The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Democratic race for Speaker turns nasty

The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Democratic race for Speaker turns nasty
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The race among Democrats to be the next Speaker of the House is turning nasty.

So far, House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Rove warns Senate GOP: Don't put only focus on base Senate to take up Trump's border-immigration plan next week MORE (D-Calif.) is the only candidate running. It seems likely, once the dust settles, that Pelosi will be the next Speaker when Democrats assume the majority in January.

But that doesn’t mean the process will be easy or pretty.

Scott Wong and Mike Lillis are reporting that at least 17 Democrats have banded together and are committed to blocking Pelosi’s bid for Speaker on the House floor during the final vote early next year (The Hill).

That would result in chaos, but some Democrats are so eager for new blood in leadership that they believe it’s a fight worth having.

This is a fight and she’s a very worthy opponent, but it’s time.” – Rep. Kathleen RiceKathleen Maura RiceMcCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader How Pelosi is punishing some critics while rewarding others The 15 Democrats who voted against Pelosi MORE (D-N.Y.).

Pelosi’s allies – she has many and they are powerful – are furious and ready to go to war with the dissenters.

“These individuals who are fighting us have a price to pay.” – Rep. Jan SchakowskyJanice (Jan) Danoff SchakowskyDems seek House panel's support to block military funds for Trump border wall The new Democratic Congress has an opportunity to move legislation to help horses Ocasio-Cortez sparks debate with talk of 70 percent marginal rate MORE (D-Ill.).

There are several things Pelosi and her allies could do to punish the rebels if she gets the gavel, as expected.

They could deny the dissenters top committee assignments or place them on backwater committees. They could also deny them overseas trips, known as CODELs.

That could be an effective deterrent. CNN asked Rep.-elect Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) if it was something he was worried about in casting his vote for Speaker.

I guess, you know, to be totally objective, I would have to say yes.  However, I’m always very hopeful that we all rise above that, and this is America and we’re allowed to have different viewpoints.” – Van Drew 

The whip count is a bit fluid right now, but the process breaks down like this:

> Pelosi should easily win a majority of votes of the roughly 230 House Democrats casting ballots at an internal election on Nov. 28.

> Pelosi will need 218 votes to be elected Speaker when the entire 435-member House, including Republicans, votes on Jan. 3. That’s where the opposition could throw a wrench into the process. 

First on The Hill.com: At least one Republican and perhaps more are open to voting for Pelosi for Speaker. Read what they want in exchange (The Hill).

Pelosi is speaking bullishly about her prospects and hopes to avoid a dramatic series of votes.

“I have overwhelming support within my caucus to be Speaker of the House.” – Pelosi

She’s also making the rounds to shore-up potential problem spots.

On Wednesday, Pelosi met with Democrats in the Problem Solvers Caucus, who are withholding their support for any potential Speaker unless the candidate supports rule changes, in writing, that empower rank-and-file lawmakers.

On Thursday, Pelosi met with leaders from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who want to make sure members of their growing group are represented in leadership.

The CPC co-chairs, Reps. Mark PocanMark William PocanDems offer measure to raise minimum wage to per hour House Dems to introduce minimum wage bill Congress poised to push back at Trump on Saudi Arabia, Syria MORE (D-Wis.) and Pramila JayapalPramila JayapalDems revive impeachment talk after latest Cohen bombshell Women's March plans 'Medicare for All' day of lobbying in DC MoveOn leaders stepping down before 2020 election MORE (D-Wash.), did not commit to backing Pelosi but said their conversation with her was a good start.

“With the talent of the incoming class of new members, we agreed that there should be opportunities not only for seasoned CPC members, but also for our brand-new CPC members, many of whom bring particular issue-area expertise.” – Pocan and Jayapal

Of course, it would help the insurgent cause to have a viable alternative. So far no one has jumped into the race.

Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia Louise FudgeReporter says to expect Capitol Hill to take action on North Carolina's 9th District House Dems signal possible probe of disputed North Carolina election The 15 Democrats who voted against Pelosi MORE (D-Ohio), a six-term lawmaker and member of the Congressional Black Caucus, is talking boldly about a challenge. 

