Israel remains center-stage on Capitol Hill
The House is scheduled to vote on a resolution pushing back against comments from the top House progressive, while members of “the Squad” try to add nuance beyond the controversial soundbite.
THE JAYAPAL FALLOUT CONTINUES
The House is scheduled today to vote on a resolution to express a sense of support to Israel as the fallout continues from Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s claim this past weekend that Israel is a “racist state.”
The resolution, introduced by Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX), would affirm the following:
“The state of Israel is not a racist or apartheid state.”
“Congress rejects all forms of antisemitism and xenophobia.”
“The United States will always be a staunch partner and supporter of Israel.”
It’s expected to attract sizable Democratic support. In fact, some Republicans oppose bringing the resolution up for a vote because they think it gives Democrats an easy out to distance themselves from Jayapal.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday called for the Progressive Caucus to remove Jayapal as its chair and went as far as to say she was among a group of antisemitic House Democrats.
Jayapal made the comments at the Netroots Nation conference on Saturday afternoon while defending Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) during a panel, whose voice had been drowned out by protesters chanting and holding Palestinian flags.
She issued an apology on Sunday and said her comments were an attempt to diffuse the situation but also acknowledged that words matter.
Still, House Democratic leadership issued a forceful rebuke of the comments and Jewish House Democrats circulated a draft statement condemning them as well. The official statement, released on Monday, was signed by 43 Democrats.
But several progressive Democrats in the so-called “Squad” defended Jayapal and attempted to add a level of nuance to her comments that social media often doesn’t allow.
Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) declined to comment directly on Jayapal’s remarks but said that silence is what maintains the status quo.
“We think about how we’ve won movements and how we’ve made change up to now, it’s because somebody chose to speak and say the thing somebody chose to fight and to push,” she said.
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) said that part of the difficulty in discussing Israel and complex foreign policy issues is because a critique of Israel usually leads to accusations of anti-semitism and being anti-Israel.
“It’s important to hold them accountable, so they can become better, so we can continue to be allies, and that's what we're all going for,” Bowman said. “We want to continue to be very strong allies with Israel. Part of that is accountability. And part of that is having honest conversations about okay, ‘How do we actually get to a two state solution?’”
And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told reporters she believed the debate would be better served if it was about the human rights crisis than Jayapal’s words. She conceded the current political environment probably won’t allow it though.
President Isaac Herzog of Israel is in Washington to meet with President Joe Biden today and will address a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday, events that were scheduled prior to the Jayapal controversy.
The White House also said Biden spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday about a broad range of topics, including US security assistance to Israel, preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and the need to take measures toward a sustainable two-state solution.
Bush, Bowman, and Ocasio-Cortez are among a handful of members who are skipping Herzog’s address.
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HOUSE DEMS TO FORCE SANTOS CENSURE VOTE
Reps. Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Robert Garcia (D-CA), and Dan Goldman filed a privileged resolution that would force a vote to censure Rep. George Santos (D-NY) for lying about his education, employment, personal identity, and family history during his campaign.
The three Democratic lawmakers said they introduced the amendment after House Republican leadership failed to take action within the 60-day timeline it imposed following a vote to refer Santos to the Ethics Committee for investigation instead of expelling him from Congress altogether.
Torres added the resolution has two objectives: Transparency and accountability.
“The American people have a right to know where each and every member of Congress stands on the question of George Santos, on the question of whether and how to hold him accountable, Torres said. “There are Republicans who claim to feel outraged over the lies of George Santos, but not a single one of those Republicans, not even the so-called moderate Republicans, have pressured House Republican leadership to hold George Santos accountable. And so without a vote, all those calls for resignation and all those words of outrage are as hollow as George Santos himself.”
Bowman, a member of the New York delegation, told your Supercreator Daily author that he supports the resolution because it’s an opportunity to restore trust in government among constituents who believe politicians are self-serving power-grabbers.
“So it’s deplorable and unacceptable for him,” Bowman said of Santos. “But it’s a stain on the entire institution because they already don’t trust us. And they have the reason because they still can’t afford food and childcare and housing and all this stuff that people are struggling with. They’re wondering, What the hell are we doing over here?”
Santos was indicted in May for allegedly drawing unemployment benefits for a year during the pandemic despite holding a six-figure job at an investment firm. But the censure resolution excludes any mention of the criminal indictment.
“In the end, we determined that let’s leave the questions of criminal law to the official legal process because the lies in and of themselves merit congressional consequences,” Torres said.
Torres declined to offer a specific date on when he expected the resolution to receive a vote but said the likely timeline is before the month-long August recess.
HORSFORD PRESSES HOUSE GOP TO SPEAK OUT AGAINST CRANE
Congressional Black Caucus Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) on Monday night took the House floor to speak out against Rep. Eli Crane (R-AZ) who referred to servicemembers of diverse backgrounds as “colored people” during a debate on an amendment he was offering to the National Defense Authorization Act.
Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH) had Crane’s comments immediately stricken from the record by unanimous consent.
