Theresa Hebert (00:38):
All right. Hello everyone, and welcome to our Wonk Week keynote. I’m really excited to be here with Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News. As folks get logged on, we wanna share out a free trial for all Wonk Week attendees to Punchbowl Premium. We’re gonna put the link in the chat for you to put in your information and claim that. So while we give folks a minute or two to log onto the session please be sure to fill that link out that my colleague is going to put in the chat in just a moment. Punchbowl premium includes three week day additions, breaking news, special additions, in-depth polling of Capitol Hill leaders deep dives, and policy and market moving analysis about the people who matter. It also includes exclusive access to private events and more. I, myself, I’m a subscriber and I really find the polling insights especially helpful as our team grows their market knowledge on what’s happening on Capitol Hill. So as folks get a minute to fill that out and we’ll give folks another minute or two to join in the session.
Theresa Hebert (01:45):
And for folks who watch this on recording tomorrow, as we send out an email, we’ll also include the link there. So if you can’t see the chat in a video recording you’ll also have access to that trial.
Theresa Hebert (02:14):
Awesome. Now that folks have had a minute or so to log on we are ready to get started. As I mentioned before, we’re really excited to be joined by Anna and Jake today of Punchbowl News. A quick introduction. So, Jake Sherman is a founder of Punchbowl News. He has been covering national politics for more than a decade, and his focus is reporting on Congress, congressional leadership, and the politics of legislating. He chronicled all of the major legislative battles of the Obama and Trump presidencies and has traveled the country and the world reporting on power and politics. Jake and Anna Palmer are the co-authors of The Hill to Die On: The Battle for Congress and The Future of Trump’s America, which is a New York Times and national bestseller. He’s been reporting and writing partners with Anna and Punchbowl News, co-founder John Bresnahan.
Theresa Hebert (02:57):
For 11 years, Jake has been a contributor to NBC News and appears almost daily across all of the network’s platforms. He’s a graduate of the George Washington University and Columbia Journalism School. He lives in Washington with his wife and three children, and is an avid runner and listener of Grateful Dead and Phish. Anna Palmer is CEO and founder of Punchbowl News, a media organization focused on power, people, and politics. Anna has covered congressional leadership, the lobbying industry, presidential campaigns, and the politics of governing for more than 15 years. She also has been writing partners with Jake and John for 10 years or so. In 2019, Anna also co-wrote The Hill to Die On: Battle for Congress and the Future of Trump’s America. Trevor Noah of The Daily Show said The, Hill to Die on turned Congress into a Game of Thrones book. We were actually just talking about Game of Thrones this morning, so very kidding.
Theresa Hebert (03:45):
In the office here,.<laugh> From 2016 to 2020, she was the co-author along with Jake of the top-rated Politico Playbook franchise, where they chronicled President Donald Trump’s first term and his relationship with top Congressional leaders. Under their leadership, the platform more than doubled in revenue and tripled its readership. They also created a widely acclaimed daily podcast, afternoon newsletter, and an event series where they interviewed top political and business leaders across the country. As a native of North Dakota, Anna joined Politic0 in 2011 as it’s Senior Washington correspondent. She also led Women Rule, a n nation leading platform aimed at expanding leadership opportunities for women, and hosted the critically claimed Women Rule podcast. So now I’m gonna kick it over to Anne and Jake to get started. They are gonna share some remarks with us today, but throughout, feel free to throw your questions in the chat. I will have plenty of time for Q and A at the end as well, so I’ll kick it over to you.
Anna Palmer (04:36):
All right there. Thank you so much for that kind introduction. Really excited to be here this afternoon or this morning depending on where you are. I’m on the in Central time. Just a reminder, as Theresa said, if you wanna check out Punchbowl News Premium, which is our midday and PM editions, we have a free trial that we’d love for you all to sign up with. We’re gonna talk a little bit about our theory of the case around Punchbowl News, what’s happening with the midterms, kind of forecast a little bit in terms of the lame duck and leadership what might happen, and wanna take tons of questions. We were happy to talk about whatever you all wanna talk about. So first of all, just I’ll go kind start pretty quickly.
Anna Palmer (05:21):
Punchbowl News. We hope that you are familiar with us. If you aren’t, we are a news media startup that launched on January 3rd right before the January 6th in instructions. We’re a little over a year and a half old and focused on power, people, and politics. We have kind of a morning newsletter that was really the front door to what’s happening in Washington. And then that midday and pm edition where we kind of dive deeper. We recently have expanded our kind of very leadership coverage, focus coverage in terms of also adding financial services, which we’re super excited about. And the only other thing I’ll talk about, and then I’ll kind of throw it to you, Jake, and we kind of get into more the meat of the conversation, is one of the things that we are super proud of, particularly for our premium members, is that community aspect of it.
