Today’s Capital Brief
- House Republicans have delayed the election to replace Speaker John Boehner after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) last-minute drop-out. Highlights from the coverage: “House GOP Stunned by McCarthy Exit, Next Steps Unclear” (Morning Consult) “Behind McCarthy’s Decision to Bail” (Politico) “‘I’m not the one’: How McCarthy became a bystander on his big day” (Washington Post) “McCarthy withdraws from Speaker’s Race, Putting House in Chaos” (New York Times) “Kevin McCarthy drops out of House speaker race” (CNN).
- Boehner spent Thursday trying to convince House Ways and Means chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to join the race. Ryan cancelled his fundraisers for the next two days. (Politico) Also mentioned as potential candidates: Reps. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas), John Kline (R-Minn.), Reps. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), Greg Walden (R-Ore.), Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Candice Miller (R-Mich.).
- The Obama administration ended a half-billion dollar Defense Department program to train and equip Syrian rebels on Friday, an acknowledgement that they haven’t made progress. The Pentagon will instead set up a smaller training center in Turkey. (New York Times)
Today’s Campaign Brief
- Representatives of Vice President Biden met with the DNC this week, fueling further speculation that Biden is close to announcing a run for president. (New Yorker)
- Illinois state Sen. Kyle McCarter (R) will challenge Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) next year. Shimkus has represented the large district in Southern Illinois since 1997. (Herald & Review)
- Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway (D) has $2.3 million on hand, three times what businessman Matt Bevin (R) has with a month left in the race to become Kentucky’s governor. (Politico)
Today’s Lobbying Brief
- Former Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), a former aide to former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), and lobbyist Rob Hobart formed Hobart Hallaway & Quayle Ventures, a new lobbying shop that has clients including Asurioon, Duke Energy, and Eastman Chemical Company. (The Hill)
- Former advertising executive Mark Penn will acquire SKDKnickerbocker as a first step in creating a marketing giant called the Stagwell Group. (New York Times)
Have the scoop on lobbying moves? Let us know!
Every week, our friends at Facebook give us a peek at the stories that generated the most action online — likes, comments and shares. Here’s what caught the online community’s attention this week:
10. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) requests federal funds to assist in recovery from South Carolina floods
9. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) becomes first Democratic member of Congress to endorse Bernie Sanders for president
8. Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke releases his memoirs
7. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy withdraws his bid for Speaker
6. California Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill allowing physician assisted suicide for the terminally ill
5. South Carolina experiences widespread flooding after heavy rains
4. Negotiations conclude for Trans-Pacific Partnership
3. Ten Commandments monument removed from Oklahoma State Capitol
2. Matt Drudge interviewed by Alex Jones of Infowars
1. Libertarian Florida Senate candidate Augustus Sol Invictus confirms that he sacrificed a goat and drank its blood
Today’s Chart Review
Echelon Insights, Twitter
Mark Your Calendars (All Times Eastern)
The Senate will be in pro forma session.
The House will convene at 9 am.
President Obama will travel to Roseburg, Oregon to visit privately with the families of victims of the recent shooting at Umpqua Community College. In the afternoon, he will participate in a DNC roundtable and deliver remarks at an event for Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and the Washington State Democratic Party in Seattle. After that, he will travel to San Francisco, where he will participate in another DNC roundtable.
Vice President Biden will meet with advisers throughout the day.
AEI event on Putinism at 9:30 am.
Clinton’s TPP Rebuff Makes Sense in Context, Hill Democrats Say
Gabe Rubin, Morning Consult
Trade-wary Democrats are cheering Hillary Clinton’s admission that she does not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership. … Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who has endorsed Clinton and does not support the trade deal, agreed with Brown that her past statements should be viewed in the context of her position in the Obama administration. “There wasn’t a deal then,” he said in an interview Thursday. “Now she’s evaluating the deal there is and taking a position on it. She’s probably correct in her view of the merits.
NATO, Alarmed by Russian Actions in Syria, Shores Up Defenses
Helene Cooper & James Kanter, New York Times
Confronted with its biggest military challenge since the end of the Cold War, a weakened NATO took steps Thursday to shore up its flanks, both in the Middle East and Europe, as Russia continued to test the credibility of the alliance’s bedrock principle of collective defense. … On Thursday they said they had stepped up military exercises and deployed a small number of logistics personnel in Eastern and Central Europe. Britain announced that it would send soldiers to the Baltic countries, Poland and Ukraine.
Small ACA Rollback Could Forecast Piece-by-Piece Repeal
Jon Reid, Morning Consult
President Obama signed a small but significant bill this week that rolls back a requirement in his signature health law, the Affordable Care Act. Last week, Congress voted on bipartisan lines to repeal a small group insurance markets rule that was slated to go into effect in 2016. Many business groups said that without the change, premiums would have gone up for millions of workers. Enactment of the bill was a small victory for Obamacare critics, but it could also pave the way for new, piecemeal approach to repealing Obamacare.
