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The House is back in session this week, and that means one thing: a race against the shutdown clock.
Lawmakers have until Sept. 30 to fund the government, as Congress has not cleared any of its 12 annual appropriations bills, though there has been more progress than in the recent years past. Still, lawmakers are expecting to need a temporary stopgap measure to avert a shutdown in October, and members of the House GOP’s right flank are ready to put up a fight along the way. As The Hill’s Emily Brooks and Mychael Schnell report, to get the policy concessions on issues like the border and other spending cuts they demand, hardline conservatives are ready to play hardball.
“I’m tired of all these Republicans hiding behind, ‘Oh, but they’ll say it’s a shutdown. And they’ll say that you’re defunding law enforcement with [the Department of Homeland Security].’ That is all bullshit,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a member of the House Freedom Caucus, told The Hill in August.
“The truth is we’re using the power that we were given to force change because you don’t pay people not to do their job,” he said.
As Washington readies for a heated fight, Democrats and Republicans alike are trying to set the record straight in case the lights go out: The other side is to blame. The Hill’s Aris Folley writes that senators are already offering a preview of what is expected to be a major blame game in Congress this month should lawmakers blow past their deadline. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) went after House conservatives again in a speech on the Senate floor last week, calling out their demands and urging both parties to “get on the same page about keeping the government open.”
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), meanwhile, told an audience in his home state that “honestly, it’s a pretty big mess.”
“A PERFECT STORM” is how Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) characterized the situation facing Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Sunday, telling MSNBC’s Jen Psaki that the brewing fights over appropriations bills and conservative House members’ calls to open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden could threaten the Speaker’s grip on the gavel.
McCarthy, who eked out a narrow win in January to become Speaker, now faces a conundrum: Should he force a government shutdown, potentially putting thousands of federal employees on furlough, or burn more bridges with the hard-right flank of his conference, risking his position in the process?
MONTHS INTO MULTIPLE INVESTIGATIONS into issues surrounding Biden and his family’s foreign business dealings — specifically his son Hunter Biden — some House Republicans are pressing for an impeachment inquiry. The GOP’s investigators have their work cut out for them, write The Hill’s Brooks and Rebecca Beitsch. They have no evidence the president financially benefited from his son’s international business dealings or used the power of his office to enrich his son, but some Republicans insist evidence of payments directly to Joe Biden is not needed to prove corruption (CNN).
👉 3 Things to Know Today:
▪ An aftershock rattled Morocco on Sunday as rescuers continued searching for earthquake survivors. More than 2,122 people have been killed and more than 2,400 injured (The Washington Post and The Associated Press).
▪ Biden’s punt to Congress on immigration is wearing thin with advocates (The Hill).
▪ A strike by the United Auto Workers against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis of just 10 days would reduce the U.S. gross domestic product by $5.6 billion and likely push the Michigan economy into a recession, a consultant group said ahead of Thursday’s contract deadline (Bloomberg News).
LEADING THE DAY
© The Associated Press / Luong Thai Linh | President Biden in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Sunday.
Biden has 421 days until Election Day, when he will be almost 82. Age is weighing down his poll numbers, dampening Democratic enthusiasm for his reelection and inviting searing criticism from Republicans.
Doubts are hardening. And if there’s a consistent strategy to leap the hurdles, neither the White House nor the Biden campaign has found it. “Just watch me,” has been the president’s favorite response to the age issue. Democratic fundraiser and Hollywood heavyweight Jeffrey Katzenberg declared Biden’s age to be his “superpower,” an assertion contradicted by piles of polling.
The campaign’s economic message — a version of “stay the course” — tells voters there’s more work ahead to increase jobs, lift wages, reduce inflation and expand manufacturing at home. It’s not a tidy tale of success, and surveys show voters are not eager to give Biden an “A” for effort.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), a Biden ally, predicted Sunday that the president’s standing will improve as the campaign gets into full swing (The Hill). Last week’s CNN poll found that two-thirds of Democrats would like to see a different nominee than Biden next year. Senate Democrats concede that age is a problem but insist if former President Trump 77, is the nominee, next year’s presidential choice favors the incumbent (The Hill).
