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Happy Monday morning. There are 148 days until the midterm elections.
A group of 20 senators – 10 Republicans and 10 Democrats – reached a deal on a “framework” for a gun-control package. Supporters say this is the most significant gun-control initiative that has a chance of being passed by Congress since then-President Bill Clinton signed the assault weapons ban in 1994.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden are all supportive of this package. And with at least 10 Senate Republicans in favor, supporters will be able to overcome any GOP filibuster.
Here’s what’s in the bill:
→ Funding to help states adopt and set up their own “red flag” laws. These allow law enforcement agencies and close family members to submit petitions to a court to temporarily remove guns from those considered a danger to themselves and others. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia currently have such laws in place.
→ “Billions in new funding” for school safety and community mental health clinics. The talks centered around as much as $7 billion for these clinics, which are based on an existing federal program. It will also include telehealth programs.
→ Closing the “boyfriend loophole.” Domestic violence abusers and individuals “subject to domestic violence restraining orders” will be added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System run by the FBI, including romantic partners. Democrats were particularly pleased – and surprised – they were able to include this provision.
→ New barriers on “straw purchases” of guns, which is designed to cut down on illegal weapons trafficking.
→ “Enhanced background checks” for gun buyers under 21. This includes a “short pause” for a check of juvenile criminal and mental health records.
→ New restrictions on gun sellers who “illegally evade” federal firearms licensing requirements.
So now what? The bipartisan group led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) wants to pass this bill before the July 4 recess. That’s going to be tricky, although not impossible.
The first step: The group needs to release legislative text. We’re told that will happen in the coming days. As of now, only part of the proposal has been formally drafted. This agreement won’t be real until the full text is out and all 20 senators say they’re supportive of that document.
When the bill is ready to go, it will take roughly one week to get it through the Senate. So Schumer needs to begin moving this legislation by the end of next week in order to pass it before the Senate leaves for the July 4th recess. This goal doesn’t leave a lot of time to work out any political or technical problems that may come up in drafting this bill.
There are two things to remember here: 1) Cornyn and his Republican colleagues are more worried about getting the legislation passed than any “arbitrary deadline,” such as doing this before the July 4th recess. The recess, under normal circumstances, would start about 10 days from now. 2) Everything in this Congress has taken longer than predicted. Everything.
Let’s talk about some huge issues – how many Senate Republicans will support this proposal, and where will the opposition come from?
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Cornyn and Murphy on Sunday, but he didn’t formally endorse their proposal. It’s very possible to see McConnell voting for this, however. McConnell was fully read into the status of the negotiations throughout the process.
Another potential “yes” vote is Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), although she’s in cycle and has a Republican challenger backed by former President Donald Trump. The primary isn’t until Aug. 16, which makes the politics of this vote potentially tricky for her.
Senate Minority Whip John Thune is another Republican to watch. Thune is in cycle as well. He’s through the GOP primary and is going to get reelected easily in very red South Dakota. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, the Republican Conference chair, is almost certainly a no – along with a lot of other westerners – so Thune faces a clear choice here. Cornyn will be on one side and Barrasso the other. Which side does Thune come down on, and what does this issue mean for the “Three Johns” in their slow-motion contest to one day replace McConnell?
GOP Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott of Florida, Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Richard Shelby of Alabama, and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma will also be worth tracking.
Do we think that the Murphy-Cornyn proposal will get a majority of Senate Republicans? No. Can it get 20? Maybe, but that’s a big stretch. Fifteen or more would be very solid support.
Think about this as well – Cornyn needed to show enough momentum to overcome a GOP filibuster, which is why having 10 solid Republican votes is such a big deal. Yet it also cuts the other way too. Cornyn has 10 solid votes. If you’re an undecided Republican, you can vote no and the bill will still pass.
The NRA is certain to oppose the proposal, as will other gun rights groups. As of Sunday, the NRA had not formally come out in opposition, saying it “does not take take positions on ‘frameworks.’”
But the gun rights groups will push very hard against this package. That kind of pressure – as well as long standing positions by Republican senators – make this a tough vote if you’re on the fence.
One more thing – Attorney General Merrick Garland will hold a press conference today to highlight “the Justice Department’s efforts to crack down on criminal gun-trafficking pipelines” nationally, including sellers who evade federal licensing requirements, per a DOJ official.
– John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman
Reminder: Join us tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET for our conversation with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) focused on the future of energy alternatives and the need for an all-of-the-above energy approach. After the event, all attendees are welcome to join a happy hour hosted by Southern Company. RSVP today!
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THE INSURRECTION SHOW
Jan. 6 probe is center stage all week
This week will feature three high-profile hearings by the Jan. 6 select committee, with the first kicking off at 10 a.m. this morning. These hearings will dominate the political news coming out of the House.
Today’s session will focus on the “Big Lie” – Trump’s efforts to push the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen, which ultimately led to the deadly attack on the Capitol.
