Happy Monday! In a 5:02 p.m. Friday news dump, President Joe Biden offered his first public acknowledgment of his 4-year-old grandchild Navy Joan Roberts, telling People Magazine: “Our son Hunter and Navy’s mother, Lunden, are working together to foster a relationship that is in the best interests of their daughter, preserving her privacy as much as possible going forward.”
Up to Speed
- Donald Trump’s PAC, Save America, has spent more than $40 million on legal costs to defend the former president and his associates during the first half of this year. The total exceeds any other expense incurred by the PAC, which is funded mostly by small-dollar contributions, and is more than Trump’s entire second-quarter fundraising haul. Trump’s advisers say the legal costs will continue to grow as investigations continue.
- When Congress returns from summer recess after Labor Day, members will only have a few weeks to fund the government before the September 30 deadline hits. If the requisite appropriations bills are not passed, a partial government shutdown begins October 1. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy passed the first of 12 appropriations bills shortly before the August recess. McCarthy has faced pressure from conservative House Freedom Caucus members to cut spending, with some members threatening to block movement in the House.
- The Senate passed its annual defense bill in an 86-11 vote on Thursday. In contrast, the House version of the bill only narrowly passed earlier this month after Republicans added controversial provisions restricting abortion access and transgender healthcare for troops. To avoid those controversies, the Senate opted to skip floor votes on the amendments. “One way to gum up the works at this point is to get off into divisive issues like abortion,” Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana told the Wall Street Journal. Lawmakers will now work to combine the two bills.
- Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips, a moderate Democrat from suburban Minneapolis, is meeting with party donors in New York City this week about possibly challenging President Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2024, Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports.
Virginia Republicans Eye Glenn Youngkin’s Seat in 2025
The shadow race to succeed Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is already underway, with the state’s two top-ranking Republicans already laying the groundwork for possible gubernatorial campaigns in 2025, The Dispatch has learned.
Behind the scenes, Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears and Attorney General Jason Miyares are both positioning themselves as the strongest possible contenders on the GOP side. Sears, the state’s first black female lieutenant governor, is assembling a new political team ahead of a likely bid for governor, The Dispatch has learned, though she has no plans for an immediate announcement. And sources close to Miyares, a former prosecutor and Virginia’s first Hispanic attorney general, say privately that the attorney general is also expected to take a closer look at the race after the state legislative elections on November 7.
“Miyares of course already has a team in place that has been pretty prolific, pretty well organized,” says one Virginia-based GOP operative familiar with the state’s political dynamics. “And does that mean he runs for reelection or does he run for governor? He’ll have to make that decision, of course, with the Sears piece in mind, because I assume she goes first.”