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Post Politics Now: Senate passes bill protecting same-sex marriages

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 11/29/2022 John Wagner, Mariana Alfaro
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Today, the Senate passed legislation that seeks to protect same-sex marriages in the event that the Supreme Court overturns a landmark 2015 ruling that legalized them nationwide. The push for the bill began after the court overturned Roe v. Wade, sparking fears that it could take away rights beyond abortion. The bill will now return to the House, where Democrats remain in the majority for the lame-duck session. President Biden has pledged to sign the legislation.

Biden sharpened his 2024 pitch on the economy is in Bay City, Mich., on Tuesday to tout the growth of manufacturing jobs during his tenure. Before leaving Washington, he met with congressional leaders at the White House about spending legislation and a bill to avert a national rail strike. The House will consider the latter on Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.

7:39 PM: On our radar: Biden will participate in Tribal Nations Summit

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) gestures after speaking by phone with his daughter Alison after the Senate advanced the bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage. © Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) gestures after speaking by phone with his daughter Alison after the Senate advanced the bill to protect same-sex and interracial marriage.

The Senate closed Tuesday night by passing the Respect for Marriage Act, a measure that would codify same-sex and interracial marriage into law. The bill is now headed to the House for another vote and, once it passes there, it will head to President Biden’s desk. Here’s what we’ll be watching on Wednesday:

  • The House is expected to take up legislation on the tentative agreement reached between unions and railroads in an attempt to avoid a strike. Democratic leaders have vowed to take up the measure, which would force a rail contract deal despite objections from union members who raised concerns that the plan would not provide any paid sick days for workers.
  • Biden and Vice President Harris will deliver remarks at the White House’s Tribal Nations Summit, hosted by the Interior Department. This will be the first in-person Tribal Nations Summit of this administration. Later, the first and second families will attend the National Christmas Tree lightning ceremony at the Ellipse.
  • The Senate will continue work on Biden’s judicial nominations.
  • The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Wilkins v. United States. The case is testing the Quiet Title Act and the statute of limitations.

7:35 PM: Noted: Justices seem conflicted in immigration enforcement case

The Supreme Court appeared conflicted Tuesday in a contentious dispute about whether the Biden administration’s immigration policy priorities conflict with Congress’s instructions in federal law, Robert Barnes reports.

At issue is a Department of Homeland Security policy that says immigration officers should focus on arresting recent border crossers and immigrants who pose a threat to public safety, rather than the millions of other noncitizens who have lived here for years. The policy was a departure from the Trump administration, which encouraged arrests of all undocumented immigrants, at a time when border apprehensions are at a record high and Congress has not designated the resources to arrest all of the estimated 11 million immigrants deemed “removable.”

The Biden administration guidelines were challenged by a number of Republican-led states — Texas and Louisiana brought the case at the Supreme Court — and halted nationwide by a district judge in Texas, who said they violated federal law.

Per Robert:

U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar told the justices that ruling was untenable and at odds with past deference to how the executive branch carries out its duties under the Immigration and Nationality Act. ... In September 2021, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas directed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers to prioritize the detention of recent border crossers and immigrants who pose a threat to national security, through terrorism or espionage, or who were designated as egregious threats to public safety. The Trump administration had a far broader policy that allowed removal of those in the country illegally regardless of criminal history or how long they had lived in the community.
Prelogar and several liberal justices noted Tuesday that the guidelines were just that, giving the nation’s 6,000 ICE agents discretion to decide which unlawful immigrants posed the most pressing threats.
But Texas and other Republican-led states said the guidance violated specific commands from Congress. One provision of federal law says DHS “shall take into custody” noncitizens convicted of certain crimes when they are released from criminal custody. Another says DHS “shall remove” a noncitizen within 90 days after a final deportation order.
Prelogar said courts have always taken notice of the limited resources Congress has provided for such removals and allowed the executive branch prosecutorial discretion.
But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wondered what the court should do if it decides “shall means shall.” ... Roberts may have been playing devil’s advocate. In questioning Texas Solicitor General Judd E. Stone II, he called Prelogar’s practicality argument “compelling” and wondered what Stone thinks the government should do if Texas prevails in the case. ... Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh also wondered whether anything would change should Texas prevail.

Read more on the argument here.

7:29 PM: Take a look: Which senators voted for or against the Respect for Marriage Act

Twelve Senate Republicans joined nearly the entire Democratic caucus Tuesday to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, offering federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. One Democrat and two Republicans did not vote.

Nick Mourtoupalas and Adrian Blanco break down how each senator voted here.

7:08 PM: Noted: Lawmakers on both sides of aisle celebrate Respect for Marriage Act

Lawmakers rejoiced after the Senate passed Respect for Marriage Act, celebrating a historical bill that garnered bipartisan support and will now head to the House for a final vote.

“Tonight, the Senate took a historic step to help prevent discrimination, promote equality and protect the rights of all Americans by passing the Respect for Marriage Act that [Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.)] and I authored,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) tweeted. “Our bill would help ensure everyone is treated with respect and dignity.”

“Once the House votes, our bill heads to the President’s desk,” tweeted Sen. Kysten Sinema (D-Ariz.), one of the leading Democrats behind the bill and the first openly bisexual senator. Sinema, who was wearing what appeared to be the colors of the bisexual flag on the Senate floor as her colleagues voted, closed her tweet with an emoji of the pride flag.

President Biden, in a statement, said he’ll “proudly” sign the measure into law once the House passes it.

“With today’s bipartisan Senate passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, the United States is on the brink of reaffirming a fundamental truth: love is love, and Americans should have the right to marry the person they love,” Biden said. “I’m grateful to the determined Members of Congress — especially Senators Baldwin, Collins, Portman, Sinema, Tillis, and Feinstein — whose leadership has underscored that Republicans and Democrats together support the essential right of LGBTQI+ and interracial couples to marry.”

LGBTQ rights advocates also celebrated.

“We are incredibly thankful to see the bipartisan collaboration that made the Respect for Marriage Act a reality,” said Kasey Suffredini, a leader of the Trevor Project.

6:39 PM: Analysis from Mariana Alfaro, Reporter on the breaking political news team

Twelve Senate Republicans voted to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, highlighting the importance of bipartisan support behind the historic measure. They are: Roy Blunt (Mo.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Susan Collins (Maine), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Cynthia M. Lummis (Wyo.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio), Mitt Romney (Utah), Dan Sullivan (Alaska), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Todd C. Young (Ind.).

6:35 PM: This just in: Senate passes measure that would codify marriage equality

By a 61-36 vote, the Senate on Tuesday evening passed a bill that would enshrine marriage equality into law.

The measure, known as the Respect for Marriage Act, will head back to the House for another vote, where it is expected to pass. President Biden has pledged to sign it into law.

Twelve Republicans joined Democrats to vote for it. Three senators did not vote.

Ahead of the final vote, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who helped broker a bipartisan deal to secure the bill’s passaging, thanked her GOP colleagues who joined her in support of marriage equality.

