Rep. Katie Porter says she relishes committee hearings because it’s the only place where ‘nobody is trying to control me’

Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of California attends a House Financial Services Committee hearing in 2019.
Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of California attends a House Financial Services Committee hearing in 2019.

  • Rep. Katie Porter has gained notoriety for skilled questioning of CEOs during committee hearings.
  • Porter said committee hearings are one of the few places where “nobody is trying to control me.”
  • “I’m not waiting 15 years to have impact,” Porter told a friend after she was first elected in 2018.

Rep. Katie Porter of California, famous for aggressive of questioning of CEOs with a white board in tow, told Vanity Fair that she likes committee hearings because it’s one of the few places in Congress where leadership isn’t trying to control members.

In a lengthy profile in Vanity Fair, Porter spoke about the challenges of being a newly-elected member of Congress and the barriers that exist to having an “impact” – a word Porter has reportedly banned her staff from using because it’s too vague. “Impact, impactful…it means nothing,” she told the magazine.

One disappointment Porter faced when she got to Congress – after flipping a long-held Republican seat while raising 3 kids as a single mother – was a lack of formal power. She had lunch with Ann O’Leary, a former senior Democratic adviser, shortly after coming to DC following her election, where O’Leory said Porter appeared “deflated.”

“She was feeling like, this isn’t what I signed up for,” O’Leary told the magazine. “She got to Congress and was being told, you have to be in your place, stand in line, it will be 15 years before you have any power. She was like, ‘I’m a single mom busting my bottom to be here and I’m not waiting 15 years to have impact.'”

O’Leary then said she saw “a switch [go] off” in Porter as they discussed using committee hearings as a kind of “bully pulpit.”

“There are always instructions from leadership,” Porter told Vanity Fair. “This is how you vote, this is what our priority is, this is how you should message, this is how much money you need to raise-and the questions in hearings, you can show up and do what you want. It’s like looking around and saying, where is it that nobody is trying to control me?”

Porter would go on to achieve notoriety during her first term among both the Democratic base and CEOs alike when she put her questioning skills to use.

Porter was later removed from the House Financial Services Committee for her second term, where most of her most noteworthy questioning took place.

Though her removal was formally due to the denial of a waiver to serve on more committees than otherwise usually allowed, Vanity Fair reported that the committee chair, fellow California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, came to see Porter as “performative” and wanted her off the committee.

“Imagine you’re Maxine, you’ve been running that committee for forever, and this freshman who asks questions in the first five minutes is all [that] gets reported-everybody runs the clip of the freshman and nothing about you,” another representative anonymously told Vanity Fair.

“Maxine wanted certain people off of her committee-certain people meaning Porter in particular. There was horse trading between her and [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi. It was bullshit,” the representative added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Sen. Elizabeth Warren says billionaires have ‘enough money to shoot themselves into space’ because they don’t pay taxes

Elizabeth Warren
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on September 28, 2021.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren criticized the ultra-rich for traveling to space but not paying their taxes.
  • On “The View,” Warren discussed Biden’s spending package that would increase investments in healthcare and climate.
  • “The money is going to come from the billionaires who don’t pay their taxes and therefore have enough money to shoot themselves into space,” Warren said.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday criticized wealthy Americans who have ventured into outer space but haven’t paid their taxes on Earth.

In an interview with “The View” on ABC, the Massachusetts senator discussed President Joe Biden’s trillion-dollar legislative plan, saying that Democrats want to make the ultra-rich pay higher taxes to help cover its costs.

“The money is going to come from the billionaires who don’t pay their taxes and therefore have enough money to shoot themselves into space,” Warren said.

“It’s going to come from giant corporations like Amazon,” she continued.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the second richest person in the world, in July flew to the edge of space on a rocket built by his space company, Blue Origin. The move prompted criticism. Before his journey, more than 185,000 people signed petitions not to allow Bezos to return to Earth.

“Billionaires should not exist … on earth, or in space, but should they decide the latter they should stay there,” one petition’s description read.

Bezos did not pay federal income taxes in 2007 and 2011, according to a bombshell report of IRS documents published by ProPublica in June. Amazon also paid no federal taxes in 2017 and 2018. Over the years, the billionaire has since his wealth increase, with a current net worth over $190 billion.

