Every issue of the Punchbowl News newsletter, including our special editions, right here at your fingertips.
Join the community, and get the morning edition delivered straight to your inbox.
Happy Monday morning and happy Halloween. There are eight days until Election Day.
The horror of Friday’s attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is still reverberating across the Congress. Members are asking new questions about their own personal safety. The U.S. Capitol Police are conducting a review of security for top members and senators. And senior officials in the Capitol have sent out reminders of the services available to keep lawmakers and their families safe.
But there are GOP lawmakers and conservative figures who have posted or retweeted some truly horrendous comments about what’s looking more like a potential assassination attempt aimed at Pelosi. David DePape, the alleged assailant, was carrying zip ties and yelled “Where is Nancy? Where is Nancy?” according to law enforcement officials and sources who have been briefed on the incident. These are, of course, flashbacks to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Some supporters of former President Donald Trump carried zip ties and chanted the same thing about Pelosi as they sacked the Capitol.
Many Democrats are upset as well over the silence from rank-and-file Republicans about Friday’s attack. Democrats see the attack on Pelosi as another attack on the institution, and they believe Republicans should be just as upset as they are. Democrats also see GOP rhetoric – including the QAnon conspiracy, embraced by numerous Republicans – as having played a part in radicalizing DePape.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy called the assault on Paul Pelosi “wrong” in multiple interviews over the weekend. McCarthy noted that House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) nearly died in a 2017 shooting, while Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh were targets of real or threatened violence this year.
Yet McCarthy, like RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, attempted to portray Friday’s attack as part of a larger crime problem in the country, not as an act of political violence aimed at Pelosi or the end result of GOP efforts to demonize the speaker.
“I think that’s unfair. I think this is a deranged individual,” McDaniel said on “Fox News Sunday.” “You can’t say people saying, ‘Let’s fire Pelosi’ or ‘Let’s take back the House’ is saying go do violence.’ It’s unfair.”
McDaniel criticized Democratic policies on crime, which Republicans have blamed for rising violence nationwide seen since the 2020 social justice protests.
“If this weren’t Paul Pelosi, this criminal would be out on the street tomorrow,” McDaniel claimed.
The NYT has a good story on the history of threats against Pelosi. Republicans have spent tens of millions of dollars demonizing Pelosi in campaign ads over the last dozen years. She has been at the center of all of their efforts to regain power in Washington.
What we know about the attack: DePape is likely to be formally charged today and arraigned on Tuesday. San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins told reporters on Sunday that DePape will be charged with “attempted murder, residential burglary, elder abuse and assault, with an enhancement for a ‘hot prowl’ allegation, which involves entering a home while someone is present,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Seeking to counter baseless online rumors, Jenkins said there were only two people in the Pelosi residence when police arrived. She added that there was “nothing to suggest” Paul Pelosi and DePape knew each other.
NBC News reports that federal authorities are likely to conduct a parallel investigation to determine if they should also charge DePape.
On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Capitol Police sent out a bulletin reminding lawmakers of the services available to keep them and their families safe. There will be lots more discussion of this in the days and weeks ahead.
The reaction to the attack on Pelosi says a lot about today’s political landscape. A number of Republicans immediately reverted to bizarre conspiracy theories instead of sympathizing with their colleague, whose husband of 59 years was badly injured during an attack in their own home. The sad truth is that what happened to Paul Pelosi could happen to the spouse of any member or senator. And failing to appreciate the true scope of this tragedy – seeing it in political terms instead – shows what’s wrong with Congress and the current political culture.
– John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY TIKTOK
At TikTok, we earn your trust through our transparency. We earn trust with our community by publishing and enforcing clear, consistent Community Guidelines that apply to all our users; we earn trust with businesses by empowering them to tell their story and grow; and we earn trust with stakeholders by issuing regular transparency reports and sharing resources about our approach to privacy, security, and safety.
