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POLITICO Playbook: The Hill’s large choice: Omnibus or wrestle bus?

With assist from Eli Okun and Garrett Ross

NEW THIS MORNING — Burgess Everett steps back on yesterday’s historic 61-36 Senate vote to guard same-sex marriage rights — and the gradual GOP evolution that made it potential. He leads with Sen. THOM TILLIS (R-N.C.), whose “decision to get involved was emblematic of a Republican Party that’s divided over how much to edge away from hardline positions on social issues as it tries to rebuild credibility with swing voters after a disappointing midterm performance. … ‘This was about settling something that is on the minds of millions of people and their families,’ Tillis said. ‘And I thought it was worth doing.’”

Still: The subject “still plainly splits the GOP. …. Though Republicans privately estimate perhaps 30 or so of their senators want the bill to pass, conservative backlash limited the whip count. [Arizona Democratic Sen. KYRSTEN] SINEMA has cut deals on infrastructure and gun safety but said that ‘the attempts to derail this piece of legislation were probably more focused and robust than any other bills I’ve worked on in the last two years.’”

Related reads: “‘Her leadership was critical’: Tammy Baldwin guides same-sex marriage bill through extremely divided Senate,” by CNN’s Alex Rogers … “GOP Sen. Cynthia Lummis Gives Moving Speech In Support Of Same-Sex Marriage Protections,” by HuffPost’s Igor Bobic … “Here’s which senators voted for or against the Respect for Marriage Act,” WaPo

OMNIBUS UPDATE — The 4 congressional leaders spent over an hour with President JOE BIDEN within the Roosevelt Room on Tuesday, and after they emerged from the White House and spoke to reporters, one thing uncommon occurred: They all agreed.

What they agreed on was one thing that appeared awfully iffy earlier this week: that the lame-duck Congress ought to negotiate and go an omnibus appropriations invoice within the coming weeks.

On the face of it, that appears just a little uncommon, particularly because the options might get everybody out of city so much faster. Government funding runs out on Dec. 16, and Congress might merely go a unbroken decision to kick issues into early subsequent 12 months when the brand new Congress, presumably with a KEVIN McCARTHY-led House, is sworn in. Or it might hold present company funding ranges largely in place till the brand new fiscal 12 months begins in October 2023 (and, let’s be trustworthy, in all probability longer).

Several issues are driving the 5 leaders to press ahead with fraught negotiations over $1.5 trillion-plus in federal spending on a decent deadline. But we are able to’t assist however word the one widespread issue that got here up in conversations with all sides: Nobody trusts McCarthy to go something (not even McCarthy). Let’s take a spin by the pondering of all 5 camps …

— The White House: Biden has three high priorities for the invoice: disaster aid, Ukraine and Covid. There’s bipartisan assist for the primary two objects. Natural disasters have touched each crimson states and blue in latest months, and Senate GOP Leader MITCH McCONNELL, who clearly needs to sideline among the isolationist voices in his get together, is especially eager on Ukraine funding. (Covid aid stays a a lot heavier carry.)

As we reported Monday, the administration can be warning of nationwide safety implications. The Pentagon has by no means operated for a full fiscal 12 months on the prior 12 months’s funding ranges, and Defense Secretary LLOYD AUSTIN warned Hill leaders this week that doing so would (1) quantity to a price range reduce and (2) have the perverse impact of allocating cash based mostly on outdated priorities. And, sure, there are additionally a number of nondefense priorities outlined in Biden’s budgets that might discover a residence within the omnibus.

But if the White House can’t get a deal, search for Biden to hunt a yearlong CR. This is each a negotiating tactic — many Republicans share the DOD issues — and a bow to actuality, as a result of the one factor worse than funding the federal government at outdated ranges and with final 12 months’s priorities is establishing a late-winter showdown with House Republicans.

— McConnell: The Senate Republican chief, who must spherical up ten GOP votes for any invoice, advised reporters “there’s widespread agreement that we’d be better off with an omnibus than a CR” after the White House assembly.

That displays (1) his view that the Pentagon can’t endure by a yearlong CR, (2) his understanding that many in his get together have priorities they need funded — veterans, legislation enforcement, well being analysis, agriculture, and many others. — and (3) stress from enterprise lobbies that need a car that may carry different goodies, together with extensions of expiring tax insurance policies.

