Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Morning Report — Speaker assures GOP critics of ‘big’ 2025 plans

Samantha Parker By Samantha Parker Jun13,2024

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Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) — the target of a promised GOP coup next week, which will fail — suggests he wants to lead Republicans in the next Congress. 

“I’m doing my duty, as I’ve been called by my colleagues to do. I’ll continue to do it as long as we’re effective — and I think we have been — and I have big plans for the Congress and for the country,” Johnson said on NewsNation’s “The Hill,” when asked if he wants to be Speaker again in 2025. The interview aired Wednesday.

If anyone needs an example of how topsy-turvy House Republicans have become, Johnson’s experience is Exhibit A. The enemies of his enemies are now his friends, at least next week, when conservative Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) says she’ll call for a vote to oust Johnson. Her action is projected to fail because Democrats vow to shield the Speaker with a counter move.

Greene will leave her GOP colleagues with no good options with her motion to vacate. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and his leadership colleagues are pressured from within their ranks, too. Democrats say they’ll vote to table Greene’s motion, but no guarantees they’ll do it more than once if the Georgia activist tries again. Democrats say they want some leverage in exchange for Johnson’s rescue.

The Speaker last month sought and received an endorsement from former President Trump and appeared confident enough Tuesday to tell NewsNation’s “The Hill” that Greene is not “proving to be” a serious lawmaker.

House GOP leaders suffered a rare procedural defeat on Wednesday night when six Republican hardliners joined Democrats to block a mining bill from getting a floor vote.

In other action Wednesday, a bill that would crack down on antisemitism on college campuses won House approval in reaction to pro-Palestinian demonstrations on campuses coast to coast. The Antisemitism Awareness Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.), moved to the Senate following the 320-91 House vote. Seventy of the opponents were Democrats. The issue has many House Democrats squirming while at the same time the Speaker, relishing a chance to divide the minority party, is planning a House-wide investigation into antisemitism on college campuses and a committee hearing May 23.

▪ The Hill: Democrats in Congress split over the crackdown on campus protests.

▪ The New Republic: United Autoworkers (UAW) President Shawn Fain said he backs campus demonstrators. The UAW also has endorsed President Biden for reelection. UAW Local 4811 threatened to hold a strike authorization vote next week if the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), limits the activity of student demonstrators. UAW represents 48,000 workers in the University of California system.

▪ CNN and The New York Times: Police are on the UCLA campus this morning in a standoff with demonstrators, whose encampment has been declared an unlawful assembly.

3 THINGS TO KNOW TODAY:

▪ Homicides in Detroit last year fell to a number not seen since 1966. Other cities can learn from the focus on mental health crisis intervention, gun crimes and community outreach.

▪ Dozens of federal judges failed to fully disclose free luxury travel to judicial conferences around the world, as required by internal judiciary rules and federal ethics law.

▪ Brittney Griner, the WNBA star who was held for 10 months in a Russian prison, shares her experience, and her path to recovery.

🐱 Avian flu’s cross-species infection of cows and raw milk killed Texas cats, according to tests at a state dairy farm. A day after the farm first realized cows were sick, 24 domestic felines that drank raw milk became ill and half died of a virulent case of bird flu, or H5N1, according to a report Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Warnings have been issued not to drink raw or unpasteurized milk. The Department of Agriculture confirms the spread of bird flu in dairy cattle in 34 herds across nine states, including Colorado, which established screening for cattle moving across borders. Ground beef marketed in states where the virus has infected herds tested negative, the government said Wednesday. Federal health officials report at least two possible vaccines available for distribution if the virus infects humans.

LEADING THE DAY

© The Associated Press / John Raoux | Vice President Harris spoke about the implementation of Florida’s abortion ban at an event in Jacksonville, Fla., on Wednesday.

POLITICS

NEARLY TWO YEARS after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion continues to dominate the political discussion. As Florida’s six-week abortion ban took effect Wednesday, Vice President Harris bashed Trump during a campaign rally in the state, which the Biden campaign is trying to flip blue. While winning the state will be an uphill battle, Democrats are hopeful the issue of abortion, which will be on the ballot in November thanks to the new state law, will give them a boost.

“As of this morning, 4 million women in this state woke up with fewer reproductive freedoms than they had last night. This is the new reality under a Trump abortion ban,” Harris said. “Starting this morning, women in Florida became subject to an abortion ban so extreme it applies before many women even know they are pregnant. Which, by the way, tells us the extremists who wrote this ban either don’t know how a woman’s body works or they simply don’t care.”

Two-thirds of Americans remain opposed to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling repealing Roe, according to a new CNN poll. But in the midst of a presidential campaign where the major candidates offer starkly different approaches to the issue, the country is less united over how best to handle abortion laws.

