December 4, 2021

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Politics updates: House Dems to vote to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from committees – USA TODAY

8 min read

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she’d accept leaving the $15 minimum wage out of the COVID-19 stimulus bill as the provision faces opposition in the Senate.

Pelosi told reporters the boost to the federal minimum wage could be addressed in another bill, saying “we have other places to do it.”

Democrats are poised to pass President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package under a process known as “reconciliation” that allows legislation to pass with just a simple majority but places certain constraints on bills going through the process. Raising the federal minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $15, a top Democratic priority, could be among the provisions to fall victim to the process.

Despite the opposition, Pelosi called it a “very high priority for us.”

$15 minimum wage:Bernie Sanders, Democrats push for $15 minimum wage by 2025, passage faces tough sledding in Congress

Some Democrats in the Senate have expressed opposition to the $15 minimum wage too. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., a key moderate, has said he did not support the $15 wage, citing issues like inflation that would make a lower wage like $11 more appropriate in some states like his own.

But Pelosi said she would not pare down the price tag of the package, saying Democrats wanted to save lives and livelihoods, and “it’s going to cost some money to do so”

– Nicholas Wu

House Democrats to vote to remove GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of committee assignments

House Democrats are set to push ahead with stripping Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments after Republicans opted not to punish the Georgia congresswoman for past comments she’s made in support of harmful conspiracy theories.

Greene has claimed that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and high-profile school shootings like the Sandy Hook Elementary attack are hoaxes and has called for the execution of prominent Democrats. 

The Rules Committee Wednesday voted to bring the matter to the full House for a vote Thursday that will decide whether Greene can stay on her committees for the rest of her term.

More:Donald Trump’s backers failed to take down Liz Cheney. But the GOP’s ‘civil war’ is nowhere near over.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, one of the Democrats Greene had said should be killed, denounced Republicans for not expelling Greene from the caucus. “McCarthy has chosen to make House Republicans ‘the party of conspiracy theories and QAnon’ and Rep. Greene is in the driver’s seat,” Pelosi said in a statement Wednesday that identified McCarthy’s party identification as “Q.” 

“We had hoped that the Republican leadership would have dealt with this. For whatever reason, they don’t want to deal with it. And that’s unfortunate. So we are taking this step,” said Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass, who chairs the Rules Committee. “The question we all have to ask ourselves is what is the consequence of doing nothing.”

The House GOP vote on Greene came in tandem with a decision to keep Rep. Liz Cheney, the only women in Republican leadership and one of the few to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump, in her post as the third highest ranking member of the caucus. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said he told Greene as a member of Congress, they have a “responsibility to hold ourselves to a higher standard than how she presented herself as a private citizen,” which Greene reportedly acknowledged to her Republican colleagues behind closed doors. She has not expressed public remorse for her comments.

– Matthew Brown

The House is set to vote on whether to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from House committees. Here's what this could mean for the congresswoman.

Pelosi throws down gauntlet in Senate impeachment trial: ‘Courage or cowardice’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered a fiery justification Thursday for pursuing the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump after he left office by saying it will reveal whether the Senate has “courage or cowardice.”

The California Democrat was asked at her weekly news conference why House members would bother with the trial after a Senate procedural vote suggested Trump would be acquitted. The Senate rejected a motion to find the case unconstitutional, but the 45 Republicans who supported the motion suggested that Trump will have support from more than 34 needed for acquittal.

Pelosi forcefully rejected that reasoning, saying senators haven’t yet heard the case. A two-thirds majority of the 100 members would be required to convict Trump of inciting insurrection in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Pelosi said House prosecutors are carefully preparing their case for the court of the Senate, the court of public opinion and for history.

“We’ll see if it’s going to be a Senate of courage or cowardice,” Pelosi said.

Republicans have argued that the trial is divisive. But Pelosi quoted Pope Paul VI and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in saying that justice is required for peace. She said the founders who wrote the Constitution included impeachment as a penalty for wrongdoing.

“If we were not to follow up with this, we might as well remove any penalty from the Constitution of impeachment. Just take it out,” Pelosi said. “They were fearful of a demagogue and they were fearful of a demagogue and a mob. That’s exactly what descended.”

– Bart Jansen

Kevin McCarthy flubs QAnon pronunciation, claims he doesn’t know what it is

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., claimed Wednesday evening he did not know what the QAnon conspiracy theory is despite past comments indicating clear knowledge of the wide-ranging harmful ideology. 

