There is bipartisan support for a budget deal in the Senate and there are enough votes in the House for such a deal, but the holdup (or the stickup, to be more accurate) is that the Freedom Caucus is threatening Kevin McCarthy’s speakership so he won’t bring bipartisan deals to the floor. That is the rub here. Full stop.
Anything you read about the dynamic being Biden v. McCarthy or Senate v. House is simply wrong. It’s not even quite right to frame it as far-right House GOP v. rest of the House GOP. McCarthy is being extorted by the far-right and caving to the pressure by refusing to bring to the floor budget vehicles that would pass right now … today … in a heartbeat.
With the House GOP’s right-wing circus wanting a shutdown, it’s more likely than not we get one starting Oct. 1. In lieu of a shutdown, they might take McCarthy’s speakership instead but that would be the dog catching the car, and for as crazy as the Freedom Caucus is they seem to realize that the current setup is perfect for them: They can keep McCarthy on a short leash, continue to hold a cartoon bomb and threaten to detonate it, and break institutions, processes, and norms with impunity.
For those reasons, it’s hard for me to imagine a short, quickly resolved shutdown. It’s possible, but there’s no obvious forcing mechanism to get a deal done now or after the shutdown begins. Perhaps the end-of-year holidays create some additional pressure, but that would mean a record-long shutdown.
Whatever the ultimate resolution, it’s going to be messy and convoluted and designed to save face and obscure the real underlying power dynamic. Unfortunately, part of why we’re in this morass is that the Freedom Caucus sees shutting the government down as a “win” no matter what concessions they make later.
“With a government shutdown as few as four days away, the Biden administration has started to ration federal disaster aid, delaying the delivery of about $2.8 billion in grants so the money is available in the event of a crisis,” the Washington Post reports.
Punchbowl News: “McCarthy is desperately trying to drag Biden into the government shutdown fray — rhetorically and substantively. Why? Biden is an easy target for the California Republican. The president’s poll numbers are terrible. And the speaker’s most hardline critics have no interest in cutting deals with the White House. Former President Donald Trump — who McCarthy has all but endorsed — is lashing out at Biden as well. So why shouldn’t McCarthy?”
“McCarthy is also on a different page than his Capitol counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, on government funding, Ukraine and other issues. McCarthy is struggling to rally support in his own conference. Hitting Biden, including launching an impeachment inquiry, makes sense internally for McCarthy. It’s a useful distraction.”
“A federal government shutdown this weekend looks increasingly likely, as House Republicans indicated Wednesday they would not consider a bipartisan Senate plan to fund the government past the weekend deadline,” the Washington Post reports.
Playbook: “Washington careened ever closer to a government shutdown yesterday, as top House Republicans rejected out of hand the stopgap CR moving through the Senate with bipartisan support. Despite warnings from everyone from Biden to Senate Republicans, Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s choice to go back on the deal he made with the president is about to plunge the federal government into chaos.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a conservative white woman from Georgia, inserted a provision into the defense spending bill to slash the salary of Lloyd Austin, the first Black secretary of defense, to $1 per year. The bill passed the House (though it is DOA in the Senate).
“U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan said Wednesday she won’t recuse herself from Donald Trump’s 2020 election interference case in Washington, rejecting the former president’s claims that her past comments raise doubts about whether she can be fair,” the AP reports.
“A government shutdown could disrupt some of the highest-profile litigation in the country in October — though not the federal criminal cases against former President Donald Trump,” Roll Call reports.
New York Times: “As a measure of how damning the indictment appears, no one — not even a longtime ally recommended by Mr. Menendez’s office — agreed to publicly defend him on the conduct described by prosecutors.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Wednesday “declined to call on Sen. Bob Menendez to resign — gifting a bit of breathing room to the indicted New Jersey lawmaker,” Politico reports. Meanwhile, Politico reports Menendez has asked to speak to the Senate Democratic caucus on Thursday as he faces mounting calls to resign.
“Donald Trump, in a pitch to blue-collar workers on Wednesday, [spoke] at a Michigan auto parts factory, one day after President Biden joined a picket line for striking United Automobile Workers outside Detroit,” the New York Times reports. “But the factory, it turns out, is a nonunion shop.”
The UAW’s lead negotiator in contract talks issued a scathing assessment of Donald Trump hours before Trump was due to speak in Detroit, the Detroit Free Press reports. Said Mike Booth: “Let me be blunt. Donald Trump is coming off as a pompous ass. Coming to Michigan to speak at a nonunion employer and pretending it has anything to do with our fight at the Big Three is just more verbal diarrhea from the former president.”
“Donald Trump sharpened a stridently nationalist pitch for a general election rematch against President Biden, trading the GOP primary debate stage for a factory floor where he demanded union support for his vision of more aggressive state intervention in industrial policy,” the Washington Post reports.
