McConnell stares down the first big question after returning from the fall

The Debt Ceiling Crisis Revisited: Kevin McCarthy and the Pennsylvania Senate Minority Leader Kevin McConnell return to the Capitol after two-week break

Lawmakers face a long to-do list on their return to the Capitol from a two-week break to deal with a number of important issues, including a debt limit crisis and the leak of classified documents.

There is still no agreement in sight to raise the debt ceiling despite the threat of economic catastrophe if the issue is not resolved in a matter of months and Republicans are eying passing their own debt ceiling increase paired with spending cuts in an effort to pressure the Biden administration to the negotiating table.

Kevin McCarthy will address the looming crisis in a speech on Monday at the New York Stock Exchange. A major challenge for House Republicans is whether they will be able to coalesce behind a detailed list of cuts.

House Republican leaders are moving behind the scenes to get their conference behind a plan that would raise the debt ceiling for one year with a slew of cuts and revenue raisers.

The White House stated that the debt limit issue should be addressed quickly, without brinksmanship or hostage-taking, as Republicans did three times in the last administration and Reagan argued for in office.

That’s because if McConnell decides to deny Democrats the 60 votes needed to remove Feinstein from committee, as she has requested after being out for the past two months due to shingles, it will only intensify pressure on Feinstein to resign from the Senate. It could affect the California Senate race since the governor has said he would appoint a black woman to the position.

In order to replace her on Judiciary, Democrats will need all Republicans to go along or require a vote on a resolution that will still need the backing of a handful of Republicans. It’s still not clear whether GOP leaders or even rank-and-file members will back the move, especially because granting the request could speed confirmation of judicial nominees they strongly oppose.

Senate Minority Leader McConnell, who has been out recovering, will return to the Senate on Monday. Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. John Fetterman’s office has also said he will return to the Senate after the recess period following treatment for clinical depression.

The Defense Intelligence Report on Capitol Hill: Why the Pentagon is Leaky, Will It Happen Again, and when Congress will Returns to Sessions?

The congressional leaders are pressing the administration for information about how the Pentagon documents were leaked and what consequences will be if similar leaks occur again, as they are concerned and frustrated over the leak.

McCarthy stated on Friday that House committees would investigate the leak. A Senate Democratic aide says all senators will be briefed on the leaked documents on Wednesday. Sources have told CNN that a classified briefings for all House members will probably occur on Wednesday.

Lawmakers are looking into the consequences of the improper storage of classified materials at homes of former President Donald Trump, former vice president Mike Pence and former Vice President Joe Biden.

When Trump made history as he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony criminal charges in a Manhattan criminal court, Congress was not in session. Lawmakers, and in particular Republicans, are sure to be pressed by reporters for their reaction to those developments back on Capitol Hill.

The House plans to vote on a bipartisan measure that condemns recent actions taken by the Russian military to down a U.S. Air Force drone.

The GOP-led House is expected to block the DC policing bill. If the resolution passes the House, it would next go to the Senate.

This comes after both chambers of Congress voted to overturn a controversial DC crime bill – and Biden signed the measure, upsetting some Democrats who argued that debate over the bill had been distorted and the federal government should not interfere in the district’s affairs.

A White House official said that Biden would veto the GOP measure to overturn police reforms in Washington if it reached his desk.


The Senate Judiciary Committee is planning to hold a field hearing on ethics in the U.S. involving trans athletes and alleged Russian war crimes

The House is expected to take up the GOP bill related to the participation of trans athletes in sports, which Democrats have decried as an attack on trans youth.

The scrutiny of Julie Su, who is being nominated to be labor secretary by Biden, will begin in the weeks ahead as Republicans paint her as too liberal to head that department. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a hearing Thursday to consider the nomination. Lawmakers will be watching the nominee performance during the hearing to see if she can be confirmed.

The House Judiciary Committee will be in New York on Monday for a field hearing with Republicans expected to highlight violent crime in New York City as part of the GOP effort to discredit Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg amid the criminal case against Trump. The hearing was a political stunt, according to the office of the democrats.

Democrats will be interested in the issue when they come back to Washington, because of the high-profile legal battle over medication abortion. The Senate Judiciary Committee has announced plans to hold a hearing during the upcoming work period on the consequences and aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision last year to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, led by a Democrat, plans to hold a hearing on ethics standards in the Supreme Court. That comes in the wake of a ProPublica report that conservative Justice Clarence Thomas did not disclose that he and his wife have gone on several luxury trips involving travel subsidized by and stays at properties owned by a GOP megadonor.

Republicans will criticize the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan at a hearing Wednesday by the House Oversight Committee.

On the same day as the Foreign Affairs Committee’s hearing about alleged Russian war crimes and atrocities, there will be a public hearing in the House. The prosecutor general is about to testify.

The rogue senator won’t be able to replace Tom Cotton with Joe Biden: Call for re-isolating Feinstein

GOP sources said on Sunday that it was not likely the leader would agree to it, but that the issue still needed to be discussed, and a final decision had not yet been made on how to proceed.

But if McConnell agrees to the Democratic demands, that could cause blowback from the right, something Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton foreshadowed on Sunday.

“Republicans should not assist Democrats in confirming Joe Biden’s most radical nominees to the courts,” Cotton, one of the only Republicans to publicly weigh in so far, tweeted over the weekend.

Last week, there was tension after two Democratic House members called on Feinstein to resign. Hours later, Feinstein issued a public statement and requested to be pulled, albeit temporarily, from a committee where she cemented a decades-long legacy.

Democrats will also huddle Monday evening for a leadership meeting where another major question will play out: How long can the Senate operate on the floor without Feinstein? When will the pressure be on her to resign?

Notably, Sen. Amy Klobuchar last week told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins essentially that she didn’t back calls – for now – to oust Feinstein, saying she deserved more time to recover. But the Minnesota Democrat was clear she wasn’t offering a blank check for a blanket absence.

McConnell is considered an architect of the Republican Party’s judicial gains in this country and is one of the tacticians in the Senate. McConnell is the most important person in building the courts. The Kentucky senator isn’t afraid of stonewalling Supreme Court vacancies, ending the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees or meticulously ushering through a strategy that remade the judicial system under Donald Trump. In other words, don’t assume he’ll make this easy for Democrats to replace Feinstein.


Dianne and Dick McConnell: Two Years of a Life in the Life of an Elaine and a Philly Abelian

“We had a genuine friendship, so as you can imagine, we hated to lose Dick recently, but the good news is that Dianne will be here for two more years as our colleague and that is very, very good news for Elaine and for me,” he said.

Through their service, the two forged a bipartisan relationship that transcends some of the bitter discourse that has emerged in the last decade. McConnell had a concussion and a fractured rib after tripping and falling at an event in Washington, and was out of commission for several weeks.

Schumer has said he will ask the Senate this week to make the change, but when he will do so is subject to tedious negotiations on the front end to see what is possible before he brings it to the floor.

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