Daily Politics Update


Doc leak will kill Biden

Kipp Jones, 1-13, 23, https://www.mediaite.com/tv/former-clinton-adviser-david-gergen-says-biden-risks-being-creamed-by-docs-case-very-very-big-deal/, Former Clinton Adviser David Gergen Says Biden Risks Being ‘Creamed’ by Docs Case: ‘Very, Very Big Deal’

Former Clinton administration adviser David Gergen believes President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents risks doing very real damage to him. On CNN’s AC360, host Anderson Cooper welcomed the veteran political operative on to discuss the issue. Cooper mentioned the potential “political fallout” of consistent revelations more of documents being found in locations Biden used after his time as vice president. “How big a mess is this for the Biden administration?” Cooper asked. Gergen responded, “It’s very, very big. Not legally but politically, it’s a very, very big deal.” He continued: This is a president that was marching upward for the first time in his presidency. He got his numbers up. People are feeling better about the economy. There are all sorts of reasons to believe that he can now present himself–the fears that people like me have about how old he is and can he govern well? Those fears would be dissipated if he were able to stay on that track. Gergen called the classified documents reporting a “gigantic story” and questioned why the president’s team did not make more of an attempt to get ahead of it. “The Biden people, they may be making a big mistake, Anderson,” Gergen said. “I may be wrong about this. They’ve done a wonderful job being cooperative with the government, and they’ve done it by the books. I don’t think sitting there hunkering down now, just acting like it’s not out there is good. They’re going to get creamed doing that.”

Media companies kills social media/big tech bills

Ashley Capoot, 1-1, 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/01/more-social-media-regulation-is-coming-in-2023-members-of-congress-say.html, More social media regulation is coming in 2023, members of Congress say

Congress failed to pass many of the most aggressive bills targeting tech in 2022, including antitrust legislation that would require app stores developed by Apple and Google to give developers more payment options, and a measure mandating new guardrails to protect kids online. Congress made more headway this year than in the past toward a compromise bill on national privacy standards, but there remains only a patchwork of state laws determining how consumer data is protected. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said bipartisan support exists for many of these bills, and many have made it onto the Senate floor. But she said the tech lobby is so powerful that bills with “strong, bipartisan support” can fall apart “within 24 hours.” Klobuchar said on Sunday that things are only going to change with social media companies when Americans decide they have had enough.

New omnibus spending deal now

Julia Miller, 12-13, 22, https://thehill.com/policy/finance/3774294-lawmakers-reach-deal-on-framework-for-omnibus-spending-package/, Lawmakers reach deal on framework for omnibus spending package

Lawmakers have struck a much-anticipated deal on a framework for an omnibus package to fund the government for fiscal 2023. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Tuesday night said negotiators had “reached a bipartisan, bicameral framework that should allow us to finish an omnibus appropriations bill that can pass the House and Senate and be signed into law by the President.” Leahy said he reached the deal with Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.). “We have a framework that provides a path forward to enact an omnibus next week,” DeLauro said, adding that the House and Senate Appropriations committees will “work around the clock” to negotiate the final spending bills for 2023. “The pain of inflation is real, and it is being felt across the federal government and by American families right now. We cannot delay our work any further, and a two-month continuing resolution does not provide any relief,” Leahy said. Government funding runs out at midnight Friday, and lawmakers must pass a short-term funding measure, known as a continuing resolution, this week in order to prevent a shutdown. The House is expected to pass a weeklong stopgap spending bill on Wednesday that would keep the government’s lights on through Dec. 23 to give negotiators and lawmakers enough time to pass the omnibus package. The Senate would advance the bill on its own shortly after. The omnibus package would set spending through Sept. 30, also known as the end of the fiscal year. There are still outstanding issues at play. None of the three negotiators indicated what the top-line figure was or any other details of the framework. The main hangup in discussions was the disparity between domestic and defense spending, both of which are expected to get a significant boost from the current spending levels. The main battle for Republicans is how long the continuing resolution expected to be passed this week should last. House GOP leaders are clamoring for a stopgap proposal to last into January when Republicans hold the majority, giving them more leverage over the funding bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last week indicated that might be a possibility given the slow pace of talks between Leahy, Shelby and DeLauro toward a top-line spending bill.

