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Happy Friday morning.
If you’re standing on Independence Ave. early this afternoon, be careful.
The House will be wrapping up its vote on a short-term government funding bill by about 2 p.m. Meaning lawmakers will be racing for their cars or rushing to the airport to head home for the 39-day sprint to Election Day. Those who make it to the Capitol today instead of voting by proxy, that is.
The continuing resolution, which keeps federal agencies open until Dec. 16, cleared the Senate Thursday easily – the vote was 72-25.
The House is expected to pass the bill as well, although we don’t anticipate a huge show of bipartisanship. It’s an election year, after all. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who will spend the next six weeks on the road raising money and trying to rally voters to the GOP cause, told us that his rank-and-file members will be an “overwhelming no” on the largely non-controversial spending package.
For instance, Rep. Kay Granger of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, initially told us she’d vote yes on the measure. But Granger’s office said the veteran lawmaker has informed GOP leaders that she’s now a no.
The CR includes more than $12 billion in economic and military aid for Ukraine, billions more in disaster aid for New Mexico and other states, and a five-year reauthorization of FDA user fees.
Lawmakers are already talking about a fresh round of aid for Florida and Puerto Rico following the deadly hurricanes there, but that will have to wait until after the elections.
Three news items:
Big downtown pickup: Will Dunham, the deputy chief of staff for policy for McCarthy, is joining Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a top lobbying firm. This is a major departure from McCarthy’s office, and a clear sign that K Street is beginning to prepare for a potential Republican take over of the House.
McCarthy announced Dunham’s exit in a closed GOP meeting Thursday morning and the members gave him a big round of applause. Dunham was McCarthy’s representative in all important negotiations for the last several years.
It’s a big pickup for BHFS, which also employs Brian McGuire, the former chief of staff to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Nadeam Elshami, the former chief of staff to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The firm has a relationship with Barry Jackson, the former chief of staff to Speaker John Boehner, as well.
Lame-duck update: The Senate’s bipartisan election reform bill continues to pick up sponsors from both sides of the aisle. Thirty-two senators are now sponsoring the bill, penned by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
New sponsors include some real heavy hitters: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Rules Committee Chair Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Senate Rules Ranking Republican Roy Blunt (Mo.), Senate Minority Whip John Thune, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
Schumer, McConnell, Klobuchar and Blunt all supported the bill during a markup in Rules this week. Thune and Cornyn are key players inside the Senate GOP Conference.
This is yet another show of strength as senators continue to make the case that it’s their bill – not the House version, drafted by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) – that should be the basis for negotiations in the lame duck.
“The Senate bill is the version. There’s not gonna be a conference. There’s not gonna be negotiation,” Thune told reporters on Thursday. “If this gets done, it’s gonna be the Senate version.”
That seems pretty definitive, no?
Want to see Hamilton? Head to the Kennedy Center, not the Capitol: When former President Harry Truman got a statue in the Capitol Rotunda Thursday, the statue of Alexander Hamilton got booted from its prime real estate.
Schumer found out about the re-location at the congressional BBQ Thursday and jokingly accused Blunt about being a descendant of Aaron Burr. Hamilton, a New Yorker, was killed by Burr in an 1804 duel. But you knew that because Burr was the “damn fool that shot him.”
Later, Schumer approached Klobuchar on the floor and asked what would happen to the Hamilton statue. Schumer joked that Klobuchar better find a new spot before the press found out it was moved. The Rules Committee oversees such issues on the Senate side.
A Klobuchar spokesperson said the Minnesota Democrat will help find a good place for Hamilton in “a room where it happens.”
Also, Klobuchar has noted that there are only 16 statues of women in the Capitol, out of more than 200 overall. So she’s looking forward to the installation of statues for Justices Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sandra Day O’Connor, authorized by a bipartisan bill she helped pass with other women senators.
– Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan
PRESENTED BY META
Students will be able to explore outer space in the metaverse.
With the metaverse, students in a classroom will be able to travel to the depths of our galaxy, helping them get up close to the planets and gain a deeper understanding of how our solar system works.
The metaverse may be virtual, but the impact will be real.
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WISCONSIN SENATE RACE
Scalise calls Barnes’ comments on 2017 shooting ‘disgraceful’
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise – who nearly died in a 2017 mass shooting by a leftist extremist – called recently unearthed comments made by Wisconsin Democratic Senate candidate Mandela Barnes on the incident “disgraceful.”
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel went through Barnes’ Twitter feed and found a number of controversial statements. Barnes said former President Donald Trump was a “Russian spy.” Barnes – who is African-American – was also critical of President George Washington for being a slave owner. Washington owned more than 120 enslaved people, although he freed them at his death.
