Every issue of the Punchbowl News newsletter, including our special editions, right here at your fingertips.
Join the community, and get the morning edition delivered straight to your inbox.
Happy Monday morning.
This is an enormous week for Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans.
The federal government will shut down in 13 days unless Congress greenlights more funding. And House Republicans are pushing a partisan stopgap spending bill that won’t go anywhere in the Senate and will fall on deaf ears in the White House. It seems doubtful McCarthy can even pass it in first place.
There will also be a critical visit to Capitol Hill by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have already announced Zelensky will attend an “all senators” meeting on Thursday morning. McCarthy will have to figure out how to handle an enormously sensitive issue that has split House Republicans.
Let’s start here: Members from the House Freedom Caucus and Republican Main Street Caucus reached a deal on a proposed 30-day stopgap funding bill. Passing the measure would allow House GOP leaders to push the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security funding bills through the chamber. It will also give House Republicans the opportunity to say they did something to avoid a shutdown.
We scooped Sunday evening that the two sides had an agreement. You can read the text of the proposed CR here. Here’s a summary of the proposal from the Main Street Caucus, and here’s one from the House Freedom Caucus.
The highlights: This House Republican CR would cut spending except for defense, veterans and Department of Homeland Security funding. Along with the modified H.R. 2 provisions (no mandatory use of E-Verify for businesses), it includes new prohibitions on asylum claims and other hardline immigration restrictions. However, billions of dollars of disaster aid sought by President Joe Biden isn’t in there.
None of this will be acceptable to House Democrats, the Senate or White House, so this isn’t going to help avoid a shutdown on Oct. 1. More below.
What’s next: The Rules Committee is scheduled to mark up the CR today. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise told members on a Sunday night call that the House will vote on the Defense bill on Wednesday and the CR on Thursday.
But there are huge questions about whether McCarthy and his leadership team can even round up enough Republican votes to pass the CR (which could get amended in Rules). Already more than a dozen conservatives have said they don’t like or won’t support the measure, arguing it continues to fund Ukraine and “woke” Biden administration policies. McCarthy only has a four-vote margin, with some Republicans likely to miss votes due to health issues. Translation: McCarthy literally has no room for error here.
The House GOP leadership has been hands off during this process, allowing a half-dozen rank-and-file members to negotiate without much involvement. The negotiators included Reps. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.) and Chip Roy (R-Texas) for the HFC, and Reps. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.) and Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) for the Main Street Caucus.
Let’s go back to what we said before. In addition to objecting to the spending cuts, there’s no way that the Senate is going to approve a bill that has H.R. 2, which the Biden White House said would “make things worse, not better” at the border.
The danger here for McCarthy is multifaceted.
No. 1: The obvious challenge for McCarthy’s leadership team is whipping this vote. One top House Republican called it a “very heavy lift” on Sunday night.
No. 2: If the leadership can’t pass this CR, then what’s their plan? The government may shut down anyway, despite McCarthy’s exhortations that it would boost Biden. But if House Republicans can’t pass something on their own, McCarthy may be forced to choose between staying on as speaker or avoiding a shutdown.
No. 3: The biggest challenge for McCarthy is that some members won’t see this CR as an opening gambit in negotiations with the Senate and White House. They’ll say that the final deal – whether a stopgap bill or full-year funding package – doesn’t go far enough on their priorities. Just as they did on “Limit, Save, Grow,” these House Republicans are likely to blame McCarthy.
No. 4: Some on the right – namely McCarthy foe Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) – have said they want to boot McCarthy if he extends government funding for a short period of time. Gaetz has been telling people that he blames the speaker for a House Ethics Committee probe. Whether that’s driving Gaetz is unclear, but McCarthy can’t afford a motion-to-vacate vote right now.
By the way, McCarthy not only has to figure out how to fund the government by Sept. 30, but he also needs to enact a full year of funding too. The speaker told us last week he wanted to use the next few weeks to pass the remaining 11 appropriations bills – good luck! – but since that’s not realistic, he’ll have to figure out another path.
