Senate’s “soon” isn’t today- POLITICO

With an assist from Burgess Everett

UKRAINE AID…DELAYED — It isn’t every day that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell make a joint appeal for quick passage.

But their attempt Thursday to pass the $40 billion Ukraine aid package by unanimous consent was thwarted by a much more common scene: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) standing to object.

Paul rejected an offer to have the full senate vote on his proposal to include a provision to designate a special federal watchdog to oversee how the $40 billion is spent. The move pushes action on the measure to next week, which is when US weapons shipments to Eastern Europe are expected to lapse.

“They’re running out of ammo. They’re kicking the Russians’ ass,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (RS.C.). “All over the Ukraine, they’re doing the fighting on behalf of freedom itself, and we should be the arsenal of democracy.”

Schumer (DN.Y.) filed cloture on a motion to proceed on Thursday. The Senate will have to vote on that, plus cloture on the underlying bill, plus bill passage next week.

“He doesn’t want to aid Ukraine,” Schumer said of Paul on the Senate floor. “That is not the case for the overwhelming majority here.” Jennifer Scholtes and Connor O’Brien combined their appropriations and defense knowledge to explain the impact of the delay, what’s in the package and how it plays into strategy for Ukraine’s defense against Russia.

GOOD MORNING! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill. Good luck on this Friday the 13th.

THE RISK/REWARD CALCULATION ON SUBPOENAS — The Jan. 6 select committee just took a leap that could land it in a legal fight right around the same time it plans to launch two weeks of highly anticipated public hearings on the insurrection: the subpoena of five House Republicans, including GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif. ).

“This determination to issue these subpoenas was not a decision that the committee made lightly,” said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the Capitol riot panel’s vice chair. “But it is absolutely a necessary one … The sanctity of this body and the continued functioning of our constitutional republic requires that we ensure that there never be an attack like that again.”

Select committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), had doubts about subpoenaing House colleagues, as that would likely trigger a lengthy court fight unlikely to be resolved before in the current Congress. But the panel has pivoted, driven by every thread of the probe leading investigators toward GOP members inside the House.

If Republicans want to fight the subpoenas in court, they’d likely lean on the idea that the subpoenas violate the “speech and debate” clause of the Constitution, which protects members of Congress from legal repercussions for their official actions and words.

More on the calculation from Nicholas and Kyle: Why the Jan. 6 panel bet its legal hand against the House GOP

TESTER TESTING ATF NOMINEE — Joyful. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) quietly chatted with ATF nominee Steve Dettelbach earlier this month and said that he’s a “nice guy” and “it was good.” But Tester said he hasn’t decided where he will come down after quietly opposing President Biden’s last nominee, David Chipman.

“Note enough. He’s a good guy, he’s a decent guy. Where he led me was down the law enforcement line. So we talked second amendment, different things. We’re still analyzing all of it,” Tester said.

Dettelbach has been confirmed by the Senate by voice vote before — to serve as the US attorney for the Northern District of Ohio under President Barack Obama. But this time he faces long odds. The Senate hasn’t confirmed an ATF nominee since 2013, in large part because Republicans and gun rights groups oppose confirmation for any nominee to lead the federal agency that regulates guns. But for Chipman, opposition came from both sides of the aisle, with Sens. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) and Angus King (I-Maine) against, alongside Tester.

DEMOCRATS FACE FACTS ON ABORTION— Democrats do not have the legislative power to prevent the reversal of five decades of abortion precedent by the Supreme Court.

“We don’t have a pro-choice majority in the Senate. Even if we did, we certainly don’t have 60,” said Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.). “This fight gets carried now out into the community. And there’s going to be big demonstrations, I think, around the country … That’s sort of the reality of where we are.”

They are counting on voters to keep them in power, and give them more significant majorities, so they can take action. But a frustrated Democratic base wants action now, from the folks they already sent to Washington and who control both chambers of Congress and the White House. Sarah and Marianne have the story on Democrats acknowledging just how little they can do before November. RELATED: McConnell defends Supreme Court on abortion, says impact will be ‘a wash’ in midtermsfrom Deirdre Walsh at NPR

HEARINGS, BUT NO FORMULAIC FIX— House Democrats have announced a slate of hearings looking into the shortage of infant formula that has some parents rationing food for their babies and traveling long distances to find empty shelves.

