THERE ARE NO CONVERSATIONS right now about another round of Covid relief. None. The White House is silent. The Hill is quiet. That means no new programs, no new money for Americans before the holiday season.
BUT EQUALLY NOTABLY, a number of crucial provisions expire at the end of this year, which is 44 DAYS from now:
THE PANDEMIC EMERGENCY UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION, which gives 13 weeks of extra UI to those who have run out of options, ends. … THE PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE — used by gig workers — runs out. …
THE EVICTION MORATORIUM ends. … STATE AND LOCAL funding stops flowing. … 2020 REBATE CHECKS end, as does STUDENT LOAN forbearance. … SMALL BUSINESS debt relief ends. … CHARITABLE DEDUCTION LIMITS expire. … THE EXCLUSION of employer payments of student loans stops. … THE REFUNDABLE TAX CREDIT for required paid sick leave runs out. …
THE CREDIT for family and sick leave for self-employed individuals ends. … THE PAYMENT DELAY for employer payroll taxes ends. … CHANGES on net operating losses end. This is on top of the 33 TAX PROVISIONS that end at the close of the year. List here
IN OTHER WORDS, a huge safety net for Americans is going to be yanked away at the end of 2020, and Congress isn’t preparing much of anything to keep people from plummeting.
WHAT CEDRIC RICHMOND GIVES JOE BIDEN … ONE THING we have heard a lot about President-elect JOE BIDEN is that he knows Congress better than anyone, and is uniquely qualified to work the broken system that is Washington legislating.
BUT CONSIDER THIS: Nearly 200 members of Congress never worked with BIDEN as VP or during his 36 years in the Senate.
BIDEN’S decision to hire Rep. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D-La.) as a White House senior adviser charged with public engagement gives the 46th president a key link to a Congress and the new brand of Capitol Hill politics that has developed in his four years out of office.
CONGRESS has grown increasingly dysfunctional in the TRUMP era, and may seem a bit foreign to BIDEN. But he has an incredibly aggressive legislative agenda, and a very narrow margin in the House. RICHMOND can be a link to a House Democratic Caucus that’s beset by rifts between moderates and progressives. Furthermore, RICHMOND is a key member of the Congressional Black Caucus, a voting bloc that will be crucial to any agenda that BIDEN hopes to squeeze through the institution. He is seen as a middle ground in the caucus — very close to the old guard, but part of the younger wave as well.
PERHAPS MOST IMPORTANTLY, RICHMOND will give Team BIDEN a window into the House that’s not through Speaker NANCY PELOSI. BARACK OBAMA was forced to rely extremely heavily on then-Senate Majority Leader HARRY REID and PELOSI. BIDEN will have visibility into the Senate because of his and VP-elect KAMALA HARRIS’ relationships there. But the HOUSE will be akin to a foreign country for BIDEN.
RICHMOND helps on that front. He has a very close relationship with House Minority Whip STEVE SCALISE (R-La.), whom he served with in Washington and Baton Rouge. Remember: RICHMOND vouched for SCALISE’S character back in 2014 when SCALISE was under attack for allegedly having said that he was David Duke without the baggage. This doesn’t mean that SCALISE will bend over backward to help BIDEN — not even close — but it does mean that Team BIDEN now has a link to the Republican leadership in the House, which he didn’t have before.
MORE HIRES … NATASHA KORECKI and ALEX THOMPSON: “Campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon is coming aboard as White House deputy chief of staff, according to someone familiar with the decision. … Longtime Biden adviser Steve Ricchetti is also expected to take a key administration role, according to a source familiar with the transition. The Biden team is expected to make a formal announcement on these positions and other senior hires on Tuesday.”
Good Tuesday morning.
NEW … FRANK FOER is writing a book about the first 100 days of the BIDEN administration. Ann Godoff is the editor, and FOER was represented by Rafe Sagalyn at ICM/Sagalyn.
AP: “Head of govt agency under pressure to let transition proceed,” by Aamer Madhani
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK … JON OSSOFF has a new direct-to-camera ad in Georgia tying himself to BIDEN — who won the state — and saying he will work with him to beat the coronavirus.
— 30-SECOND AD … SCRIPT: “Look, the only way to beat this virus is to give our new president the chance to succeed. I’ll work with Joe Biden to empower the medical experts, to rush economic relief for families and small businesses and invest in infrastructure to jumpstart our economy. But David Perdue says he’ll do everything in his power to make sure Joe Biden fails, just like he tried to do with President Obama. I’m Jon Ossoff, and I approve this message because lives are on the line. Jobs and businesses are on the line, so let’s get this done.”