The world’s richest person, Elon Musk, likewise saw his wealth grow but paid a small amount in taxes, according to the ProPublica report. From 2014 to 2018, Musk’s wealth increased by $13.9 billion, but he reported only $1.52 billion worth of taxable income to the IRS. Comparing the $455 million he paid in taxes to his wealth gains, ProPublica said Musk paid a “true tax rate” of 3.27%.

Musk also has his own space company, SpaceX. He has not traveled to space yet, but has paid for a ticket for a future flight on Virgin Galactic, a company founded by fellow billionaire Richard Branson.

Democrats have blasted big companies and the ultra-wealthy for avoiding taxes and for not paying what they describe as their “fair share” in taxes.

“I’m sick and tired of the super-wealthy and giant corporations not paying their fair share in taxes,” Biden tweeted last month. “It’s time for it to change.”

Biden’s spending package would increase investments in education, healthcare, childcare, and climate, aiming to boost the working class of the country. But negotiations are ongoing as the Democratic party’s progressives and moderates remain divided over elements of the plan.

“Nobody is going to get everything they want – and that includes all the senators,” Warren said, alluding to Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who have opposed the size and the scope of the package.

“I want the folks on the other side to put on the table what they don’t want,” she added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Democrats are already floating another social spending bill to ‘put Republicans on the spot’ on popular benefit expansions before the 2022 midterms

nancy pelosi
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

  • Some Democrats are open to another reconciliation bill early next year as the current one is being trimmed.
  • “There is certainly a willingness to pursue that idea if it makes sense at the time,” House Budget Chair John Yarmuth told Insider.
  • Another party-line spending bill could be tough to achieve in 2022 given policy tends to take a backseat to midterm campaigning.

If Democrats can’t cram all of Biden’s social spending promises into the reconciliation bill this year, they may try again next year.

Congressional Democrats are grappling with key decisions on which measures should be scaled back or axed as they struggle to reach a middle ground with a small but potent centrist faction made up of figures like Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema. Progressives are spearheading efforts to avoid pitting measures against each other, like affordable childcare against tuition-free community college.

But some in the party are starting to float another Democrat-only spending bill next year, perhaps as a way to score additional policy wins or pick up what was ejected ahead of the 2022 midterms.

“I have broached the subject with a number of people in leadership positions in the caucus,” Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, chair of the House Budget Committee, told Insider on Tuesday. “And there is certainly a willingness to pursue that idea if it makes sense at the time.”

“I do think it’s feasible,” Rep. Donald Beyer of Virginia, a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means panel, said of another party-line bill next year. “We all are aware of the fragility of the majorities in the Senate and the House, we’re gonna do our very best to keep building on them.”

He cautioned that many frontline Democrats in swing House districts may become harder sells on another party-line bill and it would depend what measures are included. Still, Yarmuth mapped out a scenario where potentially dropped provisions like a Medicare expansion that’s popular with older voters essentially dares Republicans to oppose it.

He called it a good opportunity to “put Republicans on the spot” adding it was “good politics and good policy.”

Democrats do have another chance at a reconciliation next year, the same legislative maneuver they’re using to skirt GOP opposition and approve the social safety net bill with only a simple majority rather than the 60 votes typically needed. They seek to expand education, healthcare, child tax credits and more.

“Anytime you can pass something with just your own party, you have a shot,” Jim Kessler, executive vice president for policy at the center-left Third Way think tank. “That’s going to depend on the appetite of a lot of members, including Manchin, Sinema and others. But I think it’s important for Democrats not to think that we get one year and then the rest of the Biden era is lost.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn’t rule out another spending bill last month, telling reporters that possibility “is not excluded.”

But policymaking tends to be harder as the midterms get closer and campaigning takes precedence. The strict procedures governing reconciliation means Democrats may not be able to act on another bill until after April 1.

“I don’t think as a caucus we should close the door on potentially doing another bill early next year,” a Senate Democratic aide granted anonymity to speak candidly said. “It just seems silly to me that you would say, ‘”we’re done legislating after this point.'”

Rep. Jim Costa of California, among the 10 centrist Democrats who demanded an immediate vote on an infrastructure bill in August and nearly blew up Biden’s agenda, said he wouldn’t necessarily shut the door on another party-line bill as Democrats mull cuts.