“I think it would be helpful if you could hear exactly what she told all of us. Denouncing Q-on, I don’t know if I say it right, I don’t even know what it is – any from the shootings, she said she knew nothing about lasers, all of the different things that have been brought up about her,” McCarthy told reporters after exiting a private Republican conference meeting Wednesday evening. 

The minority leader’s comments come despite his condemnation of QAnon during an August interview with Fox News, when McCarthy expressly connected QAnon in the context of Greene’s run for Congress, saying “no place for QAnon in the Republican Party.”

McCarthy also inaccurately stated in his August interview that Greene had denounced QAnon when she ran for Congress; Greene did not reject the conspiracy theory while campaigning, nor did she do so publicly when asked by reporters Wednesday evening. 

More:Democrat Rep. Ro Khanna wants the Biden admin. to consider giving COVID vaccine as a single dose

In a statement Wednesday, McCarthy condemned comments Greene made on social media in 2018 and 2019 where she expressed support for violence and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, including QAnon, but declined to take away Greene’s committee assignments.

“Past comments from and endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene on school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference,” McCarthy said. “I condemn those comments unequivocally. I condemned them in the past. I continue to condemn them today.”

House Democrats are now set to vote to strip Greene of her committee assignments, calling her a threat to their personal safety and too unbalanced to sit in Congress. 

QAnon is a wide-ranging conspiracy theory which contends many high-profile liberals participate in a global cannibalistic cabal of pedophiles who eat children for life support. The movement’s mythology idolizes former President Donald Trump and has the various characteristics of a moral panic, political movement and age-old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

– Matthew Brown

AP Poll: Most Americans confident in Biden’s ability to manage ongoing crises

A majority of Americans have at least some confidence that President Joe Biden’s administration will be able to address the multiple crises stressing the nation, according to a new poll from the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs.

The poll found that Americans broadly endorse Biden’s competence at governance, including in his ability to appoint well-qualified leaders and serve as commander-in-chief of the military.

Overall, 61% Americans approve of Biden’s early moves as president. 70% of Americans say they believe Biden respects American institutions. That finding stands slightly above the average approval rating of 55% past presidents normally enjoy in their first 100 days, and significantly higher than former President Donald Trump’s approval rating, who never polled above 50%.

Americans were most confident in Biden’s ability to incorporate advice from his advisors into decision making, with 47% expressing a great deal of confidence and 32% expressing some confidence. Similarly, 44% of Americans also expressed great confidence and 29% expressed some confidence in the president’s ability to effectively manage the White House.

Respondents were most pessimistic, though, about Biden’s ability to reduce corruption in Washington, with only 18% expressing a great deal of confidence and 37% expressing some confidence.

20% of Americans have a great deal of confidence that Biden and Congressional Republicans will be able to work together; 45% have some confidence the White House and Republicans in Congress will be able to find some consensus.

– Matthew Brown

Though Republicans were united in opposing the first impeachment of Trump in 2019, 10 broke ranks Wednesday when they voted alongside Democrats to impeach the president. They included the third-ranking House Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. She was joined by:

House Republicans vote to keep Cheney as conference leader

House Republicans voted 145-61 to keep Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., as the third-most powerful member of the party on Wednesday evening, with one member voting “present.”

The vote came after a tumultuous closed-door meeting among House Republicans tat lasted for hours. 

With the vote, Cheney keeps her spot amid backlash she has faced in the weeks since she voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Some of her GOP colleagues, such as Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, had been vocal about stripping her of her role.

But Cheney got the backing of some major players in the party, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who said she “is a leader with deep convictions and the courage to act on them.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters that he defended Cheney during the meeting.

“People can have differences of opinion,” he said. “Liz has a right to vote her conscience and at the end of the day, we get united.”

Republicans also decide not to punish Greene

At the same meeting, House Republicans also decided not to take any punitive action against freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., whose comments implying support for QAnon and other conspiracy theories has drawn scorn from Democrats and some Republicans.

However, the Democratic-led House will vote today to remove Greene from her committee posts. The Rules Committee voted Wednesday to bring the matter to the full House for a vote that will decide whether the congresswoman can stay on her committees for the rest of her term, which expires in January 2023.

A series of incendiary, conspiratorial and racist posts on social media Greene made before she was elected resurfaced in recent days, prompting Democrats to call for her to be stripped of her House committee assignments and even be expelled from the chamber.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., told reporters that Greene apologized for her past remarks and disavowed QAnon, conspiracies of which she has shared.

McConnell said previously that the Georgia congresswoman’s embrace of conspiracy theories and “loony lies” is a “cancer for the Republican Party.”

-Ledyard King, Nicholas Wu, Jeanine Santucci

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