Arizona lawmakers on Wednesday voted to repeal a recently enforced, Civil War-era law that banned nearly all abortions in the state. The Republican-controlled Senate had enough votes to pass legislation repealing the 1864 law by a razor-thin margin, 16-14. All 14 Democrats were joined by two Republicans. The 1864 ban has divided Republicans in the state and nationally. Some Republicans, including Trump and Senate hopeful Kari Lake, wanted to see the law repealed, saying it goes too far and is inappropriate for the modern era. Meanwhile, abortion rights advocates have been gathering signatures to place a referendum on the ballot that would protect access until the point of fetal viability, or roughly 24 weeks of pregnancy.

In South Dakota, a proposed amendment to enshrine abortion access in the state constitution is one step closer to appearing on the November ballot. And a judge ruled Tuesday that some of North Carolina’s restrictions on the distribution of abortion pills are unlawful.

THE NEW CLASS of Senate GOP candidates are lining up against further aid to Ukraine, underscoring how the ideological tide is shifting against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his allies. Several Republican Senate candidates, headlined by those in some of the most likely seats to flip, have said they would have voted against the $95 billion package signed by Biden last month that included aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

“We certainly have seen a change in the last six years, partly because you see … a generational shift in the country that’s being reflected,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), one of the six Senate GOP members in their first term to vote for the aid bill.

2024 ROUNDUP:

▪ Democrats are most concerned about a rise in extremism and fascism, topping everything else by a wide margin, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. Republicans, on the other hand, say their biggest concerns for the country are a lack of values and becoming weak as a nation.

▪ Trump confirmed Wednesday that he told Secret Service agents he wanted to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. But he mocked a claim that he lunged at the driver in his vehicle. The driver of his car that day disputed during congressional testimony that the then-president tried to take control of the vehicle.

▪ Which House members decided to spar with campus protesters Wednesday at the George Washington University in the nation’s capital? Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Anna Paulina Luna (Fla.), Byron Donalds (Fla.) and Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (Ky.) addressed the crowd.

▪ Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is all over conservative media. Trump’s camp is concerned.

▪ A panel of federal judges rejected a newly drawn congressional map Tuesday that would have created a second majority-Black district in Louisiana. The move tees up a potential Supreme Court redistricting battle.

▪ A new survey of local election officials across the U.S. found that 38 percent report experiencing “threats, harassment or abuse,” and 54 percent are concerned about the safety of their colleagues.

WHERE AND WHEN

The House will meet at 10 a.m.

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m.

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9 a.m. Biden will travel to Charlotte, N.C., to pay his respects at 12:50 p.m. to law enforcement officers killed and wounded in the line of duty this week.He will then head to Wilmington, N.C., to speak at 4:50 p.m. about infrastructure investments and announce $3 billion to replace lead pipes, of which $76 million will be spent in North Carolina. Biden will issue a proclamation today to expand two national monuments in California. He returns to the White House this evening.

Vice President Harris has no public events.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has no public events.

First lady Jill Biden will host a first-ever “Teachers of the Year” State Dinner at the White House at 7 p.m. Second gentleman Doug Emhoff will attend.

ZOOM IN

© The Associated Press / Evelyn Hockstein | Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the Kerem Shalom border crossing in Kerem Shalom, Israel, Wednesday. 

INTERNATIONAL

LAST CHANCE FOR CEASE-FIRE? In Israel on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Hamas to accept the latest cease-fire proposal and urged Israel to do more for civilians in Gaza — who are facing displacement and widespread famine risk. Blinken met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top leaders as Israel appears poised to attack Rafah in southern Gaza and mediators await Hamas’s response to the truce proposal. Looming over Blinken’s visit to the region are questions about whether the White House can persuade the Israeli government to support an eventual Palestinian state and clinch a sweeping agreement that U.S. officials hope helps to stabilize the Middle East (The Hill and The Washington Post).

“We are determined to get a cease-fire that brings the hostages home and to get it now, and the only reason that wouldn’t be achieved is because of Hamas,” Blinken said in Tel Aviv. “There is a proposal on the table, and as we’ve said, no delays, no excuses. The time is now.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli government has warned the White House that if the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues arrest warrants against Israeli leaders, Israel will take retaliatory steps against the Palestinian Authority, Axios reports. The court is coming under immense pressure from the U.S. following the reports, writes The Hill’s Laura Kelly, reigniting debate about the court’s priorities and political sway. Its investigation into Israel will among one of the most high-profile tests of its ability to remain independent amid fierce lobbying on both sides.

▪ The New York Times analysis: The U.S. and Israel struggle with clashing visions on ending the war in Gaza.

▪ Reuters: Jordan’s foreign ministry said Israeli settlers attacked two of its humanitarian aid convoys as they made their way toward Gaza on Wednesday.

▪ NBC News: “You are our hope”: Palestinian students find strength in U.S. campus protests.

As Ukraine desperately awaits the arrival of new U.S. weapons and equipment, Russia has seized on the gap in aid to its own advantage. The Hill’s Ellen Mitchell reports that in the past week, Moscow’s forces have seized several villages in eastern Ukraine after Kyiv’s threadbare army ceded ground, gains made quickly before Ukraine can take advantage of a new U.S. weapons package currently en route to the battlefield.