“I know that it’s not been easy, but they’ve done the right thing,” Collins said.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who helped shepherd the bill through the chamber, also thanked her colleagues ahead of the vote, saying the Senate had, on Tuesday night, the opportunity to quell the fears of millions of Americans in same-sex and interracial marriage.

“By passing this bill, we are showing that the American government and people see them and respect them,” Baldwin said.

Though the House passed a version of the measure before the Thanksgiving break, the Senate modified it, adding a bipartisan amendment that clarifies protections for religious liberties. The House will now vote on this new version that, if approved, will be sent to Biden.

Read more here.

5:40 PM: Blake Masters among new RNC advisers; separate group to review midterms

The Republican National Committee is launching a review of the party’s midterm performance and on Tuesday announced a new advisory council to guide the group forward.

The RNC said in a news release the council would “advise on continuing the success we saw in 2022.” But the announcement — along with the separate review effort — comes as underwhelming results have set off hand-wringing and infighting in the party.

The midterm review group of RNC members, which is expected to share findings next year, will be led by California committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon and Mississippi committeeman Henry Barbour. Barbour co-wrote a GOP autopsy of the election in 2012, another disappointing year that prompted soul-searching in the party.

The advisory council includes incoming lawmakers — Sen.-elect Katie Britt from Alabama and Reps.-elect Monica De La Cruz of Texas and John James of Michigan — as well as two candidates who fell short: Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, a congressional candidate from Ohio, and Blake Masters, who lost to incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly in Arizona’s pivotal Senate race by about five points.

“Our party needs to modernize,” Masters said in a statement Tuesday. “We’re fighting against Big Tech, the media, and now, the Democrats’ GOTV early voting machine.” As a candidate, Masters echoed former president Donald Trump’s false claims that he won in 2020, which spread GOP distrust of mail voting. But Masters and other Republicans have been questioning their party’s growing reliance on Election Day voting in the wake of midterm losses.

An RNC official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said council members bring different backgrounds and areas of expertise and pointed to Masters’s knowledge of the tech world. A venture capitalist, Masters won his primary with $15 million in backing from his friend and mentor Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal.

Other members of the new advisory council include longtime Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, Virginia Attorney General Jason S. Miyares, Rep. Carlos A. Gimenez of Florida, Rep. Michelle Steel of California and Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, and evangelical group.

By: Hannah Knowles

5:30 PM: This just in: Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes guilty of seditious conspiracy

This artist's sketch depicts the trial of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, left, as he testifies before U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on charges of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. © Dana Verkouteren/AP This artist's sketch depicts the trial of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, left, as he testifies before U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on charges of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

A federal jury on Tuesday convicted Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes of seditious conspiracy for leading a months-long plot to unleash political violence to prevent the inauguration of President Biden, culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

As Spencer S. Hsu, Tom Jackman and Rachel Weiner report, the panel of 12 District residents deliberated for three days before finding Rhodes guilty of conspiring to oppose by force the lawful transition of presidential power.

Rhodes, in a dark suit and black eye-patch from an old gun accident, stood at the defense table, watching as verdicts continued to be read for him and four co-defendants facing a 13-count indictment.
The indictment brought against Rhodes, 56, and other Oath Keepers associates in January was the first time the U.S. government leveled the historically rare charge of seditious conspiracy in the massive Jan. 6 investigation. He is the highest-profile figure to face trial in connection with rioting by angry Trump supporters who injured scores of officers and ransacked offices, forcing the evacuation of lawmakers. ...
The verdict in Rhodes’s case likely will be taken as a bellwether for two remaining Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy trials set for December against five other Oath Keepers and leaders of the Proud Boys, including the latter group’s longtime chairman, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio. Both Rhodes and Tarrio are highly visible leaders of the alt-right or far-right anti-government movements, and were highlighted earlier this year at hearings by the House Jan. 6 committee, which probed the attack. ...
The Justice Department calculated it was worth the risk to try to send a public message by charging the defendants with one of the most serious political crimes in a wider attack on democracy.

Read more on this decision here.

4:53 PM: S.C. Supreme Court orders Meadows to testify in Georgia election probe

ATLANTA — The South Carolina Supreme Court on Tuesday unanimously upheld a lower court decision ordering former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to appear before a special grand jury in Atlanta investigating efforts by former president Donald Trump and his allies to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia.

In a brief decision, the five-member court rejected an appeal from Meadows, whose attorney had sought to quash the subpoena on several grounds, including claims that it violated Meadows’s constitutional right to privacy as Trump’s former chief of staff.

“We have reviewed the arguments raised by Appellant and find them to be manifestly without merit,” the justices wrote in a decision published Tuesday afternoon.

Meadows had been summoned to give testimony Wednesday. It was not immediately clear how the decision would affect the timing of that testimony. Meadows’s attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for a comment. A spokesman for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, which is assisting the grand jury, declined to comment.

Fulton County prosecutors have described Meadows as a key witness in the investigation and have indicated that they want to question him about a phone call Trump made to Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, which Meadows helped facilitate.

Trump personally urged Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in the state, where Biden claimed victory by fewer than 12,000 votes. Trump has insisted that the election there was marred by fraud, although multiple legal inquiries have found no evidence of that.

By: Holly Bailey

4:51 PM: The latest: Biden sharpens 2024 pitch in Michigan with focus on past two years

President Biden speaks at the SK Siltron CSS facility in Bay City, Mich., on Tuesday. © Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images President Biden speaks at the SK Siltron CSS facility in Bay City, Mich., on Tuesday.

President Biden visited Bay City, Mich., in his first policy-focused domestic trip since Democrats outperformed expectations in midterm elections three weeks ago. In his remarks, the president spent more time discussing the implementation of previously passed bills than what legislation he expects to pass in the future, Toluse Olorunnipa reports.

“What’s most exciting about it is that people are starting to feel a sense of optimism and the impact of these legislative achievements in their own lives,” he said during an event at a factory. “It’s going to accelerate in the months ahead. And so many things you’re going to find out what we’ve already done, that we haven’t been able to actually implement yet.”

Per Toluse:

It was a slightly modified version of an approach he took before the midterm elections, when advisers said Biden’s most effective strategy involved traveling around the country and contrasting his policies with those of his Republican detractors. The trip offered a preview of the kind of politicking Biden is likely to embrace in the next two years, when there is little expectation that the kind of sweeping legislation Democrats passed in 2021 and 2022 will be possible. Republicans, poised to take control of the House in January, have already promised to investigate the Biden administration and thwart the president’s agenda.
Biden, who has begun planning for a potential 2024 presidential run, reiterated many of the same lines he used on the campaign trail in 2020 and during the 2022 midterms, while promising that people would better understand his record soon. ... The president has said he plans to change little about the way he operates, despite a major change in the political landscape in Washington, where Republican control of the House is likely to bring much of his legislative agenda to a halt.

Instead of focusing on passing major pieces of legislation on hot-button issues such as abortion access, voting rights and gun control, Biden plans to take his message on the road and work to make sure voters see the impact of previously passed laws as they begin to be implemented.

Read more on the president’s approach here.

