The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - House boots Greene from committees; Senate plows ahead on budget


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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Friday! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators. Readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 441,324; Tuesday, 443,355; Wednesday, 446,885; Thursday, 450,797; Friday, 455,869.

The House on Thursday voted to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), best known for past incendiary statements and an embrace of QAnon, from a pair of committees. Eleven Republicans joined all House Democrats in rebuking the first-term member. 

The House voted largely along party lines, 230-199, to strip Greene from membership on the House Education and Labor Committee and the Budget Committee a day after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyPelosi on whether Gaetz should resign: 'That's up to the Republicans to take responsibility for that' Boehner finally calls it as he sees it Republican House campaign arm rakes in .7 million in first quarter MORE (R-Calif.) and GOP members declined to take action. 

As The Hill’s Cristina Marcos and Mike Lillis write, Democrats implored their GOP colleagues to hold members to a minimal standard: the stripping of committees for any member that has endorsed political violence or embraced dangerous conspiracy theories, including the suggestion that school shootings were staged, QAnon or the Sept. 11 attacks were a hoax. 

Some lawmakers have argued that Greene should not have been stripped of her committee assignments because the remarks came before she was a sitting member of Congress. 

LIST of House Republicans who voted with Democrats: Reps. Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartGOP lawmakers ask Biden administration for guidance on reopening cruise industry The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Biden delivers 100 million shots in 58 days, doses to neighbors Biden grants temporary legal status to thousands of Venezuelans in US MORE (Fla.), Brian FitzpatrickBrian K. FitzpatrickHouse panel opens probe into Tom Reed over sexual misconduct allegations Fitzpatrick replaces Tom Reed as House Problem Solvers co-chair The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Biden delivers 100 million shots in 58 days, doses to neighbors MORE (Pa.), Carlos Giménez (Fla.), Chris Jacobs (N.Y.), John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoLegislation seeks metrics to boost border funding for future migrant 'surge' Lawmakers reintroduce legislation to secure internet-connected devices House Republicans who backed Trump impeachment warn Democrats on Iowa election challenge MORE (N.Y.), Young Kim (Calif.), Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Boehner finally calls it as he sees it The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE (Ill.), Nicole Malliotakis (N.Y.), Maria Elvira Salazar (Fla.), Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by Facebook — Biden delivers 100 million shots in 58 days, doses to neighbors The eight Republicans who voted to tighten background checks on guns House approves bills tightening background checks on guns MORE (N.J.) and Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonBipartisan lawmakers call for action on anti-hate crime measures Bipartisan lawmakers urge Biden to send more vaccines to Michigan amid spike University of Michigan regent, who chairs state GOP, censured over 'witches' comment MORE (Mich.).

Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneySunday shows - Infrastructure dominates Liz Cheney says allegations against Gaetz are 'sickening,' refuses to say if he should resign Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye two-part infrastructure push; Michigan coronavirus cases surge MORE (R-Wyo.), who prevailed during a conference-wide vote seeking to remove her from GOP leadership on Wednesday, voted against Greene’s removal from the pair of panels. 

Niall Stanage: The Memo: Marjorie Taylor Greene won't slink away.

The Washington Post: Republicans worry their big tent will mean big problems in 2022 elections. 

Before Thursday’s vote, Greene said on the House floor that she regretted her past statements, including her belief in QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory. Referring to tragic events she previously rejected as myths or government-created, Greene said mass school shootings, such as in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, are “absolutely real” and the terror attacks on 9/11 that killed more than 3,000 people “absolutely happened. 

“I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true and I would ask questions about them and talk about them and that is absolutely what I regret,” Greene said. 

Notably, Greene’s speech did not address or apologize for past indications of support for violence against Democrats, including Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhite House races clock to beat GOP attacks Sunday shows - Infrastructure dominates Liz Cheney says allegations against Gaetz are 'sickening,' refuses to say if he should resign MORE (D-Calif.), former President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClose the avenues of foreign meddling Pelosi planned on retiring until Trump won election: report Pence autobiography coming from Simon & Schuster MORE

Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal: Liz Cheney wins one for sanity. 



> COVID-19 relief bill: Senate Democrats approved a budget resolution early Friday morning that will allow them to pass coronavirus relief without GOP support, allowing them to pass a bill with a simple majority.  