Anna Palmer (06:05):
So we really try to think of ways to engage our audience as community members, whether that’s coming to our events, whether that’s joining our Brown Bag Lunches that we do once a month, where you can directly ask all of us questions about what’s happening or, you know, just kind of in terms of really being a convening force on Capitol Hill. So why don’t we get started, Jake, I will tee it up to you. Just talk about what we’ve been talking about all, all for the past, you know, several weeks, but the midterm elections less than 30 days away, and things are certainly looking very interesting.
Jake Sherman (06:39):
Wait, I have that on the calendar for next year. Is that this year? No kidding. <Laugh>. Well, I wanna add one thing. And I’m scrolling through the attendees and when we created this company, we created it for you. This, you’re the kinds of people who, if you’re not reading Punchbowl News, you should be. So that’s my pitch. I am on the road right now with a member of House leadership. We are very deep in the leadership world and all of those things, and Congress, and the thing we we’re proud of was we don’t chase shiny objects, not interested in scandal, as we were telling Theresa before we didn’t, we’re not covering Lizzo and her and her, her flute, the flute thing which wouldn’t be in our coverage area anyway. But let’s talk about the election in a couple of weeks.
Jake Sherman (07:26):
So what I keep saying, and what we said in the newsletter this morning is, and I think that we have a, there are, let’s say 50 seats in play in the House. Let’s start with the House. There are 50 seats in play. And by the way, please leave your comments and questions in the chat. We will definitely get to as many as humanly possible over the next 38 minutes, and we’ll maybe address some during this talk or after we finish our, our remarks. But there are 50 something seats in play, and Republicans need to win five to take back the House
Anna Palmer (07:56):
Because of the special election. That’s just, we should just note that, right? Because they’re gonna win that special election seat, right?
Jake Sherman (08:02):
They are, they are. They are, yeah, exactly. So they need to win a handful. They’re gonna win a, they’re, they’re gonna win a deep red seat in Indiana. But so 10% of the seats in play they need to win to win the majority. And there are seats that have been, have been shored up because of redistricting there. So our base case and base case of Democrats who speak honestly, and Republicans who speak honestly, is that you’re looking at a likelihood—not certainty, far from certainty, nothing is certain in politics— that Republicans will take back the house. Now, the margin by which they do it is a big question. I just got off the phone with someone who’s extraordinarily involved in the elections on the spending side on the Republican side, who said that they think they will win 22 seats, and their confidence level of that is very high.
Jake Sherman (08:54):
That’s a lot of seats. If you end up in the two thirties, you’re looking at a relatively large Republican majority by historical standards. Not a massive pickup, but a quite a large pickup in terms of being in the 200 and thirties for a two year period of the last two years of Joe Biden, or the last two years of Joe Biden’s first term. So we have some data that we’re gonna lead with tomorrow morning in Punchbowl News just about how dominant right now Republicans are on the spending side. Republican organizations have, have raised, and for house races, $525 million. The CLF, the Congressional Leadership Fund, the main house Republican, we can’t even say outside group now, the main House Republican election group, bigger than the NRCC, more dominant than the NRCC has spent $200 million already and they’re 20-something days left. So when it comes to the House of Representatives Republicans feel very bullish on where they are and where they’ll be in 20 something days. Anna, do you have any thoughts on the House before we move on to the Senate?
Anna Palmer (10:02):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think, you know, you summed it up really well. I think what we’ve seen, and we’ve been talking a lot about this, is just this dominance that the Republicans have on the money front and the House in particular, just with their ability to fundraise at the super PAC level. I mean, Kevin McCarthy’s really perfected that in a way that we haven’t seen Democrats. Do, I think the question for Democrats is gonna be, you know, 22 seats. Yes, that’s a big, that’s a strong majority, but it’s certainly not the 60 seats that Kevin McCarthy was talking about just months ago. And so I feel like for us, you know, if you talk to us six months ago, a lot of House Democrats, it was almost like dead man walking a little bit, right? Where they were very, they didn’t see an opportunity, they were really felt like they were gonna lose.
Anna Palmer (10:44):
And just this dramatic shift. And I think certainly over the summer, the Supreme Court decision with this I think when you look at some of the, what they’ve been putting a lot of their campaign ads about, whether that’s the Inflation Reduction Act and other things they do feel like there’s a little bit more confidence. I’m not sure that a lot of people believe that speaker Nancy Pelosi is going to retain, not only retain the majority but also gain seats. That that’s the prediction she’s made in recent weeks. I think a lot of people are skeptical of that, but either way, a House we can, we’ll talk more about what a Republican majority would look like. But I think as much as the Dobbs decision is playing in the House, we certainly are seeing that in the Senate.
