Thursday Reads: From the Sublime to the RidiculousPosted: November 17, 2022
Yesterday, Republicans won control of the House, so we can look forward to multiple insane “investigations” of Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, and whatever else the “Freedom Caucus” can dream up to own the libs. The good news is that they will alienate normal voters who would rather have their representatives work on legislation and, you know, govern.
Right now I’m waiting for Nancy Pelosi to announce her plans for the future. She will speak any minute now. AP News: Nancy Pelosi to announce ‘future plans’ after GOP wins House.
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to address her plans with colleagues on Thursday in the wake of Democrats narrowly losing control of the House to Republicans in the midterm elections.
Pelosi’s decision to either seek another term as the Democratic leader or to step aside has been widely anticipated. It would come after the party was able to halt an expected Republican wave in the House and the Senate but also in the aftermath of a brutal attack on her husband, Paul, late last month by an intruder in their San Francisco home.
She is expected to open the House at noon and then deliver remarks, her office said.
“The Speaker plans to address her future plans tomorrow to her colleagues. Stay tuned,” Pelosi’s spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted late Wednesday.
The speaker took home two versions of her speech overnight for review.
The speaker “has been overwhelmed by calls from colleagues, friends and supporters,” Hammill said, and noted that she had spent Wednesday evening monitoring election returns in the final states where ballots were still being counted.
According to CNN, President Biden has asked he to stay on.
Pelosi is speaking now. She reminisces about the first time she saw the U.S. Capitol as a child attending her father Thomas D’Alesandro’s swearing in as a Representative from Maryland. She looks back on the Presidents of the U.S. she has served with. She says she has decided not to seek reelection as Democratic leader. Quotes the Ecclesiastes, “for everything there is a season…” before she announces her decision [standing ovation] Now she is thanking all the people she has worked with. Quotes the prayer of St. Francis, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace…” She ends the speech to another of several standing ovations. This is a truly historic moment. Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the House.
Nancy Pelosi, who has led Democrats in the US House of Representatives for almost two decades, has announced she is standing down from the role.
The 82-year-old is the most powerful Democrat in Congress and the first woman to serve as speaker of the House.
She will continue to represent her California district in the lower chamber of Congress.
It comes as Republicans are projected to take back control of the House following the midterm elections.
“I never would have thought that someday I would go from homemaker to House speaker,” Mrs Pelosi said in a statement in the chamber on Thursday.
“I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress. The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus,” she said.
Mrs Pelosi will serve as speaker until January when a new Congress takes over, and will remain in the congressional seat she first took up in 1987 until January 2025.
New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries is widely expected to take up the top Democratic leadership post in the House, which would make him the first black minority leader in US history.
More on Pelosi:
The first woman to lead a major party in either chamber of the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi will also go down in history as one of the most effective – an invaluable asset for Democrats and a formidable opponent for Republicans.
Her legislative acumen, her ability to keep a restless party united when it matters, and her instinct for political theatre have made her a force on Capitol Hill, as well as a lightning rod for criticism from her detractors.
She wasn’t the most telegenic Democratic leader. Her speeches and press conference were hardly inspirational. But her ability to keep her fractious and often slim majority in the chamber together on key votes had few rivals.
Her political instincts were invariably sound, and her sense of legislative timing – when to push and when to wait and what it would take to win a vote – was impeccable. And she did it in an era where the House leadership had incentives, such as earmarked spending authorisations, to keep recalcitrant back-benchers in line.
Nancy Pelosi, the first female speaker of the House, who helped shape many of the most consequential laws of the early 21st century, said Thursday that she will step down after two decades as the Democratic Party’s leader in the chamber.
“With great confidence in our caucus I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi said in a speech on the House floor.
Pelosi was speaker from 2007 to 2011 and returned to the top job in 2019. She announced her decision just a day after NBC News and other news outlets projected that Republicans had flipped control of the House in last week’s midterm election, sending Pelosi and the Democrats back to the minority….
Pelosi won’t be leaving Congress after winning her 19th term last week. She is expected to remain, at least temporarily, given the GOP’s razor-thin majority.
Pelosi, 82, is one of the most powerful lawmakers of her generation or any other, and her departure will rob Democrats of strategic acumen and unmatched fundraising skills.
