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Happy Tuesday morning.
There are two dynamics we want to review this morning, and they’re interconnected.
→ The speed with which top Senate Democrats and Republicans say they want to move on the bipartisan gun-control bill.
→ The number of Republicans who are signaling that they could vote for this package.
We caught up with all of the key players in the gun-control debate yesterday, and there was one constant – they recognize the need to move quickly to pass this legislation. Almost everyone we spoke to wants to have the Senate vote on this legislation before the July 4 recess.
Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the lead Republican in this process, said he thinks negotiators can wrap up the text this week and have it ready for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to put on the floor next week. Here’s Cornyn:
“We’ve been talking about this for three weeks and I think the work is occurring, and thank goodness, I have, and my colleagues have, hard working staff that are working on [drafting the legislative text] as I speak.”
Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin told us he’s given Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) access to his panel’s staff to help move the process along. Durbin noted that there’s existing legislative text for much of the deal, which should help.
“We shouldn’t overlook the fact that this is not an easy task,” Durbin told us. But he also noted: “Most of [what’s in the package] are existing bills. And so it’s just a matter of modifying them to whatever the agreement required.”
Durbin believes this package will bypass the committee process and go straight to the floor.
One interesting dynamic we have talked about is whether the Senate leadership will allow for amendments as part of the consideration of the gun package. Here’s what Cornyn said about that.
Cornyn: “That’s really kind of up to Sen. Schumer”
Jake: “What do you want?”
Cornyn: “I want the bill to pass.”
So it sounds like no amendments to us.
One way Schumer can speed up the process is to file cloture on a House shell bill later this week, which would start the clock on the legislative process in the Senate. In other words, Schumer can take a House-passed bill, gut it and insert the gun-control proposal whenever the text is ready. This would help avoid one cloture vote – cloture on the motion to proceed – since it would be a House vehicle. Schumer has done this before on previous deals before the text was finalized. So if he does it this week again, we wouldn’t be surprised.
As of now, there are 10 Senate Republicans who are supportive of the package. Cornyn told us their support is “rock solid.” The larger question is how many other GOP lawmakers can and will join them. We set out to ask that question Monday. Most everyone was non committal. But it’s interesting to us how many Republican senators are open minded.
→ Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “We’re optimistic we’re going to have an outcome here.” McConnell’s top allies are voting for this bill. We would not be surprised if he joins them. In fact, we’d say it seems likely that he ends up voting yes.
→ Senate Minority Whip John Thune said he needs to see the details before he commits one way or another. Thune will be very interesting to watch.
→ Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) declined to discuss the measure at all. “I know zip, I haven’t been briefed by anybody,” Murkowski told us. Murkowski is widely seen as a potential yes vote, although she has a primary in mid-August.
→ Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa): “I think everyone kind of understood generally” what’s in the bill “but I don’t know specifically. … I just think we need to find what’s acceptable to move forward.”
→ Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) surprised us a bit. Here’s what he said:
“I look forward to seeing the legislative language. It’s something in terms of the categories addressed, it strikes me as the right approach. But I want to read the particulars.”
Q: “So it’s fair to say you’re open to this?”
→ Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.): “I just need to see the details of it. I’m being open minded and looking at it. I congratulate them on finding a framework. That’s good work.”
→ Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho): “I’m open to doing something if it doesn’t violate the Second Amendment.” Crapo said he’s concerned about due process provisions in the red-flag language.
→ Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.): “A lot of us hadn’t agreed on it. We’re looking at it. I’m a Second Amendment man and I don’t know that it will improve anything. We’ll look at it close.”
→ Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said he wanted to review the text when it is released.
→ Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.): “It sounds like they made some progress but this issue, the devil’s in the details.” More Rounds:
“So until we see actual legislative language, I won’t be able to know. We’re one office where we actually read the bills. And I don’t know if this will be a huge bill, but we’re going to read it first and then we’ll look to see what the impacts are. I like the fact that they’re focusing on school security. I like the fact they’re talking about mental health issues. I like the fact that they’re trying to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals that shouldn’t get them in the first place. Now, the question is, how did they write the bill? What does it look like and what’s the actual legislative language look like? …
“It’s one thing to say broadly, you want to do things. It’s another thing to have it written so that it actually does what you say it’s going to do. Until we see that language, we won’t be making a decision.”
News: The House is expected to clear the Senate-passed bill extending security to families of Supreme Court justices later today. The legislation is likely to be brought up under suspension, a procedural move saved for non-controversial bills that requires support of at least two-thirds of the House.
The Senate unanimously passed this bill – authored by Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) – in May. But it’s been held up in the House for weeks as Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought to add protections for the families of Supreme Court employees.
Democratic leaders were planning to move an amended version through the House today. But that fell apart after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Cornyn warned Monday that an amended bill didn’t have the votes to pass the Senate.
“It’s just incredible to me they said the Senate would not vote to protect employees,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters Monday night.
Yet the House will still take up the Coons-Cornyn bill today. The legislation would allow the Supreme Court Police – yes, the high court has its own police force – to provide “around-the-clock security protection” to the families of Supreme Court justices.
Several justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, have faced protests at their homes since Politico reported last month that the high court was ready to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Security has been dramatically ramped up around the Supreme Court and Capitol complex following those protests, including the erection of a fence around the Supreme Court itself. A ruling on the abortion case will take place before the end of the month.
Also happening today: Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse will speak at the New Dem Coalition lunch today about fighting inflation.
– Jake Sherman, Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan
Today: We’re interviewing Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) today at 5 p.m. 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!
Programming note: Jake will interview Katy Tur about her new book “Rough Draft” June 22 at Sixth and I. Buy tickets here. The book is out today.
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JAN. 6 PROBE
Thompson runs into buzzsaw over “No criminal referral” comment
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chair of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, has gotten good marks overall for how he’s run the panel.
But Thompson faced heavy pushback Monday from his GOP colleague, Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), as well as fellow Democrats after he told reporters that the committee wouldn’t send criminal referrals to the Justice Department for former President Donald Trump or anyone else.
Thompson’s comments touch on one of the most sensitive topics facing the select committee. Will the panel tell the Justice Department that it’s found evidence of criminal behavior by Trump or his former aides in trying to overturn the 2020 election? And what will DOJ – which is already conducting its own parallel criminal probe into this issue – do with that information?
A federal judge ruled in March in a civil case involving the select committee that it was “more likely than not” that Trump committed crimes in seeking to overturn the election. Cheney has also made clear that she thinks Trump broke the law. “It’s absolutely clear that what President Trump was doing, what a number of people around him were doing, that they knew it was unlawful,” Cheney said on CNN back in April.
The select committee has already held two public hearings where former Trump aides and administration officials have offered damning testimony on the ex-president’s refusal to accept political defeat in 2020, despite clear evidence that Trump knew he’d lost. There will be additional hearings tomorrow and Thursday.
However, Thompson told reporters on Monday night that he didn’t envision any criminal referral from the select committee to the Justice Department. This was a surprising comment because Thompson and Cheney have been careful for months to say that there’s been no decision yet on this question.
“That’s not our job. Our job is to look at Jan. 6. What caused it and make recommendations after that… We don’t have the authority.”
Thompson said the select committee’s plan was to release everything it has – all the depositions and documents – as part of its final report this fall. If federal prosecutors want to use that information for a criminal case, they’d be welcome to it.
Cheney and other select committee members quickly responded to express their displeasure with Thompson’s comments.
“The January 6th Select Committee has not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals. We will announce a decision on that at an appropriate time.”
And Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.):
“Our committee has yet to vote on whether we will recommend criminal referrals to the Department of Justice. If criminal activity occurred, it is our responsibility to report that activity to the DOJ.”
