US Congress, Judiciary, Executive

U.S. Congress

  • Authorities charge Sen. Bob Menendez and wife for alleged bribery
    by By Erica Orden and Matt Friedman on September 22, 2023 at 1:33 pm

    This would be the second time Menendez has been indicted. He stood trial several years ago but that ended in a mistrial.

  • Despite posturing and proposals, Congress gets paid during a shutdown (whether they want to or not.)
    on September 22, 2023 at 1:02 pm

    As "shutdown looms" becomes standard fare for headline writers across Washington, lawmakers are already saying they shouldn’t be paid during a government shutdown, given that funding the federal government is one of the primary jobs of Congress. But the Department of Treasury is obligated, constitutionally, to pay members in full due to a clause in the 27th Amendment that blocks officials from “varying the compensation for the services of the Senators & Representatives” between elections. Lawmakers are eager to demonstrate accountability by calling for Congress to not get paid if they fail to avoid a government shutdown. Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) have a proposal to to skirt the 27th Amendment problem by getting the House Chief Administrative Officer, who issues members' paychecks, to hold them until the end of the 118th Congress. The CAO’s office said it is looking into the matter. During previous shutdowns, many lawmakers pledged to donate their shutdown salaries to charity.

  • John Fetterman choked up during a hearing discussing how transcription technology changed his life following his stroke.
    on September 21, 2023 at 7:36 pm

    Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) gave an emotional description of how transcription services have enabled him to continue serving after suffering a major stroke last year. Speaking at a Senate Aging Committee hearing, Fetterman held up his iPhone to show off a transcription app and noted: "Because I live in a political environment, I was ridiculed and made fun of because I wasn't able to process things sometimes." His voice breaking, Fetterman told the witnesses: "I'm so sorry that I'm sure many of you had to go through this kind of thing. I was lucky to go through my life — the vast majority of that — without this disability that I have." He spoke at the hearing on providing accessible government technology for veterans, older Americans and those with disabilities. Fetterman's struggles with auditory processing following his stroke became a major issue in the waning days of the Senate campaign. Context: Plenty of other lawmakers use technology, like hearing aids and mobility devices, in order to do their jobs. Fetterman also has a screen at his desk in the Senate chamber — where phone use is frowned upon — as a basic accommodation coordinated by the Senate sergeant at arms.

  • Sullivan: Ukraine will get U.S. aid ‘when all is said and done’
    on September 21, 2023 at 7:07 pm

    Sullivan: Ukraine will get U.S. aid ‘when all is said and done’ lead image

  • Zelenskyy reports ‘very strong dialogue’ after meeting with senators
    on September 21, 2023 at 6:44 pm

    Zelenskyy reports ‘very strong dialogue’ after meeting with senators lead image

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is arguing she can block users from a personal social media account not managed by government employees.
    on September 21, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) argued in a new court filing she's able to block right-wing provocateur Alex Stein from her personal account @AOC on X, formerly known as Twitter, as it is not run by government employees. The filing states Ocasio-Cortez blocked Stein from her personal account — but not her official @RepAOC government one — because it "serves the significant interest of the Congresswoman, as a public official and as a private citizen, in protecting herself from abuse and harassment absolutely unrelated to any viewpoint or expression of opinion of any kind." Context: At issue is a July 2022 incident in which Stein yelled "abusive, sexist, misogynist, harassing and racist personal epithets" at Ocasio-Cortez from the Capitol steps, according to the filing. Following the incident, the congresswoman blocked Stein from her personal account. He sued her in March over that decision. The Supreme Court agreed earlier this year to hear arguments in two cases concerning how the First Amendment applies to public officials who opt to block users online.

  • The week McCarthy threw it all at the wall — and nothing stuck
    by By Katherine Tully-McManus on September 21, 2023 at 5:31 pm

    It's been a dizzying week of failed plan after failed plan for the embattled Republican, whose holdouts still don't like anything on the menu.