4:45 PM: Take a look: Sen. Lummis, a social conservative, defends marriage equality

Sen. Cynthia M. Lummis (R-Wyo.), who has long been defined as a social conservative, gave a moving speech on the Senate floor Tuesday in defense of marriage equality.

A lawmaker who previously said marriage is “between one man and one woman,” Lummis urged her Republican colleagues to join her in advancing the Respect for Marriage Act — which protects same-sex and interracial marriages at the federal level — and said it is time the country unites.

“For the sake of our nation today and its survival, we would do well by taking this step,” she said.

Lummis was one of the 12 Senate Republicans who joined all 50 Democrats before Thanksgiving break in a vote to advance the bill, which is expected to come to a vote Tuesday in the Senate before being sent back to the House.

Take a look at her speech:

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3:57 PM: Analysis: McCarthy’s brazen revisionism on the GOP and Nick Fuentes

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The Trump era has frequently involved Republicans feeling compelled to pretend that former president Donald Trump said something he didn’t actually say — or vice versa.

But House speaker hopeful Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) attempt to move past Trump’s dinner with a white nationalist certainly ranks up there with the most brazen episodes, Aaron Blake writes.

After a White House meeting Tuesday, McCarthy was asked to weigh-in on the week-old controversy, which has finally, belatedly, drawn GOP responses. But while sharply criticizing Fuentes and his ideology, McCarthy falsely claimed that both Trump and another big-name Republican who appeared with Fuentes, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), had “denounced” Fuentes.
That’s not true in either case. And in one case in particular, McCarthy should be well aware of that fact.
Appearing at the White House, McCarthy said of Fuentes: “I don’t think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes. He has no place in this Republican Party. I think President Trump came out four times and condemned him, and didn’t know who he was.”
Trump has in fact not condemned Fuentes. Indeed, as with many fringe figures he has cozied up to, Trump has rather conspicuously declined to do so — apparently fearing that it could turn off a portion of his base, however large that portion is...
McCarthy’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for examples of Trump supposedly denouncing Fuentes...
How deliberate is that revisionism? Look no further than the other person McCarthy on Tuesday falsely claimed had “denounced” Fuentes: Greene.
“She denounced him,” McCarthy said curtly when asked about Greene...
In February, Greene became the second GOP lawmaker in two years to appear at Fuentes’s America First Political Action Conference. Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) had appeared the year before and drew condemnations, but that apparently didn’t dissuade Greene from doing the same a year later... What’s more, Greene in a lengthy Twitter thread tweeted a video of her appearance and defended it.

Read more on this revisionism here.

3:17 PM: The latest: Ahead of marriage vote, Schumer dresses for the occasion

As the Senate is poised to pass legislation to protect same-sex marriages, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) pointed out to reporters that he is wearing a purple tie.

Why is that notable?

“This is the tie I wore to the wedding of my daughter and her wife,” Schumer told reporters at a news conference. “So I’m wearing it today.” Schumer also said his daughter and her wife are soon expecting their first child, and with passage of this legislation, “that child will now grow up in a more accepting, inclusive and loving world, a world that will honor their mothers’ marriage and give it the dignity it deserves.”

The Senate is poised on Tuesday afternoon to pass the Respect for Marriage Act, a bipartisan measure that will protect same-sex and interracial marriages.

By: Azi Paybarah

3:07 PM: Noted: Schumer again calls for Trump to denounce antisemitic dinner guest

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called for Donald Trump to denounce virulent antisemite Nick Fuentes, with whom the former president had dinner at his home in Mar-a-Lago last week.

In the wake of news that Trump met with Fuentes and the rapper formerly known as Kanye West at his Florida home, Schumer decried his actions and, on Tuesday, doubled down on his demand that Trump apologize.

“He still hasn’t denounced him. That is just an utter disgrace,” Schumer said. “That is un-American. That is not what any leader of any party, of any philosophy, should do.”

The Democratic leader also praised the handful of Senate Republicans who have denounced Trump’s meeting with Fuentes.

“I do praise many in the Republican Party and many in the Jewish community who supported the president, President Trump, in the past, for condemning him.”

Still, he said Trump’s silence on Fuentes’s views “is deafening and appalling.”

2:46 PM: This just in: ‘Anyone meeting’ with antisemites is ‘unlikely to ever be elected president,’ McConnell says

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the Capitol on Tuesday. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the Capitol on Tuesday.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in the wake of news that former president Donald Trump met with a known antisemite and white nationalist, said that anyone who meets with people who embrace such mentalities is “unlikely to ever be elected president.”

“There is no room in the Republican Party for antisemitism or white supremacy,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday. “And anyone meeting with people advocating that point of view, in my judgment, are highly unlikely to ever be elected president of the United States.”

McConnell issued his condemnation of Trump’s meeting with far-right activist Nick Fuentes and the rapper Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) without naming the former president by name.

McConnell joined a small group of Republicans who have condemned Trump’s meeting. Some Senate Republicans spent Monday telling reporters that there is no room in their party for antisemitic and white-supremacist views. Many of these Republicans, however, refrained from directly calling out Trump, focusing instead on criticizing Fuentes and whoever advised Trump to meet with him.

The former president — who announced his candidacy for 2024 earlier this month — hosted Fuentes and Ye last week at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida.

2:29 PM: On our radar: As tributes to Rep. Donald McEachin pour in, Youngkin weighs special election in Va.

The American flag flies at half-staff at the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday in honor of Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), who died Monday. © J. Scott Applewhite/AP The American flag flies at half-staff at the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday in honor of Rep. Donald McEachin (D-Va.), who died Monday.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) on Tuesday said he had not yet decided when to call a special election to fill the vacancy left by Rep. A. Donald McEachin, whose death Monday night came as surprise despite the Virginia Democrat’s long struggle with cancer and the aftereffects of cancer treatment.

As The Post’s Meagan Flynn and Laura Vozzella reported, McEachin, 61, had represented Virginia’s 4th District, which stretches from Richmond to the North Carolina line, since 2017. Before that, he served nine years as a state senator and eight as a state delegate. Per our colleagues:

On Tuesday, a spokesman for McEachin said the exact cause of death was still unclear but referred back to a statement the office released late Monday night noting McEachin’s battle with “secondary effects of his colorectal cancer from 2013.” The spokesman, Shahid Ahmed, described the congressman’s death as very sudden and unexpected.
Under state law, the governor calls a special election to fill the vacancy when a member of the House of Representative dies or resigns. The law does not specify how soon the governor must act.
Youngkin on Tuesday did not provide a timeline for when the decision would be made, noting he would consult with others about selecting a date. Praising McEachin as “an extraordinary public servant” who fought “a very tough battle with cancer,” the governor said it was too soon to pivot to plans for replacing him.

You can read the full article here.

2:16 PM: Take a look: White House wishes Team USA good luck ahead of key match with Iran

The White House set up a sign wishing the U.S. men’s soccer team good luck in a decisive match with Iran in the World Cup on Tuesday.

The match kicked off at 2 p.m. Eastern, and you can follow live updates here.

The sign, placed in the driveway that leads to the residence, reads “GO TEAM USA!” and is signed by the president and the first lady.