Who we’re watching
President Joe Biden: It’s the week before Election Day and Biden will head to Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Mexico and California. The NYT reported that Biden was attending rallies on behalf of Democratic candidates last week as the prospect that his party could lose control of Congress is looming.
Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell: The Fed is all but certain to announce another “jumbo” rate hike of 75 basis points Wednesday, the latest move in its aggressive campaign to bring down inflation. But Powell has some Democrats nervous. Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said Powell should reconsider the pace of rate hikes, as did Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.). We’ll see what Powell says at Wednesday’s press conference about December and beyond.
– Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
GOP win may force a power struggle over crypto’s future
As we’ve written about the money and policy surrounding crypto legislation on Capitol Hill over the last few weeks, we’ve heard one question asked a few times: “Wait, why are we talking about the Senate Agriculture Committee?”
The technical answer is a quirk of history. The Senate Agriculture Committee oversees the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, which is the focus of the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act, co-sponsored by Senate Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-Ark.).
But that history belies a more important political question: Is there a power struggle simmering between the committee best known for producing the farm bill versus the financial committees?
A similar dynamic played out following the 2008 financial crisis as the Senate Agriculture Committee tried to assert authority over derivatives legislation, only to face a backlash from the Banking Committee and bankers.
As for the crypto legislation, that’s not happening, at least right now. But if the midterm election delivers Congress to the GOP, that will likely change.
Here’s what we’ve learned:
The Senate Agriculture Committee is driving crypto policy because the other committees have let them.
Let’s start with the Democratic leadership of the banking-focused committees. The Senate Banking Committee is led by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and the House Financial Services Committee is chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).
The simple fact is that neither Democrat has made crypto a major priority over the past several years.
Over on the House Financial Services Committee, there’s very little daylight between Republicans and Democrats on big-picture crypto policy. Democrats want to prioritize consumer protection, and Republicans want a lighter-touch framework geared towards legal clarity.
As a result, Waters and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the ranking member, have focused their efforts on stablecoins, a small but important sliver of the crypto policy universe.
The lack of ambition here is significant. There’s no federal law on the books today that defines digital assets.
But we don’t expect that to hold under a GOP House in 2023, which would hand the committee’s gavel over to McHenry. Expect the North Carolina Republican to have a broader agenda for crypto, which could complicate the Senate Agriculture Committee’s efforts.
Here’s what McHenry told us in a statement:
“There is broad, bipartisan consensus that legislation is needed to provide a clear regulatory framework for the digital asset ecosystem. I commend the hard work of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees on their proposals.
“However, a missing puzzle piece is the necessary role House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees must play to provide the much-needed clarity these proposals seek to accomplish.”
Waters’ office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Brown, meanwhile, simply hasn’t had much to say about crypto beyond urging regulators to keep an eye on things. It’s also worth noting that the Ohio Democrat serves on the Agriculture Committee as well. Brown hasn’t publicly commented on the Stabenow-Boozman bill.
A person familiar with Brown’s thinking told us that the senator “will work with his colleagues on the best bill possible for consumers” and is focused on an “all-of-government approach” to crypto which includes the financial regulators.
The staff of the Senate Agriculture Committee isn’t working alone.
Several sources following crypto policy say that the staff of Senate Banking and Agriculture talked to each other a lot about the DCCPA. No one is accusing Senate Ag of going rogue.
An aide on the Senate Agriculture Committee disputed the idea that there was “tension” with their financial counterparts but did acknowledge “some differences of opinions on some aspects of the bill.”
A phrase that came up in several of our conversations was a desire for everyone to “Stay in their lane.” If you look at the thrust of the DCCPA, that tracks. The bill is focused on commodities, which is solidly in Senate Ag’s jurisdiction.
But let’s not underplay the bill’s potential impact. A key component of the Stabenow-Boozman bill would have the CFTC grow alongside the crypto sector with new regulatory fees.