  • The week Speaker Kevin McCarthy threw it all at the wall — and nothing stuck
    on September 21, 2023 at 4:55 pm

    Speaker Kevin McCarthy is trapped in the kind of vicious cycle familiar to anyone who's seen "Groundhog Day." Soon after he puts forth a proposal to fund the government or move forward on individual spending bills, he gets thwarted by a small but powerful group of naysayers within his party. He can only lose a handful of Republicans on any given vote, forcing him to take repeated whacks at the same Sept. 30 government funding deadline. Without enlisting Democratic support — which would threaten his speakership — the small group of ultraconservatives have the power to kill proposal after proposal, as they have. And McCarthy needs the House to move on its own bill to avert a shutdown if he has any hope of getting a GOP proposal in the mix for future negotiations with the Democratic-controlled Senate. But of course, the more ideas McCarthy throws out with no majority among his own members, the more he risks getting jammed by the Senate and taking it on the chin when the government is shuttered. So for those still trying to keep up, let's look back at all the spaghetti he's tossed at the wall this week. Sunday night: McCarthy convened a conference call to pitch and promote a deal within the fractured party to temporarily fund the government, plus revive some conservative border initiatives. But opposition quickly mounted, to the point that the speaker clearly lacked the votes for a deal that would slash spending for most federal agencies and keep the government running for a month. Monday: McCarthy’s ill-fated pitch emerged in full, including sweeping 8 percent cuts across domestic spending, but exemptions for veterans and defense. It included disaster aid for states rocked by flooding, storms and wildfires. A key provision that negotiators hoped would bring conservatives on board would beef up border enforcement and change asylum and immigration laws. McCarthy even flirted with forcing his holdout members to take a vote on the emerging deal, daring them to oppose it. But that never happened — the careful constellation of priorities aimed at pleasing different corners of the House GOP still wasn't enough to get the support he needed to take action on the proposal. Tuesday: For the second time under McCarthy’s leadership, a procedural vote was tanked by Republican discord. McCarthy wanted to get one Republican-led spending bill across the finish line, a first step toward keeping his promise to pass all 12 standalone bills. But hardliners blocked debate, making Pentagon funding — usually an easy sell to conservatives — a casualty of the roiling battle between McCarthy and his conservative critics. Wednesday: The sense that McCarthy is throwing legislative linguini (or Jell-O) at the wall and seeing what sticks became literal. As Olivia reported, McCarthy began throwing ideas up on a white board during an evening conference meeting and queried his members in real time if they’d back this idea or that. GOP members exited the meeting with buoyed spirits and a plan to move forward on one single spending bill. McCarthy’s new plan — a stopgap funding bill at the $1.47 trillion spending level with conservative immigration policies attached — also raised spirits that a GOP-led proposal to avert a government shutdown could be nigh. Thursday: Already McCarthy's new plan is in trouble. More than a half dozen Republicans have come out against it.

  • Defense secretary personally confronts GOP senator over ongoing military blockade
    on September 21, 2023 at 4:44 pm

    The battle over Pentagon abortion policy spilled into a classified Ukraine briefing on Wednesday as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confronted GOP Sen. Tommy Tuberville over his related blockade of military promotions, according to multiple people briefed on the meeting. The Austin-Tuberville skirmish is only the latest sign that Tuberville's holds on military promotions continue to consume the Senate — even as three top defense nominees began moving toward confirmation this week. During a private all-senators briefing on Ukraine on Wednesday afternoon, both Austin and Secretary of State Tony Blinken raised questions about the continued Senate GOP delay of military promotions and ambassador confirmations. It was a direct challenge to Republicans in the room, like Tuberville, who are using their leverage to slow-walk Biden personnel, as recalled by people briefed on the meeting. Some Republicans blanched at Austin and Blinken's comments, given that the stated focus of the briefing was Ukraine. Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) told the Biden officials that many GOP senators agree with Tuberville’s opposition to the Pentagon’s abortion leave policy. “He told Austin and Blinken it was ‘highly inappropriate’ to be using a classified briefing on Ukraine to lecture on an unrelated policy disagreement,” said Joanna Rodriguez, a spokesperson for Ricketts. But to Democrats and the Biden administration, it was the perfect opportunity to make their point. Tuberville had just threatened to force votes on three high-level military promotions, forcing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to schedule votes on those nominees before Tuberville could make his move. Meanwhile, hundreds of nominees are still unprocessed. Austin "delivered a strong message to the senators that the blanket hold on nearly 300 nominees is harming national security, preventing our best officers from leading, and creating uncertainty for military families,” said a Defense Department official. Though his broader message was intended for the whole Senate, Austin directly asked Tuberville to lift his hold, the official added. It’s not clear where the conflict goes now, after Schumer changed up his strategy of holding all the delayed nominees together; Democrats had feared that it might set a bad precedent to push through the obstructive move by confirming only individual high-ranking nominees. Tuberville made clear this week that his position has not changed and that he might try again to force votes on other individual nominees.

