Delegation for 11.14.23: Shutdown scramble — propaganda — Veterans Day — retail therapy

U.S. Capitol Washington, D.C.
Mike Johnson has a plan; not everyone is on board.

Up the ladder

Another government shutdown looms, but this time, Congress appears ready to pass a continuing resolution without tearing apart the majority caucus, at least for now.

Speaker Mike Johnson has pushed for a “laddered CR,” a plan to fund the government, but in multiple steps. He wants to support some agencies through Jan. 19, while others remain funded until Feb. 2.

This plan has sparked criticism from the left and right, including within Florida’s congressional delegation.

Speaker Mike Johnson — a man with a plan. Image via AP.

“This cavalier stopgap bill kicks the serious domestic and international challenges facing our nation into next year,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic Co-Chair of the delegation. “This approach lacks urgency and demonstrates the absence of both understanding and caring about the importance of expediting the completion of our work to avoid leaving our military and American families twisting in the wind. It has no emergency assistance for our allies confronting vicious attacks by terrorists and despots.”

According to The Associated Press, the resolution includes no initial deep spending cuts, but 1% cuts across the board could kick in next year as deadlines are missed. But most controversial for Democrats, the bill doesn’t fund a supplemental funding request from President Joe Biden that includes funding for Ukraine, Israel and domestic issues like hurricane relief and border security.

“Speaker Johnson single-handedly prevented Israel from getting needed aid and replenishment of iron dome by politicizing foreign aid,” posted Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Parkland Democrat, on X.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican, also said he can’t support the bill because it makes no spending cuts. And the last time he tossed that argument at a Speaker, he followed it up with a motion to vacate. With Speaker Johnson installed weeks ago, Gaetz appears willing to give Johnson some leeway for now and said he could at least embrace the multistep funding mechanism in concept.

“Speaker Johnson is proposing a ‘Laddered CR’ to keep funding the government. If done right, we would be able to cleave the important programs from those that need itemized review,” Gaetz said on his official podcast. “But a laddered CR without spending cuts, border security, and defanging weaponization is not sufficient.”

The House Freedom Caucus issued a statement opposing the passage, virtually ensuring it can’t reach majority support with Republican votes alone.

But while critics took to microphones, multiple media outlets report Johnson has the votes — some from the Democratic side — needed to pass a continuing resolution. Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries told reporters early Tuesday his caucus was “open to” voting for the resolution. In the Senate, leadership has already signaled that it will accept the budget plan.

While that may prompt a round of complaints online about the “uniparty,” it will also keep the lights on at every federal agency through New Year. If the measure doesn’t pass, a Friday deadline awaits to avoid a government shutdown.

Palestine propaganda?

Sen. Marco Rubio, a fierce China critic, has long called to ban TikTok in the U.S. Now, he’s blaming the video-sharing app for spreading Hamas propaganda.

In an op-ed in The Washington Examiner, the Miami Republican suggested it’s no coincidence so much anti-Israeli content ends up on TikTok alongside bottle-flipping videos and one line of any given Taylor Swift chorus.

Hamas propaganda at your fingertips.

“We made a ‘big mistake’ not banning the popular social media platform when we had a chance. The Marxist bias on TikTok reflects more than left-wing thought among millennials and Generation Z,” Rubio wrote. “It reflects the app’s subservience to the world’s most powerful Marxist regime — the Chinese Communist Party.”

Of course, he also blames college. In an interview with The Guy Benson Show, the Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chair suggested higher education over the past 20 years became infected with sympathizers to the Palestinian cause.

“This has been sticking in people’s heads that somehow there used to be this country called Palestine, that a bunch of European Jews came in and invaded, took over that land, set up an illegitimate country, and have since then instituted a system of apartheid,” Rubio said.

“That is the argument that’s been fed in people’s brains, unfortunately. And those people have graduated from those schools and are now running media outlets and companies and are embedded in the State Department and the staff here in Congress.”

Meeting with Xi

Sen. Rick Scott criticized Biden before meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on U.S. soil. The two world leaders will meet in San Francisco, but the Naples Republican said it’s no time to put flowers in one another’s hair.

“After months of Biden official after Biden official journeying to Communist China on American taxpayers’ dime to kiss Xi’s ring and play nice with America’s enemy, it’s now President Biden’s turn to embarrass the U.S. here at home,” Scott said. “Joe Biden’s weakness on Communist China is inexcusable.”

Rick Scott warns about getting too chummy with China.

Scott offered a laundry list of issues with the Eastern superpower and said Biden has yet to hold China to account for problems from the pandemic to human rights violations.

