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.
Happy Thursday morning.
It’s been a bad week for House Democrats. Their own polls have them in the dumps. Party leaders have struggled to wrangle the votes for a simple messaging bill. Meanwhile, the caucus continues to be dominated by fallout over the revised New York House maps, led by an internal backlash against the DCCC chair.
We’ll get to the latest drama in a minute but first a little news: We checked in with senior House Democrats late last night who told us after several days, they finally have the votes to pass a bill today to punish oil companies for price gouging.
Remember, this is a messaging bill designed to help the most vulnerable House Democrats in their campaigns. It’s not going anywhere in the Senate. Yet it took all week just to get the Democratic Caucus on board. That’s how it’s going for House Democrats right now.
→ While Democratic leaders worked late into Wednesday evening to shore up support for the price-gouging bill, all anyone could talk about on the floor was the New York congressional map. New York Democrats continue to clash with one another over what seats they’ll run for this November, and it’s gotten ugly very quickly.
First-term Rep. Ritchie Torres suggested that allies of DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney were engaged in “thinly veiled racism” when they urged Rep. Mondaire Jones to run in a different district than the one he currently represents. Maloney plans to run in what is Jones’ current district, NY-17, because he lives there under the new map. Maloney received support from Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats in doing so. Never mind that Jones currently represents three-quarters of the district. Pelosi’s support means Maloney is safe in his DCCC post, despite the uproar.
Yet Maloney’s decision could force two Black lawmakers – Jones and Rep. Jamaal Bowman – to face off in a primary in NY-16. Thus, a Black Democrat would lose his seat – New York’s delegation is shrinking by one seat following redistricting – and the DCCC chair doesn’t want to run in an open seat where a majority of his current constituents reside. It’s an unprecedented situation, as far as we can tell.
Torres’ comments – in response to Jake’s tweet – sent shockwaves through the Democratic Caucus, especially those members who don’t love SPM. “Add me to the list of many who are appalled and outraged at what SPM is doing,” one House Democrat said to us in an unsolicited text message. “How the hell does a DCCC chair abandon a competitive seat to primary another Democratic colleague?!?!?”
Yet by the afternoon, senior members of the CBC, including Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, huddled with Torres on the floor and implored him to “dial it down.” They urged Torres to keep the debate over New York’s House seats “within the family,” as in the Democratic Caucus, we’re told by multiple witnesses.
However, following the conversation, Torres did just the opposite. “My tweet speaks for itself. I was crystal clear about where I stand,” told us leaving the House floor Wednesday evening.
How all of this will be resolved is still uncertain. The court-appointed special master, Jonathan Cervas, will file the final congressional and New York State Senate maps on Friday. The primaries are scheduled for Aug. 23, but there’s bound to be more legal action before then.
Jones told us he’s “not making any decisions prior to Friday.” And Bowman tweeted last night regardless of what happens, he plans to run again in his current district.
Meanwhile, Jeffries is continuing to hit back at the new maps — especially the impact on Black voters and lawmakers — with a five-figure online ad buy airing in Brooklyn and Albany. “Now they’re trying to move the table, drawing a congressional map that robs us of power and takes a sledgehammer to Black districts,” he says. Watch the new ad here.
Jeffries – possibly the next House Democratic leader – has been extremely vocal about his anger over the new congressional map. He has attacked the process as “excluding people of color,” and said the reworked New York map is “part of a vicious national pattern targeting districts represented by members of the Congressional Black Caucus.”
→ The SPM-Jones-Bowman soap opera has overwhelmed the other big primary battle forced on New York Democrats – Jerry Nadler versus Carolyn Maloney in a redrawn 12th District.
That faceoff got even more complex on Wednesday as former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he’s set up an exploratory committee to run for the House in a 10th District seat seen as a possible exit ramp for Nadler or Maloney. The 10th district takes in lower Manhattan and slices of Brooklyn.