EVERY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION COMES DOWN TO A CHOICE. “The 2024 presidential election is a binary choice between Joe Biden and the MAGA GOP nominee,” Rahna Epting, executive director of MoveOn, told The Hill on Thursday.
The Biden campaign wants to avoid engaging in any overt dissection of Trump and his unprecedented legal battles even as they try to play up the contrasts.
“They’ve been smart to stay out of it,” Democratic strategist Lis Smith told Reuters last spring well before Trump was a criminal defendant. “In 2020, Joe Biden benefited from voters’ exhaustion with the chaos of the Trump administration.” She predicted that “the split screen of President Biden focused on doing his job well versus Trump and the Republican Party in chaos will only help him.”
The campaign is spending $25 million to broadcast ads in key battleground states over 16 weeks, including during CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday (The Hill). Titled “War Zone,” Biden, seen but not heard, is described as a leader with “quiet strength” and the pluck to venture to a “war zone.”
Biden’s political weakness means potential alternatives are getting reappraisals, reports The Hill’s Niall Stanage. Vice President Kamala Harris, on the ballot next year, appears only briefly in a new Biden campaign ad. California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, each with ambitions in important states, support Biden. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was knocked down several pegs by his slow response to a commercial train derailment in Ohio this year. New York progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez endorsed the president, to the disappointment of some of her younger fans.
Biden’s vulnerabilities stir a hunger among some for a third-party ticket. If the president and Trump are the major-party nominees, many political analysts expect a tight race in 2024 that hinges on outcomes in a handful of states. Third-party infatuation is perceived in Biden’s world as a real and present threat.
2024 roundup: Can Trump be knocked off 2024 ballots in some states for engaging in “insurrection”? A lawsuit filed in Colorado last week with the governor’s support seeks to test that novel legal argument (The Hill). … Legal and political logic behind blocking Trump using the 14th Amendment differ dramatically, according to a Washington Post analysis. … Trump may skip the next GOP primary debate on Sept. 27 in California. How might he compete for media attention if he’s a no-show? (The Hill). … The Republican Simi Valley event later this month could be critical for candidate Nikki Haley’s strategy to build on momentum from the Milwaukee debate and chase Trump’s polling lead this fall (The Hill).
The U.S. and Vietnam on Sunday during a Biden state visit announced they will enter into a comprehensive strategic partnership, leading to increased engagement. Biden, who met with General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi (The Hill), said during a news conference that his trip to Asia was “less about containing China” (The Hill). The administration is still looking for an opportunity for a meeting between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who did not attend the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi last week.
“I just want to make sure that we have a relationship with China that is on the up and up, squared away, everybody knows what it’s all about,” Biden told reporters. He asserted that China is facing significant economic challenges because of a lack of international growth and domestic policies. The president earlier this year referred to China’s economy as a “ticking time bomb.”
The Hill: Biden’s efforts to protect Arctic wildlife from drilling could be limited by the Trump-era 2017 GOP tax law.
A North Korean train presumably carrying North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has departed for Russia for a likely meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, South Korean media said today, with a meeting possible as early as Tuesday. According to U.S. officials, Putin could focus on securing more supplies of North Korean artillery and other ammunition to refill declining reserves as he seeks to defuse a Ukrainian counteroffensive and show that he’s capable of grinding out a long war of attrition (The Associated Press).
Harris, interviewed on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” called Putin’s potential meeting with Kiman act of “desperation” and a “mistake.” Russia wants arms and ammunition. North Korea likely wants food and energy shipments and transfers of sophisticated weapons technologies (The Hill).
Vietnam is pursuing a secret Russian arms deal even as it deepens ties with the U.S. A White House official ahead of Biden’s visit called U.S. efforts to persuade Vietnam to diversify from historic ties to Russia “a work in progress” (The New York Times).
The New York Times: A painstakingly negotiated declaration at the Group of 20 summit in India omitted condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or its brutal conduct of the war, instead lamenting the “suffering” of the Ukrainian people.
