“Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has directed staff to review the central bank’s ethics rules around appropriate financial activities after filings showed a senior central bank official made multiple multimillion-dollar stock trades in 2020, while others held significant investments,” CNBC reports.
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“Once powerful former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and a man who accused him of child sexual abuse reached a tentative out-of-court settlement Wednesday over Hastert’s refusal to pay $1.8 million in exchange for the man’s silence,” the AP reports.
“The House Oversight Committee has widened its inquiry into the oil and gas industry’s role in spreading disinformation about the role of fossil fuels in causing global warming, calling on top executives from Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP and Royal Dutch Shell, as well as the lobby groups American Petroleum Institute and the United States Chamber of Commerce, to testify before Congress next month,” the New York Times reports.
Sara Goddard: A fossil fuel industry under fire. Will it last?
“The next few months will push President Joe Biden to wield every drop of his influence over Congress,” Politico reports.
“Democrats are plunging into messy internal debates over social programs from child care to drug pricing as they try to beat back GOP resistance on voting rights while steering the United States away from economic catastrophe. And in order to avert a government shutdown, avoid a debt default and fight ballot access restrictions passed in some GOP states, Democratic lawmakers are urging Biden to get more directly involved.”
“Democrats have been sharpening their attacks on Republicans over the pandemic, former president Donald Trump and other polarizing topics, and now, emboldened by victory in California’s recall election, party leaders are seeking to further escalate hostilities ahead of the midterm elections,” the Washington Post reports.
“Beyond prompting a collective sigh of relief in a party reeling from a difficult summer, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Tuesday win served as the first test of a revamped campaign strategy that Democrats quietly began assembling weeks ago, amid a realization that positive talk about President Biden getting the country back on track had run into the harsh realities of a delta variant coronavirus surge.”
“Chastened by the resurgence, the difficult Afghanistan withdrawal and declining public confidence in Biden’s handling of the pandemic and other issues, Democrats have gone on offense against the GOP, following private summer polling that showed broad and growing anger at the Republican resistance to vaccination.”
Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “Midterm electorates are typically whiter and more educated than presidential electorates.”
“At one time, this sort of change from the presidential to the midterm electorate might have made midterm electorates worse for Democrats. But given changes in the electorate, this midterm turnout pattern may actually aid Democrats, or at least not hurt them as much as it once did.”
“The outcome in key swing states whiter than the national average, such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire, may be influenced heavily by educational turnout differential. In states with large nonwhite cores, such as North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada, minority turnout will play a more critical role.”
Mike Pence is positioning himself for a 2024 presidential run by aiming to raise a whopping $18 million this year, Axios reports.
“Ron DeSantis isn’t anti-vaccine. But he has started standing shoulder-to-shoulder those who are,” Politico reports.
“The Florida governor’s clear and unadulterated public messaging about the need for vaccines has become more diluted in recent months, culminating with a press conference he held this week to bash President Joe Biden’s new vaccine mandate plan — and threaten to fine cities and counties that impose their own mandates.”
“Friction between pragmatists and ideologues in the Taliban leadership has intensified since the group formed a hard-line Cabinet last week that is more in line with their harsh rule in the 1990s than their recent promises of inclusiveness,” the Associated Press reports.
“Almost a month ago, President Biden announced that coronavirus booster shots would be made available to most adults in the United States this month. But a week before that plan is to begin, its details remain up in the air, with dissenting opinions coming from inside and outside the government,” the New York Times reports.
“A series of conflicting reviews this week illustrates the fierce argument among scientists about whether booster shots are needed, and if so, for whom.”
“U.S. retail sales rebounded in August, a sign Americans are able and eager to spend despite the Delta variant,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Axios: “California is projected to receive the largest number of Afghans at 5,255. Next is Texas, at 4,481.”
Punchbowl News: “Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday to discuss the debt-limit situation… But it doesn’t sound like much progress was made, the latest sign of how dug in both sides are on this issue with potentially just weeks before the federal government exhausts its borrowing capacity.”
“The House returns to town Monday for the first time in a month, and the showdown over government funding and the debt ceiling is quickly emerging as the top issue for the White House and Congress. Democratic leaders are currently planning to attach a debt-limit increase to a continuing resolution needed to keep federal agencies open beyond Sept. 30. The House is expected to take up that measure early next week. McConnell and Senate Republicans have said they will block this proposal.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) “has drawn a hard line on not accepting a $3.5 trillion bill and urged his colleagues to hit ‘pause’ on the legislation altogether—a request he reiterated during a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting this week,” The Hill reports.
Said Manchin: “Everybody knows my position. I’ve been very clear, very open. I didn’t want anybody to say it was a surprise.”
He added: “Guys, my opposition is pretty well stated, I don’t know what else to tell you.”
Washington Post: Joe Manchin gets all the attention. But Kyrsten Sinema could be an even bigger obstacle for Democrats’ spending plans.
Then-House Speaker Paul Ryan started studying how to interact with people with narcissistic personality disorder after Donald Trump won the 2016 election, according to a new book by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Insider reports.
“Ryan was caught off guard when Trump won the election in an enormous upset over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Republicans controlled the House and Senate, and Ryan, realizing that he would have to work with Trump, started researching how to deal with someone who is ‘amoral and transactional.’”
“Dozens of people in Vladimir Putin’s entourage have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Russian leader said Thursday, as his country struggles with high infection rates and a vaccine-skeptic population,” the Moscow Times reports.
Former president Donald Trump is concerned that this weekend’s rally at the Capitol in support of the January 6 insurrectionists is a “setup” designed to damage his reputation, the New York Times reports.
Trump is reportedly fearful that the media will use the rally against him “regardless of the outcome.”
CNN: Republican lawmakers keep Saturday’s right-wing rally at arm’s length.
Politico: “Elder was such a gift to Newsom that even many Republicans acknowledged he was tanking what little shot the GOP had at recalling the governor.”
“But it was Elder, easily portrayed by Newsom as a Donald Trump clone, whom the Republican base loved. Faulconer and other more moderate Republicans didn’t stand a chance.”