Happy Wednesday! Rep. Tim Burchett accused former Speaker Kevin McCarthy of elbowing him in the kidneys while walking through the Capitol yesterday—a charge McCarthy vehemently denied. Burchett, one of the eight GOP members who voted with Democrats to oust McCarthy last month, briefly lunged after the former speaker but was rebuffed by his security detail. Thankfully, things were much calmer in the “cooling saucer” of the Senate.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Following a lengthy conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Joe Biden said yesterday that he believes a deal to release some of the hostages in Gaza is feasible. “I’ve been talking with the people involved every single day,” he told reporters. “I believe it’s going to happen, but I don’t want to get into detail.” Qatar has served as a mediator for the hostage negotiations, and Hamas reportedly discussed a deal to release up to 70 women and children in exchange for a short-term ceasefire and the release of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons. Netanyahu, however, seemed to temper expectations of a deal following Biden’s statement. “Our hearts are with all the hostages and their families,” he said. “If and when there will be something concrete to report, we will do so.”
- Ukrainian authorities indicted three officials this week on charges of treason involving alleged collusion with Russian intelligence services to help Rudy Giuliani find compromising material on Joe Biden. Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) and the State Bureau of Investigation accused three people—Oleksandr Dubinsky, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament; Andriy Derkach, a former parliament member; and Kostyantyn Kulyk, a former Ukrainian deputy prosecutor general who had pushed for Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden—of engaging in “subversive informational activities in favor of the Russian Federation” and being members of criminal organization financed by Russia. “The main task of this organization was to take advantage of the tense political situation in Ukraine and discredit our state in the international arena,” SBU said in a statement. “For this, the group was getting money from Russian military intelligence. Financing amounted to more than $10 million.”
- The House voted 336 to 95 on Tuesday to pass a short-term “laddered” continuing resolution on Tuesday to fund the government at existing spending levels through early next year, with 93 Republicans and two Democrats voting against the measure. Senate Democrats are expected to pass the legislation and President Joe Biden is expected to sign it, averting a government shutdown set to go into effect at the end of the week. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said yesterday that he’d work to pass the measure “as soon as possible.”
- Tens of thousands of people participated in a March for Israel on the National Mall in Washington on Tuesday, marking what was estimated to be the largest pro-Israel demonstration since Hamas’ October 7 attack. In a display of bipartisanship and unified American support for Israel, Schumer, House Speaker Mike Johnson, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and Senate Republican Policy Committee Chairwoman Joni Ernst appeared together on stage at the rally, affirming their support for Israel.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday that inflation continued to slow in October. The Consumer Price Index was more or less unchanged in October, rising just 0.04 percent month-over-month and 3.2 percent annually—slightly below economists’ expectations, and down from 0.4 and 3.7 percent in September, respectively. Core inflation, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, edged down to 0.2 percent month-over-month and 4.0 percent annually, the lowest such annual figure since September 2021. The cooling data could lead the Federal Reserve to continue its pause on rate hikes at the central bank’s meeting next month, and both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 had their best day since April.
- A Michigan court ruled on Tuesday that former President Donald Trump can remain on the primary ballot in the state, but left open the possibility of a legal challenge over his ballot eligibility in the general election. Judge James Redford argued in his decision—which comes on the heels of a similar decision in Minnesota last week—that it should be up to Congress whether Trump should be disqualified under the insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment, saying the issue is “a nonjusticiable political question that is left to Congress to decide.” Redford also said that Trump’s eligibility in the general election “is not ripe for adjudication at this time.”
The drama that played out in the House of Representatives yesterday was like every bad sequel you’ve ever watched: same plot, slightly different cast, and entirely without the charm of the original. (No one pulled the fire alarm, but the writers did throw in a fight scene just to keep things interesting.)
Alleged “shots to the kidneys” notwithstanding, the House managed to avert a shutdown on Tuesday as 127 Republicans, joined by all but two Democrats, voted for a laddered continuing resolution (CR) that would extend funding for the federal government at current levels through early next year. The proceedings echoed those that spelled the end of Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s tenure—though current House Speaker Mike Johnson may have earned a temporary reprieve from his fractious conference.
How did we get here? In September, Congress gave itself a 45-day extension on funding the government by passing a bipartisan CR, which extends government funding—usually at current levels—without passing new appropriations bills. In response, a handful of hardline Republican members of Congress pursued a side quest: ousting McCarthy for his sin of passing an extension with Democrats’ help, and spending several weeks trying to find someone—anyone—to replace him.