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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 Tuesday morning.
The House Homeland Security Committee will mark up a resolution today to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the first time in nearly 150 years that the chamber will try to remove a member of the president’s Cabinet.
The impeachment fight again puts front and center two dynamics that have divided Washington during President Joe Biden’s tenure: the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and House Republicans’ unyielding appetite for political drama over actual legislating.
The reality: Even if House Republicans are successful at impeaching Mayorkas, the Democratic-controlled Senate will certainly acquit him. Meaning this all will have achieved nothing. Mayorkas will still be going to work every day at his office in Southeast D.C.
And at the same time the House Republican Conference is seeking to remove Mayorkas, the party has rejected out of hand the Senate’s emerging bipartisan border security and immigration policy deal.
This is the kind of stuff that makes or breaks House majorities. It will depend as much on who wins the spin war as any floor votes. Speaker Mike Johnson has been moving in this direction for months.
To that end, House Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green’s (R-Tenn.) panel will mark up two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas this morning, accusing him of breaching the public trust and willfully ignoring the law.
Here’s some news: Mayorkas, who hasn’t testified before the panel on impeachment, sent a fiery defense to Green this morning calling the effort a political charade.
“Whatever proceedings you initiate, however baseless, my responsiveness to oversight requests will not waiver,” Mayorkas wrote in a letter to Green. “I assure you that your false accusations do not rattle me and do not divert me from the law enforcement and broader public service to which I remain devoted.”
This is the first time Mayorkas has directly responded to Green about the impeachment effort. DHS officials and Homeland Security Committee Republicans have engaged in a lengthy and heated back-and-forth over scheduling in-person testimony.
Mayorkas said he never received a response from Green’s team, despite his willingness to go before the committee. Here’s more from Mayorkas in the letter:
“You did not respond to my request, changed course, and instead invited me to submit written testimony. Two days later, you issued a statement representing that every member of the Committee’s majority already had rendered their decision. I respectfully submit this letter in response.”
In a statement to us, Green dismissed Mayorkas’ letter, arguing that it’s a weak substitute to live actual testimony.
“This 11th-hour response demonstrates the lack of seriousness with which Secretary Mayorkas views his responsibilities to Congress and to the American people,” Green said.
Today’s proceedings in the Homeland Security panel are expected to be long and testy, although there’s no doubt about the final outcome. Mayorkas’ impeachment will be approved by the committee on a party-line vote.
A floor vote is coming as soon as next week. At this point, it seems as if House Republicans are on the brink of securing the votes to impeach Mayorkas, despite having a paper-thin majority. The GOP leadership hasn’t officially whipped the impeachment resolution and won’t until it clears the committee.
Green made his case to members at a whips meeting on Monday night.
Sources close to the GOP whip operation said they expect a handful of members who haven’t publicly declared their position on impeaching Mayorkas to come out in support of it in the next two days.
Here’s who we’re watching:
Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said on Monday he supports impeaching Mayorkas after initially expressing skepticism that the effort met a high crime or misdemeanor.
Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) has dodged questions from reporters about where he stands on impeachment. Joyce said he wanted to wait until everything was finalized in the committee.
Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) told us that he won’t decide until the committee has its markup. Sources told us they believe McClintock will be the toughest member to flip.
Rep. Ken Buck’s (R-Colo.) office told us that he is still a “lean no.”
We’ll also note that the right is ready to exact retribution on those who try to tank the floor vote. Remember: Johnson has a one or two-vote margin, depending on the day.
For example, here’s Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) on the impeachment skeptics.
“He’s lied to Congress. If you ignore the fact that a Cabinet secretary has perjured himself before Congress because you’re concerned about your reelection then you should leave. That’s my position.”
Democrats are united in opposition. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) is running his quixotic campaign for president and Democrats hope he’ll make it back for a floor vote.
We’ll have all the details on the markup in our Midday edition out later today.
– Mica Soellner
Upcoming February Events! Join us next week on Friday, Feb. 9 at 9 a.m. ET in Cincinnati, Ohio for a conversation with Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio). We’ll discuss news of the day and challenges facing small business owners. There’s still time to RSVP!
PRESENTED BY AMAZON
Amazon combines comprehensive benefits with free skills training to help hourly employees learn and earn more.