“He has refused to hold the murderous and genocidal communist Chinese government accountable for its cover-up of COVID-19. He’s done nothing to punish Xi for his genocide of millions of Uyghur Muslims,” Scott said.

“I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Xi gave Biden an award for all he’s done to help Communist China. He signed the Democrat-led, pro-Communist China ‘CHIPS Bill,’ which allowed semiconductor manufacturers like Intel to maintain MASSIVE operations in Communist China. Worse still, Biden VETOED my bill to reverse his rule that allowed Chinese solar companies, many of which are using child and slave labor, to circumvent U.S. trade laws. Communist China has chosen to be America’s enemy, and NOTHING Joe Biden says is going to change that.”

Fight on

It seems like Gaetz and Kevin McCarthy are far from ending their feud.

The video team for Gaetz’s Congressional office cut together a 13-minute documentary tracing the last year of bitterness between the Fort Walton Beach Republican and former Speaker. That culminates with the weekslong battle to find a new House Speaker, and Gaetz essentially places the blame for that protracted process on McCarthy. He suggested the former Speaker had scuttled the ascension of anyone else to Speaker and tried to do the same when the caucus decided by roll call to support Johnson.

Bury the hatchet? No way.

“Guess which member objected? Kevin McCarthy,” Gaetz said.

But McCarthy took to other platforms to fight back. The California Republican sat down with CNN’s Manu Raju and called the Speaker drama an extension of Gaetz’s agenda. He implied an ongoing investigation in the House of a sex scandal prompted the motion to vacate.

“If the Ethics Committee never does anything to Gaetz, then Gaetz was successful in stopping probably what rightfully should come to him,” McCarthy stated.

On the high seas

Rep. Mike Waltz continues to sound alarms on whether the U.S. is prepared for a major military conflict with China. As House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness Chair, he hosted a three-day summit last week with congressional leaders in the House and Senate and from both sides of the aisle. He focused specifically on maritime issues and noted the potential for conflict in the South China Sea.

“The Chinese Navy is eclipsing the United States in shipbuilding as the Chinese Communist Party fulfills its plans to become the world’s only superpower, usurping the United States,” the St. Augustine Beach Republican said.

Mike Waltz holds a summit on military preparedness for any possible conflict with China.

“We must rise to the occasion, strengthen our American Sea Power capabilities, and secure our fragile maritime supply chains. I’m proud my office brought together important thought leaders, stakeholders, and officials to talk about the challenges our country faces moving forward and how Congress can help shape and support our maritime strategy. It is going to take us working together to ensure we maintain our naval dominance, secure resources, and address the urgent and growing threat of China.”

Several military experts involved in the effort considered Waltz’s concern valid.

“Today, our nation is over-reliant on others’ shipping to keep industry humming, store shelves stocked and even our military functioning. The recent workshop and efforts by Congressional leaders to address this is welcomed and urgently needed,” said Brent Sadler, senior research fellow for the Naval Warfare and Advanced Technology at the Heritage Foundation.

Setting standards

International standard bodies set acceptable quality thresholds for much of the manufacturing around the globe. But Rep. Bill Posey said that as China creates a larger share of the world’s goods, the communist nation has started to undermine that system.

The Rockledge Republican co-led letters to several administration agencies calling for them to brainstorm solutions as China influences standards makers and undermines American business.

Bill Posey wants a bit more quality control.

“The Chinese Communist Party is looking to gain control of the international standards community by increasing participants, proposals, and leadership positions in these international organizations,” Posey said. “It is crucial to protect American interests at these standard-setting bodies so that we remain a leader in developing technical standards.”

The letters were all signed by 12 other GOP members of Congress, including Reps. Scott Franklin of Lakeland and Daniel Webster of Clermont.

The letters pose specific standards questions to the U.S. Trade Representative, Director of National Intelligence, State Department, Defense Department, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology on the findings and recommendations of studies authorized in the 2021 defense budget.

Think of the landlords

Critics of COVID-19 lockdowns have panned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for years. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna just filed legislation she said will limit the power of the health agency during emergencies.

Anna Paulina Luna wants to reign in the CDC in times of pandemics.

“The economic and social upheaval the CDC caused by abusing their authority is nothing short of unprecedented,” the Saint Petersburg Republican said. “One too many American families know the personal harm this has caused to their children, jobs and pocketbooks. It’s high time we check the CDC’s power so that it is NEVER allowed to exploit a crisis like this again.”

She criticized the CDC for stopping evictions during a crisis; states should have controlled the policy.

