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3 reasons why Biden is in no rush to meet with McCarthy
Joe Manchin called the president’s unwillingness to meet with the speaker a “deficiency of leadership” but the White House remains uninterested in budget talks until the debt limit is lifted.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
House Republican leaders head into the weekend lacking the 218 votes they need to pass Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s proposal to raise the debt limit in exchange for significant cuts to the social safety net.
Still, McCarthy gained an unexpected ally on Thursday in Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who issued a statement calling on President Joe Biden to meet with McCarthy to negotiate a deal.
••• Some highlights from the statement:
“Our elected leaders must stop with the political games, work together and negotiate a compromise. Instead it had been more than 78 days since President Biden last met with Speaker McCarthy. This signals a deficiency of leadership and it must change.”
“While it is reasonable to sincerely disagree with any specific debt ceiling approach, we will achieve a historic default, and the economic whirlwind which follows, if President Biden continues to refuse to even negotiate a reasonable and commonsense compromise. To that end, I applaud Speaker McCarthy for putting forward a proposal that would prevent default and rein in federal spending.”
“While I do not agree with everything proposed, the fact of the matter is that it is the only bill actually moving through Congress that would prevent default.”
••• The view from the White House: The White House is used to Manchin publicly calling the president out during high-profile legislative debates and took the senator’s latest swipe in stride.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre characterized Biden and Manchin’s relationship as “strong” and “productive” and credited the role Manchin played in passing historic legislation in the last Congress.
But she was clear that the president remains uninterested in negotiating the budget until the debt limit is lifted.
The president and Senator Manchin agree we must avoid default. And just as [former] President [Ronald] Reagan said and just as [former] President [Donald] Trump said when they were in office: We have to avoid a default. That means House Republicans need to get to work and stop the delay and put a bill on the floor that’s going to avoid default.
Supercreator is told that Biden is in no rush to negotiate for three reasons:
Biden is an institutionalist who believes It’s Congress’ constitutional responsibility to raise the debt ceiling. In other words: You shouldn’t get concessions for simply doing your job.
House Republicans haven’t even united around McCarthy’s budget plan yet. So how can the speaker articulate his conference’s message to the president when his members are still demanding changes to the proposal McCarthy announced on Wednesday?
Republicans (and Manchin) are holding President Biden to a different standard than previous GOP presidents. Remember: Congressional Republicans raised the debt limit three times during the Trump administration.
••• Dem leaders back Biden: The other reason Biden is standing pat is that he has the support of the top two congressional Democrats.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called McCarthy’s plan dead on arrival in the Senate and said its release did little to move Congress towards a solution.
“If Republicans truly wish to sell their extreme agenda to the American people, they should not do so in the middle of discussions to avoid default,” Schumer said. “There is a time and place to debate that, not during this debate because what they’re doing is dangerous to the country.”
House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries characterized Manchin’s position as an outlier and told reporters on Thursday that the overwhelming majority of House and Senate Democrats support President Biden’s demand for a clean debt limit increase followed by budget negotiations.
Jeffries also said that he’s confident all House Democrats will vote against the proposal next week if McCarthy brings it to the floor but declined to comment on if his leadership team is formally whipping members to vote no.
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BY THE NUMBERS ••• 10,000: The votes Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington has cast over the course of her career in the Senate, the first woman to reach this feat.
“She’s a voice the Senate, the country, rely on, on some of the biggest issues we’ve faced,” Chuck Schumer said in a floor speech. “When she speaks, everyone listens: Democrats, Republicans, liberals, independents, because they know that she has studied it carefully and it comes right from the heart.”
Schumer called Murray a “beacon” and valued member of his leadership team whom he talks to so often he knows her number by heart. (Schumer is notorious on the Hill for still using a flip phone.)
The vote tally isn’t the only history Murray has made: She was the first woman to chair the Veterans’ Affairs and Budget Committees and in January became the first woman to serve as President Pro Tempore, the highest-ranking official of the Senate after Vice President Harris.
JEFFRIES LEADS FIRST CODEL AS TOP HOUSE DEM ••• Hakeem Jeffries is leading a congressional delegation to Ghana and Israel, his first as the top House Democrat.
••• On the agenda:
In Ghana, members will hold high-level meetings to build on Vice President Kamala Harris’s recent visit. The CODEL will also visit a number of Ghanaian sites related to the transatlantic slave trade.
While commemorating the 75th anniversary of Israel’s Memorial Day, members will meet with stakeholders in the country to discuss Israel’s challenges within the region and how to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
Jeffries is joined by 11 House Democrats, including members of relevant committees and subcommittees related to the two countries.
CAPAC REAFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR SU ••• The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus expressed another vote of confidence in Julie Su after her confirmation hearing on Thursday to be Labor Secretary.
“Julie Su’s personal story, professional experience, and tireless commitment to public service represent the best of America,” CAPAC chair Judy Chu said in a statement. “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to confirm her nomination quickly.”
Su, who is currently serving as Deputy Labor Secretary and would be the first Asian American to lead the Labor Department, faces an uncertain path to confirmation. No Republicans are expected to support her and due to Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California’s absence, she can’t afford to lose any Democratic votes. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin have yet to announce if they will vote for Su.
“We are working hard for every vote and feel confident about Julie’s confirmation,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Thursday. “She has a proven track record of working across the aisle, sitting down with the business community and organized labor, and delivering strong results for the American economy.”