© The Associated Press / Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool | Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vladivostok, Russia, in 2019.
Google and the federal government will face off in a trial Tuesday that could reshape how the tech giant is structured and the future of antitrust enforcement against dominant tech platforms. As The Hill’s Rebecca Klar reports, the trial is kicking off nearly three years after the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the former Trump administration, and a coalition of states’ attorneys general filed the complaint alleging Google has an anticompetitive monopoly over the search market. It is the first major antitrust trial for the tech industry since the U.S. sued Microsoft in the late 90s, and is shaping up to be a critical test for the new generation of dominant tech platforms amid years of mounting bipartisan scrutiny.
“It’s the biggest monopolization case the United States has seen in a generation,” said Bill Baer, who served as assistant attorney general in charge of the DOJ antitrust division during the Obama administration, adding the trial’s outcome will have “significant implications” for other dominant firms that rose to power over the past two decades.
▪ Axios: What’s at stake in Google’s antitrust trial.
▪ The Wall Street Journal: Apple becomes the biggest U.S.-China pawn yet.
■ Democrats start to panic about Biden, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board.
■ I don’t write about polls. You shouldn’t bother with them, either, by Jennifer Rubin, columnist, The Washington Post.
■ The rationality of North Korea, by Andrew Latham and Hannah H. Kim, opinion contributors, The Hill.
WHERE AND WHEN
The House will convene at noon on Tuesday.
The Senate will convene at 3 p.m.
The president and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh of Vietnam met at the Office of the Government in Hanoi. Biden and President Vo Van Thuong had an official meeting and state luncheon at the Presidential Palace. Biden and National Assembly Chairman Vương Đình Huệ witnessed the exchange of war artifacts at the National Assembly Building in Hanoi (The Associated Press). Biden departed Vietnam en route to Washington with scheduled refueling in Alaska, where he is scheduled to greet and deliver remarks to service members, first responders and their families on the 9/11 anniversary. He will fly from Alaska to Washington.
The vice president will observe the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks at a commemoration event at the New York City 9/11 Memorial at 8:30 a.m. She will return to Washington before noon.
First lady Jill Biden will mark the 9/11 anniversary during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Pentagon at 4:20 p.m. with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. She will speak at 5 p.m. at the swearing-in ceremony for Colleen Shogan, first woman to be appointed as national archivist.
Second gentleman Doug Emhoff will be in Shanksville, Pa., to participate in the Flight 93 National Memorial Observance wreath laying ceremony at 2 p.m. He will return to Washington this afternoon.
© The Associated Press / Mike Segar | 9/11 Memorial in New York City on the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in 2021.
© The Associated Press / Frank Franklin II | U.S. Open women’s champion Coco Gauff after defeating Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus on Saturday to win her first Grand Slam tournament.
And finally … 🎾 Applause from former President Obama and Biden were among the weekend congrats that poured in for 19-year-old Grand Slam winner Coco Gauff, who rallied to beat Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 at the U.S. Open on Saturday.
“The support I have gotten is incredible,” Gauff said, following her first Grand Slam victory. “Obviously, from President Obama and former first lady Michelle, is crazy that they were here my first-round match, and now I’m a different person now.”
Gauff and her parents received a congratulatory call from Biden, who phoned from New Delhi, India, during the G20 summit.
“I’m just feeling happiness and a very, very small bit of relief,” the teenage champion from Florida said after her match. “Because honestly, at this point, I was doing it for myself and not for other people” (The Associated Press).
Novak Djokovic wonSunday’s U.S. Open men’s championship 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 over Daniil Medvedev to extend his record grand slam singles titles to 24 (CNN).
With the victory, the 36-year-old became the oldest man to win the U.S. Open singles title in the Open era and the first man to win three grand slam titles in a season for the fourth time. Djokovic also extends his lead over Rafael Nadal (22) and Switzerland’s Roger Federer (20) for most men’s singles titles of all time.
“To make history of this sport is truly remarkable and special,” Djokovic said.
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