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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) walks to the Senate floor at the U.S,. Capitol Sept. 6, 2022. (Francis Chung/E&E News/POLITICO)

DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION?Senate Republicans say they arent. But internal divisions over how the party should approach midterm races are evident, even if a mission to smooth things over is underway.

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Both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott (R-Fla.) are trying flip the Senate. But they have differing approaches. McConnell aired concerns over the recess about Republicans possibly not clinching the Senate.

After a 45 minute leadership meeting Tuesday evening, GOP senators inside the room said there wasnt much discussion about the split.

No beef here: Its a non-issue.Everyones focused on November, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said.

But McConnell didnt do much to publicly squash the tension on Tuesday, declining to comment on an op-ed from Scott in the Washington Examiner

and not answering questions about his confidence in the campaign-arm chief. More from Burgess and Marianne on the intrapersonal — and campaign cash — situation that Republicans are trying to move forward from

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SPENDING STATUS REPORTRepublicans are already resisting riders on the anticipated stopgap spending bill, but theres some acknowledgment that something is likely to hitch a ride, rather than nothing.

The best of all worlds is passing a clean CR with nothing in it. But that’s probably a little Utopia around here, said top GOP appropriator Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) on Tuesday.

Hes still looking at the White Houses wishlist of anomalies (exemptions from flat funding in a continuing resolution) and urged reporters to give us a few days.”

Marriage of convenience? Think again. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle werent warm on the idea of attaching same-sex marriage legislation to the must-pass government funding measure. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) called it a non starter, Shelby warned against extraneous provisions. Even Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), who has been cheerleading the marriage equality bill, isnt advocating for that route: That is not the Senator’s preferred path as she would like to see it taken up sooner, Baldwins spokesperson told Marianne Tuesday

. The Senator’s goal is to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and she will do whatever it takes to get there.

RELATED: Op-Ed from Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine): The Senate must stand together on marriage equality

STEP INSIDE THE WEST WING: What’s really happening in West Wing offices? Find out who’s up, who’s down, and who really has the presidents ear in our West Wing Playbook newsletter, the insider’s guide to the Biden White House and Cabinet. For buzzy nuggets and details that you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe today.

GOOD MORNING! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill, on this Wednesday, September 7, where interior design is our passion

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TAKE ME BACK TO MAR-A-LAGOSenate Republicans brought their tepid defenses of Trump keeping classified documents at his Florida resort to Capitol Hill Tuesday night.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) questioned if the documents were even classified: Thats what the claim of the FBI is. But they never came to us & said theres a bunch of missing classified information What level are we talking about that justifies a high-profile raid of this magnitude?

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas): I know the Presidential Records Act makes those not his records, he told Andrew and Nicholas. I think what [Attorney General] Merrick Garland decided to do was heavy-handed and frankly naive.

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) offered criticism instead of a defense:You shouldnt be taking those classified things that are supposed to be in a classified location, said Rounds. There are specific areas where classified materials are looked at. And its pretty clear-cut.

Andrew and Nicholas talked to many more Republicans about this, as they returned to Washington for the first time since the FBI search at Trumps residence: GOP offers strained Trump defenses in Mar-a-Lago probe for now

DRUMROLL FOR DEMOCRACY The Congressional Management Foundations Democracy Awards winners were announced Tuesday. The selection committee, made up of former members of Congress and former congressional staffers, highlight lawmakers who work to improve transparency in government, foster innovation in Congress, modernize their work environments and serve their constituents, said CMF President and CEO Bradford Fitch.

Heres a roundup of the rest of todays Democracy Award winners:

  • Constituent Service: Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.).
  • Life in Congress Workplace Environment: Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Houlahan.
  • Transparency and Accountability: Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) and Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.).
  • Innovation and Modernization: Reps. Garret Graves (R-La.) and Seth Moulton (D-Mass.).

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) departs a vote at the U.S. Capitol Sept. 6, 2022. (Francis Chung/E&E News/POLITICO)

MANCHIN ON THE MEND Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is sporting a sling this week on Capitol Hill. He told Jordain on Tuesday that he had both shoulder and knee surgery over the recess.

SNAP STORY Maxwell Frost, the 25-year-old Dem nominee for Floridas 10th Congressional District who could be the first Gen-Z lawmaker, sits down for an interview with The POLITICO Show on Snapchat

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HUDDLE HOTDISH

Senate dining glow up Okay, more pop up than glow up. But still. The folks from Maketto1351 are popping up in the Dirksen cafeteria today with bao buns, which are expected to go quickly, so get there early. Pressed Juicery went on sale starting yesterday in the refectory and Inside Scoop.

The Senates catering biz is offering revamped and expanded offerings to offices looking to feed a group. Lawmakers close to the talks between dining workers, the Architect of the Capitol and contractor Restaurant Associates have cited for months the need to shift the Senates catering habits in-house instead of relying on brand name take-out and delivery options in order to improve the bottom line.

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QUICK LINKS 

Louisiana US congressman slams FX series ‘Little Demon,’ says Disney is spreading satanic images

, from Kendrick Dante at the Shreveport Times

39 years in, Rep. Kaptur faces tough challenge from Jan. 6 participant

, from Taylor Popielarz at Spectrum News

West Virginia, Kentucky officials repeatedly ignored plans to prepare for catastrophic floods. Residents are paying the price

, from Alexa Beyer at Mountain State Spotlight

TRANSITIONS 

Andrew Wright is now Chief of Staff to Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.). He previously served as communications director for Kilmer and as senior advisor to the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.

Andrew Vu Ritchie is now counsel and adviser to Arkansas GOP gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders. He previously was senior domestic advisor for Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)

Katharine Pacek is now special assistant/scheduler for Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.). She most recently was a caregiver for the Community Alliance.

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TODAY IN CONGRESS

The House is out

The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. and will recess for weekly caucus lunches between 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., when the chamber will vote on the nomination of John Lee to be a Circuit Judge for the seventh circuit and cloture on the nomination of Andre Mathis to be a Circuit Judge for the sixth circuit.

AROUND THE HILL

10 a.m. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on four bills, including one that would prohibit the government from requiring livestock emission permits. Thune testifies. (Dirksen 406)

Noon House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections hearing on examining workplace protections for child farmworkers. (Virtual)

2 p.m. Senate Democrats and Senate Republicans hold their separate post-policy lunch press conferences. (Ohio Clock Corridor)

2:30 p.m. Senate Environment Clean Air Subcommittee hearing on three nominations to the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors. McConnell testifies. (Dirksen 406)

TRIVIA

TUESDAYS WINNER:Joe Bookman correctly answered that the first woman to chair a committee in the House was Mae Ella Nolan of California who led the Committee on Expenditures in the Post Office in 1923.

TODAYS QUESTION from Joe: Who was the first woman to be elected to both houses of Congress?

The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your answers to [email protected]

GET HUDDLEemailed to your phone

each morning.

Follow Katherine on Twitter @ktullymcmanus

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