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Happy Thursday morning.
House Republicans aren’t going to impeach President Joe Biden. At least not right now, anyway.
The House will vote today to refer a Biden impeachment resolution to the Homeland Security Committee, preempting what could’ve been an embarrassing floor fight among rank-and-file GOP lawmakers.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who drafted the Biden resolution, said her measure will now be merged — at least in part — with an ongoing GOP effort to determine whether Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas should be impeached. Republicans believe that Mayorkas and Biden have failed to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, leading to “a complete and total invasion at the southern border” by undocumented migrants, which they call a violation of American law.
“We should have been working on [Biden’s] impeachment since we took hold of the gavels in this Congress,” Boebert said when asked about Republican leadership’s complaints that her resolution was “premature.”
Yet other top Republicans — including House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who would oversee any impeachment proceedings — said Oversight and Accountability Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) is taking the lead on the Biden probe. And Comer told us he’s “several months away” from releasing any findings in his investigation of alleged influence peddling by Biden or his family.
There’s no evidence of any wrongdoing by Biden, although Hunter Biden will plead guilty to federal tax evasion charges. A felony gun charge against the younger Biden will be resolved by a pre-trial diversion program, the Justice Department announced.
Comer won’t say whether his probe will ultimately lead to Biden’s impeachment. The Kentucky Republican doesn’t expect to release a report until later this summer or fall.
“We’ve never said impeachment, yes or no. If it leads to impeachment, it leads to impeachment. Our investigation, we’ve still got several more months of work to do before I can issue a report … I don’t think what happens tomorrow [on the Boebert resolution] will have any impact. Nor will the plea-bargain deal with the president’s son.”
But many House Republicans are convinced that they’ll eventually vote to impeach Biden during this Congress. The only question to them is when and what are the charges.
Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) says he wants to see impeachment now because “there’s never going to be a more certain time,” but added that the House GOP investigations will “absolutely” lead to impeachment.
Here’s Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), a member of the Oversight Committee:
“I think we’re building a case and I appreciate the work of the committee. People back in Tennessee want to see some action. They’re tired of it, you know, the millions of dollars that flowed into their family for no reason other than buying influence.”
House Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry (R-Pa.), another Oversight member, insisted “The goal is not impeachment.”
“The goal is to get the information,” Perry added. “But if the information leads you to facts that require and demand accountability, that’s the only accountability.”
Perry, however, said “yes” to whether he believes more evidence against the Bidens will be found and “yes” to more Republicans supporting impeachment as the investigation moves forward.
“Ultimately, you’re going to see Biden impeached,” said Rep. Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.), who has already introduced a resolution to do just that. “The question is when and is it soon enough for the American people?”
Speaker Kevin McCarthy, for his part, wouldn’t say that Comer’s probe will necessarily lead to Biden’s impeachment.
“What I am saying is these investigations will follow the information we get wherever it will take us,” McCarthy told reporters on Wednesday. McCarthy pointed to the fact that the FBI has a June 2020 internal document — which is uncorroborated — alleging that Biden took a bribe in order in return for a policy decision.
“You never knew that you had foreign entities coming in, sending money through shell companies and ending up with Biden family [members] receiving the money.”
House Democrats are furious at the spate of GOP accusations against the Bidens, which they assert are designed simply to deflect attention from the myriad of criminal charges that former President Donald Trump faces.
Dozens of Democrats gathered on the House floor Wednesday night after House Republicans pushed through a resolution censuring Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) for his role in Trump’s first impeachment. Democrats yelled “Shame, shame, shame!” as McCarthy read out the resolution while Schiff stood in the well of the House.
“They’re out of their minds,” complained Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), the ranking member on the Rules Committee. “Is the moderate wing of the Republican Party dead? Where are the sensible Republicans? This Republican majority has turned this Congress into a very unserious place. And a dangerous place, too.”
“How can you impeach someone with no evidence?” asked Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the Oversight panel.
Note: The House Armed Services Committee passed the FY2024 defense authorization bill late Wednesday night. The vote was 58-1, per our friend Connor O’Brien at Politico.