Anna Palmer (11:25):
So why don’t we just shift over to the Senate. I think obviously a very different situation than the House in terms of just how tight a lot of the races are. This should have been a very good year for Republicans that the map was in their favor. Although Mitch McConnell often says, don’t fall in love with the map, I think one of the key things that we’ve reported on a lot was something else he said, which is that candidate quality matters. And we’re seeing that play out in a lot of these key states, whether that’s in Arizona, certainly in Georgia, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere where you have Republicans really in an uphill battle in some of these cases where they would’ve, we would’ve thought, you know, just looking at the demographics, it would’ve been probably an easier fight.
Jake Sherman (12:07):
Yeah. So let’s talk about the Senate. I have no confidence level at all about where the Senate’s gonna end up, zero confidence. I think the base case of a lot of people on both sides is something like Democrats keep holding Arizona, losing Nevada winning Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. I feel like it’s too close at this point to call. I think I do think Fetterman has a slight advantage, although I don’t know how, how robust of an advantage that is. And every single poll so far in Georgia, everyone basically has Raphael Warnock beating Herschel Walker, the kind of scandal-plagued Herschel Walker in these last I mean, Quinnipiac poll yesterday had ’em up, I think five or six. So every single race there seems to be every single poll there in Georgia seems to be pointing in the same direction.
Jake Sherman (13:01):
Ohio seems to be tightening. I think Democrats will be disappointed. Ohio’s quite red. And then there’s the, what, what the leadership of the Senate says. North Carolina always disappoints them, always lets them down. Very close race between Beasley and Ted Budd in North Carolina for Richard Burr’s Senate seat, which would be a pickup for Democrats. So I, I think the real scenario that we need to think about is that the the Senate might not be decided until December with a runoff, right? If no one, if no one wins, and if no one gets above 50, we are in a runoff situation. And that will have a lot of impact. And I guess, Anna, we could get into the the lame duck at this point. Yeah. and we could, we could get into what would that would look like in the post-election period.
Jake Sherman (13:48):
I will start off with a little bit about what I expect and from there. The must-dos at this point is number one, a government funding bill by December 16th. I think this is gonna be complicated, more complicated than many people think. Why? first of all, it’s a compressed time period. Elections November 8th, they come back on November or whatever that 14th or something, that Monday. And that leaves them a month and two days to get their act together and get an omnibus bill, a bill that will fund the government until September 31st, 2023.
Jake Sherman (14:42):
I do think that, and I do think the the runoff in Georgia will impact that. I mean, if you don’t know what the makeup is gonna gonna be next year, I think a lot of people are gonna be less willing to deal. And the appropriators will take the lead on this, but I just think they’ll be much less willing to deal. Now, I will talk about one other thing very briefly. If the Biden administration was smart, and I’m not saying they’re not smart, but if they’re smart in this scenario, they would push for a, a debt ceiling increase in, in December in the lame duck, they won’t, I’d give it a 10 to 15% chance. They won’t even really talk about it at this point. That would be helpful to all players in Washington to, to get that outta the way before, if Republicans take the majority.
Anna Palmer (15:30):
Yeah, I mean, I think you’ve been, you’ve been, I mean, we’ve been talking about this debt limit because I think it’s one of the biggest issues because obviously if House Republicans do take the majority, it is going to be very difficult for them to find the votes to raise it. I think there are a couple of other issues that, as you said, are must-dos right? You have this kind of omnibus package that’s gonna fund the government. You have the NDAA that always gets reauthorized. And then there’s a lot of other things. And I think that the, the most important thing is there’s it, depending on how this all shakes out, there’s going to be an effort, even if we don’t know what the majorities are to clear the deck. Certainly when it comes to the same sex marriage bill that Schumer decided to postpone until after the election, certainly when it comes to electoral reform, and the bipartisan effort that has been happening in both the Senate and the House, but certainly in the Senate, has really garnered a lot of support on both sides of the aisle.
Anna Palmer (16:25):
Each of those bills would probably take about a week, though. So you have to think that that eats up the calendar there. And I think the other thing, and we’ve talked a bit about this, I’m much more skeptical than anything actually happens is on DACA, on immigration. I think there’s gonna be a big push based on what has happened in the courts recently. But it is, I think, very, very difficult to see anything happen. I think Republicans and Democrats are more divided when it comes to immigration and this issue then probably ever before.
