HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU: Rep. ILHAN OMAR (D-Minn.) was dissed by the White House on Monday — her birthday, no less. The whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus was not invited to a Zoom session between progressives and President JOE BIDEN about his agenda. It’s become a pattern in recent weeks that’s raised eyebrows. Rep. KATIE PORTER (D-Calif.) — another prominent House progressive also in CPC leadership, who at times has tangled with House Democratic leadership — was also excluded.
THE INSIDE GAME: Biden summoned progressives to the virtual meeting to deliver a simple message, per a senior White House official:
“He told them that the end point would be about $2 trillion and he wanted their input on what it should look like.”
It was part of a weeklong project by Biden, Speaker NANCY PELOSI and Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER to let it gradually sink in with liberals that the reconciliation bill really will be dramatically scaled back.
Nobody we talked to left the roughly 90-minute call with a detailed understanding of what might be cut or how the new top line would be achieved.
Rep. KATHERINE CLARK (D-Mass.) moderated, calling on the 11 other House Democrats one by one starting with Rep. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-Wash.), who described for Biden her five buckets of priorities for the bill.
The emphasis, according to one House Democrat, was much more on the policies they want to be included in the reconciliation bill — not the ones they’re willing to scrap. “There wasn’t a lot of movement on how we narrow it,” said a source familiar with the call.
There were discussions about the tradeoffs between funding fewer programs for longer periods of time — or more programs for shorter stints, in the hopes they’ll prove popular and be renewed by future Congresses. Our colleagues report that the “White House expressed openness to means test certain policies, like free community college, to pare down the package’s size.”
But the main purpose was to convince progressives of political reality.
Biden spent a lot of time trying to explain how difficult it’s been to deal with Sens. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) and KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-Ariz.). “It was a blunt conversation,” said one House Democrat who was in the meeting. Biden is “getting more and more frustrated.”
The source familiar with the discussion added that Biden said things like, “‘I hear your frustration. You don’t have to talk to them as much as I have to talk to them’ — but then using it as a dash of realism to get progressives to come down, like, ‘This is as far as these folks will go.’”
A group of Democratic House moderates will meet virtually with Biden today.
THE OUTSIDE GAME: Biden will pause the intra-party diplomacy after the meeting with moderates and fly to a swing district in Michigan to promote his agenda.
Administration officials have also been exasperated that BBB has been defined by its price tag rather than its (mostly popular) component parts, and hope the trip will begin to change that.
Our ears perk up when we hear these accounts of how the president will use the bully pulpit to rally the public behind his agenda. Most politicians want to believe that it’s possible to do that. But there’s a decades-long history of research that shows … it almost never works.
In fact, it often backfires, because a big presidential policy speech can sometimes serve to do more to harden the opposition against his policy than to persuade voters to change their minds.
GEORGE C. EDWARDS, of Texas A&M and Oxford, who wrote the book on the subject, said in an email that the “goal” of modern presidents “is to leverage public opinion to obtain backing for their proposals in Congress.” But “most Republicans are impervious to his entreaties. Biden’s predecessors, from RONALD REAGAN, the great communicator, to DONALD TRUMP, the great promoter, suffered the same outcome. They could not move the public.”
But there’s still a reason to do it. While presidents struggle to move the public in a way that pushes Congress to act, they can sometimes boost their own approval rating by associating themselves with popular policies. And that can strengthen Biden’s hand with Congress in that inside game that awaits him back in D.C.
— 9 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief.
— 10:15 a.m.: Biden will meet virtually with House Democrats to discuss the BIF and BBB.
— 11:30 a.m.: Biden will depart the White House en route to Howell, Mich., where he is scheduled to arrive at 1:55 p.m.
— 3 p.m.: The president will visit the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 324 training facility, where he will deliver remarks at 3:30 p.m.
— 4:30 p.m.: Biden will depart Michigan to return to the White House, where he is scheduled to arrive at 6:40 p.m.
Deputy press secretary KARINE JEAN-PIERRE will gaggle aboard Air Force One en route to Michigan.
VP KAMALA HARRIS’ TUESDAY: The VP will participate in a virtual finance event for the DNC at 6 p.m.
THE SENATE will meet at 10 a.m. to take up PALOMA ADAMS-ALLEN’s nomination as deputy USAID administrator, with a cloture vote at 11:30 a.m. and a final vote at 2:15 p.m. The chamber will recess from 12:30 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. for weekly conference meetings. Facebook whistleblower FRANCES HAUGEN will testify before a Commerce subcommittee at 10 a.m.
THE HOUSE is out. FEMA Administrator DEANNE CRISWELL will testify before the Oversight Committee at 11 a.m. SEC Chair GARY GENSLER will testify before the Financial Services Committee at noon.
K STREET FILES
GUCCI GULCH ALERT — Lobbyists and business groups are spending big to provide air cover for Democrats opposed to the party’s massive reconciliation bill, NYT’s Luke Broadwater reports. They “are working in overdrive to fight large swaths of it, such as raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations; expanding Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision services; and proposed taxes and fees to cut down on carbon emissions,” he writes.
