This Week in Politics: McCarthy vs. Gaetz
Plus: This historic appointment of Laphonza Butler to the Senate, the future of Ukraine aid, and House Republicans cancel recess in an attempt to govern.
👋🏾 HI, HEY, HELLO! Welcome to This Week in Politics, an exclusive weekly preview of the stories I’ll be tracking on Capitol Hill and beyond for paid subscribers—so you can focus on your creative projects instead.
Here’s what I’m watching this week:
Laphonza Butler’s historic appointment as DiFi’s immediate successor
Matt Gaetz vs. Kevin McCarthy—and which side House Democrats fall on
The Senate’s pursuit of additional Ukraine aid
Floor action on the House GOP’s next two full-year approps bills
But first a few quick notes:
BIDEN PREACHES URGENCY • President JOE BIDEN signed the short-term funding bill Congress passed on Saturday 45 minutes before the government was set to shut down.
In a speech on Sunday, an exasperated Biden called on lawmakers to fully fund the government before the Nov. 17 deadline: “Enough is enough is enough. This is not that complicated. The brinksmanship has to end,” he said from the Roosevelt Room of the White House. “I strongly urge my Republican friends in Congress not to wait. Don’t waste time as you did all summer. Pass a yearlong budget agreement. Honor the deal we made a few months ago.”
Reality check: The former president served in the Senate for 36 years so he knows he shouldn’t hold his breath—these funding fights always go down to the wire, especially in a divided government. In other words? Stay tuned for some unnecessary pre-Thanksgiving drama.
CROCKETT ON HER VIRAL MOMENT • By accounts from within their own party, House Republicans missed the mark in the first hearing connected to the impeachment inquiry into unfounded allegations of wrongdoing by President Biden in connection with his son HUNTER’s business dealings.
The hearing backfired in large part on the performance of several Democrats on the Oversight Committee, including Rep. JASMINE CROCKETT (D-Texas), who methodically poked holes in the case in viral moment after viral moment.
I caught up with Crockett on Friday outside the House floor to get her reaction to the overwhelming response.
“I started getting a lot of Facebook notifications from the MAGA folks so I knew I did something right,” she told me. But Crockett didn’t have a full grasp of the clip’s reach until hours later since she had to attend an evening campaign reception followed by a long late-night voting series.
She added that she thinks it was the emotion she expressed that resonated with people while adding that while she may be new to the national stage, she’s always demonstrated the same level of passion dating back to her days in the Texas State House.
“People in my district are going to go hungry. A lot of them are living paycheck to paycheck,” Crockett said of her mindset. “I had been sitting there for hours as our government nears a shutdown and was tired of it.”
ED DEPT ISSUES STUDENT DEBT PAPER • Student loan payments are back and the Education Department on Friday updated reporters on the status of the negotiated rulemaking process the Biden administration is undergoing to provide borrowers with the targeted relief the Supreme Court denied this summer under President Biden’s previous plan.
The Department issued a paper that lays out its initial policy considerations, including questions about borrowers whose balances are greater than what they originally borrowed, whose loans first entered repayment decades ago, who attended programs that did not provide sufficient value, who are eligible for relief under programs like income-driven repayment but have not applied, and borrowers who have experienced financial hardship and need support, but for whom the current student loan system does not adequately address.
The paper will be discussed at the first meeting of the Student Loan Relief Committee, which is scheduled to take place on October 10 and 11.
Now onto what I’ll be tracking on Capitol Hill and beyond this week:
LAPHONZA BUTLER’S ARRIVAL TO THE SENATE • In a somewhat surprising decision, Democratic Gov. GAVIN NEWSOM appointed LaPhonza Butler to fill the California Senate seat vacated by the death of the state’s senior senator, DIANNE FEINSTEIN on Friday.
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