The budget is a first step to Democrats being able to bypass the 60-vote legislative filibuster as they race to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief proposal by mid-March. Republicans have balked over the price tag and fumed over the process, forcing Democrats to take dozens of votes in an hour-long session before passing the budget (The Hill). 

The Hill: House will have to vote on budget a second time as the GOP notches wins.

The New York Times: Senate votes against a federal minimum wage hike during the pandemic as Biden’s economic plan moves forward. 

The budget process also provided a glimpse at the early jockeying for the 2024 presidential contest, giving potential GOP candidates the opportunity to stake their claims during the vote-a-rama session, as The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reports.

The budget process gives GOP White House hopefuls a chance to distinguish themselves from rivals and take the lead on hot-button topics, such as illegal immigration. Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonMcConnell, GOP slam Biden's executive order on SCOTUS Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists POW/MIA flag moved back atop White House MORE (R-Ark.) has a proposal to prohibit people who entered the country illegally from receiving stimulus checks. Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioThe Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges Hillicon Valley: Amazon wins union election — says 'our employees made the choice' Overnight Defense: Biden proposes 3B defense budget | Criticism comes in from left and right | Pentagon moves toward new screening for extremists MORE (R-Fla.) wants to shield small businesses from tax increases during the pandemic. The votes could define some of the early battle lines ahead of the presidential race.

> Jobs: At least 9 million people remain unemployed but claims for jobless benefits filed last week show some improvement for workers compared with the last two months (CNBC). The government today will report on U.S. employment in January, which analysts believe will show gains. 

The Hill’s Jordain Carney reports on divisions among Senate Democrats tied to Biden’s proposed $15 per hour minimum wage, which could fall by the wayside if Democrats decide to use a tool known as reconciliation with all its budgetary rules about passing legislation with a simple majority vote. The wage hike has the support of Budget Committee Chairman Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden's policies are playing into Trump's hands Hillicon Valley: Amazon wins union election — says 'our employees made the choice' On The Money: Biden .5T budget proposes major hike in social programs | GOP bashes border, policing provisions MORE (I-Vt) and members of the Senate leadership.   

The Washington Post: Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTwo sheriff's deputies shot by gunman in Utah Romney blasts end of filibuster, expansion of SCOTUS On management of Utah public lands, Biden should pursue an accountable legislative process MORE (R-Utah) on Thursday unveiled a proposal to provide $3,000 per child to millions of Americans as part of a coronavirus relief bill. The senator gave his bipartisan endorsement to a provision of Biden’s $1.9 trillion measure. 

The Wall Street Journal: Biden’s plan for reopening schools faces challenges. Republicans see an opening to exploit divisions between the Biden administration and usually supportive teachers unions who are concerned about safety for educators during the pandemic. 

> Impeachment trial: It took no time at all for Trump attorney Bruce Castor, a trial attorney and former prosecutor and Pennsylvania politician, to reject Democrats’ request that Trump testify under oath during his second impeachment trial, which begins next week. There was no chance that Trump would testify and Democrats knew that before making their request. Castor called the request “a publicity stunt in order to make up for the weakness” of a case that attempts to convict Trump as a private citizen on a charge of inciting insurrection against the United States while serving as president (The Associated Press).  

Politico: Trump’s allies fear the impeachment trial could be a PR nightmare.




ADMINISTRATION: In the first major foreign policy speech of his term, Biden on Thursday announced the United States will end its support for the prolonged Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen (pictured below in December) and signaled to the world that Trump’s “America first” approach to policy is part of the past (The Associated Press).  

While withdrawing support for Saudi Arabia in the civil war in Yemen, the Biden administration said it intends to help the kingdom boost its defenses against any further attacks from Yemen’s Houthis or outside adversaries. The assurance is seen as part of an effort to persuade Saudi Arabia and other combatants to end the conflict, which the United States joined in 2015. Biden argues that the conflict has “created a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe.” The United States has been accused of being complicit in Saudi Arabia’s air bombardment of civilians in Yemen (The Guardian).

The president also promised to work with allies to respond effectively to the pandemic and climate change and he announced a freeze on Trump’s planned troop redeployments from Germany (The New York Times). 

The United States is sending “a clear message to the world: America is back,” Biden said, repeating a 2020 campaign theme. “We’re going to rebuild our alliances. We’re going to re-engage the world.” 

