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If House GOP leadership had its way, the headline of this newsletter might be some pun about regulating gas stoves. But instead, the only thing boiling over is the tension within the House Republican Conference.
The House was supposed to be in session Thursday, wrapping up a week of work on messaging bills designed to counter President Joe Biden’s agenda, including a joint resolution seeking to stop limits on the use of gas-fired stoves. But instead, House members went home after a group of 11 conservative members stopped action by joining Democrats to vote down the special rule setting floor debate.
Those members, largely from the Freedom Caucus, may get the bulk of the attention — but it’s the more moderate members and those from districts carried by Biden who may pay the real price if the House devolves further into dysfunction.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that many of those moderates had been huddling with Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., the NRCC chairman last cycle, and chief deputy whip Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., about their own legislative priorities, including bipartisan bills on pocketbook-type issues.
If the House is blocked from voting on those kinds of measures by the Freedom Caucus, it would give free rein to Democrats on and off Capitol Hill to argue that House Republicans aren’t working to lower costs.
The contrast could be particularly acute with the Senate, which (gasp) is talking about wanting to have a functional summer. With the debt limit law having established budget caps for fiscal 2024 spending bills, Senate Appropriations Chair Patty Murray and Vice Chair Susan Collins are getting leadership support to at least try to get the process going in a bipartisan way.
Alabama map: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. delivered the Supreme Court’s 5-4 opinion upholding a decision requiring Alabama to redraw its congressional map to provide for a second district where Black voters could influence the election. The ruling upholds a section of the Voting Rights Act and could have implications in Louisiana and other Southern states as well. CQ Roll Call’s Michael Macagnone has more.
Battleground rations: After flipping a seat in 2018 and holding on to it twice as a top GOP target, Virginia Rep. Abigail Spanberger now attends Democratic leadership meetings as the battleground member representative. But she’s still doing her own thing, including eating peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, she tells CQ Roll Call’s Jim Saksa.
All politics is local: A sweeping House GOP election overhaul bill that’s in the works will likely seek to change how Washington, D.C., votes, CQ Roll Call’s Justin Papp writes.
Florida man: And as former President Donald Trump appears closer to another indictment, Macagnone previews how congressional allies are preparing to respond.
Spending less: Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s attempt to win over conservatives to allow the House floor to function again could include writing appropriations bills that would spend less money than the budget caps in the law that suspended the debt limit.
Embracing the early vote: The Republican National Committee is launching a nationwide “Bank Your Vote” campaign to educate Republicans about early voting and mail-in voting in coordination with the congressional campaign arms. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said that while she opposes ballot harvesting, the party needs to compete with Democrats and candidates should encourage voters to vote early and feel comfortable with it. Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty and Florida Rep. Byron Donalds will co-chair the campaign.
#UT02: If the Utah Legislature holds a special session to change the law and appropriate money, the primary to fill GOP Rep. Chris Stewart’s seat will be held on Sept. 5 — that’s 10 days before his Sept. 15 resignation takes effect — and then a general election will take place Nov. 25, according to an order issued Wednesday by GOP Gov. Spencer J. Cox. The change will also push back some local elections, The Salt Lake Tribune reports. Without changing the law, the solidly Republican seat would have sat vacant well into next year and given the House GOP majority one less member, something the state Senate president wants to prevent.
Arizona keeps mailing it in: The Arizona Supreme Court has rejected a bid by Republicans to do away with the state’s no-excuse mail-in voting when it denied a petition for review last week. The DSCC and DCCC were among the groups praising the decision, which will maintain access to a popular voting method in the state.
Biden touts victories: Both the White House and the Biden campaign spent part of the week touting the successes of the debt limit deal and investments in infrastructure across the country. The Biden campaign and the DNC launched a six-figure campaign of digital and billboard ads in Washington and in battleground markets touting Biden “delivering” for the economy. The pro-Biden group Building Back Together has also launched ads touting the debt limit deal in the past week, as NBC News reported. On the official side, the White House launched Invest.gov to highlight spending on projects across the country.
Jersey sure?: Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’s team put on a confident face in recent Washington Post and nj.com stories about a corruption investigation. But New Jersey is a state where Democrats really don’t want to have to put resources as they try to hold on to a 51-49 Senate majority.
Texas faceoff: Democratic state Reps. Rhetta Andrews Bowers and Julie Johnson, who both won seats in the Legislature in 2018, are eying Texas’ open 32nd District seat, which Democratic Rep. Colin Allred is giving up to run for Senate, The Dallas Morning News reports.