Biden winning now

Axios, 12-9, 22, https://www.axios.com/2022/12/09/biden-winning-streak, Biden's end-of-year winning streak

Here’s what we’re watching: protests, crackdowns and change in China and Iran. But first, Biden closes out the year on a winning streak. Our Friday politics State of Play is today’s One Big Thing. NIALA: A senator elected from Georgia, a battle for Congressional leadership, and WNBA star Brittney Griner has been released from a Russian prison…what a week. Here to break it down for all of us in our Friday politics “State of Play” is Axios co-founder Mike Allen. Hey, Mike MIKE ALLEN: Niala, thanks for having me. NIALA: Mike, let's start with Britney Griner. She's on her way back home to the US from Russia. This is a big win for the president. Just adding to the list of his successes in recent months. How different is this year ending than how it started for President Biden? MIKE: Funny that you should ask that because I was just Googling a story about Biden, and what came up was a story from January 2022, so 11 months ago. And it said Biden closes out year one on epic losing streak. So, (laughs) it shows how fast fortunes change. And the Brittney Griner story is a perfect example of how by being in the White House, having the most powerful seat in the world, you get blamed for everything, are responsible for everything, but also have huge power. And this is gonna be one of those stories of the year. No question. And if you were to flashback and ask President Biden a year ago, could he see this string of electoral successes, the economy being in a slightly better place, and foreign policy accomplishments and a friendly Senate next year? He'd be like, I'm in! NIALA: On the flip side of that, we have Republicans. How much of the rest of this year is going to be about the struggle for congressional leadership, particularly in the House? MIKE: No, it's a great point. And the surprise of this season. If you'd asked us on Election Day, election evening, who's gonna clearly be almost definitely gonna be this Speaker of the House, we would've said Kevin McCarthy, like, he's gonna ride the red wave right to the gavel. But of course, none of that happened, like that wound up being like the tiniest of margins, and therefore it makes Kevin McCarthy vulnerable in a fight over the speakership. And I'm told they're gonna have to sweat it out until the actual vote on January 3rd. NIALA: Of course, the other story of this week was Georgia’s Senate race. Democrats now have a 51 seat majority in the Senate with Raphael Warnock's reelection in Georgia, a historic reelection, we should also point out. How do Democrats pull this off, and what does this majority mean for Democrats in the Biden administration for 2023? MIKE: Look at Senator Warnock's win in Georgia, and you can see that as a blueprint for Democrats in 2024 as you look at those Senate races, at that presidential race. And the two things he was able to do very well in the big suburbs around Atlanta, typically has been friendly Republican turf, and energizing the Black vote. Now, looking in 2023, what does that one seat do for President Biden? A couple of things. One, it gives President Biden more flexibility, more room to maneuver on nominations for his own cabinet. We expect changes there, certainly a reshuffle going into the second half of the term and nominees for judges. One of the biggest things that he's gonna be able to do in the next two years when you're not gonna be able to pass a lot of legislation through the House is judges, judges, judges, as one person texted it to me. And Senate Democrats now have subpoena power, not needing to enlist a Republican in their committees. And so, as we talked here on Axios Today, about all the investigations that House Republicans have up their sleeve. Well, surprise, now, Senate Democrats have a few investigations up their sleeves.

Bipartisan support for immigration reform now

Brad Dress, 12-7, 22, The Hill, Group of new House Democrats call for immediate action to protect pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, https://thehill.com/homenews/house/3766352-group-of-new-house-dems-call-for-immediate-action-to-protect-pathway-to-citizenship-for-dreamers/

Members of the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) called for Congress to pass legislation protecting Dreamers before the end of the lame-duck session at the end of this month, calling the immigration reform an “urgent action” for legislators. NDC Chair Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) released a statement on Wednesday along with immigration task force chairs Salud Carbajal (Calif.) and Greg Stanton (Ariz.), pushing to carve out a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers by the end of the year. “The stakes are too high for inaction,” the lawmakers wrote. “As their fate hangs in the balance, we are committed to working with our colleagues in the House and Senate to pass bipartisan legislation before the end of the year that gives Dreamers the stability and security they’ve been waiting for and that they deserve.” A bipartisan deal to protect Dreamers, or undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, is reportedly being hashed out in the Senate. Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have reportedly reached an agreement to provide a pathway to citizenship for 2 million Dreamers along with other related provisions to appeal to the GOP base, including enhanced border security. Immigration advocates have renewed hopes for a citizenship pathway for Dreamers since October, when an appeals court ruled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program unlawful. Former President Obama created the DACA program in 2012 to protect Dreamers from deportation. Dreamers are eligible under the program for two years at a time but can renew their status. While the appeals court ruled the program was unlawful and the Biden administration can no longer accept new applicants, current members of the program can renew protections.

