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Post Politics Now: Ending hunger is something for ‘whole country to work on together,’ Biden says

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 9/28/2022 John Wagner, Mariana Alfaro
WASHINGTON, DC ‐ September 27, 2022:  US President Joe Biden delivers remarks during an event on health care costs in the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. (Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post) © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post WASHINGTON, DC ‐ September 27, 2022: US President Joe Biden delivers remarks during an event on health care costs in the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday, September 27, 2022. (Photo by Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post)

Today, President Biden promoted a goal to end hunger in the United States by 2030 as he delivered an address at the first White House conference on hunger since 1969, when President Richard M. Nixon pulled together a similar gathering. Biden said his administration is announcing $8 billion in public- and private-sector commitments to help reach the goal and said the push should be bipartisan and something for “the whole country to work on together.”

On Capitol Hill, the Senate moved a step closer Tuesday to avoiding a partial government shutdown after removing an energy-project permitting provision pushed by Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.). Lawmakers are scrambling to pass a stopgap funding measure by Friday before leaving town.

Your daily dashboard

  • 10 a.m. Eastern: Biden delivered remarks at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. Watch here.
  • 11 a.m. Eastern: Biden delivered remarks at the White House to celebrate the Americans With Disabilities Act. Watch here.
  • 1:45 p.m. Eastern: White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre briefs reporters. Watch live here.
  • 7 p.m. Eastern: Biden participates in a Democratic Governors Association reception in Washington.

Got a question about politics? Submit it here. After 3 p.m. weekdays, return to this space, and we’ll address what’s on the minds of readers.

4:24 PM: Noted: Bitten by fox, Rep. Bera introduces bill to reduce cost of rabies vaccine

Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) alongside Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) left, speaks in Washington, D.C. on May 18, 2022. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post) © Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) alongside Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) left, speaks in Washington, D.C. on May 18, 2022. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/For The Washington Post)

Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) has introduced legislation aimed at reducing the cost of the rabies vaccine for uninsured Americans months after a fox bit him as he was walking on Capitol Hill, Eugene Scott reports.

“Despite being a fatal disease, rabies is preventable if treated quickly,” Bera said in a statement Wednesday, which is World Rabies Day. “After being bit by a rabid fox, I was fortunate to have access to readily available and low-cost vaccines. But for too many Americans, the costs of treatment would break their banks.”

Bera, a physician, received a regimen of immunoglobulin and rabies shots in April after a fox bit him while he was walking near the Russell Senate Office Building. The lawmaker expected to see a small dog after feeling something lunge at the back of his leg. But when he noticed that it was a fox, he began attacking the animal with an umbrella before it fled in the direction of other Senate buildings.

As Eugene writes:

Rabies can be a life-threatening disease. The Affordable Rabies Treatment for Uninsured Act would establish a program to reimburse health-care providers for providing post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to uninsured individuals.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 60,000 Americans receive PEP each year after possibly being exposed to rabies. Vaccine costs for the disease can range from $1,200 to $6,500.
Bera’s bill would allow for program-registered providers to submit claims to the secretary of Health and Human Services that would allow providers to be repaid an amount deemed appropriate for providing post-exposure prophylaxis to uninsured people subject to the availability of appropriations.

Read more on this proposal here.

3:45 PM: Your questions, answered: What do GOP leaders say about cutting Medicare?

Are there or are there not at least two prominent Republican Party leaders who have mentioned that they would like to see social security and Medicare categorized in such a manner that it would be up to states to decide if they want to cut them back? — asks one of our readers.

Sen. Rick Scott (Fla.), the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has touted his proposed agenda for the Republican Party, which, in a section on government restructuring, includes: “All federal legislation sunsets in 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.” Basically, this means that programs such as Social Security or Medicare would have to prove their worth before Congress every five years, though neither was specifically mentioned.

This plan was almost immediately rejected by most Senate Republicans, most notably by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.).

“Now let me tell you what will not be part of our agenda: We will not have as part of my agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years,” McConnell said in March after Scott introduced his proposal. “That will not be part of the Republican Senate majority agenda.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has been more reserved. Last week, as he rolled out his campaign season agenda at an event in Pennsylvania, McCarthy was light on health policy details. The one-page document — called a “Commitment to America” — pointed to broad ideas such as price transparency and competition but offered no specific action on the future of health-care changes.

