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In today’s edition, President Biden’s blunt warning to Israel on Rafah, Marjorie Taylor Greene’s pus͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌  ͏‌ 
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May 9, 2024


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Today in D.C.
  1. Biden warns Israel
  2. Johnson keeps his job
  3. Ellzey’s historic role
  4. GOP tax talk
  5. Trump and TikTok
  6. Biden’s Racine trip
  7. House hunting blues

PDB: Oil industry writing potential Trump executive orders

Biden leaves for fundraising swing out west … … Stormy Daniels back on the stand… NYT: Harris attacks SCOTUS

— edited by Benjy Sarlin, Jordan Weissmann and Morgan Chalfant


Biden threatens to cut off weapons to Israel over Rafah

Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden threatened to cut off deliveries of bombs and artillery shells to Israel if it attacks Rafah. “Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs,” Biden told CNN Wednesday, adding that he made it clear to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “they’re not going to get our support if in fact they go into these population centers.” While Biden said Israel hadn’t yet crossed that red line, the warning will further strain US-Israel relations, which were already being tested by an earlier US move to pause a shipment of bombs. Republicans blasted that decision, arguing it undercuts the US commitment to Israel’s security. The CNN interview won Biden some praise among progressives, but not from Sen. John Fetterman, who posted on X: “Hard disagree and deeply disappointing.”


The House shuts down Greene’s bid to oust Johnson

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s push to oust Speaker Mike Johnson wrapped up pretty much how everyone expected. Her motion to vacate failed quickly and spectacularly as expected on Wednesday. Only 11 Republicans voted against the motion to table. “Hopefully this is the end of the personality politics and the frivolous character assassination that has defined the 118th Congress,” Johnson said. Republicans didn’t attempt to hide their frustration at Greene’s threats. “We basically said ‘put up or shut up’ she put up, and now it’s time to shut up,” Rep. Marc Molinaro, R-N.Y., said. In a post to Truth Social, Donald Trump expressed his opposition (for now). “We’re not in a position of voting on a Motion to Vacate,” he wrote. “At some point, we may very well be, but this is not the time.”


A House member makes some off-beat history

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Jake Ellzey made history by presiding over the effort to remove Mike Johnson from his post. He’s now the only congressman to ever oversee two motions to vacate a speaker, after he previously held the gavel during Kevin McCarthy’s ousting (he may have worn the same suit). The Texas Republican said leadership asked him to chair Wednesday afternoon’s vote series but gave no indication they expected anything unusual. But, from his perch on the dais, he could see Reps. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. and Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. approaching the House podium where lawmakers usually come to speak. “The best part is having the high ground as you can see everything that’s going on. I saw Ms. Greene and Mr. Massie sit behind the podium, and I said, ’Let’s get ready.’”

Kadia Goba


Some Republicans are open to hiking corporate rate, key lawmaker says

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Some Republicans in Congress would like to hike the current 21% corporate tax rate, House Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith said Wednesday. Speaking at a law firm event, the Missouri Republican said some “very well-known conservative members” asked him why a corporate rate increase was not on the table during negotiations over the $78 billion tax package that passed the House this year. His remarks are notable, given that lawmakers are already gearing up for the looming battle over renewing the expiring pieces of Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Job Act in 2025. On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office projected that a blanket extension of the GOP tax cuts for families, corporations and wealthy individuals costs $4.6 trillion over a decade.

Joseph Zeballos-Roig


Team Trump is warming to TikTok

REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

Donald Trump’s increasingly warm feelings towards TikTok are starting to translate to the campaign trail, Shelby Talcott reports. His top allied super PAC, Maga Inc., joined the app on Wednesday, following the Biden campaign’s lead. “We aren’t trying to set policy, we are trying to win an election,” Taylor Budowich, the group’s CEO, said in a statement. While the political case for getting on the app to reach new voters is strong, Trump advisors sounded sour on the idea of his campaign joining when Semafor checked in earlier this year given Trump’s prior support for a ban and China fears among the GOP. But Trump flip-flopped on a ban, opposed the recent divestment bill, and has cozied up to ByteDance investor Jeff Yass recently — and the Washington Post reported his campaign is now considering getting on the app as well.


