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BY JOHN BRESNAHAN, ANNA PALMER, JAKE SHERMAN AND HEATHER CAYGLE
WITH MAX COHEN AND CHRISTIAN HALL
Happy Monday morning.
We have some fascinating data from The Canvass, our anonymous survey of senior Capitol Hill aides that we conduct alongside the Locust Street Group. We’ll be rolling out the data each day this week. Subscribe to Premium, because after today, the data will be in our afternoon and evening editions.
We wanted to share some new data with you on two extremely hot topics: the Capitol Hill unionization effort and “Dear White Staffers,” an Instagram account that anonymously catalogs working conditions in various Hill offices.
On unionization. 45% of staffers said they oppose efforts to unionize Capitol Hill aides. Just 39% supported it and 16% did not know. 77% of Democrats support the effort. A whopping 87% of Republican staffers opposed staffers unionizing, with 13% undecided on the issue. 19% of Democratic staffers likewise do not have an opinion on unionization.
If there were an effort to unionize, 56% of respondents said they would not vote to join the union. 44% of Democrats said they would vote to join a union, while 97% of Republicans said they wouldn’t vote to join.
Senate staffers are slightly less interested in unionization than their House counterparts. 36% of Senate aides said they support the effort, while 39% oppose. 40% of House staffers support it and 47% oppose unionization.
The effort to organize Capitol Hill aides has picked up steam in recent months, especially on the House side. The House Administration Committee held a hearing last month on organizing Hill staffers. The Office of Congressional Workplace Rights gave a go-ahead for aides to begin to organize.
On “Dear White Staffers” “Dear White Staffers” – an Instagram account with 85,000 followers – has been key in pushing for a union among aides. The account has been a way for staffers to anonymously share complaints about their bosses, pay inequity, sexual harassment and the general workplace culture on Capitol Hill.
Most senior staffers follow the account – 64% said they do. 77% of Democrats follow, 50% of Republicans, 62% of House senior staffers and 68% of Senate senior staffers.
The majority of senior staffers said they don’t believe that the account accurately reflects Hill staff attitudes. Only 39% of respondents said that the account reflects the genuine attitudes of most Hill staffers. 59% said that the account reflects little, if any, of what staffers really think.
It’s worth noting: The Canvass is an anonymous survey of senior staff while much of the unionization effort and postings on “Dear White Staffers” is fueled by junior aides on Capitol Hill. This data could be an early warning sign of tensions to come on these issues.
PRESENTED BY TOYOTA
For the first time ever, last year Toyota sold more vehicles in the United States than any other auto manufacturer.
But what makes us prouder is this: 76% of all Toyotas sold are manufactured in North America. What began with one sales office now spans coast to coast, with tens of thousands of people working in 11 plants.
Next, we’re opening a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery plant in North Carolina, continuing the work of energizing America.
KBJ is priority No. 1, but there is lots going on in the Senate
The big action this week is on the Senate side of the Capitol. The confirmation of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court is the number one priority for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, his leadership team and the White House. Confirming KBJ is the No. 2 priority. Confirming KBJ is the No. 3 priority. You get the idea.
There are several other issues under discussion or that could possibly get a vote on the Senate floor – provided they don’t in any way jeopardize the timetable for Jackson’s confirmation. These include a $10 billion Covid preparedness package that has been the subject of intense bipartisan talks; a bill to strip preferred trading status from Russia and Belarus; and a vote on a motion to formally begin negotiations with the House on USICA, a high-profile technology and manufacturing initiative that has strong backing from Schumer and corporate America. As we said, all three of these could happen – especially the Covid package – as long as there’s bipartisan agreement and it doesn’t interfere with the KBJ’s confirmation. It’s also possible that only a KBJ vote gets through.
So let’s go over the expected timeline for the KBJ vote once again. The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 10 a.m. this morning to vote on Jackson’s nomination. That vote is expected to end in an 11-11 tie, which will force Schumer to file a discharge motion to bring the nomination before the full Senate. A vote on that discharge motion would take place later today, with only a majority required to approve it. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has already announced her support for Jackson’s nomination, so Democrats head into this with at least 51 votes, although the White House is hoping – perhaps futilely – for some more GOP support.
With Republicans certain to filibuster Jackson’s nomination on the floor, Schumer will file a cloture motion on Tuesday. Wednesday would be the intervening day, and the cloture vote would take place Thursday. Again, this is a simple majority vote.
Once cloture on Jackson’s nomination is invoked, up to 30 hours of debate are allowed before a vote on final passage. Democrats hope to get a time agreement to speed up that process, but it will be up to GOP senators to agree. With the two-week Easter recess looming and Jackson’s confirmation on a glide path to passage, Democrats and the White House are hoping for a final vote on Thursday, but they’re fully prepared to do it Friday if necessary.