Reuters: The U.S. on Wednesday accused Russia of violating the international chemical weapons ban by deploying the choking agent chloropicrin and using riot control agents “as a method of warfare” in Ukraine.

ELSEWHERE

© The Associated Press / Susan Walsh | Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell spoke with reporters Wednesday about the central bank’s decision to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged.

ECONOMY

Among borrowers, homebuyers and investors who long to bank on lower interest rates this year, price pressures in a robust economy are standing in the way, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.

The central bank, which describes its policy-setting as “data dependent” and reinforced its inflation goal of 2 percent, acknowledged a recent setback in its fight but said keeping interest rates at their current level for longer was more likely than raising rates (The Wall Street Journal).

The Fed will maintain its benchmark federal-funds rate at a range between 5.25 percent and 5.5 percent, it said, the highest in two decades and a level it reached last summer.

The bank, focused on its mandate and determined to use the sharpest tool it has, is challenged by the current economic picture. After months of rapid cooling, inflation has proved surprisingly stubborn in early 2024, The New York Times reports.

The Fed’s preferred inflation index has made little progress since December, and although it is down sharply from its 2022 highs, it remains well above its goal.

“In recent months,” Chair Jerome Powell said at a news conference, “inflation has shown a lack of further progress toward our 2 percent objective. … It is likely that gaining greater confidence will take longer than previously expected” (The Associated Press).

Patience at the central bank could clash with politics the closer officials get to the November election. The Fed recognizes that inflation and rate decisions in the fall are likely to influence voters’ thinking. If inflation resumes its downward trend — or if unemployment starts to spike — Fed officials are ready to ease off on interest rates. But if neither happens in time to lower rates in July, that could push the decision of whether to cut rates to September. Under the political klieg lights is the last place the Fed wants to be (Politico magazine).

TRUMP WORLD

TRUMP IS BACK IN COURT today, where he faces his second gag order hearing for four additional social media posts that Justice Juan Merchan said violate the gag order imposed on him. Merchan earlier this week fined Trump $1,000 each for nine posts that violated the same gag order and has threatened jail time if the former president continues to break the rules.

Trump returned briefly to the campaign trail Wednesday — speaking in Wisconsin and Michigan — and called Merchan “crooked” a day after he was held in contempt of court and threatened with jail time for violating a gag order.

Former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, meanwhile, is set to be a star witness for the prosecution in the 34-count hush money case against Trump. Prosecutors hope to convince the jury that Cohen, now testifying against his former boss, is credible. But the image of Cohen being shown to jurors is hardly one of valor. Even Cohen’s old banker, Gary Farro, who testified earlier in the day, said Cohen was handed off to him as a client because he was skilled at working with people “who may be a little challenging” (The Hill).

NBC News: Trump grumbled he needed more support at trial. Now his allies are showing up.

OPINION

■ Voters, please think about the menace of nuclear annihilation, by George F. Will, columnist, The Washington Post.

■ College costs are skyrocketing. Let’s help students bring them down, by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.), opinion contributors, The Hill.

THE CLOSER

© The Associated Press / Patrick Semansky | Televised presidential debates have been a mainstay in American politics for decades.

Take Our Morning Report Quiz

And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! As presidential debate season approaches, we’re eager for some smart guesses about memorable presidential debates.

Be sure to email your responses to [email protected] and [email protected] — please add “Quiz” to your subject line. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.

Which was the first televised debate between two presidential candidates?

Bill Clinton vs. George H.W. Bush (1992)

John F. Kennedy vs. Richard Nixon (1960)

Jimmy Carter vs. Ronald Reagan (1980)

Lyndon B. Johnson vs. Barry Goldwater (1964)

Vice presidential debates are the lesser-watched sibling of presidential debates, according to TV viewership ratings. Which year proved an exception?

Al Gore vs. Dan Quayle (1992)

Joe Biden vs. Paul Ryan (2012)

Walter Mondale vs. George H. W. Bush (1980)

Joe Biden vs. Sarah Palin (2008)

Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated in 1858 for what office, in the process setting a marker for subsequent presidential debates?

Senate

House of Representatives

State legislature

Governor

Which television outlet claims the largest number of debate moderators in history during face-offs involving presidential and vice-presidential contenders?

ABC News

NBC News

PBS

C-SPAN

Samantha Parker

By Samantha Parker

Samantha is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering the truth behind the headlines. With years of experience in investigative reporting, she has covered a wide range of topics including politics, crime, and entertainment. Her in-depth analysis and commitment to factual accuracy make her a respected voice in the field of journalism.

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2 thoughts on “Morning Report — Speaker assures GOP critics of ‘big’ 2025 plans”
  1. As a conservative voter, I believe Speaker Mike Johnson’s dedication to leading Republicans reflects a strong commitment to our party’s values. It’s intriguing to witness the internal dynamics within the GOP play out, showing the complexity of political alliances and strategies.

  2. Isn’t it concerning how the political landscape seems so unpredictable these days? Will there ever be stability in leadership positions?

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