House GOP overturns Biden gun rule, Dems look to force votes on safety measures
Plus: Democrats put the Child Tax Credit back on the table and the number-three House Democrat throws shade at Republicans ahead of the annual congressional baseball game.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
The House on Tuesday passed a disapproval resolution by a 219-210 vote to overturn a Biden administration rule that reclassifies pistols with stabilizing brace attachments as short-barreled rifles.
The resolution, introduced by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), faced an uncertain path in recent weeks. But House Republican leadership found the votes to pass it after Clyde and a small group of House conservatives shut down the floor last week in protest of the debt limit deal Speaker Kevin McCarthy brokered with President Joe Biden and to force a vote on the resolution.
Republicans described the rule as an attack on the Second Amendment that would criminalize firearm ownership for millions of Americans.
Two Republicans voted against the bill, while two Democrats voted for it.
House Democrats filed discharge petitions to force votes on three gun violence prevention measures.
One would require that every sale of a firearm include a background check with certain exemptions for family transfers and temporary hunting transfers. Another would close the “Charleston Loophole” that allows individuals to purchase firearms before approval of their background check if it is still pending after three days. And the third would prohibit the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of semiautomatic weapons and ammunition-feeding devices capable of accepting more than fifteen rounds.
The petitions would need 218 signatures, which means at least six Republicans would have to break ranks — a highly unlikely proposition.
““MAGA extremists have chosen to turn their backs on the American people,” House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) said during a gun violence prevention press conference on Tuesday. “And, every single day that they refuse to act, they abandon another 117 Americans to a violent death.”
The resolution now goes to the Senate where Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said his members are seriously discussing the best way to move forward on gun safety but described the disapproval resolution as awful.
“When you can convert a handgun into an assault-like weapon you can conceal it because you can't see the barrel that's been used in a good number of the recent killings,” he said. “It's just appalling that they're doing this.”
Under the Biden rule, which the Justice Department finalized in January after a 90-day public notice and comment period, gun owners who fail to register these weapons with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives could face fines up to $10,000 and 10 years in jail.
House Democratic leaders opposed the resolution because they say the rule only pertains to attachments that allow a weapon to be fired from the shoulder, not braces that are genuinely designed to wrap around a person’s forearm, as could be helpful for certain people with disabilities.
The White House announced this week that President Biden would veto the resolution if it reached his desk. The administration argues that federal law has placed stricter regulations on certain types of firearms for decades, including short-barreled rifles, weapons Congress has deemed as dangerous and unusual weapons subject to strict regulation since 1934.
June is Gun Violence Awareness Month and this weekend is the eight-year anniversary of the Mother Emanuel Church shooting. The anniversary of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando was this past weekend.
👋🏾 Hi, hey, hello! It’s Wednesday, June 14, 2023. You’re reading Supercreator Daily, your morning guide to the politicians, power brokers, and policies shaping the American creator experience.
CORRECTION: In yesterday’s newsletter, Supercreator misreported Speaker McCarthy’s party affiliation in an image caption. McCarthy, of course, is a Republican, not a Democrat. The original post has been updated. Apologies for the error.
Dem senators urge House GOP to reconsider CTC
The Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee passed its new tax bill setting up for an eventual floor vote by the full House.
Even if it clears the lower chamber though, the bill will run into fierce opposition from Senate Democrats and President Biden for all the reasons I reported in yesterday’s deep dive.
But Senate Democrats on Tuesday indicated an openness to supporting some of the House GOP’s provisions in exchange for reauthorizing the two of their preferred tax policies.
“Even if we support some of what they’re trying to do, for example, on the [research and development] tax credit, a version of that, we’re not going to be inclined to do that unless we can see support for the Child Tax Credit, support for the Earned Income Tax Credit,” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) told reporters.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said that the GOP proposal is unfair and a departure from how the Senate Finance Committee he chairs typically has worked with Ways and Means on tax policy.
“We’re very strong supporters of research and development,” he said. “But the package for working families has to be proportional. You can’t have this big gap between the top folks over here. So that’s really our bottom line.”
The Child Tax Credit was expanded in 2021 in the American Rescue Plan from $2,000 to $3,000 per child for children over age six and from $2,000 to $3,600 for children over age six. It also raised the age limit from 16 to 17. The main selling point is that most families would receive the benefit as monthly automatic direct deposits of $250 or $300 per child instead of a refund when they filed their taxes.