Inadequate Data Hampers Law Enforcement in Fight Against Rising Crime
Devlin Barrett, Wall Street Journal
As law-enforcement officials struggle to cope with a sudden, unexplained rise in violent crime in many cities, they find themselves hampered by an outdated system for gathering national crime data that leaves them blind on such basic questions as how many murders happened last month. A push by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to upgrade what one senior official calls “mediocre” national crime data has been hamstrung by local resistance, based in part on fears of the extra expense potentially involved. That is making it harder to know how to deploy resources and alter policies in light of what officials fear could be an end to—or a break in—decades of falling crime.
U.S. officials said four Russian cruise missiles fired at Syria from a warship in the Caspian Sea on Wednesday had crashed in Iran while Russia insisted they had reached their targets in Syria.
Top US general makes case for keeping troops in Afghanistan
Kristina Wong, The Hill
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan argued for keeping a military presence in the country at a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday. “Afghanistan is at a critical juncture. So is our campaign,” Gen. John Campbell told lawmakers. In his second hearing on Capitol Hill this week, Campbell said conditions on the ground have changed since President Obama first drew up plans to draw down the current 9,800-level U.S. force in Afghanistan to a 1,000-troop embassy security force.
Europe, Asia Stocks Propel $2.5 Trillion Rally; Oil, Metals Soar
Nick Gentle & Daniel Tilles, Bloomberg
European stocks followed Asian shares higher, extending a rally that’s added about $2.5 trillion to global equities since last Friday, and emerging-market currencies were set for their biggest weekly gain in more than 17 years, as traders snapped up riskier assets on optimism the Federal Reserve will hold off tightening monetary policy.
Toxics Bill Hits Barrier on Glide Path Through Senate
Kevin Carty, Morning Consult
A bill to improve the regulation of toxic chemicals is on the cusp of passing in the Senate, supported by a bipartisan group of unlikely allies who are giddy at the prospect of finally reforming a 40-year old law. The Senate is expected to move to vote on the bill soon. With 60 co-sponsors, passage is a sure thing. But this week the bill was slowed down by senators hoping to attach other amendments.
Graham, Leahy push for $1B in emergency Syrian refugee funds
Jordain Carney, The Hill
A bipartisan pair of senators — including one presidential candidate — is pushing forward with an emergency spending bill to help strengthen the administration’s ability to combat the Syrian refugee crisis. Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have rolled out legislation that would provide an extra $1 billion in emergency funding. … While the legislation doesn’t specify how many Syrian refugees should be accepted into the United States, their funding would allow for the resettlement of up to 100,000 refugees over two years, according to Leahy’s office.
Partisan Standoff Stalls Both Gun and Mental-Health Bills
Sarah Mimms & Caitlin Owens, National Journal
Republicans, meanwhile, are pushing months-old mental-health legislation that, while popular with both parties, doesn’t appear to be headed for the House or Senate floor anytime soon. … “We’re not reluctant [to support the mental health bill], but he wants to make it a substitute for doing something on guns,” Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, said in an interview. “We want to do something on mental health in addition to something on guns.”
House GOP Stunned by McCarthy Exit, Next Steps Unclear
Will Dobbs-Allsopp, Morning Consult
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s sudden exit from the race to replace Speaker John Boehner on Thursday threw into chaos an already-unmanageable Republican Conference — and no one’s quite sure what comes next. … “Over the last week it has become clear to me that our Conference is deeply divided and needs to unite behind one leader. I have always put this Conference ahead of myself,” McCarthy said in a statement. He told several reporters that Republican members had reported pressure from constituents to vote against him.
House Judiciary Unveils Sentencing Reform Package
Kevin Carty, Morning Consult
Top members of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday unveiled a comprehensive sentencing reform package that would roll back some of the harsher criminal penalties passed into law during the tough-on-crime 1990s.
House Republicans Govern Like It’s 1998, Worrying Many
Carl Hulse, New York Times
Mr. McCarthy’s shocking move echoed the stunning events of December 1998, when another Republican speaker-in-waiting, Representative Robert L. Livingston of Louisiana, was forced to withdraw because of marital infidelities. Republicans scrambled to find an acceptable consensus pick, and J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois was plucked from out of almost nowhere to become speaker of the House.
Ex-Im supporter says vote coming after McCarthy exit
Mike Lillis, The Hill
Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) move Thursday to pull himself from the Speaker’s race has made a floor vote on the Export-Import Bank all but inevitable, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) said Thursday. Dent, a six-term lawmaker with close ties to outgoing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), said the success of a minority band of conservatives in driving McCarthy from the race will embolden a minority band of centrists eying a discharge petition to force a vote on Ex-Im.”