Drew is one of the North Little Rock employees taking advantage of Amazon’s on-the job training programs. “Now I’m an IT specialist,” he said.
Republicans who oppose the Senate’s border security negotiations — including former President Donald Trump — are now arguing that a legislative fix for the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border isn’t necessary. But that hasn’t always been their position.
Speaker Mike Johnson is slamming the emerging Senate bill in part by contending that President Joe Biden should take executive actions that restore Trump-era policies, even though Johnson’s chamber passed a hardline border security bill that later served as his negotiating position.
Conservative GOP senators are embracing this argument too, a reversal of their previous position that the border is an issue that Congress must address through legislation. Take Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), for instance, who said on Fox that “we don’t need a border bill.” Prior to this, Cruz has long said Congress must act to close loopholes in immigration laws.
And just Monday, Trump wrote on Truth Social that “a border bill is not necessary to stop” the flow of migrants into the country, and said he “didn’t need a bill” while he was in office.
Yet during his presidency, Trump consistently asked Congress to pass border-security legislation and slammed what he called an “endemic abuse of the asylum system.” Trump said existing laws were “archaic” and “incompetent.”
Here’s more of what Trump said in 2018:
“The only long-term solution to the crisis, and the only way to ensure the endurance of our nation as a sovereign country, is for Congress to overcome open-borders obstruction.”
Looking ahead: None of the Senate proposal’s contents can be fully scrutinized because the text hasn’t been released yet. Senate leaders hope to release it this week.
Conservatives will undoubtedly argue that the bill doesn’t go far enough to secure the border. And Biden could, in theory, re-impose some of the Trump-era policies that he scrapped at the beginning of his presidency. (That’s probably not going to happen.)
But the GOP shift in messaging is notable as Republican hardliners insist that their opposition to the Senate proposal isn’t simply in service of Trump. It also comes on the heels of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s impassioned closed-door pleas for Republicans to embrace the border policy changes being negotiated with Democrats — regardless of how the politics may play out for Trump.
The GOP case in favor: The emerging agreement, proponents argue, would impose many of the same policy changes that Trump himself asked for, such as expedited removal and an asylum crackdown. And it would force a border closure if the number of illegal crossings get too high.
Many Senate Republicans see this as a major step in their party’s direction on border security and say it would be political malpractice to do nothing after spending months claiming it’s a national emergency. Plus, it allows Biden and red-state Democratic senators to argue that Republicans walked away from some of the strictest border restrictions in decades.
There’s no doubt that keeping the border issue alive through November is a boost to Trump. And those in favor of the bipartisan border proposal suspect that’s at least partially why he’s rejecting any movement toward a deal.
Yet McConnell and many others are making the case that Republicans have their best shot, maybe ever, to force Democrats to accept their border security demands — without having to agree to codify DACA or a pathway to citizenship in return.
Instead, the “price to pay” in this scenario is Ukraine funding — something McConnell and most Senate Republicans support anyway. When the “border for Ukraine” proposition was first raised last year, the hope was that attaching border restrictions would convince enough Republicans to back the overall supplemental funding package — or at least make it more politically palatable.
So far, that theory isn’t panning out, with many congressional Republicans deferring to Trump.
— Andrew Desiderio
Speaker Mike Johnson intends to put the bipartisan, bicameral tax bill on the floor later this week using the fast-track suspension process.
Like everything on Capitol Hill, the plan is fluid and the decision is not final. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) has been pitching House Republicans on the plan this week. He is expected to discuss it in more detail this morning at conference.
Johnson said this Monday about the bill:
“I think you’re gonna get a very high vote tally, probably on both sides of the aisle. There’s a lot of great policy in there. It’s not a perfect bill. We’re not going to get a perfect bill when we have divided government as we do.”
Johnson has been slow to decide on when and how to bring the bill to the floor. He’s been sensitive to some complaints from lawmakers. Let’s dig in.
SALT revolt: Some blue-state Republicans have been pushing to increase state and local tax deductions in the bill. This is a key priority for their districts but one that could also unravel other support for the package. Now, Long Island lawmakers are escalating that fight.