McConnell additionally is aware of that if he reaches a deal this month, then outgoing Speaker NANCY PELOSI will be trusted to push it by the House. Can the identical be mentioned about McCarthy in January? As one GOP senator told POLITICO this week, “Nobody wants to hand Kevin McCarthy a grenade with the pin already pulled.”

But McConnell has a worth for his cooperation: He is insisting that protection spending obtain an even bigger increase than nondefense spending. Generally, prior to now decade, omnibus offers have adopted a bipartisan rule of parity: Both classes get bumped up on the identical charge. But Republicans argue that the Democrats have already gone on a nondefense spending spree by way of their three huge domesticpolicybills and that the year-end deal needs to be weighted towards the Pentagon.

Schumer: Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER and his appropriators are decided to barter McConnell again to one thing nearer to parity. But he’s additionally dealing with stress from Democratic senators who need to see their very own priorities signed into legislation. For occasion, Sen. MICHAEL BENNET (D-Colo.) is pushing exhausting to re-expand the Child Tax Credit, at the very least briefly.

Meanwhile, exterior teams and lobbyists are flooding workplaces with requests that may most simply be handled in an omnibus. Here’s the most recent instance: a letter from the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition asking Congress “to strengthen resources for America’s civilian programs overseas.”

Schumer was cautiously optimistic yesterday however famous that an omnibus was removed from “a done deal.”

— Pelosi: This will probably be Pelosi’s final main piece of laws, and he or she can be ending her speakership not with a bang, however a whimper if all she will be able to muster in December is a CR. But for that very same motive, she’ll be extremely incentivized to push again towards McConnell and keep defense-nondefense parity within the last deal.

Depending on how exhausting a cut price McConnell drives, rounding up Democratic votes within the House might show to be one last herculean check of Pelosi’s capability to whip her caucus. She’ll be doing so from an unfamiliar posture: As a lame duck, will she retain her powers to persuade and browbeat progressives and moderates to unite in assist of an inevitably flawed deal?

— McCarthy: Nobody expects McCarthy to supply a single Republican vote for an enormous omnibus invoice. He’s already busy cutting deals over GOP conference rules as he tries to safe 218 votes to turn out to be speaker — extra on that under — and if he has any hope of profitable over the fitting flank, he can not danger countenancing any compromise with Democrats.

But, like everybody else, the very last thing he needs is to be coping with this instantly in January. So that leaves McCarthy within the basic “hope yes, vote no” predicament, and this time he can in all probability rely on Democrats to place up the mandatory votes to go the invoice. This time.

Good Wednesday morning. Thanks for studying Playbook. What are you listening to that might get connected to an omni? Drop us a line: Rachael Bade, Eugene Daniels, Ryan Lizza.

BETTER NEWS FOR McCARTHY — Influential conservative speak present host MARK LEVIN gave the embattled House GOP chief a lift in his quest to turn out to be speaker on his syndicated radio present Tuesday, roundly mocking members of the Freedom Caucus who’ve gone on file opposing McCarthy’s marketing campaign for the gavel.

Dubbing them the “five boneheads” and “five saboteurs,” he accused the group of “playing right into the hands of the Democrats” and standing in the way in which of a peaceable transition to GOP management that will enable for fast subpoenas of the Biden household and the Justice Department, in addition to different Republican priorities. “How can they be so stupid?”

Levin obtained much more private in lambasting the lawmakers, calling Rep. MATT GAETZ (R-Fla.) “utterly useless,” Rep. ANDY BIGGS (R-Ariz.) a “phony conservative” and Rep. BOB GOOD (R-Va.) a “moron.”

Levin’s rant — which is worth a listen — constitutes some welcome backup for McCarthy on the activist proper because the Jan. 3 speaker vote attracts nearer. Expect McCarthy to recruit different highly effective voices to assist him lock down the votes, simply as NANCY PELOSI did in early 2018 when she put down her personal threatened mutiny.



