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.
“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 Monday morning.
News: Senate Democrats walked away Friday from negotiations with Republicans on border policy changes, citing what they describe as intractable GOP demands on asylum and parole reform, according to two sources involved in the talks.
This is a big development that casts further doubt on the Senate’s ability to pass a huge $105 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. Ukraine stands to be the biggest potential loser here as future funding for the embattled U.S. ally is in serious jeopardy. It’s a critical moment for President Joe Biden and congressional leaders who have backed Ukraine, especially Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The breakdown in the bipartisan Senate talks, according to these sources, stems from Republicans’ continued insistence on including elements of H.R. 2, the House GOP border-security bill that’s a non-starter for Democrats.
Senate Republicans have vowed to block any foreign aid bill that doesn’t include significant policy changes to stem the unprecedented flow of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. Many Democrats agree that the crisis at the border must be addressed.
But the bipartisan negotiations did not continue into the weekend as initially planned, according to these sources, and it’s unclear if and when they could resume.
There’s more: Speaker Mike Johnson told other congressional leaders late last week that he won’t pair Ukraine aid with anything less than H.R. 2, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been repeating, both in public and in private, that H.R. 2 will never pass the Senate. An aide to House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries reiterated to us Sunday night that H.R. 2 is a “non-starter.” No Democrats voted for the GOP package back in May when the House passed it.
Schumer is expected to tee up the floor process for the foreign aid package — without Republicans’ border demands — as soon as today. That would set up a cloture vote later this week, on Wednesday or Thursday. This will be a crucial moment for Republicans, especially defense hawks like McConnell.
GOP senators have said they’re happy to filibuster the supplemental, believing this will force Democrats to more seriously consider their border-related demands. Of course, a failed vote risks sending an alarming message to the world about U.S. support for Ukraine. But leadership aides in both parties tell us that wouldn’t mean that the supplemental is dead.
We’ll note, however, that this would be the third time since late September that Congress has failed to act on Ukraine funding, even as the situation there is clearly getting more urgent by the day. Biden administration officials and congressional leaders keep stating that the United States won’t leave Ukraine in the lurch, but no one has shown a realistic path to passing more aid, especially with the growing House GOP opposition.
McConnell has been especially vocal on the need to support Ukraine. The Kentucky Republican has been meeting privately with a group of GOP senators to walk through strategies for passing an aid package, according to multiple sources. But McConnell knows he can’t do anything unless the border crisis is addressed as well.
Democrats’ decision to step back from the talks on Friday could all be a negotiating tactic. Democrats have acknowledged Republicans’ concerns about the border but don’t believe politically dicey immigration policies should be part of an overwhelmingly bipartisan foreign aid package. Of course, Congress has long failed to pass meaningful legislation on immigration and border security.
What happened: Although senators left town on Thursday afternoon, negotiating sessions were still scheduled to be held throughout the weekend. But the talks broke down on Friday evening and haven’t resumed since, according to sources directly involved in the discussions.
Democratic negotiators determined that Republicans were unable or unwilling to accept their compromises on border security, we’re told. So the talks ended then and aren’t scheduled to restart.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), the lead GOP negotiator, was on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning continuing to push for border policy changes. Lankford noted that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has even called for reforms to the asylum system. And interestingly, Lankford cited “progress” in the bipartisan talks.
In the meantime, the White House is putting new pressure on Congress to take action on the president’s supplemental funding request.
In a letter to congressional leaders this morning, White House budget director Shalanda Young writes that without congressional action before year’s end, the Pentagon “will run out of resources to procure more weapons and equipment for Ukraine and to provide equipment from U.S. military stocks.”
Young’s letter essentially says Russia is poised for significant gains in Ukraine without new U.S. aid:
“There is no magical pot of funding available to meet this moment. We are out of money — and nearly out of time.
“Cutting off the flow of U.S. weapons and equipment will kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield, not only putting at risk the gains Ukraine has made, but increasing the likelihood of Russian military victories.”
Senators will receive a classified briefing Tuesday afternoon on Ukraine and Israel.
— Andrew Desiderio and Jake Sherman
Tomorrow: Join us Tuesday evening at 5 p.m. ET for “A Conversation on Social Media and Mental Health.” We have a few spots left! The event will feature a fireside chat with Dr. Zainab Okolo, SVP of Policy, Advocacy and Government Relations at The Jed Foundation, and Wanji Walcott, Chief Legal Officer at Pinterest. The conversation will be followed by a reception with drinks and light bites. RSVP here.