Among Barnes’ tweets was one criticizing Scalise, who was critically injured in that June 2017 attack.
Barnes – out of office at the time – was upset that Scalise remained a gun rights supporter even after this deadly event. Here’s the tweet from Barnes on Oct. 3, 2017:
“Taking one for the team. I question how people vote against self interest but this is next level. He literally almost died on this hill.”
We showed Scalise these comments from Barnes and asked him for a response:
“That’s disgraceful. It says a lot more about his lack of character to be in essence condoning political violence. All of us should be standing up against political violence.
“To say something like that, [Barnes] really needs to look in the mirror and reevaluate his lack of character.”
We followed up with the Barnes’ campaign. Here’s a statement from Barnes:
“This is a very personal topic for me as someone who has experienced the pain of losing friends and loved ones to gun violence. My comments came from a place of frustration with politicians like Ron Johnson who see gun violence happen everyday and turn their backs on solutions that would keep people safe.”
Barnes, Wisconsin’s 35-year-old lieutenant governor, is challenging GOP Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) in a key Senate race this November. Recent polls show Johnson with a slight edge heading into the final stretch of the campaign.
– John Bresnahan
POSTCARD TO SEAN PATRICK MALONEY
Vulnerable House Democrat gripes about DCCC on private fundraising Zoom
We’ve written extensively about the complaints that House Democrats have with the DCCC, so we won’t rehash everything here.
But this is something worth watching: Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-Ariz.), locked in one of the nation’s tightest races against Republican challenger Eli Crane, told donors on a Sept. 26 fundraising Zoom that the DCCC has “spread their wings too far” in trying to defend too many Democratic incumbents. O’Halleran said Democrats need to “step up soon” to help him win.
Here’s the video and here’s the transcript:
“[The DCCC has] spread their wings too far. They have 78 people that are on either Red to Blue or Frontliners. A lot of them are not going to get elected, but they chew up money. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised more money than the Republican congressional campaign committee. But on the other side of the coin on the I.E., independent expenditures, like House Majority PAC, they have doubled – more than doubled.
“So they’re at a point where last I saw, we’ve raised about $118 million and the Republicans have raised over $360 million. So that makes a big change. And when you have an expansive 70-something people, the Republicans only have to pick up five seats to win the majority.
“Now that that’s not impossible, but when you’re trying to – we have 27 Frontliners, incumbents like myself, not all of them have the same level of risk as far as losing. And they also look at it from the perspective of are we putting money down into a race that can’t be won.
“Now, I know from my conversations with them that early on, they were of the opinion that this was too difficult to win. And I also know that I’m not crazy. I’m not going to run and put my family through this and put my friends and ask for money and stuff if I’m not going to go out there and give it my all and have a chance of winning. And so not only do we have a chance of winning, we’re moving in the direction of being able to win, but we are going to need them to step up. Today they stepped up a little bit, but I’ll be having a talk with the speaker soon.”
This type of candid talk from a lawmaker about the state of their race is rare. But it hits on all the frustrations that Democrats have about the current political environment – the DCCC is stretched too thin, the Congressional Leadership Fund is outraising House Majority PAC and that Democrats have to defend a whole host of seats to save their narrow, five-seat House majority.
O’Halleran’s race is classified as “Lean Republican” by The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, making O’Halleran one of the four most endangered Democratic incumbents in the House.
Kaitlin Hooker, O’Halleran’s spokesperson, told us this in response to the video:
“Rep O’Halleran has a real shot of winning this race, Eli Crane’s own internal poll shows that. Investments in Arizona’s Second Congressional District cannot be overlooked. O’Halleran represents 12, soon to be 14, [Native American] tribes who are at risk of losing a strong advocate in Washington.”
Chris Taylor, a spokesperson for the DCCC, sent an unsolicited statement:
“Tom is tied in a seat Trump won because he’s a great member and his opponent is another MAGA extremist. That’s why we’ve invested and raised Tom over seven-figures and will continue to engage with his team.”
– Jake Sherman
The Great Dane goes in big for Dems
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is writing a huge check to boost Democrats’ campaign coffers, a day after reiterating he expects his party to hold the House despite the steep odds.
Hoyer is cutting a $500,000 check to House Majority PAC, bringing his contributions to $1 million directly to the group aligned with Democratic leadership. This is in addition to the $1.1 million in direct contributions Hoyer has made to the DCCC this cycle.
Some more Hoyer fundraising stats, per a source with knowledge of his operation:
Hoyer has contributed and raised more than $10 million this cycle for Democratic members, candidates, and committees.
As part of that, the Maryland Democrat has given almost $2.5 million to House members and candidates, putting him No. 2 in direct giving in the caucus behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Hoyer has traveled to 48 districts this cycle in 23 states. He expects to hit at least another 20 in October.