We can’t find any previous member-on-member primary comparable to a Nadler-Maloney showdown. They’ve known each other for a half-century. Both are full committee chairs with decades of service in the House. To have them battling for survival in a two-month campaign is stunning.
“I think it’s awful,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. “I just think it’s one thing to be against gerrymandering, it’s another thing to be just insensitive to the representation that you have in a state.”
Both Nadler, 74, and Maloney, 76, predicted they would win a primary battle. And each suggested that the other find a different district to run in.
“I’ve known Carolyn for 50 years,” Nadler said in an interview. “But I’m going to run, and I’m going to win.”
“We’re good friends,” Maloney countered. “It’s very regretful, particularly since it’s my district.”
Here’s Maloney on whether she would consider run in the 10th District:
“That’s not my district. The 12th is my district. It’s my district now, it’s where I’ve lived my whole adult life. It’s 61% Maloney, 39% Nadler. I believe [the 10th District] is 60-some percent Nadler and 30 Maloney. So this area he’s represented for 30 years.”
We weren’t able to verify this claim from Maloney, but Nadler – who also lives in this new district – did note that the axis of both his and Maloney’s existing districts have changed under the special master’s proposed map.
“I think it’s atrocious,” Nadler said.
Maloney had $1.1 million in her campaign account at the end of March, while Nadler’s cash on hand was $848,000.
– John Bresnahan, Heather Caygle, Christian Hall and Max Cohen
New: Next up for June events, we have an interview with Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) on Thursday, June 9 at approximately 5 p.m. ET about broadening food access through policy. Afterward, Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, VP, Communications & Policy at DoorDash, and Carrie Calvert, VP, Agriculture and Nutrition Government Relations at Feeding America, will join Anna for a fireside chat on how local delivery and other innovative practices are helping to broaden food access. The conversation will take place at Hawk ‘n’ Dove and will be followed by a reception with drinks and light bites. Join us for Cocktails & Conversations! RSVP here.
PRESENTED BY PHRMA
Did you know that only three insurance company pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) control 80% of patients’ medicines? They decide what medicines are covered, what medicines aren’t and what you pay for them, regardless of what your doctor prescribed. Meanwhile, they get tens of billions in rebates and discounts meant for you. PBMs are putting their profits before your medicine. Tell Congress savings belong to patients.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING
What happened in the Capitol after dark
→ The Senate confirmed Bridget Brink to serve as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Wednesday night via voice vote. The United States has not had a Senate-confirmed ambassador in Kyiv in three years. The Senate vote came the same day that the State Department reopened its embassy in the embattled nation’s capital. Brink, who was just nominated to the post by President Joe Biden three weeks ago, currently serves as the U.S. ambassador to Slovakia.
The Senate is also poised to approve a huge $40 billion military and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine today. It will pass with a big bipartisan vote, although there will be some GOP opposition.
→ The House passed a bill to provide $28 million in emergency funds to FDA to address the nationwide baby formula shortage. The vote was 231-192. All the “no” votes were Republicans. The House also adopted legislation to loosen the restrictions around which formulas can be purchased under the WIC program. That bill sailed through 414-9.
→ Finally, the House passed the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act 222-203. The Senate will take up the bill – which would create special units focusing on domestic terrorism and white supremacy within DHS, DOJ and the FBI – next week but it’s unlikely to get enough GOP support to move forward.
Only one Republican voted for the legislation – retiring GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. Even Republican Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Fred Upton (Mich.) and Don Bacon (Neb.) – all of whom are cosponsors – voted against the measure.
– Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan
WHAT WASHINGTON IS FOCUSED ON
We got our hands on new USICA timeline documents
Warning: This is going to be a very popular item on Capitol Hill and downtown.
We have the timeline for finishing the USICA/Chips bill. This timeline has been agreed to by the leadership in the House and Senate, and it’s quite aggressive.
The goal is to have all legislative items “closed out” – completed – by May 25. That’s less than a week from now. The leadership’s goal is to hold “Four Corner” leadership meetings with chairs and ranking members June 13-16, and to file the finished conference report by June 21.
