Day 274: "The same rotten core."
1/ Senate Republicans blocked a federal voting rights bill for the third time. All 50 Republicans voted against bringing the Freedom to Vote Act to the floor, a compromise version of the For the People Act, which Joe Manchin helped negotiate in an effort to win Republican support. Democrats remain at least 10 votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster to advance the bill without changing the Senate filibuster rule. Kyrsten Sinema and Manchin, however, remain reluctant to change the filibuster rules, saying any election overhaul needs bipartisan support. “If there’s anything worthy of the Senate’s attention, if there’s any issue that merits debate on this floor, it’s protecting our democracy from the forces that are trying to unravel it from the inside out,” Chuck Schumer said after switching his vote to “no” at the last moment in order to allow him to request another vote in the future. The Freedom to Vote Act would set federal standards for early and mail-in voting, allow for same-day voter registration, make Election Day a national holiday, and mandate that voters provide some form of identification before casting a ballot. Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, denounced the compromise legislation, saying: “The same rotten core is all still there.” (New York Times / Washington Post / NBC News / ABC News / CBS News)
2/ Joe Manchin reportedly threatened to leave the Democratic Party if Biden and congressional Democrats didn’t agree to his demand to cut the size of the social infrastructure bill from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion. Manchin would declare himself an “American Independent,” but it’s unclear whether he’d end up caucusing with the Democrats – allowing them to maintain control of the Senate – or side with the Republicans and place the Senate in GOP control. When asked about the potential plan, Manchin replied: “I can’t control rumors, and it’s bullshit, bullshit spelled with a B, U, L, L, capital B.” (Mother Jones / Business Insider)
3/ Biden lowered the new tax-and-spending proposal to between $1.75 trillion and $1.9 trillion, telling Democrats during a private meeting that he believed they could secure a deal at that level. While the number is not finalized, it is far closer to Joe Manchin’s $1.5 trillion top line, but a significant reduction from the $3.5 trillion that Democrats initially pursued. A package up to $1.9 trillion would allow Democrats to accomplish some of their priorities, including at least some expansion of Medicare, the introduction of universal prekindergarten, and billions of dollars to address climate change. Biden’s plan to offer free community college, however, is expected to be dropped from the final package, as is the $150 billion program to encourage utility companies to switch to renewable energy. The enhanced child tax credit will likely be extended for only one additional year. Democrats had pushed to keep in place for up to five years. (Washington Post / CNN / CNBC / Wall Street Journal)
4/ The Biden administration scaled back its plan for the IRS to crackdown on tax cheats after criticism from Republican lawmakers and the banking industry. Under a revised plan, banks would be required to provide data about accounts with more than $10,000 in non-payroll income, rather than the $600 threshold that was initially proposed. The Treasury Department had estimated that its original proposal could raise $700 billion over a decade by cracking down on tax cheats. The proposal is currently included in the multi-trillion dollar social policy and climate change bill lawmakers and the White House have been negotiating for months. (ABC News / New York Times / Politico)
5/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol voted unanimously to recommend charging Stephen Bannon with criminal contempt for defying its subpoena. The full House is expected to vote on the recommendation this week. If passed, a criminal referral would be sent to the Justice Department, which would decide whether to press charges. A conviction could result in up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $100,000. Bannon has refused to comply with a committee subpoena demanding that he testify and hand over relevant documents about the riot and the effort to delay the electoral vote count, citing Trump’s attempt to claim “executive and other privileges.” No criminal charges have ever been filed when an assertion of executive privilege is involved. Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Jordan – a potential witness in the House’s investigation – struggled to answer questions about his communications with Trump during the Jan. 6 attack, telling a House panel that he doesn’t recall the number of times he spoke with Trump that day. And Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, retained a top Republican lawyer to handle the Jan. 6 investigation. (NBC News / CNN / Washington Post / New York Times)
6/ The Westchester County district attorney’s office subpoenaed property-tax records related to the Trump National Golf Club in Ossining, N.Y. Every year since 2015, the Trump golf club has appealed its tax bill in court in an effort to cut the tax bill — sometimes by as much as 90%. That process usually requires a company to submit data about its property’s financial performance as evidence. The district attorney appears to be focused in part on whether the Trump Organization misled local officials about the property’s value to reduce its taxes. The Trump Organization is also facing a criminal investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who has already indicted Trump’s Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg on charges of felony tax fraud. (New York Times / Washington Post)
7/ The Trump administration discussed sending 250,000 troops to the southwest border at the start of the coronavirus pandemic – more than half the U.S. Army and a sixth of all American forces. In the spring of 2020, Stephen Miller pressed the Department of Homeland Security to develop a plan for the number of troops needed to secure the entire 2,000-mile border with Mexico against the coronavirus. Trump’s defense secretary, Mark Esper, quashed the idea following a brief, contentious confrontation with Miller in the Oval Office. Had Trump gone through with the deployment, it would have been the largest use of the military inside the U.S. since the Civil War, and dwarfing the American presence in both Afghanistan and Iraq at the height of the war. Around the same time, Trump was pressing his top aides to launch military raids against drug cartels inside Mexico. Trump was talked out of the idea after aides suggested that military raids inside Mexico would look like the U.S. was committing an act of war against one of its closest allies. (New York Times)
8/ More than 1.7 million migrants along the Mexico border were detained by the Border Patrol during the 2021 fiscal year that ended in September – the highest levels ever recorded. Earlier this year, Biden tapped Harris to address the “root causes” of migration from Central America’s Northern Triangle nations — Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The latest Customs and Border Protection data indicates that the strategy has had little to no measurable effect. (Washington Post)
poll/ 62% of Americans believe Supreme Court bases its decisions more on the justices’ political views than the Constitution and the law. 62% say they favor changing the current lifetime appointment to a one-time, 15-year term. (Grinnell College National Poll)
poll/ 78% of Republicans say they want to see Trump run for president in 2024 – up from 66% in May. Overall, 51% of Americans say Trump has had a mainly negative impact on American politics, while 41% say he has had a mainly positive impact. (Quinnipiac)
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