Team USA is at risk of being eliminated from the World Cup after playing to draws against Wales and England. The Americans will be eliminated with a draw or a loss. Iran, meanwhile, fell to England and beat Wales.

This match — and Iran’s World Cup campaign overall — has drawn a spotlight amid protests against the country’s clerical leadership.

While President Biden is wishing his team the best, he’ll probably miss the match — he was scheduled to tour a factory in Michigan as the first half of the game played out.

1:52 PM: Analysis from Mariana Alfaro, Reporter on the breaking political news team

President Biden is “confident” there will be no rail strike, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.

Jean-Pierre told reporters that Biden has advocated for rail workers to receive paid leave and is concerned that a strike could create a major disruption to the nation’s economy.

“He believes that if there’s a real shutdown, it would be unacceptable,” she said.

1:48 PM: The latest: Democrats have little room to maneuver to avert rail strike

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 30. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 30.

Democratic leaders of the House and Senate have little wiggle room in the narrowly divided chambers if they hope to deliver on President Biden’s request to avert a national rail strike through rapidly passing legislation.

The Post’s Lauren Kaori Gurley and Tony Romm write that in the Senate, particularly, Democrats would need to band together while still soliciting 10 GOP votes to act — and more might be necessary in the event of defections. Per our colleagues:

In public tweets and hallway interviews, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) blasted the deal, because it did not include sick leave. In recent days, he has pointed to the rail industry’s stock buybacks to make the case it can afford to provide additional benefits to workers.
Separately, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) aired early GOP concerns on Tuesday, tweeting that rail companies and workers should “go back” and “negotiate a deal.” If Congress does have to act, however, Rubio said he would not cast his vote in favor of a proposal that “doesn’t have the support of the rail workers.”

You can read the full story here.

1:44 PM: Analysis: Here’s how much trouble Kevin McCarthy is in

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House speaker candidate Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) shared a rather striking scenario for House Republicans on Newsmax on Monday: “If we play games on the floor, the Democrats could end up picking who the speaker is.”

The idea is that if McCarthy can’t get the votes to become speaker, and there isn’t a ready alternative, moderate Republicans could band together with Democrats to fill the void.

As Aaron Blake and JM Rieger report, it’s a rather fanciful hypothetical meant to persuade the caucus to unite behind McCarthy. But the fact that McCarthy felt the need to lodge this warning shot would seem to say plenty about how imperiled he views his ascent as being.

Thus, it’s worth drilling down on just how firm McCarthy’s GOP opponents are and what their beefs are, given the maneuvering ahead:

As things stand, we count precisely five Republicans as indicating they’re against McCarthy — at least for now.
If five of these names are truly committed to actually voting against McCarthy (and all Democrats cast ballots), they could kill McCarthy’s shot at becoming speaker — again.

Here are the current standings:

  • Hard no (4): Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Bob Good (Va.), Ralph Norman (S.C.).
  • Very likely no (1): Rep. Matthew M. Rosendale (Mont.).
  • Possible noes worth watching: Reps. Chip Roy (Tex.), Clay Higgins (La.), Scott Perry (Pa.), Andrew S. Clyde (Ga.), Barry Moore (Ala.).

Read more on the threats to McCarthy’s potential speakership here.

1:13 PM: Noted: Ahead of votes on marriage equality bill, Chasten Buttigieg shares why it matters

Ahead of key congressional votes on legislation that would codify marriage equality into law, Chasten Buttigieg — the husband of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg — shared a message encouraging lawmakers to pass the bill.

“This is what marriage is to me,” Chasten Buttigieg started in a thread outlining a busy morning in the household he shares with his husband and their twin toddlers.

“Mornings spent negotiating diaper bags, getting sweaters on wiggling toddlers, and feeding the dogs. It’s scattered building blocks on the floor and scrambled eggs on the wall. It’s goodbye kisses at the door and thermoses of coffee in the minivan,” he wrote. “It’s having the right to juggle it all with the person who makes you feel loved and supported amidst the chaos. It’s the right to have a shoulder to lean on at end of the day in the first place. It’s the promise of hard work for your partner, your kids, and for us, our country.”

The best-selling author said he is aware of how “precious” his marriage is, and how “sacred and fragile our unions can be in the eyes of our ever-changing democracy.”

“We are not yet afforded the pleasure of letting our shoulders down, of taking a breath,” he wrote. “We are fully aware that some desperately want to take this away.”

Chasten Buttigieg added that he hopes “our friends on the other side of the aisle” will listen to the majority of Americans who believe that same-sex marriage should stay legal.

12:57 PM: Noted: What the marriage bill would and wouldn’t do

Same-sex marriage supporters hold up a giant flag in front of the Supreme Court in 2015 as the court prepared the hear oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges. © Allison Shelley for The Washington Post Same-sex marriage supporters hold up a giant flag in front of the Supreme Court in 2015 as the court prepared the hear oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges.

The marriage bill expected to pass the Senate on Tuesday afternoon is notable for what it wouldn’t do as well as for what it would.

Democrats are pushing the legislation in case the Supreme Court overturns Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark 2015 ruling that guaranteed same-sex couples the right to marry nationally.

Under the Respect for Marriage Act, which the Senate is considering Wednesday, it would be up to the states to decide whether to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples if Obergefell is overturned.

But, as The Post’s Amy B Wang points out, the legislation would require that people be considered married in any state as long as the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.

Per Amy:

The bill also would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman and allowed states to decline to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
That law has remained on the books despite being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

The legislation also includes an amendment to allay some Republicans’ concerns about religious liberty.

Among other things, the amendment clarifies that the bill does not authorize the federal government to recognize polygamous marriages and confirms that nonprofit religious organizations would not be required to provide “any services, facilities, or goods for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.”

You can read more from Amy here.

12:48 PM: Analysis: Three protests are testing the White House

Protesters show banners Friday ahead of the Iran-Wales match at the World Cup. © Alessandra Tarantino/AP Protesters show banners Friday ahead of the Iran-Wales match at the World Cup.

Iran. The World Cup. China. The White House is grappling with three very different kinds of protests in three very different settings that are testing President Biden’s commitment to make human rights “the center of our foreign policy.”

As Olivier Knox writes in Tuesday’s Daily 202, the administration seems to be taking three different approaches, widely varying in level of support for the demonstrators’ causes and retribution for the officials seeking to smother their message. Strongest: Iran. Much less forceful: China.

That’s not a criticism. It’s an assessment. The situation on the ground is vastly different: Iranian authorities have been beating and shooting demonstrators dead in the streets since September; the extent and duration of China’s crackdown isn’t clear, though there are credible reports of state violence against protesters and journalists, as well as heavy-handed censorship.

In China, thousands are protesting Xi Jinping’s “zero-covid” policies. And while the White House has expressed support for the protesters’ right to demonstrate, it kept its powder dry when asked whether the United States shares their goal of ending the policies.