Jake Sherman (16:55):
Yeah. And I think when it comes to DACA, I think when it comes to NDAA, you have to look for permitting reform, which was a big push by Joe Manchin as part of the the government funding bill that passed a month ago. And then you have a bunch of tax provisions that will lapse, that are beginning to lapse, that are beginning to phase out, too many to talk about here in the time that we have. And I’m, I haven’t looked at the questions. We’ll get ’em, I’m sure there are questions on all these topics at the end, but I will address all those at the end. I do think that Anna makes a really important point that I want to emphasize. Once again, all of these things take a week on the Senate floor. One thing that I know, excuse me, a lot of people must be interested in is the big tech bill, the antitrust bill that has been going through the Senate. I think despite what Amy Klobuchar says, there’s not 60 votes for that bill, and I think that’s gonna be really difficult. The tech companies have fought that hard and it didn’t come up for a reason, and they’re gonna make a big push and a big stink in November, December to bring that up. I’m just very skeptical about that. I could be proven wrong. I think I just don’t, I don’t see that, I don’t see that happening.
Anna Palmer (18:05):
Yeah. I just wanna note, we actually have Marsha Blackburn next Wednesday at a Punchbowl News event on Capitol Hill at 9:00 AM that you can also stream, but also be in person where we’re gonna be talking about this. And the likelihood she’s been working a lot on terms of approps and what’s happening with, with that and been in terms of, you know, kind of where she sees the Klobuchar bill. She’s not supportive of it, so gonna be an interesting conversation, Jake, but we’ll be kind of teasing out a lot of those themes that you just talked about.
Jake Sherman (18:33):
Yeah. Okay. So, Anna, should we, we should move on to our next topic here before we, let’s do it before we completely run out of time. Let’s talk about what to expect in 2023. This is something we’re spending a ton of time thinking about and reporting on because you can’t start on November 9th. You can’t, you can’t start thinking about the climate next year on November 9th. So, if let’s talk about the leadership in the House first. I mean, let’s just dispense this quickly. Mitch McConnell’s gonna be the Senate Republican leader, and Chuck Schumer’s gonna be the Senate Democratic leader, period. I don’t give any credence based on my, you know, spending every day in the Capitol and reporting on this, that there’s gonna be any challenge to them any successful challenge to them.
Jake Sherman (19:16):
Anyone can challenge them, but it’s not gonna be successful. So moving over to the House start on the Republican side and assume for a second we could play all the scenarios out. If Republicans take the majority, first of all, Republicans don’t win the majority, the entire leadership could be gone, and McCarthy will be gone. Scalise probably survives, Stefanik survives, but that’s, that is that. If they do win the majority, I think McCarthy will be speaker. I think, I don’t really, and we’ll get into this next week in the newsletter, so please subscribe. But McCarthy feels quite confident that no matter the margin, he’s gonna be speaker. Caveat is he felt confident in 2015 that he was gonna be Speaker and he was not. But I, he feels very confident this time around. He’s gonna be the speaker. No challenge to Steve Scalise as majority leader. Number three will be majority Whip, which we wrote about this morning, which is a contest between Jim Banks of Indiana, Tom Emmer of Minnesota, and Drew Ferguson of Georgia.
Jake Sherman (20:18):
I give Banks an edge, a slight edge in that race at this point. I think Emmer and Ferguson both have cases for it. I don’t know that they will be I don’t know that they can put it together. Emmer has been taking it real slow, and I’ve, I’ve covered enough of these things to know that if you take it slow, you’re in a bad spot.
Anna Palmer (20:40):
Cause I think it’s important. So like, there’s not that much drama right at the top, 1, 2, 3, but I actually think the bigger kind of, you know, dynamic that we are, are gonna see unfold, and we already have started to see unfold is this push by conservatives to try and get concessions from McCarthy, right? Whether it’s, we only put bills the majority of the majority agree on, I mean, I think we saw this play out certainly in the Boehner-Paul Ryan years with the Freedom Caucus with Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan. That to me is gonna be an interesting subplot within the context of this leadership.
Jake Sherman (21:13):
Yeah, McCarthy doesn’t take kindly to that stuff. Basically, his view on this is, I’m not gonna be leveraged. You wanna run against me and do it your way, do it your own way. That could change in the heat of the moment. But he’s not gonna do the majority of the majority thing. He’s not going to do a lot of the stuff that they’re demanding. And I think that’s important to keep in mind as we get toward the majority. Now, on the Democratic side you know, we’ve been wrong about Nancy Pelosi for 12 years. I thought she wouldn’t survive 2010. She’s the most prolific speaker. I mean, she will not be spoken in the same breath as some of the last speakers that we’ve seen ever. I mean, she, she’s probably the most effective legislator of our lifetime. Whether you like her or hate her, if you can’t admit that, then you’re not looking at it with a dispassionate view and with an honest view of the situation.
Jake Sherman (22:01):
I think, listen, I think Hakeem Jeffries is obviously in the up-and-coming bunch, the most promising candidate for something. I don’t think Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn are gonna go, go quietly into the night. It’s not their style. Hoyer has got nothing else to do. I mean, he is he wants to be in the House. He loves being in the House, an institution in which he served for 40 years. I think that he is going to make a run for it. I don’t know, I don’t know how that works out or works itself out. It’s gonna be something that we are, you know, positively obsessed with in November and December. Just covering all that daunting, but it’s, it’s like our Super Bowl is what we say. Anna, do you have any thoughts on, and that, please drop a question, everybody, if you have any questions about the leadership stuff.