The president, who has been in office for two weeks, gets high marks for his job performance from 61 percent of Americans, a level of job approval that eluded Trump during his term, according to a new survey (The Associated Press). Since Jan. 20, a rising number of people believe the country is on the right track (RealClearPolitics).  

Even at a moment of deep national divisions, those numbers suggest Biden, as with most of his recent predecessors, may enjoy something of a honeymoon period. Nearly all modern presidents have had approval ratings averaging 55 percent or higher over their first three months in office, according to Gallup polling. There was one exception: Trump.





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CORONAVIRUS: Johnson & Johnson applied to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine, putting the U.S. on the verge of greenlighting a third shot to combat the pandemic. 

The pharmaceutical giant’s application came less than a week after it released data showing its vaccine has a 66 percent efficacy versus the virus. The shot would be the first to be approved by the FDA since Moderna’s vaccine was on Dec. 18. Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine received approval on Dec. 11 (The Hill).  

The pending approval of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine would be a major boost for the U.S.’s efforts to corral the pandemic. Unlike shots by Pfizer and Moderna, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires only one dose that can be stored at temperatures between 36 and 46 degrees, easing the burden for hospitals and pharmacies doling out the shots. 

While Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine reported a smaller efficacy than Pfizer and Moderna’s shots, experts say the burgeoning shot cannot be compared against the others. Johnson & Johnson’s shot requires only one dose and the trial was conducted when there were significantly more cases and as variants emerged.  

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciVaccinated Fauci hosts people at home, but stays away from crowded indoor spaces Trump endorses Rand Paul for reelection The Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Let's make a deal on infrastructure, taxes MORE, the head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters last week that the main takeaway from Johnson & Johnson’s data was that the shot is 85 percent effective in preventing severe disease, reducing deaths along the way. 

“That will alleviate so much of the stress and human suffering and death in this epidemic,” Fauci said (CNBC). 

Forbes: The process of preparing and filing for an application could take a week or two, after which the FDA review and potential approval is likely to take another two to three weeks. For perspective, the FDA review process took about three weeks for Pfizer and slightly less for Moderna. Considering this, it’s likely that the Johnson & Johnson shot should be approved for use by March.

The New York Times: The FDA says it is preparing a plan as virus variants gain a foothold in the United States.

The Hill: AstraZeneca approvals abroad fuel debate over speeding U.S. process.



> Statewide efforts: Wisconsin Gov. Tony EversTony EversBiden rescinds Trump-approved Medicaid work requirements in Michigan, Wisconsin Wisconsin governor declares state of emergency over wildfires Wisconsin seeks over 0,000 in legal fees incurred from GOP election lawsuits MORE (D) on Thursday reissued a statewide mask mandate, reintroducing the requirement for indoor public spaces shortly after Republican legislators voted to overturn a previous health emergency order imposing face coverings.

The mask mandate was initially repealed after lawmakers overturned the original emergency order that was put in place 10 months ago. An hour later, Evers announced a new order including a face mask requirement.

"Wearing a mask is the most basic thing we can do to keep each other safe. If the Legislature keeps playing politics and we don’t keep wearing masks, we're going to see more preventable deaths, and it’s going to take even longer to get our state and our economy back on track," Evers said in a video statement as part of the new order (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).  

Meanwhile, the Biden administration’s coronavirus response team is evaluating the logistics of mailing out millions of face coverings to the public, but no decision has been made, and the proposal hasn't yet reached the president for final approval, a White House official told NBC News (The Hill). 

The Associated Press: Global consulting firm McKinsey and Co. agrees to pay nearly $600 million over its role in the opioid crisis.


The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 



We need a constitutional amendment defining “high crimes and misdemeanors,” by Mark J. Rozell and Paul Goldman, opinion contributors, The Hill. https://bit.ly/3pP2LFe

The American system fueled global wealth — time to reclaim it, by Robert Hockett, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/3cIPNF1


The House meets at 9 a.m. 

The Senate convenes at 3 p.m. on Monday and will resume consideration of Denis McDonoughDenis Richard McDonoughCongress must address the toxic exposure our veterans have endured Veterans shouldn't have to wait for quality care The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation - CDC news on gatherings a step toward normality MORE’s nomination to serve as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.  

