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BY JOHN BRESNAHAN, ANNA PALMER, JAKE SHERMAN AND HEATHER CAYGLE
WITH MAX COHEN AND CHRISTIAN HALL
Happy Monday morning.
This will be another hectic week in Washington. We wanted to take this small slice of your morning to lay out what we expect will unfold during the next few days.
→ SCOTUS. The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet today to begin the process of moving Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination for the Supreme Court to the floor. Under the committee’s rules, Judiciary Committee Republicans have the ability to delay the committee’s consideration of Jackson until next Monday – and they’ll do so.
In the interim, Republicans on the panel have been pushing for the disclosure of sentencing reports from cases involving child pornography that Jackson presided over as a district court judge. Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin has said he’s opposed to the release of these records and won’t delay the proceedings over the issue.
With all that said, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is backing Jackson, and her nomination is in strong shape. No Democrats are opposed, and the White House is still searching for GOP votes.
Jackson is still working lawmakers in the Capitol. She’ll meet with Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) at 2 p.m. today. More senatorial one-on-ones with the Supreme Court hopeful are expected throughout the week
→ The Scavino-Navarro contempt vote. The Jan. 6 Committee will vote tonight on a criminal contempt referral to the Justice Department for former Trump aides Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro. This motion will easily be approved by the committee and it will pass the House – if it gets to the floor. Here’s the report outlining the criminal contempt referral for Scavino and Navarro by the select committee, which was released last night.
The House has already approved criminal contempt referrals against former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon, the one-time aide to former President Donald Trump. The Justice Department has yet to take any action against the pair.
The select committee also adopted a criminal contempt referral against former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark, who was closely involved in the effort to overturn the 2020 election, but that resolution has never made it to the House floor.
→ Budget week. President Joe Biden will release his 2023 budget this morning, which will take up a lot of oxygen on Capitol Hill this week.
House Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) will hold a pen-and-pad meeting with reporters at 3 p.m. And newly confirmed OMB Director Shalanda Young will be in the White House briefing room today along with Cecilia Rouse, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.Young will also testify before the House and Senate Budget committees on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively on the spending blueprint.
Remember: Budgets are important for one main reason – they’re reflections of the values of the party putting it forward. The proposal will become a punching bag for Republicans, and it is oftentimes politically unpalatable for the party in power.
We already know several key points on the FY 2023 budget plan:
1) The White House is going to be celebrating the big drop in the federal deficit from last year to this. Of course, in 2021 the federal government was dealing with the worst of the pandemic and Democrats enacted a huge spending bill to deal with the crisis, but this is politics, so you take wins wherever you can.
2) Biden is pushing a “billionaires tax,” something several Democrats have previously proposed during this Congress, including Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.);
3) Biden is going to seek a big boost in defense spending, per Bloomberg. Coming on top of the sizable Pentagon plus-up in the recent omnibus spending package, this is going to be tough for progressives to take. Watch for Republicans try to outbid the White House on this front.
Here’s how the White House describes their proposal:
“The President’s budget will reflect three important values: fiscal responsibility, safety and security at home and abroad, and a commitment to building a better America. The budget will show how the strongest economic growth in nearly 40 years, powered by the American Rescue Plan, has put the deficit on track to drop by more than $1.3 trillion this year – the largest-ever one-year decline.”
→ USICA. The Senate will finish work on USICA – the chips/competitiveness package – tonight. Technically, senators will vote on final passage to amend the House bill, attaching bipartisan Senate language. That will then be sent to the House, clearing the way for the two chambers to begin a formal conference negotiation. The negotiation could begin later this week. Lawmakers are hoping they can resolve their differences on the package, which is designed to aid U.S. high-tech research and manufacturing to compete with China.
→ Covid funding. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer continued negotiating this weekend over the contours of a new Covid aid package. Remember – Romney’s demand is that the White House take account of the unspent money from previous Covid packages before seeking new funding. Democrats seem upbeat that a deal could be reached this week and a vote could happen. We’ll take a wait-and-see approach here.
