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“GPO innovations are helpingto reduce provider costs, streamline drug delivery, and strengthen the health care supply chain,” – Hon. Phil English, HGPII National Co-Coordinator
Happy Thursday morning. There are 19 days until Election Day.
This morning we’re bringing you the second installment in our series about the most competitive House Republican leadership race this year – the battle to be majority whip. There will only be an election for this slot if Republicans win the House majority.
The contest is between Rep. Jim Banks (Ind.), Drew Ferguson (Ga.) and NRCC Chair Tom Emmer of Minnesota.
We sized up Banks’ bid last week. Today we’ll zoom in on Emmer.
Let’s start with this: Emmer, 61, isn’t personally running his campaign for the No. 3 job in the House GOP since he’s in charge of the NRCC. He’s left this to Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.). Reschenthaler is likely to be the chief deputy whip if Emmer becomes whip. Reschenthaler is an ally of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is staying neutral in this race. Although those close to McCarthy say repeatedly the California Republican does not want Ferguson in the leadership.
Emmer is in his third term in the House, having won the seat after Michele Bachmann left Congress. He’s on the Financial Services Committee.
Whip is an incredibly important job in the majority. The whip has a seat at the leadership table and is charged with rounding up votes for the party’s priorities. Remember: McCarthy was majority whip, so he’ll have a heavy hand in some aspects of the vote-counting process.
Emmer’s strength is obvious, and if you ask his allies, he has a stranglehold on the race. The NRCC won seats last cycle with Emmer as chair. And if Republicans win the House, how do they reject the person that brought them into the majority?
Never mind that in the era of the super PAC, the NRCC is not nearly as powerful as it once was. Emmer is one of two faces that Republican candidates associate with the party apparatus in D.C. – the other being McCarthy. If Republicans win, there will be a few weeks of euphoria, which could easily help catapult Emmer into the whip post.
It is often said that newly elected lawmakers have outsized influence in picking House leaders. And if you assume that’s true, Emmer has a large base of natural support – bigger than Banks or Ferguson. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Emmer’s pitch is this:
The House Republican Conference should be a meritocracy. Emmer has had a successful four years, winning seats in 2020 and, in this scenario, winning the majority in 2022.
He’s a fighter who isn’t afraid to back down. (Emmer is often likened to a hockey coach.)
Emmer understands the political calculations each individual House Republican has to make because he knows their districts so well. McCarthy has this attribute too, so we don’t overrate Emmer’s leg up here.
One of the most impressive aspects of Emmer’s candidacy is the breadth of his support, which comes from all parts of the conference. Rep. Patrick McHenry (N.C.), the top Republican on Financial Services, backs Emmer. As does Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), among the most right-wing lawmakers in the House. Younger members such as Reps. Kelly Armstrong (N.D.) and Bryan Steil (Wis.) are with Emmer. So do Rep. David Joyce (Ohio) – a well-liked moderate – and Rep. French Hill (Ark.), a stalwart of the House Financial Services Committee. This indicates to us that he has crossover appeal throughout the conference.
Emmer supporters believe he can win on the first ballot against Banks and Ferguson. We’ll have to see. Members can say one thing and vote another since it’s a secret ballot. Emmer isn’t making the ask himself – it’s Reschenthaler – so perhaps lawmakers are more comfortable being honest. Emmer’s backers say they have twice the number of supporters that Banks and Ferguson have.
One of the glaring weaknesses in Emmer’s candidacy is that he refuses to campaign openly for the whip job until after the November election. We get it – his task is to win the majority. But when you get a late start in a leadership race, it could be fatal.
Also, chairing the NRCC may not be as much of a boon as some may think. If you’re a newly elected Republican who won an open red seat – say Harriet Hageman (Wyo.) or Eric Burlison (Mo.) – are you going to support Emmer or the more conservative Banks?
Emmer’s detractors say he’s a moderate and not conservative enough to be in the leadership. He voted for same-sex marriage and for certifying the 2020 election. These are positions that put him in the minority of the House Republican Conference.
