POLITICO Playbook: The other big intra-Democratic fight – POLITICO – Politico
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By RYAN LIZZA, EUGENE DANIELS, TARA PALMERI and RACHAEL BADE
11/11/2021 06:16 AM EST
While the reconciliation bill, government funding and the debt limit will all play starring roles in the Senate between now and New Year’s Eve, don’t sleep on the drama over the National Defense Authorization Act. | Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images
NUMBER OF DAYS UNTIL GOVERNMENT FUNDING EXPIRES: 22
DEBT LIMIT X DATE: between mid-December and mid-February (that’s the latest estimate from the Bipartisan Policy Center on when Treasury will hit the debt ceiling).
INFLATION FALLOUT: Earlier this year, the Biden administration forecast that the annual rate of inflation would be 2 percent. On Wednesday the Labor Department reported that inflation hit 6.2 percent, the biggest spike in prices since 1990, and the news is reverberating across every aspect of American politics.
The media sees the spike as potentially fatal to JOE BIDEN’s reconciliation bill …
Here’s Jake Tapper to White House COS RON KLAIN on CNN’s The Lead Wednesday afternoon:
“Do you think that Build Back Better in its current form is essentially dead because of inflation?” (“Quite the opposite, Jake,” Klain responded.)
LARRY SUMMERS, the OG inflation Cassandra, sees a White House that still doesn’t get it …
“The policymakers in Washington unfortunately have almost every month been behind the curve,” he told Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night on CNN. “They said it was transitory. It doesn’t look so transitory. They said it was due to a few specific factors. Doesn’t look to be a few specific factors. They said when September came and people went back to school that the labor force would grow and it didn’t happen. So I hope they’re right…My experience is that you should hope for the best and plan for something much less than the best.”
BUT: Summers supports both BIF and BBB …
“I think it’s fine,” he said. “The 10 years of the two spending bills together, A, are less than the one year of what they did last spring, and, B, unlike what they did last spring, are paid for by tax increases. So I don’t think that’s an inflation problem. I think a lot of it is vitally needed investments in the future of the country”
Corporate America is freaking out …
Corporate executives are increasingly worried that the White House isn’t taking inflation seriously enough, and they’re warning that it could damage the economic recovery effort, Ben White reports.
“I don’t think the administration is on top of it at all,” said the CEO of one of the U.S.’s largest companies, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern over angering the administration. “How many people inside this White House really know what inflation is or how it impacts businesses? It’s not really their fault. It’s been so long since we really had it.”
Biden is struggling to repackage his pre-inflation agenda as an inflation-busting solution …
“The increasingly urgent focus on inflation marks yet another attempt by Biden and his team to steady their political standing after a precipitous autumn decline and ahead of next year’s midterms,” Chris Cadelago and Eugene write. “But it also is part of the same problem they’ve been dealing with since taking office: How to convey that progress is being made without appearing so upbeat that Americans tune it out as detached happy talk or, worse, insulting spin.”
“‘If you go too far on the positive side, you run a serious risk of looking out of touch,’ said Mark Mellman, the Democratic strategist and pollster. ‘We’ve seen presidents look out of touch when they trumpet a recovery that people aren’t feeling yet. So it’s really a delicate balance.’”
And the WSJ’s Greg Ip notes, “Mr. Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure framework and what the White House calls the ‘Build Back Better’ social and climate plan weren’t intended to address inflation, but he is now framing them that way. …
“But some of the benefits are years away, and the near-term impact could be to aggravate inflation. In their early years both plans add to the deficit, according to congressional scorekeepers, thereby injecting additional stimulus into the economy. Moody’s Analytics predicts the two bills will raise economic growth over the next three years, yet also boost inflation an average of 0.3 percentage point.”
Everyone is trying to determine how the news will affect the mind of JOE MANCHIN …
“By all accounts, the threat posed by record inflation to the American people is not ‘transitory,’” the senator tweeted, “and is instead getting worse. From the grocery store to the gas pump, Americans know the inflation tax is real and DC can no longer ignore the economic pain Americans feel every day.”
Was he just repeating his well-known view on the issue? Or did the tweet augur a more definitive turn against the reconciliation bill?
Good Thursday morning, and Happy Veterans Day to all those who have served. Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza, Tara Palmeri.
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ADAM SMITH TO CHUCK SCHUMER: CALL ME MAYBE — While the reconciliation bill, government funding and the debt limit will all play starring roles in the Senate between now and New Year’s Eve, don’t sleep on the drama over the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The House passed its version 316-113 in September, but Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER has curiously kept the Senate’s bill, which was approved 23-3 by the Armed Services Committee, off the floor. The delay has caused a bipartisan backlash.