  • Senate confirms Army and Marine chiefs, bucking Tuberville logjam
    by By Joe Gould on September 21, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    But Democrats aren't declaring victory yet as more than 300 more officers are in limbo.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy made the case on Capitol Hill for additional U.S. aid to Ukraine. But skeptics appeared unmoved.
    on September 21, 2023 at 4:12 pm

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Capitol Hill on Thursday seeking more U.S. assistance for the war against Russia — but his full-court press showed no signs of significantly shrinking resistance to further aid among a large bloc of Republicans. After meetings with both House members and senators, Zelenskyy did not take questions on what — if any — commitments he secured from Speaker Kevin McCarthy on aid for his defense against Russia, or other subjects. Inside Zelenskyy's huddle with senators, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said the Ukrainian leader received two standing ovations from those gathered to hear his plea for the $24 billion in additional assistance requested by President Joe Biden's administration.“We said to him at the very beginning of this war — which was, ‘Be strong and be united.’ He said, ‘I ask you to do the same,’” Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said after the meeting. As the Ukrainian leader arrived, a group of 28 congressional Republicans released a letter reiterating that they oppose further aid to the country's defense against Russian aggression. It’s a far cry for the raucous and warm reception Zelenskyy got during his joint session to Congress in December, before the GOP took power in the House. Critics of further Ukraine aid left the meeting saying Zelenskyy made a passionate case but that they were unmoved. “His comment was, ‘It's a totally frozen conflict,’” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), an aid opponent who attended the meeting, told POLITICO. “And I think his other comment was ‘Everything depends on the United States.’ Sounds more and more sort of like Vietnam in the day to me, if I’m going to be honest. So what he said was basically a recipe for just shy of needing to land American troops.” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said the visit provided an opportunity for senators to get answers to lingering questions and that Zelenskyy ultimately “made a good case.” But asked if that case was good enough to win over skeptics within his conference, Cornyn replied, “Some of the skeptics weren't there.” Following the meeting, backers of further aid said they thought Congress would ultimately come through for Ukraine — even as they acknowledged deep divisions within GOP ranks. “They need it, and they're gonna get it,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said of Ukraine aid following a House-side meeting with Zelenskyy. “The majority of the majority support this. I know there's some dissension on both sides." Zelenskyy entered the House confab with Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries at his side. Several dozen lawmakers there first convened in a modest room off a side first-floor hallway — far from the formal setting that senators used for their sitdown. McCaul said that inside the room, McCarthy asked Zelenskyy on accountability for the money already spent, a plan for victory and about the speed of deploying further weapons in the conflict. The Texas Republican said he’d push for the inclusion of F-16's and long-range missiles for Ukraine in future government funding measures. McCarthy told reporters that Zelenskyy answered many of his questions during the meeting, which he described as good, but confirmed later that his current plans for a stopgap government funding bill doesn’t include Ukraine aid. He also said he denied a request for a joint address to Congress with Zelenskyy because of the House’s tight schedule. White House aides have long noted that American public support for Ukraine tends to increase after a Zelenskyy visit and plan to have the president attempt to capitalize on the current moment. The timing has turned out to be ideal, the West Wing believes, at the start of a government funding battle with Republicans who have called for slashing money being sent to the war zone. “There was a single sentence that summed it all up — and I’m quoting him verbatim. Mr. Zelenskyy said, 'If we don't get the aid, we will lose the war,’” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said following his chamber's meeting. Schumer declined to answer whether GOP senators pushed back. After Zelenskyy makes his trip to the Hill, the president will meet him at the White House, offering a grand welcome at the South Portico. The two men and their senior advisors will then conduct a series of meetings — and potentially field a few questions from reporters — over the course of the afternoon, according to White House aides. Biden has repeatedly declared that the United States would stand with Kyiv for “as long as it takes” to repel Russia’s invasion. Yet despite those public proclamations, the White House has long quietly telegraphed to the Ukrainians that the pace of aid would inevitably slow down, particularly once Republicans took power in the House and the presidential election approached. But the White House is hoping to secure one more substantial tranche of funding before year’s end. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has privately indicated to Senate Democrats and Biden's team that they should try to secure as much money as possible for Zelenskyy now because it will only get more difficult in the months ahead, according to two aides familiar with his comments. Zelenskyy was given a lavish welcome on the South Lawn Thursday afternoon, with President Biden and the First Lady greeting the Ukrainian first couple as their motorcade drove past flag-bearing Marines. The two presidents then walked along the Rose Garden Colonnade and made their way to the Oval Office. "The people of Ukraine have shown enormous bravery," Biden said as he sat across from the Ukrainian leader. Zelenskyy, speaking in English from note cards said he had frank conversations with members of Congress. He said he looked forward to discussion military support from the US with Biden "with a special emphasis on air” defenses. “Today I'm in Washington to strengthen our coalition to defend Ukrainian children, families, our homes, freedom and democracy in the world. And I started my day in the US Congress to thank its members and the people in America for their big, huge support,” said Zelenskyy. Earlier, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan sounded a note of optimism that Congress would continue to support Ukraine despite the House GOP dysfunction. “I continue to remain of the view, that when all is said and done, after all the back and forth and the to-ing and fro-ing and all the other elements going into these negotiations that have nothing to do with Ukraine, that there will be strong bipartisan support to continue funding Ukraine,” Sullivan said during a White House briefing. “Republicans in both the House and Senate in very large numbers have been strong advocates and supporters for this,” Sullivan said. “And it is that level of bipartisan support that we’ve seen to date that has sustained the immense and impressive levels of assistance that we’ve been able to provide to Ukraine.” More U.S. military equipment for Ukraine was expected to be announced during Zelenskyy’s visit but would likely not include the long-range ATACMS missile system desired by Kyiv, the aides said. Those missiles could, though, still be included in a later package. Daniella Diaz contributed.