The select committee will try to show that Trump, his top aides and political allies knew he’d lost the election but kept pushing their bogus narrative in order to justify the former president’s attempt to overturn the election and hold onto power, according to committee aides. This includes attempting to place a handpicked official at the top of the Justice Department, which was only blocked when top White House and DOJ officials threated to resign.
Trump and GOP organizations – including the RNC and the former president’s PAC – were also able to continue raising tens of millions of dollars pushing this claim, which helped pay for further efforts to undermine the election.
The key witness in today’s hearing will be Bill Stepien, the former campaign manager for Trump’s reelection campaign. Stepien is appearing under subpoena, said sources familiar with the situation. Stepien is now a campaign adviser to Harriet Hageman, a Trump-backed primary challenger to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the Jan. 6 committee’s vice chair.
Shortly after the election, Stepien was among those to help craft a strategy to legally challenge the results, even though the campaign knew that Trump had lost. However, by mid-November 2020, as Rudy Guiliani and Jenna Ellis moved to take over the legal effort, Stepien and other senior campaign officials were dismayed by this directive. By late December 2020, Stepien had cut his ties to the Trump campaign and helped start a political consulting firm.
Other witnesses include: Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political editor. Stirewalt was part of the Fox News team that called Arizona on Election Night for Joe Biden, infuriating Trump and his senior aides, who complained to the network; Ben Ginsberg, a top Republican election lawyer; Byung J. “BJay” Pak, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. The Wall Street Journal reported that “White House officials pushed Atlanta’s top federal prosecutor to resign before Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoffs” because he wasn’t doing enough to investigate Trump’s false claims of election fraud; and Al Schmidt, a former city commissioner in Philadelphia, another hotbed of alleged election fraud according to Trump.
“The evidence is very powerful that Donald Trump began telling this big lie even before the election, that he was saying any ballots counted after Election Day were going to inherently suspect,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on ABC’s “This Week.” Schiff is a member of the select committee. “That lie continued after the election and ultimately led to this mob assembling and attacking the Capitol.”
Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Cheney, the chair and vice chair, were the only members to speak at Thursday’s opening session. But you should expect to hear a lot more from Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) today.
Lofgren – the chair of the House Administration Committee and close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi – has been part of three presidential impeachments (Richard Nixon and Trump 1 and 2), as well as chair of the House Ethics Committee, so she’s used to these big stage moments.
The other two hearings will take place on Wednesday and Thursday.
– John Bresnahan
Who we’re watching
→ Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas): Sunday’s announcement by Murphy and Cornyn of a framework for a bipartisan gun deal – backed up by 20 GOP and Democratic senators – is a big deal. Now the pair have to turn it into actual legislative language and shepherd it through the Senate. This will be a major challenge.
→ Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: Look at the Republicans supporting the gun bill. It’s a who’s who of McConnell’s inner circle: Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). We will be very interested in seeing whether McConnell supports the legislation.
→ Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell: The Federal Open Market Committee is holding a two-day meeting beginning Tuesday. Even before last week’s disastrous inflation news, Powell has already signaled that the Fed is ready to raise interest rates by 50 basis points this month and next. But some on Wall Street think the Fed may go even bigger, perhaps 75 basis points. If not this month, then soon. The “soft landing” may be in for a rough patch.
– John Bresnahan and Jake Sheman
What we’re watching
→ Monday: The Jan. 6 committee has a hearing at 10 a.m.
→ Tuesday: The Senate Intelligence Committee has a closed briefing.
→ Wednesday: The House Intelligence Committee will consider the CIA’s budget in a closed hearing. The Jan. 6 committee has a 10 a.m. hearing. Senate Judiciary has a gun hearing. Senate Intelligence has a closed briefing.
→ Thursday: Anthony Fauci, Rochelle Walensky and Robert Califf will be in front of Senate HELP to talk about the federal response to Covid. The Jan. 6 committee has a 1 p.m. hearing.
Sprint on spending bills begins, but outcome uncertain
The House Appropriations Committee will begin a two-week sprint on Wednesday to mark up all 12 annual spending bills before Congress leaves for the July 4th recess, but the endgame for FY 2023 government funding is cloudy with a chance for long delays.
House Democrats last week “deemed” a $1.6 trillion budget resolution passed on a party line vote. This topline number – roughly nine percent higher than last year – allows the House Appropriations Committee to start marking up the spending bills this week. Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) has promised to have all 12 bills through her committee by June 30, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says he’ll bring as many to the floor as he can in July. However, there are a lot of issues, political and technical, that will complicate this effort.
With the midterm elections looming and control of both the House and Senate up for grabs, there’ll be at least one continuing resolution enacted before lawmakers head back home this fall to run for reelection. That CR will keep federal agencies open beyond the Sept. 30 deadline.
