Editor’s note: The Hill’s Morning Report is our daily newsletter that dives deep into Washington’s agenda. To subscribe, click here or fill out the box below.
A week after Election Day, Republicans are facing the loss of the governor’s mansion in Arizona and a swirl of internal turmoil in the House and the Senate. Former President Trump, meanwhile, is set to drive the party into the 2024 presidential race with a campaign announcement today, even as many in the GOP are beginning to openly question his influence over the party — and the country’s political landscape.
With 217 House seats secured as of this morning, Republicans are just one victory away from retaking the chamber as Congress returns to work for its lame duck session this week (The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times). Democrats, meanwhile, are acknowledging that their hopes of retaining the House look dim (Politico).
“I think we’re going to get very close in the House,” President Biden on Monday told reporters at the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia. “I think it’s going to be very close, but I don’t think we’re going to make it.”
Democrats do have reason to celebrate in Arizona, where Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake on Monday was projected to lose her race to Democrat Katie Hobbs. Lake’s defeat is the latest in a series of losses by Trump-backed candidates who denied the outcome of the 2020 election and spread falsehoods about voting fraud (The Hill).
▪ Vox: Lake’s defeat in Arizona may only be a temporary blow to Trumpism.
▪ The Washington Post: Inside Lake’s war room, where Republicans are grappling with defeat.
House Democrats are planning to wait until the final results of their races are released to hold leadership elections, writes The Hill’s Mike Lillis. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is waiting on the results to decide her own future, though she has said she is being “encouraged” to seek the Speakership again. Biden told Pelosi, “I hope you stick” in a congratulatory phone call after Election Day (Politico).
Politico: A second House Democrat is running for campaign chief.
House Republicans grappling with the fallout from disappointing midterm elections will choose conference leaders today — despite election projections as yet unconfirmed, The Hill’s Emily Brooks reports. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is expected to be nominated Speaker but faces grumbles from the right wing of the party over resistance to rules changes that would chip away at his power. Though McCarthy’s nomination is expected, he could still fall short of 218 votes when the full House meets to select a Speaker (CNN).
McCarthy took questions from members of his conference at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill on Monday as part of an effort to alleviate House Republican concerns and win support. A source told CNN that McCarthy got a standing ovation in the party’s first post-election meeting.
“They don’t give out gavels in small, medium and large — we have the majority, and we have the gavels,” McCarthy said. “We will win as a team — or we will lose as individuals.”
“We have a new paradigm here, and I think the country wants a different direction from the House of Representatives,” Biggs said on Newmax Monday night. “And it’s a new world, and yes, I’m going to be nominated tomorrow to – to the position of Speaker of the House.”
▪ The Hill: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.): Any McCarthy challenge would be “bad strategy.”
▪ The New York Times: McCarthy scrounges for support to become Speaker as Republicans feud.
▪ The Wall Street Journal: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) rejected a request from allies of McCarthy to switch parties.
The House majority whip race, meanwhile, is the most competitive and fiery. The posts of National Republican Congressional Committee chair and conference secretary are up for grabs, and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) faces a long-shot challenge for conference chair from first-term Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.).
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) met Monday with his leadership team — including National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Rick Scott (R-Fla.) — for the first time since Election Day, which Scott called a “complete disappointment,” writes The Hill’s Alexander Bolton.
McConnell has the votes to be reelected during the GOP’s Wednesday leadership elections, but dissension in his ranks is growing. Trump is pushing Republicans to oust McConnell as leader, and Scott is the most likely candidate to do so. But so far, he has only a handful of followers willing to delay the leadership election as the blame game mounts among Republicans, leaving McConnell with the task of unifying his conference to secure his job as leader for more than just another two years.
▪ NBC News: Prominent conservatives, including Ginni Thomas, call on the GOP to delay congressional leadership elections.
▪ The Atlantic: The House race that shows why Republicans collapsed in the midterms.
▪ The Hill: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) calls Senate GOP leadership election timing “absurd.”