In Qatar, the World Cup has played out even as the kingdom is scrutinized for alleged abuses of migrant workers and intolerance of LGBTQ identities. Interestingly, the United States has directed some of its fiercest criticism not at the host country — whose officers have banned anything rainbow-themed from stadiums because of that symbol’s connections to the LGBTQ community — but at FIFA, world soccer’s governing body.

After FIFA warned of drastic penalties against players wearing armbands supporting LGBTQ+ rights, Secretary of State Antony Blinken fired off: “No one on a football pitch should be forced to choose between supporting these values and playing for their team.”

And in Iran, the Biden administration has gone further than the language it uses on China about the right to protest and specifically embraced the cause that triggered the demonstrations: ending repressive dress codes for women.

Read more on these protests here.

12:40 PM: The latest: House to consider bill to avert rail strike Wednesday, Pelosi says

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that her chamber will take up a bill on Wednesday to avert a national rail strike, while Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) indicated his chamber would quickly follow suit.

“All four of us agreed we’ve got to resolve this rail shutdown as quickly as possible,” Schumer said following a meeting at the White House that also included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

With less than two weeks until a strike deadline, President Biden called on Congress on Monday to impose a deal negotiated with help from his administration this year to avert a shutdown of the country’s freight railroads.

That deal was recently voted down by four railroad unions representing most of the union members. The rail workers have said they are angry that the deal lacked paid sick days or other substantial changes to an attendance policy that penalizes workers for taking time off while they are sick.

Pelosi indicated she shares some of the workers’ concerns but suggested the consequences of a strike would be dire for the U.S. economy.

“I don’t like going against the ability of unions to strike,” Pelosi told reporters outside the White House. “But weighing the equities, we must avoid a strike. Jobs will be lost. Even union jobs will be lost.”

“Leader McConnell and I agreed we’ll try to get it done ASAP,” added Schumer, who appeared alongside Pelosi.

Speaking later to reporters, McCarthy predicted the bill would pass the House but criticized Democrats for dealing with the issue too close to the strike deadline.

12:22 PM: This just in: McCarthy says no one should spend time with Nick Fuentes

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Meeting at the Venetian Las Vegas in Las Vegas on Nov. 19. (David Becker/The Washington Post) © David Becker/For The Washington Post House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Meeting at the Venetian Las Vegas in Las Vegas on Nov. 19. (David Becker/The Washington Post)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that he condemns the ideology of white nationalist Nick Fuentes. But McCarthy appeared to accept former president Donald Trump’s explanation that he didn’t know who Fuentes was when he recently had dinner with him and the rapper Ye.

“I don’t think anybody should be spending any time with Nick Fuentes. He has no place in this Republican Party,” McCarthy told reporters at the White House after a meeting with President Biden and other congressional leaders.

“I think President Trump came out four times and condemned [Fuentes] and didn’t know who he was,” McCarthy said.

Challenged by a reporter who said Trump hadn’t condemned Fuentes, McCarthy said: “Well, I condemn his ideology. It has no place in society.”

McCarthy has faced pressure in recent days to speak out on Trump’s meeting with Fuentes. Several other Republicans, including former vice president Mike Pence, have condemned Fuentes and questioned Trump’s judgment in recent days.

McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that Trump is free to meet with whomever he wants.

I don’t think anybody, though, should have a meeting with Nick Fuentes,” McCarthy said. “His views are nowhere within the Republican Party or within this country itself.”

12:06 PM: The latest: Top Democrat seeks financial data from Binance, Coinbase, other crypto firms

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) walks to a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 8. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) walks to a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 8.

A top Senate Democrat on Tuesday pressed Binance, Coinbase and other major cryptocurrency exchanges to explain how they would protect their customers in the event of a financial calamity, as Washington braces for further fallout from the collapse of FTX.

The Post’s Tony Romm writes that the new requests for information — sent by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the leader of the tax-focused Senate Finance Committee — arrived as Democrats weighed a battery of new bills and oversight hearings targeting the mostly unregulated crypto industry. Per Tony:

Wyden directed his letters to the U.S. division of Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, KuCoin, Bitfinex and Gemini, major exchanges that allow customers worldwide to buy and sell various digital tokens. The senator asked them to reveal more information about the way they manage customers’ deposits and assets. Wyden also requested the firms’ balance sheets, while demanding they explain their policies in the event of a crisis, such as bankruptcy.
In seeking that data, Wyden pointed to a wide array of federal laws that protect investors in registered securities or customers at regulated banks — but, often, not those who purchase crypto. He cited that discrepancy as he blasted the “outrageous mismanagement” at FTX, which had been the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency exchange until a liquidity crisis plunged it into insolvency this month.

You can read Tony’s full story here.

11:49 AM: The latest: Georgia voting groups mobilize as early voting in Senate runoff heats up

Former Republican senator Kelly Loeffler is mobilizing conservative voters in the runoff election. © Jessica McGowan/Getty Images Former Republican senator Kelly Loeffler is mobilizing conservative voters in the runoff election.

ATLANTA — Voter mobilization groups in Georgia are again scrambling to educate, aid and turn out voters as the state navigates its first major runoff election after a controversial election overhaul.

Georgia’s progressive coalition of voter mobilization groups, coordinated by America Votes, says it has knocked on more than 1.5 million doors since the midterm election and are using 2,500 canvassers to knock on more than 200,000 doors a day before the Dec. 6 runoff election.

More than 450,000 voters have already cast an early ballot in the Senate runoff between Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael G. Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker.

“On the doors, there is not only a deep emphasis on why this election is important, but also voter education information to help inform voters on exactly when and where they can vote,” said Hillary Holley, executive director of Care in Action, a voting and labor group.

Grass roots progressive groups have cautioned, however, that their operations are less funded than in Georgia’s last election cycle — which featured dual blockbuster Senate runoffs that ultimately clinched Democratic control of the upper chamber — and that conservative mobilization groups, including Republican former senator Kelly Loeffler’s Greater Georgia, have flourished in recent years.

“Winning means continuous investment,” Holley said. “The pledges are coming through, the interest is there, funders are showing up on calls, but the money’s not hitting our bank accounts.”

In an interview, Loeffler said her operation is focused on mobilizing the conservative base, including an estimated 100,000 reliably conservative voters who distrust Georgia’s election systems. The focus is a complement to the efforts of Georgia Republicans like Gov. Brian Kemp, who have crafted messaging appealing to the more than 200,000 Georgia voters who broadly backed Republicans but avoided the scandal-prone Walker.

“Our races are decided at the margins,” Loeffler said of Georgia’s elections. “And as we head into a runoff that is only separated by 35,000 votes, this target audience is exactly who we need to go after.”

By: Matthew Brown

11:11 AM: The latest: Biden says he’s seeking ‘common ground’ with congressional leaders

President Biden meets with congressional leaders, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the White House in Washington on Tuesday. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post President Biden meets with congressional leaders, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the White House in Washington on Tuesday.

President Biden said that he hopes to find “common ground” on a range of issues, including averting a national train strike, as he began a White House meeting with congressional leaders on Tuesday.

“I asked for top leaders in Congress to come in and talk about what we’re going to do between now and Christmas,” Biden said in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. “There’s a lot to do, including resolving the train strike.”