WAPO’S BOB COSTA and TOM HAMBURGER: “Republicans sound alarm on Georgia Senate runoffs as they privately weigh Trump’s influence”: “Republican leaders are increasingly alarmed about the party’s ability to stave off Democratic challengers in Georgia’s two Senate runoff elections — and they privately described President Trump on a recent conference call as a political burden who despite his false claims of victory was the likely loser of the 2020 election.”
THE GEORGIA RECOUNT … “Ga. secretary of state says fellow Republicans are pressuring him to find ways to exclude ballots,” by WaPo’s Amy Gardner: “Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Monday that he has come under increasing pressure in recent days from fellow Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.), who he said questioned the validity of legally cast absentee ballots, in an effort to reverse President Trump’s narrow loss in the state.
“In a wide-ranging interview about the election, Raffensperger expressed exasperation over a string of baseless allegations coming from Trump and his allies about the integrity of the Georgia results, including claims that Dominion Voting Systems, the Colorado-based manufacturer of Georgia’s voting machines, is a ‘leftist’ company with ties to Venezuela that engineered thousands of Trump votes to be left out of the count.
“The atmosphere has grown so contentious, Raffensperger said, that he and his wife, Tricia, have received death threats in recent days, including a text to him that read: ‘You better not botch this recount. Your life depends on it.’”
— GRAHAM said this isn’t true, for what it’s worth. He said it was a good conversation.
DRIVING TODAY … Twitter CEO JACK DORSEY and Facebook CEO MARK ZUCKERBERG will be in front of Senate Judiciary this morning. The title of the hearing: “Breaking the News: Censorship, Suppression, and the 2020 Election.” It begins at 10 a.m.
NEW … BARACK OBAMA will be on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” tonight. The interview will be conducted in person in D.C.
THE CORONAVIRUS IS RAGING … 11.2 MILLION Americans have tested positive for the coronavirus. … 247,220 have died.
PROFILES IN COURAGE … BURGESS EVERETT, MELANIE ZANONA and ANDREW DESIDERIO: “Republicans start to relent: ‘It looks like it will be President Biden’”: “The Republican Party is in an increasingly untenable position — how much longer can it really refuse to recognize Joe Biden as the president-elect? Nearly two weeks after the election, there are signs that Republicans are starting to accept reality. …
“Most Republicans have been reluctant to contradict Trump’s claim that he can still hold the White House, but there’s been a steady trickle of GOP lawmakers defecting from Trump’s false contention that he was robbed by fraudsters. After Trump tweeted Monday, ‘I won the election,’ Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) told reporters, ‘I wouldn’t have advised he put it that way.’ Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Trump can and should continue his legal challenges but has ‘every confidence on Jan. 20 we’re going to inaugurate a president. And it will probably be Joe Biden.’
“‘It grows increasingly unlikely that a remedy would involve overturning the election,’ said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who said he nonetheless supports Trump’s goals of exposing even small cases of malfeasance on ballots. ‘Vice President Biden ought to be getting briefings and the transition ought to be in the works so that there’s an infrastructure for that. And if he ends up winning, as it seems likely he will, that he won’t have to get caught up on one day in January.’ Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, referred to Biden as the president-elect unprompted, saying ‘that’s what the results, the preliminary results, seem to indicate, and we certainly have to anticipate that that’s the highest likelihood at this point.’
“‘We have to assume right now, based upon the current electoral count, that we are getting closer to the point where the facts on the ground will bear that out,’ Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said when asked about Trump’s lawsuits fizzling in court. ‘Right now, it looks like it will be President Biden. We understand that.’”
THE LATEST ON TRUMP’S LEGAL CHALLENGES — “Another shake-up on Trump campaign legal team,” by Josh Gerstein: “The game of musical chairs among lawyers pursuing President Donald Trump’s court challenges to the election results continued on Monday evening, as the campaign tried to replace the entire team handling the campaign’s federal lawsuit seeking to block certification of Pennsylvania’s results.
“A court filing said Marc Scaringi, a Harrisburg, Pa., attorney, conservative talk radio host and former Senate candidate, was taking over the case. The move came just hours before a potentially make-or-break court hearing scheduled for Tuesday afternoon on motions by Pennsylvania state and county officials to dismiss the lawsuit. The legal escapade devolved into farce on Monday night as the federal judge rejected a move by the campaign to postpone that key hearing.