“Ironically, what Rep. Crane’s comments make clear is that the very DEI programs they fight against are necessary — necessary in boardrooms, schools, in the halls of Congress, and yes, in our military which grows more diverse every day,” Horsford said.
In an interview with your Supercreator Daily author, Beatty, whom Horsford succeeded as the CBC chair, said Crane’s comments caught her attention because of the dark US history of slavery and Jim Crow laws.
“Plus, Congressman Crane had said some things that I was paying attention to that I took exception to: The fact that he pointed out that if we have [diversity, equity, and inclusion programming], it lowers standards, nobody else does that, that it gives us less than,” she said. “So then, when he followed it up with colored people, he knew exactly what he was saying or he would not have immediately asked to amend his words.”
Beatty added that she has found younger activists and voters to be on target and responsive in the moment to online dog whistles and explicit acts of racism and bigotry.
“They’re used to responding in the moment because they’re on social media, they’re on Twitter, they’re talking about their own lives or the things they advocate for or against in real time,” she said. “So I think it’s important for us who are a little more seasoned to do what I did because so many of them have said, ‘Thank you for catching and explaining that.’”
SCHUMER WARNS AGAINST AN NDAA HOUSE ENCORE
The Senate this evening is expected to advance a motion to bring its version of the NDAA up for floor consideration after the House passed its own rendering of the bill late last week that adopted several controversial so-called “culture-war” amendments.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) acknowledged in a statement last night that some senators may attempt to add similar amendments to the annual defense policy and programs bill. The Brooklyn Democrat warned this could imperil the bipartisan support the legislation has traditionally garnered and that House Republicans sacrificed in favor of far-right poison pills.
“Both sides must work to defeat any potentially toxic amendments that could jeopardize the Senate’s NDAA if adopted,” Schumer said. “We will keep working diligently to pass the Senate’s bipartisan NDAA before the August recess.”
More than 1.500 amendments were filed to the House NDAA. Schumer said in a floor speech last week that he would work to ensure the Senate considers and votes on a reasonable number. The process of developing a list of amendment votes was ongoing throughout the weekend.
One amendment to watch: Schumer and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) last week introduced an amendment to the NDAA that would mandate the government to declassify records related to unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP) and unidentified flying objects (UFOs).
WH TO HEAR TESTIMONY ON BIDEN’S BACKUP STUDENT DEBT PLAN
The Education Department on Tuesday will hear public testimony on the new plan President Biden announced last month to provide a portion of the student debt relief borrowers would have received had the Supreme Court not struck down his original plan.
A White House official said the department will also release new state-by-state data that highlights the people who will benefit from the $39 billion in debt relief the administration announced last week for over 800,00 borrowers who had been repaying their loans for 20 years or more. The official added that notices for that relief have already started to be sent and loans will be canceled in the coming weeks.
After the Supreme Court decision, President Biden directed Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to initiate a rulemaking process to open an alternative path to debt relief under the Higher Education Act.
The White House said last month that the Education Department would finalize the issues addressed through rulemaking following today’s hearing and begin negotiating the terms of the proposed rule with the affected interest groups this fall.
CROCKETT, MOLINARO TEAM UP TO ASSIST HOMEBOUND SENIORS
Reps. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX) and Marc Molinaro (R-NY), introduced a bill that would allow seniors living in rural areas, seniors with disabilities, and those with mobility or transportation to receive home delivery services from select food banks.
The legislation — titled the Delivering For Rural Seniors Act — would direct federal funding to food banks to build out home delivery operations or contract with private partners to deliver senior food boxes.
Molinaro called the legislation a bipartisan solution to break down barriers for food-insecure seniors.
“Every senior deserves to have access to a nutritious meal,” he added.
And while inflation has cooled the past year, Crockett said high food prices make it hard for seniors on fixed incomes to afford the food they need.
“This is the year of the farm bill, and including programs that ensure everyone has access to nutritious food is my top priority,” Crockett said. “With this bill, we’re one step closer from turning the food deserts of North Texas into food oases!”
Crockett and Molinaro are both first-term members and serve on the House Agriculture Committee.
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TODAY IN POLITICS
All times Eastern
10 a.m. President Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing. The House will meet with first votes expected at 1:10 p.m. and last votes expected at 5:30 p.m.
1 p.m. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Secretary Cardona, and Deputy Education Secretary David Turk will meet with local officials and key stakeholders to discuss advanced manufacturing at Augusta Technical College in Georgia.
1:10 p.m. Vice President Harris will meet with state attorneys general to discuss the fentanyl crisis.
1:15 p.m. President Biden will hold a bilateral meeting with President Isaac Herzog of Israel.
3 p.m. The Senate will meet with two votes scheduled at 5:30 p.m. to confirm the nomination of Rachel Bloomekatz to be US Circuit Judge for the 6th Circuit and to advance a motion to bring the FY2024 Pentagon policy bill up for floor consideration.
4:15 p.m. The first lady, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su will meet local officials and key stakeholders to discuss rebuilding US infrastructure in Pittsburgh.
5 p.m. The president will hold a meeting with Cardinal Matteo Zuppi to discuss the widespread suffering caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
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