Morning Consult Washington Presented by NCTA: Sheila Jackson Lee Mulling Mayoral Run in Houston, Report Says


Essential U.S. political news & intel to start your day.
March 17, 2023
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Today’s Top News

  • Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) is reportedly considering running for mayor this year in Houston, where she could face a crowded field in a bid to become the first Black woman to lead the country’s fourth-largest city. (Semafor)
  • The Senate voted 68-27 to advance a repeal of the 1991 and 2002 authorizations for use of military force against Iraq, setting up final passage in the chamber next week following the 20th anniversary of President George W. Bush’s invasion this Sunday. The measure, which has the White House’s backing, will need approval from the House to head to President Joe Biden’s desk. (Roll Call)
  • At least two dozen people, including members of former President Donald Trump’s inner circle and staff at his Mar-a-Lago resort, have reportedly been subpoenaed by special counsel Jack Smith’s federal grand jury investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents. (CNN) As the Justice Department probes the matter, it has refused to say in court whether it has evidence that Trump issued a “standing order” for automatic declassification of any records he removed out of concerns that potential witnesses could alter their testimony or refuse to cooperate. (Bloomberg)
  • TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has sought private meetings with lawmakers ahead of next week’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on his company’s child safety and data security issues, already scoring audiences with Democratic Reps. Scott Peters of California, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Lori Trahan of Massachusetts. (Forbes) Ahead of Chew’s hearing, a group of Silicon Valley executives that includes conservative investor Peter Thiel is said to be planning a dinner with lawmakers in an attempt to mobilize against China’s involvement in the American tech industry. (The Wall Street Journal)

Happening today (all in ET):


Chart Review


What Else You Need To Know

White House & Administration

Biden becomes increasingly comfortable defying the wishes of his own party.
Jonathan Lemire and Daniella Diaz, Politico

The president is calculating that liberals will stick with him despite decisions on oil drilling, immigration, crime bill and more.


Biden’s Italian mystery
Hans Nichols, Axios

With the Senate finally voting to confirm Eric Garcetti as ambassador to India, senators and Democratic donors are turning their attention to something of a Biden-era mystery: the open embassy in Italy.


Biden expected to designate largest national monument of his presidency next week
Kevin Liptak, CNN

President Joe Biden plans to designate Avi Kwa Ame in Nevada as a national monument next week, according to a person familiar with the plans. At nearly half-a-million acres, it would mark the largest area Biden has placed under national conservation since taking office.


Fed Blocked Mention of Regulatory Flaws in Silicon Valley Bank Rescue
Jim Tankersley et al., The New York Times

Federal government officials wanted a joint statement to include a reference to regulatory shortcomings that they believe helped lead to the bank’s demise.


Credit Suisse Woes Are a ‘Distinct Situation,’ Biden Administration Says
Jordan Fabian, Bloomberg

For the Biden administration and Congress, the problems facing Credit Suisse Group AG have nothing to do with the US economy. 


In Iowa, Kamala Harris Says Republicans Won’t Stop at Abortion
Zolan Kanno-Youngs, The New York Times

Vice President Kamala Harris said on Thursday that a lawsuit seeking to overturn federal approval of a widely used abortion pill amounted to an attack on “our public health system as a whole.”


House G.O.P. Hunts for Evidence That Biden Family Deals Were Improper
Luke Broadwater, The New York Times

The chairman of the House Oversight Committee released a memorandum asserting that President Biden’s relatives received payments from a business deal with a Chinese firm.


House GOP quietly preps take two of its border push
Jordain Carney, Politico

House Republicans’ ambitious promises to overhaul border security fizzled as soon as they assumed the majority. They’re preparing for a second attempt anyway.


House GOP panel launches probe into Air Force’s ‘unauthorized’ record disclosures
Olivia Beavers, Politico

The Air Force had notified at least two sitting House Republicans that it had improperly released their personnel military records to a third party.


How GOP banking leader Patrick McHenry went from ‘extremely right-wing’ to ‘responsible’ in SVB crisis
Zachary Warmbrodt and Eleanor Mueller, Politico

A young Patrick McHenry rose through the House GOP by bashing the government’s economic rescue plans in the wake of the global financial crisis. In 2008, the conservative North Carolinian — a self-described “bomb-thrower” — helped sink the Bush administration’s first attempt to save Wall Street, triggering a historic stock market crash.


Energy department briefs senators on COVID-19 origins
Lauren Clason, Roll Call

Department of Energy and intelligence community officials briefed members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on classified information related to COVID-19’s origins Thursday but offered no definitive revelations, according to lawmakers.


Trump-commissioned report undercut his claims of dead and double voters
Josh Dawsey, The Washington Post

A report commissioned by the former president’s campaign and obtained by The Post did not back up his claims of fraud and did not provide evidence to overturn the 2020 election.


Border crossings from Canada into New York, Vermont and N.H. are up tenfold. Local cops want help.
Julia Ainsley and Didi Martinez, NBC News

On the snowy border between New York and Canada, the local sheriff’s office is calling for the U.S. Border Patrol to put more manpower behind what the locals call a growing crisis: The number of illegal border crossings in the area over the last five months is nearly 10 times what it was over the same time last year, and the border crossers are in danger of freezing to death. 


Wall Street rides to the rescue as 11 banks pledge $30 billion to First Republic Bank
Jesse Pound, CNBC

A group of financial institutions has agreed to deposit $30 billion in First Republic Bank in what’s meant to be a sign of confidence in the banking system, the banks announced Thursday afternoon.


