Democratic House Majority Whip James Clyburn responded to Mitch Connell’s comments from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that the GOP is focused on standing up and stopping President Joe Biden’s administration.
Clyburn continued: “We are one nation, under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Let’s operate like that. This Republican Party is losing its way on all fronts and Mitch McConnell is contributing to that in a big way.”
In the interview, Clyburn said that the Republican party today is showing “dishonor to the people who made it possible.”
President Joe Biden plans to host the top congressional leaders from both parties on May 12, according to a White House official.
The meeting will include the top Democrats – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Chuck Schumer of New York – along with Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
While Pelosi and Schumer have already met with Biden at the White House, this would represent the first trip to the Oval Office for McCarthy and McConnell since the president was inaugurated in January.
During his presidential campaign, Biden pledged to work in a bipartisan manner and turn down the fiery political rhetoric that was a hallmark of his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.
“The President looks forward to building on that engagement by having a dialogue with Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader McCarthy about policy areas of mutual agreement and identifying common ground on which they can work together and deliver results on the challenges facing American families,” the White House official said.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden “is eager to talk in-person” about partnering “on the goals of restoring trust in government and ensuring that government delivers for the American people.”
The meeting will take place two weeks after Biden is set to address a joint session of Congress for the first time on Wednesday, where he’ll discuss his $1.8 trillion plan that would offer universal pre-K and two years of free community college.
Biden’s latest proposal follows the $2 trillion infrastructure plan that Democrats hope to pass this year, along with a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that was signed into law in March.
While Pelosi and Schumer enjoy a warm relationship with the White House, McCarthy and McConnell have been highly critical of Biden as he nears his 100th day in office.
Biden and McConnell have a long working relationship from the president’s tenure in the Senate, but political polarization has turned what was once a comely upper chamber into a more partisan atmosphere.
“Behind President Biden’s familiar face, it’s like the most radical Washington Democrats have been handed the keys, and they’re trying to speed as far left as they can possibly go before American voters ask for their car back,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
On Sunday, McCarthy said that he had not had “one conversation” with the president since he took office.
Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell shut down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s idea to have the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda last fall, according to an excerpt from a forthcoming book about Pelosi reported by Punchbowl News.
USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page interviewed Pelosi 10 times and conducted 150 additional interviews for her upcoming book, “Madam Speaker.”
After Ginsburg’s death from cancer in September 2020, Pelosi suggested that the justice, a trailblazer for women’s rights under the law and women in the legal profession, should lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. She would have been the first woman in US history to receive the honor.
McConnell, however, rejected the idea, arguing there was no precedent for a Supreme Court justice to lie in state in the Rotunda. Those who have lain in state in the Rotunda have mainly been presidents, senators, representatives, military leaders, and unknown soldiers of US wars.
Former President William Howard Taft lay in the state in the Rotunda after serving as both chief justice of the Supreme Court and president.
Four Capitol Police officers who were killed in the line of duty (two in 1998 and two in 2021), the Reverend Billy Graham, and civil rights activist Rosa Parks have lain in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.
As Punchbowl noted, Justice Ginsburg ended up lying in state in Statuary Hall on the House side of the Capitol, not under the Rotunda.
The book sheds further light on the frosty relationship between the two power players, who have forged reputations for keeping their respective caucuses firmly in line and being shrewd, tactical legislators during their decades in Congress.
“Mitch McConnell is not a force for good in our country,” Pelosi told Page. “He is an enabler of some of the worst stuff, and an instigator of some of it on his own.”
Page’s book also says that Pelosi calls McConnell “Moscow Mitch” because “she knows it gets under his skin,” Punchbowl reported.
McConnell, for his part, has eagerly embraced other nicknames political rivals have given him, including “Darth Vader” and “the Grim Reaper” of the Senate.
“Madam Speaker” will be released from Twelve Books on April 20.
The senator from Kentucky chastised American corporations Monday, suggesting the companies’ leaders need to stop speaking out about Georgia’s restrictive new voting law, warning there could be consequences for those that continue to do so.
“My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don’t pick sides in these big fights,” McConnell said at a news conference Monday.
Twitter users and journalists were quick to point out McConnell’s status as a longtime recipient of corporate donations, outstripping most other members of Congress by some measures when it came to political donations.
But McConnell rebuked any suggestions of hypocrisy Tuesday, clarifying his original statements and carving out an exception for political contributions.