2:58 PM: This just in: McConnell, in split with House GOP, says spending bill needed at ‘critical moment’

As a powerful hurricane was about to slam Florida, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday said that the bipartisan funding bill the Senate is expected to pass this week “will ensure the federal Disaster Relief Fund is fully resourced at this critical moment.”

Hurricane Ian is on the cusp of Category 5 strength with maximum sustained winds of almost 155 mph.

The comments by McConnell — who already won a key concession on the spending bill — may complicate the plans of the Republicans in the House, whose leadership has recommended that its members vote against the spending bill.

The bill previously included a hard-fought provision on permit revisions to help accelerate the approval process for building new energy projects, which Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) included as part of a deal to secure the vote of Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) on the Inflation Reduction Act, which Biden signed in August.

Republicans had previously backed the kind of permitting changes Manchin proposed. But they have since sought political retribution against the West Virginia lawmaker for his deal with Democrats.

On Tuesday, Manchin bowed to the opposition and asked Schumer to remove the permitting changes from the spending bill, which then gained strong bipartisan support in the Senate.

By: Azi Paybarah

2:40 PM: Noted: America’s poorest half only holds 2 percent of wealth, new CBO report reveals

A new report by the Congressional Budget Office found that the poorest half of Americans holds just 2 percent of the nation’s wealth.

While the total real wealth held by American families has tripled between 1989 and 2019 — from $38 trillion in 2019 dollars to $115 trillion — family wealth increased more among the top half of Americans. According to the CBO, families in the top 10 percent and top 1 percent of the distribution found their share of total wealth rise over this time period.

The growth in concentration of wealth held by the top 10 percent of American families was driven almost entirely by an increase in the share held by the top 1 percent, according to the report. Overall, the concentration of wealth held by the top 10 percent grew from 64 percent to 72 percent, while the wealth held by the bottom half of the population dropped from 4 percent to 2 percent.

The report also found that families in the bottom 25 percent of the distribution have, on average, more debt than assets.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who requested the report, said the findings confirm “what we already know.”

“The very rich are getting much, much richer while the middle class is falling further and further behind, and being forced to take on outrageous levels of debt,” Sanders said in a statement. “The obscene level of income and wealth inequality in America is a profoundly moral issue that we cannot continue to ignore or sweep under the rug.”

2:38 PM: The latest: House GOP probes biosafety practices overseen by CDC, NIH

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and colleagues are probing biosafety practices at the nation's health agencies, warning of the risk of potential lab leaks. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and colleagues are probing biosafety practices at the nation's health agencies, warning of the risk of potential lab leaks.

House Republicans on Wednesday said they had opened a probe into biosafety practices overseen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, previewing a priority for the GOP if the party retakes Congress this fall.

In a letter sent to the agencies and shared with The Washington Post, the Republicans argued that there is too little oversight of scientists who study and experiment on viruses that could spark potential pandemics, saying that those engaging in “virus-hunting” need adequate training and controls to prevent possible laboratory leaks.

“Even if it is not connected to the origins of [Covid-19], the risks are apparent and biosafety practices need to be strengthened as our oversight examines the risks and benefits of virus-hunting research to prevent pandemics,” Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), and H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) wrote.

The three lawmakers are the top Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, its health subcommittee and its oversight subcommittee, respectively, which oversee the nation’s health agencies. The lawmakers have repeatedly called for broader investigations into government funding for “gain-of-function research,” which may result in more lethal or transmissible versions of viruses, and whether SARS-CoV-2 originated in a laboratory.

But Republicans are currently in the minority, hindering their ability to launch investigations.

“Understanding the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic is the public health question of our time,” McMorris Rodgers said at a forum on the virus’s origins in June 2021.

There is no hard evidence that SARS-CoV-2 resulted from a laboratory leak, and a number of prominent virologists have argued that is far more plausible that the virus has a “natural origin” and was first transmitted to a human by an animal sold in a market in Wuhan, China.

That message has been echoed by Democrats such as Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), who last week called Republicans’ efforts to probe the virus’s origins “a distraction” from the Biden administration’s ongoing efforts to combat the pandemic.

By: Dan Diamond

2:17 PM: The latest: White House says Russian annexation referendums are ‘illegitimate,’ ‘outrageous’

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday “the Ukrainian people are continuing to fight for their independence with support from United States and allies across the globe.” © Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday “the Ukrainian people are continuing to fight for their independence with support from United States and allies across the globe.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Russian attempts to hold referendums pushing Ukrainians in certain areas to vote for annexation are “illegitimate” and “outrageous.”

