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Happy Friday morning.
During a closed-door meeting of House Democrats on Wednesday morning, Speaker Nancy Pelosi relayed to her members something she’s been hearing from donors.
Donors have been asking Pelosi why more House Democrats don’t donate to the DCCC. Pelosi, famous for her fundraising prowess, was trying to make the point that it doesn’t send a good message to donors if members aren’t doing their part to keep the House majority.
Put more bluntly, Pelosi was complaining about her Democratic colleagues not ponying up their dues to the DCCC.
This is an age-old problem for House Democrats, who have long struggled to get their members to cough up more money for the campaign committee.
Dues assessments are based on a variety of factors. Committee assignments are a big part, with seats on high-profile committees such as Energy and Commerce or Ways and Means leading to costlier assessments. Whether a member is a subcommittee or full committee chair, or if they’re in a leadership position, has an impact. The higher up you are, the more you owe.
The statistics are surprising, to say the least. Ninety-eight House Democrats have paid less than half of their dues. Even worse, this doesn’t include Frontliners, who are essentially exempt from funding the DCCC because they need that money for their own races.
Take a look for yourself at who isn’t ponying up. Here is an internal DCCC document that details who is giving and who isn’t.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn is hosting a dinner Monday night to give his rank-and-file colleagues the opportunity to get square with the DCCC.
But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle see diminishing returns contributing to party committees. They have no control over how the money is spent and oftentimes disagree with strategic decisions and priorities. It doesn’t help that DCCC Chair Sean Patrick Maloney has been a lightning rod for controversy this Congress.
As of July 31, the DCCC has raised more than $252 million this cycle, with more than $118 million in cash on hand, according to its FEC report. However, the committee has already reserved tens of millions of dollars in TV ads, with every vulnerable incumbent clamoring for more help as Pelosi and Democratic leaders defend their razor-thin majority.
The rise of super PACs has also made dues-paying more problematic. These groups, funded by mega-wealthy donors, can dump millions into the late stages of a race. That makes many members more wary of parting with campaign donations.
Maloney, for his part, says he’s hopeful that the committee can lean on the rank-and-file for more support.
“I think you’ll see our members step up and they’re doing that. Jim Clyburn is hosting a dinner for us next week, which we expect to be very successful. And obviously, we continue to encourage members to support the larger effort.”
Our reporting indicates that lawmakers are somewhat cagey about how much they’ll fork over. Some just say flat out “No.”
→ Rep. Cheri Bustos (Ill.), the retiring former DCCC chair who has paid nothing in dues, told us she has given out $350,000 this cycle – just not to the DCCC.
“I’m just doing it in a different way. I paid $1,075,000 last cycle, I paid over my dues the last couple cycles. I helped raise a quarter of a billion dollars last cycle. So I’m doing it a different way this year. I’m on a board where we’ll raise close to $11 million for women candidates all over the country.”
Of course, none of these efforts mean much to the DCCC. They still want some of Bustos’s campaign cash.
→ Rep. Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.) has paid nothing of the $150,000 he’s expected to fork over. Bowman said he “definitely” plans on paying dues.
“So yes, and [I plan on] supporting members directly as well. You know, I want to start doing that. But I’ve got to step up my own fundraising game and make sure I got the money to do so.”
Bowman had nearly $492,000 in his campaign account as of Aug. 3.
→ Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), who has north of $6 million in the bank, hasn’t given a dime to the committee. The DCCC has her down for having raised $1,000 for the committee and $145,000 raised or given to “Red-to-Blue” candidates and Frontliners.
“I’ve contributed at the beginning of the term by essentially providing over a quarter million in direct donations. It’s been kind of documented, but I try not to put grassroots money and commingle it with big money.”
In other words, AOC doesn’t like how the DCCC raises money – from lobbyists, corporate executives and the like – so count her out.
AOC also didn’t like how SPM decided to run in Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones’ district following New York’s chaotic redistricting process. She endorsed SPM’s primary opponent (who lost, of course.) Jones was defeated handily by Dan Goldman, the former Donald Trump impeachment counsel who put $4 million from his own pocket into the race.
→ Rep. Ilhan Omar, who represents a safe seat in Minneapolis, said “I’m not one of those” when we asked if she’d pay dues. Omar hasn’t given a dime of the $150,000 she’s expected to donate. Omar spent heavily in a Democratic primary and has $471,000 in the bank as of her July 20 FEC report.
→ Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.), who lost a primary this year, said he “spent all” of his money “trying to win.” Schrader has $129,000 in the bank and is expected to give $250,000 in dues to the committee.
Asked about progressives not ponying up, Schrader said this:
“Talk is cheap. Put your money where your mouth is, maybe, if you want to be in the majority. I’m not sure a lot of them care about that, perhaps. But yeah, I mean, it’s a team sport.”
Rep. Gerry Connolly (Va.), who has designs on being the top Democrat on Oversight, has nearly $3.8 million on hand, yet has not given the $175,000 he’s expected to fork over to the DCCC.
“I already pledged my last $100,000. I paid $75,000. And I just was looking for the opportunity for where’s the best place to give. And so Jim Clyburn is having an event and I pledged $100,000 for that.”
New: Here is the Biden administration’s new executive order on digital assets.
– Jake Sherman, Max Cohen, Heather Caygle and John Bresnahan
Permitting reform fight bogs down government funding bill
Congress left town this week without taking action on a short-term funding bill to keep the federal agencies open beyond Sept. 30.
One big problem? Permitting reform.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin have agreed to attach the West Virginia Democrat’s permitting reform proposal to a continuing resolution to keep the government open until mid-December.
Manchin has yet to release his proposal and won’t do so until the CR is unveiled at some point next week.
But Senate Republicans and at least one Democrat – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) – are already opposed to the Manchin proposal. Senate Republicans are backing an alternative proposal by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who has repeatedly said she’s yet to hear directly from Manchin about his plan.
“Now the onus is on me to provide support for something I had no hand in and still don’t know what it is? And so how can I help that effort?” Capito responded when asked about the issue. “What if I would go to somebody and say, ‘Hey, you know, support this, it’s really good.’ Well, they go ‘What is it?’ And I go, ‘Well, I don’t know. Trust me.’ I mean, you just can’t operate like that.”
Manchin said Thursday he needs 20 Senate Republicans to back his measure in order to overcome Democratic opposition.
More than 70 House Democrats have also come out against the proposal, arguing that it will lead to more oil and natural gas drilling, which Manchin supports but they don’t.
So at this point, there doesn’t appear to be 60 votes in the Senate to pass a CR that includes the Manchin proposal, or 218 votes in the House if it does get through.
Schumer, though, is moving ahead as if it will be included. We won’t know how this plays out until probably the middle of next week.
If the Manchin permitting reform plan stays on the CR, then the Senate will have to go first on the measure. If it’s dropped, the House could vote first on the CR. Again, there won’t be a decision on this until sometime next week.
The other elements that will likely be included in the CR at this point include more money for Ukraine, FDA fees legislation and possibly some disaster aid relief. These are pretty non-controversial and will get broad bipartisan support in both chambers. The White House has sought billions of dollars worth of Covid and monkeypox response funding, but there doesn’t seem to be support for those provisions.
House and Senate appropriators are still holding bipartisan, bicameral talks on the CR.
We’ve said this before and we’ll repeat it again – there’s not going to be a government shutdown. Neither side wants it, and it benefits no one. It’s not going to happen.
Yet this effort by Manchin is noteworthy. Sources close to the West Virginia Democrat say that if permitting reform doesn’t happen now, it won’t happen for years, maybe never.
Senate Democrats have also circulated a document stating that Manchin proposal would allow completion of at least 20 clean energy projects. Schumer has pointed this out in pushing for the Manchin proposal.
Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer warned lawmakers on the floor Thursday that they could be in the Capitol Oct. 1 to pass a government funding bill. Here’s Steny:
“There’s some discussion about what are we going to do the last week in September. And I’ve told my members and would also make clear to all of our members, including [Republicans], that they ought to be making sure the last three days of [September] weekdays and that Saturday, they ought to keep clear so that if in fact we need to work during [that] period of time, and my expectation is that we are going to have to, that they not be canceling events that they scheduled. So being on notice, I think, would be fair to them and fair to anybody we’re scheduling with.”
Also: Senate Democrats decided to delay a vote on codifying same-sex marriage into law until after the midterm elections. GOP backers of the measure were pushing for the delay, suggesting Republicans would be more apt to support it during the lame-duck session.
This is a show of restraint by Schumer, who could’ve decided to force Republicans into a difficult vote in order to score political points.