The question then becomes whether there’s an omnibus deal in a lame duck session, especially if Republicans grab control of one or both chambers, or whether more CRs are needed? And could any omnibus spending deal include a debt limit increase, which is something that current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy may want to see happen if he were about to become speaker next year. There’s a lot of chatter about all this, but it’s still just a guessing game at this point.
Yet that possibility leads to another question. If Republicans take the majority in the House and/or the Senate, would that be the last omnibus of President Joe Biden’s first term? Would the federal government limp along on continuing resolutions the next two years, with the parties – especially House Republicans and the White House – unable to find agreement on government spending levels? Even for the Pentagon, which would be unprecedented? This is something Democrats and Republicans on the Hill privately wonder.
And here’s another wrinkle, as if all this weren’t enough – as long as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) keep talking about a possible reconciliation deal (“Build Back Manchin”), there’s very little incentive for Senate Republicans to do any deal on government spending. There were already going to be huge problems with Pentagon funding versus domestic spending, Homeland Security (border and immigration issues) and Commerce, Justice and Science funding, among others. This is just another element to factor into this complex equation.
Something else to note – Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) are retiring, making this their last appropriations cycle. They’ll want an omnibus deal, of course, but Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who could take over the committee next year, are already being brought in to some of these issues.
So here’s what’s happening in House Appropriations:
On Wednesday, there will be subcommittee markups in House Appropriations for Defense (closed); Legislative Branch; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies; and Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies.
Thursday will include markups for Homeland Security and Financial Services and General Government.
Next week will feature more subcommittee markups, as well as the first full committee sessions. As we said, DeLauro wants to get this all done by June 30. So pedal to the metal and all that.
Hoyer will have to balance floor time on spending bills and passage of the annual defense authorization bill, another must-pass piece of legislation. Both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are moving on the NDAA, and we expect the House-version on the floor sometime in early to mid July.
Moving some of these appropriations bills through the House will allow Democratic lawmakers to claim victories as they head back home, even if those bills actually have become law yet.
For instance, we could see House Democratic moderates – an endangered group this year – push for more funding for police or anti-crime programs as part of the CJS bill. That wouldn’t have flown with progressives last year, but everything is different in the face of a possible GOP win in November.
– John Bresnahan
PRESENTED BY AMERICAN INVESTMENT COUNCIL
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. Private equity invested more than $1 TRILLION into local communities last year.
→ Here’s an interesting spot from NetChoice, which opposes additional regulation on the tech industry. The spot, which is running in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Mississippi, shows a man’s phone getting hacked. He says the hack is due to Congress passing the bipartisan bill to reign in Big Tech.
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74% of PE investment went to small businesses last year.
11:10 a.m.: President Joe Biden will leave Delaware for the White House. He will arrive at 12:05 p.m.
12:30 p.m.: Biden will get his daily intelligence briefing.
2 p.m.: Biden will sign a bill into law to “study the potential creation of a national museum of Asian Pacific American history and culture.” Vice President Kamala Harris will attend.
3 p.m.: Karine Jean-Pierre will brief.
Week ahead: Tuesday: Biden will go to Philadelphia to speak at the AFL-CIO convention. Wednesday: Biden will speak at a Pride Month reception. Friday: Biden will host the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.
→ News Analysis: “Gun Deal Is Less Than Democrats Wanted, but More Than They Expected,” by Carl Hulse
→ “Two Targets of Trump’s Ire Take Different Paths in South Carolina,” by Maya King in Charleston, S.C.
→ “Pfizer Vaccine Effective in Children Under 5, the F.D.A. Says,” by Sharon LaFraniere
→ “Big Crypto Lender Celsius Freezes All Account Withdrawals,” by Vicky Ge Huang
→ “U.K. Economy Shrinks for Second Month as Outlook Dims,” by Paul Hannon
→ “After Angering Trump, South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice Faces Tough Primary Fight,” by Eliza Collins and Natalie Andrews in Conway, S.C.
→ “Global Selloff Deepens as Stocks, Bonds, Yen Slump,” by Tassia Sipahutar
→ “Johnson Drags UK Into Brexit Groundhog Day Over N. Ireland,” by Stuart Biggs
→ “Man who carried Confederate flag into Capitol heads to trial,” by Michael Kunzelman
→ “Brookings president resigns amid FBI foreign lobbying probe,” by Alan Suderman and Jim Mustian
→ “Rubio embraces his low-key side,” by Burgess Everett
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From big cities to small towns, private equity continues to invest all across America. In 2021, private equity firms invested over $1 TRILLION into local communities to build better businesses and support jobs.
Three-quarters (74%) of private equity investment in 2021 went to companies with fewer than 500 employees. More than half (56%) went to the smallest businesses, those employing fewer than 100 people.
Private equity provides local business leaders with the capital, resources, and expertise to scale their ideas and help their businesses flourish.
Learn more at InvestmentCouncil.Org
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
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