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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.
House Republicans are on track to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and maybe President Joe Biden. Former President Donald Trump is on the path to the GOP presidential nomination. Speaker Mike Johnson is in an increasingly perilous position with his right flank.
Does it sound like Congress is going to approve a border security and immigration deal?
The Senate’s bipartisan talks are hitting new snags over a key element to any border agreement — parole authority. The lead GOP negotiator, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), is walking back his optimistic predictions for a possible deal this week. And he’s balking at House Republicans’ effort to impeach Mayorkas, the man who’s been in the room with Lankford and White House officials negotiating a border deal over the last few weeks.
The strategic differences between Senate and House Republicans right now cannot be overstated. You could even make the argument that they’re irreconcilable.
While House Republicans are looking to boot the DHS secretary from office, Lankford says the only way to address the crisis at the border is to pass legislation forcing Mayorkas to change the policies at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Mayorkas is carrying out President Biden’s policies. That’s what a secretary is going to do. So you can swap secretaries — the policies are going to be exactly the same,” Lankford told us Monday night. “I understand their frustration. But President Biden’s going to have the exact same policies. Until we change the law, until we change the execution of it, we’re going to have the same results.”
To illustrate the seemingly impossible position Lankford finds himself in, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) invoked an old John McCain saying.
“Your reward will be in heaven, not on earth,” Cornyn said. Cornyn later likened Lankford to “a goalie on a dart team.”
Lankford didn’t dispute this analogy, but he leaned harder into his view that a compromise is necessary when Democrats control the White House and Senate while the House is “almost-exactly divided.”
“For those of us that have been engaged on the field, we’re going to take lots of hits, and lots of people are going to cheer and boo in the stands,” Lankford said. “I understand that. But the task has still got to be done… I can’t just ignore the reality of the border and what’s happening.”
Let’s be clear: Lankford is no RINO. He’s as hawkish on border policy as they come. Yet the Oklahoma Republican is taking a proverbial beating with full knowledge that this may very well collapse around him.
Even some of Lankford’s fellow GOP senators are looking to bolster the House Republican strategy. We’re told that later today, Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) will head to the floor to try to pass a “No confidence” resolution targeting Mayorkas.
And tomorrow, Senate Republicans will hash this all out at a special conference meeting called by conservatives who’ve been skeptical of the border negotiations since Day One.
The House Homeland Security Committee begins its first impeachment hearing for Mayorkas on Wednesday. One of the GOP witnesses is Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond. Drummond — long believed to have Senate aspirations — signed onto an amicus brief last year accusing the Biden administration of failing to follow the law by not detaining migrants at the border.
— Andrew Desiderio
PRESENTED BY THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION
As the leading voice for the retail industry, NRF advocates for the people, brands, policies and ideas that help retail succeed. Visit the NRF Action Center to learn about the policies affecting the retail industry, and how NRF is taking a stand on the issues that matter most — like fighting organized retail crime, reducing credit card swipe fees, and supporting jobs and economic growth.
The House will return today and Speaker Mike Johnson is set to get a very rough reception.
There has been a lot — and we mean truly a lot — of private griping among House Republicans about Johnson’s deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to lock in the Fiscal Responsibility Act for FY2024 spending. And Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis – endorsed by Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), an ardent opponent – publicly came out against the plan on Monday night, injecting some Republican presidential politics into the mix.
The FRA, which former Speaker Kevin McCarthy hashed out with President Joe Biden, is the law of the land now and will remain virtually intact under the Schumer-Johnson deal. So there wasn’t much incentive for Democrats to give in or a chance for Johnson to reset the issue. It was a bad hand for Johnson from the start.
Here’s what one well-plugged-in House Republican told us. And by the way, this is not a Freedom Caucus member:
“Significant concerns growing about Mike’s ability to jump to this level and deliver conservative wins. Growing feeling that he’s in way, way over his head. As much as there was valid criticism and frustration with Kevin, Mike is struggling to grow into the job and is just getting rolled even more than McCarthy did.”
Are Johnson’s days numbered? It’s too early to say that. But you should be aware that there are knives out for the speaker already. Our friend Reese Gorman of the Washington Examiner quoted Roy saying that he is having “sober conversations” about the “continued failure theater” that is the House GOP. Roy declined to directly address whether he’d be in favor of throwing Johnson out of the job in an interview with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.