“I’m not talking about political contributions,” McConnell said during a stop at a Kentucky health clinic Tuesday. “I’m talking about taking a position on a highly incendiary issue like this and punishing a community or a state because you don’t like a particular law they passed. I just think it’s stupid.”
On Monday, McConnell accused corporations that oppose the law of acting like a “woke alternative government,” saying it would “invite serious consequences if they became a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.”
But the minority leader, who received more than $3 million in corporate PAC donations during the 2020 election cycle, according to OpenSecrets, was careful in his language Tuesday, saying businesses have a “right to participate in the political process.”
“Most of them contribute to both sides, they have political action committees, that’s fine, it’s legal, I support that,” he said.
The Citizens United supreme court ruling from 2010 said that “independent political spending” was protected as part of the First Amendment.
According to MarketWatch, McConnell received $258,880 from CEOs and S&P 500 companies during the 2020 cycle – more than any other candidate in a competitive Senate race that year.
However, when it comes to the First Amendment right to free speech not curtailed by Congress, while not issuing punishment, McConnell did issue a warning: “If I were running a major corporation, I would stay out of politics,” adding that the corporations are “irritating a hell of a lot of Republican fans.”
President Joe Biden is unveiling the first part of his multitrillion-dollar infrastructure proposal today, which could include up to $3.5 trillion in tax hikes. Some unions and progressive organizations are saying he should go even bigger.
On Tuesday, 81 national organizations, led by Americans for Tax Fairness, sent a letter to Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, commending the administration’s efforts to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and encouraging the president to go further. The letter said Biden’s tax plans were the “boldest of any major party presidential nominee in modern American history.”
The tax proposals have “received widespread media coverage and, perhaps more significant, your boldly progressive tax plan was heavily attacked by your political opponents, who spent untold millions of dollars and claimed falsely that the middle-class would pay more,” the letter said. “Yet, you won the most votes ever of any US presidential candidate, with a central promise of your campaign to make the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. You have a clear mandate to pursue your agenda.”
The letter, which was signed by AFL-CIO and MoveOn, said that even among Republicans, raising taxes is popular. For example, a New York Times survey from November found that two-thirds of respondents, including 45% of Republican voters, supported tax increases on people making over $400,000, and an Americans for Tax Fairness survey from October found that 71% of Americans supported raising the income tax rate, including 51% of Republicans.
The best way to hold the wealthy accountable, according to the letter, is to reverse the “worst aspects” of former President Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), including Biden’s proposals to:
Lift the corporate tax rate to 28% from the current 21%;
Restore the estate tax to its 2009 levels, meaning that still only the richest 0.59% of estates would get taxed;
And return the top marginal tax rate on the highest incomes to 39.6%, from the current 37%.
Aside from the TCJA proposed changes, Biden also proposed additional tax reforms during his campaign, like investing in Internal Revenue Service enforcement of high-income taxpayers and imposing a “financial-risk fee” on large Wall Street banks.
The letter said that even along with Biden’s campaign proposals, he could implement many other reforms, including a 10-percentage-point surtax on all incomes about $2 million, a financial transaction tax on bond and stock trades, and a wealth tax on ultra-millionaires.
Biden’s tax hikes have already faced opposition in Congress. While moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said an infrastructure proposal could be as large as $4 trillion using tax hikes as funding, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned that won’t win his party’s support.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any enthusiasm on our side for a tax increase,” McConnell told reporters last week. Republicans even recently introduced a bill to repeal the estate tax, which would only affect 0.6% of farm estates.
But progressive lawmakers are continuing to push for measures that hold the ultra-rich accountable. Although Politico reported on Tuesday that Biden will not use a wealth tax to fund infrastructure, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has led the effort to propose a 2% tax on households with net worths over $50 million.
“A wealth tax is critical for raising revenue, and that revenue is critical for raising opportunity,” Warren said on Twitter on March 1. “We build a future for all of our kids by investing in opportunity. This is one way we can make this government work for everyone – not just the rich and powerful.”
Kent Taylor, the founder and CEO of Texas Roadhouse, known for his deep care for workers and entrepreneurial spirit, died Thursday at age 65, the company said.