“The Russian government falsified the results to advance the lie that the Ukrainian people want to be part of Russia,” Jean-Pierre said.

Russia this week concluded what U.S. officials say were staged referendums in parts of four Ukrainian regions under its control. The votes were illegal under international law, with reports of residents coerced into voting. Western leaders have condemned the referendums, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken accusing Moscow of engaging in a “diabolical scheme” to annex Ukraine’s territory.

On Wednesday, Jean-Pierre said that, “in reality, the Ukrainian people are continuing to fight for their independence with support from United States and allies across the globe.”

“They have courageously resisted Russia’s invasion,” Jean-Pierre said. “It is in these occupied areas that Russia would have us believe against all evidence — and also logic — that the Ukrainian people have suddenly chosen to join Russia. But we know the truth.”

“These referenda are illegitimate and, frankly, outrageous,” she added.

Jean-Pierre said the United States will work with its allies “to impose additional economic costs on Russia and individuals and entities inside and outside of Russia that provide support to this action.”

2:14 PM: Noted: Biden appears to ask if deceased congresswoman is in audience at hunger conference

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 19, 2018. © J. Scott Applewhite/AP Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 19, 2018.

In his remarks at a White House hunger conference on Wednesday, President Biden seemed to search the audience for former congresswoman Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), who died in a car crash in early August.

“Jackie, are you here? Where’s Jackie,” Biden said looking out into the crowd and expressing uncertainty whether she planned to be there.

Walorski was one of four lawmakers who sponsored bipartisan legislation to hold the conference, the first of its kind in more than 50 years. Before inquiring about Walorski, Biden had referenced the other three: Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Rep. James P. McGovern (D-Mass.).

In August, Biden and first lady Jill Biden issued a statement extending their condolences following Walorski’s death.

Two members of Walorski’s staff, along with another motorist, died in the accident Indiana.

Asked about Biden’s comments, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Walorski has been “top of mind” for Biden because he is planning to see her family on Friday at a signing ceremony for a bill that renames a veterans clinic after her.

“The president was naming the congressional champions on this issue and was acknowledging her incredible work,” Jean-Pierre said told reporters at a White House briefing. He had already planned to welcome the congresswoman’s family to the White House on Friday. ... She was on top of mind.”

1:38 PM: The latest: Republicans slow confirmation process for U.S. archivist

Colleen Shogan speaks during her nomination hearing to be archivist of the United States before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last week. © Mariam Zuhaib/AP Colleen Shogan speaks during her nomination hearing to be archivist of the United States before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last week.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee deadlocked 7-7 — along party lines — on a vote to advance the nomination of Colleen Shogan as the U.S. archivist.

The tie is the latest attempt by Republicans to slow the confirmation of a Biden nominee. The president named Shogan to the role in August. A veteran archivist, Shogan serves as director of the David M. Rubenstein Center at the White House Historical Association and previously worked for the Senate and the Library of Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will now have to move to discharge Shogan’s nomination out of the committee and toward a full Senate vote.

As U.S. archivist, Shogan would be the chief administrator of the National Archives and Records Administration, a key position that has come to national relevance in the wake of a Justice Department investigation into attempts by former president Donald Trump to keep classified documents in his personal residence after leaving the White House.

The National Archives is led by Debra Steidel Wall, who is serving as acting head of the agency until a new archivist is confirmed by the Senate.

1:20 PM: Noted: Arizona Senate race tight, with Democratic incumbent Kelly in lead

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) gets some good news in his race for reelection on Thursday. © Mariam Zuhaib/AP Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) gets some good news in his race for reelection on Thursday.

A new Marist Poll found that Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly (D) is slightly ahead of challenger Blake Masters (R) in the state’s Senate race.

Among Arizonans who say they definitely plan to vote, Kelly leads Masters by five percentage points — 50 percent to 45 percent. The poll has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

Amid general voters in Arizona, Kelly leads Masters by 10 points, 51 to 41, including those who say they are undecided but leaning toward a candidate.

Masters, a venture capitalist who has Donald Trump’s endorsement in the race and has echoed the former president’s false claims of election fraud, is struggling to fund his general election campaign after initially being boosted in the primary race by billionaire Peter Thiel, his former boss. While Thiel spent $15 million on Masters in the primary, he has declined to invest further. And last week, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) canceled nearly $10 million it had reserved for television ads in Arizona.

1:11 PM: Noted: Confidence in voting count on the rise, including among Republicans, poll finds

With the November midterms on the horizon, the percentage of Americans who say they are confident votes will be counted as intended is on the rise, a new poll finds.