“I think there could be,” he told Insider. “I mean, I keep trying. Just because it doesn’t get in one piece of legislation doesn’t mean I throw my hands up.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Free community college, child tax credits, and affordable housing are among safety net measures on the chopping block as Democrats struggle to find middle ground with centrist holdouts

Nancy Pelosi Chuck Schumer holding pen
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

  • Democrats are grappling with the likelihood of harsh cuts in their safety net bill.
  • “It’ll definitely be painful. And I don’t know how that’s going to shake out,” Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia said in an interview.
  • Some top Democrats are already floating another reconciliation bill next year to pick up what gets cut.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California made it crystal clear on Tuesday: You can’t always get what you want – and it’s time for Democrats to make some tough decisions as negotiations on their social spending bill reach a make-or-break phase.

Pelosi is bracing lawmakers for the massive cuts required to assemble a spending package capable of clearing their threadbare majorities in the House and Senate, garnering the votes of a small centrist faction made up of figures like Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

She lamented at a news conference that Democrats won’t be able to pass a social safety net package amounting to $3.5 trillion due to centrist resistance. But she argued the plan that emerges from back-and-forth negotiations will still be “transformative” and aligned with the party’s goal to remake the economy for the better.

Congressional Democrats and the White House are wrestling with huge dilemmas as they labor to get President Joe Biden’s economic plans over the finish line. Measures including childcare subsidies, new Medicare benefits, a revamped child tax credit, tuition-free community college, and affordable housing are all on the chopping block. Pelosi has opened the door to both dropping spending priorities and shortening their duration to squeeze as much as possible into the final legislation, with no price tag locked in yet.

Some are acknowledging grueling sacrifices will have to be made as pent-up frustration with centrists spills out into the open amid the slog. “It’ll definitely be painful,” Rep. Donald Beyer of Virginia, who sits on the tax-writing House Ways and Means panel, said in an interview. “And I don’t know how that’s going to shake out.”

Beyer, who chairs the Joint Economic Committee, said he was “frustrated” with Manchin and Sinema. “I certainly wish that Manchin and Sinema were of the same commitment to Build Back Better bill than the other 48 senators are,” he told Insider. “But they aren’t and this is what you get.”

‘Always a high-wire act’

Bernie Sanders Joe Manchin
Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Joe Manchin (W-V).

Democrats pushing for a sweeping anti-poverty package financed with tax hikes on large firms and wealthy individuals are crashing into resistance from Manchin and Sinema. Since they’re employing a legislative maneuver called reconciliation to pass it with a simple majority, Democrats can’t lose their votes in a 50-50 Senate.

Their lack of clarity sparked anger among many Democrats including Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. He’s assailed Manchin’s call for a sharply curtailed $1.5 trillion bill and said he doesn’t even want to be in the same room to negotiate with him. He’s also fiercely criticized Sinema.

“With Democrats, it’s always a high-wire act,” Jim Kessler, the executive vice president for policy at the center-left think tank Third Way, told Insider. “The negotiations are always public and caustic.”

Kessler, a former Senate Democratic aide, said he believed the legislation will brush against “at least 20” near-death experiences, similar to the passage of President Barack Obama’s signature health law a decade ago, the Affordable Care Act.

He laid out the possibility of a bill tailored to three areas: climate spending and related tax credits, then tax cuts for middle class families, and provisions that strengthen people’s ability to work like tuition-free community college that totals roughly $2 trillion. The sum is in line with what Biden privately told House Democrats about a potential compromise that could range from $1.9 trillion to $2.3 trillion.

That amount would cut the size and scope of the package’s major planks and probably force Democrats to eject others. They pushed a pathway to citizenship for 8 million unauthorized immigrants in the party-line bill. But the Senate parliamentarian has advised that it be excluded and Manchin told Latino Rebels it was “too big” to include.

Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia recently suggested to Insider the idea of adding a means test for tuition-free community college, since that would target federal assistance to lower-income Americans. A Democratic aide told Insider that possibility was on the table to cut down on costs.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget released an analysis on Tuesday, illustrating what a $2.3 trillion bill could look like. It would include an expanded child tax credit, permanently extending ACA health insurance subsidies, paid family leave, and “affordable” pre-K and community college. But it would exclude medical leave.

Beyer said given that Democrats view fighting the climate emergency as critically important, those tax breaks and green energy provisions stand the best chance of having a longer duration.