Taylor founded the Lone Star State-themed steakhouse – famous for its loyal fans, free peanuts, and unlimited rolls and butter – in 1993. In the decades since, he “dedicated himself to building it into a legendary experience for ‘Roadies’ and restaurant guests alike,” the restaurant’s lead director Greg Moore said in the statement.
“He was without a doubt, a people-first leader,” Moore said, noting that Taylor forfeited his compensation package amid the COVID-19 pandemic in support of his workers. “His entrepreneurial spirit will live on in the company he built, the projects he supported and the lives he touched.”
The company did not specify a cause of death.
Taylor was the visionary behind the company’s partner model and its mission of “Legendary Food and Legendary Service,” Jefferies analyst Andy Barish said in a note. The restaurant chain, which now has more than 600 locations across the country, went public in 2004. Since then, its “unending focus on delivering a quality experience with great value has made it one of the most consistent casual dining companies overall,” Barish said.
Throughout his career, Taylor received many accolades, including becoming a member of the Kentucky Business Hall of Fame and being named the 2014 Operator of the Year by Nation’s Restaurant News, Pitchbook said.
He earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of North Carolina, which he attended on a track scholarship. Before founding his restaurant, he worked at KFC, Bennigan’s, and Hooters of America, according to Pitchbook.
Taylor’s successor as CEO will be President Jerry Morgan, the company said, adding that Morgan will be key in helping the business move forward “after such a tragic loss.” Morgan has worked at Texas Roadhouse for 23 years.
In a tweet, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Taylor was a “maverick entrepreneur who embodied the values of never giving up and putting others first.”
“Louisville lost a much loved and one-of-a-kind citizen with Kent Taylor’s passing today,” Fischer said. “Kent’s kind and generous spirit was his constant driving force whether it was quietly helping a friend or building one of America’s great companies.”
Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell said Taylor didn’t fit the “mold of a big-time CEO.” He built his company taking bold risks and using creativity and grit, McConnell said. But most of all, he cared about his team.
“When the pandemic threw everything into uncertainty last year, there was no question what Kent would do,” McConnell said. “Like always, he put his people first. He dug deep into his own pockets and covered healthcare and bonuses for thousands all while keeping his stores open to make sure workers got paychecks when they needed them most. These were acts of extraordinary leadership that were all very ordinary for Kent.”
Democrats have had unified control in Washington again since the January runoff elections, and just like the last time they held the White House, Senate, and House, under former President Barack Obama, Republican use of the filibuster could block their plans.
As Democrats increasingly say they’re open to reforming the filibuster to enact Biden’s agenda, some are questioning the procedure’s role in American history.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren told Axios that it “has deep roots in racism, and it should not be permitted to serve that function, or to create a veto for the minority. In a democracy, it’s majority rules.”
As she told Axios, the founders wanted the Senate and House to function as simple majorities; ending a Senate filibuster requires 60 votes, which is obviously greater than a simple majority.
“The filibuster is a later creation that was designed to give the South the ability to veto any effective civil rights legislation or anti lynching legislation,” Warren also told Axios.
Warren did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Warren isn’t the first Democrat to point to the filibuster’s role in the potential obstruction of the Civil Rights Act. In January, Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted:
“The longest filibuster ever held on the US Senate floor was 60 days in 1964 to prevent the passing of the Civil Rights Act. The filibuster is a tool of obstruction. It does not encourage debate, it does not allow for more voices to be heard, it is for suppression only. End it.”
More pivotal Democrats are weighing in on the filibuster
In an ABC News interview, President Joe Biden said he supports reforming the filibuster and bringing back the talking filibuster – where senators have to keep talking throughout their filibuster.
And a sweeping piece from The Washington Post looks into the current debate over the filibuster following Biden’s reform endorsement; there’s still hesitancy among some Democrats, while others think a simple majority should be required to end a filibuster. As Vox reported, pivotal Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has seemingly signaled some support for a talking filibuster, but doesn’t support lowering the vote threshold from 60.
Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig previously reported that the filibuster could prove to be a major barrier for the potential quick passage of Biden’s policies. He also reported that, per the strict rules surrounding it, Democrats could only use reconciliation twice this fiscal year. That comes as they eye a larger infrastructure package.
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead House impeachment manager for the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, defended the decision to pass on calling witnesses despite a Senate vote on Saturday that would have permitted the action.
The Senate initially passed a motion 55-45 to call witnesses, with five Republican senators crossing over to support the effort. But, after some debate, Democrats shifted course.