Specifically, her Terminate CDC Overreach Act would require the CDC to tailor policies to individuals and only those infected or likely infected in response to a pandemic. It would strip any governance over entire industries or institutions like schools. It would also allow Congress to overturn any executive order from the agency immediately.

The Forgotten War

Veterans Day holiday marks a chance to honor all military service throughout the nation’s history.

Still, two members of Florida’s congressional delegation joined forces to honor one generation of soldiers.

Reps. Gus Bilirakis, a Palm Harbor Republican, and Lois Frankel, a West Palm Beach Democrat, introduced a bipartisan resolution celebrating the service of Korean War veterans.

Lois Frankel and Gus Bilirakis put away partisanship to honor Korean War veterans.

“Veterans of the Korean War fought hard for freedom and democracy, and it’s our honor to introduce this resolution today — on the eve of Veterans Day — recognizing their brave service. It’s time veterans of the ‘Forgotten War,’ and those who have been stationed on the Korean Peninsula in the years since, get the acknowledgment they’ve earned,” the two said in a joint statement. “This Veterans Day, we are recommitting ourselves to remembering their bravery and dedication.”

On the ground

Moskowitz spent this weekend in Israel with a bipartisan, bicameral delegation of lawmakers and said he learned startling things on the ground about Hamas’ terrorist attacks there. Moskowitz plans to share that information with colleagues back home.

“Many of my colleagues are currently watching the video that I saw in Israel of the Hamas killings,” Moskowitz posted on X. “Hamas copied the Nazis, lining up families killing kids in front of parents. Burning people alive, in pits. They will hear brothers scream as their father jumped on a grenade.”

He also alleged civilian death tolls in Gaza were misleading. A Palestinian health ministry announced this weekend that 10,000 have now died from Israeli strikes on the region, Reuters reported.

“The civilian death numbers are Wrong,” Moskowitz insisted online. “The Gaza Health Ministry (Hamas) are concealing that this number includes thousands upon thousands of Hamas terrorists. Countless Innocent lives have been lost as Hamas sacrifices them to be human shields and shoots them to stay in place.”

Meeting the maker

Want to support American manufacturers? How can you even tell when buying online?

Rep. Carlos Giménez introduced a bill requiring products sold online to U.S. consumers to list a country of origin.

For years, federal law required that type of disclosure with products sold on retail shelves — think of any ‘Made in Japan’ sticker on the bottom of a windup toy. The Miami-Dade Republican said it’s time to hold online retailers to the same standards.

Carlos Giménez wants caveats for caveat emptor.

“Whether you shop online or in person, American consumers have the right to know where the products they buy are made,” Giménez said. “This legislation increases transparency by extending in-person labeling requirements to e-commerce and ensures that all goods sold online list their country of origin. This protects American consumers from shoddy, unsafe, or counterfeit goods sold by companies in Communist China and promotes quality American-made products. I am proud to work in a bipartisan manner to fix outdated labeling laws, increase transparency, protect consumers, and promote American businesses.”

He filed the bill with Rep. Andy Kim, a New Jersey Democrat.

On this day

Nov. 14, 1881 — “Charles Giteau on trial for assassination of James Garfield” via Legal Legacy — The defense had two primary arguments: that Guiteau was legally insane and that the President’s death resulted from medical malpractice, not Guiteau’s shooting. Meanwhile, the prosecution tried to suggest to jurors that what the defense claimed had been evidence of insanity was instead only evidence of sin. The jury deliberated for only an hour and found Guiteau guilty. Guiteau’s mental status aside, historians and medical experts today have concluded it was undoubtedly the nonsterile conditions of Garfield’s medical treatment that resulted in his death.

Nov. 14, 1960 — “Ruby Bridges desegregates her school” via History.com — A court order mandating the desegregation of schools came into effect in New Orleans, Louisiana. Six-year-old Bridges walked into William Frantz Elementary School, accompanied by federal marshals and taunted by angry crowds, instantly becoming a symbol of the civil rights movement, an icon for the cause of racial equality, and a target for racial animosity. The Supreme Court ordered the end of segregated public schools in Brown v. Board of Education just a few months before Bridges was born. Still, it was not until after her kindergarten year that the City of New Orleans finally assented to desegregation.

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Peter Schorsch publishes Delegation, compiled by Jacob Ogles, edited and assembled by Phil Ammann and Ryan Nicol.

Staff Reports


One comment

  • PeterH

    November 14, 2023 at 3:01 pm

    A deal with Democrats will get this funding bill passed with no typical Republican poison pills!

Comments are closed.


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