While congressional Republicans are deep into skirmishes over the future of the GOP, Trump is poised today to charge ahead with a political announcement from his Mar-a-Lago estate, write The Hill’s Brett Samuels and Max Greenwood. The former president will make the announcement — likely the start of a 2024 presidential bid — despite pushback from some Republicans who blame Trump for some of their party’s midterm election losses.
Ahead of Georgia Republican Herschel Walker‘s Senate runoff race against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) on Dec. 6, some Republicans want Trump to delay his “big announcement” in Florida today because they want to keep the public focus on the GOP’s push for a 50th Senate seat next month. Trump appears unmoved by the advice.
“No, it doesn’t help,” one GOP strategist with ties to Trump’s team told The Hill’s Al Weaver. “The 2022 midterms are not over and anything that takes away the ability to fundraise, to get the message out there, to keep the media and the journalists focused on this race is bad for the Republican Party as a whole.”
The Hill’s Niall Stanage writes that at least five key questions hang over Trump’s appearance this morning at Mar-a-Lago.
▪ Fox News: An announcement by Trump that he is a presidential candidate in 2022 ahead of the race in 2024 would trigger immediate legal requirements for fundraising and use of his accumulated war chest.
▪ The Guardian: Trump for 2024 would be a “bad mistake,” Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) says as blame game deepens.
▪ The New York Times: Trump wanted IRS investigations of foes, top aide says.
▪ CNN: Trump’s 2024 bid gets harsh reaction among Hill Republicans.
The Hill’s Caroline Vakil reports that Democrats’ controversial midterm decision to intercede in Republican primaries to elevate more far-right or Trump-aligned candidates for the general election to help drive away voters largely paid off on Nov. 8. Some believe the gambit presents a potential political road map as well as possible pitfalls for future election cycles.
Democrats gave Black voters and advocates IOUs ahead of the midterms, and those promises will come due in 2024, reports The Hill’s Cheyanne Daniels.
▪ The Hill: In a new book by Mike Pence, “So Help Me God,” the former vice president details how Trump’s pressure leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol and actions ruptured the duo’s ties. “I decided it would be best to go our separate ways,” Pence wrote.
▪ The Hill: The Supreme Court on Monday cleared the way for the House Jan. 6 investigative panel to access phone records belonging to Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward, who with her husband, Michael Ward, were among 11 Arizonans who signed a fake election certificate purporting to show that Trump won the state in 2020.
▪ The Hill: Trump pushes special master in unsealed and new court filings to deem Mar-a-Lago records seized by the FBI as his personal property.
▪ The Washington Post: Investigators see ego, not money, as Trump’s motive on classified papers.
▪ The Hill: Jan. 6 panel weighs “next steps” after Trump fails to show for deposition.
|Virtual Event Invite
|Gen Z: Writing Their Own Rules, Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. ET / LIVE IN D.C. AND STREAMING NATIONALLY COVID-19 may be the defining experience for Generation Z, shaping its outlook for decades to come. “Zoomers,” those 70 million young Americans born between 1997 and 2012, missed out on experiences, friendships and milestones over the past two years — changing their outlook and expectations on social issues, education, mental health, jobs and the economy. “The Gen Z Historian” Kahlil Greene, author and pollster John Della Volpe, White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty, Zfluence founder Ava McDonald and more join The Hill to examine the experience of America’s youth, where their common ground lies and their impact on the future. RSVP today.|
LEADING THE DAY
A bipartisan group of senators reached a deal on Monday to back a bill that would protect same-sex marriage under federal law and move the language to a floor vote on Wednesday. The move signals the majority’s belief that there are sufficient votes in the 50-50 Senate to overcome a filibuster and put the bill on the president’s desk. The deal struck on Monday adjusts original draft language in order to assuage Republican concerns about religious liberty. The measure could become a statutory backstop to the stated view of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas questioning a constitutional right to gay marriage under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment (The Hill).
Democrats still lack the power to codify abortion rights into law despite the party’s stronger-than-expected midterm performance, the president told reporters during a press conference in Bali, Indonesia, on Monday. “I don’t think there’s enough votes,” he said, conceding the challenge in Congress of enshrining reproductive rights in federal statute after they were handed to the states in June by the Supreme Court (Fox News).
