Day 246: "Playing with fire."
1/ The House passed legislation to fund the government through Dec. 3 and extend the debt limit until after the 2022 elections in a party-line vote with no Republicans supporting the bill. The fiscal package is needed to avoid a government shutdown and a first-ever default on U.S. debt. The bill now heads to the Senate, where Mitch McConnell has vowed that Republicans won’t support raising the debt ceiling. Without 10 Republicans in support, the bill would fail to advance past the 60-vote filibuster threshold. “This is playing with fire. Playing games with the debt ceiling is playing with fire and putting it on the back of the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. Failure to raise the debt ceiling could cost the U.S. economy 6 million jobs, wipe out $15 trillion in household wealth, send the unemployment rate to roughly 9% from around 5%, and plunge the country into an immediate recession, according to the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. Congress has to pass a funding plan by Sept. 30 to prevent a shutdown, while Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned congressional leaders that the debt ceiling must be raised or suspended by some time in October, when the U.S. will exhaust all of its options to pay its bills. (NBC News / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / CNBC)
2/ Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas vowed to complete an investigation into the treatment of Haitian immigrants at the Texas-Mexico border after videos showed mounted Border Patrol agents running down migrants and using their reins as whips. Mayorkas told the House Homeland Security Committee that an undisclosed number of agents have already been placed on administrative duty. House Democrats, meanwhile, demanded that Customs and Border Protection officials brief the Oversight Committee this week about agent conduct, direction they received from supervisors, and disciplinary action being taken. (USA Today / New York Times)
3/ Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent hundreds of state-owned vehicles to the southern border to form a “steel wall” to block migrants from crossing the border. Nearly 15,000 Haitians have taken refuge under the border bridge in Del Rio, Tex. while trying to seek asylum. “We effectively […] regained control of the border,” Abbott said. (Washington Post / Axios)
4/ An attorney who worked with Trump’s legal team tried to convince Pence that he could overturn the 2020 presidential election results. In a two-page memo, John Eastman laid out a six-step plan for Pence to overturn the election for Trump, which included throwing out the results from seven states. Under Eastman’s scheme, Pence could then declare Trump the winner with more Electoral College votes, at 232 votes to 222. Eastman and Trump proposed the plan to Pence on Jan. 4 in the Oval Office. A separate internal memo – issued two weeks after the 2020 election – show that the Trump campaign knew the election conspiracy theories pushed by pro-Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell were baseless and false. The Trump campaign’s communications staff, however, remained silent. (CNN / New York Times / The Hill)
5/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection will move “straight to subpoena” some “recalcitrant” witnesses. Rep. Adam Schiff said the panel will make requests “where we think they’ll be complied with,” but will skip the “time-consuming steps” of giving potential witnesses weeks to voluntarily comply. The Democratic chairman of the House Select Committee said the panel could start issuing subpoenas to companies and individuals “within a week.” (Politico / CNBC / CNN)
6/ Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against his niece, the New York Times, and three of its reporters, claiming they conspired in an “insidious plot” to obtain his tax returns for a Pulitzer-winning story that detailed his undisclosed finances. The Trump lawsuit alleges that the Times convinced Mary Trump to “smuggle records out of her attorney’s office and turn them over to the Times” in violation of a confidentiality agreement she signed in 2001. The October 2018 article reported that Trump “participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud,” which allowed him to receive over $413 million from his father, Fred Trump Sr., while significantly reducing taxes. In a statement, Mary Trump called her uncle desperate and said, “I think he is a loser, and he is going to throw anything against the wall he can.” (Daily Beast / NBC News / New York Times / CNN / NPR / Washington Post)
poll/ Biden’s job approval rating fell six percentage points to 43% – the lowest of his presidency. 53% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s job performance. (Gallup)
poll/ 62% of Iowans disapprove of Biden’s job performance – a 12 percentage point drop in approval from June. 31% Iowans approve of how Biden is handling his job, while 7% are not sure. (Des Moines Register)
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