“With public surveys consistently showing him with a double-digit lead over his Republican rivals nationally and in early nominating contests, Trump sought to portray the next election as a choice between certain doom for the auto industry or utopian-sounding industrial growth built on trade restrictions, fossil fuels and even expropriation of foreign assets.”
Said Trump: “I’m here tonight to lay out a vision for a revival of economic nationalism. The Wall Street predators, the Chinese cheaters and the corrupt politicians have hurt you. I will make you better. For years, foreign nations have looted and plundered your hopes, your dreams and your heritage, and now they’re going to pay for what they have stolen and what they have done to you, my friends.”
Some attendees at Donald Trump’s speech last night about the autoworkers’ strike carried signs falsely identifying them as union members, the Detroit News reports.
New York Times on the fallout of the Trump Fraud verdict: “[Trump] now faces not only the prospect of having to pay $250 million in damages, but he could also lose properties like Trump Tower that are inextricably linked to his brand.”
A new NBC News poll finds that 56% of registered voters say Congress should not hold impeachment hearings to start the process of removing President Biden from office, while 39% say it should.
“Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee released more than 700 pages of IRS whistleblower documents Wednesday, providing ample fodder for the newly launched House GOP impeachment inquiry,” Politico reports. “Democrats were quick to push back, asserting that GOP lawmakers cherry-picked information that gives a distorted view of the allegations.”
However, NBC News reports two main pieces of the evidence are from times when Joe Biden wasn’t in office.
“North Korea has decided to expel Pvt. Travis King, the American soldier who fled across the inter-Korean border into its territory on July 18,” the New York Times reports. “After 70 days of investigation, North Korea found Private King guilty of ‘illegally intruding’ into its territory and decided to expel him.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) “signed a series of bills Tuesday to further strengthen California’s gun control measures, drawing praise from anti-gun violence advocates and prompting legal action from firearm rights groups,” the Sacramento Bee reports. “The measures include limiting where concealed weapons can be carried in public, imposing a first-of-its-kind state excise tax on firearm sales and requiring that certain guns contain technology that makes it easier to trace ammunition back to a gun owner.”
Axios: “The state is home to more than 140,000 federal workers — half of them in Northern Virginia, just outside D.C. — plus thousands more who do business with the government.”
“Virginia Republicans are fretting about voters taking out their anger on the GOP in November’s state elections if there’s a shutdown.”
“The Biden administration is announcing on Wednesday that it will allow Israeli citizens to enter the United States without a visa, a step toward improving relations between the two nations at a time when President Biden is engaged in complex diplomacy with Israel on a range of issues,” the New York Times reports. “The move means Israel must take reciprocal actions toward American citizens, including Palestinian Americans who often face difficulties in traveling to Palestinian territories to see family members and friends.”
New York Times: “Laden with debt it couldn’t pay back, Greece nearly broke the eurozone a decade ago. Today, it is one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies. In a significant acknowledgment of the country’s turnaround, credit ratings agencies have been upgrading their appraisal of Greece’s debt, and opening the door for large foreign investors.”
“The economy is growing at twice the eurozone average, and unemployment, while still high at 11 percent, is the lowest in over a decade. Tourists have returned in droves, fueling a construction frenzy and new jobs. Multinational companies, like Microsoft and Pfizer, are investing. And banks that almost collapsed have cleaned up and are lending again, benefiting the broader economy.”
“One week before Election Day 2020 and just over two months before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, an internal FBI analysis concluded that domestic violent extremists were ‘very willing to take action’ in response to a disputed election, but that ‘law enforcement preemption’ and the ‘disorganization’ of extremist groups ‘likely would hinder widespread violence,’” NBC News reports.
“The speaker of Canada’s House of Commons resigned Tuesday for inviting a man who fought for a Nazi military unit during World War II to Parliament to attend a speech by the Ukrainian president,” the AP reports.
The latest New Yorker magazine cover depicts Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump in a road race — with all needing the assistance of walkers.
“I’ve been surprised by how little people hate each other in private. There’s sort of an inherent falseness to the way that people present on American media.”— Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), quoted by the New York Times, on what he’s found surprising as a new member of the U.S. Senate.
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) won’t comment on his wife’s divorce-papers claim that he’s had an affair with a lobbyist.
“President Biden plans to announce on Thursday that he will devote federal money to create a new library and museum dedicated to his old friend and adversary, Senator John McCain, seeking to embrace a Republican who stood against former President Donald Trump,” the New York Times reports.
Cassidy Hutchinson told MSNBC that former Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) inspired her to speak up about what she witnessed during the final days of the Trump administration. Said Hutchinson: “Liz Cheney has a spine of steel, and she also cares deeply about this country.”
Jared Kushner, tried to persuade the publisher of the Washington Post to fire its editor over coverage of the Russia investigation, that editor, Marty Baron, writes in a new book, The Guardian reports.