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Happy Tuesday morning.
The Marriott Marquis on Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., today will be the latest stage in the drama that’s dominated GOP politics for the last seven years – the Donald Trump show.
Trump will make his first appearance in Washington since leaving the nation’s capital in disgrace 17 months ago following the Jan. 6 insurrection. He’s headlining the America First Agenda Summit, a gathering that’s meant to celebrate the policies of his administration.
Trump is still the most important Republican in the country, and a potential 2024 White House candidate. He’s played kingmaker in a number of House and Senate races this cycle, and he’s on a largely successful revenge tour against those Republicans who voted for his impeachment after the Capitol attack.
Yet as with everything Trump, it’s a mixed bag. The Jan. 6 select committee has painted a devastating picture of Trump’s final weeks in office. And while Trump says he isn’t watching the panel’s hearings, millions of Americans are. Two top aides to former Vice President Mike Pence – including Marc Short, Pence’s former chief of staff – testified to a federal grand jury last week, raising the possibility that Trump may be the first former president ever to face criminal charges. Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis – who Trump helped eke out a razor-thin win in 2018 – has emerged as a potential rival, and Trump-favored Senate candidates may fizzle out in Georgia and Pennsylvania. And while Trump did remake the party, Republicans lost the White House, House and Senate during his tenure.
Which leads us to today’s event, and the ongoing drama among Republicans in Congress over Trump. The House Republican leadership remains lockstep behind the former president, while most of the Senate Republican leadership really wants nothing to do with him.
Trump is closing out the America First Agenda Summit at 3 p.m. today. The “pre-program?” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in conversation with Newt Gingrich, Larry Kudlow, Linda McMahon and Brooke Rollins.
During this session, McCarthy will talk about the “Commitment to America,” the House Republicans’ election season agenda that they plan to unveil soon.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise will be on stage at 11 a.m. to talk about the economy with Sens. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.). Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, will speak at 10 a.m. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will make an early morning appearance, as do some other conservative GOP lawmakers.
Missing from the list of speakers? Nearly the entire Senate Republican leadership. Neither Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell nor Minority Whip John Thune nor Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) are on the agenda, which you can peruse here. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the vice chair of the Republican conference, took part in a defense panel on Monday. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott of Florida – who’s had his own public spats with McConnell – sat on a Monday panel called “Make America Energy Independent.”
Now, this isn’t at all surprising. The divide between Senate and House Republicans when it comes to Trump is stark. McConnell wants nothing to do with Trump, going out of his way never to utter the word “Trump” if possible. Trump, though, has attacked McConnell relentlessly. Trump even urged other GOP senators to challenge McConnell for leader. That went exactly nowhere, although McConnell now faces a Senate map where Trump-backed candidates may cost the party dearly in November.
McCarthy, for his part, has stayed extremely close to Trump. Just weeks after the Jan. 6 insurrection, McCarthy visited Mar-a-Lago, helping rescue the 45th president from the political wilderness. McCarthy believes alienating Trump is a fool’s errand since the vast majority of his members are still supportive of the ex-president.
There have been some difficult moments for McCarthy, as always happens with Trump. Like when New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns leaked audio from a Jan. 10, 2021, House GOP leadership phone call where McCarthy suggested he’d tell Trump to resign before being removed from office. Or when Trump criticized McCarthy for failing to put any Republicans on the Jan. 6 committee. McCarthy, however, has been able to move past these incidents.
We asked McConnell about this divide with McCarthy – and the Senate GOP leadership’s absence from the America First Agenda Summit – but he declined to comment.
Thune, who’s also endured some bitter attacks from Trump, said this about House and Senate Republicans appearing at the same event as the former president:
“I don’t take it personally. [Trump] has members in both the House and Senate who are supporters. I guess I wouldn’t be surprised at that. As he travels around the country, he has members of Congress at some of these events. I think it just depends where you are in terms of devotion to him and whether he runs again in ‘24. If you’re for that, you would probably show up at some of those events.”
For his part, Scott downplayed the issue:
“I don’t get in the middle of that. I like Republicans, and I’m trying to get Republicans elected.”
– Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
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The metaverse may be virtual, but the impact will be real
In the metaverse, surgical residents will be able to practice risky, complex cases over and over.
The result: improved training practices and better care for patients under even the most trying circumstances.
Our final July events are here! Join us in-person or virtually at these engaging conversations and stay tuned for more events in the fall.