PRESENTED BY EXXONMOBIL
The world needs ways to reduce carbon emissions. At ExxonMobil, we’re working on solutions in our own operations – like carbon capture and clean energy from hydrogen – that could also help in industries like manufacturing, commercial transportation and power generation, too. Helping deliver heavy industry with low emissions. Let’s deliver.
House GOP moves ahead with Biden, Mayorkas impeachment probes
House Republicans — fresh off the expulsion of former GOP Rep. George Santos (N.Y.) and unable to pass much of anything — are moving ahead with dual impeachment investigations into both President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
We expect the House to vote as early as next week to authorize the Biden impeachment inquiry. GOP leaders believe they have the votes to do so. The House is currently scheduled to leave town on Dec. 14 and not return until Jan. 9.
Democrats and the White House have ramped up their efforts to push back on the House Republican impeachment drive. There’s clearly an element of payback here for the 2019 impeachment of former President Donald Trump.
Yet it’s also another dramatic escalation of impeachment as a political weapon. This will be the second straight election cycle where the incumbent president faces impeachment and a possible Senate trial in the same year as he goes before the voters seeking another term. And no Cabinet official has been impeached in nearly 150 years. But Republicans are poised now to do both in the coming months.
House GOP leaders face growing pressure from their right as well. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) keeps going to the floor to say the Republican majority is doing nothing, and it looks like GOP leaders may cave on FY2024 spending level.
But Republicans are upping the pressure on Ukraine, as we noted above, and they’re pushing the impeachment button on Biden and Mayorkas.
To get an idea of what the resolution authorizing the Biden inquiry may look like, here’s the 2019 resolution Democrats approved during the first Trump impeachment. In that case, the Intelligence Committee — then chaired by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) — took the lead. This time, it will be the Oversight Committee under Chair James Comer (R-Ky.). The Judiciary Committee, however, will oversee Biden’s impeachment if it happens.
The Oversight Committee’s subpoena deadline for James Biden, the president’s brother, is Wednesday. Hunter Biden, the president’s son, faces a Dec. 13 deadline. As we noted last week, James Biden’s lawyers have been in contact with Oversight panel GOP staffers about a possible interview. Abbe Lowell, Hunter Biden’s lawyer, has clashed with Comer and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) over how the president’s son will testify.
Comer predicted on “Fox News Sunday Futures with Maria Bartiromo” that there will be enough House Republican support to authorize the inquiry despite the GOP’s razor-thin three-vote margin.
“We are unified at a time when it’s no secret our conference is broken in a lot of ways,” Comer said. “I’m confident we’re going to have the votes to move forward with this impeachment inquiry.”
Comer took a shot at Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), a potential “no” vote:
“Ken Buck, he votes no on everything. He’s certainly doing everything he can to try out to be the next anchor for MSNBC. But at the end of the day, I think our members realize that this is of the utmost importance.”
Quick note: It’s “Jamie Raskin,” not “Raskins,” as Comer said twice.
Now let’s focus on Mayorkas. The Homeland Security Committee is leading this probe. We’re told that any impeachment vote for Mayorkas — if and when it happens — will first take place in that panel and then could move directly to the House floor.
The Judiciary Committee, which normally would have jurisdiction here, will instead prioritize Biden, so Homeland Security will have responsibility for Mayorkas.
Judiciary traditionally handles such matters, including preparing articles of impeachment. But House GOP leaders face a serious time crunch on Mayorkas. And there’s no requirement that the panel has to be involved in impeachment cases either.
Speaker Mike Johnson and Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green (R-Tenn.) met privately with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) shortly before she pulled a Mayorkas impeachment resolution last week. Greene told reporters that a vote on Mayorkas’ impeachment will happen “very soon.”
But the delay will allow Green to come out with his final report on Mayorkas. And more importantly for him, this will allow the Homeland Security panel to keep its control of the impeachment process on Mayorkas.
— John Bresnahan
What we’re watching
Monday: The House Rules Committee will meet on several bills that the leadership is putting on the floor this week.
Tuesday: The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Justice Department’s civil rights division. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke will testify. FBI Director Chris Wray will be in front of Senate Judiciary.
The House Education and Workforce Committee will hold a hearing on campus antisemitism with MIT President Sally Kornbluth, University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill, AU Jewish Studies professor Pamela Nadell and Harvard President Claudine Gay.