— John Bresnahan, Mica Soellner and Max Cohen
New! Join Punchbowl News founders Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman for cocktails and conversations on the quantum revolution with Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) on Tuesday, July 18 at 5 p.m. ET. They’ll discuss the policy opportunities for quantum computing with the National Quantum Initiative Act reauthorization.
Dr. Darío Gil, IBM Senior Vice President and Director of Research, will join Anna and Jake afterward for a fireside chat. RSVP here!
PRESENTED BY THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION
Why Is Medicare Access Only Restricted for Alzheimer’s?
Breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research have led to new FDA-approved treatments. But, for the first time ever, CMS blocked Medicare coverage to these treatments costing patients with a terminal disease time they will never get back. Now CMS insists on imposing unprecedented, unclear and unnecessary restrictions for coverage that are not required for any other FDA-approved drug. Medicare must be fair to those with Alzheimer’s.
Su nomination on life support as Senate leaves town
Is Julie Su’s nomination to be secretary of Labor all but dead?
Senate Democrats won’t openly say it, but as her nomination has languished in the Senate for nearly two months while the White House struggles to lock up enough support, it’s certainly trending that way. Labor union officials complain privately they haven’t heard anything new on the nomination for weeks.
Even allies of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are growing restless at the delay, arguing it’s making things worse for Su. The Senate HELP Committee approved Su’s nomination on party lines back on April 26, and nothing has happened since then. After today, the Senate will be on recess for two weeks. The looming Senate absence has made some Su backers despondent.
“We’ve got to schedule it for a vote,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who has been working behind the scenes to build support for Su, told us. “If you don’t schedule it for a vote, that enables people to not make a decision … Not scheduling it for a vote just contributes to the [uncertainty]. Let’s just get it set.”
Kaine has been talking with the Democratic holdouts to try to convince them to back her. He lamented that “It’s going to go nowhere” if the Senate remains in this lull.
“Look, you’re talking to the wrong guy,” added HELP Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “I think Julie Su would make an excellent secretary of Labor. I’d like to see her voted on tomorrow. But talk to Sen. Schumer and see what the status is.”
With Republicans uniformly opposing Su, Democratic leaders can’t afford to lose more than one vote from their side. And their assumption is that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will be a “no,” meaning Sens. Jon Tester and (D-Mont.) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) must vote “yes.”
Both Tester and Sinema remain publicly undecided. Tester joked to reporters on Wednesday that he would “love” to vote on Su “because then you guys would never have to ask me again how I was going to vote on Julie Su.”
We asked Schumer at his weekly press conference on Wednesday if Su will ever get an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.
“Look, she is a very good nominee,” Schumer responded. “And we are working hard to try and get her confirmed.”
The White House believes that Su’s nomination merits a boost after last week’s labor agreement at West Coast ports, crediting her with brokering the deal.
Here’s what White House spokesperson Emilie Simons told us:
“Julie Su is highly-qualified to be Labor Secretary, recently helped secure a labor agreement at the west coast ports, was unanimously confirmed as Deputy Secretary of Labor by all Senate Democrats, and has support from business and labor groups across the spectrum.”
The White House does have a workaround if Su isn’t confirmed, however. While the Federal Vacancies Reform Act allows Su to remain the acting Labor secretary until October, she can stay in the position indefinitely as long as her nomination is pending in the Senate.
— Andrew Desiderio and John Bresnahan
Schiff gets campaign boost from GOP censure effort
House Republicans are taking a victory lap after censuring Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). But what was meant to be a public shaming effort has become a potential goldmine for the leading California Senate candidate.
Schiff, who was censured Wednesday over his role in the investigation of former President Donald Trump when Democrats had the majority, has been fundraising off the GOP attacks for weeks.
The censure resolution, authored by Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.), passed on a 213-209 party-line vote. “Breaking: MAGA Republicans officially passed their resolution to censure me,” Schiff said in a fundraising blast soon after that vote.