The CFTC today is tiny compared to other financial regulators, with only about 600 employees. The Securities and Exchange Commission has closer to 4,000. If crypto does get a lot bigger in the coming years, both the CFTC and Senate Ag will gain power.
Representatives for Stabenow didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.
Republicans outside of Senate Agriculture want a crypto bill that limits the Securities and Exchange Commission’s authority.
Current SEC Chair Gary Gensler is one of GOP lawmakers’ favorite punching bags. Along with several other flashpoints, Gensler has received criticism for his sometimes-expansive view of what constitutes a crypto security, which would bring it under his agency’s purview.
So a shortcoming of the DCCPA, as told by Republicans, is that it doesn’t draw a firm line between what makes a crypto product a commodity versus a security. The rules that apply to each type of product can vary widely.
Writing those definitions is a tall order. But without them, Republicans say there’s little to stop the better-staffed, better-funded SEC from staking a claim on most of the crypto universe.
Here’s what Amanda Thompson, a Senate Banking Republican spokesperson, told us:
“A fundamental question that needs to be addressed in any major crypto legislation is what’s a commodity and what’s a security. This is critical to ensuring Chairman Gensler doesn’t continue to overreach his authority and suppress digital innovation.”
– Brendan Pedersen
PRESENTED BY TIKTOK
Our transparency reports help hold us accountable to our community and our stakeholders. Visit our Transparency Center to learn more.
Capitol Counsel has signed up the Business Council of Canada. They will lobby on “[p]romoting strengthened US-Canada relations, and issues regarding energy, climate, US-Canada border, automobiles, and supply chains.”
Subject Matter will now lobby for “LiveWire EV, LLC and its affiliate Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc.” LiveWire is an electric motorcycle made by Harley-Davidson.
– Jake Sherman
The NYT/Sienna has new polls in four states.
Arizona: Sen. Mark Kelly (D) 51%, Blake Masters (R) 45%
Georgia: Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) 49%, Herschel Walker (R) 46%
Nevada: Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) 47%, Adam Laxalt (R) 47%
Pennsylvania: John Fetterman (D) 49%, Mehmet Oz (R) 44%
New: In Sen. Maggie Hassan’s (D-N.H.) final TV ad of the cycle, the Democrat highlights “standing up to the president” and working with Republicans to “hire 100,000 new police officers.”
Hassan’s reelection race against Republican Don Bolduc has tightened over the past several months. Hassan led Bolduc by nine points in the FiveThirtyEight polling average at the start of the month, an advantage which has now narrowed to four points.
New: Frontline Rep. Josh Harder (D-Calif.) slams his opponent for contributing to higher costs in his closing reelection ad. In the economic-focused ad, Harder also plays up his support for lowering prescription drug prices and repealing the gas tax.
Joe O’Dea, the Republican running against Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), reported receiving $575,890 in contributions from Oct. 21 through Oct. 28. O’Dea chipped in with $500,000 of his own money on Friday.
Our Hudson PAC, a super PAC supporting DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney, got $370,000 in October, as the New York Democrat faces a tough challenge from Mike Lawler.
Elena Silenok, the founder and CEO of Clothia, gave $100,000, as did venture capital titan Ron Conway. PAC to the Future, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s PAC, gave $100,000 as well.
Our American Century, a Republican group, is running an ad saying that President Joe Biden can count on Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). The ad is cut to look like a positive spot for Murray, but it’s actually meant to tie the Washington State Democrat to the president. Murray is in a tough race against Republican Tiffany Smiley.
– Jake Sherman and Max Cohen
K Street weighs in on what will pass in the lame duck
It’s K Street Canvass Week. We’ll be bringing you lots of data on what K Street thinks of critical issues facing Washington. The Canvass, of course, is our public opinion survey that we conduct with the Locust Street Group.
This morning we’re coming to you with the prospects for the Big Tech antitrust bill and the Electoral Count Act, two issues that will suck up a lot of oxygen in the upcoming lame-duck session.