Referring to the Biden child tax credit as “kiddie checks,” the Virginia Democrat said he believed they could be “reasonably reduced,” and a future Congress would renew them.

Some Democrats float another reconciliation bill next year

John Yarmuth Nancy Pelosi
House Budget Chair John Yarmuth and Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a press conference.

Some centrist House Democrats have blamed progressives for pushing priorities that cost the party over a dozen seats in last year’s election, handing them only a three-vote majority. But progressives argue the dynamic has flipped and they occupy a new space in the party: Rescuers who pulled an economic agenda from the brink of oblivion, and salvaged their odds of scoring wins in the 2022 midterms.

“We’re not going to pit child care against climate change,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said on a press call on Tuesday. “We’re not going to pit housing against paid leave. We’re not going to pit seniors against young people.”

Affordable housing is another big priority that faces being cut. House Democrats set aside $300 billion to help renovate public housing and build new homes for low-income Americans, Insider’s Ben Winck reported.

“You can’t try to fit all this stuff into a bill half the size,” a Senate Democratic aide told Insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity to be candid. “Then nothing will work well and it will be like ACA all over again, where people experienced no benefit in their lives for years.”

In late September, progressives forced Pelosi to bail on approving a $550 billion infrastructure package focused on roads and bridges – legislation that Manchin and Sinema helped design – until the bigger spending bill containing the bulk of Biden’s priorities gets hammered out. They are pushing for the biggest bill they can get and favor sunsetting new benefit programs within a few years, daring Republicans to block their extension.

Kessler argues it “makes more sense” to fund fewer programs robustly so they wind up more effective and quickly produce tangible improvements in people’s lives. There’s also a high risk Democrats won’t be able to go back and fix mistakes in their sprawling bill: For years during the Obama administration, Republicans blocked efforts to repair the ACA’s flaws as it got off the ground, and they would likely do so for this bill if they win back a chamber or both in the 2022 midterms.

Some Democrats are starting to float the possibility of another reconciliation bill next year, a long shot given that policy usually takes a backseat to campaigning in midterm years. But Pelosi and her top lieutenants aren’t closing the door.

“I have broached the subject with a number of people in leadership positions in the caucus,” Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, chair of the House Budget Committee, told Insider. “And there is certainly a willingness to pursue that idea if it makes sense at the time.”

Yarmuth, who recently announced his retirement, said he views anothe reconciliation bill as a chance to “put Republicans on the spot.” He mapped out a scenario where Democrats stuff a bill with potentially excluded but popular provisions like expanded Medicare benefits and bait Republicans into opposing it, calling it “good politics and good policy.”

“I do think it’s feasible,” Beyer said of another party-line bill next year. “We all are aware of the fragility of the majorities in the Senate and the House, we’re gonna do our very best to keep building on them.”

He cautioned that dozens of frontline Democrats in swing districts may become harder to court on another bill. But the potential for more legislation is there.

“It’s important for Democrats not to think that we get one year and then the rest of the Biden era is lost,” Kessler said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The House approves 2-month debt limit extension, teeing up another showdown with McConnell’s GOP in December

DEBT
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi/Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  • The House passed a two-month debt limit patch, buying time until the US approaches default again.
  • “This is America’s debt,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a floor speech ahead of the vote.
  • McConnell is pledging to block any effort to raise the debt ceiling in a bid to force Democrats to do it unilaterally.

The House approved a two-month debt limit patch that will run through early December, sending the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature. It amounts to a momentary ceasefire as Senate Republicans are already pledging to block any future renewal of America’s ability to repay its bills.

The vote was 220-206 with every House Republican lined up against the measure. Democrats relied on a procedural maneuver packaging the bill – which cleared the Senate last week – with votes on other measures.

It staves off a catastrophic federal default that the Treasury Department projected would occur in six days. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a speech ahead of the vote, saying he “was playing Russian Roulette with the economy. Russian Roulette for Moscow Mitch.”

“This is our debt. This is America’s debt,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a floor speech.

Now, the bill heads to the White House, buying lawmakers a few more months before it runs up the edge of default again. Another showdown looms in December with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell vowing to block any effort to raise the debt limit, unless Democrats do it on their own using a party-line mechanism called reconciliation.

“I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement,” the Kentucky Republican wrote in a scathing letter to Biden on Friday. “Your lieutenants on Capitol Hill now have the time they claimed they lacked to address the debt ceiling.”