Hoyer’s latest fundraising move comes a day after telling reporters he has no plans to abide by the leadership term limits that Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to in 2018. “She speaks for herself on that issue,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer has made no secret of his desire to become the top Democrat if Pelosi leaves. But the 83-year-old Hoyer could face a potential challenge from one or more younger members who are ready for a new generation of Democrats to take over the caucus.
Still, Hoyer has a strong case to make. He’s experienced, well-liked, a true member’s member. And as the No. 2 Democrat for the past two decades, Hoyer has a lot of chits to cash in when the time comes.
Hoyer is also making clear he doesn’t intend to leave without a fight – between the big campaign check to his trip to Pennsylvania last week to slam Republicans ahead of their big agenda rollout.
Now Hoyer is predicting Democrats will hold the House – and possibly pick up seats – keeping his speaker dreams alive.
“I think we’re going to hold the majority. We may pick up a number of seats,” Hoyer told reporters on Thursday. “The momentum, I think, is with us.”
— Heather Caygle and Max Cohen
Sara Jacobs raises $4.6 million for DCCC
Freshman Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) is continuing to raise eye-catching sums for House Democrats, cementing the 33-year-old as a rising fundraising juggernaut.
Jacobs has raised $4.6 million for the DCCC this cycle and paid $350,000 in dues to the campaign arm, according to sources familiar with Jacobs’ fundraising. A fundraiser Jacobs hosted this week in San Diego featuring Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former President Barack Obama also pulled in $2.5 million for House Democrats.
These are big numbers for a first-term member. Jacobs, who represents a San Diego-area seat, is the granddaughter of Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs.
The California Democrat is also crisscrossing the country supporting Democratic candidates in Nevada, Arizona, California, Ohio, and Michigan. Jacobs has appeared with Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), Greg Stanton (D-Ariz.) and Steven Horsford (D-Nev.). She’s also stumped for challengers including Emilia Sykes, Greg Landsman, Asif Mahmood, Jay Chen and Jevin Hodge.
Is a run for DCCC chair in Jacobs’ future?
— Max Cohen
Join us at 2 p.m. today on Twitter Spaces for The Matrix with Heather and Max. We’ll be discussing our weekly Punch Power Matrix, which tracks who’s up and who’s down in Washington. Click the link to set a reminder.
PRESENTED BY META
There’s more to Punchbowl News than the newsletter. Check out all of our content in one place – from our searchable archive with every edition of our newsletter to The Punch Up, events, and more! Explore Punchbowl.news today.
New: House Democrats raised more than $900,000 for Frontline members during a Thursday lunch led by Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark, House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries and House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Pete Aguilar.
Many see Clark, Jeffries and Aguilar as the next generation of Democratic leadership in the House.
Check out the full invite here.
— Heather Caygle and Max Cohen
PRESENTED BY META
9 a.m.: President Joe Biden will get his intelligence briefing.
9:30 a.m.: Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will leave the White House for the Supreme Court, where they will attend Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s investiture ceremony. Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will also attend.
11 a.m.: Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold her weekly news conference.
11:30 a.m.: Biden will speak about the federal response to Hurricane Ian.
Noon: The Bidens, Harris and Emhoff will host a reception for the Jewish New Year.
2:45 p.m.: Karine Jean-Pierre will brief.
4 p.m.: The Bidens will host a Hispanic Heritage Month reception.
“After slamming Florida, Hurricane Ian barrels toward South Carolina,” by Elizabeth Wolfe, Travis Caldwell and Christina Walker
“Hurricane Ian’s Staggering Scale of Wreckage Becomes Clear in Florida,” by Patricia Mazzei, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Frances Robles and Jack Healy
“DeSantis, Once a ‘No’ on Storm Aid, Petitions a President He’s Bashed,” by Matt Flegenheimer
“In Zaporizhzhia, Russia controlled a referendum but not hearts or minds,” by Louisa Loveluck and Serhii Korolchuk
“Republicans Probe US Diplomats’ Covid-19 Quarantine in China” by Daniel Flatley
“China’s Service Sector Slows in Latest Economic Warning Sign,” by Stella Yifan Xie
“Jackson set to make Supreme Court debut in brief ceremony,” by Mark Sherman
“Georgia and Nevada on their minds: Senate watchers sweat two swing states,” by Burgess Everett and Natalie Allison
Dallas Morning News
PRESENTED BY META
Future surgeons will get hands-on practice in the metaverse.
Surgeons will engage in countless hours of additional low-risk practice in the metaverse.
The impact: patients undergoing complex care will know their doctors are as prepared as possible.
The metaverse may be virtual, but the impact will be real.
Editorial photos provided by Getty Images.
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