Good afternoon from Capitol Hill. The Capitol Police have a new chief. Thomas Manger will take the helm of the capitol force after what has been a very rocky year.
The House and Senate are both in session. The House begins considering appropriations legislation this week, taking a first stab at its FY 2022 “minibus,” which includes seven of the annual spending bills in one package. Two other spending bills covering the DOJ, State Department, and congressional funding are also on the schedule.
Government funding must be renewed by October 1, which means the yearly dance has begun between passing appropriations bills by that deadline, or simply extending existing funding as part of a Continuing Resolution. If I had to guess, I’d put money on the latter. Not only can the Senate not be counted on to do anything quickly, but a short-term CR, extended into December, is Washington’s favorite type of Christmas tree: a must-pass bill that no one wants to read, because everyone just wants to go home.
Speaking of performative rituals, the ongoing and seemingly endless negotiations over infrastructure legislation continue apace. Last week, a vote in the Senate to begin debate on the measure failed to move forward, because the measure doesn’t actually exist yet. Over the weekend, it became clear that Republicans and Democrats are still far apart on substance and strategy, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declaring she won’t pass the bipartisan legislation unless the far more partisan reconciliation bill passes first. (You may recall President Biden also said this, and had to walk it back.) Senate Republicans are rejecting efforts to link the two packages.
The two sides have also not agreed on key elements of the bipartisan proposal, including funding for highways and bridges, Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements, and using unspent COVID-19 relief money as a pay-for.
The House is also still tied up over January 6th investigations. After forming a special committee to investigate the events of the day, Speaker Pelosi vetoed the participation of Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. Jim Banks. As a result, Republican leader Kevin McCarthy declared that House Republicans would not participate. However, Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger have both agreed to serve on the panel. In response to the growing acrimony in the House, the House Freedom Caucus last week sent a letter to McCarthy asking him to make a motion to vacate the chair — a move to unseat Pelosi as Speaker. As of this writing, McCarthy has yet to respond.
Meanwhile, it’s often difficult to see how, or if, the pendulum is swinging from my perch here in the DC bubble. But on two key issues — critical race theory in school, and the state of policing in urban areas — it seems like it might be. Politico is out with reporting this morning which suggests that independents and suburban voters, two key demographics instrumental in handing Biden the White House, are turning on Democrat-led efforts to instill critical race theory into school curriculums.
Likewise, here in DC, the police chief went on a tear last week against decisions which have let violent offenders out of jail. DC, like many other metropolitan centers, has been plagued with a significant increase in violence. There have been 105 homicides already in 2021, which puts the city on pace to match or exceed last year’s 16-year high of 198. Carjackings are up over 75 percent from last year. Shootings have become common, even in highly trafficked areas of the city, including outside of the Washington Nationals stadium, and in popular restaurant corridors. Last week, a drive-by shooting in the city’s southeast quadrant killed a 6-year old girl who was riding her scooter down the sidewalk.
The Latest from Around the Conservative Movement
- Conservatives oppose repealing pro-life provisions from spending bills
- The FBI played a significant role in inciting the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
- The conservative movement wouldn’t have to rely so much on judges if Congress actually legislated
- Senate candidate blasts the “childless left” who have “no physical commitment to the future of this country”
- My latest in the New York Post: all that data you’re unwittingly handing over through apps on your phone? It’s not anonymous.
One More Thing…
Last week I guest-hosted the popular YouTube show, Hill TV’s Rising. Catch my monologue on the latest showdown between Sen. Rand Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci here. I also joined Dana Loesch on The First to talk about the Biden White House working with Facebook to control what can be said about COVID-19.
And don’t miss the latest from CPI’s Phil Reboli over at the Minute Man Moment, where he reports on efforts by the ATF to re-write the very definition of a firearm.