Omnibus more likely than a CR now

Tim Shaw, 12-7, 22, 2023 Tax Outlook Pt. 1: Lame Duck Session, Split Congress Expectations, https://tax.thomsonreuters.com/news/2023-tax-outlook-pt-1-lame-duck-session-split-congress-expectations/

Congress has until December 16 to either pass a fiscal year 2023 omnibus spending bill or another continuing resolution (CR) to maintain government funding and prevent a shutdown. Meanwhile, a National Defense Authorization Act also has yet to be passed for next year. It remains unclear how tax extenders or other tax provisions will factor into December debates, or if tax will be punted on in the short term.Marc Gerson, a Miller & Chevalier member and chair of the firm’s tax department, told Checkpoint in an interview that an omnibus bill would be the most likely vehicle for passing a package of tax changes that already enjoy bipartisan support. “I’m very hopeful that there is an omni this year and there is a tax title. I think it is the preferred course of action to responsibly fund the government and avoid a shutdown,” Gerson said, adding that the two leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee— Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Republican Richard Shelby of Alabama—are retiring and would prefer to exit with a “legacy item” as opposed to another CR. “Obviously, politics plays a big part, but I’m hopeful that, in fact, there will be a significantly or sufficiently robust tax package.”

CR (as opposed to an omnibus) threatens air power readiness

Stephen Losely, 12-7, 21, Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations, https://www.defensenews.com/air/2022/12/07/kendall-stopgap-budget-would-delay-61-programs-hurt-readiness/, Kendall: Stopgap budget would delay 61 programs, hurt readiness

A long-term continuing resolution would cost the U.S. Department of the Air Force billions of dollars, delay the launch of 61 programs and threaten the service’s readiness, Secretary Frank Kendall said in a letter to lawmakers. In his Dec. 3 letter, obtained by Defense News, Kendall said that a continuing resolution to fund the Air Force and Space Force throughout fiscal 2023 would leave the department with as much as $12 billion less than it would have to spend if the 2023 budget is passed. A CR would leave funding essentially at fiscal 2022 levels in lieu of an actual budget for 2023, either for a short period or the rest of the year. He urged lawmakers to pass a 2023 budget quickly, without any further continuing resolutions, even for a short period. A short-term CR would still threaten the department’s readiness, he said. “The longer the [Department of the Air Force] operates under a CR, the greater the impact is on our people and programs,” Kendall said. “I appeal to you and your colleagues to advance full-year FY23 appropriations legislation as soon as possible.” Aircraft readiness and aircrew currency rates would suffer without enough money to fund critical maintenance and flying hours, he said. Modernization efforts would take a $5.1 billion hit, which would halt the start of 61 new projects, Kendall said. A CR would also compromise 28 military construction projects across 13 states, with a total of $1.3 billion. Some of these construction projects are intended to support the next-generation nuclear missile known as Sentinel, the KC-46A Pegasus, the B-21 Raider bomber, and the European Deterrence Initiative. Kendall also said that Air Force’s planned combat range improvements would be delayed, funding for the service’s Indo-Pacific presence would be reduced, and energy resilience initiatives would be canceled. Inter-service transfers to the Space Force would be hindered, Kendall said, as would the launch of eight “deltas,” or wings, for the Space Force, and development of guardians’ training programs. It would limit the production of the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared, or Next-Gen OPIR, which would delay its initial launch and drive up costs, he said. Pay raises for the services, including basic pay, housing and subsistence pay, and recruiting and retention bonuses, would be affected, he said. And the department’s efforts to put into place recommended changes on how to handle and prevent sexual assaults would be interrupted, he said.