Louis DeJoy’s Surprising Second Act
Eric Cortellessa, Time

Louis DeJoy thought his workday was done as he arrived home one evening in February 2022. The Postmaster General was locked in a grueling, monthslong battle with Congress over a bill to shake up the Postal Service.


Who Blew Up Nord Stream? Investigators Focus on Six Mysterious Passengers on a Yacht
Bojan Pancevski et al., The Wall Street Journal

The small marina on the edge of this north German city is a popular summertime spot for recreational sailors. German intelligence believes it was also the jumping-off point for the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, an assault on Europe’s civilian energy infrastructure unprecedented since World War II.


‘You think I’m crazy?’ Florida GOP sweats Trump vs. DeSantis
Olivia Beavers, Politico

POLITICO surveyed all 22 members of Congress’ Florida delegation on who they’d support for president. Most of them are wary of answering.


Inside the Trump world-organized retreat to plot out Biden oversight
Heidi Przybyla, Politico

A group closely aligned with former President Donald Trump helped organize a “bootcamp” for GOP congressional staff this past February, training them on how to conduct aggressive oversight of the Biden administration, according to new disclosure forms filed with the U.S. House clerk’s office.


On Trump Force One, KFC Is On The Menu and 45 Is Still President
Mario Parker, Bloomberg

Donald Trump wants back in the White House — badly. Look no further than the recreation of Air Force One protocols on his recent trip to Iowa, the key Republican early-voting primary state.


The GOP Campaign Trail Is Already Getting DeSantis-Proofed
Jake Lahut and Zachary Petrizzo, The Daily Beast

As he explores a run for president, the demanding Florida governor is already coming across as a “nightmare” in the early primary states.


DeSantis’ anti-woke law remains blocked in Florida colleges
Andrew Atterbury, Politico

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker determined the anti-woke law is “positively dystopian.”


Florida Faces Federal Lawsuit Over Signature Rules for New Voters
Neil Vigdor, The New York Times

The state does not accept digital signatures on voter registration applications. There are similar rules in Texas, Georgia and Oklahoma.


Michigan Democrats are getting their way for the first time in nearly 40 years
Colin Jackson, Michigan Public Radio Network

In her State of the State address this year, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had something no other Democratic governor has had since the early 1980s – a legislature willing to pass her agenda, even if with only a two-seat majority in both chambers.


Kentucky lawmakers pass ban on youth gender-affirming care
Bruce Schreiner, The Associated Press

Republican lawmakers in Kentucky passed a measure Thursday to ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors, completing whirlwind voting on a repackaged proposal that triggered outrage and tears among opponents unable to stop the sweeping policymaking on a culture wars issue.


North Dakota High Court Upholds Pause On State Abortion Ban
James MacPherson and Trisha Ahmed, The Associated Press

The state’s only abortion clinic hopped across the state line to Minnesota over the summer, while the lawsuit proceeds.


Utah governor signs bill banning abortion clinics across the state
Mary Kekatos, CBS News

The clinics have to close by the end of the year or when their license expires.


TikTok CEO’s Message to Washington: A Sale Won’t Solve Security Concerns
Stu Woo, The Wall Street Journal

TikTok’s boss has a message for the Biden administration and Congress: A sale won’t resolve America’s national-security concerns over the popular video app.


SVB Collapse Turns Banker Island Retreat Into Lobbying Blitz
Lydia Beyoud et al., Bloomberg

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank and the ensuing news that US regulators were jacking up lenders’ fees for deposit insurance quickly transformed the Hilton Hawaiian Village this week into ground zero for a lobbying blitz by community lenders. 


Sanofi announces insulin price cap after actions by Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk
Berkeley Lovelace Jr., NBC News

Sanofi will cap the out-of-pocket cost of its most popular insulin, Lantus, at $35 per month for people with private insurance, the French drugmaker said Thursday. The change will take effect Jan. 1, 2024.


Public Health vs. Economic Growth: Toxic Chemical Rules Pose Test for Biden
Eric Lipton, The New York Times

Key industries — including some that the White House is backing through other policies — are lobbying to water down the first major new rules in a generation on chemicals that pose risks to humans.


Everybody in Washington wants a byte of the CHIPS law
Brendan Bordelon and Caitlin Oprysko, Politico

Lobbyists are descending on Washington, all hungry for a piece of the CHIPS and Science Act — even if some bids have little chance of making the cut.


The Federalist Society Isn’t Quite Sure About Democracy Anymore
Ian Ward, Politico

After recent Supreme Court wins, the society’s youth arm debates the next stage for the conservative legal movement.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

DeSantis, on Defense, Shows Signs of Slipping in Polls
Nate Cohn, The New York Times

It’s been a tough few months for Ron DeSantis. Donald J. Trump and his allies have blasted him as “Meatball Ron,” “Ron DeSanctimonious,” a “groomer,” disloyal and a supporter of cutting entitlement programs. 


Mike Pence Shows the World that Washington is a Bunch of Cheap Dates
Michael Schaffer, Politico

As ambitious Republicans steer clear of Beltway rituals, the bar keeps getting lowered.


Chatbot Fever Drives Renewed Focus on Artificial Intelligence
Jonny Montano, Invariant

OpenAI’s powerful chatbot ChatGPT hit 100 million monthly active users just two months after its release, the fastest online platform to hit that milestone. This week, a new version — GPT-4 — was released, promising even more precise responses.

Morning Consult