The effort to convict Trump for “incitement of insurrection” fell short by a 57-43 margin, but 7 GOP senators joined with all 50 Democrats in finding the former president guilty. A conviction required two-thirds of the Senate, or 67 votes.
Raskin said that the decision to forgo witnesses rested with him.
“We could have had 5,000 witnesses, and [GOP Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell would be making the same speech, because what he’s asserting is that the Senate never has jurisdiction over a former president,” he said. “The point is that no number of witnesses demonstrating that Donald Trump continued to incite the insurrectionists even after the invasion of the Capitol would convince them. They wouldn’t be convinced. They were hinging it on a matter of law.”
He added: “I made the call. So you want to blame somebody [it’s me].”
The last-minute debate over witnesses came after a CNN report from Washington state GOP Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler about a call between Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California on January 6. The Democratic managers sought to use the call to demonstrate Trump’s indifference to the chaos that unfolded that day.
Raskin said that he didn’t speak with President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, or any other official in the White House before a decision was made to enter Herrera Beutler’s statement into the record without witness depositions.
He then roundly praised the work of the Democratic prosecution team, which included Delegate Stacey Plaskett of the US Virgin Islands and Reps. Diana DeGette of Colorado, Joe Neguse of Colorado, David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Joaquin Castro of Texas, Ted Lieu of California, Eric Swalwell of California, and Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania.
“We tried this case as aggressively as we could on the law and on the facts,” he said. “We got from the president’s lawyers exactly what we wanted.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, has suggested that school shootings are “false flags” and that 9/11 was an inside job, while expressing support for executing top Democrats. But until Monday, leading members of her party had refused to explicitly condemn her – House Republicans, instead, appointed to her to a committee that oversees education policy.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, is expressing disgust. In a statement first reported by The Hill, the Kentucky Republican called the embrace of conspiracy theories a “cancer for the Republican Party.”
McConnell fell short of calling for anyone to be expelled from Congress, with members of his Senate caucus having themselves embraced false claims of election fraud that helped stoke a riot at the US Capitol. But he did go further than most of his fellow Republicans.
“Somebody who’s suggested that perhaps no airplane hit the Pentagon on 9/11, that horrifying school shootings were pre-staged, and that the Clintons crashed JFK Jr.’s airplane is not living in reality,” McConnell said, as reported by The Hill. “This has nothing to do with the challenges facing American families or the robust debates on substance that can strengthen our party.”
A spokesperson for McConnell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Democrats have been even more forceful in their condemnations. Last month, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, a progressive from California, introduced a measure calling for Greene to be expelled from Congress.
The parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook mass shooting have also said Greene should not have a role in shaping the country’s education policy.
On Monday, Democratic leaders gave their Republican counterparts an ultimatum: strip Greene of her committee assignments in the next 72 hours, or Democrats will do it themselves.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has said that he plans to have “a conversation” with the lawmaker.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sent a memo to Republican Senators explaining how an impeachment trial would play out, The Washington Post reported.
House Democrats have said they plan to impeach President Donald Trump for “incitement of an insurrection” following a deadly siege on the US Capitol by a violent mob of the president’s supporters.
According to McConnell’s timeline in the memo obtained by The Post, there is no way Trump could be removed from office before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20.
Since certifying the election results in the early morning hours of Thursday, the Senate is in recess until January 19 and therefore cannot begin impeachment trial proceedings before then without the unlikely consent of all 100 senators, McConnell said.
If the House does send articles of impeachment, the Senate can receive and respond when it returns on January 19. However, McConnell said the Senate Impeachment Rules require members of the House to exhibit the articles one day after the Senate says it is prepared to receive them.
Without the Senate requesting them early, that would mean January 20, Inauguration Day.
McConnell concluded the Senate trial would ultimately begin either one hour or 25 hours after the conclusion of Trump’s term.
At the start of Biden’s term, Sen. Chuck Schumer will take over from McConnell as majority leader, putting him at the helm of the impeachment trial.
Aides to the senators told The Post that Schumer and McConnell have not discussed the impeachment trial.
In a draft article of impeachment, House Democrats said, “President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of government.”
“He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coordinated branch of government,” the draft said.
The White House denounced the possible impeachment in a statement: “A politically motivated impeachment against a President with 12 days remaining in his term will only serve to further divide our great country.”