“Less than 90 minutes after the outgoing attorneys for the campaign assured U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Brann that ‘Scaringi is aware of the schedule set by the Court in this matter and will be prepared to proceed according to that schedule,’ Scaringi asked the judge to put off the session, arguing that he was inadequately prepared. …
“Brann, an appointee of President Barack Obama who sits in Williamsport, Pa., promptly denied the continuance without explanation — beyond noting that the request was filed at 7:40 P.M. ‘Oral argument will take place as scheduled, tomorrow, November 17, 2020,’ the judge wrote. ‘Counsel for the parties are expected to be prepared for argument and questioning.’”
THE GOOD SOLDIER … GABBY ORR: “Pence faces a new test after 4 years of fealty to Trump”: “For four years, Vice President Mike Pence has faced one sweeping loyalty test after another. This time, allies are questioning whether there should be a limit to his fealty. As President Donald Trump pushes to overturn the election outcome and pressures Republicans not to recognize President-elect Joe Biden as the next commander in chief, Pence is facing pressure from allies to put country and party first — even if they collide with the inclinations of his boss.
“The head of the White House’s coronavirus task force since the early weeks of the pandemic, Pence could be warning the public about an explosion of coronavirus cases and steering administration officials toward a more robust response to the pandemic — something Trump does not want his government dwelling on.
“The vice president also could spend more time promoting a pair of GOP senators in special-election races that are likely to determine the balance of power in the Senate — but part of that message rests on acknowledging Trump won’t hold the White House. And Pence, who has long harbored presidential ambitions of his own, might at this moment have his eyes on a 2024 Republican primary — but can’t do that with Trump in the way.
“It’s an unusual bind for a vice president who has always been known for coming to Trump’s aid. ‘At some point, he will have to prioritize his own interests,’ said a Republican close to Pence.”
EYE ON THE PRIZE — “McCarthy heads into next Congress with eye on speaker’s gavel,” by John Bresnahan and Melanie Zanona
— HEATHER CAYGLE and SARAH FERRIS: “Democrats jockey for leadership posts after election drubbing”
ARE WE GOING TO WAR? … “Trump Sought Options for Attacking Iran to Stop Its Growing Nuclear Program,” by NYT’s Eric Schmitt, Maggie Haberman, David Sanger, Helene Cooper and Lara Jakes: “President Trump asked senior advisers in an Oval Office meeting on Thursday whether he had options to take action against Iran’s main nuclear site in the coming weeks. The meeting occurred a day after international inspectors reported a significant increase in the country’s stockpile of nuclear material, four current and former U.S. officials said on Monday.
“A range of senior advisers dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike. The advisers — including Vice President Mike Pence; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Christopher C. Miller, the acting defense secretary; and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — warned that a strike against Iran’s facilities could easily escalate into a broader conflict in the last weeks of Mr. Trump’s presidency.” NYT
TRUMP’S TUESDAY — The president has nothing on his public schedule. VP MIKE PENCE will lead a Coronavirus Task Force meeting at 3 p.m. in the Situation Room.
BIDEN will receive a national security briefing in Wilmington, Del.
JOHN HARRIS column: “What Keith Richards Can Teach Us About Beating Our Donald Trump Addiction”: “The election was two weeks ago, and the key state projections that made it clear that Joe Biden is president-elect are now 10 days old. But Donald Trump is still coursing through your veins, isn’t he?
“All the signatures of Trump intoxication — the rush of indignation, the paranoid agitation, the hallucinatory blur of endless news cycles — are still powerfully in effect in American public life. It is one last surprise — for anyone still credulous enough to be surprised by the 45th president — that he is managing to tighten his grip on the consciousness of those who loathe him, no less than his partisans, even as he [is] about to become the 45th former president.
“This obsession is the most unifying dimension of a divided political culture. Our lights are on, but we’re not home. Our mind is not our own. Might as well face it: We’re addicted to Trump.”
MICHIGAN GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER appeared on HILLARY CLINTON’S podcast. The podcast
EYES ON THE SKIES — “‘Predatory and Opportunistic’: Southwest Airlines Seizes the Moment as Rivals Struggle,” by WSJ’s Alison Sider: “The pandemic is forcing many airlines to defend their turf. Southwest is using it to invade.
“Even as air travel languished in this fall, Southwest Airlines Co. executives fanned out to cities from Palm Springs, Calif., to Sarasota, Fla., to scope out potential new markets. The airline is adding four more cities to its network this year and announced plans for another six in 2021. And it’s looking for more. It hasn’t added airports this quickly since integrating with AirTran Holdings, which it bought in 2011.