Anna Palmer (22:47):
We’re gonna get into questions soon. I mean, I think, I think what’s gonna be really interesting is this generational shift, right? I mean, our, if you look at House Democratic leadership, it has been in the same positions the people have been in the same positions for, for over a decade, right? I mean, if you think about it, there hasn’t been, there’s been a whole generation of Democrats who have either gone running for other office or left the House or lost because of frustration around the fact that there wasn’t the ability to move up. And so as this kind of octogenarian, you know, leadership will likely be exiting, I think the real questions gonna be how not only is it not, how not only does Hakeem Jeffries kind keep people together, how, what is this feature speakership look like? Who’s gonna fill the fundraising void?
Anna Palmer (23:31):
Which has been always one of Pelosi’s biggest you know, kind of points to advocate for her leadership. But I think also, do they make other systemic changes that allow for people to come up, right? The leadership and seniority, that has been something that has really been part of the whole Democratic caucus for a very long time. I think there’s a lot of younger and newer members who are agitating against that. We just interviewed Adam Schiff out in Texas, and he, you know, somebody who’s making a long shot bid to try to do something in leadership and said that he would be open to not having, you know, there being term limits or thinking about leadership of committees in a different way. I think clearly a nod to the fact that there is this frustration.
Jake Sherman (24:17):
Yeah. and I just wanna add one more thing that might be a little bit far field, but when you think about raising money and Pelosi leaving, the Democrats really need to get their arms around the complete cash disparity between Republicans and Democrats in the House. It’s stunning. And if you’re a Democrat and you’re blaming the fact that Republicans have bigger donors and more corporations that donate, I mean, that’s not an argument that moves me. And it doesn’t move many members because you can’t, you can’t bring a, you know, a broom to a knife fight <laugh> or a knife to a gun fight, I guess. You know, it’s just, it’s not, it’s not gonna work. And they need to get their arms around this and quickly because, I mean CLF, the Republican superPAC raised $73 million last quarter. House majority PAC, the, the Democratic superPAC, I think raised 55 million. It’s just, it’s getting to a point where Democrats are just totally behind the eight ball when it comes to spending. So anyway, that is, that is that topic. Let’s move on before we get to questions, Anna.
Anna Palmer (25:17):
Yeah, I think, I mean, I think we’re probably about, about at
Jake Sherman (25:19):
Time. Oh yeah, we are at questions
Anna Palmer (25:21):
Actually, so we wanna make sure we have plenty of time. Please jump into the chat with some questions. I mean, I think we can, we can fill the time here as well and talk about other things
Jake Sherman (25:29):
That, Yeah. So let’s, let’s go from the bottom here. Can you talk about attaching electoral reform to NDAA? So let’s, I hadn’t thought about that, but let me think about it as I answer this question. Electoral reform does not NDAA, they’re gonna try to keep it clean. They are gonna try to keep it as clean as possible. Could they attach it? Sure. it would be interesting cuz Cruz and those guys are against it. It’s not a horrible idea, but it could, But Schumer has shown that he wants to pass things on their own weight, and I think that, that he’s gonna want to do that here.
Anna Palmer (26:07):
I think they wanna do this bill separate. I mean, maybe they catch it because it’s gotten such bipartisan support, but I don’t know. I feel like this is something, they wanna make a statement on this. I mean, they’ve been spending a lot of time on it and what it means.
Jake Sherman (26:22):
Let me put it this way it would already get 60. So I mean, it’s just a time issue. So if they start the clock on it, they could get 60 and they could get it through and they could get it through the House quite easily. SoI would be a, I would be a no on doing that, I would think. But, I hear the argument on both sides of that. Okay. So how do, how do the midterm elections influence workplace policy depending on the outcome? I think this is referring to work place. I don’t know if it’s referred to workplace policy broadly, or workplace policy in the house. I’ll address, I think I’ll address both work, if Republicans win the majority, they will stop, they will turn back the policy of individual offices being able to unionize. That, I could say for a fact.