One more thing: The Senate has to chart a path to pass a $280 billion “minibus” this week. When senators left town Thursday, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was blocking a bipartisan amendment package. Schumer and McConnell have to figure out a way to get around the objections from Johnson and other conservative Republicans.
– Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
We’re excited to announce our Senior Congressional Reporter Andrew Desiderio will interview Rep. Young Kim (R-Calif.) at the 2023 Concordia Annual Summit TODAY at 11:30 a.m. ET in New York City. To join us visit https://www.concordialive.com/AnnualSummit23.
Tomorrow: Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas) will join Punchbowl News founder and CEO Anna Palmer at 9 a.m. ET. We’re discussing news of the day, 5G leadership and spectrum policy. RSVP!
PRESENTED BY CHEVRON
Meeting the world’s energy challenges will require more than one solution. And Chevron is striving to lead the way in the energy transition. We’re getting renewable fuels on the road today, investing in and implementing carbon capture and storage, and working to keep methane in the pipe. Delivering on today’s energy needs while forging new paths to a lower carbon future – in ways that are affordable, reliable, and ever cleaner. That’s energy in progress.
House Rs grow antsy over Mayorkas impeachment as Biden probe ramps up
GOP border hawks are worried a long-anticipated impeachment effort into DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will go dark due to the newly inquiry aimed at President Joe Biden.
Multiple House Republicans have raised concerns to us over pursuing two separate impeachments, especially as the Biden investigation takes up most of the attention of key committees.
“With Mayorkas, it grows worse and worse by the day,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said. “I am worried that it’s going to go by the wayside.”
Homeland Security Committee Chair Mark Green said he plans to complete his investigation into Mayorkas by October, but the Tennessee Republican fears the Biden probe will overshadow his work.
“It’s just not juicy because it’s not Joe Biden,” Green said of his investigation. “But we’re doing our work and we will continue to do our work.”
House conservatives have been itching to impeach a high-ranking Biden Cabinet official even before they won back the majority, with Mayorkas as their top target. Yet in recent months, most House Republicans have turned their focus to Biden as both the congressional and federal criminal probes into his son Hunter’s business dealings have intensified.
Here’s where all the factions stand:
Border hawk complaints: Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas), a member of the Homeland Security Committee, said that it’s clear Mayorkas is no longer a priority of the conference.
“This does shift the focus in our long-standing efforts to hold the administration accountable for the failures of the southern border,” Pfluger told us.
Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) also said it’s “probably tough” to make a Mayorkas impeachment happen on top of an inquiry into Biden.
And Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) said the Biden inquiry is going to pull resources away from the Mayorkas investigation.
“I don’t want to see us get too distracted,” Jackson told us.
Dual impeachment push: Some House Republicans maintain they can pursue impeachments into both Mayorkas and Biden.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who has introduced multiple impeachment resolutions, said she believes the House can juggle several investigations at once.
“I come from a business background and you can fire more than one person at one time,” she told us.
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) also dismissed doubts that this Congress can’t balance multiple impeachment efforts.
Jordan is co-leading the Biden impeachment inquiry with Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) and Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.)
“We’re just focused on doing our oversight work,” Jordan said.
Comer is seeking the bank records of Hunter Biden and James Biden as Republicans ramp up their probe into Hunter’s allegedly corrupt business dealings.
Democrats’ view: Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said Republicans are looking to distract from their failed probe into Mayorkas.
“Instead of governing, extreme MAGA Republicans have spent this entire Congress attacking Secretary Mayorkas,” Thompson said in a statement. “We’ve seen them hold over a dozen hearings trying to cobble together fake grounds for impeachment but they haven’t come up with a thing.”
— Mica Soellner
The latest on the Biden impeachment inquiry
The impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden is here. Now what?
Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s announcement last week that the House would start officially investigating whether Biden committed high crimes and misdemeanors dominated the headlines. But in the short term, we haven’t seen much change in the way House investigators are going about their business.