Two interesting data points from the story:
1) The how: “The effort is unfolding less conspicuously than previous lobbying pushes; pandemic restrictions have limited large gatherings of lobbyists at the Capitol, so the corridor outside the Senate Finance Committee’s office, which has long been known as ‘Gucci Gulch,’ is no longer overrun with shiny Italian shoes. But the campaign is proceeding as intensely as ever, via individual meetings, Zoom calls, fund-raisers and the airwaves.”
2) And these numbers: “More than 4,000 lobbyists are working on budget and spending issues, according to Open Secrets … Ten major industries have spent nearly $700 million this year on lobbying, the group said.” That includes the U.S. Chamber, which has spent $30 million on lobbyists this year. And the pharmaceutical industry, which has pumped in about $15 million as part of an effort to kill House Dems’ proposal to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
MORNING MANCHIN — The West Virginia senator is once again giving Democratic leaders heartburn, this time on the debt ceiling. CNN’s Manu Raju and Clare Foran report that Manchin “disagrees with the strategy top Democrats are pursuing in the standoff with Republicans over raising the national debt limit. Manchin said that Democrats ‘shouldn’t rule out anything,’ including a budget process that Democratic leaders have made clear they will not employ.”
Read: reconciliation. More Manchin: “We just can’t let the debt ceiling lapse. We just can’t … We can prevent default, we really can prevent it. And there’s a way to do that.”
Meanwhile, Schumer is forging ahead on a vote Wednesday to raise the borrowing cap under typical procedure and warning that the debt ceiling needs to be addressed by the end of the week. WSJ has the latest.
RISKY BUSINESS — David Siders reports that Democratic frustration with Sinema is growing back home in Arizona, and not just among young progressives. Still, he notes, she seems to be making up for that with support across party lines in “a state where Democrats are outnumbered by both Republicans and independents.”
Related: NYT columnist Michelle Goldberg has a new op-ed asking, “What’s Wrong With Kyrsten Sinema?”
The lede is quite something: “In 2003, JOE LIEBERMAN, at the time the worst Democratic senator, traveled to Arizona to campaign for his party’s presidential nomination and was regularly greeted by antiwar demonstrators. ‘He’s a shame to Democrats,’ said the organizer of a protest outside a Tucson hotel, a left-wing social worker named Kyrsten Sinema. ‘I don’t even know why he’s running. He seems to want to get Republicans voting for him — what kind of strategy is that?’”
TOP-ED — The WSJ editorial board is warning that the Biden administration wants the IRS to snoop into your personal bank account in an effort to catch tax dodgers. It reflects a top GOP argument against the party’s reconciliation bill: that a bolstered IRS as envisioned by Democrats will infringe on privacy rights.
POLITICO SCOOP I — HAROLD KOH, senior adviser and the only political appointee on the State Department’s legal team, is leaving his post, and sent a memo to the administration days ago criticizing its use of a Trump-era immigration policy, Alex Thompson and Alexander Ward scoop. In the memo, dated Oct. 2, Koh wrote that the administration’s use of Title 42 — a policy used to expel migrants from the southern border — is “illegal,” “inhumane” and “not worthy of this Administration that I so strongly support.”
— Related: Refugee admissions have hit a record low in the 2021 fiscal year, AP’s Julie Watson reports — even as Biden vowed a new direction post-Trump.
POLITICO SCOOP II — “Francis Collins to step down as NIH director,” by Megan Wilson, Sarah Owermohle and Erin Banco
ABORTION LATEST — The Biden administration on Monday moved to “restore the federal family planning program to the way it ran under the Obama administration, when clinics were able to refer women seeking abortions to a provider,” AP’s Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar reports. The Trump administration had previously put a restriction on referrals. Abortion clinic representatives say the White House’s reversal could prompt more than 1,000 facilities to return as a result.
MEANWHILE — Protocol’s David Pierce breaks down what happened with the Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp outage Monday, when “Facebook more or less disappeared from the internet.” It was the result of seemingly just a routine technical mistake, and prompted no small amount of glee from the company’s haters. But, he writes, “[i]t was also a reminder that the internet’s infrastructure is still fragile and complex and always barely holding together.”
Drudge’s homepage Monday night told you everything you need to know about the kind of week Facebook is having — and it was only Monday.
ALWAYS BE SELLING — Spotted at the Hudson News in DCA: Bob Costa. Costa picked up a copy of his new book, “Peril,” and told the cashier he wrote it. He asked if she wanted him to sign it to help sell copies. Per our tipster, “The very confused cashier went along with it and Costa signed all of the airport’s copies of the book. (No one was purchasing the book at the time.)” Pic
TOASTING FAILURE — The NRCC had some fun trolling Josh Gottheimer. After the moderate Dem predicted during a Playbook Live interview last week he’d soon be “drinking a nice glass of champagne” to celebrate passage of BIF, Republicans delivered a bottle of bubbly to his office. Gottheimer is probably drinking something harder these days …
BARKING NEWS — We got our paws on a big scoop: Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) is bringing back his bipawtisan dog Halloween party this year. Video from 2019
Mary Trump told SiriusXM Progress that she was served court papers for her uncle Donald’s lawsuit against her — and the delivery person asked her to autograph a copy of her book.