Jake Sherman (27:16):
And we’ll again, get into that a little bit more next week in our newsletter. Health Workplace. Healthcare Workplace Development. I don’t think I haven’t heard much chatter on that. I think that this gets to a larger point, which is a lot of this is a black box. Because here’s the dynamic to consider. McCarthy for all of his skills and weaknesses. One of his weaknesses is policy. He’s gonna be, and every speaker says this, I guess actually Pelosi never really said this, but every Republican speaker says they’re gonna devolve power to the committees. I actually think McCarthy needs to, he doesn’t have much of a choice. He doesn’t have a giant policy staff. He just lost his policy director. A smart guy Will Dunham, who was respected by both sides of the aisle. So he’s gonna have to devolve some of this to the committee. Anna, so do you want to yeah,
Anna Palmer (28:14):
But I think, I think they’re probably talking more broadly like actual workplace development maybe and workplace. There are so many issues with workers right now. I mean, I don’t think that this is gonna be something that’s gonna be key to a Republican agenda. I agree. I think the question would be, is how much, I mean, so much of the Republican agenda, if they’re in the majority will be on oversight and trying to reign in, frankly, I think the Biden administration and some of the agency related kind of you know, efforts that they have done to try, try to circumvent, you know, Congress in a lot of ways. So I think that’s gonna be probably what you watch. I wanna answer this question cuz I, it’s something I think is gonna be super interesting. Cody asks about given the population of the advanced CTC payments, do you see a post election push for a child tax credit legislation? I think that it would be really interesting to see if you have a Republican majority. There’s a lot of members particularly in the Senate that have been historically more supportive of the child tax credit that it has really become, you know, kind of less popular in the current environment. I could see, you know, you could see a Susan Collins and some of the more moderate Democrats try to come together on this in a, like a less politicized environment.
Jake Sherman (29:27):
I would say also, broadly speaking, to zoom out a little bit one of the things that is not getting a lot of attention, but a lot of people in our world, meaning members are talking about, is that you have to keep in mind that the Republican tax bill largely is beginning to expire. Some of the provisions are beginning to wind down and I think at the end of, you know, dispensing a ton of provisions collapse at the end of ’24. So this Congress is gonna have to deal with it. You’re looking at a 2024 and end of 24, that’s very much like the end of 2010 in which you’re seeing a ton of tax provisions go away. Now I’ve heard some talk recently about using reconciliation on a bipartisan basis to get some of these things through.
Jake Sherman (30:16):
We’ll have to see how that works out, but I think a lot of those provisions are gonna, are going to, Republicans will try to make them permanent. That’s not gonna go anywhere in the Senate. But that’s something to keep in mind. Farm Bill Anna, which is, Anna grew up on a farm. Considering the climate change-related measures, including the Infrastructure Act, do you foresee more debate than usual regarding the 2023 Farm bill? Yeah, I do. The Farm Bill will be, GT Thompson will be the House Agriculture Committee chairman. If Republicans take the majority this is going to be a huge priority. I, you know, I think it’s, the Farm Bill’s always really hard and I think right now in the House, you’re not gonna have anybody as ranking member or as chair who has done a Farm Bill before. Whereas you had Collin Peterson and people in the past who had been involved in agriculture policy for a very long time. So I think that’s gonna be a very,very difficult dynamic to deal with. And again, if you’ll remember back in 20-, the last Farm Bill, which I don’t remember when it was 2013 maybe that was really Boehner was very involved in that as some, as somebody who covered that. He was very involved in that. It was really a speaker heavy proposition. Go ahead Anna.
Anna Palmer (31:34):
I think inflation, and I think the price of commodities are gonna be a big thing to watch when it comes to the Farm Bill. I think that it complicates matters a lot depending on where the economy is with it. And I agree with you, Jake. I actually think Boehner played a huge role in that. I think we don’t, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of position McCarthy takes if he actually gets involved on the policy angle of it or not. But certainly gonna be something, something to watch. And a lot of the members on the Senate side that were kind of the traditional Farm Bill, you know, advocates have retired or left office. So also gonna be to see who plays a big role there.
Jake Sherman (32:13):
And, remember the unusual alliance of black urban Democrats and white rural Republicans is frayed in the last couple of years. And there will just be a ton of discussion around food stamps around all sorts of social safety net programs when it comes to the Farm Bill. I think you can’t underestimate that. And I don’t wanna get too far into this, but there’s some discussion in some quarters of the crypto world that they want to fold crypto into the agriculture committee. The Ag Committee has a small, has a piece of that cuz it does deal with derivatives, it does deal with some of those kinds of things. But I don’t anticipate that being a big thing depending on election outcomes. Who do you anticipate leading house ed and Labor and Senate help? So House Ed and Labor’s a black box at this point.
Jake Sherman (33:01):
If Jim Banks does not become the majority whip, there’s been some chatter that he could take the Ed and labor chariman. McCarthy has been very skeptical of granting waivers which would allow Virginia Foxx to lead that panel again. He basically has said he’s not interested in granting waivers to their term limit rule. In fact, you’d go the other direction Senate HELP, the number two and number three Republicans are Rand Paul and Susan Collins. If Republicans take the majority she would be the appropriation chairman. So it won’t be her. I think Patty Murray obviously is the top Democrat if she hangs on in Washington state, which I think a lot of people expect that she will, she’ll have it. I could see Rand Paul take it. Sure. I don’t see that being, being far-field a dark horse candidate for Dem leadership. Anna, what do you think?