McConnell argued Democrats must employ the arduous reconciliation procedure to approve a debt-limit hike unilaterally, the same demand he’s made since July. The process allows some measures to be passed with only a simple majority, shielding it from the filibuster’s 60-vote threshold in the Senate.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Rep. Adam Schiff couldn’t find the words to comfort his ‘devastated’ staffers after Trump won the 2016 election

Adam Schiff
In this file photo from Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, arrives on the floor of the House of Representatives.

  • Rep. Adam Schiff gathered his “devastated” staffers for a “pep talk” after Trump won the 2016 election.
  • Schiff told his staff plainly: “We’re fucked,” according to his new memoir.
  • “I just wasn’t up to it, not yet, and I promised them that I would have more to say after I gathered my own bearings,” Schiff wrote.

Rep. Adam Schiff revealed in his new memoir that he gave a “pep talk” to his staffers who were stunned after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, telling them: “We’re fucked.”

The California Democrat, who serves as chairman of the powerful House Intelligence Committee, wrote that he gathered staffers in his Washington, DC, office about a week after Trump topped then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in a surprise upset.

“They were young and idealistic and desperately concerned about what it meant to the country and to our future,” he wrote in the memoir, “Midnight In Washington.” He went on to recount telling his staffers that he knew how “worried” they were and that the election results meant a lot “for all that we care about.”

But “‘I just want to tell you, by way of encouragement … we’re fucked,'” he said with a dejected smile, adding that he was aware that wasn’t the kind of pep talk they had anticipated, the book said.

“I just wasn’t up to it, not yet, and I promised them that I would have more to say after I gathered my own bearings,” Schiff wrote.

Trump’s presidency turned Washington, DC, upside down and deepened the already frayed political divisions between Democrats and Republicans.

Schiff, in particular, went from a relatively low profile lawmaker on the historically bipartisan House intelligence panel to something of a bete noire for Republicans, in large part because of his dogged pursuit of investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election and the Trump campaign’s ties to the Russian government.

Members of the “Gang of Eight” and the intelligence committee, both of which Schiff was part of, were informed before the public that Russia had waged an elaborate and multifaceted campaign to intervene in the 2016 election to denigrate Clinton and elevate Trump to the Oval Office.

He wrote in his memoir that although the intelligence committee started its investigation into the matter on a bipartisan basis, Democrats and Republicans quickly diverged in their purposes, with Democrats focusing on investigating the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian nationals, and Republicans demanding leak investigations and casting doubt on the veracity of the US intelligence community’s findings vis-a-vis Russia’s meddling.

Schiff butted heads in particular with GOP Rep. Devin Nunes, a fellow California lawmaker and the chairman of the committee. Schiff wrote that their relationship grew particularly fraught when it surfaced that Nunes was coordinating with the White House while serving on a committee that was supposed to be investigating the White House.

The House’s Russia inquiry was rife with discord, conflicted messaging, and a lack of clear direction, so much so that Schiff wrote in his memoir that he was envious of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which drew praise for conducting a more bipartisan, fact-based investigation of the Trump campaign and Russia.

The California Democrat took over as chairman of the House committee in 2019, after Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms. He subsequently took the lead in a number of investigations into Trump’s business and financial activities, and his committee also led Trump’s first impeachment inquiry related to his Ukraine dealings.

Schiff served as the lead House impeachment manager after Trump was impeached on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, and he made headlines when he warned during Trump’s Senate trial, that if Congress didn’t convict and remove him from office, he would try to “cheat” in the 2020 election again.

Trump was ultimately acquitted and Schiff went on to joke about that first impeachment just under a year later when hiding out from pro-Trump insurrectionists. They had laid siege to the US Capitol after Trump, aggrieved over his 2020 election loss, encouraged them to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory based on nonsense claims of widespread fraud.

“You said this would happen,” a Democratic colleague told Schiff while they were hunkering down, his book said.

“Well, I didn’t say this would happen,” Schiff wrote that he replied.

“You warned that he would try to cheat again,” the unnamed lawmaker said of Trump.

“It didn’t require any great clairvoyance,” Schiff said, per the book. He then tacked on: “Someone really should have impeached that son of a bitch.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Rep. Maxine Waters tweeted her Twitter account was ‘hacked’ and ‘erased,’ but Twitter said there was ‘no signs of account compromise’

maxine waters
Rep. Maxine Waters in June 2018.

