Presented by American Civil Liberties Union
THE MTR OF GUN BILLS PAST: House Democrats are poised to vote today on two bills that aim to expand the gun background check process, including the Bipartisan Background Checks Act (H.R. 8) which would expand the federal background check requirement to all firearms sales. But before that vote comes about, House Republicans have a plan that could make some Democrats squirm.
Today, I am told Republicans will move to amend the bill to require a gun importer, manufacturer, or dealer to inform Immigration and Customs Enforcement of any undocumented immigrant who attempts to buy a gun. This motion to recommit (MTR) will put Dems on the spot.
Sound familiar? It should. Lets hop into a time machine and return to February 2019. Dems overwhelmingly favored passing the background checks bill. But then when Republicans did a MTR on this very same amendment, 26 Democrats voted in favor of it.
Seventeen of those Democrats who voted in favor currently serve in the 117th Congress: Rep. Cindy Axne (Iowa), Angie Craig (Minn.), Jim Costa (Calif.), Charlie Crist (Fla.), Antonio Delgado (N.Y.), Jared Golden (Maine), Josh Gottheimer (N.J.), Andy Kim (N.J.), Conor Lamb (Penn.), Susie Lee (Nev.), Elaine Luria (Va.), Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.), Elissa Slotkin (Mich.), and Abigail Spanberger (Va.).(There was also Rep. Jeff Van Drew (N.J.), a Democrat at the time who switched parties last year.)
Lets just say Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) didnt receive this vote well, telling Dem members
in a closed-door meeting that they sometimes have to take tough votes as members and that vulnerable Dems who had the courage to vote against the Republican MTRs would become a higher priority for the party leadership and the DCCC.
But it wasnt just the Dem leader. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) warned some of her colleagues during this same meeting that those who sided with the GOP motion could land on a list of primary election targets, the Post reported
at the time.
Dems’ Dilemma: Will these 17 House Dems still support the same MTR today? If they do not, then the big question is what changed?
The House will also vote on the Enhanced Background Checks Act (H.R. 1446), which aims to close the Charleston Loophole by extending the initial background check review period from three days to not fewer than 10 business days.
Both bills are expected to pass the House with overwhelming Dem support — and little, if any, from the GOP. Then, the legislation will head to the Senate, where it is unlikely to get enough Republican support to become law.
SPEAKING OF AOC: The New York progressive is fundraising off DCCC chair Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) doing away with the ban on consultants and vendors who work with candidates that primaried incumbents.
Primary challengers help us build a stronger party that is more durable and representative of constituents. With your help, we can provide the biggest possible support system for progressive candidates in 2022, she wrote in a fundraising email.
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OUT AND OVER: House Dems did it. They passed the $1.9 trillion Covid relief package, giving President Joe Biden his most significant legislative achievement to date, which comes after a frenzied eight-week push in Congress. Zero Republicans supported the bill and one Dem, Golden, voted no.
Dems say the funds will help revive a pandemic-ravaged economy, but GOP leaders have blasted the bill as a major overreach that funds things unrelated to coronavirus recovery. Biden is expected to sign the bill into law on Friday.
Sarah has more here: http://politi.co/3t6hhJQ
WORD ON THE STREET: In a Dear Colleague on Wednesday, Pelosi suggested ways Dems should message on the bill, a response to the opinion among some Democrats that former President Barack Obama failed to effectively message his own stimulus bill and Obamacare. This time around, Democrats believe if they actually message this bill correctly, they will boost their chances of keeping the House in 2022.
In particular, Pelosi tells Dems they should hold events where they lift up the legislation to be a part of Democrats’ national message and communicate directly to their constituents. The speaker said she will have a toolkit for them to use and that they should consider franked mail or [a] newsletter to get help the word out about the bill.
Of course, messaging also means social media. Some Dems are taking to twitter to explain whats in it. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez listed
what the bill does with a bunch of emojis.
Related: How These 3 Women Brought COVID Relief Back From the Brink, by The Daily Beasts Sam Brodey and Scott Bixby: http://bit.ly/3t3Xhr6
| A $60 billion surprise in the Covid relief bill: Tax hikes, by our Brian Faler: http://politi.co/2OI5YZo
HMMM…: A G.O.P. senator tweets approvingly about part of the stimulus bill, without mentioning one detail: his no vote, by Emily Cochrane and Tom Kaplan: http://nyti.ms/38qMPlK
TOP-ED: The Progressive Democratic Steamroller, by the WSJ Editorial Board: http://on.wsj.com/3bzgCKT
PICKING UP THE TAB: With the Covid relief bill almost signed, sealed and delivered, Dems are already starting to lay the groundwork for an infrastructure package, which could surpass the $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill.
But that price tag has multiple Democratic centrists on both sides of the Capitol saying whoa, Im not going to reach to take that check off the table, with some arguing there has to be some limit to Congresss deficit spending — especially with Covid and the hurting economy front and center. In sum, they want part of the bill to be paid for.
