DAN BONGINO: ‘Evil’ the Only Word to Describe Latest Actions of Radical Left
READ THE DOCS: Judiciary Republicans Launch Investigation into Twitter and Facebook Following New Revelations in Hunter Biden Laptop Scandal
Pelosi Pulls a Biden: Speaker Raises Eyebrows After Bizarre, Incoherent Presser
BUILD BACK BROKER: Biden Signs $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill Into Law
WASHINGTON (The Hill) — Joe Biden on Monday signed into law a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill at a boisterous ceremony at the White House, sealing a major accomplishment of his first term after weeks of negotiations in the House culminated in a bipartisan vote.
Biden welcomed lawmakers from both parties, from Congress and from state and local governments, to celebrate the passage of the bill and tout what he insisted would be the transformational ways it would improve day-to-day life for many Americans.
Biden used the bill signing to highlight a rare instance of bipartisanship at a polarized time in U.S. politics, even as former President Trump and other conservatives were suggesting House Republicans who voted for the bill should be challenged in primaries or stripped of committee assignments.
After weeks of talks and two trips to the Capitol from Biden, the House voted on the infrastructure bill earlier this month, passing it with a final tally of 228-206, with 13 Republicans crossing the aisle to support the measure, and six progressive Democrats bucking Biden and party leaders to oppose it.
The Senate passed the bill three months earlier in August, with 19 Republicans joining Democrats to move it to the House. The legislation languished there for weeks as progressives sought assurances on the other key piece of Biden’s economic agenda — a social spending bill focused on climate, child care and health care programs that Democrats intend to pass without GOP support through budget reconciliation.
The $1.2 trillion bill, which contains roughly $550 billion in new funding, will provide for new investments in roads, bridges and railways around the country. White House officials have also said it will allow for the replacement of lead pipes to provide clean drinking water to communities, establish a network of electric vehicle charging stations and help expand internet access for swaths of the country that do not have it.
Biden has tapped former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (D) as a senior White House adviser to coordinate the implementation of the bill, which cuts across several government agencies.
Democrats are hoping that officials will be able to get some projects up and running quickly so the public feels the impact of the legislation, which could help Biden and his party politically ahead of the midterms.
Biden’s approval ratings have been sinking for several weeks and it’s unclear thus far whether the president will see a bump from the infrastructure bill becoming law.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted after the infrastructure bill passed the House found that 41 percent approve of Biden’s handling of the presidency, while 53 percent disapprove, a new low for Biden in the survey.
Attention will now shift to the fate of a $1.75 trillion proposal that is contains many of the priorities of Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, including funding to combat climate change, efforts to expand health care access and child care assistance, as well as money toward education and housing programs.
If the House passes the reconciliation bill, it will likely be tweaked in the Senate, where Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has expressed reservations about moving too quickly with such a major piece of legislation.
BIDEN: GOP In Midst of ‘Mini Revolution’
WASHINGTON (The Hill) — President Biden said Wednesday it appears the GOP is going through a “mini-revolution” amid a public rift among House members loyal to former President Trump and those such as Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.) who have been sharply critical of him.
“It seems as though the Republican Party is trying to identify what it stands for. And they’re in the midst of significant sort of mini-revolution going on in the Republican Party,” Biden told reporters after giving remarks on aid for restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve been a Democrat for a long time. We’ve gone through periods where we’ve had internal fights, disagreements. I don’t remember any like this,” he added. “We badly need a Republican Party. We need a two-party system. It’s not healthy to have a one-party system. And I think the Republicans are further away from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than I thought they would be at this point.”
Biden’s comments come as House Republicans have turned on Cheney for her repeated denunciations of Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), along with many rank-and-file Republicans, are moving to oust Cheney from her role as the No. 3 GOP House member.
Trump on Wednesday endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to replace Cheney in House GOP leadership. Stefanik, a vocal Trump ally, is viewed as the likely pick should the caucus vote to remove Cheney or should she step down.
Biden earlier Wednesday was asked during a visit to a local restaurant about the drama surrounding Cheney and responded: “I don’t understand the Republicans.”
He and other administration officials have been adamant that they will try to work with Republicans on policy where there is mutual agreement.
The president is expected to meet next week with McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) alongside Democratic leaders, and he will separately host Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and other lawmakers for talks on his infrastructure proposal.