TODAY: Our conversation on the chips shortage with Commerce Deputy Secretary Don Graves begins at 9 a.m. RSVP here to join us in person or on the livestream!
TOMORROW: Tune in for our virtual conversation with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) about the importance of privacy and security in new and existing technologies. It’s the first event in our new series, “Building Trust in Technology.” RSVP here!
Senate ready to take big step on CHIPS – finally
If you have been waiting at the edge of your seat for the CHIPS-Plus bill to advance, you’re not alone. We are with you. Today is the day.
At around 11 a.m. this morning, the Senate will hold a cloture vote on the CHIPS-Plus bill. This vote was supposed to be Monday evening, but flights were delayed at Washington Reagan National Airport and Washington Dulles International and senators had a tough time getting into town.
We don’t expect any surprises here that could derail the $280 billion package. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), one of the chief GOP architects of the bill, put it this way:
“No bill is perfect, but it’s the right thing to do for the country. And it’s important to not just position us on Intel and chips, which is Ohio’s issue, but also on these other issues like artificial intelligence and quantum computing. … I would have written some things a little differently.”
There are up to 30 hours of post-cloture debate, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and GOP supporters of the legislation hope to get a time agreement to speed up the process and move quickly to final passage. This will, as always, rely on cooperation from senators opposed to the bill.
There had been some concerns that a Covid-19 outbreak in the Senate and other health issues may cost Schumer some votes, but Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) has gotten out of quarantine and is available.
If the Senate passes CHIPS-Plus this week, we expect the House to take it up in the coming days.
Schumer also filed cloture Monday on the PACT Act, a bill that would allow veterans who were exposed to toxic substances during their military service to receive VA health care and benefits. This would set up a cloture vote on Wednesday. Schumer hopes to be able to pass this bill before the Senate leaves on Thursday. You thought they’d stay Friday? Come on.
Related: SK Group, a South Korean conglomerate, will announce a $22 billion investment in U.S. manufacturing. President Joe Biden will hold a virtual meeting with the chair and principal owner of the company.
– Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
House leaders push ahead on police funding package
House Democratic leaders are working furiously behind the scenes to shore up support for a package of gun control and police funding bills with hopes of voting later this week.
The House returns this afternoon. So the next 24 hours will be critical for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team as they determine which bills have enough support to clear the House with Democrats’ slim four-vote margin.
But leadership has still not finalized the text of several of the bills. House Democrats are working behind the scenes with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) to shore up accountability language they hope will bring the Congressional Black Caucus on board.
Right now, it’s unclear what the police funding package will entail exactly. What we do know is Pelosi has been pushing hard for the vote.
And many vulnerable Democrats are desperate to tout the bills on the campaign trail to counter GOP claims that they’re “soft on crime.” Remember, Frontline Democrats have been pushing leadership for months on these bills, as we’ve covered extensively.
Here’s what’s under consideration:
→ H.R. 6448, the “Invest to Protect Act” by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and John Rutherford (R-Fla.). This bill would provide community policing grants to small police departments.
→ H.R. 6375, “COPS on the Beat Program Reauthorization and Parity Act” by Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Tom Rice (R-S.C.). This bill would expand federal community policing grants in order to hire more police officers and increase their salaries.
→ H.R. 1368, “Mental Health Justice Act” by Reps. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) and Michelle Steel (R-Calif.). This bill would create a grant program to allow localities to hire and train mental health professionals to respond to emergencies.
→ H.R. 4118, “Break the Cycle of Violence Act” by Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), would create a federal grant program for violence intervention initiatives.
→ H.R. 5768, “VICTIM Act of 2022,” by Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.), would provide grants to help states clear the backlog of unsolved homicides.
The House Rules Committee will also take up the assault weapons ban and a bill from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) removing civil liability protections for gun manufacturers on Wednesday.
Right now, top House Democrats say they’re “close” to having the votes to pass the assault weapons ban later this week but it’s very tight. Remember, Democrats can only lose four votes unless they pick up some Republicans.
Democratic Reps. Ron Kind (Wis.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), Jared Golden (Maine), Henry Cuellar (Texas) and Vicente González (Texas) are all expected to oppose the assault weapons ban. Democratic leaders are hoping to pick up one or two Republicans – such as Reps. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) and Chris Jacobs (N.Y.) – to pass the bill.