“I don’t know that the committee has reached a position on whether we make a referral or what the referrals might be.”
Yet in what otherwise has been a strong week for the panel, this flap shows the issue of a potential criminal referral for Trump – which has divided the panel for months – is nowhere close to being resolved.
Thompson wields a lot of influence as chair, and as we noted, he’s been praised heavily by his colleagues for his work over the last year. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi handpicked the members of the select committee. In the end, this will be a leadership decision along with the select committee, not one the panel will make unilaterally.
Also, it may not matter. Even a House-approved criminal referral doesn’t mean Trump will be charged with a crime. Attorney General Merrick Garland and other senior DOJ officials may decide not to prosecute.
And at this point, according to Thompson, the committee hasn’t decided whether to turn anything over to DOJ either.
– John Bresnahan
PRIMARY DAY IN AMERICA
What to look out for in today’s primaries
It’s Tuesday morning, which means it’s primary day! South Carolina, Maine, Nevada and North Dakota are on the clock. Plus, there’s a special election to fill an open House seat in Texas. Here’s our key races to track as results come in tonight.
South Carolina’s 7th District Republican primary: In one of the most watched contests of the day, Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) — who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump in 2021 — faces off against Trump-endorsed state Rep. Russell Fry.
Rice’s impeachment vote has become the campaign’s main issue. While Fry’s messaging plays up Trump’s endorsement at every turn, Rice has stood by his vote to impeach Trump following the Jan. 6 insurrection. Notably, former Speaker Paul Ryan has traveled to Rice’s district to campaign for the incumbent.
South Carolina’s 1st District Republican primary: Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) is also the subject of a Trump-endorsed primary challenge in her Lowcountry district. Mace, who drew Trump’s ire when she condemned his role in the insurrection, is facing off against former state Rep. Katie Arrington.
Arrington, defeated by former Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-S.C.) in the 2018 general election, has slammed Mace as a “woke liberal.”
Unlike Rice, Mace didn’t vote to impeach Trump, and Mace’s campaign does not highlight her criticism of the former president. Former South Carolina GOP Gov. Nikki Haley is backing Mace.
Nevada Senate Republican primary: Trump-endorsed Adam Laxalt is the leading GOP candidate to take on vulnerable Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) in November. Laxalt is also backed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other top national Republicans.
Veteran Sam Brown is Laxalt’s main rival in the race. While some recent coverage reported Brown ‘surging’ in the primary, Laxalt is still heavily favored.
Texas’ 34th District special election: The race to fill former Rep. Filemon Vela’s (D-Texas) seat has energized Republicans in the Rio Grande Valley. The GOP senses a chance to send a message that the party is competitive with Hispanic voters in traditionally Democratic turf. Because the special election will only fill the seat for a matter of months until Texas’ new congressional maps kick in, national Democratic groups haven’t focused as intensely on the south Texas seat.
The leading Republican candidate is Mayra Flores, who will take on Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) in the general election for the new 34th District in November. But the Democratic candidate in today’s special election, Dan Sanchez, won’t seek federal office in November. As such, Flores has far outpaced Sanchez in fundraising.
If no candidate exceeds 50%, then the race will proceed to a runoff. There are two additional candidates in the race — Democrat Rene Coronado and Republican Juana Cantu-Cabrera.
Primaries in Nevada’s 1st, 3rd and 4th Districts: All three of Nevada’s incumbent House Democrats — Reps. Dina Titus, Susie Lee and Steven Horsford — are classified as vulnerable Frontliners. Republicans believe if they can nominate strong candidates, then they could sweep all four of the state’s House seats.
It’s a tall order, but redistricting in Nevada gave the GOP a big opportunity. New lines signed into law by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak shifted blue voters out of Titus’ district to shore up Horsford and Lee’s seats.
And Titus is facing a challenge on the left from progressive Amy Vilela, who was endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.).
Maine’s 2nd District Republican primary: Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) is one of the most endangered incumbents in the country. Golden’s new district voted for Trump by six points in 2020.