  • A smidgen of good news for House GOP leaders: Frank Lucas is returning. But there's still attendance problems.
    on September 21, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    House GOP leadership has an attendance problem right now, but they have some good news headed their way: Rep. Frank Lucas will be back in D.C. next week, just in time for a shutdown deadline. Lucas (R-Okla.), who was injured while working at his ranch last month, had to undergo hip surgery to repair a break in the socket. But his doctor has cleared him to return to D.C. starting Sept. 26. He will be back next Wednesday, his office first shared with POLITICO. Lucas is a generally reliable vote for GOP leadership. Republicans have faced various absences due to health and family reasons, which has made it even more difficult to navigate their slim majority as they consider high-stakes legislation to fund the government. Those absences include Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) undergoing chemotherapy, the retirement of former Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) giving birth to her first child. It has added to leadership’s headaches on what used to be simple procedural votes. Speaker Kevin McCarthy has now failed, twice, to secure enough votes for a defense appropriations bill given several absences, a conservative rebellion and united Democratic opposition.

  • Don't believe the House GOP hype yet — it still doesn't have the votes to stop a shutdown
    on September 21, 2023 at 3:24 pm

    Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s newest bid to pass a GOP-only short-term spending plan, which he outlined for his members on Wednesday night, already looks to be on life support. It’s the latest sign of the herculean lift the Californian faces to get even a doomed party-line Republican bill through the House, where he can only afford to lose four votes with Democrats expected to unite against his latest effort. So far, McCarthy has at least nine “no” votes on his new proposal for even steeper spending cuts. Other Republicans suggest they will oppose a short-term funding bill more generally. The no votes we count so far: Reps. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.), Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Andy Ogles (R-Tenn.) each said on Thursday that they oppose the stopgap patch that GOP leaders laid out late Wednesday. Their opposition alone makes clear that McCarthy doesn’t have the votes for the bill currently. Asked about leaders' hopes that a short-term bill could be ready to vote on by this weekend, Ogles laughed out loud. “I think that would be highly premature,” he said. They joined Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Cory Mills (R-Fla.) and Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) as first out of the gate in the opposition camp. On Wednesday night, that trio told reporters leaving a conference meeting that they opposed McCarthy’s plan. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) is also a no on the new plan, according to her spokesperson. Another vote to watch: Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas). Gonzales, during a tele-town hall on Wednesday night, didn’t specifically mention McCarthy's new plan but said he opposes short-term funding bills. He was critical of his party’s strategy so far in the spending fight. Gonzales said that the House isn’t “debating … real things” and that none of the proposals being floated “have any chance of being taken up in the Senate and signed into law.” (Note: He is correct that the broader Republican spending cuts now being debated will hav a chance of making it through the Senate.) “We are on track to have a government shutdown,” he added. There are plenty of other question marks, meaning the number of no votes could even grow. Lawmakers whose stances on the new plan look uncertain include Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.). As the bill remains in flux, leadership is eyeing potential back-up plans, involving bringing other spending bills to the floor. That potentially includes a largely noncontroversial measure funding the State Department, which already includes steep cuts, per a source familiar. One GOP member, who requested anonymity, added that leadership could also try to move the Department of Homeland Security spending bill after its second attempt to take up a massive defense bill, which began on Thursday. Sarah Ferris contributed.