Wednesday: Senate Banking has a big hearing with the CEOs of large financial institutions. The CEOs testifying are: Wells Fargo’s Charles Scharf, Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan, JP Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, Citigroup’s Jane Fraser, State Street’s Ronald O’Hanley, BNY Mellon’s Robin Vince, Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon and Morgan Stanley’s James Gorman.
— Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY EXXONMOBIL
American industry with low emissions. Let’s deliver.
New: The NRCC is launching a digital ad campaign featuring artificial intelligence-created images of national parks “overrun with illegal immigrants.” The GOP messaging takes aim at a number of vulnerable House Democrats who voted against a Republican resolution last week that would bar federal agencies from using funds to house migrants.
The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.), would affect the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Forest Service.
Here’s a video the NRCC is running. And here are links to some of the AI-generated ads, like this one depicting Acadia National Park, represented by Rep. Jared Golden’s (D-Maine), and Glacier Bay National Park, which is in Rep. Mary Peltola’s (D-Alaska) district.
Using AI in this manner — even in political ads — is a controversial tactic.
This is interesting. Alums for Campus Fairness is running an ad about a controversial speech given by a professor about Israel and Palestine. They are urging Cornell University to fire the professor.
— Max Cohen and Jake Sherman
THE MONEY GAME
It’s a big week on the fundraising front. Here are some events to watch out for.
Monday: Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) is the special guest at a fundraiser for Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) at The Frost Group’s office on Capitol Hill. Rep. Nikki Budzinski (D-Ill.) has a fundraiser for her BudWINski PAC.
Tuesday: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) has a sushi lunch with a private chef. House Minority Whip Katherine Clark is appearing at a fundraiser for Rep. Val Hoyle (D-Ore.) at the Hyde Speakeasy. House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar has his end-of-the-year reception at 6 p.m.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries is appearing at an evening event on the Senate side for Rep. Don Davis (D-N.C.).
Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) has his holiday reception featuring Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.).
Wednesday: Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) has a fundraiser for her leadership PAC at Trattoria Alberto. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) has a “cookies and coco” fundraiser on the Hill. Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) has a fundraiser hosted by the Beer Institute.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has a holiday fundraiser for his Tomorrow is Meaningful PAC.
Illinois Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley has a fundraiser featuring Lou Malnati’s Pizza at the ACEC townhouse. Aguilar is appearing at a fundraiser for Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.).
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) has a holiday celebration featuring Chief Deputy Whip Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) and a list of other House Republicans.
Thursday: Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska) has a breakfast fundraiser with Clark.
Friday: Clark is hosting a daytime fundraiser at Bluemont Vineyard in Bluemont, Va.
— Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY EXXONMOBIL
Capturing industry’s carbon emissions. Let’s deliver.
12:15 p.m.: President Joe Biden will get his daily intelligence briefing with Vice President Kamala Harris.
Biden’s week: Tuesday: Biden will fly to Boston for three campaign receptions.
Wednesday: Biden will speak at the Tribal Nations Summit and then will participate in a campaign reception in D.C.
Friday: Biden will fly to Las Vegas and Los Angeles. He has a fundraiser in L.A.
Saturday: Biden has a fundraiser in L.A.
“Who will run Gaza after the war? U.S. searches for best of bad options,” by Michael Birnbaum in Tel Aviv, Israel, William Booth in London and Hazem Balousha in Amman, Jordan
“Johnson moves to corral GOP hardliners as tension grows in ranks,” by Melanie Zanona, Manu Raju and Annie Grayer
“Israel orders mass evacuations as it widens offensive; Palestinians are running out of places to go,” by Wafaa Shurafa in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, and Samy Magdy in Cairo
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
PRESENTED BY EXXONMOBIL
Let’s deliver clean energy from hydrogen.
At ExxonMobil we’re working on solutions to reduce carbon emissions in our own operations – like clean energy from hydrogen – that could also help in other industries. At our Baytown plant, one of the world’s largest integrated refining and petrochemical operations, we’re working to deploy hydrogen power and carbon capture to reduce emissions by up to 30%. Now, we’re taking solutions like these to others in heavy industry. Using our technologies, we can help businesses in manufacturing, commercial transportation and power generation create a plan to make similar reductions. And together, we can deliver a lower-emissions future. Let’s deliver.
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
Every single issue of Punchbowl News published, all in one placeVisit the archive
“Dynamic GPOs have embraced digital transformation without sacrificing their commitment to accountability and rigorous guidelines set forth by HGPII,” – Senator Byron Dorgan, HGPII National Co-Coordinator