Rep. Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.) said he won’t vote for the bill unless it has at least some relief from the $10,000 SALT cap. LaLota said he and other New Yorkers could take action against unrelated rules votes to make the point that leadership needs to listen to them on SALT.
“In this Congress, in order for individual members to have their voices heard when leadership doesn’t listen to them, they have called the rules into question,” LaLota said.
Another “no” vote without SALT relief, Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), said he’s also considering voting down unrelated rules over the issue. “Perhaps it’s time that us rational become the radical,” he said.
Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.) also told us Monday night that he won’t support the bipartisan package without SALT.
“There might be other things we don’t support either, if this bill moves forward by suspension,” he said.
Other GOP members railing against the lack of SALT relief are not signaling “no” votes for now. Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) didn’t say how he’d vote on the bill, and Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) told us he was undecided.
Garcia said the bill is good but he’s told leadership without a “pinch of SALT” in it, the GOP will lose its House majority. The members pressing this issue mostly hail from vulnerable districts that President Joe Biden won in 2020.
What do the SALT backers want? Several have mentioned allowing twice the deductions for married couples filing taxes jointly, who are currently subject to the same SALT cap as individuals.
That plan would cost about $12 billion per year, Lawler told reporters. That could be significant in the scope of this package, which includes under $80 billion in policies and is roughly offset.
The SALT push could be a headache for leadership. On the tax bill itself though, Republicans seem to have confidence they’ll be able to push it through. Democrats are expected to put up a strong number in favor of the package.
– Laura Weiss, Brendan Pedersen and Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY AMAZON
Amazon offers ten free skills training programs to help employees learn and earn more. Hear from employees benefitting.
THE MONEY GAME
News: The NRCC raised $7.2 million in December 2023, a substantial sum that closes out a record $91.3 million fundraising year for the House GOP campaign arm. The year-long total is an NRCC record for a year before a presidential election.
The December tally follows the NRCC’s $9 million haul in November, which broke the November off-year record for the campaign committee.
The NRCC has $42.5 million on hand to close out the year.
In a nutshell, these numbers are the latest sign that House Republicans are getting their money operation back on track after a disastrous month in October. Of course, the ousting of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy paralyzed the GOP funding operation.
But Speaker Mike Johnson has taken steps to allay these concerns. Johnson’s $10.6 million fourth-quarter fundraising sum was a sign that the Louisiana Republican could raise money on the national stage.
Republicans are currently enjoying the smallest House majority in history and face an uphill battle to keep the chamber next cycle. But NRCC Chair Richard Hudson said in a statement that the latest numbers show that “Republicans hold the momentum to grow our House majority with historic fundraising and an incredible class of candidates.”
“Hakeem Jeffries should prepare himself for another long slog in the minority,” Hudson said.
— Max Cohen
News: Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.), a GOP incumbent who’s won two straight races in a Democratic district, raised more than $1 million in Q4. It’s the latest strong fundraising quarter from Steel, who has brought in an impressive $4.4 million this cycle.
Steel ended 2023 with nearly $3.1 million on hand. These are top-tier numbers for a lawmaker in their second term.
— Max Cohen
PRESENTED BY AMAZON
Amazon’s free skills training helped Drew become an IT specialist.
ALL TIMES EASTERN
Speaker Mike Johnson, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer and House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik will hold a news conference after the closed-door party meeting.
President Joe Biden will leave Andrews for Palm Beach, Fla.
House Democratic Caucus Chair Pete Aguilar and Vice Chair Ted Lieu will hold a news conference after their closed party meeting.
Biden will participate in a fundraiser in Jupiter, Fla.
Biden will leave Palm Beach for Miami.
Biden will participate in a fundraiser in Miami.
Biden will leave Miami for Andrews. He’s scheduled back into the White House at 10:40 p.m.
– Edward Wong and Julian E. Barnes
– Tyler Pager, Yasmeen Abutaleb and Abigail Hauslohner
– Ethan Bronner
– William Mauldin, Benoit Faucon and Ian Talley
PRESENTED BY AMAZON
80% of employees reported skills training is one of their top priorities according to a survey by Workplace Intelligence. But many don’t have access to the programs and opportunities they need to advance their careers.
That’s why Amazon has committed $1.2 billion to free technical training and prepaid tuition, so all of their employees have the opportunity to learn and earn more.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
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