Not all Democrats are happy. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told us this on Thursday:
“If there are Republicans who don’t want to vote on [same-sex marriage] before the election, I assume it is because they are on the wrong side of history. Equal marriage has been a part of who we are as a nation, we’ve lived with it for years now. And protecting it by statute is something every single senator and every single member of Congress should be willing to vote for. And if they’re not, they need to go on the record and say so. …
“The votes should be there now. And if they’re not, the Republicans need to stand up and explain why they don’t want to vote for equality among all human beings and right to marry the person you love.”
– John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman
PUNCHBOWL NEWS EVENTS
What Cathy McMorris Rodgers told us
Missed our conversation yesterday with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.)? Catch up on the interview here.
→ New: House Majority PAC is airing a new ad arguing that Ohio Republican House candidate J.R. Majewski “should be in jail, not in Congress.”
Scott Clinger, a retired police officer and Marine, blasts Majewski for his attendance at the rally preceding the Jan. 6 insurrection. Majewski has claimed he went to D.C. to “protest peacefully” and left “when it got ugly.”
Majewski is challenging longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur in a redrawn district that leans Republican. This ad does not mention former President Donald Trump.
→ New: Democrat Emilia Sykes performs a gymnastics routine in a creative ad in response to attack ads run against her.
“They’ll twist everything to scare you, but the only thing that’ll stick is my landing,” Sykes says as she flips off a balance beam.
Sykes, a state representative looking to succeed Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) in a competitive seat, plays up her bipartisan record cutting taxes in the state house.
Sykes is running against former Donald Trump adviser Madison Gesiotto Gilbert in Ohio’s 13th District. The seat is rated a ”Democratic Toss-Up” by the Cook Political Report with Amy Walter.
→ Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) campaign is describing the 88-year-old senator as a “push-up pro” and a “runner” in a new ad. The spot also says Grassley visits all 99 Iowa counties each year and “has the best attendance record in the Senate, ever.”
“If reelected, Chuck, Grassley will have the most seniority in the entire Senate,” the ad’s narrator says. “That’s priceless for Iowa.”
Grassley, who’s running for a six-year term, turns 89 tomorrow.
→ Former GOP Gov. Sarah Palin, a candidate for the House in Alaska, has a paltry $107,548 on hand after losing in the mid-August special election for the seat held by the late Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska). Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska), who won the special, has $1.1 million. The two will face off again in November for a seat in the next Congress.
— Max Cohen and Jake Sherman
9:30 a.m.: President Joe Biden will get his daily intelligence briefing. … Vice President Kamala Harris will have breakfast at the Naval Observatory with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
11:25 a.m.: Harris will leave for Chicago from Dulles.
1 p.m.: Karine Jean-Pierre will brief.
1:50 p.m.: Harris will hold a meeting on reproductive rights at the University of Illinois-Chicago.
2:15 p.m.: Biden will meet with Ramaphosa.
5:05 p.m.: Harris will appear at a political event at UIC with Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
6:15 p.m.: Harris will fly back to Andrews.
→ “Democrats Buoyed by Abortion and Trump, Times/Siena Poll Finds,” by Lisa Lerer and Nate Cohn
→ “Judge Keeps Block on Inquiry Into Mar-a-Lago Files and Names Special Master,” by Charlie Savage, Alan Feuer and Glenn Thrush
→ “The Justice Dept.’s Jan. 6 investigation is looking at … everything,” by Devlin Barrett, Jacqueline Alemany, Josh Dawsey and Rosalind S. Helderman
→ “Ocasio-Cortez calls out GOP lawmaker for ‘disrespect’ shown to environmental lawyer in heated exchange,” by Shawna Mizelle and Sonnet Swire
→ “Ether’s New ‘Staking’ Model Could Draw SEC Attention,” by Paul Kiernan and Vicky Ge Huang
→ “Germany Takes Control of Oil Refineries Owned by Russia’s Rosneft,” by Georgi Kantchev and Bojan Pancevski in Berlin
→ “Biden, S. African leader to discuss Ukraine, trade, climate,” by Mogomotsi Magome and Aamer Madhani
→ “As Hispanics become Texas’ largest demographic group, their political clout lags,” by Cayla Harris and Edward McKinley
→ “DeSantis defends sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. Critics blast ‘inhumane’ stunt,” by Ana Ceballos, Grethel Aguila and David Ovalle
Crucial Capitol Hill news AM, Midday, and PM—5 times a week
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