Schiff has long been a prolific fundraiser for himself and the Democratic Party. And he’s often embraced being a top GOP target. This week was no exception. Schiff’s campaign has sent out numerous emails and texts recently describing him as a target of “extreme MAGA Republicans.”
Schiff told us Wednesday he didn’t know how much he raised and demurred when asked whether the censure effort might help his Senate campaign. The California Democrat’s campaign also refused to provide specific fundraising numbers.
“California wants a senator who is in the middle of defending our democracy, who is willing to take on anyone and who is effective,” Schiff said. “They’re going after me because I’m effective.”
Schiff’s fundraising blitz is the latest example of how being villainized by one’s political opponents can turn into a lucrative campaign opportunity.
We saw this when Trump raised millions of dollars after his indictment by the Manhattan district attorney’s office in April. The former president blasted out more fundraising requests after being hit with federal criminal charges earlier this month in relation to the classified documents inquiry.
And Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) sent out a fundraising email earlier this year following her removal from Foreign Affairs Committee in February by House Republicans. Omar called the vote against her “personal,” as well as “xenophobic, Islamophobic and racist.”
Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.), who endorsed Schiff for Senate, said the censure effort has been a boon for his colleague’s campaign.
“Anything that brings a candidate more attention always helps, especially when people see that he’s been unjustly targeted by the hard right,” Gomez told us. “It reinforces the fact that he was one of the leading Democrats against the Trump agenda. He’s been getting a lot of positives from it, not even just from fundraising.”
Reps. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who are also running for retiring Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) seat, declined to comment on whether they believed Schiff’s campaign was benefiting from the censure controversy.
House Republicans, meanwhile, brushed off concerns their censure resolution could backfire and instead boost Schiff’s political ambitions. The original censure resolution was revised after 20 Republicans initially voted to table the measure due to constitutional concerns about a $16 million fine that could’ve been imposed on Schiff.
“Whether he fundraises or not, that is not the issue,” Rep. Barry Moore (R-Ala.), who co-sponsored the revised resolution, said of Schiff. “It’s just the fact that he lied to the American people.”
Rep. Marc Molinaro (N.Y.), a vulnerable Republican and another co-sponsor of the resolution, condemned Schiff for fundraising off the vote.
“This place seems to think if you act poorly, you should politicize and benefit from it politically,” Molinaro told us. “That to me is not something you should be proud of.”
— Mica Soellner
PRESENTED BY THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION
CMS is planning burdensome restrictions of Alzheimer’s treatments, only providing coverage through an unexplained registry — something Medicare has never before done for an FDA-approved drug.
Senate’s take on clawback reform faces chilly House reception
The Senate Banking Committee successfully cleared a bipartisan bill on Wednesday that would bolster the power of regulators to claw back the pay of executives when banks fail.
It wasn’t easy getting near-unanimous consent from both parties on the Senate panel. But the House Financial Services Committee isn’t anxious to take on the joint collaboration from Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) anytime soon.
The RECOUP Act still needs to pass the Senate, to be clear. But with only two dissenting Republicans out of the panel’s 23 senators, the odds are pretty good this package will wind up in the House sooner or later.
Suffice to say, House lawmakers aren’t exactly waiting with bated breath for that to happen.
Start with Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee, who — about 30 minutes before the Senate Banking Committee’s markup started on Wednesday — announced a fresh batch of bills “in response to recent bank failures.” One of those was a banker clawback bill that’s similar, but distinct, from what the Senate’s been working on.
We asked Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) about the Senate proposal Wednesday night. Like every other House member we interviewed Wednesday, Waters said she hadn’t read the bill yet. Waters acknowledged speaking with Brown about clawbacks recently but was otherwise mum on specifics.
“I’m just beginning,” Waters said. “Come see me a little bit later.”
Her counterpart, House Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), declined to talk to us Wednesday about how his committee might respond to the RECOUP Act. We’re told Brown and McHenry have not spoken about the Senate bill.
Based on our conversations with the committee’s rank-and-file, it’s clear this is partly a question of priorities right now. Legislation responding to crypto has been a dominant focus for the House committee in recent weeks, and McHenry just announced a crypto-heavy markup for the second week of July.