Congress’s lame-duck period now underway will focus on approving funding levels that can avert a government shutdown before a Dec. 16 deadline. Even with room for time extensions and foot-dragging, lawmakers from both parties would like to finish before January when a new Congress controlled by Democrats and a House likely steered by Republicans get to work (The Hill).
Roll Call: The quacking begins: A look at the lame-duck agenda.
Washington policymakers are under growing pressure to write new rules for the cryptocurrency industry and crack down on fraud after the collapse of crypto exchange company FTX. The downfall of one of the industry’s most prominent and politically connected firms put a harsh light on the federal government’s failure to find common ground on crypto regulation. Lawmakers are back to the drawing board to find a path forward (The Hill).
On Sunday, after sending Twitter CEO Elon Musk a letter with questions and then jousting with him on the social media platform, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) told Musk if he doesn’t fix Twitter, Congress will act. A Washington Post journalist was able to impersonate the senator on the social media platform under new Twitter practices that monetize blue check marks that previously symbolized account authentication and verification (CNBC).
“One of your companies is under an FTC [Federal Trade Commission] consent decree. Auto safety watchdog NHTSA [National Highway Transportation Safety Administration] is investigating another for killing people. And you’re spending your time picking fights online. Fix your companies. Or Congress will,” Markey tweeted Sunday.
The Washington Post: For $8 a month in subscription revenue, Twitter is “losing out on millions of dollars in ad revenue,” said a former Eli Lilly official after the pharmaceutical giant on Friday halted ad spending on the platform after fake blue-check accounts went viral on Thursday.
© Associated Press / Alex Brandon | Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Capitol Hill in 2019.
A lengthy discussion on Monday between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in an attempt to stabilize a tense relationship resulted in agreement to deploy top representatives to work through a list of issues and keep the discussions going (The New York Times).
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who accompanied Biden to the G-20 summit in Bali at which the two presidents gathered, will travel early next year to China on behalf of the United States, the White House said (The New York Times).
Beijing, in a statement following the Biden-Xi meeting, said teams from each government would work on implementing points of consensus and “promoting the return of China-U.S. relations to a stable track of development.”
Biden, who spoke to reporters after spending more than three hours with the Chinese leader he first got to know as vice president, said he assured Xi that U.S. policy toward Taiwan has not changed under his policies. “I’m not looking for conflict,” Biden said. “I’m looking to manage this competition responsibly. I want to make sure that every country abides by the international rules of the road.”
According to formal statements released by each government, Xi said that Taiwanese independence was incompatible with peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Biden told Xi that the United States did not support Taiwanese independence.
▪ Reuters: Biden, Xi clash over Taiwan but Cold War fears cool during Monday’s discussion in Bali.
▪ The Wall Street Journal: Biden, Xi move to stabilize relations.
▪ CNN analysis: U.S. and China remain on a collision course despite efforts to cool the heat ahead of the G20 gathering.
© Associated Press / Dita Alangkara | President Biden at the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, on Monday.
Despite assurances from the White House that the administration would swiftly prevail to implement Biden’s court-challenged student loan debt forgiveness program, a federal appeals court on Monday temporarily blocked it following a Texas judge’s separate ruling last week declaring the program illegal. The latest ruling was a win for six conservative-led states — Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina — that argued they were harmed by a freeze on the collection of student loan payments and interest. Many expect the disputes to wind up before the Supreme Court. In the interim, the administration stopped accepting new applications for student loan debt forgiveness, valued at $10,000 to $20,000 per eligible borrower (The Hill).
🛫 The Department of Transportation ordered six airlines to pay a total of more than $600 million in refunds to customers whose ticketed travel plans this year were canceled or delayed. Frontier Airlines is set to pay $222 million in refunds and an additional $2.2 million fine. Other airlines implicated are TAP Portugal, Air India, Aeromexico, El Al and Avianca. Under U.S. law, airlines and ticket agents are required to refund customers if an airline cancels or significantly changes a U.S. flight and the passenger does not wish to accept the alternative offered. Domestic carriers had the highest rate of cancellations in the past decade, excluding pandemic-jolted 2020 (NBC News).
IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES
British ambassador to the United States, Dame Karen Pierce, said she’s likely spent as much time with Russians as she has Americans during her diplomatic career, writes The Hill’s Laura Kelly. As Moscow’s war in Ukraine reaches its ninth month, Pierce offered advice for dealing with Russia.
“Look at capabilities, not intentions,” Pierce said in an interview. Pierce is two years into a four-year appointment in Washington, and while her tenure started amid the uncertainty and isolation of the pandemic, and after her predecessor resigned after criticizing Trump in a leaked email, she says she’s well positioned to serve as a go-between for the United Kingdom and the U.S. amid Russia’s war.
© Associated Press / Richard Drew | British Ambassador to the United States Karen Pierce at the United Nations in 2019.
▪ The Washington Post: Iran issues first known death sentence linked to uprising.
▪ The New York Times: Who will win the race to generate electricity from ocean tides?
A triumphant Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday visited Kherson, recaptured just days ago by his country’s troops, and said it marked the “beginning of the end of the war.” The Pentagon assesses that “tens of thousands of Russian forces” have evacuated to the eastern side of the Dnieper river in the retreat from the city in what a senior military official called a “very significant” development in the war. The official added that Russians are “shoring up their defensive lines” on the eastern banks of the river in a bid to hold on to the territory (The Washington Post).
CIA Director William Burns met on Monday with his Russian intelligence counterpart at a location in Ankara, Turkey, to discuss “managing risk” if Russia were to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, as well as cases of “unjustly detained U.S. citizens” in Russia, a National Security Council spokesperson told CNN. The meeting with Sergey Naryshkin, which the U.S. said was not a negotiation, was confirmed by the Kremlin.
■ If you want to understand how dangerous Elon Musk is, look outside America, by Lydia Polgreen, columnist, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/3URqlkh
■ Democrats escaped a midterm thrashing. Here’s how to primary Biden anyway, by Bill Scher, contributing columnist, Politico Magazine. https://politi.co/3O2Y4EF
■ What in the world happened to the Supreme Court? by Linda Greenhouse, contributor, The Atlantic. https://bit.ly/3EFLbNT
WHERE AND WHEN
👉 The Hill: Share a news query tied to an expert journalist’s insights: The Hill launched something new and (we hope) engaging via text with Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack. Learn more and sign up HERE.
The House is meets at 10 a.m.
The Senate meets at 11 a.m. and resumes consideration of the nomination of María del R. Antongiorgi-Jordán to be a U.S. district judge for the District of Puerto Rico.
The president is in Bali where he was welcomed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo at the start of the two-day G20 summit. Biden today will participate in two working sessions of the G20 with his counterparts. The president, Widodo and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen joined forces to promote the Group of Seven-focused Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment. Biden meets with newly elected Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
Vice President Harris is in Washington and has no public events on her schedule.
Secretary Blinken is with the president at the G20 summit in Bali.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is at the G20 where she already participated with the president in an event about the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, plus working sessions among summit leaders. She also joins the president’s bilateral meeting with Italy’s Meloni and plans to attend a dinner for G20 participants.
First lady Jill Biden will host the first White House reception in honor of Native American Heritage Month at 5:30 p.m.
🆉 White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty will join author Kahlil Greene, Harvard pollster John Della Volpe and Zfluence founder Ava McDonald to discuss outlooks among America’s youth and their impact on the future during Wednesday’s “Gen Z: Writing Their Own Rules” newsmaker event in Washington, live and remote beginning at 5 p.m. ET.RSVP HERE.
Amazon is planning to lay off approximately 10,000 people in corporate and technology jobs starting as soon as this week in what would be the largest job cuts in the company’s history, The New York Times reports. The cuts will focus on teams that work on Amazon’s devices, including the voice assistant Alexa, as well as at its retail division and in human resources, sources told the Times. Around 10,000 layoffs would represent roughly 3 percent of the company’s corporate employees and less than 1 percent of its global workforce of more than 1.5 million.