The race to face off against Golden features former Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) and Liz Caruso. Poliquin represented Maine in the House for two terms before losing to Golden in the 2018 midterms.
— Max Cohen and Heather Caygle
Stabenow says school meals deal is close
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) told us Monday that a bicameral group of negotiators will hopefully announce a deal this week to extend a program that offers free school meals to millions of children.
Stabenow said the agreement isn’t the full $11 billion extension of the program she was seeking. The full extension would have funded the school meals program for this summer, the following school year and the summer of 2023.
“I can’t get bipartisan agreement on that,” Stabenow said. “But I think we’ll have something that will be positive.”
Stabenow and Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) are the chief Senate negotiators on the package, which aims to stave off the expiration of the meal program at the end of June.
On the House side, Rules Committee Chair Jim McGovern, Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-Va.), joined by Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), are the main players.
As we reported Friday, House negotiators were seeking a three-month, $3 billion extension of the program.
McGovern told us Monday that nothing was final: “We’re getting close, but I learned a long time ago not to say things are done until they’re done.”
Republicans have objected over the cost of the package and have demanded the extension be paid for. It’s unclear how the bill will be paid for.
— Max Cohen and Heather Caygle
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PREMIUM MEMBERS EVENT
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→ Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the NRSC chair, has a new ad up on the air – yes, he’s running TV ads – to boost his 11-point plan “to rescue America.” Remember that the Senate GOP leadership cringes every time Scott mentions this. This Scott spot is up in New York, LA, Philadelphia and D.C. Just one of these markets – Philadelphia – has a competitive Senate race, for whatever that’s worth.
Interesting: The Kansas City Star has a front-page story about Republican candidates criticizing Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) for signing onto the gun deal.
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74% of PE investment went to small businesses last year.
8:10 a.m.: President Joe Biden will leave the White House for Philadelphia. He will arrive at 9:15 a.m. Karine Jean-Pierre will gaggle en route.
10:15 a.m.: House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries and Vice Chair Pete Aguilar will hold a news conference after the Democratic Caucus meeting.
10:45 a.m.: House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, Vice Chair Mike Johnson, Tennessee Rep. Diana Harshbarger and Florida Rep. Byron Donalds will hold a news conference after the Republican Conference meeting.
11 a.m.: Biden will speak at the AFL-CIO convention at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. … House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will hold his pen and pad briefing.
12:25 p.m.: Biden will leave Philadelphia. He’ll arrive at Andrews at 1:30 p.m.
2 p.m.: Senate leadership will hold their news conferences after their respective policy lunches.
→ “Global Stocks Rebound Modestly, Although Economic Pressures Remain,” by Daisuke Wakabayashi and Eshe Nelson
→ “Lawmaker’s Capitol Complex Tour on the Eve of Jan. 6 Was Innocent, Police Say,” by Luke Broadwater
→ “Bill Stepien broke with Trump after 2020 — but not all his candidates did,” by Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey and Isaac Arnsdorf
→ “Fed Likely to Consider 0.75-Percentage-Point Rate Rise This Week,” by Nick Timiraos
→ “Elon Musk to Participate in Twitter All-Hands Meeting Thursday,” by Sarah Needleman
→ “Lawmakers Make Bipartisan Push for New Government Powers to Block U.S. Investments in China,” by Kate O’Keeffe and Natalie Andrews in D.C. and Heather Somerville in San Francisco
→ “Wall Street’s Favorite Recession Signal Is Back as Curves Invert,” by Garfield Clinton Reynolds
→ ”High-Level US, China Talks Raise Prospects for Biden-Xi Call,” by Jenny Leonard
→ “More than a dozen DPS troopers waited in hallway during Uvalde massacre,” by Brian Chasnoff
→ “U.S. Rep. Sean Casten’s 17-year-old daughter has died,” by John Byrne and John Keilman
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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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