According to a Grinnell College National Poll, 64 percent of Americans express confidence in vote counting, up from 53 percent in a March 2021 poll, conducted just a couple of months after President Biden arrived in office and former president Donald Trump continued to actively question the results.

The rise over the past 18 months has been greatest among Republicans — up 17 percentage points, the polling finds. It now stands at 53 percent, up from 36 percent in March 2021. Before the 2020 elections and Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, confidence among Republicans was at 85 percent that March.

The Grinnell polling also finds a slight lead for Democratic candidates (46 percent to 42 percent) among likely voters in a sample ballot for a U.S. House seat. There is a sizable gender gap, with a majority of women choosing for Democratic candidate (54 percent to 34 percent) and a majority of men opting for the Republican (51 percent to 37 percent).

12:17 PM: Noted: Youngkin and his national ambitions straddle the ‘big lie’ divide

A supporter takes a selfie with Republican Govs. Brian Kemp (Ga.) and Glenn Youngkin (Va.) during a campaign rally in Alpharetta, Ga., on Tuesday. © Erik S Lesser/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock A supporter takes a selfie with Republican Govs. Brian Kemp (Ga.) and Glenn Youngkin (Va.) during a campaign rally in Alpharetta, Ga., on Tuesday.

As Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin crisscrosses the nation, stumping for Republicans and raising his profile ahead of a possible 2024 presidential bid, he is straddling the GOP’s “big lie” divide.

The Post’s Laura Vozzella reports that Youngkin went to Georgia on Tuesday for fellow Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who resisted pressure from President Donald Trump to overturn the 2020 election results. Next month, he’s slated to boost election-denying Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake.

Per Laura:

Youngkin’s political team touts his ability to play to both sides as proof of the political newcomer’s versatility and ability to unify a deeply fractured GOP; Youngkin himself often says he’s appealed equally to “forever Trumpers and never Trumpers.”
But even some Youngkin fans fear the strategy that helped him win the Executive Mansion — sending mixed messages on many issues, including elections, abortion and race — won’t stand up to the national spotlight.
They see his political contortions as perilous to his reputation and, perhaps, democracy.

You can read Laura’s full story here.

12:10 PM: Noted: Prodigy pianist performs in Rose Garden to mark Disability Pride Month

President Biden hosted an unannounced piano performance by José André Montaño, a 17-year-old prodigy who is blind, as part of the celebration of the 32nd anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act and to mark Disability Pride Month on Wednesday in the White House Rose Garden.

Before Montaño was introduced, Biden said one of the reasons he and first lady Jill Biden decided to host the reception was “to acknowledge a movement that’s not just about disability rights, but also about disability pride.”

“It’s about recognizing disability isn’t something broken to be fixed,” Biden said. “For millions of Americans, their disability is a source of identity and power.”

Montaño — who is from Cochabamba, Bolivia, and self-taught on piano — recently played at the Kennedy Center, Jill Biden noted in her introduction. He started playing at age 4.

“I was stunned by his music,” she said. “It was incredible. And I couldn’t wait to bring him to the White House.”

In his remarks, President Biden also heralded the Americans With Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, when he was a senator representing Delaware. Biden noted he was a co-sponsor of the act, which he called one of our most important civil rights laws ever.”

Biden also touted several steps taken during his administration, including funding in last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law that he said “makes the biggest investment ever in an accessible transit, updating subways, trains and airports.”

10:54 AM: This just in: Biden talks strategy aimed at ending hunger by 2030

President Biden speaks at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in Washington on Sept. 28. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters) President Biden speaks at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health in Washington on Sept. 28. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

President Biden said his administration is implementing strategies to reach his goal of ending hunger by 2030.

This goal is within our reach — just look at how far we’ve come on child poverty,” he said Wednesday at the first White House summit in half a century dedicated to combating hunger.

About 500 attendees, in addition to about 1,000 virtually, gathered to attend panels and brainstorming sessions at the day-long conference. The president said one way to decrease food insecurity is to help people know that government programs exist to help them.

“First, help more Americans get help,” he said. “More Americans access the food that will keep their families nourished and healthy. A lot of food deserts out there. Second, give folks the option and information they need to make healthy dietary choices. Thirdly, help more Americans be physically active.”

The White House released a 44-page report Tuesday before the summit featuring policies that would be discussed in depth at the conference.