How Hillary Clinton Would Regulate Wall Street
Neil Irwin, New York Times
Directionally, Mrs. Clinton favors more intensive regulation of Wall Street than what is in place now. Bank executives and lobbyists will find little to like in her plan. But her approach stops short of the wholesale breakup of too-big-to-fail banks favored by Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Warren. She would prefer instead to take the philosophical approach embodied in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform act a few steps further.
McCarter to challenge Shimkus for seat in Congress
Kurt Erickson, Herald & Review
State Sen. Kyle McCarter, who took office in 2009…is challenging long-time U.S. Rep. John Shimkus in the Republican primary next March. … The rare primary challenge of a sitting congressman by a state senator comes as Shimkus is seeking his 10th term in office.
A New Clue Suggests Biden May Run
Ryan Lizza, New Yorker
Joe Biden has taken another step toward entering the Presidential race. Representatives of the Vice President held a meeting this week with Democratic National Committee staffers. They briefed Biden’s aides on arcane but crucial rules that the Vice-President would need to understand if he decides to run, according to a D.N.C. official. It was the most significant sign the source had seen to indicate Biden’s intentions. “I think it means he’s running,” the source said.
Right-wing and left-wing media critics agree: The press is blowing the Democratic primary
David Weigel, Washington Post
“Frontrunner Hillary Clinton has garnered 80 percent of the Democratic airtime since January 1,” wrote the MRC’s Rich Noyes on Tuesday. “Her closest announced rival, the socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, has received just six percent of the airtime, or about 24 minutes vs. 337 minutes for Clinton.” Just two weeks earlier, MMFA had pointed to data from the independent media-watcher Andrew Tyndall, and found the press just as guilty of scandal-driven, Sanders-ignoring coverage.
Conway outspends Bevin nearly 4-to-1
Theoreodic Meyer, Politico
Matt Bevin has less than $700,000 in cash with weeks to go: Kentucky GOP gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin has $674,000 on hand with a month to go until the election, less than a third the amount that Democrat Jack Conway has available.
Republicans Throw Elbows at Each Other as Colorado Senate Race Begins
Jason Salzman, Huffington Post
[Colorado Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R)] confirmed this that he’s been “looking at” running for “several months” but was waiting on “George Brauchler’s decision” before deciding whether to enter the race himself. Considered a top Republican choice for months, Aurora theater prosecutor George Brauchler has announced he would not run against Bennet. “I’ve spent the past week meeting with a number of people in Denver,” he said, adding that he anticipates “having a decision by the first of next week.”
Ex-Rep Quayle hangs K Street shingle
Megan R. Wilson, The Hill
Former Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) is stepping out from a K Street firm to hang a shingle of his own. Combined with Rashid Hallaway, a former aide to former Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), and lobbyist Rob Hobart, the three men have formed Hobart Hallaway & Quayle (HHQ) Ventures. The firm will focus on lobbying and business consulting, and have offices in both Washington and Nashville, Tenn.
Mark Penn’s Stagwell Group Will Acquire SKDKnickerbocker
David Gelles, New York Times
The private equity firm founded with a quarter-billion dollar check from the former Microsoft chief Steven A. Ballmer has made its first purchase.The firm, the Stagwell Group, which is being run by the former advertising executive Mark Penn, will acquire SKDKnickerbocker, the public relations group best known for its advertising and campaign work for prominent Democratic clients.
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Opinions, Editorials & Perspectives
We All Get ‘Free Stuff’ From the Government
Bryce Covert, New York Times
But the shorthand of “free stuff” also takes an incredibly narrow, and therefore misleading, view of government benefits. There’s a whole treasure trove of government handouts that aren’t dispensed through spending, but rather through the tax code. That doesn’t make them any less “free” than a rent voucher or an Electronic Benefit Transfer card.
Republican Party’s Big Question: To Fight or Govern?
Gerald F. Seib, Wall Street Journal
Is the party’s mission to crusade passionately and even angrily for unadulterated conservative principles right now, or is it to more calmly convince voters that conservatives can govern effectively for the long run?
Hillary Clinton Tempts Progressives to Embrace Cheneyism
Connor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic
Hillary Clinton would almost certainly pull the levers of power in some of the same ways as Dick Cheney, perhaps relying on the same John Yoo and David Addington memos. She believes in “asking what she can get away with rather than what would look best.”
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Research Reports, Issue Briefs & Case Studies
What Is Increasing the Cost of Generic Drugs?
Devon M. Herrick, National Center for Policy Analysis
The following are some of the regulatory and legal reasons drug prices are rising: Slow FDA approvals reduce competition … Quality Compliance on Aging Production Lines … The FDA’s Unapproved Drugs Initiative … Pay-for-delay … Generic substitution laws.