Well, another week has happened, and we once again have as many questions as answers. That said, we did at least see the stunning conclusion to Mr. Speaker’s Wild Ride–so now the official House dysfunction can truly begin.
Standard standing reminders still apply: I guess after six years I’m conceding that I’m a journalist, but I summarize news within my areas of expertise. NNR summaries often contain some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise–I’m a lawyer, not a Rules package!–but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. And, of course, for the things that are within my lane, I’m offering context that shouldn’t be considered legal advice. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!
Cleanup in Aisle 45:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the changing of the guard, this was a quiet week for Election Rejection news. Here’s what has happened:
- Jury Went Down in GA. The grand jury investigation into Trump’s election interference in Fulton, Georgia wrapped up this week, submitting its charge recommendations to the local district attorney before a judge officially dissolved it yesterday. Now that it’s over, we have something of a waiting game–if the district attorney decides to press charges, this will be followed by a criminal grand jury investigation. That said, we have no idea what the charge recommendations actually were, because there will be a hearing on January 24 to determine whether the recommendations become public. Here’s hoping it was something good.
The Biden Rebuilding updates, surprisingly, look a lot like the above this week. Here’s what I have for you:
- What’s Up with These Docs. President Biden’s attorneys found 10 Obama-era classified documents at Biden’s think tank this week, which appear to have been left in his old office. The documents were promptly turned over to the National Archive upon their discovery, but Republicans wasted no time equating the incident with Trump’s ongoing Mar-a-Lago fight. For those of you playing the home game, Trump had over 300 classified documents strewn about his country club, which sees significantly more traffic than a think tank office–this is like saying the dust you find under your couch is the same as the dumpster out back.
Your New Normal:
- Setting Up the Speaker. After a record fifteen votes (and a near fistfight on the House floor), the House of Representatives finally elected Kevin McCarthy as new Speaker of the House late Friday night. He made a broad range of scary concessions to achieve the majority vote, some of which we may never even know, because they occurred as handshake deals behind closed doors. That said, we definitely know some of the terms he agreed to, because they showed up in the House Rules package that passed yesterday. These changes will likely create a lot of headaches as we move into the next fiscal year, especially because the Senate has no obligation to accept any of the bonkers bills that result. The most noteworthy and likely Clown Caucus concessions to show up in the package: 1) streamlining defunding things; 2) making it easier to bring motions to kick out the Speaker; 3) making it harder to raise the debt ceiling; 4) kicking out half the Office of Congressional Ethics with surprise term limits; 5) reviving the ability to terrorize federal workers; and 6) limiting how much the Speaker can negotiate with other bodies like the Biden Administration. Finally, though the committee itself was already planned, it’s likely that McCarthy agreed to establish Jim Jordan as head of the newly-minted Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government as a concession as well, since Jordan was an early alternate candidate in the voting circus–although, surprisingly, not one of the 21 professional pains in McCarthy’s rear otherwise.
- Climate Change Catastrophes (cont). A lot of media attention is (rightfully) turning to ongoing severe storms in California, which have created mudslides and flooding throughout the state. The storms have led to evacuation of hundreds of thousands and killed at least seventeen people as I type this; it has also left hundreds of thousands without power. The conditions contrast dramatically with the ongoing three-year drought that the state experienced, which only ended this past fall. Needless to say, it’s a rough situation that may get worse before it gets better.
- Recent Labor Resilience. The Federal Trade Commission proposed a new rule this week that would ban noncompete agreements from employment contracts, leaving employees free to take other jobs in their field if they leave their current one. This would be a massive win for workers if it went through, and frankly, even the fact that it was proposed is very exciting. I’ll try to keep folks posted on this!
So that’s all I have for this week, and here’s hoping it doesn’t get worse. For making it through, you deserve baby hippo zoomies and a more functional government. I’ll be back next week with more restructured and improved news, and I hope you will be back as well–but in the meantime, feel free to ping the National News Roundup ask box, which is there for your constructive comments. Send me questions! Send me feedback! Send me your favorite Tumblr posts!