The House will continue to be controlled by Democrats through the end of the lame-duck congressional session now underway. When Congress reconvenes in January, Republicans will be in the majority in the House. Democrats will continue to control the Senate.

With less than two weeks until a railroad strike deadline, Biden called on Congress on Monday to impose a deal negotiated with help from his administration this year to avert a shutdown of the country’s freight railroads.

Lawmakers face a Dec. 16 deadline to pass a spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

In a brief segment of the meeting open to reporters, Biden mentioned that, as well as his administration’s requests for funding to combat the coronavirus and to aid Ukraine in its war with Russia.

“And we’re going to find other areas of common ground,” Biden said.

Lawmakers in attendance included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Vice President Harris is also attending.

11:03 AM: On our radar: Biden going to Boston to raise money for Senate Democrats

President Biden boards Marine One before takeoff from the South Lawn of the White House on Nov. 3. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post President Biden boards Marine One before takeoff from the South Lawn of the White House on Nov. 3.

President Biden will head to Boston on Friday to raise money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in advance of the Dec. 6 runoff in Georgia between Sen. Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker, the White House announced Tuesday.

No plans have been advertised for Biden to campaign for Warnock in Georgia, where the president remains unpopular, but he is expected to be a big draw for Democratic donors in Massachusetts.

The White House provided no additional details on the event. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey, both Massachusetts Democrats, are expected to attend as well.

To this point in the runoff, Warnock has an advantage over Walker on advertising, The Post’s Azi Paybarah notes.

According to data from AdImpact, Warnock and Democratic groups have spent $46.2 million on advertising, almost double the $23.3 million spent by Walker and Republican groups.

10:40 AM: Analysis: Republican officials turn to election rejection

A voting sign points voters in the right direction to drop off ballots in Phoenix on Nov. 7, 2022. © Ross D. Franklin/AP A voting sign points voters in the right direction to drop off ballots in Phoenix on Nov. 7, 2022.

Arizona state law mandates that counties certify their election results no more than 20 days after an election. That was Monday, so as the day progressed, county officials finalized the outcome of the 2022 midterm contests one by one.

Cochise County did not, notes The Post’s Philip Bump. Per our colleague:

There, the two Republicans on the three-person board of supervisors agreed to table finalization of the results, quickly spurring a lawsuit from the state. Officials in Mohave County considered a similar act of rebellion, with one Republican on that county’s board claiming that he was only voting to certify the results “under duress.”
This is the evolution of the right’s effort to reject elections in which their candidates lose — or simply to reject elections in general. Finalization of election results comes only with the imprimatur of official recognition, so Republican officials in some places are simply refusing to grant that recognition. Since Donald Trump began his furious effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, sympathizers at the county level have repeatedly tried to take elections into their own hands.

You can read the full analysis here.

10:11 AM: The latest: Newsom needles McCarthy for silence on Trump meal with Fuentes

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) listens virtually during a meeting on wildfires with President Biden at the White House complex on July 30. © Al Drago/For The Washington Post California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) listens virtually during a meeting on wildfires with President Biden at the White House complex on July 30.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Tuesday needled House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for not publicly condemning former president Donald Trump’s recent meal with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye, both of whom have a history of antisemitic remarks.

“This is your reminder that @GOPLeader McCarthy has yet to comment on the head of his party dining with a proud white supremacist and Holocaust denier. Your silence speaks volumes,” Newsom tweeted, adding a cricket emoji.

Newsom has sought to raise his national profile in recent months even as he insists that he is “all in” on President Biden seeking reelection in 2024 and that he is not planning to seek the Democratic nomination if Biden steps aside.

The attack on McCarthy comes as he seeks to rally House Republicans around his bid to be speaker when the party takes control of the House next year.

Numerous other Republicans have criticized Trump’s meal with Fuentes and Ye, including former vice president Mike Pence.

9:54 AM: Analysis: Musk is waging war on Apple. Republicans are joining in.

Elon Musk attacked Apple’s practices in a series of tweets Monday. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News) © Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg Elon Musk attacked Apple’s practices in a series of tweets Monday. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

New Twitter owner Elon Musk escalated his attacks against Apple on Monday, accusing the tech giant of scaling back advertising on the platform and of threatening to pull Twitter from its App Store.

Joining him in his battle against the behemoth? Congressional Republicans.

Writing in The Technology 202, The Post’s Cristiano Lima reports that in a flurry of tweets, Musk questioned whether Apple hates “free speech” for “mostly” halting its Twitter advertising. He also accused the company of censoring developers and likened the tech giant’s grip on the app store market to a monopoly. Per Cristiano:

Musk claimed Apple had “threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store” without explanation and sharply criticized the 30 percent commission fee it takes from many developers. By doing so, Musk waged war on Twitter’s top advertiser. …
Musk’s tweets resonated with Republicans on Capitol Hill, who hammered Apple last year for suspending right-leaning social network Parler over concerns about its content moderation efforts and some of whom have backed bills to rein in the tech giant’s app store practices.
Sen. Mike Lee (Utah), the top Republican on the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee, called Apple’s purported threat to yank Twitter “unacceptable” and said it “makes the case for the Open App Markets Act.”

You can read the full analysis here.

9:29 AM: This just in: Biden to meet with congressional leaders on lame-duck priorities

President Biden. in the Oval Office on May 30, meets with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post President Biden. in the Oval Office on May 30, meets with Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

The White House has announced an additional event on President Biden’s schedule Tuesday: a meeting with congressional leaders to discuss “legislative priorities” for the lame-duck legislative session now underway.

The meeting is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Eastern at the White House. Those expected to attend include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

As noted in Monday’s The Early 202, lawmakers’ most important task in coming weeks is to pass a spending bill — either an omnibus or a continuing resolution — to keep the government running. They must ask before Dec. 16 or face a partial government shutdown.

Biden has also asked for nearly $40 billion in aid for Ukraine and $9 billion of covid funding.

And Congress also needs to pass the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual military funding bill that has been passed every year for more than six decades. Lawmakers are way behind this year.

The Senate is moving Tuesday on a bill to protect same-same marriage, which must also go through the House before heading to Biden’s desk.

Other possible agenda items include revising the Electoral Count Act, raising the debt limit and attempting to pass additional gun control.

9:07 AM: Analysis: The fight over medication abortion is just getting started

Packets of mifepristone, abortion medication, at Dr. Franz Theard’s clinic in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Paul Ratje/The Washington Post © Paul Ratje/For The Washington Post Packets of mifepristone, abortion medication, at Dr. Franz Theard’s clinic in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Paul Ratje/The Washington Post

The fight over abortion pills is heating up, as conservatives turn their focus to medication abortion.