“She’s been at the center of the country’s biggest crises, initiatives and showdowns for a quarter-century,” Pelosi biographer Susan Page said. “People can certainly disagree with her policies and her tactics. She hasn’t done much to temper the partisan tone in Washington. But what you can’t disagree with is this: She has gotten things done, even when almost everybody else thought they were impossible.”
Pelosi’s decision is expected to kick off a wave of generational change in Democratic leadership. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, 83, also announced Thursday that he will not seek another term in leadership. And Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, 82, will not seek any of the top three spots in leadership, but has indicated that he plans to stay on in an “advisory” role.
Pelosi nodded at the coming changing of the guard in her speech. “For me, the hour’s come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus that I so deeply respect and I’m so grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”
Most Republicans–including Kevin McCarthy–didn’t even have the decency to attend Pelosi’s speech, according to NBC. Steve Scalise did attend.
We will soon go from the sublime to the ridiculous, as Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise take over and a new era of Republican “investigations” begins. House republicans have no interest in policy or passing legislation to help the American people. All they want is revenge for imagined slights.
WASHINGTON — House Republicans’ majority will be smaller than expected, but they’re eager to use their new oversight powers and pass a spate of bills to draw contrasts with Democrats and give the Biden administration heartburn.
In this moment of divided government and fierce partisanship, it’s perhaps appropriate that the GOP conference is expected to be led by Reps. Kevin McCarthy of California and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, veteran lawmakers known more for their skills in political combat than for their policy acumen.
Although House Republicans will still face a Democratic White House and Senate aimed at blocking their legislative aims, McCarthy — who is working feverishly to cement his ascension to speaker despite growing discontent in his ranks — has already made it clear the party plans to launch investigations into the Biden administration and at least one of the president’s family members.
But McCarthy and other leaders will have their hands full as they try to keep their wafer-thin majority united and corral conservative bomb throwers who are clamoring to shut down the government and impeach President Joe Biden and his top allies….
Investigations will dominate the new Congress, from the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and allegations of politicization at the Justice Department to America’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan. But none will attract as much attention as the GOP’s planned investigation into the business dealings of the president’s son Hunter two years before a potential Biden re-election bid.
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the incoming Oversight Committee chairman, has said an investigation into Hunter Biden and other Biden family members and associates will be a priority as Republicans try to determine whether the family’s business activities “compromise U.S. national security and President Biden’s ability to lead with impartiality.”
In addition, Republicans plan to “investigate” Antony Fauci, Merrick Garland and the DOJ, Christopher Wray and the FBI, immigration policies, the withdrawal from Afghanistan (which was a Trump policy), and China. I hope the Democrats have plans to raise the debt limit before the Republicans take over or they may try to force the U.S. to default on our debts and bring down the entire world economy.
Democrats have plans to fight back:
More than four months before voters handed Republicans control of the House of Representatives, top White House and Department of Homeland Security officials huddled in the Roosevelt Room to prepare for that very scenario.
The department and its secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, had emerged as top targets of Republican ire over the Biden administration’s border security policies – ire that is certain to fuel aggressive congressional investigations with Republicans projected to narrowly reclaim the House majority and the subpoena power that comes with it.
Sitting around the large conference table in the Roosevelt Room, White House lawyers probed senior DHS officials about their preparations for the wide-ranging Republican oversight they had begun to anticipate, including Republicans’ stated plans to impeach Mayorkas, two sources familiar with the meeting said.
Convened by Richard Sauber, a veteran white-collar attorney hired in May to oversee the administration’s response to congressional oversight, the meeting was one of several the White House has held since the summer with lawyers from across the administration – including the Defense Department, State Department and Justice Department.
The point, people familiar with the effort said, has been to ensure agencies are ready for the coming investigative onslaught and to coordinate an administration-wide approach.
While President Joe Biden and Democrats campaigned to preserve their congressional majorities, a small team of attorneys, communications strategists and legislative specialists have spent the past few months holed up in Washington preparing for the alternative, two administration officials said.
Read more at the CNN link.
A group of top Democratic strategists are launching a multi-million-dollar hub to counter an expected investigative onslaught by the likely incoming House GOP majority — digging into President Joe Biden, his administration and his son, on top of potential Cabinet impeachments.