President Biden initially proposed funding the tax through 2025 with the ultimate goal of making it permanent, but congressional Democrats proposed a one-year extension to keep it in a final package without surpassing the $1.75 trillion total cost Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was willing to accept at the time.
House Democrats introduced an amendment during the committee markup on Tuesday that would reinstate the CTC in the House GOP tax plan but Republicans blocked it from consideration.
Top House Dem appropriator slams GOP counterpart for about-face on government funding
In the deal President Biden and Speaker McCarthy reached last month to avoid a default on the US’s debt, funding for domestic programs was capped for the next two years. But billions of dollars were reinvested from other federal agencies to keep funding for virtually flat next year.
But House Appropriations Chairman Kay Granger (R-Texas) announced hours before the panel’s first meeting on Tuesday to write the first of 12 annual funding bills that she would mark them up to fiscal year 2022 funding levels, which would require in billions of dollars in cuts to the programs President Biden protected during the negotiations.
“The Fiscal Responsibility Act set a topline spending cap – a ceiling, not a floor,” Granger said, mischaracterizing the law that resulted from the agreement.
Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the top Democrat on the committee, took Granger to task for disrespecting the law of the land and reneging on the committee’s responsibility to carry out the agreement.
DeLauro also took issue with Granger disclosing her decision to the press before informing the committee.
“Asking us to vote on this bill hours after we learned the full slate of cuts is disingenuous and is fooling no one,” she said. “Not to mention, this exchange of information hours after it was given to the press and right before we head into the first full committee markup is a massive departure from how we treat Republicans when we have the pen.”
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), who also serves on the Appropriations Committee, said this could lead to a government shutdown because congressional Democrats and the White House won’t accept the deep spending cuts that violate the agreement President Biden and Speaker McCarthy reached to raise the debt limit.
“I think it’s shocking that it took less than two weeks for Republicans to walk away from an agreement that they made,” he said. “This is an agreement that the speaker made directly, and he took pains, remember, to get everybody else out of the room and to get to the deal with just him and the president. And now he’s walking away from that deal. If it wasn’t so dangerous, it would be laughable.”
The vibes were much calmer in the Senate as Leader Schumer said Granger’s plan has little support among his caucus or Senate Republicans.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that the House and Senate will proceed with business as usual for now.
“And at the end, we’ll have to work it out. But it’s not totally uncommon for these to be different as they move through the process,” he said. “And I think that’s probably what’s gonna happen this time.”
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the administration wouldn’t get ahead of the appropriations process but that it expects Congress to abide by the terms of the Biden-McCarthy agreement.
“We made a deal and we will uphold our end of this deal,” she said. “And so they need to uphold theirs.”
If not, Aguilar predicted House Republicans could pay a political price.
“Because the Senate is going to mark up to the deal that was made. And so House Republicans are going to completely make themselves irrelevant, make their members vote on these deep, deep cuts and it has no possibility of becoming law,” he said. “So again, incredibly difficult to see that they want to put their members through this. But these are the deals that Kevin McCarthy has to make in order to hold the gavel.”
Congress must pass — and President Biden must sign into law — a bill to fund the government by September 30 to avoid a shutdown.
Senate moves ahead on the AI front
The Senate on Tuesday received the first of three private briefings on artificial intelligence to educate lawmakers ahead of a legislative push to regulate the complex technology.
The senators heard from Antonio Torralba, head professor on AI at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an expert in machine learning, who discussed the state of AI today — its capabilities, applications, limitations, and challenges.
As I reported last week, the Senate is a slow-moving institution and outside observers fear AI is advancing faster than the government can respond. Not to mention, there are several must-pass bills with end-of-summer or year-end deadlines that could bump AI down the agenda.
“I definitely think that’s a big issue. This is moving very fast,” Bart Selman, professor of computer science at Cornell University, said to Supercreator in an interview. “I have all kinds of concern about these processes. Because in the end, it also has to get input as well for how you regulate these kinds of activities from stakeholders and the public.”
Leader Schumer told reporters on Tuesday that the chamber is off to a positive start despite the challenges the emerging technology presents.
“You can’t ignore the issue because it’s going forward,” he said. “So it can go forward where we can maximize the benefits and minimize the liabilities or ignore it. We’re not ignoring it.”
In addition to the briefing, the Senate Human Rights Subcommittee on Tuesday held a hearing to explore the implications of AI for human rights.