And now, here’s some news: Johnson’s operation is now softening on their opposition to a short-term spending bill to avert a partial government shutdown Jan. 19.
Roughly two months ago, Johnson said that he was “done” with stopgap CRs. Inside the House Republican leadership, it was seen as an unnecessary proclamation that boxed in the new speaker.
But now, with a partial government shutdown 10 days away, aides to Johnson and others in the GOP leadership say that it is indeed possible that the House will have to buy more time to fund federal agencies by passing a short-term CR.
Officially, a Johnson spokesman said that the House and Senate will spend the next few weeks passing four spending bills, completing the appropriations process in regular order.
But since you weren’t born yesterday, you know this is incredibly unlikely.
There are plenty of reasons why Johnson should consider passing a short-term CR.
1) Much of Johnson’s leadership thinks it would be wise. They think a shutdown would be a political debacle.
2) If Johnson allows a short-term shutdown to occur — after suggesting he might on a call last week with House GOP freshmen — it would anger every corner of the House Republican Conference. Those itching for a shutdown would think it’s too short. And the majority of the conference, which is opposed to a shutdown, would think it’s a bad move, giving President Joe Biden a political lifeline.
3) Even with the topline spending number agreed to, top House and Senate appropriators still need to hash out the funding allocations for each subcommittee. Senior appropriators in the Senate are suggesting a short-term CR may be unavoidable.
“The time is ticking away very rapidly, and I am concerned that we have an awful lot of work to do prior to Jan. 19,” Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Susan Collins (R-Maine) said. “There are a lot of difficult decisions. The House and Senate bills are quite different from one another.”
But the main reason Johnson may not want to pass a stopgap CR is this: Reversing on a promise would be another strike in a House Republican Conference that’s already angry with him.
— Jake Sherman and Andrew Desiderio
Top tax writers are closing in on a bipartisan deal to revive some business tax benefits and expand the child tax credit. The questions now: Is everyone bought in? And can it pass?
As we scooped Monday night, sources close to the talks say negotiators have “90%” of the package done and are working on nailing down the last few policy details.
House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) are spearheading talks. But we’re watching in the coming days for where Senate Republicans in particular land on this deal.
Hill sources told us Monday it’s unclear if senior Senate Republicans — including Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) — will back the potential agreement. Crapo is in line to become chair of the panel if Republicans win the Senate this year, giving him a shot to negotiate his own expansive tax package.
The other wrench to watch: Speaker Mike Johnson is facing internal pushback over his handling of the funding talks, as we detailed above. And House leadership is exceedingly skeptical a tax deal can get done in this political climate anyway.
Plus, lawmakers have government funding deadlines to worry about and other pressing priorities like border negotiations. And the House Republican Conference is a bit of a dumpster fire right now with two votes to spare on anything.
So it’s still a huge question mark whether an agreement could pass the House in the coming weeks, even with Senate buy-in.
What’s next: House Ways and Means Committee staff plan to walk GOP panel members through the parameters of the deal on Wednesday.
There’s a big push now from the committees’ top lawmakers to get this done so the package has a shot of passing before we’re in the thick of tax season — which kicks off Jan. 29.
“I’ve been at this issue of the tax agreement for 18 months now, and we’re honing in on a very specific target which is to get this done in time for filing season,” Wyden said. “I’m going to pull out all the stops.”
Everyone in the negotiating room understands that urgency, according to one source close to the talks.
— Laura Weiss and Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION
Retail crime is rising. Tell Congress to pass the bipartisan Combating Organized Retail Crime Act, which would increase federal coordination with state and local law enforcement.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the 84-year-old former House majority leader, isn’t done with Congress just yet. Hoyer announced on Monday he was seeking a 23rd term in 2024, and we spoke with the longtime Maryland Democrat to hear why.
Hoyer’s decision to stay: First thing’s first: Hoyer’s new wife is on board. Plus, Hoyer told us he’s in good health. And on the policy side, Hoyer believes he’ll be in a key position to help ensure the construction of the new FBI headquarters in his home state.