Adriano Espaillat showed off his dance moves on Twitter.
John Eastman, the 2020 Trump legal adviser, is facing a complaint filed with the California Bar Association over his memo about how to try to overturn the election results.
Ron Conway, one of the original investors in Ozy Media, implored founder Carlos Watson to “take every ounce of cash and … distribute it to” employees — rather than trying to salvage his disgraced company.
Marjorie K. Eastman, a combat veteran-turned-businesswoman, is jumping into the crowded North Carolina Senate primary this morning, where Trump has already endorsed Ted Budd. She’ll become the first serious female candidate in a male-domated race and is vowing to serve only two terms. Video here
SNEAK PEEK — ABC News is debuting a new documentary film on Hulu on Nov. 11 called “3212 UN-REDACTED,” the culmination of a three-year investigation into the deaths of four members of an elite U.S. Special Forces team in Niger. “Through a network of confidential sources inside the military and intelligence community, the film unravels the dark truth covered up by commanders at the highest levels of the military. It blows the lid off of the official Pentagon narrative which pinned the blame on low-level soldiers to protect the careers of the senior officers responsible for the ill-fated mission.” Exclusive 1:50 trailer … The poster
SPOTTED celebrating the birthday of fundraiser and Engage founder Rachel Pearson at Cafe Milano: Joe Hack, Nathan Daschle, Jane Adams, Mike Rogers, Kristi Rogers, Kate Dickens, Katharine Weymouth, Elizabeth Thorp, Jen Mormile, Tonya Williams, Holly Page and Pam Thiessen.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK — Grant Barbosa is joining Williams & Jensen as a principal. He most recently was a senior director of federal government affairs and policy at Emergent BioSolutions, and is a Kamala Harris alum.
EPA ARRIVAL LOUNGE — Kendra Barkoff Lamy is joining the EPA as a senior adviser to Administrator Michael Regan. She is taking a leave of absence from SKDK, where she’s an SVP.
TRANSITIONS — Connie LaRossa is now head of national security policy on Google’s federal policy team. She previously was a principal at Cornerstone Government Affairs. … Molly Haigh is now chief of comms at the Center for Popular Democracy. She previously was founder of Megaphone Strategies, and is a FitzGibbon Media, 350.org and Obama ’08 alum. …
… Reagan McCarthy is joining Pennsylvania GOP Senate candidate Jeff Bartos’ campaign as press secretary. She previously was an editor at Townhall.com. … Jerry Sussman and Ted Chiodo are launching LangleyCyber, a cybersecurity firm. Sussman will be chief information security officer and previously was a senior technical intelligence officer with the CIA. Chiodo will be CEO and previously was COO at SKDK.
ENGAGED — Grace Rubinger, legislative assistant for Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), and Alex Casey, project manager at MGAC, got engaged Saturday. They were originally set up by mutual friend Pablo Sierra-Carmona. Pic … Another pic
WEEKEND WEDDINGS — Michael Stwarka, director at Targeted Victory, and Melonye Cleveland got married Saturday in South Carolina, surrounded by family and friends. Pic … SPOTTED: Matthew Hoekstra, Mackenzie Jortner Dolan, Peter Freeman and Justin Lampert.
— Judith Rowland, a VP at FleishmanHillard, and Andrew Younger, an architect, got married Saturday at the Contemporary Art Museum in their hometown of St. Louis. Pic
WELCOME TO THE WORLD — Ashley MacLeay, director of external relations for the Independent Women’s Forum and national committeewoman for D.C. to the RNC, and Geoffrey MacLeay, counsel for Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) and a Trump DOL alum, welcomed William Roderick MacLeay on Saturday. He came in at 7 lbs, 12 oz and 20 inches. Pic
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) … Mandy Grunwald … Samsung’s Megan Pollock … Karina (Petersen) Borger of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) office … former Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) … Jonathan Wilcox of Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) office … Alexandra Pelosi … Timothy Barrett of the office of the DNI (4-0) … AEI’s Joseph Kosten … Whitney Bright … Michael Petruzzello of Qorvis … Matt Well of the Herald Group … Mark Paoletta of Schaerr Jaffe … Facebook’s Josh Althouse … Google’s Peter Schottenfels … Brunswick Group’s Catherine Hicks … Tyler Goldberg of Media Assembly … Brenda LaGrange Johnson … Hasib Alikozai … Morning Consult’s Robin Graziano … John Ryan O’Rourke … Nicole Brener-Schmitz of NBS Strategies … Kevin Hall … Teresa Heinz Kerry … John Jasik … E&E News’ Ana Faguy
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