According to top lobbyists and downtown leaders, the Big Tech bill will get axed and the Electoral Count Act will pass.
76% of participants in our poll say the American Innovation and Choice Online Act won’t pass this Congress. This is relatively constant across both parties.
67% of those polled say that the Electoral Count Act will pass.
Remember: We are just three weeks away from the lame duck, so get ready.
– Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY TIKTOK
Transparency and accountability go hand-in-hand. Learn more about our commitments.
8 a.m.: President Joe Biden will get his daily intelligence briefing in Delaware.
9:05 a.m.: Biden will leave Delaware for New York, where he will attend a private memorial service. Biden will leave New York at 12:55 p.m.
2:40 p.m.: The Bidens will arrive at the White House.
5:15 p.m.: The Bidens will host children of “firefighters, nurses, police officers, and members of the National Guard at the White House for trick-or-treating.”
Biden’s week: Tuesday: Biden will travel to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to speak about “protecting Social Security and Medicare and lowering prescription drug costs.” He’ll attend a fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist in Golden Beach, Fla., and then will go to Miami Gardens, Fla., for a DNC fundraiser for Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), who is running for Senate, and Crist.
Wednesday: Biden will speak about “working to strengthen the infrastructure talent pipeline, and will highlight how the Administration is bringing together employers, unions, and other partners to expand good-paying jobs in broadband, construction, and manufacturing.”
Thursday: Biden will go to New Mexico to speak about student debt relief. He’ll then participate in a rally for the DNC.
“The Battle for Blue-Collar White Voters Raging in Biden’s Birthplace,” by Shane Goldmacher in Scranton, Pa.
“Clinton, Obama and DeSantis Lend Star Power to Tight N.Y. Races,” by Luis Ferré-Sadurní in Hempstead, N.Y.
“Brazil Ejects Bolsonaro and Brings Back Former Leftist Leader Lula,” by Jack Nicas in Brasília
“‘It was almost post-apocalyptic’: A reckoning awaits Seoul’s crowd tragedy,” by Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Kelly Kasulis Cho in Seoul, Stephanie McCrummen in Washington, Annabelle Timsit in London and Praveena Somasundaram in Washington
“Twitter Is Drafting Broad Job Cuts in Whirlwind First Weekend Under Elon Musk,” by Alexa Corse and Salvador Rodriguez
“Ukraine Hit by Russian Missile Strikes After Crimea Blasts,” by Daryna Krasnolutska and Kateryna Choursina
“US Air Force to deploy nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to Australia as tensions with China grow,” by By Angus Grigg, Lesley Robinson and Meghna Bali
“Confident GOP unifies behind candidates once seen as risky,” by Steve Peoples in Atkinson, N.H.
“The left lines up against Raimondo for Treasury,” by Ben White and Gavin Bade
PRESENTED BY TIKTOK
TikTok is an entertainment-first platform that lets people explore, create, and share content to bring joy and inspire creativity. Whether you’re a creator growing your fan base, a small business connecting with customers, or a viewer looking for a new recipe, a home improvement tip, or a glimpse into another culture, TikTok has something for everyone.
We know we’re closely scrutinized, which is why we work hard to remove all doubt about our efforts to protect user privacy, safeguard sensitive data, and provide visibility into our content moderation practices.
In 2023, we’re deepening our commitment to earn your trust through transparency. We’ll be opening new Transparency and Accountability Centers in DC, LA, and Dublin, launching a new API program for researchers to test our algorithms and content moderation practices, and working to finalize an agreement with the U.S. Government that will address national security concerns.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
Crucial Capitol Hill news AM, Midday, and PM—5 times a week
Join a community of some of the most powerful people in Washington and beyond. Exclusive newsmaker events, parties, in-person and virtual briefings and more.Subscribe to Premium
The Canvass Year-End Report
And what senior aides and downtown figures believe will happen in 2023.Check it out