I want all of us to take a moment to recognize the significance of what we are about to do,” he said. “Something like this hasn’t happened in more than 50 years. Let’s keep the momentum of today going in a new and meaningful, strong way so that we can fully meet this important moment for our children, for our community and for our country.”

Biden said it boils down to a simple question.

If you look at your child and you can’t feed your child, what the hell else matters?”

By: Eugene Scott

10:47 AM: The latest: Food insecurity high despite USDA programs targeting problem

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in Washington on Wednesday. © Evan Vucci/AP Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in Washington on Wednesday.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said food insecurity remains high despite efforts by the Biden administration to provide nutrition for low-income Americans.

Today, USDA runs nutrition assistance programs that serve one in four Americans every year. However, food and nutrition insecurity still remains unacceptably high,” he said.

“There’s been progress. … I’m encouraged by this, but all of us in attendance today would agree that much more needs to be done,” Vilsack said at a White House event Wednesday.

The administration has secured $8 billion of public- and private-sector commitments toward providing more food and better nutrition by 2030. Officials gathered Wednesday at the first White House summit in nearly a half-century dedicated to combating hunger to share some of those goals.

The strategies include continuing programs implemented during the Biden administration that have put a dent in the number of Americans going without food.

“One key proposal supported by the national strategy is ensuring all Americans are economically secure, including through a child tax credit,” Vilsack said. “Pillar two outlines how we can better integrate nutrition and health care. We’re elevating the role of nutrition and food security and overall health care, including through disease prevention and management.”

By: Eugene Scott

10:45 AM: The latest: Biden says he spoke with DeSantis on Tuesday, pledges federal help

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is prepping for a major hurricane to make landfall in his state. © Chris O'meara/AP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is prepping for a major hurricane to make landfall in his state.

President Biden said that he spoke with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday as the state prepared for extensive damages expected from Hurricane Ian, the intensifying storm heading there.

“Yesterday, I spoke with Gov. DeSantis for some time,” Biden said Wednesday at the outset of his remarks on a White House conference on hunger. “My team has been in constant contact with him from the very beginning.”

The comment came a day after the White House press secretary faced questions from reporters about Biden’s apparent lack of direct communication with DeSantis, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2024.

DeSantis and local Florida officials have warned that the storm could be life-threatening and urged residents to take precaution.

Hurricane Ian live updates: Storm nears Category 5 strength as it approaches Florida

Biden on Wednesday underscored his administration’s efforts to help DeSantis and other officials in Florida prepare for the storm and recover from it. Biden said the White House approved “every request Florida made for temporary assistance, emergency supplies, long term assistance” that it received.

Hundreds of personnel from the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been dispatched to the state, along with millions of liters of water, meals and generators, he said.

“I made it clear to the governor and the mayors that the federal government is ready to help in every single way possible,” Biden said. “When the storm passes, the federal government’s going to be there to help you recover.” That, he said, “is my absolute commitment to the people in the state of Florida.”

Biden also sent a stern message to executives in the oil and gas industry: “Do not, let me repeat, do not use this as an excuse to raise gasoline prices or gouge the American people.”

By: Azi Paybarah

10:21 AM: Analysis: Manchin’s permitting bill faces tough path forward

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) answers questions from reporters on Sept. 22. (Photo by Shuran Huang for The Washington Post) © Shuran Huang/For The Washington Post Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) answers questions from reporters on Sept. 22. (Photo by Shuran Huang for The Washington Post)

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) asked Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday to pull his controversial permitting bill from a government funding package.

It was a stark acknowledgment that the proposal lacked the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and avert a government shutdown, The Post’s Maxine Joselow writes in The Climate 202. Per Maxine:

Manchin now has a couple of options for attempting to revive the permitting bill before the end of the year: He could make some tweaks in an effort to garner more Republican support during Congress's lame-duck session, or he could try to attach the bill to another must-pass measure such as the annual National Defense Authorization Act.
However, such attempts would face the same — if not greater — political head winds, said Christi Tezak, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners, an independent research firm.
“Given the pushback on Manchin’s permitting proposal, the inclusion of his package in the NDAA appears to still be an uphill climb,” Tezak said.

You can read the full analysis here.

10:00 AM: Take a look: In Mich., Democrats seek to tie GOP gubernatorial hopeful Tudor Dixon to Betsy DeVos

In the Michigan gubernatorial race, Democrats are making a concerted effort to tie Republican nominee Tudor Dixon to Betsy DeVos, the former education secretary whose family has a history of making prolific donations to political candidates and causes in the state.

