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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 Wednesday afternoon.
Welcome to the Hunter Biden show.
Reps. James Comer (R-Ky.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) — the chairs of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees — are initiating contempt of Congress proceedings against President Joe Biden’s son for failing to comply with a GOP-issued subpoena today.
Hunter Biden — a key figure in the House GOP’s impeachment inquiry — showed up this morning at a Capitol Hill news event and defiantly stated he won’t testify privately.
Comer and Jordan had issued a subpoena for Hunter Biden to sit for a behind-closed-doors deposition on Wednesday morning to answer questions about his father’s involvement in his business dealings. But Hunter Biden said he would only testify publicly, citing concerns that his private testimony may be misrepresented by GOP lawmakers.
In a fiery statement to reporters gathered at the Senate Swamp, Hunter Biden accused Republican investigators of impugning his character in an effort to politically damage the president.
“James Comer, Jim Jordan, Jason Smith and their colleagues have distorted the facts,” Hunter Biden, accompanied by prominent defense attorney Abbe Lowell, said. “There is no fairness or decency in what Republicans are doing.”
“I am here to testify at a public hearing today to answer any of the committee’s legitimate questions,” Hunter Biden added.
We asked Comer why he didn’t just call Hunter Biden’s bluff and have him testify in public.
“He will, after the deposition,” Comer said. “He doesn’t get to set the rules.”
The dispute over Hunter Biden’s testimony is especially notable because House Republicans have made the president’s son the top target of their probe. GOP committee chairs are trying to connect Hunter and James Biden’s business dealings to the president’s official actions as vice president.
Hunter Biden is under federal criminal indictment in Delaware and California in separate gun and tax cases. Any statements he made to House investigators could be used by prosecutors in those matters.
Here is one quote from Hunter Biden’s statement that we wanted to flag:
“My father was not financially involved in my business — not as a practicing lawyer, not as a board member of Burisma, not my partnership with a Chinese private businessman, not my investments at home nor abroad. And certainly not as an artist.”
Notice Hunter Biden inserts the word “financially” before describing his father’s interactions with him or his former clients. That’s a critical distinction from Joe Biden’s previous insistence he had nothing at all to do with Hunter Biden’s business dealings and goes to the heart of what Republicans are alleging.
Earlier this year, former Hunter Biden business associate Devon Archer testified that Hunter Biden would frequently put his father on the phone when speaking with business partners. But Archer insisted the conversations never touched on business itself.
There have also long been questions about then-Vice President Biden’s attendance at an April 2015 dinner in Georgetown that included an executive from Burisma, a Ukrainian company where Hunter Biden served on the board. The Bidens have steadfastly denied that there were any discussions about Burisma between Joe Biden and the Ukrainian executive, Vadym Pozharskyi, at that event.
There’s no conclusive evidence that the president was involved in any improper or illegal behavior.
– Max Cohen and John Bresnahan
PRESENTED BY EXXONMOBIL
The world needs ways to reduce carbon emissions. At ExxonMobil, we’re scaling up production of hydrogen to reduce CO2 emissions in our own facilities. This could also help businesses in manufacturing and power generation deliver lower emissions, too. Helping deliver heavy industry with low emissions. Let’s deliver.
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GOP praises W.H. openness to new border restrictions
Let’s start with this: White House and Senate negotiators are expected to meet about a border security-Ukraine package at some point today. Plans aren’t yet finalized.
And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just met briefly with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. McConnell didn’t comment as he exited Schumer’s office.
But it’s important to note that Senate Republicans, who have sharply criticized the White House’s posture on the border, are now commending the White House’s openness to new immigration restrictions as both sides try to revive the flailing negotiations ahead of Congress’ looming holiday recess.
GOP senators say they see it as a positive sign that the White House communicated to Senate negotiators that they’d consider bringing back a temporary expulsion authority used during the pandemic, known as Title 42, or something similar. This would allow U.S. officials to quickly deport migrants.
“This is something to build on,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who’s close to the talks, calling it “good-faith.”
Senate Republicans have said any agreement needs to carry the support of at least half the GOP conference in order to help sell it to the House.
That means agreeing on border policies that would dramatically reduce the number of illegal crossings, which are setting records almost daily. Republicans also want to crack down on the parole process. That would limit the number of migrants allowed into the country while their asylum claims are adjudicated.
“I’m hopeful that Democrats both here and at the White House are beginning to recognize how committed we are to addressing the crisis at our southern border,” McConnell said on the floor. “I’m hopeful that we can reach an agreement.”