RUNOFF REPORT — “Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker described himself as living in Texas during 2022 campaign speech,” by CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski and Olivia Alafriz: “Georgia Democrats have called for an investigation by state officials into [HERSCHEL] WALKER’s residency after CNN’s KFile reported last week that Walker was getting a tax break in Texas intended for a primary residence, possibly running afoul of Texas tax law and some rules for establishing Georgia residency for voting and running for office.

“‘I live in Texas,’ Walker said in January of this year, when speaking to University of Georgia College Republicans. … Earlier in the speech, Walker said he decided to run for Georgia’s Senate seat while at his Texas home after seeing the country divided.”

“‘Is He for Real?’: Warnock Hits Walker in New Ad, but Lets Others Do the Talking,” by NYT’s Reid Epstein

DRAWING THE LINES — “S. Carolina’s US House maps under scrutiny because of race,” by AP’s James Pollard

JUSTICE SERVED — “Jacob Wohl, Jack Burkman must spend 500 hours registering voters as penance for phony robocalls targeting Black voters in Cleveland,” by’s Cory Shaffer


BEHIND THE SCENES — “Inside Biden’s decision to halt a rail strike,” by Ben White: “Biden’s decision to request Congress’ intervention late Monday came after phone calls over recent days with Labor Secretary MARTY WALSH, Agriculture Secretary TOM VILSACK and Transportation Secretary PETE BUTTIGIEG, the trio of aides running point for the White House on the issue, three people familiar with the planning told POLITICO. In the end, they said, Biden figured that the blowback from unions and highly progressive members of Congress would be limited.”

SETTING THE STATE TABLE — “As Macron Pays State Visit to U.S., Ukraine Tests an Old Alliance,” by NYT’s Roger Cohen in Paris: “The 21-gun salute and elaborate reception that will be accorded to [French President EMMANUEL MACRON] reflect the resilience of the very old but sometimes fractious relationship between France and the United States. They also indicate the renewed centrality of Europe to American interests since the invasion of Ukraine by President VLADIMIR V. PUTIN of Russia nine months ago.”

ON THE ROAD AGAIN — “Biden in Michigan: U.S. won’t be ‘held hostage’ in chips supply,” by the Detroit News’ Breana Noble and Riley Beggin


QUITE THE HONOR — “Lofgren introduces resolution to name Cannon Caucus Room after Pelosi,” by The Hill’s Zach Schonfeld

WHAT THE SENATE GOP WANTS — “GOP’s Thune Sees Debt-Ceiling Hike as Vehicle for Budget Cuts,” by Bloomberg’s Laura Litvan: “Senate Republicans want to leverage the next US debt limit increase to force cuts in projected federal spending and changes to Social Security and other entitlement programs, the party’s No. 2 leader said.”

TOP-ED — Former CHUCK GRASSLEY aide Kris Kolesnik writes for The Hill: “Why the GOP oversight agenda in the new Congress likely will backfire”


FAILURE TO LAUNCH — “Donald Trump’s turbulence-filled launch,” by Meridith McGraw and Zach Montellaro: “Trump aides stress that the former president continues to dominate in 2024 primary polling and he is no stranger to controversial news cycles. They note millions tuned in for his announcement and he has continued to fundraise and now sells 2024 merchandise on his website.

“And they’re working to right the ship, with plans to formalize his surrogate operation, shift the focus to claims that the Biden administration has weaponized the justice system against Trump, and to accusations that Biden himself is not tough enough on China. They also plan to put Trump back in the spotlight with appearances and interviews — two things he has mostly avoided in the days since his campaign launch.”

HOW IT HAPPENED — “The inside story of Trump’s explosive dinner with Ye and Nick Fuentes,” by NBC’s Marc Caputo: “MILO YIANNOPOULOS, the anti-Trump, far-right provocateur who is now acting as a political adviser to YE … told NBC News that he was ‘the architect’ of the plan to have [NICK] FUENTES travel with Ye in the hopes of slipping him into the dinner with Trump. The intent, according to Yiannopoulos, was for Fuentes to give Trump an unvarnished view of how a portion of his base views his candidacy.”