  • California Rep. Maxine Waters in a tweet Tuesday morning claimed her account had been “hacked.”
  • But Twitter told Insider there were “no signs of account compromise” on Waters’ account.
  • In the tweet, Waters said she knew who was responsible and claimed she’d “take care” of it.

California Rep. Maxine Waters caused confusion late Tuesday morning when she claimed her Twitter account had been hacked and deleted despite the fact she was using it to send the message.

“I have been hacked and my Twitter account has been erased,” she wrote. “I know who has done this. I will take care of this,” she added in an 11:55 a.m., signing it “M. Waters.”

Waters has two Twitter accounts, as is typical for members of Congress. One account, @RepMaxineWaters, is her official account as a member of the US House of Representatives. Her second account, @MaxineWaters, is used as a personal and campaign account.

Neither account appeared to be erased, as Waters claimed. Besides the tweet Tuesday morning, Waters last tweeted from her official account on Monday. She hasn’t used her personal account since late June.

Representatives for Waters did not return Insider’s request for comment Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Twitter told Insider it couldn’t comment on Waters’ tweet specifically.

“We can’t comment on the Tweet, but, as is standard, we have open lines of communication with her office and have worked with them to ensure the account is secure,” the spokesperson said. “At this time, we’ve identified no signs of account compromise.”

According to ProPublica’s Politwoops project, which tracks deleted tweets from members of Congress, Waters deleted six retweeted tweets shortly after sharing them within the past 24 hours. It’s unclear if her tweet Tuesday referenced any of those deleted retweets.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Rep. Adam Schiff says GOP leader Kevin McCarthy is ‘absolutely’ an ‘insurrectionist in a suit and tie’

Kevin McCarthy Adam Schiff
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy; Rep. Adam Schiff

  • Rep. Adam Schiff criticized Republicans, including Kevin McCarthy, calling them “insurrectionists in suits and ties.”
  • In his new book, Schiff describes an incident in which McCarthy lied to the press about a conversation they had.
  • Schiff also said that it would be a “disaster” if McCarthy becomes House speaker after the 2022 midterms.

Rep. Adam Schiff in an interview on Tuesday criticized the dozens of Republican lawmakers, including GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, who amplified former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election and challenged the results in Congress on January 6.

“What angered me the most, I think, about that day were these insurrectionists in suits and ties who were still, even after the bloody insurrection, even after the shattered glass and the death of that day, were back on the House floor trying to overturn the election,” Schiff told CNN’s John Berman.

At the time, Trump and his GOP allies had baselessly pushed the false theory that the election results were rigged because of widespread voter fraud. State and federal officials repeatedly debunked the claims, saying the election was accurate and fair.

Still, 147 Republicans objected to the results on January 6, when Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol building. The chaos left five people dead, and four police officers who responded to the riot later took their own lives.

“Unlike those people climbing outside the building, they knew it was a lie,” Schiff told CNN of the GOP lawmakers. “The true believers were out there attacking the building. But inside the chamber, my Republican colleagues know it’s a big lie.”

Berman then asked Schiff if House Minority Leader McCarthy, who objected to the election results, is “an insurrectionist in a suit and tie.”

“Absolutely, absolutely,” Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, responded.

A spokesperson for McCarthy did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

Schiff’s comments come as his new memoir, “Midnight in Washington,” which delves into the Trump era and discusses the current state of US democracy, was published on Tuesday.

In the book, Schiff recounts a private conversation he had with McCarthy shortly before the 2010 midterm elections. The two California lawmakers had left their home state and landed in Washington, DC, where they engaged in “small talk.” Both of them said they think their party will win the majority, according to Schiff.

Yet McCarthy went on to tell reporters that Schiff said Republicans would win.

Schiff then confronted McCarthy on the House floor, telling him: “Kevin, if we were having a private conversation on the plane, I would have thought it was a private conversation. But if it wasn’t, you know I said the exact opposite of what you told the press.”

“I know, Adam,” McCarthy replied, “but you know how it goes.”

Schiff brought up that scene from his book to CNN on Tuesday, saying it represents the “relentless attack on the truth” and “alternate facts” that later became a hallmark of Trump’s presidency.