→ Oil ban and trade relations with Russia and Belarus. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blocked consideration of the bill to end oil imports from Russia and rescind trade relations with Russia and Belarus. Senate Democratic leadership plans to offer several unanimous consent agreements to put pressure on Paul to end his blockade.
→ Ukraine briefing. Biden administration officials will be on Capitol Hill Wednesday at 3 p.m. to give senators a classified briefing.
→ Don Young. The body of the late Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) will lie in state in Statuary Hall on Tuesday. Young, the longest-serving House Republican in U.S. history, died on March 18. Young represented Alaska in Congress from March 1973 until his death. There will be a formal ceremony tomorrow with Young’s family present.
→ Also worth noting: White House COVID watch. Deputy White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre – who traveled to Europe with President Joe Biden – disclosed Sunday night that she had tested positive for Covid. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for Covid last week and couldn’t make the trip to Europe.
“This afternoon, after returning from the President’s trip to Europe, I took a PCR test. That test came back positive,” Jean-Pierre said in a statement released Sunday night.
“I last saw the President during a socially distanced meeting yesterday, and the President is not considered a close contact as defined by CDC guidance. I am sharing the news of my positive test today out of an abundance of transparency.”
Jean-Pierre, who is vaccinated and boosted, said she has “only experienced mild symptoms.” She’ll work from home and return to the White House following the five-day isolation period and a negative test.
One more nugget for you: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce, told us at the GOP retreat in Florida last week if Republicans take the majority, her committee will invite the executives from social media platforms like Gettr, Parler and Truth Social to testify about the “challenges they face” in getting traction in the marketplace.
→ Stay tuned: A special edition of The Daily Punch with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will post this afternoon. Listen here.
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BIDEN’S BAD NEWS
What Biden’s bad poll numbers mean for House Democrats
NBC News had some bad news for the White House Sunday.
Biden’s approval ratings hit 40 percent – the worst of his presidency. This sums up NBC’s take:
“‘What this poll says is that President Biden and Democrats are headed for a catastrophic election,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff of Public Opinions Strategy, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates.
The White House typically responds to polls like this by pointing out that other recent surveys have him somewhat higher, which is true.
However, there doesn’t seem to have been any post “State of the Union bump” or “Ukraine bump.” Inflation and economic worries are crushing Biden and show no signs of abating at this point.
If you’re a House or Senate Democrat, you’re going to want to take some action soon to solidify your own political positions. Keep a lookout for an increased talk about a new Build Back Better-style bill or other proactive legislation dealing with the economy or gas prices.
For example, the House Democrats are considering legislation to issue direct payments to Americans to help offset gas prices – something we reported a few weeks ago. This is unlikely to get through a 50-50 Senate, obviously, but it shows that House Democrats are cognizant about the political and economic danger of sky-high gas prices and want to address it.
Who we’re watching
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer: Schumer is often on this list because, well, he’s the majority leader. But after some frustration last week, Schumer gets his USICA vote tonight – finally – which can kick off a House-Senate conference on a measure he’s pushed for months. He’s trying to cut a deal with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on a new Covid prep package, while also trying to work through Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) hold on the Russia PNTR bill. And there’s that Supreme Court nomination lurking in the background.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine): If any Republican is going to vote for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court, it’s most likely Collins. Collins backed Jackson for the appellate court last year, one of only three Senate Republicans to do so. She’s backed a number of President Joe Biden’s other nominees. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is in cycle, and some of the other Republicans may back off over the child pornography issue their GOP colleagues have focused on, whether you think it’s fair or not. The White House really doesn’t want a 50-50 tie on Jackson broken by Vice President Kamala Harris – and they’re not giving up on anyone – so they’ll work any potential GOP backers hard this week.
What we’re watching
→ Monday: The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to consider nominations, including Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court. The Jan. 6 committee will meet to vote on a criminal contempt referral against Peter Navarro and Daniel Scavino.