Related learn: “Trump’s dinner disaster sparks new rules for his campaign,” by AP’s Jill Colvin


DOJ SECURES MAJOR CONVICTION — Oath Keepers founder STEWART RHODES was convicted of orchestrating a seditious conspiracy towards the federal government in main his followers in a plot to violently subvert the switch of energy between Trump and Biden. The conviction, which got here after a three-day deliberation by the jury, is the “most significant to emerge from the Justice Department’s sprawling investigation” of the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, our colleague Kyle Cheney writes. Rhodes now faces a most sentence of 20 years on the seditious conspiracy conviction.

WHO’S TALKING — “Top Trump adviser Stephen Miller testifies to January 6 federal grand jury,” by CNN’s Katelyn Polantz and Hannah Rabinowitz … “Jan. 6 panel interviews ex-Secret Service agent Tony Ornato,” by AP’s Farnoush Amiri

THE GEORGIA INVESTIGATION — “South Carolina Supreme Court rejects Mark Meadows subpoena challenge, must testify in Georgia election probe,” by USA Today’s Kevin Johnson


HEADS UP — “U.S. Is Weighing a Terrorism Label for Russia’s Wagner Group Mercenaries,” by Bloomberg’s Daniel Flatley and Stephanie Baker

ON THE GROUND — “With Intimidation and Surveillance, China Tries to Snuff Out Protests,” by NYT’s Chris Buckley: “Communist Party officials are using decades-old tactics, along with some new ones, to quash the most widespread protests in decades. But XI JINPING is silent.”

DANCE OF THE SUPERPOWERS — “Pentagon warns of China’s plans for dominance in Taiwan and beyond,” by WaPo’s Karoun Demirjian: “China conducted more ballistic missile tests last year than the rest of the world combined and is on course to possess 1,500 nuclear weapons within the next decade, the Pentagon warns in a new assessment of Beijing’s rapidly expanding military posture.”


TROUBLING TREND — “Study: U.S. gun death rates hit highest levels in decades,” by AP’s Mike Stobbe

DeSANTIS DOWNLOAD — “DeSantis-backed school boards begin ousting Florida educators,” by Andrew Atterbury in Tallahassee, Fla. … “Suspended Florida prosecutor takes fight to DeSantis in opening day of federal trial,” by Gary Fineout


SHOT … “Sam Bankman-Fried says he’s down to $100,000,” by Axios’ Lucinda Shen: “‘Am I allowed to say a negative number?’ he said, when asked about his personal finances. ‘I mean, I have no idea. I don’t know. I had $100,000 in my bank account last I checked,’ he said. ‘It’s complicated. Basically everything I had was just tied up in the company,’ he added.”

CHASER … “Crisis managers warn Bankman-Fried: Shut up,” by Sam Sutton: “Bankman-Fried’s unrelenting public campaign has crisis management specialists, public relations experts and even some lawmakers warning that refusing to stay quiet is unlikely to salvage his reputation — and that he’s putting himself in growing legal danger.”

Bob Corkerdoes not miss his outdated gig.

John Hickenlooper was asked to show his staff ID by Capitol Police.

Kyrsten Sinemahas a nickname for John Thune. Sinema additionally shared an embrace with Cynthia Lummis.

Joe Biden was really excited in regards to the USA’s win over Iran.

Terry McAuliffewas in the stands in Qatar for the U.S. victory.

SPOTTED: Merrick Garland stopping in at Oyamel to congratulate the DOJ’s Oath Keepers trial workforce, which had decamped to the Jose Andres Mexican restaurant in Penn Quarter to rejoice after jury verdicts in the high stakes case had been handed down on Tuesday.

GOVERNMENT ETHICS REFRESHER — A reminder to our readers in civil service that even guide suggestions will be ethically fraught within the social-media age: Jen Easterly, the director of DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, deleted a tweet on Tuesday afternoon raving about Wired journalist Andy Greenberg’s “Tracers in the Dark: The Global Hunt for the Crime Lords of Cryptocurrency” ($32.50) after our Daniel Lippman requested CISA why she had tweeted it provided that it was an obvious violation of presidency ethics guidelines. According to Justice Department guidance, federal officers are usually not allowed to endorse particular services or products; Easterly’s Sunday tweet referred to as the guide a “highly compelling, entertaining, & illuminating read.” A CISA spokesperson declined to remark. See the deleted tweet