“The tracking of people and the targeting of people — the technology in general makes a lot more things possible that wasn't possible before,” Selman said. “So these technologies enable a lot more privacy invasion than what we’re used to and I think we have to be mindful of that.”
The next all-senators briefing is scheduled for next month and will focus on where AI is headed in the future and how the US can stay at the forefront of innovation. The series will culminate in a classified briefing on how adversaries will use AI against the US and how defense and intelligence agencies will use AI to keep Americans safe.
Aguilar throws shade before he takes the field in annual charity game
The Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, one of DC’s most-anticipated annual pastimes, is tonight at Nationals Park.
Ahead of the game, Chairman Aguilar told reporters it’s a chance for Democrats and Republicans to come together to do some good, but also showcase how unathletic members of Congress are.
He also didn’t miss a moment to joke about the House Republicans’ dysfunction, so intense at times that it’s reasonable to wonder if the drama, though unlikely, will spill over from the House floor to the baseball field.
“I envision something like General Manager Kevin McCarthy hugging it out with [House Republican Leader] Steve Scalise. But what we may end up with is [House Budget Committee Chairman] Jodey Arrington taking the mound in a position of power,” he said of the House GOP’s embattled number-two leader and House Budget Committee Chairman, both of whom were sidelined in last month’s debt limit negotiations. “And then, you never know if Kevin McCarthy could sub in someone else like [lead negotiator] Garret Graves to relieve him. So you just never know.”
The game raises money for four charities: The Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, the Washington Nationals Philanthropies, the Washington Literacy Center, and the US Capitol Police Memorial Fund. Watch the game at 7 p.m. ET and donate to the cause.
TODAY IN POLITICS
All times Eastern
10 a.m. The Senate is in and at 11:30 a.m. will vote to advance the nomination of Casey Pitts to be US District Judge for the Northern District of California and to advance the nomination of Dale Ho to be US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The House is in with first and last votes expected at 2:30 p.m.
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will join members of the Congressional Dads Caucus for a roundtable discussion on issues affecting working families at the Library of Congress.
11 a.m. President Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing with Vice President Kamala Harris.
12:30 p.m. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will speak at a political event for the Biden Victory Fund in Los Angeles.
2:30 p.m. The Senate will vote to confirm the Pitts and Ho nominations if they advance during the morning vote series.
5:15 p.m. The Senate will vote to advance the nomination of Nusrat Jahan Choudhury to be US District Judge for the Eastern District of New York.
7 p.m. Second Gentleman Emhoff will attend the Congressional Baseball Game for charity at Nationals Park.
7:55 p.m. The president will speak at the League of Conservation Voters’ annual dinner in Washington, DC. He’ll leave the White House at 7:15 p.m. and return at 8:55 p.m.
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THEY DID THAT
Consumer prices rose 4 percent in May compared to a year ago, a significant drop in inflation that beat economists’ expectations and the lowest since May 2021. The Federal Reserve Board will meet this afternoon and consider whether to continue or pause interest rate hikes.
Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) led 18 members of the House in sending letters to tech companies requesting information on their social apps, algorithms, and steps they take to mitigate harm to children online. The letters were sent to Meta, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced a bill to create a pilot study at the Environmental Protection Agency to quantify methane emissions from US oil and gas infrastructure to curb the amount of the gas released into the atmosphere.
Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.) thought his state’s governor Gavin Newsom delivered a masterclass this week on how Democrats can succeed on Fox News.
Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) reintroduced legislation that would require members of Congress to publicly disclose meetings, committee attendance, and legislative activity in an effort to boost transparency.
New Democrat Coalition Chair Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) issued a public call for Speaker McCarthty to work with reasonable lawmakers on both sides of the aisle so the House can govern as opposed to continuing to cede power to a small group of extreme House conservatives.
Mandela Barnes, former Lieutenant Gov. of Wisconsin and 2022 US Senate candidate, endorsed the first seven candidates for the 2024 election cycle through his Long Run political action committee. The slate includes Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Reps. Colin Allred (D-Texas) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.), Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-Colo.), Will Rollins for Congress in California and Sarah Klee Hood and Josh Riley for Congress in New York.
The Biden administration announced $325 million in additional security assistance to Ukraine. The package includes critical air defense capabilities, additional munitions for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, artillery rounds, anti-tank weapons, armored vehicles, and other equipment as Ukraine mounts a counteroffensive against Russia, which invaded its territory last February.
Related: Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) urged the State and Commerce Departments to warn the over 300 American businesses still operating in Russia that they could indirectly and inadvertently be funding President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
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