Behind the scenes. House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richie Neal (D-Mass.) met with Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Senate Banking Committee Chair Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) in his office off the House floor on Wednesday afternoon.
The bicameral group of Democrats are key players in the conference committee negotiations. Neal and Wyden are tasked with reconciling the differences in the trade titles of the House and Senate bills. This will be the toughest policy disputes to resolve, aides have told us.
One outstanding issue is whether to include Trade Adjustment Assistance reauthorization in the final package. The program, which seeks to compensate American workers hurt by globalization, is in the House-passed Competes Act but is absent from the Senate’s USICA bill.
Neal told us he would push for TAA inclusion during his talks with his Senate counterparts.
“It was a good talk. I’m glad we did it. It was constructive,” Wyden told us following the meeting. “I’m sure we’ll keep talking.”
“This is just the kickoff,” Warner said, reprising his role from the infrastructure negotiations in describing the state of talks with football metaphors.
— Jake Sherman, Christian Hall and Max Cohen
House Financial Services holding staff briefing on stablecoin collapse
House Financial Services Democrats are holding a closed staff briefing on the collapse of the TerraUSD algorithmic stablecoin later this morning. It’s a fascinating example of how Congress is reacting to the unfolding cryptocurrency market disaster.
TerraUSD’s valuation has dropped massively during the past two weeks, resulting in billions of dollars in losses for investors. According to briefing materials distributed by the committee, TerraUSD’s total market cap for UST was valued at $18.6 billion on May 8. By May 16, the market cap had fallen to $1.3 billion.
Cryptocurrency industry leaders have cited TerraUSD’s collapse as reason for Congress to speed up their regulation of the digital asset space.
→ Eva Su. Su works for the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service as an analyst specializing in capital markets and securities regulation.
→ Dante Disparte. Disparte is the chief strategy officer and head of global policy for Circle, a company which produced the leading U.S. dollar-backed stablecoin. Circle has lobbying powerhouse Invariant as a lobbyist.
→ Rohan Grey. Grey is a Willamette University law professor who serves as the research director of the Digital Fiat Currency Institute.
There’s nothing new about closed-door briefings for committees. But crypto has been a slow-comer when it comes to Congress. This is an uptick, for sure.
WSJ: “TerraUSD Crash Could Speed Up Crypto Regulation, Binance.US CEO Says,” by Alexander Osipovich
– Max Cohen and Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY PHRMA
Did you know that only three insurance company PBMs control 80 percent of the prescription drug market? They use their market power to get tens of billions in rebates and discounts that should be going to you. Tell Congress those savings belong to patients.
MORE FROM PUNCHBOWL NEWS
Punchbowl News is more than just a newsletter. We’re bringing our community events, custom content, and more. Check out everything we’re up to today!
THE INSIDE GAME
Buchanan, locked in a race for W&M top slot, vaults to top giver
In Wednesday’s AM edition, we detailed the top non-leadership givers to the NRCC. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) was in eighth place, well behind first-place Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), who is aiming to be NRCC chair next Congress. But, most importantly, Buchanan was two slots behind Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.). Smith and Buchanan are running against each other to be the top Republican on the powerful Ways and Means Committee.
Well, what a difference a day – and some Punchbowl News publicity – makes.
Buchanan has vaulted to the No. 1 non-leadership donor to the NRCC. He has now given $1,816,642 to the NRCC this cycle.
The updated fundraising numbers are here. Remember, the ability to cut big checks to the NRCC is a critical component of ascending to the top of a committee. It’s not the whole game – but it’s certainly a big part of it.
– Jake Sherman
→ The conservative American Principles Project group is launching a broadcast and digital ad buy in D.C. and New York pressuring Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to hold a vote on bipartisan antitrust legislation aimed at the Big Tech companies.