Emmer’s whip operation has spent the last few weeks strategizing on how to win on the second ballot. If none of the three candidates gets a majority on the first round, the lowest vote getter is eliminated, and then it becomes a head-to-head matchup between the two remaining candidates. Emmer’s team believes they can draw a majority of the votes from whoever loses. Again, this is their view, and it may be wishful thinking.
The biggest threat at this point is this: How does it impact Emmer if Republicans underperform on Election Day? If Republicans come up short, someone will be to blame and the NRCC – which has drawn some criticism for its spending decisions among members of the leadership – is a very easy target.
It’s worth noting: We keep hearing that if Banks doesn’t become majority whip, he has a few fallback options. Banks would be a strong candidate for the Education and Labor Committee gavel or to lead McCarthy’s select committee on China.
– Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY PHRMA
Fresh data show the 340B program may be driving up costs for some patients. How? A new analysis finds 340B hospitals prescribe patients more expensive medicines than non-340B hospitals on average. It’s time to fix the 340B program. Learn more.
THE MONEY GAME
Hoyer presses Dems to give more, announces $200K donation
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is giving $200,000 more to help boost vulnerable Democrats ahead of the midterms – and he’s calling on his colleagues in safe seats to step it up too.
In a letter sent to Democrats today, Hoyer announced he’s giving $100,000 more to the DCCC, which puts him 30% above his dues goal. The No. 2 Democrat is also cutting a $100,000 check to the leadership-aligned House Majority PAC, we’re told.
Hoyer’s push comes one day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter saying she planned to match any dues Democrats paid by Oct. 25.
Here’s Hoyer to Democrats:
If, for example, all our non-Frontline members contributed 10% of their cash on hand, it would amount to almost an additional $23 million that we could use to protect and expand our Majority.
With Speaker Pelosi’s generous pledge to match member contributions to the DCCC, that $23 million would double overnight.
So far this cycle, Hoyer has raised or contributed $13 million for Democratic incumbents and candidates.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) is also responding to Pelosi’s pledge, giving another $100,000 to DCCC this week, according to sources with knowledge of his fundraising. This is in addition to the $600,000 in dues Pallone has already paid.
It’s unclear if other members of leadership or committee chairs plan to also respond in kind.
Top Democrats and the DCCC for months have pressed members in safe districts to come off the piles of cash they’re sitting on and help try to hold the majority – to little avail.
As we reported earlier this month, roughly a quarter of the caucus has paid zero in dues.
The issue has become a huge point of contention among vulnerable House Democrats as they continue to get swamped by millions of dollars in outside GOP spending.
The frustration among Frontline Democrats has become particularly acute over the last week, according to several members and aides with knowledge of private conversations.
— Heather Caygle
FIFTH CIRCUIT STRIKES AGAIN
CFPB faces an existential threat after Fifth Circuit ruling
The nation’s top consumer finance watchdog was handed a stark defeat in court on Wednesday night that raises questions about the agency’s future funding and rulemaking authority.
This isn’t the first time the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been dragged into court over big legal problems. But the ruling handed down by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last night represents a more serious threat to the agency’s operations than anything that has come before.
In a case involving the CFPB and two trade groups representing non-bank payday lenders, the Fifth Circuit ruled against the watchdog agency based on the way it receives its government funding.
The Fifth Circuit, which became one of the most conservative benches under the Trump administration, ruled that the mechanism used by the CFPB to fund itself violates the Constitution. The complaint is that the funding stream runs through another agency – in this case, the Federal Reserve, which under existing law can typically allot 12% of its budget to the CFPB.
Here’s a key passage from the ruling:
Congress did not merely cede direct control over the Bureau’s budget by insulating it from annual or other time limited appropriations. It also ceded indirect control by providing that the Bureau’s self-determined funding be drawn from a source that is itself outside the appropriations process – a double insulation from Congress’s purse strings that is ‘unprecedented’ across the government.
The Federal Reserve isn’t funded through annual appropriations approved by Congress. Its funding comes through interest on government securities it owns.
A historical note: that “double insulation” for CFPB isn’t an accident. The policy architects behind the CFPB’s creation – including now-Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and then-Obama Treasury official Michael Barr, now the vice chair for supervision at the Fed – wanted to protect the fledgling agency from being hollowed out when Republicans next held power. (That didn’t stop Republicans from trying under former President Donald Trump.)