The Hill: Fudge in the spotlight as Speaker’s race heats up.

In interviews on Thursday, Fudge said she’s been “overwhelmed” by support for a possible bid. She said Pelosi is viewed by many as an “elitist” and swiped at the minority leader for not doing a good enough job of promoting minority women through the leadership ranks (The Huffington Post). 

“She wants our endorsements? Who has she endorsed? We’re not feeling the love.” – Fudge 

 

 

 

More from Capitol Hill … Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) clashed during a closed-door meeting on Thursday as tensions grow over a potential vote on legislation to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE (The Hill)President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Rove warns Senate GOP: Don't put only focus on base Ann Coulter blasts Trump shutdown compromise: ‘We voted for Trump and got Jeb!’ MORE’s backing may not be enough to get criminal justice reform through the Senate (The Hill) … Senior GOP senator warns Trump against partial shutdown (The Hill).

 

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LEADING THE DAY

INTERNATIONAL: Saudi Arabia: The Trump administration sanctioned 17 people implicated in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, including Saud al-Qahtani, a former top aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and his subordinate, Maher Mutreb, who is accused of coordinating and carrying out the operation (The Hill).

The Treasury Department announcement occurred at the same time Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor announced on Thursday that he will seek the death penalty for five men charged with Khashoggi’s killing inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2. The Saudi government denies that the crown prince was involved in the death of one of his most outspoken critics (The Associated Press).

The Washington Post, which published Khashoggi’s commentary, released a statement saying it does not believe that a full story has emerged about the journalist’s death. The paper objected with an assertion that the U.S. and Saudi governments are “asking the world to take their word for it that this settles the matter.”

 

 

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Brexit: British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday turned aside suggestions her tenure at 10 Downing St. may come to an early end, saying she will steer the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union through its March 29 deadline under a plan she helped craft and endorses. Hostility from government and opposition lawmakers raised the risk that the deal would be rejected in parliament, and that Britain could face its March divorce deadline without a safety net (Reuters). The prime minister could be replaced in weeks, not months (Reuters).

 

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North Korea: Vice President Pence, traveling in Asia, said the Trump administration will proceed with a second Trump-Kim Jong Un summit in 2019 without obtaining from Pyongyang a list of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and facilities (NBC News).

 

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China: Tariffs on Chinese imports pending in January will be part of conversations later this month between Trump and China’s Xi Jinping as they seek to resolve trade tensions, Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossTrump cancels delegation's trip to Davos amid shutdown Trump administration to appeal ruling against 2020 census citizenship question READ: Federal judge's ruling against Trump administration's push for 2020 census citizenship question MORE said, describing the goal ahead as a “framework” for additional trade talks. Trump and Xi are to meet during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires Nov. 30-Dec. 1 (Bloomberg). Ahead of the leaders’ meeting, China put in writing potential concessions that U.S. officials said they do not see as a breakthrough. Items on Beijing’s “non-negotiable” list, received Monday night, were deemed unacceptable (Reuters).

 

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APEC: Pence believes Trump will raise the topic of sanctions on North Korea and their enforcement during his upcoming conversations with Xi, the vice president said during his trip to Singapore for the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (The New York Times). Pence will wrap up a week of travel at another forum, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting held in Papua New Guinea. The Wall Street Journal previewed the U.S. goals for the back-to-back Asia summits. While meeting in New Guinea, Pence and other international leaders are staying for security reasons in Cairns, Australia (ABC Australia).

 

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: The Florida recount drama continues. 

The machine recount is complete, but the Senate race between Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonFlorida lawmaker diagnosed with pancreatic cancer Rick Scott threw party at Florida governor’s mansion after DeSantis and family had moved in: report Restoration of voting rights by felons marks shift in Florida MORE (D) is close enough to have triggered a hand recount, which state law says must be completed by Nov. 20 (The Hill).

Scott has a lead of about 12,600 votes over Nelson entering the hand recount.