“I think we’re going to take back the majority of the House. I’ll be the House chairman of the subcommittee that deals with the construction of buildings,” Hoyer said. “I think I’ll have some ability to make sure [the FBI headquarters] happens.”
Hoyer has made bringing the FBI headquarters to Maryland the centerpiece of the final stage of his political career. While Virginians are crying foul over the GSA process that led to Maryland’s victory, Hoyer maintains the selection was fair.
“In terms of the FBI, which obviously was of critical importance, we’ve had success on that,” Hoyer added. “But it’s not done until it’s done.”
The stakes of 2024: Hoyer, breaking with some in his party, said he doesn’t think former President Donald Trump should be disqualified from the ballot over his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
To be clear, Hoyer slammed Trump as a figure who “led, recruited, incited and deployed an insurrectionist mob to the Capitol.” But until Trump is convicted, Hoyer said he should be defeated at the polls and not kicked off the ballot.
Hoyer is confident that President Joe Biden will win reelection, arguing the incumbent “has one hell of a record — probably one of the best records of any president in a three-year term.” Of course, Hoyer has been front and center in the implementation effort, working alongside the White House in his role as Regional Leadership Council chair.
And the Maryland Democrat predicted the ongoing House GOP impeachment inquiry into Biden wouldn’t affect the president.
“There is no fire there. There’s no smoke there,” Hoyer said. “They’ve been pounding on the table. But they don’t have the facts and they don’t have the law.”
— Max Cohen
News: House Democrats’ campaign arm is unveiling a $35 million investment to target minority voters, already outpacing its expenditures on this front from last cycle by $5 million.
DCCC’s new initiative, named P.O.W.E.R., is aiming to expand the party’s messaging to Asian American, Black and Hispanic voters ahead of November. P.O.W.E.R. stands for Persuade, Organize, Welcome, Educate and Reach.
The DCCC’s push to invigorate minority voters comes amid increased focus by Republicans to expand their support base among nonwhite voters.
Republicans poured millions of dollars last cycle into launching “community centers” to reach minority voters in dozens of areas traditionally considered Democratic strongholds. The offices offered reading materials and information about the GOP to prospective new voters in cities like Milwaukee and Houston.
The DCCC plans to hire district organizers in key regions to register voters and hold community events. The campaign arm will also use some of this funding to commission polling on which issues these voting blocs care about most and a study on how they’re getting their news and information.
In other campaign news: The Republican Main Street Partnership PAC is backing Tim Sheehy in the Montana Senate race, in addition to Jeff Hurd in Colorado’s 3rd District and Max Engling in Indiana’s 5th District. The RMSP PAC is the political wing of the pragmatic conservative group helmed by Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.).
Sheehy is seeking to unseat Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). Hurd and Engling are running in open GOP primaries.
Michigan fundraising: Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) raised more than $2.8 million for her Senate bid in the fourth quarter of 2023. Slotkin has more than $6 million on hand.
— Mica Soellner and Max Cohen
PRESENTED BY THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION
Tell Congress to pass the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act.
ALL TIMES EASTERN
President Joe Biden will get his daily intelligence briefing.
Speaker Mike Johnson will have a photo spray with Taiwanese Ambassador Alexander Yui ahead of their meeting.
– Eric Schmitt and Helene Cooper
– Rachel Pannett, Kelsey Ables, Ishaan Tharoor, John Hudson and Annabelle Timsit
– Matthew Lee in Tel Aviv, Israel, Najib Jobain in Rafah, Gaza Strip, and Samy Magdy in Cairo
PRESENTED BY THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION
Organized retail crime (ORC), violence and theft continue to impact the retail industry at unprecedented rates. According to NRF’s 2023 National Retail Security Survey, retailers reported that all forms of theft accounted for nearly two-thirds (65%) of their shrink in 2022. Even more concerning, 67% of retailers also noted an increase in violence and aggression associated with ORC compared with the previous year. These crimes put employees and customers at risk — and also add to total shrink, costing the industry over $112 billion in 2022. Policymakers in Washington are considering the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act, which would increase federal coordination with state and local law enforcement to fight retail crime. Contact your representatives in Congress and ask them to support this bipartisan solution to fight retail crime.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
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