A CFPB spokesperson disputed the Fifth Circuit’s holding and said the agency would continue to enforce the law. They also suggested the implications of the Fifth Circuit decision could stretch far beyond the CFPB.
“There is nothing novel or unusual about Congress’s decision to fund the CFPB outside of annual spending bills. Other federal financial regulators and the entire Federal Reserve System are funded that way, and programs such as Medicare and Social Security are funded outside of the annual appropriations process.”
Right now, we don’t know what the impact of the ruling will be in the long-term. In the short-term, expect an appeal. After that, it will take time – and potentially more legal fights – to sort this out. In the meantime, Congress will face pressure to respond to the quandary.
The problem for the agency is that it doesn’t have much legal runway to fight this decision. The next stop would be the Supreme Court. The high court’s conservative majority in 2020 struck down a somewhat similar provision of the CFPB’s statute that insulated the agency’s director from being fired except for cause.
Several lawmakers issued public statements in response to the news, including Warren, who complained that “extreme right-wing judges are throwing into question every rule the CFPB enforces to protect consumers and businesses alike.”
– Brendan Pedersen
PUNCHBOWL NEWS EVENTS
What Marsha Blackburn told us
Missed our conversation with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Wednesday? Catch up with the full recording here.
The PNC Financial Services Group has signed up West Front Strategies to lobby on “[i]ssues impacting the financial services industry.”
— Jake Sherman
New: Republican super PAC Defending Main Street is launching a six-figure ad buy in Rep. David Valadao’s (R-Calif.) district attacking Democratic challenger Rudy Salas.
The radio buy, airing in both English and Spanish, paints Salas as a “jet-setter” who took an “all-expenses trip funded by shady special interests.” Democrats view Valadao’s blue district as one of their best flip opportunities this cycle.
New: The DCCC is airing another ad in Pennyslvania’s 17th District that ties Republican House candidate Jeremy Shaffer to GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano on abortion rights.
Shaffer’s campaign released an ad earlier this week featuring the candidate’s wife pledging Shaffer would “stand up for women’s health care.”
— Max Cohen
11:20 a.m.: President Joe Biden will leave for Andrews, where he will fly to Pittsburgh. Karine Jean-Pierre will brief on Air Force One.
2:15 p.m.: Biden will speak about infrastructure.
4:35 p.m.: Biden will fly to Philadelphia.
7 p.m.: Biden will speak at a reception for John Fetterman, the Democratic Senate candidate.
8:10 p.m.: Biden will leave Philadelphia for Andrews. He’ll arrive at the White House at 9:15 p.m.
“With Crucial Elections Looming, Biden Breaks Tradition of Big Campaign Rallies,” by Mike Shear, Katie Glueck and Lisa Lerer
“Judge Says Trump Signed Statement With Data His Lawyers Told Him Was False,” by Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer
“U.S. has viewed wreckage of kamikaze drones Russia used in Ukraine,” by Shane Harris, Dan Lamothe, Alex Horton and Karen DeYoung
“Jeff Bezos Says It’s Time to ‘Batten Down the Hatches’ as Economy Cools,” by Joseph De Avila
“US busts network providing technology to Russian military,” by Eric Tucker and Fatima Hussein
“Ukraine’s utilities threatened by Russia in war’s new phase,” by Sabra Ayers in Kyiv
“At rally with Latinos, Warnock calls Walker ‘scary,’” by Sharon McCaffrey
“Texts from Loeffler’s phone shed light on activities ahead of Jan. 6 and 2021 runoff,” by Greg Bluestein, Tamar Hallerman and David Wickert
PRESENTED BY PHRMA
The 340B program grew, yet again, hitting a whopping $43.9 billion in sales at the discounted 340B price in 2021. But there has not been evidence of corresponding growth in care provided to vulnerable patients at 340B covered entities. And making matters worse, fresh data show that 340B may actually be driving up costs for some patients and our health care system as whole. The program of today is having the opposite effect of what Congress intended when they created 340B. That’s a problem. It’s time to fix the 340B program. Learn more.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
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