The governor’s race between former Rep. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisFlorida governor suspends Palm Beach County elections supervisor Florida governor threatens Airbnb over West Bank settlements Florida governor announces sheriff's suspension over Parkland shooting MORE (R) and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum (D) is not close enough to trigger a hand recount. DeSantis leads by more than 33,600 votes but Gillum has not conceded the race.

The Washington Post: DeSantis looks certain to win governor’s race; Senate contest moves to manual recount.

Broward County and its Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes have been at the center of the recount controversy and did not transmit the results from the machine recount on time, so officials will use their initial vote tally (Miami Herald). Palm Beach County also missed the deadline because of malfunctioning machines (Sun Sentinel).

A federal judge denied a request to extend the deadline for the machine recount and blasted government officials for vote counting issues and delays.

“We have been the laughingstock of the world, election after election, and we chose not to fix this.” – U.S. District Judge Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerFlorida governor suspends Palm Beach County elections supervisor Corker: Breakthrough reached in shutdown stalemate Senate in last-minute talks to find deal to avert shutdown  MORE

Meanwhile, Naples Daily News has new details on the allegations of fraud that prosecutors are investigating. Democratic officials in the state allegedly gave altered election forms with false information to voters to fix issues with their absentee ballots.

The other unsettled governor’s race:

Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams both claimed legal victories in the Georgia governor’s race after a split ruling from a federal judge on Thursday. The race is still too close to call. Kemp leads with 50.3 percent of the vote. Abrams is trying to force a runoff, which would be triggered if neither candidate has 50 percent support (The Hill).

More from campaigns and politics … Congressional Republicans’ biggest legislative accomplishment — the new tax-cut law — didn’t end up saving the GOP majority in the House (The Hill) … Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyTrump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback Dem senator references 'The Office' when posting job for Scranton regional manager  Sen. Casey says he won't run for president in 2020 MORE Jr. (D-Pa.) isn’t ruling out a presidential run (NBC News) … Sen. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoMark Kelly considering Senate bid as Arizona Dems circle McSally Schumer recruiting top-notch candidate for McCain Senate seat Stacey Abrams meets with top Democrats about 2020 Senate run MORE (D-Nev.) tapped to lead the Democratic Senate campaign arm (The Hill).

 

The Morning Report is created by journalists Jonathan Easley jeasley@thehill.com & Alexis Simendinger asimendinger@thehill.com. Suggestions? Tips? We want to hear from you! Share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!

OPINION

Florida can redeem itself by getting election results right, by Allan Lichtman, opinion contributor, The Hill. http://bit.ly/2FqE5zW

On oversight, House Dems should do the work and avoid the courts, by Kris Kolesnik, opinion contributor, The Hill. http://bit.ly/2PsYYiG

WHERE AND WHEN

The House meets at 9 a.m. to consider the Manage Our Wolves Act, a bill to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list; a final vote is expected later in the morning. 

 

 

The Senate convenes at 3 p.m.

The president signs the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act at 11:30 a.m. He presents the Medal of Freedom at 1 p.m. in the East Room. The president meets with Small Business Administration head Linda McMahonLinda Marie McMahonWhite House announces reduced delegation to travel to Davos amid shutdown ‘We Can Do It!’: Women and bipartisanship Trump’s shifting Cabinet to introduce new faces MORE later today.

Vice President Pence was in Singapore for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit and will fly to the APEC summit held Nov. 17-18 in Papua New Guinea.

Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaJulián Castro: No one can ‘out-gutter’ Trump The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Day 27 of the shutdown | Cohen reportedly paid company to rig online polls, boost his own image | Atlantic publishes ‘Impeach Donald Trump’ cover story Ex-Michelle Obama aide says O'Rourke's road trip is a 'listening tour' in form of a travel blog MORE on Saturday evening appears at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., for a ticketed conversation to sell her memoir, “Becoming,” released this week.