Again, confirming Jackson is far and away the Democrats’ biggest priority this week, and both Schumer and the White House appear very confident heading into the endgame.
“What I know is she will get enough votes to get confirmed,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “In the end, I suppose, that’s the only thing that matters. But I wish more Republicans would look at the case here, look at the record and vote to confirm Judge Jackson.”
The other top issue for the Senate this week is the $10 billion Covid prep package. The outlook here is murkier, although both sides are hoping to release text and the score of a potential agreement as early as today – if possible.
The proposal is aimed at bolstering the federal government’s stockpile of tests, vaccines and therapeutics ahead of any new Covid variants. Both sides also worked over the weekend to identify billions of dollars in additional offsets that could be used to cover the costs of a global vaccination effort, something progressives are pushing on. But there doesn’t appear to be any consensus on that particular issue, we’re told.
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has been leading the negotiations on this Covid package for Republicans, working with Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and others. On the Democratic side, it’s Schumer and Democratic Sens. Patty Murray (Wash.) and Chris Coons (Del.) in the lead, as well as an array of White House and administration officials.
Can a deal be reached that gets 60 votes in the Senate? Yes, it’s possible. Will it happen? Republicans seem more upbeat in some ways than Democrats. If a proposal meets Romney’s approval – meaning it’s offset and doesn’t involve new spending – then it has a chance to pass the Senate. Republicans, though, will have to deliver the needed votes to overcome an expected filibuster from their own side. So we’ll pay very close attention to how this unfolds over the 24 hours.
Two other topics worth watching – whether a deal comes together on stripping preferential trade status from Russia and Belarus (unlikely at this point) and a vote on a motion to go to conference on USICA, aka the Bipartisan Innovation Act, Endless Frontier, and other names.
The Russia PNTR bill passed the House by a 424 to 8 margin. Schumer and Democrats thought they had an agreement last week to pass a Senate version, only to face renewed opposition from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and other Republicans. The GOP senators are concerned about Global Magnitsky provisions in the bill. That statute imposes sanctions on human rights violators. Republicans complain the Magnitsky language in the PNTR bill goes too far, although Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and other Democrats note it was vetted by both parties. At this moment, it doesn’t look like an agreement will be possible before the Senate leaves town, although discussions continue. This will take some “Senate magic” to make happen.
On USICA, both sides are hoping to clear the motion to go to a conference with the House. The House has already approved this motion. Votes on motions to instruct the Senate conferees, a key issue for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are also possible, although this would require unanimous consent. Sanders is opposed to a provision in the Senate’s version of USICA authorizing $10 billion for NASA to build a second moon lander. Blue Origin, mega-billionaire Jeff Bezos’ space exploration company, is competing for that award after losing out to fellow mega-billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX on the first moon lander. Sanders also wants to strike $50 billion in financial support for the U.S. semiconductor industry, a major part of the plan.
Other nominations may be considered, including Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell and several Fed nominees. However, this will only happen if the nominations can be considered under agreements that don’t jeopardize the KBJ timetable.
On the House side, Democratic leaders are prepared to pass the Covid bill if a Senate deal comes together.
We’re also watching what happens to a proposed $55 billion Covid rescue package for restaurants and other small businesses. The House Rules Committee has the bill teed up for a hearing in preparation for bringing it to the floor. But we heard some concern about its prospects over the weekend. We’ll have more later today.
Also, some news: H.R. McMaster, who served as National Security Adviser under former President Donald Trump, will be the House Republicans’ witness at the Energy and Commerce Committee hearing with oil industry CEOS on Wednesday. Remember: House Democrats set up this hearing to include a lot of Big Oil bashing.
What we’re watching
→ Monday: The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 10 a.m. to vote on sending Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court onto the full Senate. The House Rules Committee will hold a hearing at 3 p.m. on the criminal contempt referral to the Justice Department for Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino.
→ Tuesday: The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on “posture of United States Special Operations Command and United States Cyber Command” with Christopher Maier, assistant secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict; Gen. Richard Clarke, the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command; and Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber Command. House Appropriations will hold a closed hearing on U.S. Strategic Command with Adm. Charles Richard.
The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on transparency on oil markets. The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on insider trading. House Rules will prep the restaurant aid bill for the floor.
→ Wednesday: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will be in front of the House Financial Services Committee to discuss the state of the U.S. economy. Oil CEOs will testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. General Stephen Townsend, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, will appear in a closed hearing of the House Appropriations Committee.