The California Democrat also said that it would be a “disaster” if Republicans win in 2022 and McCarthy becomes House speaker.

“He will do anything that Donald Trump tells him,” Schiff said of McCarthy. “We cannot have someone with absolutely no reverence for the truth, no willingness to uphold his oath in that position in line to the presidency.”

“Trump will control whatever he does,” Schiff added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Rep. Adam Schiff joked during the Capitol insurrection that ‘someone really should have impeached that son of a bitch’

Adam Schiff
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) speaks at a news conference on September 21, 2021.

  • During the Capitol insurrection, Rep. Adam Schiff joked that then-President Donald Trump should have been impeached.
  • “Someone really should have impeached that son of a bitch,” Schiff told his colleague at the time.
  • Schiff spearheaded Trump’s first impeachment inquiry in 2019 and was lead impeachment manager in Trump’s first Senate trial.

While congressional lawmakers and staffers hunkered down in a secure location during the January 6 insurrection, Rep. Adam Schiff, who famously led President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, joked that he should have been impeached, according to Schiff’s new book, “Midnight in Washington,” which came out Tuesday.

The comment came as “anger at the president” filled the room and a Democratic colleague approached Schiff, saying: “You said this would happen.”

“Well, I didn’t say this would happen,” Schiff replied.

“You warned that he would try to cheat again,” the unnamed lawmaker said of Trump, who at the time spread false claims about widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election and sought to overturn the results.

“It didn’t require any great clairvoyance,” Schiff said, per the book. “Someone really should have impeached that son of a bitch.”

Of course, the Democratic-led House did impeach Trump, on Dec. 18, 2019, an act that many Democrats thought would cow Trump.

Schiff, who serves as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was the lead impeachment manager in 2019 during Trump’s first impeachment over an abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to a Ukraine phone call. However, the GOP-controlled Senate acquitted the president.

Congress had convened on January 6 to certify President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump – a largely ceremonial proceeding to officially count the slates of electors sent by US states. Yet lawmakers were forced to evacuate the House and Senate chambers and shelter-in-place after throngs of pro-Trump supporters broke into the Capitol building in an attempt to stop the election certification.

Schiff describes in his book that lawmakers “were all stunned about what was happening.” Once at the secure location, the California Democrat spoke on the phone with his wife and kids to assure them that he was fine.

In the following weeks, the Democratic-led House voted to impeach Trump on a charge of “incitement of insurrection.” But the Republican-controlled Senate once again acquitted Trump.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Senior citizen advocacy group tells Congress that Social Security recipients should get $1,400 stimulus payment

The US Capitol Dome is illuminated against a deep blue autumn sunset
The Capitol building. Republican leadership recently pushed back on President Joe Biden’s economic agenda.

  • The Senior Citizens League asked Congress for $1,400 stimulus checks for social security recipients.
  • The group said seniors told them that “our government has forgotten about us.”
  • Social Security recipients were expected to get a 6% bump in their payments next year, AARP said.

A senior citizens advocacy group asked Congress to send $1,400 stimulus payments to Social Security recipients who are struggling with the rising cost of living.

The Senior Citizens League said in a letter to Senate and House leaders that many seniors have seen their financial situations worsen as the “government has forgotten about us.”

Social Security recipients got a 1.3% cost-of-living increase in their payments for 2021, the slimmest increase since 2017.

“We’ve heard from thousands of [seniors] who have exhausted their retirement savings,” the group wrote a letter sent earlier this month.

With their savings shrinking, some senior citizens have begun rationing their prescription drugs, the group said.

Others told the group they had “started eating just one meal a day.” Those were just “a few of the drastic steps so many have had to take because of what inflation has done to them this year,” the group said.

Next year, Social Security recipients are expected to get an about 6% bump in payments as a cost-of-living increase, AARP and other outlets reported. But that jump could trigger higher tax rates for some, the group said. The $1,400 stimulus “could help defray” those higher costs.

“It is unlikely Congress will take action on our proposal this year but if we can build enough support from seniors for it, we are hopeful it can become a major issue next year and that Congressional support for it will grow,” the group said in a recent blog post.

The group has spent more than $2 million lobbying Washington lawmakers on seniors issues since 2005, according to public lobbying data compiled by ProPublica.

Read the original article on Business Insider