As of last night, the bill dealing with gun manufacturers’ liability also didn’t have the votes to clear the House, according to multiple Democratic aides. And Democrats aren’t sure if they’ll get there. Right now it depends on how much energy they have to expend to round up the votes for some or all of the police funding bills.
— Heather Caygle
Last night we hosted a Cocktails & Conversations event focused on The Punch Up, Punchbowl News’ ESG platform, at the Sazerac House. We were joined by leaders in the racial equity and sustainability spaces. Isaac Reyes, senior vice president of risk management and government affairs at Target, and Punchbowl News CEO Anna Palmer spoke to the crowd about the importance of The Punch Up and the ongoing work of the platform. Learn more and stay up to date on The Punch Up here. A big thanks as always to Elizabeth Wise and Laura Pinsky of Sazerac for their continued partnership with this event series.
Raising a glass: Maia Hunt Estes of Invariant, Austin Spindler of PwC, Stacy Day of Mastercard, Keenan Austin Reed of Alpine Group, Chibundu Nnake of NetApp, Lindsay Singleton of Rokk Solutions, Paul Thornell of Mehlman Castagnetti, Erica Harris of the Public Affairs Council, Marissa Mitrovich of Frontier, Marissa Mahoney of the National Association of Investment Companies, Brandy Jackson of the American Investment Council, and Cristina Antelo of Ferox Strategies.
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WELCOME TO THE FAMILY
Mary Tyler March joins Punchbowl News
We’re super excited to announce that Punchbowl News has hired its first product manager — Mary Tyler March. MT (as we refer to her) was most recently strategic planning editor at WAMU. She has a journalism background with an intersection of news product. She grew up in North Carolina and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. We are thrilled to have her join our team.
Interested in joining our team? We’re currently interviewing for a financial services reporter to join our growing editorial team. Apply here.
→ News: The Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC is throwing its weight behind Nevada’s effort to host the Democratic Party’s first presidential primary. The group is arguing early engagement in the Silver State will “put Democrats in a much stronger position to win in November.”
“The presidential primary calendar should start with a state that looks like America, reflects our party’s priorities, and embodies our nation’s rich diversity. Nevada moving to first on the Democratic nominating calendar will demand future presidential candidates spend more time and invest more resources talking to Latino voters early,” BOLD PAC Chair Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) said.
The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee will meet in August to finalize the early voting order for the party’s 2024 presidential primaries. While it appears likely the party will ditch Iowa’s caucus, representatives from New Hampshire are fiercely defending the state’s first-in-the-nation primary status.
→ America Next, a PAC founded by former Louisiana GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal, has a new ad up in West Virginia, urging Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to vote against the Democrats’ reconciliation package, which allows Medicare to negotiate for cheaper prescription drugs and extends subsidies for Obamacare.
→ An interesting ad in the race for governor in Pennsylvania. Democrat Josh Shapiro is running an ad statewide focused on Doug Mastriano’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The ad says that Mastriano brought Rudy Giuliani to the Keystone State to help him in his efforts, and it includes a clip of Mastriano saying that as governor, he can decertify any voting machines.
→ Keeping track: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reported Monday having $9.7 million in his campaign account.
— Max Cohen and Jake Sherman
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9:30 a.m.: President Joe Biden will get his daily intelligence briefing.
2 p.m.: Biden will meet virtually with the chairman of the SK Group. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will join.
3:15 p.m.: Karine Jean-Pierre and Brian Deese will brief.
5 p.m.: Biden will join the House Disabilities Caucus to mark the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
→ “U.S. Officials Grow More Concerned About Potential Action by China on Taiwan,” by Edward Wong, David Sanger and Amy Qin
→ “Kushner Says He Was Treated for Thyroid Cancer While in White House,” by Maggie Haberman
→ “Biden poised for big wins in Congress,” by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Mike DeBonis
→ “Dems fume at Disney’s Hulu for blocking ads on abortion, guns,” by Michael Scherer
→ “Bipartisan Bill to Regulate Stablecoin Is Delayed for at Least Several Weeks,” by Andrew Ackerman
→ “When Trump Declares for 2024 He Loses Control of $103 Million,” by Bill Allison and Mark Niquette
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The metaverse will make learning more interactive
Imagine students roaming with dinosaurs in the Jurassic period, visiting a museum in Paris without a plane ticket or watching Mark Antony debate in ancient Rome.
The metaverse may be virtual, but the impact will be real.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images
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