Writing in The Health 202, The Post’s Rachel Roubein relays that in the past two weeks, a conservative group sued the Food and Drug Administration in an effort to revoke approval of a drug used in medication abortions. A major antiabortion group launched an effort to use environmental rules to limit access to the pills. On the other side, nine Democratic senators are urging the FDA to quickly finish work to permanently make the pills more accessible. Per Rachel:

Such efforts are merely scratching the surface of the battles to come. Advocates on both sides of the debate say they expect the issue of medication abortion to explode into the limelight next year as most state legislatures convene for the first time since Roe v. Wade was overturned in June.
Medication abortion accounted for more than half of all abortions in the United States even before the nation’s highest court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion. Abortion rights supporters are motivated to protect access to the pills, as antiabortion groups try to clamp down their use in a post-Roe world.

You can read Rachel’s full analysis here.

8:40 AM: Analysis: Biden’s clean-energy czar faces his toughest task yet

John Podesta at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Egypt. (Nariman El-Mofty/AP) © Nariman El-Mofty/AP John Podesta at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Egypt. (Nariman El-Mofty/AP)

John Podesta’s résumé includes stints as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and counselor to President Barack Obama. Now the veteran Democratic power broker is taking on what might be his hardest job yet: implementing President Biden’s landmark climate law.

Writing in The Climate 202, The Post’s Maxine Joselow notes that Podesta, 73, returned to the White House in September to oversee implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, which authorized the biggest burst of spending in the nation’s history to bolster clean energy and curb planet-warming emissions. Per Maxine:

Podesta’s central task might seem dull and bureaucratic, but it’s incredibly important for U.S. climate and industrial policy: He must ensure that the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department issue detailed guidance on how consumers and corporations can use $270 billion worth of tax credits to spur the deployment of clean energy nationwide.
“In terms of people who have the skills, the expertise and the relationships within the federal government to tackle such complicated issues, there’s no one like John Podesta,” said Christy Goldfuss, chief policy impact officer at the Natural Resources Defense Council and a former colleague of Podesta’s at the Center for American Progress think tank.

You can read the full analysis here.

8:14 AM: Noted: Sen. Rick Scott presses case that GOP leaders are ‘caving’ to Democrats

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting in Las Vegas on Nov. 19. © David Becker/For The Washington Post Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition meeting in Las Vegas on Nov. 19.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who mounted an unsuccessful leadership challenge this month to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is continuing to accuse “establishment” party members of “routinely caving in” to Democrats and failing to articulate a policy agenda.

“I ran for Senate leader because the current plan of routinely caving in and allowing [Senate Majority Leader Charles E.] Schumer [D-N.Y.] and [President] Biden to win must stop and because we must become a party with a plan to rescue America … ” Scott wrote in an op-ed published in the Washington Examiner. “The old Washington establishment Republican path of never having a vision is over, it’s dying. A new wave of bold and aggressive Republicans who will stand up and fight is demanding change from our leaders in Washington.”

The op-ed highlighting rifts in the GOP comes a week ahead of a runoff election in Georgia that will determine whether Democrats will have a 51-49 majority in the Senate or whether the chamber remains evenly divided. Scott serves as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is tasked with getting Republicans elected to the chamber.

In the Senate GOP leadership election, McConnell prevailed over Scott 37 to 10.

In the op-ed, Scott also defended his decision to release a lengthy policy blueprint earlier this year that included a proposal to require legislation to be passed every five years to remain on the books.

Biden and other Democrats were quick to point out that Social Security and Medicare were established by legislation, and they repeatedly accused Scott of wanting to put the popular programs “on the chopping block.”

McConnell and other leading Republicans never embraced Scott’s plan, and some blamed him for handing Democrats ammunition during the midterms.

“Anyone who is serious knows that my plan was never about ending Social Security or Medicare,” Scott wrote, accusing Democrats of being “liars.”

7:46 AM: On our radar: McCarthy warns that Democrats could play role in picking speaker

© Provided by The Washington Post

With five weeks until the new Congress convenes, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is pressing ahead with his bid for speaker despite being short of the necessary Republican votes, and he is warning that Democrats could be a deciding factor if his GOP colleagues don’t rally around him.

“We have to speak with one voice. We will only be successful if we work together,” McCarthy said during an appearance Monday on Newsmax. “If we play games on the floor, the Democrats could end up picking who the speaker is.”

When Republicans take control of the House on Jan. 3, McCarthy will have only a few Republican votes to spare as the full chamber picks its speaker.

McCarthy’s most vocal opponents — who include Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Bob Good (R-Va.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Matthew M. Rosendale (R-Mont.) and Chip Roy (R-Tex.) — have signaled they have more than enough votes to block his path. They have not rallied around an alternative, however.

As McCarthy referenced, it’s possible that a coalition that includes Democrats could coalesce around another speaker candidate if Republicans don’t fall in line behind him.

During the Newsmax interview, McCarthy noted that then-Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) was also well short of the votes needed early in the process of picking a House speaker but that he ultimately won the post.

“I think at the end of the day, calmer heads will prevail,” McCarthy said. “We’ll work together to find the best path forward.”

7:28 AM: The latest: Pelosi orders Capitol flags at half-staff following death of Rep. McEachin

Rep. A. Donald McEachin speaks during the dedication of Richmond's Arthur Ashe Boulevard at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture in 2019. McEachin died on Nov. 28. (Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post) Rep. A. Donald McEachin speaks during the dedication of Richmond's Arthur Ashe Boulevard at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture in 2019. McEachin died on Nov. 28. (Julia Rendleman for The Washington Post)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has ordered the flags at the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half-staff following the death of Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.).

The White House also announced flags would be lowered there on Tuesday.

McEachin died Monday, just weeks after winning reelection to Congress, his office announced. He was 61.

McEachin had represented Virginia’s 4th District, which stretches from Richmond to the North Carolina line, since 2017. Before that, he had served nine years as a state senator and eight as a delegate, The Post’s Laura Vozzella and Meagan Flynn write. Per our colleagues:

“We are all devastated at the passing of our boss and friend, Congressman Donald McEachin,” McEachin’s chief of staff, Tara Rountree, said in a statement late Monday night. “Valiantly, for years now, we have watched him fight and triumph over the secondary effects of his colorectal cancer from 2013. Tonight, he lost that battle, and the people of Virginia’s Fourth Congressional District lost a hero who always, always fought for them and put them first.”
A minister and lawyer, McEachin was the Democratic nominee for state attorney general in 2001, losing to Republican Jerry Kilgore. State Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) recalled “watching him make history as the first ever African American nominee” for that position. He was only the third African American to represent Virginia in the U.S. House.

You can read more about McEachin here.

7:16 AM: Analysis: Biden pushes Congress to avoid rail strike. But how quickly can it act?

A CSX Transportation freight train sits parked in a rail yard in Louisville on Sept. 14. (Luke Sharrett for The Washington Post) © Luke Sharrett/for the Washington Post A CSX Transportation freight train sits parked in a rail yard in Louisville on Sept. 14. (Luke Sharrett for The Washington Post)

Congress’s lame-duck to-do list just got longer.