OUT AND ABOUT — The Barbara Bush Foundation hosted a Celebration of Reading occasion on the Planet Word Museum final evening that includes a dialog with writer and former Hillary Clinton staffer, Huma Abedin, about her memoir, “Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds.” Guests had been allowed to tour the museum’s interactive reveals and loved cocktails and a ramification of Mediterranean appetizers. SPOTTED: British Robinson, Doro Bush Koch, Gina Adams, Ashley Davis, Anita McBride, Mike Rodgers, Kristi Rogers, Rickie Niceta, Ann Friedman, Sylvia Burwell, Susanna Quinn, Grace Bender, Opal Vadhan, Priya Bery and Stewart McLaurin. Pic  … Another pic.

SPOTTED at a celebration at Susan Glasser and Peter Baker’s home celebrating Bill Cohan’s new guide about GE referred to as “Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon” ($31.71) and co-hosted by Jane Mayer, Bill Hamilton, Angela Stent and Dan Yergin on Tuesday evening: Deb Futter, Josh Bolten, Mary Louise Kelly, UAE Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba, Stu Jones, Sally Quinn, Juleanna Glover, Mark Leibovich, David Wessel, Al Hunt, David Marchick, Virginia Boney, Sari Horwitz, David Sanger, Indira Lakshmanan, Bob Barnett, Maureen Orth, Tara Palmeri, Tina Nguyen, Jane Harman, Brad Graham, Lissa Muscatine, Heidi Crebo-Rediker and Doug Rediker, Steve Weisman, Carlos Lozada and Bay Fang.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Director Evgeny Afineevsky and Ukrainian journalist Natalia Nagorna will give State Department workers an unique screening and Q&A for his or her new documentary, “Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” about Ukrainian efforts to defend their nation towards Russia.

Marissa Mitrovich is now VP of public coverage on the Fiber Broadband Association. She beforehand was VP of federal legislative affairs for Frontier Communications.

Campbell Millum is now world head of comms at Bird. She most not too long ago was head of U.S. coverage comms at DoorDash and is a Lyft alum.

WHITE HOUSE DEPARTURE LOUNGE — Courtney Rowe is now SVP of company comms at NBCUniversal. She most not too long ago oversaw strategic comms and public engagement for the White House Covid-19 response workforce and is an Obama White House and National Geographic alum. More from Deadline

TRANSITIONS — Raphael Chavez-Fernandez is becoming a member of Rep. Ruben Gallego’s (D-Ariz.) workplace as chief of workers. He most not too long ago was deputy assistant VA secretary for intergovernmental affairs, and is a Bob Menendez alum. … Cally Perkins is becoming a member of Rep.-elect Morgan Luttrell’s (R-Texas) workplace as comms director. She beforehand was nationwide press secretary for the Congressional Leadership Fund and American Action Network and is an RSLC, Tom Rice and Trent Kelly alum.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Josh Rogin, a WaPo columnist, and Ali Rogin, a PBS News Weekend correspondent, welcomed Anne Shreve Rogin on Sunday. She got here in at 9 lbs, 2 oz. He posts on Instagram: “The name ‘Anne’ is a tribute to my paternal grandmother Anne Rogin and is derived from Hebrew, meaning ‘favor’ or ‘grace.’ ‘Shreve’ is a Welsh name meaning ‘sheriff’ that has been passed on as a middle name from Ali’s mother’s side.” Instapics

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) … South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemLarry SummersLauren Pratapas … CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski Alex Clearfield of Bloomberg Industry Group … Sharon Soderstrom of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s workplace … Sergio GorScott Erickson of Wolf Global Advisors … Michael Beschloss … POLITICO’s Andy Glass, Michele Carroll and Ruth Reader Steve HaroWilliam Daroff of the Conference of Presidents … Amijah Townsend-HolmesTravis Waldron of HuffPost … Jodi Rudoren of The Forward … James Sonne … Reuters’ Jonathan LandayAmy PritchardCrystal Carson … Edelman’s Ben Mahler … former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings Wesley Donehue José Bayona of NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ workplace … David Halperin Marshall “Taco” Cohen (29)

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