“The Democratic Leader has left the NDAA trapped in limbo while Democrats toy with another reckless taxing and spending spree,” Minority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL railed last week. “Neglecting the NDAA denies our Armed Forces the certainty they need, and it denies the Senate a debate about the most consequential national security issues.”
Rep. ADAM SMITH (D-Wash.), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters last week he was “extraordinarily frustrated” with what he called “an unforced error on the part of Schumer.” Smith said he basically agreed with McConnell.
“From a process standpoint, I can’t argue with the Senate Republicans on this issue,” he said. “There is no reason that this bill has not been put on the floor in the Senate.”
Democrats close to the process speculate that Schumer is keeping the bill in his back pocket for two reasons: as a vehicle for any last-minute priorities he might want to attach, such as the U.S.-China bill, and as potential leverage with Manchin during final negotiations over the reconciliation bill.
Smith went public with his complaints after trying and failing to get Schumer on the phone.
“I called and asked. They told me to piss off,” Smith said, according to our colleague Connor O’Brien. “I said, ‘OK, I want to talk to Schumer.’ They said, ‘No you can’t do that.’ So here we are.”
Smith told us Wednesday night he still hasn’t heard from Schumer.
“He hasn’t called,” Smith said. “And that is a problem. We need to pass the NDAA, and Schumer appears somewhat unaware of that reality at the moment. I’m just looking to help move us forward.”
A source close to Schumer attributed the delay to the complications of moving the reconciliation bill and said, “NDAA is being seriously considered for Senate floor action as early as next week.”
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— 9 a.m.: The president will host veterans and other military community members before the group goes to Arlington National Cemetery.
— 11 a.m.: The Bidens will take part in the Presidential Armed Forces Full Honor Wreath-Laying Ceremony on the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
— 11:15 a.m.: Biden will speak at the National Veterans Day Observance at the Memorial Amphitheater.
VP KAMALA HARRIS’ THURSDAY — The VP took part this morning in an Armistice Day ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe. Still to come (Eastern times):
— 11:05 a.m.: Harris will speak at the Paris Peace Forum at the Grand Halle de La Villette.
— 2:30 p.m.: Harris and second gentleman DOUG EMHOFF will attend a dinner hosted by French President EMMANUEL MACRON and first lady BRIGITTE MACRON at the Élysée Palace.
— Overnight: Harris and Emhoff will stay in Paris.
The HOUSE and THE SENATE are out.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY: Russian analyst Igor Danchenko arrives at the Albert V. Bryan U.S. Courthouse before being arraigned on Wednesday, Nov. 10 in Alexandria, Va. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
THE WHITE HOUSE
MARK YOUR CALENDARS — Biden will sign the bipartisan infrastructure bill into law Monday. More from CNBC
TENSIONS INSIDE THE DNC — Insider’s Adam Wren reports that “allies of DNC chair JAIME HARRISON are sounding the alarm about an internal party feud over whether he’s being given the latitude he needs from his White House-installed lieutenants to succeed ahead of the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential race.”
— “The contention centers on Harrison’s relationships with his senior advisor MARY BETH CAHILL as well as SAM CORNALE, the executive director of the DNC. Cahill is a longtime fixture of Democratic politics … Cornale got his start as a field-office manager for BARACK OBAMA and later helped manage the DNC during the 2018 midterms.” A source told Wren that “staff decisions are being made by Sam and Mary Beth, and they’re not consulting with Jaime on anything.”
— “There are questions about who should be holding onto the party’s critical voter data. Democrats familiar with the matter said Cahill and [JEN] O’MALLEY DILLON have been trying to centralize the information with a third-party organization outside of the DNC. But the people around Harrison argued that it should stay right where it is under DNC control.”
— “Another friction point came weeks ago when the DNC approved a slate of new party delegates who will have a critical role in all manner of Democratic decision-making. Harrison had submitted a list of names to the White House to fill 75 at-large appointments, but the White House rejected nearly every name he wanted, according to two people familiar with the interaction.”
Harrison denied any tensions in a statement to Insider, while the White House didn’t respond for comment.