At some point weve got to start paying for things, said Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who caucuses with the Democrats. Its got to be paid for. Its just a question of who pays. Are we going to pay or our kids going to pay?
Sarah and Burgess have the story: http://politi.co/3euPSNt
WHAT IS NEXT? We dont know for sure. It could be infrastructure or immigration. Or, as WaPos Jeff Stein and Jeanne Whalen report, it could be bipartisan legislation that aims to counter Chinas economic influence. More here: http://wapo.st/2ODTXnQ
A message from American Civil Liberties Union:
We can’t wait any longer. Congress must pass legislation to help create a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S. Americans delivered a mandate for Biden and Congress to undo the damage done by Trumps attacks on immigrant communities and prevent discriminatory bans, such as the Muslim ban which ultimately targeted many Africans. Now is the time to step up and build a just immigration system. Learn more
HAPPY THURSDAY! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill on this March 11, where Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) doesnt think too highly
of those who cant handle the Hulk ride at Universal Studios.
WEDNESDAYS MOST CLICKED:The Des Moines Registers story
on the House panel planning to consider a motion in the Iowa 2nd District contested race was the big winner. (The decision on this was postponed.)
GREENE-HOUSE EFFECT: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) forced yet another fruitless vote on a motion to adjourn yesterday this time in protest of the Covid relief bill. But whats notable is how even some members of MTGs own party have become fed up with her delay tactics on the floor.
By the numbers: On her first two motions to adjourn, every single Republican sided with MTG. Last week, 18 Republicans voted against the motion to adjourn. And yesterday, a whopping 40 Republicans voted against it. Meanwhile, sources tell Mel and your Huddle host that GOP leadership had initially been recommending a yes vote for the first one or two, but stopped doing so this week.
The aftermath: Theres now discussions underway about how to rein in MTG. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) said he wants to propose a new rule that would only allow members with committee assignments to make motions to adjourn (Greene then attacked
Cicilline, who is both Italian and Jewish, as Rep. Mussolini). And Greene, meanwhile, blasted out a press release listing all the Republicans who voted against her motion, ripping them
as the 40 white flags of the surrender caucus.
Your Huddle host caught up with some of the 40 members to get their response why they voted against the motion.
-Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.): Our leadership built the plan for us to retake the House here in 2022 and we stick with the plan…We don’t need 30 generals calling audibles, doing their own thing. That’s what’s going on here. And it’s not helpful to the strategyWe should be focused on what the Dems are doing… That is precisely why I voted the way I did.
-Freshman Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.): I don’t like tactics in the absence of strategy.
-Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.): My position is that Congress adjourns too frequently. We don’t work.
FIRST THEYRE SOUR, THEN THEYRE SWEET: Speaking of Greene,multiple GOP members tell your Huddle host that the freshman firebrand sent handwritten letters to the House Republicans who she says stood by her during the unprecedented efforts to silence her earlier this year and that she looks forward to working with them to stop Dems socialist agenda (think: Dems voting to boot her off her committees, with some Republicans siding with them).
This also comes after Greene — during the start of this Congress — sent cookies to her GOP colleagues that were cut into the shape of her head, blonde hair and all, a member tells me. Its not unusual to send sweet treats and other gift baskets around, but this member said it was the first time they ever received goodies featuring the face of another member.
Related: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has been gunking up the works. She says shes not backing down, by WaPos Marianna Sotomayor and Mike DeBonis: http://wapo.st/3vdJ9gR
TODAY: HEAR FROM GOVERNORS ACROSS AMERICA: 2020 was marked by crisis from the global pandemic and ensuing economic recession to racial injustice protests and the fallout from the presidential election and its aftermath. Governors have been left to pick up the pieces. The Fifty: Americas Governors, is a series of live conversations featuring various governors on the unique challenges they face as they take the lead and command the national spotlight in historic ways. REGISTER HERE.
CUZ BABY NOW WE GOT BAD BLOOD: It isnt Congress without a spat where the two battling factions fly to the cameras to land a dig or dish it back. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumers (D-N.Y.) decision to single out
Sen. Susan Collins on CNN prime time last night didnt go over well with the Maine Republican…*shocker.*
Why Chuck seems to be going out of his way to alienate the most bipartisan member of the Senate is a mystery to me, Collins told Burgess in an interview. And it must just reflect his extraordinary frustration at having wasted $100 million in the state of Maine in an attempt to defeat me. And for me to win by a strong margin.
The relationship hasnt been rosy for months, with Collins noting theres been zero contact with Schumer since the election. It is a curious strategy. Collins could be a swing vote for Schumer down the line so going after her has some in the Senate shaking their heads in disbelief.
A penny for your thoughts: Dumb, dumb, dumb, said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a former GOP whip.