DACA deal unlikely

ARIANA FIGUEROA - DECEMBER 6, 2022, Virtinia Mercury, Talks over protecting Dreamers pick up in Congress, but agreement still elusive, https://www.virginiamercury.com/2022/12/06/talks-over-protecting-dreamers-pick-up-in-congress-but-agreement-still-elusive/

In a last-minute push, U.S. senators are working on a bipartisan agreement to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people who were brought to the United States as children But the success of any major immigration deal appears unlikely, as a lame-duck session of Congress dwindles into its last days. Democrats are set to lose control of the House come January, making the prospect of an agreement next year much more difficult U.S. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat, and Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican, are still in talks on a draft proposal that would create a pathway to citizenship for up to 2 million undocumented people, often referred to as Dreamers, who are either enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or would qualify for it. There is no legislative text and no deal has been finalized, Tillis told States Newsroom.

5 Republican votes short of a DACA deal

ARIANA FIGUEROA - DECEMBER 6, 2022, Virtinia Mercury, Talks over protecting Dreamers pick up in Congress, but agreement still elusive, https://www.virginiamercury.com/2022/12/06/talks-over-protecting-dreamers-pick-up-in-congress-but-agreement-still-elusive/

U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois has said for weeks that he knows of roughly four or five Senate Republicans who are interested in striking a deal to pass legislation to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people enrolled in DACA. But Senate Democrats would need 10 Republican votes to overcome the filibuster threshold to pass such legislation. On Twitter, Durbin said he was interested in reviewing the draft proposal between Tillis and Sinema.

Strikes bill passed the House, not guaranteed to pass the Senate

Alexander Seminger, 12-1, 22, The Hill, The Hill’s Morning Report — House acts to avert rail strike; Biden urges swift Senate vote

The House moved with speed on Wednesday to avert a rail strike that lawmakers fear could wreck the economy, choosing instead to intervene and impose an accord on freight rail companies and union workers (The Hill).

The measures face headwinds in the Senate today, where Republicans are reluctant to intervene before a possible Dec. 9 walkout by rail workers, despite President Biden’s entreaties to help keep freight rail moving during the holiday season, The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says he will hold up the bill unless he gets a roll call vote on giving workers seven guaranteed sick days and other senators could make their own demands, delaying the legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters this week that he is willing to fast-track the House-passed measure, but some of his GOP colleagues are opposed.

Omnibus bill now

Ryan Lizza, 11-30, 22, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2022/11/30/the-hills-big-choice-omnibus-or-struggle-bus-00071313, POLITICO Playbook: The Hill's big choice: Omnibus or struggle bus?

OMNIBUS UPDATE — The four congressional leaders spent over an hour with President JOE BIDEN in the Roosevelt Room on Tuesday, and when they emerged from the White House and spoke to reporters, something unusual happened: They all agreed. What they agreed on was something that appeared awfully iffy earlier this week: that the lame-duck Congress should negotiate and pass an omnibus appropriations bill in the coming weeks.

Need 10 Republicans for an omnibus, key to the military

Ryan Lizza, 11-30, 22, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2022/11/30/the-hills-big-choice-omnibus-or-struggle-bus-00071313, POLITICO Playbook: The Hill's big choice: Omnibus or struggle bus?

McConnell: The Senate Republican leader, who will have to round up ten GOP votes for any bill, told reporters “there’s widespread agreement that we’d be better off with an omnibus than a CR” after the White House meeting.

That reflects (1) his view that the Pentagon can’t suffer through a yearlong CR, (2) his understanding that many in his party have priorities they want funded — veterans, law enforcement, health research, agriculture, etc. — and (3) pressure from business lobbies that want a vehicle that can carry other goodies, including extensions of expiring tax policies.

McConnell also knows that if he reaches a deal this month, then outgoing Speaker NANCY PELOSI can be trusted to push it through the House. Can the same be said about McCarthy in January? As one GOP senator told POLITICO this week, “Nobody wants to hand Kevin McCarthy a grenade with the pin already pulled.”

But McConnell has a price for his cooperation: He is insisting that defense spending receive a bigger boost than nondefense spending. Generally, in the past decade, omnibus deals have followed a bipartisan rule of parity: Both categories get bumped up at the same rate. But Republicans argue that the Democrats have already gone on a nondefense spending spree via their three big domestic policy bills and that the year-end deal has to be weighted toward the Pentagon.

Omnibus not inevitable

Ryan Lizza, 11-30, 22, https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2022/11/30/the-hills-big-choice-omnibus-or-struggle-bus-00071313, POLITICO Playbook: The Hill's big choice: Omnibus or struggle bus?

Schumer was cautiously optimistic yesterday but noted that an omnibus was far from “a done deal.”

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