In its latest 30-second ad, Put Michigan First, a group backed by the Democratic Governors Association, argues that “one has the money, the other wants the power.” The DeVos family endorsed Dixon in May. Besides her role in the Trump administration, Betsy DeVos is a former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party. Her husband, Dick DeVos, ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006.

Dixon, a business executive and former television host, is challenging Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D).

9:42 AM: Noted: The time Rep. Dingell got a call from a ‘Post reporter’ who sounded like Trump

The Post’s Josh Dawsey has a story out this morning about revelations from the forthcoming book, “Confidence Man,” by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, including that Donald Trump at one point during his presidency weighed bombing drug labs in Mexico.

Josh recaps several other nuggets, including an episode in 2019 when Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) got a call from an unknown number on her cellphone.

Dingell had said she was going to vote to impeach Trump, and Dingell had also recently condemned Trump for excoriating her deceased husband, former congressman John Dingell, at a rally.

“When [Dingell] answered, the man on the other end identified himself as a Washington Post reporter, and said he knew her husband from his investigations in Congress,” Haberman writes. “The name he gave was not one she recognized. The man asked Dingell if she was looking for an apology from Trump. No, she replied, merely that people could be civil to one another. As the man talked, Dingell couldn’t shake the idea that his voice sounded like that of the forty-fifth president.”

Haberman noted that what Dingell told the “reporter” never appeared in The Washington Post.

9:14 AM: Noted: The role played by the Capitol Police in escorting a crystal flute to Lizzo

Lizzo spent hours on Monday exploring the Library of Congress and playing several flutes from its collection. © Shawn Miller/Shawn Miller for the Library of Congress Lizzo spent hours on Monday exploring the Library of Congress and playing several flutes from its collection.

The Capitol Police, whose primary duty is protecting members of Congress, is touting another mission carried out Tuesday night: escorting a flute to a Lizzo concert.

The 200-year-old crystal flute, which is housed in the Library of Congress, was gifted to President James Madison in the early 1800s.

Over the weekend, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden invited the Grammy-award-winning singer, who was scheduled to be in Washington this week for a concert, to drop by to play some of the flutes in the library’s collection.

Lizzo did so on Monday, and on Tuesday she played the Madison flute while in concert at the Capital One Arena in Washington.

“Last night our officers helped safely escort President James Madison’s 1813 crystal flute to the @lizzo concert for the @librarycongress,” the Capitol Police tweeted on Wednesday morning, adding: “You never know what you’re going to see with the U.S. Capitol Police!”

Late Tuesday night, the Library of Congress tweeted that the flute was back “safe & sound back at the Library now” and thanked the Capitol Police.

8:52 AM: The latest: House GOP leaders urge ‘NO’ vote on bill to keep government open

Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), left, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) with other House Republicans during a news conference in Washington on Jan. 20. © Sarah Silbiger for The Washington Post Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), left, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) with other House Republicans during a news conference in Washington on Jan. 20.

If the House votes this week to avert a partial government shutdown, it won’t be at the urging of the chamber’s Republican leadership.

“Leadership recommends a NO vote,” reads a memo from the GOP whip office that is circulating among members as they return to Washington on Wednesday.

Part of the reasoning: The stopgap measure under consideration was crafted without sufficient negotiation with leading Republicans “on pressing issues relating to our government funding priorities, including runaway inflation, the supply chain crisis, the border crisis, or the opioid deaths associated with drugs like fentanyl coming across our open southern border,” the memo says.

Specifically, the House GOP leadership takes issue with the inclusion of $1.8 billion for a program that provides social services to refugees while, the memo says, the bill “provides no additional money for border security or our Customs and Border Protection officers.”

GOP leaders are also objecting to the length of the stopgap measure, which expires Dec. 16, “setting up another shutdown showdown,” according to the memo.

The Senate appears poised to move forward on the stopgap measure as early as Wednesday, but more likely Thursday, with bipartisan support.

8:19 AM: Analysis: Biden didn’t share the real reason Medicare premiums are lower

President Biden greets visitors and staff during an event on health-care costs in the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post President Biden greets visitors and staff during an event on health-care costs in the Rose Garden of the White House on Tuesday.

With the midterm elections just six weeks away, President Biden vowed Tuesday to lower seniors’ health costs in a Rose Garden speech. He pledged to protect Medicare against perceived Republican threats and pointed to Democrats’ new law allowing the federal health program to negotiate drug prices for the first time.