Biden makes his economic pitch and mocks Trump in Wisconsin

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden traveled to Wisconsin Wednesday to tweak Donald Trump while celebrating Microsoft’s plans for a $3.3 billion AI Data Center near the city. The project will be built on land previously reserved for a Foxconn plant that never materialized after Trump bragged about bringing it to the state. “He came here with your Senator Ron Johnson, literally holding a golden shovel, promising to build the eighth wonder of the world,” Biden said. The president wants to contrast his success passing infrastructure legislation and spurring new factories with Trump’s trail of “broken promises,” as he put it. But it’s proving tricky: Polling from Politico Wednesday showed voters are about equally split on whether Trump or Biden deserves more credit on infrastructure, much to the dismay of Democrats. “I’m going to become the Joker,” one frustrated Biden alum quipped.


Americans say — correctly — it’s an awful time to buy a house

One of the reasons Americans may still be feeling down on the economy? The cost of a house. A record 76% of adults tell Gallup in its latest survey that it’s a bad time to buy a home — and they aren’t wrong. High interest rates and skyrocketing post-pandemic prices have created the least affordable market since at least the 1980s, by some measures. Between rent and the unattainable price of owning, housing has risen to become a top concern among young voters whom President Biden is still struggling to win over.


Beltway Newsletters

Punchbowl News: While Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene “lost badly” in her effort to oust Speaker Mike Johnson, senior GOP aides were expecting fewer than five Republicans to vote with her — when in reality nine GOP members did.

Playbook: Johnson said he hoped that President Biden’s comment about halting weapons shipments to Israel represented a “senior moment” and that otherwise it would be a betrayal. “For the administration to make such a huge deviation in policy without, you know, any consultation with us — and in defiance of what we quite literally just voted on here days ago — to me, it raises a lot of alarm,” he said.

The Early 202: Two possible amendments to the FAA authorization bill are subject to a fierce lobbying battle: one would strip the five daily roundtrip flights added to Reagan Airport, while another — opposed by the travel industry — would regulate TSA’s use of facial recognition technology.

Axios: The White House is increasing its outreach to CEOs to ensure $2 trillion in government spending “is matched and multiplied by private-sector investments.”

White House

  • President Biden will host the Las Vegas Aces at the White House to celebrate their WNBA finals victory last year. Biden will also head to San Francisco tomorrow afternoon ahead of campaign events on Friday.
  • The administration is planning to announce new changes to the asylum system that could help them expedite removal of some migrants. — Politico


  • The Senate is still trying to find a path forward on the FAA reauthorization bill, with a procedural vote scheduled for this afternoon. The House passed a one-week extension on Wednesday, which the upper chamber will need to pass before the Friday deadline in order to avoid a lapse.
  • The House Oversight Committee canceled a planned hearing with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser after police arrested dozens of people and cleared a pro-Palestinian encampment on the campus of George Washington University.
  • Speaker Mike Johnson and other Republicans unveiled an “election integrity” bill meant to prevent noncitizens from voting.
  • A draft report written by House Republicans accuses Attorney General Merrick Garland of impeding their impeachment inquiry into President Biden. It “will serve as the grounds for the report the House Judiciary Committee will consider next week as it mulls whether to forward the contempt resolution to the full House floor.” — The Hill
  • The leaders of three large school systems — New York City Public Schools, the Berkeley Unified School District in California, and Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland — on Wednesday rejected allegations they allowed antisemitism to run rampant in their districts, telling the House Education Committee they are countering it with education and discipline.
  • Former Republican California Rep. Pete McCloskey, who co-wrote the Endangered Species Act and co-founded Earth Day, died Wednesday at 96. McCloskey also challenged Richard Nixon in the 1972 Republican primary on an anti-Vietnam War platform.