Endorsed: California Rep. Ami Bera endorsed fellow Democratic Rep. Adam B. Schiff’s bid for the state’s open Senate seat next year. Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly endorsed Raquel Terán’s bid for the state’s open 3rd District seat, which Rep. Ruben Gallego is giving up to run for Senate.
Another new member: North Carolina Rep. Wiley Nickel joined the Blue Dogs, bringing the group’s total membership to 10.
In memory: Michael Fraioli, the founder of Fraioli & Associates and a longtime Democratic strategist, died last month after a battle with leukemia.
What we’re reading
Stu says: If Gov. Ron DeSantis expects his record in Florida to be his ticket to national acclaim, he might want to look back at how that worked for the governor of Massachusetts in 1988, Stu Rothenberg writes. Stu also chatted with pollster Zac McCrary for his Pro Politics podcast.
New lines: Vanity Fair previews an upcoming New York Supreme Court case that will determine the constitutionality of the state’s congressional and legislative maps. Hanging in the balance: the Republican majority in the House.
Loan questions: Gallego appears to have claimed primary residences in Arizona and Washington, D.C., in different contexts, Politico reports. The congressman and Senate candidate listed his property in the nation’s capital as a primary residence during consideration for a VA loan. Unlike some other members of Congress, he did not appear to make the mistake of claiming the D.C. homestead exemption on his property taxes.
The count: 40,000
That’s the minimum number of unique donors a candidate will need to have, with at least 200 each from 20 states, to qualify for the first GOP presidential debate in Milwaukee on Aug. 23, according to rules released Friday by the Republican National Committee. A candidate also will have to sign a pledge agreeing to support the eventual nominee and have demonstrated support from at least 1 percent of likely Republican voters in three recognized national polls or two national polls and one poll from Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina.
Does it really matter if the Florida governor’s name is pronounced DEE-san-tis or deh-SAN-tis? Nathan L. Gonzales writes that, in a small way, it might.
Shop talk: Mariana Castro
Castro is the director of digital strategy for Building Back Together, a nonprofit group backing the Biden administration’s policy agenda.
Starting out: “Like many folks, I started because I needed to pass a law in order for me to be able to afford going to school,” Castro said. A Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient who came to the U.S. from Peru with her mother in 2005, she attended the University of Florida but at first feared she wouldn’t be able to afford tuition without financial assistance. She worked as an activist and with the Tuition Equity Campaign to help pass a bill that would allow undocumented students to receive the in-state tuition rate at Florida universities. “After passing that bill, you know, you kind of get roped in. I was able to implement the bill across different universities in Florida.” She went on to intern in the Florida Legislature.
Most unforgettable campaign moment: When Castro was working with Andrew Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign in 2018, she worked with campaign surrogates. “A lot of just really important national celebrities, national politicians came down to help and that was pretty cool, working on trips and surrogates and helping put up events last minute for … [former President Barack] Obama, who was coming to town. We don’t normally get these really big celebrities to come down to Florida, right, so it was really awesome.” While working with the Biden team during the 2020 campaign, Castro said she also got the chance “to do a little bit of everything, which was awesome for me and really helped me find out what I want to specialize in after that campaign.”
Biggest campaign regret: “I wish I would have started specializing in digital sooner. When I went to the Biden campaign I was offered, like, three different jobs, in comms, digital and political,” Castro said. “And, like, part of me wishes I would have picked digital sooner, right, because I feel like when you’re Latina, you really want to stay and stick with your community. And so I really wanted to stick with coalitions to be able to talk to my people. But I realized, like, my passion through the campaign was digital. So I was doing a lot of political work while simultaneously helping on the digital team with some of the Spanish language stuff, and I realized after that I should have chosen my passion a little bit sooner.”
Unconventional wisdom: “You never really know what’s going to work until you put it online, and, you know, there’s no limit to what you can do in the online world,” she said. While working with the Florida Democratic Party, she worked on a program that worked with TikTok and influencers on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. “Nobody else was on TikTok at the time. We were like the first political party to do it. And so we were just trying out things all day long. … We were talking to people that nobody else was talking to. Now we’re continuing similar work here at BBT.”
The annual Congressional Baseball Game between Republicans and Democrats is Wednesday at Nationals Park. Here are the rosters for each team.
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