“And this morning, we got even more good news,” Biden said, pointing to a decrease in Medicare premiums for doctor visits. “For years, that fee has gone up. Now, for the first time in more than a decade, it’s going to go down.”

Writing in The Health 202, The Post’s Rachel Roubein says the reality is more complicated than that election-year sound bite. Per Rachel:

Seniors wound up overpaying their Medicare Part B premiums this year due to uncertainty over a controversial new Alzheimer’s treatment. Now, federal health officials are essentially instituting a correction, reducing monthly premiums by 3 percent for 2023 to make up for last year’s substantial hike.
The rare drop in Medicare premiums isn’t due to Democrats’ policy proposals for the federal health insurance program, but the notion of lowering costs is a message Democrats want to trot out less than two months before the midterms. Party officials believe they have an advantage over Republicans on health care in the November elections, and are seeking to sell their recently passed health-and-climate bill to voters on the campaign trail.

You can read Rachel’s full analysis here.

7:57 AM: Analysis: What is the Electoral Count Act, and why does Congress want to change it?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), seen on Capitol Hill on Sept. 7. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), seen on Capitol Hill on Sept. 7.

A year and a half after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Congress has passed no legislation to prevent it from happening again. But it could be close.

The Post’s Amber Phillips and Adrian Blanco note that a group of Democrats and Republicans is recommending new limits to Congress’s and the vice president’s roles in declaring the presidential winner. Per our colleagues:

They want to change a very old law known as the Electoral Count Act that they think President Donald Trump exploited to try to stay in power in 2020.
The House of Representatives passed its bill recently, with only nine Republicans voting for it. And efforts to reform this law just got a big boost from the top Senate Republican, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who endorsed the Senate’s version of the bill.

You can read a full analysis from Amber and Adrian about the larger push here.

Our colleague Amy B Wang has more on the latest related activity in the Senate here.

7:25 AM: On our radar: Stock trading bill unveiled, faces uncertain future

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) appears at a House Rules Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 20. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) appears at a House Rules Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 20.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (R-Calif.) late Tuesday unveiled a bill to prevent insider trading by members of Congress and eliminate conflicts of interest.

The long-awaited legislation had a rough birth and has an uncertain future, The Post’s Leigh Ann Caldwell and Theodoric Meyer write in The Early 202. Per our colleagues:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was reluctant at first to back a bill to ban stock trades by members of Congress after Business Insider reported that dozens of members of Congress violated a 2012 law meant to eliminate insider trading.
She eventually came around, and Lofgren was tasked with consolidating the various proposals and drafting the central bill.
It was supposed to be released last week but was delayed as Lofgren continued to work through the details with members.
A vote this week is possible, two House Democratic aides say, but it could also be punted until after the midterm elections. It could also never come up for a vote.

You can read The Early 202 in full here.

7:00 AM: Analysis: Senate GOP, liberal Dems find common cause in sinking Manchin’s bill

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) reads paperwork Thursday before a hearing on Capitol Hill. © Shuran Huang for The Washington Post Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) reads paperwork Thursday before a hearing on Capitol Hill.

Congress is on a glide path to avoid a partial government shutdown — and there are still three days to spare before the deadline.

But the relatively drama-free funding debate did claim one casualty: the energy project permitting bill of Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), The Post’s Leigh Ann Caldwell and Theodoric Meyer write.

Per our colleagues:

Manchin announced Tuesday afternoon he was pulling his proposal from the stopgap funding bill, or continuing resolution (CR), as he faced down the reality it didn’t have the 60 votes needed to pass. With that done, the spending bill cleared a key procedural vote and could pass as early as Wednesday, but more likely Thursday.
Manchin shrugged off the defeat, telling reporters he’s confident he can find the needed support when Congress returns for its post-election “lame duck” session.
He could look to attach it to the annual defense policy bill or the next government funding bill that will be needed in December.

You can read the full analysis here.

6:45 AM: On our radar: White House hosts conference on hunger with $8 billion in commitments

President Biden delivers a speech on health-care costs that was scheduled to take place in Florida, but was moved to the Rose Garden ahead of the hurricane. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post President Biden delivers a speech on health-care costs that was scheduled to take place in Florida, but was moved to the Rose Garden ahead of the hurricane.

President Biden on Wednesday is hosting the first White House summit in nearly a half-century dedicated to combating hunger, with administration officials saying they have secured $8 billion in public- and private-sector commitments toward helping provide more food and better nutrition by 2030.