“The committee is so totally consumed with all crypto-related issues,” Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said. He told us the RECOUP Act’s bipartisan pickup on the Senate Banking Committee was “impressive,” but that getting the House to follow suit was “a matter of getting enough political oxygen.”
Remember: The main reason we’re talking about clawbacks at all is the banking crisis from the spring. But that’s just not a major focus of the House these days.
“The desire to go back and review the recent bank failures seems to have cooled a bit,” Lucas said. “But I don’t think it’s gone cold.”
Other GOP lawmakers tell us they’re just not supportive of clawback legislation. “I would be surprised if anyone was very enthusiastic on the Republican side about that,” Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) said.
Other Republicans tell us that if there’s a role for the House to play in clawback reform, it will probably start with a fresh GOP bill. Rep. Erin Houchin (R-Ind.) didn’t want to comment on the RECOUP Act, but she said: “If we’re going to do something, I think we’ll craft our own version of that.”
— Brendan Pedersen
Endorsement watch: EMILYs List is endorsing Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester’s (D-Del.) Senate campaign. The group, dedicated to electing Democratic women, is wasting no time in backing Blunt Rochester a day after she launched her Senate campaign.
Blunt Rochester is the heavy favorite to win the Democratic nomination and succeed retiring Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.).
Ad watch: The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is out with a new digital ad hitting potential Senate candidate David McCormick on the issue of abortion. The spot returns to a familiar Democratic strategy during the 2022 midterms: painting GOP candidates as “too extreme” on abortion rights.
McCormick lost the 2022 Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary to Mehmet Oz but is considered likely to enter the 2024 race for a chance to challenge Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.).
Former Vice President Mike Pence will speak Saturday night at the Maverick’s Conference, Maverick PAC’s event. House Majority Whip Tom Emmer and more than 20 House Republicans will also be at the event, which connects private-sector professionals with politicians.
Heavy-hitting Republicans are hosting a fundraiser in D.C. Friday night for Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign. Kirkland and Ellis’ Reg Brown, a top congressional oversight lawyer, BHFS’ Marc Lampkin, DLA Piper’s Iggy Sanchez and former Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.) are among the hosts.
— Max Cohen and Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION
Why is Medicare access only restricted for Alzheimer’s drugs?
7:30 a.m.: House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) will hold a media availability ahead of an executive session on whistleblower allegations.
9 a.m.: President Joe Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
10 a.m.: The Bidens, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will hold an official welcome ceremony for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
10:45 a.m.: Biden will hold a meeting with Modi.
11:15 p.m.: House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries will hold his weekly news conference.
12:45 p.m.: Biden and Modi will hold a news conference.
4 p.m.: Modi will address a joint session of Congress.
6:30 p.m.: The Bidens will greet Modi for the State Dinner.
“Modi’s U.S. visit sends a big, if quiet, signal to China,” by Ellen Nakashima
“U.S. Offers India Drones, Jet Engines to Lure It From Russia,” by Gordon Lubold, Michael R. Gordon and Nancy A. Youssef
“Obama Opens His Doors To Next-Gen Democratic Leaders,” by Jonathan Martin
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images.
PRESENTED BY THE ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION
Are Continued Restrictions for FDA-approved Alzheimer’s Treatments the Future of Medicare?
For people living with Alzheimer’s, Medicare hasn’t been the “rock solid guarantee” President Biden has promised. For more than a year, CMS has blocked Medicare coverage to FDA-approved Alzheimer’s treatments costing patients with a terminal disease time they will never get back. Now the agency is planning to continue unprecedented restrictions, saying they’ll provide coverage only through a registry — something Medicare has never before done for an FDA-approved drug. Yet with a deadline only weeks away, CMS has yet to explain the barriers patients will face or the steps doctors must take to prepare to deliver long-delayed treatment. Each day is crucial to someone living with early stage Alzheimer’s when it comes to slowing the progression of this disease. Medicare must do better for beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s.
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