SHOWING MANCHIN LOVE — Major Republican donor KEN LANGONE praised Manchin on Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” adding that he planned to hold a fundraiser for the senator, who is up for reelection in 2024. Langone said Manchin showed “guts and courage” in disagreeing with parts of the Build Back Better agenda. “I don’t see leadership any place in this country. Thank God for Joe Manchin.” More details from CNBC’s Brian Schwartz
REDISTRICTING ROUNDUP — Florida legislators released a series of redrawn congressional maps Wednesday, and Matt Dixon reports that while each one has slight differences, they all “would include 16 proposed districts where former President DONALD TRUMP won a majority of votes in 2020, an increase from 15 on the current maps,” boosting the party’s advantage by one.
— In California, the redistricting process is in chaos, with some preliminary maps released Wednesday drawing confusion and weeks still to go in the process, reports Jeremy White in Oakland.
THE BIG PICTURE: Those assessing the redrawing of maps nationwide are concerned about “supercharged gerrymandering,” AP’s David Lieb And Nick Riccardi report. “With fewer legal restraints and amped up political stakes, both Democrats and Republicans are pushing the bounds of the tactic long used to draw districts for maximum partisan advantage, often at the expense of community unity or racial representation.”
CRACKDOWN ON SCAM PACS — Via NYT’s Shane Goldmacher: “The Justice Department on Wednesday accused three political operatives of running a scheme to mislead donors and enrich themselves, charging the men with defrauding people of $3.5 million in 2016 and 2017. The allegations involve two political action committees and include wire fraud, money laundering and making false statements to the FEC.”
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Altria’s companies are leading the way in moving adult smokers away from cigarettes. See how we’re moving.
AMERICA AND THE WORLD
HE SAID, XI SAID — The eagerly anticipated virtual confab between Biden and Chinese President XI JINPING is tentatively set for Monday evening, Nahal Toosi and Phelim Kine scooped.
WHEN I CALLED YOU LAST NIGHT FROM GLASGOW — In a joint statement, the U.S. and China agreed to “step up actions to fight climate change in the coming decade, injecting talks here with a surprise show of cooperation between the two rivals and the world’s two biggest greenhouse-gas emitters,” WSJ’s Matthew Dalton, Sha Hua and Sarah Mcfarlane report. “But the two didn’t endorse a proposal by the U.K. floated earlier in the day for countries to update their emissions-cutting plans by the end of next year.”
UNDER PRESSURE — Secretary of State ANTONY BLINKEN said in a meeting with Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs DMYTRO KULEBA on Wednesday that “the U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s security and territorial integrity is ‘ironclad’ and will not change. He said any Russian escalation along the border would be viewed with ‘grave concern,’” reinforcing pressure on Russia. AP’s Matthew Lee has more
BEYOND THE BELTWAY
RITTENHOUSE TRIAL — A wild day in the courtroom at KYLE RITTENHOUSE’s trial Wednesday could place his prosecution in some legal jeopardy. Rittenhouse sobbed on the stand, before things took a turn, report the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Christal Hayes and Jeanine Santucci: “Circuit Judge BRUCE SCHROEDER stopped prosecutors several times, ordered the jury out of the courtroom and loudly chastised prosecutor THOMAS BINGER. The questions posed to Rittenhouse eventually led his attorneys to demand a mistrial with prejudice — a typically rare action that, if granted, would prevent Rittenhouse from being prosecuted again.”
DEEP IN THE HEART — Texas Gov. GREG ABBOTT’s ban on mask mandates was overturned by a judge Wednesday. The judge found the ban “violates the rights of students with disabilities,” writes NYT’s Eduardo Medina. “The ruling also prohibits [Texas A.G. KEN] PAXTON from enforcing the order by Mr. Abbott, who has repeatedly opposed Covid-related mandates.”
JAN. 6 AND ITS AFTERMATH
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED — Attempt No. 3 by Trump to block the Jan. 6 committee from getting his White House records was shot down by a judge late Wednesday, per Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein. Next up will likely be the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C. The ruling
THE LATEST INQUIRIES — The Jan. 6 select committee is interested in talking to at least five people from former VP MIKE PENCE’s inner circle, CNN’s Jamie Gangel, Zachary Cohen and Michael Warren scooped. The list could include KEITH KELLOGG, GREG JACOB, MARC SHORT, NICK AYERS, CHRIS HODGSON, MARTY OBST and ZACH BAUER. Chair BENNIE THOMPSON (D-Miss.) also told CNN that the committee’s efforts to reach out to Pence associates have yielded success in some cases.
A HANDY BOOKMARK — CNN’s Annie Grayer provides “a running list of who has received a subpoena from the House January 6 select committee.”