Anna Palmer (33:57):
That’s a good question. I mean, I think every, all eyes are on Hakeem Jeffries is thinking that it’s his to lose. I mean, I would say the Dark Horse is Adam Schiff. I mean he, it’s hard for me to see that his pathway just given the dynamics in the House and, but, but there’s nowhere else for him to go, right? In terms of California politics, obviously very ambitious, wants to take a leadership role coming out of kind of his position on January 6th, in terms of the impeachments has been doing a ton of fundraising. So I think if there’s somebody who’s putting the pieces together I think it’s certainly him in terms of to, to be able to make that kind of a case. I also think its interesting to see what Jayapal does. You know, she’s been certainly as you know, kind of leading the Progressive Caucus. And as, as held, you know, it’s always interesting when a member during right before an election’s holding a press conference call with a Capitol Hill Press corps versus doing other things. And so I think she’s certainly, she’s not said exactly what that is, but I could see her also just an interesting person to watch because clearly has kept the CPC and has gotten a lot of wins you know, in the House. I think in that role in a way that she’s kind of matured as a leader.
Jake Sherman (35:11):
I would also look at Sarah Jacobs for DCCC. She’s been a prolific fundraiser and is well-liked by a lot of people, very young. I think she’s 34 years old, comes from a lot of money, which is always helpful when you’re asking people for money to be independently wealthy yourself. Next moving on to the next question, whether RAWA has a chance in the lame Duck. RAWA is the wildlife conservation bill. I believe that Debbie Dingel, I believe is the sponsor of, if my memory serves me well I don’t, I’m not tracking that, to be completely honest. I don’t know whether that has any chance. I think again, trouble getting anything done, I’ll take the next one. International trade or tax policy, Yeah, I mean, they’re gonna try to get an extenders bill. And that could be attached to an omni that can, that could roll separately.
Anna Palmer (36:09):
What I would say.
Jake Sherman (36:10):
Yeah, but, I agree. I just think that there are some things that are expiring that need attention. Senate leadership post-McConnell. Could one of the Johns or Rick Scott make a play? Rick Scott can’t. Rick Scott would not, would not find a lot of votes in the Senate Republican conference. If McConnell leaves after two years, which I think is a better-than-even bet after he passes Mike Mansfield’s record for the longest-serving Senate leader. It’s gonna be between John Cornyn and John Thune and John Barrasso, which we have dubbed the three Johns aptly enough. Let’s talk about them for a second. Anna. John Thune’s advantage is he’s in leadership now. He’s the Senate Republican whip. He is liked by the younger members. He’s a big fundraiser but Cornyn’s a huge fundraiser. McConnell seems to favor Cornyn, although he won’t say it. I think Barrasso is probably the last of the bunch. But Cornin and Thune have made no, have made no secret <laugh> of their desire to be Mitch McConnell’s successor. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Anna Palmer (37:21):
Yeah, I think you’re right. I mean, we’ve written a ton about this. I think one of the things that hopefully is a real advantage to our readers is the fact that like we are chronically in these every twist and turn, whether it’s what they’re doing in the fundraising sense, what they’re doing in terms of policy you know, debate. I think Rick Scott clearly, I mean, I don’t know what his pathway forward in the Senate is even, I mean, after running the NRSC, I think to, in my mind, I think both Cornyn and Thune clearly, you know, have shown that they’re adept, I think Cornyn took some really interesting moves this past year in terms of doing the gun safety bill in terms of the kind of, you know, kind of took it wasn’t necessarily popular in a lot of places in his home state, but was willing to kind of lead on that. I think the fact that that was able to get done was one of an example of him saying, you know, sometimes for the institution you need to take positions and for the country. And that leadership will be interesting to see whether or not, how that plays within his own conference.
Jake Sherman (38:20):
So I think we are almost oh, there are some other…
Theresa Hebert (38:24):
Not about five minutes or so. I would actually love to interject to the question if don’t mind. I’m curious from your perspective, both as political experts and as reporters—in the past day or so and news came out with a new interview with John Fetterman where he used closed captioning in his interview as a result of some of his recovery from a stroke that got a lot of criticism in the way that that interview was handled. I’m curious, one, how much do you see his health issues still playing a role in some of that polling or people’s support of him? And how should, what would your approach be to kind of handle that situation to, to not have some of the blunders that some folks are calling out the way NBC News handled that?