Outside the Beltway

Arizona election workers participated in a training exercise involving artificial intelligence in order to prepare for the 2024 election. — WaPo


  • Donald Trump’s classified documents trial isn’t the only one being put on hold: a Georgia appeals court said it would consider an effort by Trump and his co-defendants to throw Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis off of the case.
  • Trump is seeking to fast-track a legal challenge to the limited gag order imposed on him by the judge in his criminal hush-money trial in New York.
  • Rudy Giuliani can’t find an accountant to help him in an ongoing bankruptcy case.


  • President Biden leads Donald Trump 50% to 44% among registered voters in Wisconsin, according to a new Quinnipiac survey, but the race is virtually tied when third party candidates are added in.
  • Americans are increasingly divided in their views of NATO even as most say the U.S. benefits from its membership, a Pew Research Research Center survey released Wednesday shows.

On the Trail

  • Donald Trump’s youngest child, Barron, has been chosen by the Republican Party of Florida as one of its at-large delegates to the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee in July. The 18-year-old graduates high school next week.
  • Top Republicans, led by Trump, are refusing to promise that they’ll accept the results of November’s election, stoking fears of a repeat of the violence seen after the former president’s loss in 2020. The question appears to be a litmus test for those vying to be Trump’s running mate. — WaPo
  • The Kevin McCarthy-Matt Gaetz feud lives on. — Politico
  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr. reportedly suffered from memory loss thanks to a literal brain worm. — NYT
  • America’s morning show hosts won’t get to keep grilling South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem about Cricket or Kim Jong Un: She canceled the remainder of her book tour in order to prepare “for some potential emerging bad weather systems” shaping up in her state. — Real Clear Politics
  • The libertarian advocacy group FreedomWorks is shutting down. Semafor’s David Weigel writes that it marks the end of the Tea Party era.

National Security

  • A U.S. warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday, prompting a strong denunciation from China less than two weeks before the new president of Taiwan takes office.
  • Australia and Tuvalu signed a new security deal, “part of the coordinated efforts of the United States and its allies to curb China’s growing influence in the South Pacific.” — ABC News

Foreign Policy

Members of the European Union reached an agreement to use profits from Russian frozen assets to purchase arms for Ukraine.


  • The Commerce Department is considering new curbs on the export of artificial intelligence models to China.
  • The Justice Department is stepping up its focus on competition in the AI sector and will bring industry leaders, researchers, and government officials for a workshop at Stanford University on May 30. — Bloomberg


  • AstraZeneca said it is withdrawing its COVID-19 vaccine due to low demand.
  • The US will tighten rules around “gain-of-function” virus research, requiring risk-benefit analyses and risk mitigation plans before funding will be permitted and publication of a report of all risky federally funded research each year.

Big Read

The U.S. oil industry is drafting executive orders for Donald Trump to sign if he retakes the White House that would push natural-gas exports, cut drilling costs, and increase offshore oil leases, Politico says. Energy executives with direct knowledge of the efforts fear Trump is too distracted to quickly reverse President Biden’s green policies. They’re also concerned a second Trump administration won’t attract staff capable of rolling back Biden’s policies or draft new ones that favor the sector. “These are people who have a strong interest and expertise in an issue,” Mark Squillace, a former Interior Department official in the Clinton Administration and current University of Colorado natural resources law professor, said. “Sometimes the Trump administration might be inclined to sign whatever is put in front of their nose.”


Stories that are being largely ignored by either left-leaning or right-leaning outlets, curated with help from our partners at Ground News.

What the Left isn’t reading: Comedian Jon Stewart said Joe Biden is too old to be president.

What the Right isn’t reading: Nikki Haley received 128,000 votes in the Indiana Republican primary despite having ended her presidential campaign months ago.

Principals Team

Editors: Benjy Sarlin, Jordan Weissmann, Morgan Chalfant

Editor-at-Large: Steve Clemons

Reporters: Kadia Goba, Joseph Zeballos-Roig, Shelby Talcott, David Weigel

One Good Text

Liz Shuler is president of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the US.

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