The president and Vice President Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:15 a.m. They will meet at 9:45 a.m. with House Democratic leaders and the chairs of House committees working on a coronavirus relief measure. Biden will speak at 11:45 a.m. about the economy and reference the government‘s release this morning of January employment data. Harris will join the president for his remarks in the State Dining Room, as will Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenRepublicans can't handle the truth about taxes Biden eyes bigger US role in global vaccination efforts Democrats see political winner in tax fight MORE. At 3 p.m., the vice president and Yellen will participate in a virtual roundtable with local Black Chambers of Commerce to promote passage of a coronavirus relief bill. The president will depart the White House after 5 p.m. to fly to Wilmington, Del. 

The White House daily press briefing is scheduled at 1 p.m. and will include Jared BernsteinJared BernsteinCongress mulls tightening eligibility for stimulus checks The Memo: Bad jobs report boosts Biden stimulus case More than 200 Obama officials sign letter supporting Biden's stimulus plan MORE, member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. The COVID-19 response team will brief reporters at 11 a.m. 

Economic indicator: The Bureau of Labor Statistics at 8:30 a.m. will report U.S. employment in January. Analysts’ forecasts vary widely but job growth is anticipated. 

INVITATIONS to The Hill’s Virtually Live events

  Tuesday, at 1 p.m., “Complex Generics & the Prescription Drug Landscape.” Reps. Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchDemocrats gear up for major push to lower drug prices Lawmakers debate role of prescription drugs and generics in health care costs The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by TikTok - Senate trial will have drama, but no surprise ending MORE (D-Vt.) and Brett GuthrieSteven (Brett) Brett GuthrieLawmakers press federal agencies on scope of SolarWinds attack Biden convenes bipartisan meeting on cancer research Lawmakers debate role of prescription drugs and generics in health care costs MORE (R-Ky.) and the Food and Drug Administration’s Sally Choe talk with The Hill's Steve Clemons about how complex generic medical alternatives can impact and potentially enhance the American health care system. RSVP HERE

  Thursday, Feb. 11, at 1 p.m., “COVID-19 & the Opioid Epidemic.” Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseLawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden's job Democrats wrestle over tax hikes for infrastructure Democrats look to impose capital gains tax at death MORE (D-R.I.) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP Ohio Senate candidate asked to leave RNC retreat To encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE (R-Ohio) and Rep. David McKinleyDavid Bennett McKinleyThe Memo: Hunter Biden and the politics of addiction OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Native groups hope Haaland's historic confirmation comes with tribal wins | EPA asks court to nix Trump rule limiting GHG regs | Green group asks regulators to block use of utility customers' money for lobbying  Lawmakers press federal agencies on scope of SolarWinds attack MORE (R-W.Va.) and a panel of experts will discuss how the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the opioid epidemic and the path to saving lives. RSVP HERE

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. EST at Rising on YouTube



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➔ POLITICS: Former Vice President Pence plans to join the conservative Heritage Foundation as a distinguished fellow. Pence, who is now residing in Virginia, plans to return this summer to Indiana with wife Karen PenceKaren Sue PencePences announce birth of first grandchild Can a common bond of service unite our nation? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - House boots Greene from committees; Senate plows ahead on budget MORE and is expected to compete for the presidency in 2024 (Politico). … Amy Acton, the former head of pandemic response in Ohio, announced that she is leaving her spot at a nonprofit to explore a run for the state’s Senate seat as a Democrat to replace Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who is retiring from Congress (The Associated Press). … Florida-based Smartmatic USA, a voting technology company, is suing Fox News, three of its hosts and two former lawyers for Trump, including former New York Mayor Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiGaetz hires legal counsel amid DOJ probe Georgia lieutenant governor: Giuliani election claims helped lead to new voting law Rep. Lee Zeldin announces bid for New York governor MORE. The complaint, filed in New York state court, seeks $2.7 billion and charges that defendants conspired to spread false claims that the company helped “steal” the U.S. presidential election (The Associated Press). 



COURTS: A litigious conservative doctors’ group that challenged the broad scientific consensus around vaccines sued Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffHillicon Valley: Intel heads to resume threats hearing scrapped under Trump | New small business coalition to urge action on antitrust policy | Amazon backs corporate tax hike to pay for infrastructure Intel heads to resume worldwide threats hearing scrapped under Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Biden tasks Harris on border; news conference today MORE (D-Calif.), claiming the House Intelligence Committee chairman’s successful campaign to get Amazon, Facebook and Google to downgrade anti-vaccine content on their platforms amounted to censorship. Such court fights have grown more prominent (The Hill).  