The GOP chairs in charge of the impeachment inquiry have acknowledged that the inquiry designation is mainly geared toward ensuring that congressional subpoenas to the executive branch carry more weight.
We haven’t seen House Republicans subpoena the White House just yet. But it’s clear that obtaining Biden’s bank records is firmly in their scope.
For now, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) is waiting to hear back from the Department of Homeland Security for documents he subpoenaed earlier this month. Comer set a Sept. 19 deadline to receive from the DHS leadership — which oversees the Secret Service — “all documents and communications regarding the Biden transition team being tipped off about the planned Hunter Biden interview in December 2020.”
Taking a step back, this subpoena represents the House GOP probe into all facets of the Hunter Biden investigation. But this subpoena request isn’t directly implicating Joe Biden, who wasn’t president at the time. We’re told that Oversight hasn’t received any of the documents they’ve requested at this time.
Hearing update: Comer will hold a hearing related to the Biden impeachment inquiry the last week of September. The Oversight Committee is expected to announce the specific date this week.
— Max Cohen and Mica Soellner
PRESENTED BY CHEVRON
At Chevron, we’re producing renewable fuels to help reduce the lifecycle carbon intensity of the transportation industry.
What we’re watching
Monday: The House Rules Committee will meet to consider several pieces of legislation, including a resolution that condemns New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) for “subverting the Second Amendment to the Constitution and depriving the citizens of New Mexico of their right to bear arms.” Lujan Grisham banned the open carry of guns in the Albuquerque area following a wave of shootings, but then backed off in the face of legal challenges.
Tuesday: The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will have a hearing on disaster readiness, response and recovery with FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. The House Financial Services Committee will have a hearing with William Birdthistle, the director of the investment management division of the SEC.
The House Ways and Means Committee will have a hearing on the implementation of surprise billing protection. The House Oversight Committee will have a hearing on the role of pharmacy benefit managers. The House Science, Space and Technology Committee will have a hearing on the CHIPS Act with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
– Jake Sherman
President Joe Biden’s campaign is running an ad touting the bipartisan infrastructure law and the jobs it has created. The spot is running in Wisconsin.
– Jake Sherman
PRESENTED BY CHEVRON
9:30 a.m.: President Joe Biden will get his daily briefing. He is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.
6:15 p.m.: Biden will participate in a fundraiser in New York.
7:30 p.m.: The Bidens will participate in a fundraiser.
Biden’s week: Tuesday: Biden will speak at the UNGA, meet with UN Secretary General António Guterres, meet with the Central Asia 5+1 and host a reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Wednesday: Biden will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Brazilian President Lula da Silva and participate in a “labor-focused event” with da Silva. Biden will attend two campaign events in New York before heading back to Washington.
“A stealth F-35 fighter jet went down in S.C. It’s proving hard to find,” by Bryan Pietsch and Kyle Rempfer
“Iran Says Prisoner Exchange With US to Happen Later Monday,” by Arsalan Shahla
“Republican legislatures flex muscles to maintain power in two closely divided states,” by Nicholas Riccardi and Gary Robertson
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.
PRESENTED BY CHEVRON
Our world is always evolving. And it demands energy that evolves with it. Meeting that challenge is going to take more than one solution. It’s the kind of work that drives us. To develop innovations that help us in our aim to responsibly produce oil and gas while also helping other industries do what they do with less emissions. Delivering the energy we need today while forging new paths to a lower carbon future – in ways that are affordable, reliable, and ever cleaner. That’s energy in progress. Learn more about how we’re working to lead the way in the energy transition.
Crucial Capitol Hill news AM, Midday, and PM—5 times a week
Join a community of some of the most powerful people in Washington and beyond. Exclusive newsmaker events, parties, in-person and virtual briefings and more.Subscribe to Premium
The Canvass Year-End Report
And what senior aides and downtown figures believe will happen in 2023.Check it out