Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-MN) ex-girlfriend, who accused him last month of abuse during their relationship in 2016, posted a medical memorandum in which she told her doctor that Ellison had abused her emotionally and physically.
The Atlantic: “In a move described as a direct shot at Nancy Pelosi, some Democrats are trying to make it more difficult for one of their own to become speaker of the House.”
“At least 10 Democrats in the lower chamber have signed onto a letter to Caucus Chair Joe Crowley seeking a change to caucus rules that would raise the number of votes required to nominate a candidate for speaker. Current rules mandate that a nominee receive support from only a simple majority of caucus members before advancing to the floor for a vote. The letter requests that threshold be changed to 218, a majority of the House.”
Playbook: “This is likely to be defeated in the Democratic Caucus soundly. Five percent of Democrats signed this letter. This is a way for Democrats to let off steam, but it underscores, in part, that they have no one else to run against Pelosi — for now. Pelosi supporters even have a mechanism to quash this before it comes up for a vote. In some ways, this could hurt the anti-Pelosi movement by showing that, at the moment, process is the only tool they have to go up against her.”
House Republicans will investigate reports that FEMA administrator Brock Long “repeatedly misused government vehicles to commute from Washington to North Carolina, where his family resides,” the New York Times reports.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote to Mr. Long “requesting documentation and other information related to his use of government vehicles and about the agency personnel who may have accompanied him on the trips.”
“Mr. Gowdy learned of the potential misuse last week from press reports, but he delayed launching an inquiry as FEMA girded for what was then Hurricane Florence, which was bearing down on the Carolina coast.”
Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) “has an idea for how to get Congress to clean up its act: random drug screenings,” Roll Call reports.
Said Higgins: “I have observed some behavior that would cause one to wonder.”
“In an exchange with high school students that was caught on tape,” Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) “was tongue-tied over the prospect of same-sex couples adopting children and suggested kids would be better off in orphanages than with LGBT families,” the Washington Blade reports.
Politico: “Smith, who has represented the 4th District for nearly 40 years and typically skates to reelection with only a token challenge, is facing a well-funded opponent this year in Navy veteran Josh Welle (D).”
“A collection of powerful conservative groups is mounting an aggressive campaign to install Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan as House speaker or minority leader in the next Congress,” Politico reports.
“The bid to empower a rabble-rouser despised by much of the House Republican Conference will almost surely fall short. But success for the groups doesn’t necessarily require Jordan to end up in the top leadership spot.”
“Their effort could deny California Rep. Kevin McCarthy the 218 votes needed to secure the speakership if Republicans retain the House majority — an outcome conservatives would cheer just as much.”
New York Times: “House aides write federal policy and multitrillion-dollar budgets, oversee the administration of government and shape the public’s view of Congress, but the top staff members of the House of Representatives are far less racially diverse than the country itself — or even the lawmakers who employ them.”
“Just 13.7% of top staff members in the House are people of color… That compares with 38% of the country as a whole, and 23% of the House.”
“As long as he’s here, I’m here.”
— House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), telling CNN she won’t retire until Donald Trump is no longer president.
New York Times: “The dueling images of a president on the edge and a conservative Congress soldiering forward explain succinctly why almost all elected Republicans here have quietly supported Mr. Trump through his travails — or at least not chastised him too loudly. The payoffs for what Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, called the party’s ‘Faustian bargain’ have been rich and long awaited: deep cuts in corporate and personal tax rates, confirmation of a wave of conservative judges for the lower courts, and soon an ideological shift in the highest court of the land.”
“So with additional policy victories in reach and Mr. Trump’s popularity among Republicans still sky high, many in the party have quietly elected to put their heads down and get done what they can, at least until November’s midterm elections.”
Said Trump: “I’ll tell you what: This man has fought — in more ways than one — for your state. He has fought for your state. Greg Gianforte. He is a fighter and a winner.”
Molly Ball has a wonderful profile of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):
“The attacks on Pelosi are particularly ironic in this political moment. Since Donald Trump’s election, American women have poured into the streets, signed up to run for office in record numbers and surged to the polls. Many of them look a lot like Pelosi once did. They are brainy, liberal and comfortably situated moms who have looked at the political system with the exasperation of a person who has seen her husband get the laundry wrong and realized that she’s going to have to do it herself.”
“If Democrats regain congressional power in November, as most experts expect, it will be by riding a tidal wave of female rage. But rather than tout their female leader–the first woman Speaker in history, and the odds-on favorite to reclaim the title–many Democratic politicians, both male and female, are running in the opposite direction. In this season of female political empowerment, Pelosi’s power still rankles.”
“House Republicans are chewing over a proposal to hold members accountable for not voting along party lines or signing discharge petitions — two acts of rebellion that GOP leadership has had to grapple with this year,” The Hill reports.
“Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) pitched the idea on Tuesday to the Steering Committee, where it received a warm reception, but the panel decided to hold off on voting on the resolution until after the midterm elections.”
“The 116th Congress could see the start of a two-year slugfest between two partisan heavyweights — Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,” Politico reports.
“More gridlock, government shutdowns, and the potential impeachment of President.”
“Yet a Pelosi-McConnell-run Congress might also yield deals benefiting both parties — and Trump, who could claim credit for any bipartisan packages as he mounts an expected reelection bid in 2020. Both Pelosi and McConnell may push for a deal on infrastructure spending, for example, an agreement that would affect every state and congressional district. Trump would also gain politically from any such package. Trump could result from the faceoff.”
Playbook: “Republicans don’t want to be in Washington this month — especially House Republicans. All they need to do is fund the government, and prevent PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP from making this showdown about immigration policy — because the GOP leadership believes the specter of a shutdown and a prolonged discussion about migration policy are losers for the folks trying to hold onto the House. Get government funded, do no harm and get out of town — that’s the GOP’s mantra for the month.”
“We expect the house will cancel a whole chunk of time in session if they can get the government funding situation worked out.”
The Atlantic: “Earlier this month, as all eyes were on the courtroom dramas unfolding in Virginia—where President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman was just convicted on bank- and tax-fraud charges—and in New York—where the president’s longtime personal lawyer pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations and implicated Trump in a crime—the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee was in London, seeking out new information about the former British intelligence officer and Trump-Russia dossier author Christopher Steele.”
“According to two people familiar with his trip across the pond who requested anonymity to discuss the chairman’s travels, Devin Nunes, a California Republican, was investigating, among other things, Steele’s own service record and whether British authorities had known about his repeated contact with a U.S. Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr. To that end, Nunes requested meetings with the heads of three different British agencies—MI5, MI6, and the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.”
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) “has set up a legal expense fund to deal with costs he incurred last year after lewd images he shared in an extramarital affair were made public, an episode that caused the Republican to not seek re-election after more than 30 years in office,” the Dallas Morning News reports.
“Barton activated the trust in June after the House Ethics Committee approved it to raise and spend money to cover legal expenses in connection with his ‘official duties and position in Congress, and matters bearing on his reputation or fitness for office,’ according to documents.”