MAGA: Republicans embrace Trump in effort to reclaim Senate
WASHINGTON (The Hill) — The top Republican candidates hoping to win back control of the Senate have embraced former President Trump as a kind of running mate in the first weeks of their campaigns, a recognition that the ousted president is still the party’s best fundraiser and most recognizable figure even from exile in Florida.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who has Trump’s endorsement in the race to replace retiring Sen. Richard Shelby (R), mentioned the former president seven times in a press release announcing his candidacy. His leading rival, former Ambassador Lynda Blanchard (R), recently held a fundraiser at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
In Missouri, former Gov. Eric Greitens (R) promised to defend Trump’s “America first policies” less than a minute into an interview on Fox News in which he announced he would run to replace retiring Sen. Roy Blunt (R). Attorney General Eric Schmitt (R) mentioned Trump twice in his own announcement video.
“We need to promote President Trump’s America first policies. That’s what’s going to help to bring that kind of broad-based prosperity back,” Greitens told Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo last month.
“President Trump built the strongest economy our country has ever seen, and I am going to fight to bring it back,” Schmitt said in his announcement video.
In Ohio, a state Trump carried by 8 points, the former president is the star of the show. Former Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) mentioned Trump a dozen times in a press release announcing his campaign to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman (R). Businessman Bernie Moreno (R) cited Trump four times in his own announcement, and businessman Mike Gibbons (R) praised Trump twice.
“Josh Mandel was proud to be the first statewide elected official in Ohio to support President Trump in 2016 when others were supporting John Kasich. After seeing the second sham impeachment take place this February, Josh was motivated to run for the U.S. Senate to continue to fight for President Trump’s America First agenda,” said Scott Guthrie, Mandel’s campaign manager. “Ohioans overwhelmingly elected President Trump because his policies created unprecedented economic success, kept our borders secure and America safe. When Josh gets to the U.S. Senate, he will fight tooth and nail to keep advancing President Trump’s agenda.”
Former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken (R) reversed herself last month and called on Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R), one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January, to resign.
“President Trump is the most popular Republican in America and his agenda worked for Ohioans,” Timken said in a statement. “I’ve championed those America First policies over for the past four years as his hand-picked Party Chair, and it’s what I will stand up for in the U.S. Senate because it’s what is best for Ohio.”
Trump is so ever-present in Republican campaigns that his absence is notable in itself.
Pennsylvania real estate developer Jeff Bartos (R), who has not aligned himself closely with Trump, has mentioned the former president only once on Twitter, praising his speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in February, and only once on his website, citing Trump as the candidate who fought for overlooked voters.
The only time former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) mentions Trump’s name on his website is in support of a border wall Trump pledged to build while in office.
Republican strategists working for some of the leading candidates say their clients have two goals in leaning so heavily on an ousted incumbent. First, Trump remains the singular focus of the Republican primary electorate that will decide which contenders make it through crowded primary elections.
“The fever will break eventually, but right now we are in a time when the key qualification to win a primary is whether the candidate supported President Trump,” said one Republican strategist involved in several key races, who asked for anonymity to be candid about his client’s strategy.
Second, Trump remains the best fundraiser within the Republican Party. Several strategists said the average email solicitation with Trump’s signature raises much more than an email without his name.
“Low-dollar fundraising is driven by the organic DNA of the recipient’s original donation. Donors are much more likely to give to an appeal that mirrors the original appeal that they answered. The thing that made them get off their couch and off the sidelines and into the game as a donor is what’s most likely to motivate them subsequently,” said another party strategist involved in other key campaigns.
The original motivator for Republican low-dollar donors remains Trump himself, the Republican candidate who raised more money through small-dollar solicitations than any other candidate in party history.
Trump has sought to maintain his leverage over the GOP, dropping in on fundraisers for candidates who spend money to hobnob with donors at his Florida resort and endorsing those he deems as sufficiently supportive. Trump has so far endorsed eight U.S. Senators facing reelection next year, along with Brooks in Alabama and two candidates running for Congress.
The fealty to Trump, observers say, is a sign of his hold on core Republican voters — even if some of his support may be slipping. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday found 44 percent of GOP voters said they considered themselves more a supporter of Trump than of the Republican Party, a tremendous amount of loyalty to one man but one that has slipped significantly, by 10 points, since just before the 2020 election.
“That’s what counts, especially when party base voters are likely base voters,” said Michael Bitzer, a political scientist at Catawba College in North Carolina. “Will a full-throated support for the former president be the determining factor over the next year’s primary battle? Yet to be seen.”