HOUSE DEMS LEAD SCHOOL MEALS BILL ••• Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Adam Schiff of California and Jahana Hayes of Connecticut introduced a bill that would allow states or school districts to provide free and subsidized meals during disruptions like extreme weather events or teacher strikes that jeopardize students’ access to nutritious meals.
The School Meals during School Closures Act would empower the Agriculture Secretary to grant waivers to any state or service provider to continue providing school meals during:
a strike or other labor-management dispute,
a natural disaster,
public health emergency,
repairs or any other unanticipated event.
“No student should have to go a day struggling with hunger in the United States of America,” Omar said in a statement. “As a former nutrition educator and someone who has experienced hunger myself, I believe that every student deserves access to healthy and nutritious meals, regardless of their circumstances.”
OSSOFF LAUNCHES PRISON INQUIRY ••• Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia launched an inquiry into the conditions of incarceration in his latest effort to protect incarcerated people from human rights abuses.
“The Department of Justice has an affirmative obligation to safeguard the civil rights of incarcerated people, whether they are held in Federal, state, or local custody,” Ossoff wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Since Ossoff got to Congress in 2021, prison accountability and reform have been a focus of his work, including in his role as chair of the Senate Human Rights Subcommittee:
He led oversight of the Justice Department and led multiple bipartisan investigations into corruption, abuse and misconduct in US prisons and jails last Congress.
They also uncovered 1,000 uncounted deaths in prisons and jails across the country and widespread sexual abuse of women in federal prisons nationwide.
Ossoff also passed into law bipartisan legislation to upgrade security in Federal prisons.
FROST GAINS GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION ALLY ••• Democratic Rep. Dan Goldman of New York announced he is joining his fellow freshman Democratic Rep. Maxwell Frost of Florida’s call for the US government to create a federal office to coordinate the national response to the gun violence crisis.
“Every day, more than 100 people are shot and killed in this country,” Goldman said in a statement. “A coordinated federal effort will help us save countless lives and I implore every elected official of good conscience to come together and get this done for our kids and our country.”
Frost, the first Gen Z member of Congress, last month introduced the Office of Gun Violence Prevention Act, which would establish an office in the Justice Department to coordinate federal agencies, centralize data collection and reporting, expand state and local outreach and maximize existing programs and services related to gun violence prevention.
EYE ON THE WORLD ••• South Korea signals possible Ukraine aid: President Yoon Sui Yeol of South Korea earlier this week indicated his country could offer military aid to Ukraine it comes under massive civilian attack from Russia, a shift from South Korea’s commitment to providing humanitarian and economic support up to this point in the war.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby declined to comment on how the US is evaluating this development and said it’s up to President Yoon to speak to it while describing the country as a close ally and friend.
“We’re grateful for the support that South Korea has already provided Ukraine, in the tune of $100 million of humanitarian assistance,” Kirby said. “And, of course, they’ve been very vocal in supporting Ukraine, and they’ve been very vocal in speaking out against Russia’s aggression. We’re grateful for that.”
Yoon will be in DC next week for an official state visit.
Related: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is in Germany to host meetings with his international counterparts supporting Ukraine in the war with the tall task of reassuring Ukrainian officials that the US remains confident the country can take on Russia after recently leaked documents suggested otherwise.
See also: “US seeks to stem discord with allies over document leaks” (Carla Babb / Voice of America)
2024 WATCH ••• Anti-abortion org calls on Trump to endorse nationwide ban: After appointing the three Supreme Court justices that gave the anti-abortion movement the supermajority it needed to overturn Roe v. Wade last summer, former President Trump is reportedly unlikely to support a federal abortion ban if he becomes the Republican nominee.
Trump’s political success is due in part to him being untied to a specific ideology and more attuned to the moves he has to make at the moment to remain relevant and empowered. But the difference between his first campaign and this one is that he has a record now and Democrats will remind voters that the only reason we’re having this conversation is because of Trump’s judges.
The resistance to a national abortion ban also opens Trump up to other Republicans like Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida or former Vice President Mike Pence who share more extreme views against abortion rights.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, one of the leading anti-abortion advocacy groups, called Trump’s position unacceptable and threatened to oppose any presidential candidate who refuses to embrace at a minimum a 15-week federal abortion ban.
See also: “Lost on abortion politics, Republicans struggle for a solution” (Burgess Everett / Politico)
••• Related: Trump hosted a reception on Thursday evening at his Mar-a-Lago club for House Republicans from Florida’s congressional delegation who have already endorsed him over Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for the GOP presidential nomination.
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All times Eastern:
President Biden this morning will receive his daily intelligence briefing (9:30 a.m.). He’ll also speak on environmental justice in the Rose Garden (2:15 p.m.) before leaving the White House to go to Camp David for the weekend (4:10 p.m.).
Vice President Harris will travel from DC (10:15 a.m.) to Miami (12:35 p.m.) and do a sit-down TV interview with Telemundo (2 p.m.) before touring the Lirman Coral Lab and the University of Miami’s Hurricane Simulator in the Marine Technology and Life Sciences Seawater Research Building (3:50 p.m.). Harris will also speak at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association about the climate crisis and extreme weather resilience (5:10 p.m.) before leaving Miami (6:45 p.m.) and returning to DC (8:55 p.m.)
The House and Senate are out.
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