The ramped-up tempo of negotiations — with direct involvement of senior administration officials — is a recognition by the White House that President Joe Biden’s push to get billions of dollars in new Ukraine funding isn’t going anywhere without an immigration deal. That would require some serious concessions from Biden and Democratic leaders on the Hill.
“To the extent that I’ve heard some Democrats express concern, I think that’s progress,” Tillis added. “[The White House] genuinely wants funding for Ukraine. But number two, they genuinely want to get this yoke off their neck, which is the out-of-control border… I think it’s the convergence of those two things.”
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus are scheduled to hold a press conference at 3 p.m. to sound the alarm about the proposals and pressure the White House to resist the GOP demands. Progressives fear that Biden will cave to Republicans out of desperation to secure new Ukraine aid.
Schumer said Wednesday that negotiators made “real progress” over the last 24 hours.
“Democrats are still trying to reach an agreement,” Schumer added. “Republicans need to show they’re still serious about getting something done.”
The timetable is the big question here. The Senate is scheduled to leave town for the holidays at the end of this week. GOP leaders have said it’s impossible to reach an agreement that can be written into legislative text and voted on this month. They’ve also pointed to Speaker Mike Johnson’s desire to send the House home at the end of this week.
GOP negotiators want the Senate to stay in session no matter what the House does. This would theoretically put pressure on the House. But it could also mean the agreement sits idle for at least a few weeks, allowing critics to publicly whack it. That’s never a good move.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune said that despite the progress, it’s still “unlikely” that the Senate stays in session past this week.
— Andrew Desiderio
Salazar, Escobar pitch bipartisan solution to border and immigration
Two Hispanic leaders in the House are pushing a bipartisan bill that would create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants while also boosting border security funding.
Reps. Maria Salazar (R-Fla.) and Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) are promoting their “Dignity Act,” which would provide $25 billion toward border security efforts, expand E-verify programs and offer deportation protection for undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for five years and want to work. It would also create a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.
“The reason we are here is because Congress is stuck,” Salazar said during a small pen-and-pad session. “The Senate has found out how difficult it is to deal with immigration.”
Of course, addressing immigration and border policy has long been an insurmountable hurdle for Capitol Hill.
This is evident in the ongoing negotiations happening in the Senate, where Republicans have demanded border policy changes in exchange for backing more Ukraine aid. The White House is scrambling to get a deal with Senate negotiators before the holiday break tomorrow, but that seems unlikely at this point.
And any changes negotiated in a bipartisan Senate deal would be minimal compared to what longtime immigration advocates want to see and what Salazar and Escobar are proposing. Still, Congress can’t even seem to get that done.
As we reported earlier this week, progressive lawmakers and immigration advocates are urging the White House to not cave into the GOP’s demands for hardline policies to restrict migrant flow at the border. And many Republicans aren’t open to conversations about providing a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, even Dreamers brought here as children.
Escobar said she’s been in talks with her House colleagues and has pitched her bipartisan bill to several senators including Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.).
But Escobar also acknowledged the difficulty of passing such legislation in a politically polarized time. The Texas Democrat said the growing number of moderate lawmakers retiring will make it even harder.
“We have a window of opportunity that is very quickly shutting,” Escobar said. “Congress is becoming more extreme, more divided. We are seeing the loss of dealmakers in the Senate and in the House.”
– Mica Soellner
PRESENTED BY EXXONMOBIL
Clean energy from hydrogen. Let’s deliver.
Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Ala.), who is locked in a Republican-on-Republican primary with Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.), has a new spot running in the Dothan, Ala., media market. It starts with this quip: “People ask me, ‘Jerry, is Biden really running the country?’ Yeah, straight into the ground.”
Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Texas) is running his second taxpayer-funded ad in two days – this time about veterans benefits. Again, this is paid for by MRA funds – not campaign funds.
– Jake Sherman
LG Electronics, the South Korean electronics giant, has registered an in-house lobbyist. LG also employs Akin Gump as an outside lobbyist.
– Jake Sherman
“Supreme Court will decide access to key abortion drug mifepristone,” by Ann E. Marimow
“Russia Attacks Kyiv With Missiles After Zelenskiy Leaves US,” by Olesia Safronova
“Washington tests political limits of anti-China stance,” by Meredith Lee Hill and Gavin Bade
PRESENTED BY EXXONMOBIL
Capturing industry’s carbon emissions. Let’s deliver.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
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