Writing in The Early 202, The Post’s Leigh Ann Caldwell and Theodoric Meyer note that there already was a good chance Congress would have to intervene in negotiations between unions and railroad companies as a potential strike looms as early as Dec. 9. But lawmakers were reluctant to act or say anything until President Biden offered direction. Per our colleagues:

On Monday evening, he did.
Biden sent a directive calling on lawmakers to pass legislation adopting the “tentative agreement” between workers and management reached in September. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) quickly announced that she would bring up the legislation this week. The Senate is likely to act soon after.
Pelosi and Biden said they are supportive of workers’ demands for paid sick days but that they cannot be addressed right now.
“Some in Congress want to modify the deal to either improve it for labor or for management,” Biden said in a statement. “However well-intentioned, any changes would risk delay and a debilitating shutdown. The agreement was reached in good faith by both sides.”

You can read the full analysis here.

6:45 AM: On our radar: Senate schedules afternoon vote on marriage bill

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) departs after a vote on Capitol Hill on Thursday. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) departs after a vote on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

The Senate on Tuesday is poised to pass legislation that seeks to protect same-sex marriages in the event that the Supreme Court overturns a landmark 2015 ruling that legalized them nationwide.

The Respect for Marriage Act would require that people be considered married in any state as long as the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.

The bill would also repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman and allowed states to decline to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

That law has remained on the books despite being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Under an agreement announced Monday, the Senate plans to consider three Republican-sponsored amendments to the pending legislation on Tuesday afternoon before voting on final passage. The bill is expected to pass with the votes of all 50 members of the Democratic caucus and about a dozen or so Republicans.

It would then go to the House, where Democrats maintain a majority in the lame-duck session. President Biden has pledged to sign the bill.

The push for legislation addressing same-sex marriage followed the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a ruling that took away abortion rights nationally.

In his June concurrence with the decision to overturn Roe, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that the high court should also examine previous rulings that legalized the right of married couples to buy and use contraception without government restriction (Griswold v. Connecticut), same-sex relationships (Lawrence v. Texas) and marriage equality (Obergefell v. Hodges).

6:40 AM: On our radar: Biden heading to Bay City, Mich., to tout manufacturing jobs

President Biden gestures upon boarding Air Force One at Nantucket Memorial Airport in Massachusetts on Nov. 27. © Susan Walsh/AP President Biden gestures upon boarding Air Force One at Nantucket Memorial Airport in Massachusetts on Nov. 27.

President Biden is heading Tuesday to Bay City, Mich., to tout the growth of manufacturing jobs during his tenure.

The visit to a presidential battleground state could presage what voters might hear from Biden if he seeks reelection in 2024, as he has said is his intention.

Biden is scheduled to appear at an SK Siltron CSS facility that makes semiconductor wafers used in electric vehicles. Last year, the company announced a $300 million expansion in Michigan operations, a move that is expected to quadruple production capacity in coming years and create up to 150 jobs, according to the White House.

Among other legislative initiatives championed by Democrats, Biden is expected to highlight the Chips and Science Act, which aims to boost the domestic semiconductor industry and help the United States better compete against China and other global competitors.

According to a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the trip, Biden’s remarks will also touch on other issues, including efforts to “protect democracy” and protect abortion access.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-Mich.), both of whom just won reelection, are among the politicians expected to join Biden at the event.

6:31 AM: On our radar: Biden seizes on gun control despite hurdles in Congress

President Biden makes his way over to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday. (Elizabeth Frantz/The Washington Post) © Elizabeth Frantz/For The Washington Post President Biden makes his way over to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday. (Elizabeth Frantz/The Washington Post)

Vexed by another string of mass shootings, President Biden has begun calling vociferously on Congress to pass a ban on assault weapons despite the extremely low odds that it will enact such a ban — a reflection of how he may seek to use Republicans as a foil now that a GOP takeover of the House is putting his legislative goals further out of reach.

The Post’s Toluse Olorunnipa writes that the president’s declaration that it is “just sick” that the United States allows the sale of semiautomatic weapons, coming after shootings in a Walmart in Virginia and an LGBTQ club in Colorado left a combined 11 people dead, does not reflect any illusions about the realities of divided government, according to presidential aides. Per our colleague:

But with an eye toward positioning himself and his party for 2024, Biden believes public opinion has shifted in Democrats’ favor on certain key social issues, said the aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe internal strategy.
“This is one of those issues where there’s a huge disconnect between the attitudes of average Americans and Republicans,” said John Anzalone, Biden’s pollster, adding that issues like universal background checks and other restrictions on accessing guns are supported by a significant majority of voters. “It will continue to be a political football, but I think that increasingly it’ll be an electoral issue.”

You can read the full story here.

6:28 AM: The latest: Pence, other Republicans issue rare rebuke of Trump over dinner with Fuentes and Ye

Nick Fuentes, a far-right activist, holds a rally in Lansing, Mich., in November 2020. (Nicole Hester/Ann Arbor News/AP) © Nicole Hester/AP Nick Fuentes, a far-right activist, holds a rally in Lansing, Mich., in November 2020. (Nicole Hester/Ann Arbor News/AP)

Former vice president Mike Pence and numerous Republican lawmakers on Monday criticized Donald Trump for dining with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye, both of whom have a history of antisemitic remarks, marking a rare break with Trump in the upper echelons of the GOP.

The Post’s Amy B Wang, Mariana Alfaro and Liz Goodwin report that Pence was most clear in his condemnation, saying in an interview with NewsNation: “President Trump was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table. I think he should apologize for it, and he should denounce those individuals and their hateful rhetoric without qualification.”

Per our colleagues:

He joined several Republican senators who also directly criticized the former president in statements disavowing the dinner with Fuentes and Ye. Pence’s comments were also one of the clearest instances of the former vice president trying to set himself apart from Trump, whom he served for four years, amid the expectation that Pence will challenge Trump for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie — each rumored to be eyeing a presidential run — were quicker to criticize Trump.

You can read the full story here.

6:20 AM: The latest: Three weeks after election, Arizona remains in turmoil over results

People react to a comment disparaging election officials as the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors holds a public session before its vote to certify Arizona’s general election results Monday in Phoenix. (Caitlin O'Hara for The Washington Post) People react to a comment disparaging election officials as the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors holds a public session before its vote to certify Arizona’s general election results Monday in Phoenix. (Caitlin O'Hara for The Washington Post)

As elected officials in Arizona’s most populous county met to approve the midterm election results Monday, they were heckled, called “traitors” and told that their handling of voting justified a “violent revolution.” Sheriff’s deputies stood guard in Maricopa County over what used to be a humdrum procedural move.

The Post’s Yvonne Wingett Sanchez and Isaac Stanley-Becker report that about 200 miles away, the governing board of a small, ruby-red county in the southeastern corner of Arizona voted 2-1 to delay certification of the results, flouting a deadline set by state law and possibly jeopardizing the state’s timeline for finalizing the results. Per our colleagues:

In the opposite corner of the state, leaders of another GOP-controlled county contemplated doing the same and adjourned until the afternoon to consider its options but ultimately voted to certify the results.
In Arizona, where problems with ballot printer ink at about a third of Phoenix-area polling places have fueled unproven GOP claims of a stolen election, Monday’s events showcased the depths of distrust in election administration in the state, as well as the willingness of Republican candidates and elected officials to sanction — even stoke — that distrust.

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