Burgess has more on the Collmer/Schullins fight: http://politi.co/3l905Az
Related: McConnell, amid Trumps threats, tells GOP senators their political operation has out-raised the former presidents, by NYTs Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Fandos: http://nyti.ms/38xrPtM
| A tough-on-China GOP is split on whether to boycott the China Olympics, Nahal Toosi and Andrew report: http://politi.co/3qCx4yg
THREE QUARTERS: A new letter
from GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to Pelosi claims 75 percent of House members have been vaccinated against the virus — or will be by the end of this week. That may not even take into account the members who have the antibodies.
The point of this stat? He wants Pelosi to detail her plan for reopening the Capitol, including a timeline for ending proxy voting, returning to in-person committee work, and when visitors can tour the Capitol again.
Related: Veteran charged in Capitol riot once served in Marine One squadron, officials say, by WaPos Alex Horton: http://wapo.st/3vefap9
| McConnell: Capitol security measures are overreaction and Capitol fencing reminds him of last trip to Kabul, Marianne reports: http://politi.co/3qvsG4c
A message from American Civil Liberties Union:
-Geraldo Rivera considering run for U.S. Senate in Ohio, by the Cleveland Plain Dealers Seth Richardson: http://bit.ly/3cnTn5M
-Julia Letlow (R) received a big endorsement
of her bid to win Louisianas 5th District special election, when former President Donald Trump called her wonderful, talented, and outstanding. Letlow is running for the seat won by her late husband, Rep.-elect Luke Letlow, before he died of Covid complications just days before he was slated to be sworn in to this Congress.
BUMPY CONFIRMATION PATH FOR BECERRA: Senate Democrats made a motion Wednesday to discharge the nomination of HHS Secretary-designate Xavier Becerra, setting up a procedural vote at noon on Thursday. The final vote on his confirmation is not expected until next week, our Alice Ollstein reports.
The extra step is necessary because the Senate Finance committee deadlocked
on Becerra last week, and the lack of GOP support meant his nomination was not favorably reported out of committee.
Though every other cabinet member so far has enjoyed at least some bipartisan support, no GOP member has yet said they will vote for Becerra, who may need the vice president to break a tie on his confirmation.
Confirmed: The Senate confirmed
Michael Regan to lead the Environmental Protection Agency and Merrick Garland to be
Next Steps: Shalanda Young’s nomination to serve as Office of Management and Budget deputy director was put on the Senate Executive Calendar after two Senate panels voted her through committee. Next up? A floor vote, which Schumer will schedule.
Madi Shupe is joining Deloitte to work in human capital consulting. She previously was comms director for Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah).
Matt Klapper, Sen. Cory Bookers chief of staff, is heading
to the Justice Department to serve as chief of staff to Garland.
Maura Keefe and Dana Singiser recently launched a new consulting firm, Keefe Singiser Partners. Keefe previously was chief of staff to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Singiser is a Planned Parenthood and Obama White House alum.
Victoria McGroary is the new executive director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucuss BOLD PAC.
Rep. G.T. Thompson (R-Pa.), the top Republican on the House Agriculture Committee, announced the committees GOP staff for the next two years, including Joshua Maxwell as policy director; Patricia Straughn as chief counsel; and Taylor McCarty as communications director. Check out the full list.
TODAY IN CONGRESS
The House will meet at 9 a.m. for legislative business. Votes are expected between 9:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.
The Senate will meet at 10:30 a.m.
AROUND THE HILL
9:15 a.m.: Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Whip James Clyburn, and other Democrats will have a news conference on passage of gun violence prevention legislation.
9:30 a.m.: McCarthy, Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and other Republicans, including Reps. John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Kay Granger (R-Texas), will have a press conference
about the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border.
11:30 a.m.: McCarthy holds a weekly press conference.
2 p.m.: Postmaster General Louis DeJoy will testify before a House Appropriations subcommittee at 2 p.m.
5:15 p.m.: Vice President Kamala Harris will hold a ceremonial swearing in for Garland.
WEDNESDAYS WINNER: Chris Armstrong was the first person to correctly guess
that 17 former members of the House of Representatives have served on the U.S. Supreme Court — and the only one to be appointed directly from the House was Associate Justice James N. Wayne (Appointed by President Andrew Jackson in 1835.)
TODAYS QUESTION: From Chris: Who is the only American to serve as a city council member, Governor, Senator, Secretary of the Treasury, and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your answer to [email protected]
GET HUDDLEemailed to your phone
Follow Olivia on Twitter: @Olivia_Beavers
A message from American Civil Liberties Union:
We can’t wait any longer. Congress must pass legislation to help create a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S., end the limbo faced by Dreamers, and prevent discriminatory bans, such as the Muslim ban which ultimately targeted many Africans.
Americans delivered a mandate for Biden and Congress to act humanely and swiftly on immigration. After years of attacks, now is the time to step up and build a just and fair immigration system that meets the values our country aspires to achieve.
We have a duty to support our immigrant neighbors, friends and loved ones. Congress must take action to create a path to citizenship and undo the damage done by the Trump administrations attacks on immigrant communities. Learn more