→ Tuesday: The Senate Armed Services Committee will meet to examine the United States European Command and United States Transportation Command. House Oversight will meet to talk about universal health coverage. The House Judiciary Committee will conduct an oversight hearing on the cyber division of the FBI. The House Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the president’s FY 2023 budget with OMB Director Shalanda Young. The Helsinki Commission will hold a hearing on Russian propaganda and misinformation. The Senate Intelligence Committee will have a closed briefing.
→ Wednesday: House Judiciary will hold a hearing on qualified immunity. USCP Chief Tom Manger will appear at a House Appropriations Committee hearing on the department’s budget request. The Senate Budget Committee will hold a hearing on the president’s budget request with Young. The House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on American stock markets.
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→ News: Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) raised more than $1.2 million for the NRCC at his home at Longboat Key, Fla., Saturday. Buchanan is in overdrive to try to lock up his bid to be the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee. Buchanan is the favorite in a race that includes Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) and Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.).
In attendance at the event: NRCC Chair Tom Emmer (Minn.), Republican Study Committee Chair Jim Banks of Indiana, Florida Reps. Mike Waltz and John Rutherford, and Reps. Ann Wagner (Mo.), French Hill (Ark.), Ron Estes (Kan.), Scott Fitzgerald (Wis.), Dan Newhouse (Wash.) and John Katko (N.Y.). Also: Former Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen (Fla.), Dennis Ross (Fla.) and former Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (Mich.).
→ House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik’s E-PAC is hosting a fundraiser at noon today that’s expected to raise $150,000 for endorsed candidates, bringing her total raised and donated to $3.2 million. Here’s the invite.
→ It’s the last week of the fundraising quarter, and there are a lot of end-of-quarter fundraising events. For example, Ways and Means Chair Richie Neal (D-Mass.) and members of his committee will host a fundraiser Wednesday evening with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney benefitting the DCCC.
→ Josh Mandel, running for the GOP nomination for the Senate in Ohio, has a new spot playing up his military service, after Mike Gibbons said that Mandel has never had a real job. Mandel, the former secretary of state of Ohio, ran for the Senate in 2012 and lost. Gibbons is a first-time candidate. Also in the race: Jane Timken, the former head of the GOP in Ohio, and J.D. Vance, the author and venture capitalist. Mandel’s ad, courtesy AdImpact, is running statewide.
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11:30 a.m.: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will get the daily intelligence briefing.
2:45 p.m.: Biden will speak about his 2023 budget. OMB Director Shalanda Young will also speak.
3 p.m.: Andrew Bates will brief reporters. Young, Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will also brief.
→ “In Lviv, New Russian Strikes Pierce the Sense of Security in West,” by Valerie Hopkins in Lviv, Ukraine
→ “With Eyes on Russia, the U.S. Military Prepares for an Arctic Future,” by Mike Baker in Delta Junction, Alaska
→ “Blinken to Press Mideast Allies for Stronger Support for Ukraine,” by Lara Jakes in Sde Boker, Israel
→ “Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of Israel tests positive for the coronavirus,” by Patrick Kingsley in Jerusalem
→ “How covid brain fog may overlap with ‘chemo brain’ and Alzheimer’s,” by Ariana Eunjung Cha
→ “Oil Prices Stay High as Russian Crude Shortage Hits Market,” by Anna Hirtenstein
→ “Biden’s Remark on Putin Stirs Anxiety Among Western Allies,” by Sabrina Siddiqui and Tarini Parti
→ “Ukraine Seeks to Exploit Shift in Russia’s Military Strategy,” by Isabel Coles, Max Colchester and Yuliya Chernova, with a Kyiv dateline
→ “Biden Seeks to Temper Remark on Putin as U.S. Allies Object” by Tony Czuczka
→ “Russia shifts focus to try to grind Ukraine’s army in east,” by Nebi Qena and Yuras Karmanau
→ “Why redistricting has stalled in 4 unfinished states,” by Ally Mutnick and Gary Fineout
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