The newly relaunched Congressional Integrity Project initiative, details of which were shared first with POLITICO, will include rapid response teams, investigative researchers, pollsters and eventually a paid media campaign to put congressional Republicans “squarely on the defense,” founder Kyle Herrig said in an interview.
It’s designed to serve as the party’s “leading war room” to push back on House Republican investigations, Herrig said in an interview. He added that the project would “investigate the investigators, expose their political motivations and the monied special interests supporting their work, and hold them accountable for ignoring the urgent priorities of all Americans in order to smear Joe Biden and do the political bidding of Trump and MAGA Republicans.”
A team of researchers has already begun scouring public records, press clippings and other documents in a bid to immediately undercut House GOP leaders, from Minority Leader — now speakership hopeful — Kevin McCarthy to the likely committee chairs expected to manage probes of Biden and his network.
With Republicans in control of the House of Representatives, a loose network of groups allied with Democrats is planning a multimillion-dollar counteroffensive against an expected onslaught of oversight investigations into President Biden, his family and his administration.
The White House, which is building its own defense team, has quietly signaled support for some of the efforts by nonprofit groups with ties to some of the biggest donors in Democratic politics, according to people familiar with the groups.
The efforts appear intended to take pressure off the administration by pushing back in a more adversarial manner than Mr. Biden’s team on sensitive subjects, including the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, the administration’s Covid response and — perhaps most notably — the foreign business dealings of Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
“The White House cannot be the sole nucleus for publicly responding to the onslaught of congressional investigations,” reads a memo from a nonprofit group called Facts First USA that has been circulating among major Democratic donors, members of Congress and others.
It lays out a $5 million-a-year “SWAT team to counter Republican congressional investigations,” including on issues that “may be too personal or delicate for the White House to be responding or to even be seen as directing a response” — an apparent reference to Hunter Biden….
It lays out a $5 million-a-year “SWAT team to counter Republican congressional investigations,” including on issues that “may be too personal or delicate for the White House to be responding or to even be seen as directing a response” — an apparent reference to Hunter Biden.
More at the NYT.
Some good news from California at The Los Angeles Times: Karen Bass elected mayor, becoming first woman to lead L.A.
Rep. Karen Bass has defeated businessman Rick Caruso in the Los Angeles mayor’s race, according to an Associated Press projection Wednesday, making her the first woman and second Black Angeleno elected to lead the city in its 241-year history.
The 69-year-old congresswoman achieved victory despite Caruso spending more than $100 million of his own fortune on his mayoral bid, shattering local spending records and pumping previously unprecedented sums into field outreach and TV advertising.
“The people of Los Angeles have sent a clear message: it is time for change and it is time for urgency,” Bass said in a Wednesday evening statement. She learned of the news while in her Los Angeles congressional office, according to the campaign.
Her message to the city, she said, was a pledge to “solve homelessness,” “prevent and respond urgently to crime” and make Los Angeles affordable for working families.
Caruso, 63, outspent Bass more than 11 to 1 but was ultimately unable to prevail as a former Republican in a sapphire-blue California city.
Preliminary results seesawed on election night, but by early the next morning Caruso had eked out a thin lead, buoyed by support from voters who marked ballots in person. Vote-by-mail ballots processed after election day strongly favored Bass, and her margin in the race steadily grew. As of Wednesday, she was leading by just over six points.
More stories to check out, links only:
David Rothkopf at The Daily Beast: GOP Authoritarianism Isn’t Going Away After the Midterms.
The Washington Post: Trump’s early 2024 launch fails to rally GOP around him.
This piece at Just Security was written by a number of legal experts, including Andrew Weissman, Joyce Vance, and Ryan Goodman: Mar-a-Lago Model Prosecution Memo.
Elie Mystal at Balls and Strikes: How John Roberts Delivered the House to His Fellow Republicans.
The New York Times: SpaceX Employees Say They Were Fired for Speaking Up About Elon Musk.
Elon Musk lays out options for remaining Twitter employees: click ‘yes’ or you’re done
Elon Musk lays out options for remaining Twitter employees: click ‘yes’ or you’re done
That’s it for me. What stories are you following today?