STATE WATCH: The most dysfunctional legislature in America (i.e. in Alaska, reports The Hill’s Reid Wilson) is at it — or rather not at it — again. At a critical moment in Alaska's history, as the state charts a path that will determine its fiscal health for decades to come, the state House of Representatives cannot agree on a temporary leader. The battle for control has dragged on for a month, and there are no signs it will end any time soon.

➔ SPORTS: Super Bowl LV, America’s biggest sports weekend, begins Sunday night on CBS between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A couple of notes ahead of kickoff: The game may take place in temperate Tampa, but Kansas City is favored to take home a second straight Lombardi Trophy. According to oddsmakers, the team is a three-point favorite, with bettors able to pick the Chiefs on the moneyline at -166 (as of this morning). Degenerates can also grab Tampa Bay at +144, if they choose. The over/under is 55.5. The weather forecast is promising with early thunderstorms on Sunday likely to give way to partly cloudy skies by evening. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. (Fanduel and ESPN).


And finally … Congratulations to Morning Report Quiz winners who guessed correctly while matching recent headline-grabbing quotes with the female lawmakers who said them. 

This week’s news trivia champs: Susan Reyes, Donna Minter, Dan Mattoon, William Slay, John Wilcox, Mary Brule, Candi Cee, James Egan, Joanna Gwozdziowski, Tim Aiken, Mary Anne McEnery, Susan Olson, Pam Manges, Wilma J. Sanders, John van Santen, Terry MacDougall, Jarrod Bolden, Passepartout Too-Too, Patrick Kavanagh, Eric Lanter, Mary Frances Tucco, Paula Hassinger, Daniel Bachhuber, Norm Roberts, Susan Kahil, Ed Hodder, Ilene Kantrov, Marsha Corrocher, John Donato, Luther Berg, Juanita Bryant, Terry Pflaumer, Joseph Fleischman, Michael Palermo, Tyranieri, Richard Frankenstein, Matthew DeLaune, Anita Bales, Elizabeth Murphy, Rich Gruber, Richard Baznik, Nicola Dawkins, John N. Dziennik Jr., Allen Reishtein, Victoria Gasaway, Kane Martin, Joe Erdmann, Sandy Walters, David Anderson, Richard Clermont, “ToMo Updates,” Enzo De Palma, Sherri Escobar, Jeanne Kosch and Jack Barshay.

They knew that Greene said (B): “This war on our second amendment is going to continue and must be fought. I am told that Nancy Pelosi tells Hillary Clinton several times a month that ‘we need another school shooting’ in order to persuade the public to want strict gun control.”

Cheney said (D): “The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution. I will vote to impeach the President."

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezNew York City's suicide mission should alarm the entire nation Marjorie Taylor Greene rakes in over .2M in first quarter The strategy Biden needs to pass his infrastructure plan MORE (D-N.Y.) (pictured below) said (A): “I am happy to work with Republicans on this issue where there’s common ground, but you [Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzBoehner: Trump 'stepped all over their loyalty' by lying to followers The Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges Boehner finally calls it as he sees it MORE (R-Texas)] almost had me murdered 3 weeks ago so you can sit this one out. … Happy to work w/ almost any other GOP that aren’t trying to get me killed. In the meantime if you want to help, you can resign.”

Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeNina Turner touts herself as 'coalition builder' in House bid Nina Turner raises .6 million in first quarter for Ohio congressional bid The Hill's Morning Report - Biden may find zero GOP support for jobs plan MORE (D-Ohio) said (E) (and was questioned about her remarks during her recent confirmation hearing to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development): “Those who are bent on choosing [the late Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgProgressives give Biden's court reform panel mixed reviews Biden will let Breyer decide when to retire, aide says Biden establishes commission to study expanding Supreme Court MORE’s] successor have no decency. They have no honor. They have no integrity. … They want to take away our healthcare. They don't want to help people who are in trouble. They don't care about people who are unemployed. All they want to do is win. But what do they win? What have they won for this Nation? They just want to benefit themselves. … They are a disgrace to this Nation.” 

Speaker Pelosi said (C): “The enemy is within the House.”