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Mike Johnson, speaker of the House

Congress is back and facing post-Trump conviction world

Congress is back from the Memorial Day recess. The House and Senate are both in and voting tonight. President Joe Biden will head to France this week to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy and pay a state visit to Paris. A lot of lawmakers will be heading to Normandy as well, so this is going to be a short week. Both chambers will be gone by Wednesday.

In the House: The first of the FY2025 spending bills — MilCon-VA — will be marked up in the House Rules Committee today. The House Appropriations Committee, along with its Senate counterpart, is scheduled to hold additional hearings with top Biden administration officials and do more markups in subcommittee.

The Rules Committee also will take up legislation sanctioning the International Criminal Court if it moves ahead with arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials. The White House indicated last week that it opposes new ICC sanctions.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, former head of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, will appear today before the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. This panel includes Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Ronny Jackson (R-Texas), so this should be a very sober, rational discussion of Fauci’s role in crafting federal policy during a pandemic that killed 1.1 million Americans. Uhh, maybe not.

Speaker Mike Johnson will also have to address the Friday expiration of the Radiation Exposure Compensation program. Under pressure from lawmakers and advocates, Johnson scrapped his plan to consider a “clean” extension this week that would have left some states out of the program. But Johnson has indicated he opposes the Senate-passed RECA expansion due in part to the $50 billion price tag.

A group of RECA advocates tracked Johnson down at a Lincoln Day dinner in Illinois this weekend and got him to commit to a meeting this week, we’re told. But time is short, especially with both chambers leaving Wednesday.

In the Senate: The Right to Contraception Act will hit the Senate floor this week, with a vote slated for Wednesday. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced this on Sunday as he previewed Democrats’ focus on abortion and related issues throughout June.

To be sure, this bill and others the Senate may consider this month aren’t going anywhere. But this is another way Democrats are trying to use “show votes” to boost their most vulnerable incumbents in November.

Democrats tried it last month with the stalled border security deal, giving their incumbents in red states a chance to vote for the bipartisan agreement once again. And now they’re shifting to abortion, an issue Democrats have capitalized on successfully since Roe was overturned.

The Trump Show: This will be the first day Hill Republicans are back in Washington since former President Donald Trump was convicted on 34 felony counts in the New York City hush-money trial.

Trump’s Friday “press conference” probably didn’t do too much to reassure GOP leaders and rank-and-file lawmakers that Trump would have an effective response to his conviction.

But his campaign also reported record fundraising in the aftermath of the trial, cutting into Biden’s advantage there. The NRSC and NRCC reported big fundraising boosts too.

Confusingly, however, the RNC is stepping all over the NRSC’s messaging here. On CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, RNC co-chair Lara Trump tore into Maryland GOP Senate candidate Larry Hogan for not trashing the verdict. She said Hogan “doesn’t deserve the respect of anyone in the Republican Party.”

Let’s be clear: A Hogan victory in Maryland, while still a long shot, would almost guarantee GOP control of the Senate. That’s why NRSC Chair Steve Daines is letting Hogan run his own race in the deep-blue state. So this is yet another reason why Trump’s conviction — and the GOP messaging surrounding it — could hurt the party.

Johnson noted during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” that House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has invited Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg and another top prosecutor to testify before the Weaponization Subcommittee on June 13.

Johnson also suggested to Fox News’ Shannon Bream that he’s open to cutting off funding for Special Counsel Jack Smith’s criminal cases against Trump. Johnson said Smith is “abusing his authority” and insisted the House has “the mechanisms to try to get control of that.”

This won’t go anywhere with the Democratic-run Senate or the White House, of course. And it’s not entirely clear that House Republicans can pass it. Plus, the FY2025 spending bills aren’t going to be completed until after Election Day.

Yet having the speaker threaten this once again is notable. FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies Tuesday before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, and this could certainly come up.

Of note: Longtime Texas Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee announced that she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The 74-year-old Jackson Lee — who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Houston last year — was first elected in 1994. Jackson Lee was treated successfully for breast cancer in the past, and she has become a huge advocate on the issue.

— John Bresnahan and Andrew Desiderio

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