The Post’s Matt Viser reports that Biden is planning to speak at the conference, which will also feature several members of Congress — including Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.), as well as Reps. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) — and several Cabinet officials. It will also include José Andrés, the chef and founder of World Central Kitchen, and New York Mayor Eric Adams (D).

Per Matt:

Some 500 attendees, as well as 1,000 others joining virtually, will also attend various panels and brainstorming sessions during the day-long conference, officials said.
The White House on Tuesday released a 44-page report summarizing policies that will be discussed in depth during the conference. The goal is to make healthy food more affordable and accessible and to invest in expanding physical activity options and enhancing research on food and nutrition.
The pervasiveness of diet-related diseases creates broader issues for the country, White House officials said, hampering military readiness, workforce productivity, academic achievement and mental health.

You can read the full story here.

6:40 AM: Noted: Trump weighed bombing drug labs in Mexico, according to new book

President Donald Trump talks to reporters at the White House on Aug. 17, 2020. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Donald Trump talks to reporters at the White House on Aug. 17, 2020.

As president, Donald Trump weighed bombing drug labs in Mexico after one of his leading public health officials came into the Oval Office, wearing a dress uniform, and said such facilities should be handled by putting “lead to target” to stop the flow of illicit substances across the border into the United States.

The Post’s Josh Dawsey has details:

“He raised it several times, eventually asking a stunned Defense Secretary Mark Esper whether the United States could indeed bomb the labs,” according to a new book by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman. White House officials said the official, Assistant Secretary for Health Brett Giroir, often wore his dress uniform for meetings with Trump, which confused the former president.
“The response from White House aides was not to try to change Trump’s view, but to consider asking Giroir not to wear his uniform to the Oval Office anymore,” Haberman writes in “Confidence Man,” an extensive book about Trump’s time in New York and as president.

The 607-page book, which has long been awaited by many of Trump’s aides, is set to be published Tuesday. A copy was obtained by The Washington Post. The book details unusual and erratic interactions between Trump and world leaders, members of Congress, as well as his aides, along with behind-the-scenes accounts of his time as a businessman.

You can read Josh’s full story here.

6:36 AM: On our radar: Solomon Islands rejects Biden’s Pacific outreach ahead of White House summit

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 23. © Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 23.

American efforts to rally Pacific island leaders at a White House summit this week were dealt a blow when the Solomon Islands said it would not endorse a joint declaration that the Biden administration plans to unveil.

The Post’s Michael E. Miller writes that as President Biden prepared to host the leaders of a dozen Pacific countries on Wednesday and Thursday in a first-of-its-kind gathering, the Solomon Islands sent a diplomatic note to other nations in the region saying there was no consensus on the issues and that it needed “time to reflect” on the declaration.

Per our colleague:

The setback just hours before the start of the summit is a sign of the challenges Washington faces as it tries to reassert influence in a region where China has made inroads.
It came as Vice President Harris tours East Asia, where she is emphasizing U.S. commitment to a “free and open Indo-Pacific” during stops in Japan and South Korea. In remarks in Japan on Wednesday, Harris condemned China’s “disturbing” actions in the region, including “provocations” against Taiwan.

You can read the full story here.

6:34 AM: The latest: White House says it’s pushing to allow Puerto Rico fuel shipment

The damage after Hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico. © Gabriella N. Baez/Bloomberg News The damage after Hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico.

White House officials are pushing federal agencies to quickly approve a legal waiver allowing Puerto Rico to receive a shipment of diesel fuel that is being held off the island’s coast, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Post’s Jeff Stein and Toluse Olorunnipa report that as Puerto Rico reels from Hurricane Fiona and the administration faces continued blowback over the issue, President Biden is personally tracking the matter and supports granting the waiver, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reflect private discussions.

Per our colleagues:

Biden faces a mounting clamor from Congress as well as Puerto Rican leaders to provide an exemption that would let the BP tanker carrying the fuel access to an island port. The ship cannot do so because of the Jones Act, a shipping law that requires goods shipped between points in the United States be carried on U.S.-flagged ships, in an effort to support U.S. shipping and labor.
The ship, called GH Parks, is flagged to the Marshall Islands and departed from Texas.
Administration officials say they have no legal authority to provide a blanket one-year waiver to the Jones Act, as a group of House Democrats demanded in a letter last week. Instead, White House aides are pushing the Homeland Security and Transportation departments to expedite a review that would allow them to grant a one-time exemption for this particular vessel.

You can read the full story here.

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