NotedDC — Clock ticking as Jan 6. panel wrestles for attention
The House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol is battling for attention after it delayed its hearing scheduled this week — the first public hearing it was to hold in more than a month — as Hurricane Ian bore down on Florida.
The hurricane, the first major storm to hit the Tampa Bay area in a century, has captured widespread attention after it was projected to be a major hurricane earlier this week. It made landfall in Florida on Wednesday afternoon as a Category 4 storm.
A scramble to avert a government shutdown by week’s end is similarly consuming Washington, while some lawmakers are also weighing how to move forward on a controversial permitting reform bill after it was struck from a stopgap bill this week.
Hanging over everything is the final five-plus weeks of campaigning before the midterms, with cash-strapped candidates and allied groups rushing to invest in ads and on-the-ground resources with control of Congress hanging in the balance.
This week’s scrapped Jan. 6 hearing has yet to be put back on the calendar after it was postponed Tuesday, though members are signaling they are eager to wrap up their work and make their recommendations before Election Day in November.
Details have been guarded, so it’s not clear who might testify or what footage the public will see, though Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) has suggested in interviews there is more evidence that has yet to be shown to the public.
The panel must make several decisions before it finishes its investigation, including whether to make criminal referrals and when to transfer material to the Justice Department, which is conducting its own probes.
This week’s hearing was slated to be held Wednesday afternoon, after several prime-time hearings. Whenever it’s rescheduled, it’s expected to be the panel’s final hearing until it releases a report on its findings and makes recommendations for legislation.
💨 Hurricane Ian pummels Florida, heads north
LATEST ON THE STORM … More than 1 million people have been left without electricity as the Category 4 hurricane bears down on Florida.
- The storm made landfall earlier Wednesday. For those who didn’t heed the evacuation warnings, power outages could prove serious in the coming days.
- “Due to the destructive nature of this storm, dangerous conditions could last for several days and cause outage counts to fluctuate,” the Florida Power & Light Company said in a statement.
- The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Office has shifted to 24-hour hurricane watch as the storm treks north.
IN CASE YOU FORGOT…
Lawmakers face an end-of-week deadline to fund the government and avert a shutdown, keeping lawmakers in town when many are eager to be out on the campaign trail.
- The temporary spending plan Congress hopes to pass will keep government afloat through mid-December and, importantly, past the November elections.
- It will mostly keep spending at current levels, though it also includes about $12 billion in additional assistance for Ukraine as it battles Russia’s invasion.
The Senate is pushing to advance the bill as soon as Thursday. In the House, GOP leaders are urging members to oppose the bill, though it’s still expected to pass especially after the controversial permitting provision put forward by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was stripped out.
📊 Ohio face-off: Ryan inches past Vance in poll
Rep. Tim Ryan (D) appears to have gained a narrow lead over his GOP rival J.D. Vance in the open Ohio Senate race that could prove essential to which party controls the chamber come January.
- According to a new Spectrum News-Siena College poll, Ryan is besting Vance by 3 percentage points, 46 percent to 43 percent.
- Vance, a political newcomer who authored the book “Hillbilly Elegy” that was later turned into a movie, has the backing of former President Trump.
📢 DC delegate puts focus on abortion in the District
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) plans to use a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Thursday to spotlight reproductive rights in the District, focusing on Congress’ unique control over the city’s local affairs.
- Congress already bars D.C. from spending local funds on abortion access. At the hearing, Norton will warn that if the GOP takes control of Congress, it could try to ban abortion in D.C. after the conservative-led Supreme Court voted to upend the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
- Because D.C. isn’t a state, many of its functions are at the will of Congress. City leaders have been seeking statehood to untie the District from federal moves, but no legislation has passed to date.
“[N]ow that Roe has been overturned and D.C. is not yet a state, Congress’ control over D.C. means D.C. residents are particularly vulnerable in a Republican Congress that decides to further limit access to or ban abortion,” Norton said in a statement.
“As I continue to fight for statehood for D.C., I also remain committed to protecting this vital freedom for D.C. residents.”
TAKING ACTION TO PREVENT SUICIDES
D.C. is planning to inspect local bridges as part of a suicide prevention effort, the city has announced.
- NBC Washington reports Chelsea Van Thof began urging the District to install barriers after her fiancé died by suicide on the Taft Bridge in northwest D.C.
- The nearby Duke Ellington Bridge has 8-foot barriers that were installed in 1986 after a series of suicides there, NBC Washington noted.
“We just made history tonight,” – Lizzo on Tuesday after playing a crystal flute that once belonged to President James Madison.
NUMBER TO KNOW
Days until a shutdown unless Congress passes a funding bill.
See you tomorrow!