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, starting today at 8 a.m., features Democrat Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur and 2020 presidential candidate, and Fox News reporter Paul Steinhauser, who interviewed Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich in New Hampshire as Kasich weighs another presidential race. http://thehill.com/hilltv

 

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ELSEWHERE

> Wildfires disaster: The known death toll in the state rose to 63 on Thursday night as authorities said the number of people unaccounted for is a staggering 631 (The Associated Press). ... Some of California’s evacuees are living in tents in a Walmart parking lot because they have no place to go, especially with their pets (CBS News), but local officials now want to see the encampment inhabitants move to shelters (The Associated Press). … During the week, photographers’ heart-rending images helped explain the scope of tragedy (The Guardian; High Country News and CNN). … Trump will travel to California on Saturday to meet with evacuees and first responders (CNBC). Last week, the president was blasted for a tweet blaming the fires on the state’s “forest management,” which he assessed as “poor,” accompanied by his threat to withdraw federal funds (The Hill). Trump subsequently reversed course. 

 

 

> Wikileaks: The Department of Justice appears to have inadvertently named Julian Assange in a court filing, revealing that the U.S. has prepared charges against the Wikileaks founder that remain under seal (The Associated Press). There is some confusion about whether Assange has been charged, but the development appears to be tied to the Russian election interference probe and signals a more aggressive posture from prosecutors (The Washington Post).

> E-cigarettes: The Food and Drug Administration announced two major attacks on the tobacco industry Thursday, saying it will start the process to ban menthol in cigarettes and limit sales of flavored e-cigarettes to young people (NBC News). “These data shock my conscience: From 2017 to 2018, there was a 78 percent increase in current e-cigarette use among high school students and a 48 percent increase among middle school students,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said.

> The caravan: Members of a migrant caravan met some local resistance on Thursday as they continued to arrive by the hundreds in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, where a group of residents clashed with migrants camped out by the U.S. border fence. Police kept the two sides apart, but serious questions emerged about how Tijuana will handle the large influx of migrants (The Associated Press).

> Facebook: `No morals’ — advertisers and marketers react to a behind-the-scenes investigative report of decisions made by Facebook executives to try to stave off financial hits from public revelations of misinformation and manipulation peddled on its platform (The New York Times).

> `Sex recession’: Here’s a headline we couldn’t pass up for this morning’s newsletter. “Why are young people having so little sex?” Caveat sentence: “Most of us still think that other people are having a lot more sex than they actually are” (The Atlantic cover story).

THE CLOSER

And finally … Kudos to Morning Report Quiz winners! Here are the readers who tallied five out of five correct answers this week: Heather Ciandella, Wes Grady, Lorraine Lindberg, B.J. Ford, Milt Mungo, Anita Bales, Carolyn Dixon, Sandy Sycafoose and Toby Olson.

Artful guessers knew that Edward Hopper’s painting “Chop Suey” sold at auction on Tuesday night for nearly $92 million, setting off sticker shock in the art world (The New York Times).

 

 

Laura Bush is the former first lady who quipped in 2012, when her official White House portrait was unveiled along with her husband’s, that “nothing makes a house a home like having portraits of its former occupants staring down at you from the walls” (The New York Times).

Former President George W. Bush has received favorable reviews for his post-White House hobby as a fine arts painter (The New York Times). Initially when he picked up a brush, Bush focused on mundane subjects. But he also created a self-portrait in a bathtub. The world examined that early loo period after a Romanian hacker dug through Bush family emails in 2013 (The Verge).

In October, we learned that Trump decorated a private space near the Oval Office with a print of a painting by Missouri’s Andy Thomas depicting a svelte, smiling Trump surrounded by former Republican U.S. presidents, including Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, seated at a table in a bar scene. They all have drinks (CNN).

Second lady Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceCNN's King questions taxpayers funding Karen Pence's security while teaching Pence to critics of wife's new job: 'Attacking Christian education is deeply offensive' LGBT group sends John Oliver book about gay Pence bunny to school where Karen Pence teaches MORE this week announced a $54,000 U.S. grant to a university in Japan for the study of art therapy, her mental health project in the Trump administration (Kansas City Star).