APP, a right-wing organization suspicious of Democratic ties to Big Tech, is one of the few conservative groups spending in support of the antitrust legislation authored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
“Schumer is dragging his feet on bringing bipartisan bills to the Senate floor to hold [Big Tech] accountable,” the ad’s narrator says. The ad also says Big Tech has “showered” Schumer with contributions and points out two of his children work for Amazon and Facebook.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted in January on a bipartisan basis to advance S.2992, a major antitrust bill sponsored by Klobuchar and Grassley. The House Judiciary Committee passed similar legislation last year as well. Neither bill has come to the floor for a final vote, and the Big Tech firms are lobbying furiously against these proposals.
→ Defending Main Street PAC is up with a new ad in Minnesota criticizing Republican Jeremy Munson, who is seeking to become the next member from Minnesota’s 1st District. The seat was vacated when the late GOP Rep. Jim Hagedorn died. Brad Finstad and Hagedorn’s widow Jennifer Carnahan are also running. Defending Main Street PAC is backing Finstad.
– Max Cohen and Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY PHRMA
All times eastern
8:30 am: President Joe Biden will get his daily intelligence briefing.
9 a.m.: Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö will arrive at the White House.
9:15 a.m.: Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Andersson and Niinistö will meet to discuss their countries’ application to NATO.
10:30 a.m.: Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold her weekly news conference. … Biden, Andersson and Niinistö will speak briefly in the Rose Garden.
11 a.m.: Pelosi will hold a photo op in the Capitol with Niinistö and Andersson.
11:30 a.m.: Biden will leave for Andrews
Noon: Pelosi and the tri-caucus will hold a news availability on the Capitol steps about the shooting in Buffalo. … Biden will leave Andrews for Anchorage. Karine Jean-Pierre and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan will brief en route to Alaska.
7 p.m.: Biden will arrive at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage.
8:30 p.m.: Biden will leave Anchorage for Seoul, South Korea.
→ “Midterm Stakes Grow Clearer: Election Deniers Will Be on Many Ballots,” by Reid Epstein
→ “Group Seeks Disbarment of Ted Cruz Over Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election,” by Maggie Haberman
→ “In Russia, as Prices Soar, the Outlook for Its Economy Grows ‘Especially Gloomy,’” by Patricia Cohen and Valeriya Safronova in London
→ “Treasury Likely to Prevent U.S. Investors From Receiving Russian Debt Payments,” by Andrew Duehren and Alexander Saeedy in Bonn, Germany
→ “Stocks Rout Deepens as Economy Concerns Pile Up,” by Srinivasan Sivabalan and Robert Brand
→ “China Warns US a ‘Dangerous Situation’ Forming Over Taiwan,” by Philip Glamann and Cindy Wang
→ “Biden has an eye on China as he heads to South Korea, Japan,” by Aamer Madhani and Josh Boak
→ “Dems stand back and watch Chuck and Joe show,” by Burgess Everett
→ “As Aurora mayor, GOP governor candidate Richard Irvin said charges last year against girlfriend would be ‘taken care of’ at scene of her arrest in the suburb, police report shows,” by Megan Jones, Steve Lord and Ray Long
PRESENTED BY PHRMA
This may come as a shock, but did you know that only three insurance companies and their pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) control 80% of patients’ medicines? They sure act like it. They use their market power to get tens of billions in rebates and discounts on medicines – rebates and discounts that should be going to patients. They decide what medicines are covered, what medicines aren’t and what you pay for them. Regardless of what your doctor prescribed. That’s too much control, and it leaves you fighting them for your medications, instead of fighting your illness. PBMs are putting their profits before your medicine. It’s time we do better than that for patients. Tell Congress those savings belong to patients.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images
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 Special Report
Analysis of how sentiment on Capitol Hill evolved this year. And what senior aides believe will happen in 2022.Check it out
Every single issue of Punchbowl News published, all in one placeVisit the archive
THE PREMIUM COMMUNITY AT
Experience regular online and offline events with Anna Palmer, Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan, special Premium content and so much more. Check out our full list of benefits for Premium membership!