Jake Sherman (39:06):
I think it’s really easy to criticize reporters think, think it’s people do it. And to not, I mean, I wasn’t there, so I have no idea of the extent to which he was, he had trouble talking or I don’t know. I just, I don’t have any visibility into it. He’s very clear that he needs close captioning. He’s just suffered a stroke. You, it’s an academic argument to say, should he have dropped out? Should he have done this? I mean, he had to drop out, I think by August, middle to end of August if he thought he couldn’t handle it. He’s, I mean, listen, he’s clearly having some trouble, which all experts indicate he will be able, likely to recover from. I don’t know how I would’ve handled it. It’s very easy to take shots from the sidelines and, say, Well, I would, that’s horrible or that’s great, or she did a great job, or I don’t know what kind of pressure she was under internally.
Jake Sherman (39:59):
I just don’t know anything about that. Listen, I think a candidate’s health is, is fair game to talk about, but I hear the complaints and I think someone made an argument to me. There are plenty of people on planet Earth who are following this race who also have problems communicating and, and who are otherwise. I don’t wanna be insensitive who are otherwise hampered by problems that they have, right? That they have trouble communicating or some other handicap or disability that is, that is difficult for them. And, this could be inspiring for them. And what do you think? Have you given it much thought? I haven’t given it a ton of thought.
Anna Palmer (40:40):
I, yeah, I haven’t either. I mean, I think I agree with everything you say about the, I’m very long to criticize other reporters and reporting in general. I think…
Jake Sherman (40:50):
You feel free to criticize me and you do
Anna Palmer (40:52):
Every morning on the Daily Punch. No, I’m just kidding. Ah, no, I mean, I think candidate health is clearly, is clearly in the purview of being reported on, and is certainly something that can be top of mind. When a voter comes in, I think all these polls are real snapshots. So we’ll have to see how that impacts it. The biggest thing is gonna be, I think the debate. You know, I, you know, I think for him being able to explain why he needs to be reading instead of the, in the auditory challenges that he’s clearly having I think will be a challenge for his campaign that they’re gonna have to find the way to communicate that. And obviously, Republicans feel like this is something that they have an advantage on. So if we’re gonna see this play out for the next, you know, 26 days,
Jake Sherman (41:36):
The bigger challenge also for, I mean, leaving aside all these dynamics is that Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial candidate is getting smoked, and yeah. And that’s a big problem for the Republicans kind of down the ticket is that he’s kind of, he’s not much to consider considering he’s losing about 15 or 20 points in every poll. Anything else? Theresa, you have you, you had some questions?
Theresa Hebert (42:01):
I guess my last question, so January 6th hearing is, last hearing today that’s being televised. What do you see the kind of lasting impact over these next couple weeks being of that in any like October surprises that you think could come down the line with Trump?
Jake Sherman (42:17):
Well, I’ve gotten into the game of putting away my crystal ball. Besides, you don’t do what’s ever gonna happen, ever. It’s
Theresa Hebert (42:24):
Not a surprise if you can predict it
Jake Sherman (42:25):
Guess. Yeah, January 6th hearing today is gonna be interesting to watch. I’m obviously not there. We have a reporter, Max Cohen, who just sent me a photo or dropped a photo in our slack from the room. So he’s there, I think it’s two and a half hours. So get your popcorn or get a beer or whatever you feel like <laugh> watching the event with. It is a lasting impact. I mean, this has been probably the most successful congressional committee I’ve ever seen. And it’s uncovered a lot really a lot. And, I don’t know that it has much impact, in 2022. I think that it has been historic, it’s just been a historic investigation that’s been, that’s been handled quite well. Anna, do you have any thoughts on that?
Anna Palmer (43:11):
Yeah, I mean, we wrote, I think John Bresnahan, our colleague and one of the founders of Punchbowl News really had a great writeup when it came to the lasting impact. I mean, there’s been a lot of things that were very unprecedented and that will certainly impact. You know, I think future committees, if there’s anything ever like, you know, I mean the next select committees like this I, you know, I think they’ve, they’ve done a very good job of the, in terms of telling the story that they wanted to tell. Now it’s just kind of, we’re trying to figure out what, what are the findings gonna be and what else, you know, what else comes forward, right? I mean, it’s not gonna be Roger Stone today. They’re not gonna have any people testifying. So it’s gonna be interesting. It certainly has captivated me, two people who have reported on and watched a lot of hearings. It certainly captivated people in a different way than most congressional hearings.
Jake Sherman (43:56):
I wanna also just add one other, one other plug here. I’m very easy to reach. I’m email@example.com. If you have any questions about what we do or Congress or anything I’m always around. I’m like the easiest reach of the most reachable human being on earth. I don’t read many Twitter DMs. Or let me put it this way, I’m very likely to miss those. So if you have any thoughts or questions or thoughts about Congress or our company please get in touch. Always happy to engage Anna too. So anyway,
Anna Palmer (44:29):
Thank you. Thanks so much for having us. We appreciate it. And please subscribe to Punchbowl News.