Thousands of smartphone applications in Apple and Google‘s online stores contain computer code developed by a technology company, Pushwoosh, that presents itself as based in the United States but is actually Russian, Reuters reported on Monday. The disguised Russian software has made it into the U.S. Army and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
▪ The Washington Post: Layoff spree in Silicon Valley spells end of an era for Big Tech.
▪ Engadget: Twitter reportedly cuts 4,400 contract workers following mass layoffs.
▪ The Wall Street Journal: Your boss is over hybrid work. Here’s how to keep your flexibility.
▪ The Washington Post: In largest strike of 2022, California academic workers walk off the job.
➤ PANDEMIC & HEALTH
The administration is mounting another effort to secure billions of dollars from Congress for a new generation of coronavirus vaccines and treatments, even as Republicans remain skeptical about how past allocations were spent, according to The Washington Post.
Officials are finalizing a request this week for about $10 billion in public health funds by year’s end, part of a larger request in the lame-duck session of Congress that would also include funding for Ukraine anddisaster relief for hurricane damage in Florida, according to the Post.
That request includes $8.25 billion for COVID-response efforts, including a successor to Operation Warp Speed that some call “Project COVID Shield,” intended to jump-start development of coronavirusvaccines and treatments that would be effective against an evolving virus. Officials also are debating approximately $2 billion for other health efforts, including about $1 billion for the global COVID-19 response, as well as about $750,000 to combat diseases such as hepatitis C and monkeypox (The Washington Post).
▪ The Hill: The U.S. will keep the COVID-19 public health emergency designation in place through January.
▪ The Hill: Congress on Monday heard from health care advocates who want greater access to insulin at affordable costs, including for the uninsured.
Moderna announced Monday that a booster dose of its bivalent COVID-19 vaccine performs better against two circulating versions of the omicron variant, compared with its original booster shot. These findings echo studies from vaccine manufacturer Pfizer, whose own bivalent booster provided increased protection against the new subvariants.
Once the dominant viral strain, the BA.5 subvariant is now estimated to account for about 30 percent of all new COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Newer versions of the omicron variant, such as BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, are slowly overtaking as a proportion of estimated cases, at 20 and 24 percent, respectively (ABC News).
Information about COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot availability can be found at Vaccines.gov.
▪ The Washington Post: More kids are getting wellness checkups, but big gaps remain.
▪ Kaiser Health News: Sick profit: Investigating private equity’s stealthy takeover of health care across cities and specialties.
Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported as of this morning, according to Johns Hopkins University (trackers all vary slightly): 1,074,688. Current U.S. COVID-19 deaths are 2,344 for the week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (The CDC shifted its tally of available data from daily to weekly, now reported on Fridays.)
© Associated Press / AP file | An undated artist sketch of the skyjacker known as D.B. Cooper from 1971 passenger and crew witness accounts.
And finally … The 1971 skyjacker known as D.B. Cooper, who hijacked a Northwest Airlines jet between Portland and Seattle claiming to have a bomb in an attaché case on Thanksgiving eve, left behind a mystery that stumped the FBI and inspired legions of amateur sleuths.
Passenger “Dan Cooper” demanded parachutes and cash and vanished after jumping from the rear of a Boeing 727 into freezing Northwest rain dressed in a business suit and a parachute and carrying his demanded ransom of $200,000 in cash. Some of the currency he carried was discovered in 1980 near the Columbia River near Vancouver, Wash., but Cooper’s fate and his true identity remain mysteries.
Following a trail of metal particles found on a necktie Cooper wore during his crime, Eric Ulis, considered an expert in Cooper lore, located a former Pennsylvania metal manufacturer called Rem-Cru Titanium that at the time had eight researchers who worked on projects with the metal compositions found on the tie (KPTV).
Ulis says a retired company manager recently told him an employee named Vince Petersen fit Cooper’s description and regularly traveled for the company to the Pacific Northwest during that time period. Ulis said Petersen died in 2002 and his son disputes that his father was the skyjacker.
🔎 Ulis’s new clue will be discussed in Vancouver, Wash., at “CooperCon,” a ticketed three-day event about the Cooper mysteries, held from Nov. 18 through Nov. 20.