  • A group of House Democrats is asking congressional leaders to advance “clean” spending bills.
    on September 21, 2023 at 1:03 pm

    Letters to the leaders: A group of more than 140 House Democrats are asking their leaders to advance “clean” government funding bills and to fund non-defense government programs at the levels agreed to in the debt ceiling package earlier this year. Democrats have balked at GOP-led spending bills, including a stopgap funding bill that Republicans had tried to advance on the floor this week, because of policy provisions related to the border or abortion access. “We write to urge you to bring forward appropriations bills without harmful poison pill policy riders to adequately fund the federal government in Fiscal Year 2024,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Rep. Deborah Ross (D-N.C.). “Bogging down the appropriations process with controversial policy debates is contributing to another damaging political impasse.” Read the full letter. The letter was addressed to Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Appropriations Chair Kay Granger and ranking member Rosa DeLauro.

  • Overnight in spending: Trump comes out against a short-term patch. And a possible escape hatch emerges.
    on September 21, 2023 at 12:40 pm

    Some developments while you were asleep as Washington barrels toward a government shutdown at the end of the month. Donald Trump opposes a short-term spending patch: In a post on Truth Social, the former president said "Republicans in Congress can and must defund all aspects of Crooked Joe Biden’s weaponized Government," including ongoing federal prosecutions against him. We'll see how much sway his words have with the broader House GOP conference. Escape path? The Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus endorsed a framework that would pass a CR through Jan. 11, 2024 — with the idea that all 12 appropriations bill get cleared by then. It would also include more money for Ukraine in its war against Russia, as well as disaster relief. Our team had more on these talks on Wednesday. Key test for the House: Lawmakers will today take what's ordinarily a routine procedural vote that would allow them to begin consideration of the defense spending bill. But a small bloc of hard-liners took down a similar effort earlier this week, so this will be a crucial first step if the chamber can be successful in passing a CR. New shutdown polling: We got our hands on some new polling from the Republican Main Street Partnership, which found 38 percent of voters would blame Republicans for a shutdown, compared to 17 percent for President Joe Biden and 19 percent for Democrats. Another eye-popping stat from the poll: 40 percent of people aged 18-34 are unaware the government could shutdown. (Read more.)

  • 'What's our objective?': Biden under pressure over Ukraine aid sales job
    by By Jennifer Haberkorn and Adam Cancryn on September 21, 2023 at 9:00 am

    Ukraine’s biggest backers on the Hill are increasingly worried the administration isn’t doing enough to sell the public on the need to keep aid flowing.

  • Ken Paxton suggests he could primary Sen. John Cornyn in 2026
    by By Andrew Zhang on September 21, 2023 at 2:54 am

    "I think it's time somebody needs to step up and run against this guy," the Texas attorney general said.

