and cut off contacts with her former White House world,” the New York Times reports.

“Some 15 months later, the onetime staff member in Mr. Trump’s West Wing is heading back into the maelstrom with the publication of Enough, a memoir about her time as a top aide to Mark Meadows, Mr. Trump’s last chief of staff.”

Peter Navarro called his former Trump White House female colleagues “pimp ladies” in bizarre tweet defending Rudy Giuliani from sexual assault claims.

Cassidy Hutchinson claims in her new book that Giuliani sexually assaulted her on January 6th. Another former Trump White House aide Alyssa Farah Griffin backed up Hutchinson’s claims.

Donald Trump called for Congressional Republicans to shut down the federal government “UNLESS YOU GET EVERYTHING” in a Truth Social post late last night.

Politico: “The Covid-19 pandemic has produced a remarkable financial windfall for anti-vaccine nonprofits. Revenue more than doubled for the Informed Consent Action Network and Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense in 2021 compared to the year prior… The nonprofits that survived on operating budgets of around a few million dollars just a few years prior are now raking in more than $10 million each.”

“The funding spike reflects a sea change for once-fringe entities. The anti-vaccine movement has now emerged as a modern political force.”

Donald Trump said on Truth Social that Comcast and NBC are enemies of the people, should be investigated for treason and suggested that he will remove them from public airwaves if elected president.

Doyle McManus: “In speeches, interviews and campaign videos, Trump has promised to:

  • Use the military to participate in the largest deportation of undocumented immigrants in American history;
  • Order the National Guard into cities with high crime rates, whether local officials want it or not;
  • Prosecute Californians who protect minors coming to the state for gender-affirming care;
  • Impose a 10% tariff on almost all foreign goods, increasing prices for consumers;
  • Appoint a special prosecutor to “go after” his political opponents, beginning with Biden;
  • Purge the federal civil service of anyone who questions his views.

“Some of those pledges may turn out to be illegal or impractical, but they’re more than bluster. Most of them reflect views Trump has held for decades; he’ll try to act on them even if laws and judges get in his way.”

Donald Trump lashed out over Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro’s (D) move to introduce automatic voter registration in the state, calling it a “disaster for the Election of Republicans.”

In his newsletter to constituents, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) called for outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mark Milley to be executed for “coordinating with Nancy Pelosi to hurt President Trump, and treasonously working behind Trump’s back.”

Writes Gosar: “In a better society, quislings like the strange sodomy-promoting General Milley would be hung.”

“After several long consecutive days of negotiations, the Writers Guild of America and the labor group representing studios and streamers have reached a tentative deal on a new contract in a major development that could precipitate the end of a historic, 146-day writers’ strike,” the Hollywood Reporter reports.

Los Angeles Times: “The proposed three-year contract, which would still have to be ratified by the union’s 11,500 members, would boost pay rates and residual payments for streaming shows and impose new rules surrounding the use of artificial intelligence.”

New York Times: “As the prosecutions of Mr. Trump have accelerated, so too have threats against law enforcement authorities, judges, elected officials and others. The threats, in turn, are prompting protective measures, a legal effort to curb his angry and sometimes incendiary public statements, and renewed concern about the potential for an election campaign in which Mr. Trump has promised ‘retribution’ to produce violence.”

“Given the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters on Jan. 6, 2021, scholars, security experts, law enforcement officials and others are increasingly warning about the potential for lone-wolf attacks or riots by angry or troubled Americans who have taken in the heated rhetoric.”

John Ellis: “Curiously, the political story of Murdoch’s retirement received little mention. But that embedded story tells a larger story, which is this: Trump won.”

“Murdoch’s attempts to persuade the populist base of the Republican Party to abandon Trump — after two-and-a-half years of concerted effort — has ended in failure. Dozens of Wall Street Journal editorials and scathing New York Post headlines have fallen on deaf ears. Fox News Channel’s ceaseless attempts to promote Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as the chosen one (A New York Post headline, memorably, called him ‘DeFuture’) has fallen on deafer ears.”

“The DeSantis campaign, with Fox News’ full and fulsome support, has lost ground since his announcement of candidacy, to the point that he’s 20 percentage points down in Iowa, almost 40 percentage points behind Trump in New Hampshire and something like 35 percentage points down nationally.”

Donald Trump raged on Truth Social that it’s not just Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) who is guilty of corruption, but every Senate Democrat.

Said Trump: “Senate Democrats should all resign based on Senator Bob Menendez They all knew what was going on, and the way he lived.”

He added: “Why doesn’t the FBI raid Senate Democrat’s homes like they illegally raided Mar-a-Lago, where nothing was done wrong based on the Presidential Records Act. Menendez is a ‘piker’ compared to some of those Election Stealing THUGS.”

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) said that Sen. John Fetterman’s (D-PA) choice of “worker’s clothes” prove he’s a communist who is “demonstrating his allegiance to Marxist principles.”

 “People in my district are willing to shut the government down for more conservative fiscal policy to put us on a path to balancing our budget at least in ten years.”— Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL), on Fox News.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) is getting roasted on Twitter after posting a Yom Kippur message featuring an image of a Hanukkah menorah, the Daily Beast reports.

 “A brown-and-white capsule that spent the last seven years swooping through the solar system — and sojourning at an asteroid — has finally come home,” the New York Times reports. “And it has brought a cosmic souvenir: a cache of space rock that scientists are hungry to get their hands on.”

The  wife of Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) — who calls himself a “strong advocate for life and traditional values” — filed for a divorce citing her husband’s multiple alleged affairs and a current mistress who is a lobbyist, the Greenwood Index-Journal reports.

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

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