— The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture will hold a hearing May 25 with FDA Commissioner Robert M. Califf on both oversight of infant formula (a recall is a factor in the current shortage) and the agency’s fiscal 2023 budget request.

— The House Energy and Commerce has a hearing planned, also for May 25, on the shortage and production of formula.

Hearings could yield answers for lawmakers, but panicked parents are looking for quicker solutions (which Congress isn’t famous for). The White House announced Thursday that it will be trying to crack down on price gouging, speed production and tamp down red tape on formula imports. RELATED: Biden administration looks for ways to alleviate infant formula shortagefrom Jennifer Shut at States Newsroom; Duckworth asks FTC to examine formula marketfrom Helena Bottemiller Evich

NOT UNION CHIEFS— But chiefs trying to learn about unions. There is a briefing for House chiefs of staff on Monday afternoon on implementation of the resolution adopted this week allowing unionization of the House workforce. Ann Rogers from House Employment Counsel will lead the briefing, according to an email obtained by POLITICO.

C-SPAN’S FIGHT FOR EYEBALLS— The venerable Washington cable network, the butt of jokes about sleepy floor debate and government procedure, is trying to slug it out for social media views. It’s complicated.

ON THE FAST TRACK — There wasn’t a stellar lawmaker turnout for yesterday’s ACLI Capital Challenge 3 mile road race (which started just hours after the National Press Club Foundation dinner and afterparty wrapped.) But Sen. Kyrsten Cinema (D-Ariz.) took home the fastest female lawmaker and fastest senator awards clocking in at 23:03. Rep. Mike Gallaher (R- Wisc.) was the fastest male lawmaker and House member at 19:46. No male senators raced. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) is the fastest woman in the House, with a time of 29:12.

SUMMER MENTORSHIP— The Modernization Staff Association and Capitol Hill Intern Association have teamed up to launch a summer mentorship program for interns and junior staff on the Hill. The program will run between June 10 and July 30 and is billed as a “low-commitment way for mentors to improve their leadership skills and meet other junior staffers.” If you want to be a mentor, you can sign up.

TRAINING TIME — There’s a training for intern coordinators coming up on May 23 at 12:30 pm called “Creating Accessibility and Inclusivity for Your Interns,” hosted by the Modernization Staff Association, the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services, and the Office of House Employment Counsel. The training will cover “how to respond to reasonable accommodation requests from in-person and virtual interns.” registration is open now.

BIG GIG — The House is hiring a Chief Information Security Officer. That’s a big job for a workplace that hasn’t changed the wifi password in… we won’t go there. Salary is listed as $185,387 on USA Jobs.

SPARTZ RESPONDS— Responding to Olivia’s report that her office has the highest turnover rate on Capitol Hill and her toxic leadership style, freshman Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) told Indy Politics’ Abdul Hakim-Shabazz that “a lot of these young people need to toughen up.”


Rep. Marie Newman tells her own abortion storyby Newman herself for CNN

The Entirely Predictable Tragedy of Madison Cawthornfrom Michael Kruse in Hendersonville, NC


Where are you moving and shaking?


The House convenes at 9 am

The Senate is out.


10 am Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), members of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, Democratic Women’s Caucus, other lawmakers and abortion rights activists hold a press conference on the Supreme Court’s draft decision on abortion (House East Front Steps).

THURSDAY’S WINNER: There were two possible winning answers here: Andrew Jackson and Grover Cleveland. Jackson won the popular vote handily in 1828 and 1832. In his first presidential run in 1824, he won a plurality of the popular and electoral vote, but not a majority. The House ended up deciding the election in favor of John Quincy Adams. Grover Cleveland won the popular vote in 1884, 1888, and 1892.

(Franklin Roosevelt won the popular vote four times.)

TODAY’S QUESTION: What year was the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus launched?

The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your answers to [email protected]

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