  • Senators want to hear a plan from Zelenskyy for victory in Ukraine after a closed-door briefing on the conflict.
    on September 20, 2023 at 10:40 pm

    Senators emerged from a closed-door briefing with senior administration officials on the war in Ukraine anxious to hear from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about how he plans to win the conflict, amid headwinds from Congress over providing additional aid. The classified briefing came before Zelenskyy is slated to meet with senators in the Old Senate Chamber on Thursday morning. Democrats said the session underscored the need for immediate continued assistance to Ukraine. “It is very clear that if we were to have a government shutdown or to pass a [continuing resolution] with no Ukraine aid, the effect on Ukraine would be very quick and devastating,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “We cannot let Putin win. Without aid, Ukraine could run the very strong risk of being defeated.” Republican senators — skeptics and backers of Ukraine aid alike — said they wanted to hear from Zelenskyy a plan for victory, an update on the activities of European allies in support of the country and how he plans to safeguard additional U.S. aid from fraud and abuse. None thought the briefing itself fundamentally changed the views of the GOP ahead of the briefing. “It just depends on the person,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) told POLITICO. “I support it because I think it's important for our national security, but other people have other ideas.” Opponents of additional aid were unbowed following the briefing. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said it did not alter his opposition to more assistance and said of the briefing: “All of it was depressing.” “Take out Ukraine — insert Iraq or insert Afghanistan — and you would get exactly what George W. Bush said for years — and other people after him — about why we have to stay indefinitely in those countries and keep spending money indefinitely,” he said. “It’s the same recycled arguments.” Briefers for the session included Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, CIA Director Bill Burns, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), who returned from a second visit to Ukraine on Tuesday evening, said it would be “incredibly short sighted and naïve” for Republicans to refuse additional funds for Ukraine in its war with Russia. “That would be the opening that Putin is looking for,” he told reporters Wednesday.

  • House Republicans, trying to reverse their skid, now hope to vote on a stalled spending bill
    on September 20, 2023 at 10:07 pm

    House Republican leaders are floating another plan to avert a government shutdown — this one with steeper spending cuts — during a conference meeting happening Wednesday afternoon. The new plan is similar to the deal negotiated between leaders of the House Freedom and Main Street Caucuses earlier this week, but would include further slashes to spending — funding the government at $1.47 trillion and still including stricter border policies, according to a lawmaker in the room. It’s still unclear if the plan would have enough support to pass, given unanimous Democratic opposition. McCarthy can only afford to lose four votes with full attendance, and Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Cory Mills (R-Fla.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) all said during the meeting they would not vote for a stopgap plan, one lawmaker said. Leadership has been in near-constant meetings with conservatives and others the past two days, trying to come up with some version of a stopgap spending bill they could get through the House — despite the fact that the Senate will reject whatever they come up with. Some lawmakers are feeling more optimistic, however. Gaetz had said earlier in the meeting that there were seven lawmakers who aligned with him — a claim denied by Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.), who came out against the previous deal, according to a lawmaker in the room. “I think we’re going to be able to move forward in a productive way,” Rep. Max Miller (R-Ohio) said as he came out of the meeting. Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) echoed that sentiment, telling reporters that there was “lots of progress” being made. Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said there was “progress." Two other people familiar with the situation said that, inside the meeting, two Republicans who had previously blocked the annual defense spending bill had agreed to support it. GOP leaders are now expected to take up that bill on Thursday, according to two people familiar with the plans. If they can pass that legislation, they would take a step forward toward broader agreement on a short-term spending deal — albeit one with no chance of becoming law. That’s not to say the situation is past the chaos, by any means. At one point, McCarthy began writing ideas on a white board, asking members in real time if they would commit to supporting them, according to the lawmaker in the room.

  • Centrist Dems and McCarthy's allies are in secret talks to strike a deal
    by By Sarah Ferris, Nicholas Wu, Olivia Beavers and Jordain Carney on September 20, 2023 at 8:02 pm

    Any Democratic participation in a plan to stop a shutdown — let alone save the speaker's gavel — would have huge conditions attached.


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