BECOME A GLOBAL INSIDER: The world is more connected than ever. It has never been more essential to identify, unpack and analyze important news, trends and decisions shaping our future — and we’ve got you covered! Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Global Insider author Ryan Heath navigates the global news maze and connects you to power players and events changing our world. Don’t miss out on this influential global community. Subscribe now.
Steve Schmidt said the Lincoln Project stunt late in the Virginia gubernatorial race — in which the group sent people dressed up as white supremacists to pose as fake supporters of Glenn Youngkin at a rally — was “recklessly stupid,” “dishonest,” and “cheap.”
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s thoughts on a Scottish soda brand earned her the front page of this morning’s Guardian newspaper in the U.K.
Kyrsten Sinema and the other key women in Senate infrastructure negotiations (Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Jeanne Shaheen) have matching wine glasses.
Jeff Bezos attended the National Cathedral’s “Our Future in Space” event Wednesday night.
Cindy Hyde-Smith passed over Trump pick Herschel Walker to endorse Gary Black in the Georgia GOP Senate primary.
David Fahrenthold started a petition to get Jeff Bezos to make Josh Dawsey the first reporter in space.
Ken Griffin, Illinois’ wealthiest person (worth $21 billion) says he’s going “all in” to defeat Gov. J.B. Pritzker (worth a mere $3.6 billion). Griffin says he’ll back a competitor to Pritzker but hasn’t identified whom.
BOOK CLUB — WaPo’s Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunippa will publish a George Floyd biography, “His Name Is George Floyd,” in May, building on the newspaper’s “George Floyd’s America” series. The book “will reveal how systemic racism shaped George Floyd’s life and legacy … telling the singular story of how one man’s tragic experience brought about a global movement of change,” as well as the political and policy ramifications.
OUT AND ABOUT — The Atlantic Council marked its 60th anniversary with its Distinguished Leadership Awards gala Wednesday night at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium, with a focus on the transatlantic relationship and the development of the first Covid-19 vaccine. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Dua Lipa, Albert Bourla, Ugur Sahin and Özlem Türeci were honored. Also SPOTTED: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Kosovar President Vjosa Osmani, Fred Kempe, Adrienne Arsht, Vivian Salama, Ryan Heath, Natasha Bertrand, Gen. James Jones, Gen. Wesley Clark, Damon Wilson, Ali and Josh Rogin, Anthony Scaramucci, David McCormick, Matt Kaminski, German Ambassador Emily Haber, EU Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis and Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Julia Newton will be the new managing director of Georgetown’s Institute of Politics and Public Service. She’s spent several years at the university, and previously worked in the Bush White House and the NSC under two presidents.
STAFFING UP — Kristina Ishmael is now deputy director of the office of ed tech at the Department of Education. She most recently was senior research fellow at New America. … Denice Ross is now U.S. chief data scientist at the Office of Science and Technology Policy. She most recently was senior fellow at the National Conference on Citizenship, and is an Obama OMB alum.
TRANSITION — Dar Vanderbeck will join the Aspen Institute as VP of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She previously was chief innovation officer at CARE USA.
ENGAGED — Bill Hulse, VP at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, and Mayo Rives, senior director of account management at POLITICO, got engaged Friday evening in their home in D.C., followed by dinner at San Lorenzo, where they had one of their first dates. They celebrated with family Saturday at the Montpelier Horse Races in Virginia. The couple first met two and a half years ago in Meridian Hill Park. Pic
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Andrew Malcolm, chief of staff to the CEO at Exelon Generation and a Greg Walden alum, and Liz Malcolm, a clinical psychologist in private practice, welcomed John Schmidt “Johnny” Malcolm on Monday. He joins big brother Henry. Pic
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Reps. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) and Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.) … POLITICO’s Matt Kaminski, John Hendel and Katie McDonald … Juan Carlos Monje … Norm Eisen of Brookings … Alec MacGillis … Facebook’s Tucker Bounds … Sean Joyce … Edgar Estrada … David Leiter of Plurus Strategies … Taylor Holgate … Pew’s Ruth Igielnik … Joel Foster … Meredith Dyer … Robert Raben of the Raben Group (58) … Andrew Barnhill … Elisabeth Conklin of the House Communications Standards Commission GOP (3-0) … Daniel Huey of Something Else Strategies … Lyft’s Jake Swanton … former Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) … Matt Ortega … Sarah Esty … Jen Brown of Targeted Victory … Gretchen Michael … Nathan Imperiale … Jessica Jennings … Linda Rozett … former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) … Rebecca Sharer of Sunshine Sachs … Nate Bailey … Donald Blinken (96)
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