→ Thursday: The House Administration Committee will hold a hearing on reforming congressional stock trading rules. The House Appropriations Committee will hold a closed hearing on U.S. Special Operations Command. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on nominees, including Caroline Kennedy’s nomination to be ambassador to Australia.
Who we’re watching
→ Ketanji Brown Jackson: Jackson, 51, stands on the threshold of making history this week. If confirmed, she’ll be the first Black woman on the Supreme Court, and only the third Black justice. Her confirmation will break a nearly 12-year drought for Democratic nominees ascending to the Supreme Court. And white men won’t be a majority on the high court after 232 years.
→ Barack Obama. The 44th president of the United States will be back in the White House for the first time since he left office more than five years ago. Obama is returning on Tuesday for an event celebrating Obamacare with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and Obama administration alums will be in attendance as well. NBC’s Mike Memoli broke the news that Obama was heading to 1600 Pennsylvania.
PRESENTED BY TOYOTA
Toyota employs tens of thousands in 11 states. Next, we’re opening a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery plant in North Carolina, continuing the work of energizing America.
→ Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) has lost former President Donald Trump’s endorsement. Now Brooks – currently trailing in the Senate GOP primary – is running an ad across Alabama saying that he’s been one of the most conservative lawmakers in Congress. The word “weak” flashes on the screen when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s photo comes up, “big spending” when Rep. Liz Cheney’s (R-Wyo.) face appears and “open border Republicans” when his primary opponent Katie Britt appears. The ad says “the swamp hates Mo Brooks” because he’s been a true conservative. Thanks to AdImpact for the spot.
→ An interesting ad out of Ohio. Craig Riedel, a Republican state representative, is running to take on longtime Rep. Marcy Kaptur. Riedel promises he will join with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and the House Freedom Caucus if he makes it to D.C. A quite explicit promise. Thanks to AdImpact for the spot. It’s running in the Toledo market.
→ Former President Donald Trump endorsed Sarah Palin for Congress in Alaska. Palin has announced she’s running to replace the last GOP Rep. Don Young in Alaska’s at-large House seat. Palin served as governor from 2006-2009. She was also the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee.
→ An apology: We messed something up. Last week, we reported that Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) would have no opponents in his 2022 reelection bid. We came to this conclusion after looking at the Secretary of State’s website on the filing deadline and talking to an official in the state. But there were candidates who appeared on the website after the filing deadline.
PRESENTED BY TOYOTA
Toyota leads the way in electrification and is energizing America.
9:25 a.m.: President Joe Biden will leave Delaware for D.C., and he’ll arrive at Ft. McNair at 10:20 a.m.
11:30 a.m.: Biden will get his daily intelligence briefing.
1:45 p.m.: Biden will speak about “progress made on his Administration’s Trucking Action Plan to strengthen our nation’s supply chains.” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will speak, as well.
2:45 p.m.: Jen Psaki will brief. … Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) will meet with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
5 p.m.: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) will meet with Jackson. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) will also meet with Jackson.
5:20 p.m.: Vice President Kamala Harris will speak about the administration’s “plans to upgrade our public schools with clean and energy efficient facilities and transportation” at Thomas Elementary School in Anacostia.
6 p.m.: House Republicans will hold a news conference about their briefings from border patrol agents.
Week ahead: Tuesday: Former President Barack Obama will visit the White House to talk about the Affordable Care Act. Wednesday: Biden will address the North America’s Building Trades Unions’ legislative conference.
→ “French Election Opens Up as Marine Le Pen Surges,” by Roger Cohen in Paris
→ “Pro-Putin Leaders in Hungary and Serbia Set to Win Re-election,” by Andrew Higgins and Benjamin Novak in Budapest
→ “U.S. weighs tougher Russia sanctions after evidence of Bucha killings,” by Jeff Stein and John Hudson
→ “Exiled oligarch calls on other Russian tycoons to break with Putin,” by Catherine Belton in London
→ “Ukraine accuses Russia of massacre, city strewn with bodies,” by Oleksandr Stashevskyi and Nebi Qena
→ “Jan. 6 panel wonders: Is Trump criminal referral necessary?” by Nicholas Wu and Kyle Cheney
PRESENTED BY TOYOTA
For the first time ever, last year Toyota sold more vehicles in the United States than any other auto manufacturer.
And while that certainly is nice, what makes us even more proud is this: 76% of all Toyotas sold roll off the line right here in North America. We’ve been building up our presence in America for over 60 years.
What began with a single sales office now spans coast to coast, with tens of thousands of people working in 11 plants, manufacturing Camrys, RAV4s, Highlanders, Tundras, and more.
And in our ongoing effort to lead the way, we’re opening a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery plant in North Carolina, so we can continue the important work of energizing America.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images
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