“‘It sounds risky to go open a bunch of new cities, but the alternative is worse,’ says Andrew Watterson, Southwest’s chief commercial officer. ‘You could wait til Covid is over. But that’s far too long.’ Through its history, Southwest has leapt at opportunities to encroach on rivals’ territory when they were struggling. If successful this time, it would be a prime example how some U.S. companies, taking advantage of the carnage around them, can come out of crises stronger.” WSJ
BEYOND THE BELTWAY — “Newsom’s cozy ties with top lobbyist showcased by French Laundry dinner party,” by Jeremy White and Debra Kahn in San Francisco: “Not every political operative can celebrate their 50th birthday with the governor of America’s most populous state during a pandemic. Not every political operative is Jason Kinney.
“California Gov. Gavin Newsom is weathering a ferocious backlash for his decision to attend a celebration for Kinney on Nov. 6 at the French Laundry, a bucket list-level dining icon in Napa County. After the private dinner was exposed by the San Francisco Chronicle, Newsom said that while the outdoor meal did not violate coronavirus restrictions, he showed poor judgment in attending. He reiterated that point in a public apology on Monday, saying it went against the spirit of state rules as coronavirus cases surge across California.
“While the meal amplified criticism of Newsom’s coronavirus management, with the governor parrying accusations of hypocrisy, it also cast a brighter spotlight on Kinney and the dual clout he wields in the insular world of California politics.
“The longtime California Democratic politics fixer has had a hand in both winning campaigns and influencing policy. He was chief speechwriter for Gov. Gray Davis, served for years as a senior strategist for Senate Democrats and has long counseled Newsom politically. He continues to advise Newsom on politics even as his lucrative, newly launched lobbying firm works on bills that could land on Newsom’s desk.”
MEDIAWATCH — “A Popular Political Site Made a Sharp Right Turn. What Steered It?” by NYT’s Jeremy Peters: “Real Clear Politics is well known as a clearinghouse of elections data and analysis with a large following among the political and media establishment — and the kinds of political obsessives who might now have all the counties in Georgia memorized. It markets itself to advertisers as a ‘trusted, go-to source’ admired by campaign and news professionals alike. Its industry benchmark polling average is regularly cited by national publications and cable news networks.
“But less well known is how Real Clear Politics and its affiliated websites have taken a rightward, aggressively pro-Trump turn over the last four years as donations to its affiliated nonprofit have soared. Large quantities of those funds came through two entities that wealthy conservatives use to give money without revealing their identities.”
— MARIA BARTIROMO has won the Thomas L. Phillips Career Achievement Award for her contributions to journalism by The Fund for American Studies. The Fox News and Fox Business Network anchor will deliver the keynote for the virtual and in-person event Wednesday at the National Press Club via video.
Send tips to Eli Okun and Garrett Ross at [email protected].
NEW … The Sine Institute for Policy & Politics at American University has announced its new group of fellows: U.S. Chamber President Suzanne Clark, journalist Ann Curry, former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, former national security adviser H.R. McMaster and Robin Hood Foundation CEO Wes Moore.
GEORGIA MOVES — Abigail Sigler is joining the Georgia GOP as a spokeswoman. She currently is comms director at Baker Group Strategies, and is a Bill Hagerty and Marsha Blackburn alum. … Lizzie Gregory is now press secretary for Sen. David Perdue’s (R-Ga.) reelect. She is taking a leave from Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-Tenn.) office, where she is press secretary.
TRANSITIONS — Michelle Woods is now program director for homeland security for the National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices. She previously was director for homeland security for the Senate Homeland Security Committee. … Michael Chirico is now government liaison and policy adviser at the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. He most recently was deputy chief and counsel for Rep. Carol Miller (R-W.Va.), and is an Evan Jenkins alum. … Robert Gemmill is now SVP and head of the new D.C. office at Argyle PR, which is opening its first U.S. outpost. He previously was director of litigation comms for Edelman. Harlan Loeb is also joining Argyle as a senior adviser in Chicago.
WEEKEND WEDDING — Matt Wuerker, POLITICO’s staff cartoonist and illustrator, and Eleni Houghton, a consultant to Diageo for its responsible drinking programs, eloped Saturday in the Bishop’s Garden at the Washington National Cathedral, with a celebration at the Hay-Adams. Pic, courtesy of Bob Reeder
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Mike Ricci, comms director for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, is 4-0. What he’s watching for in the Biden presidency: “Getting the long-term economic recovery stuff right, like an honest-to-God infrastructure program. Roads and bridges, ports and airports, urban and rural broadband, bikeways, railways and waterways. Go big. It mobilizes jobs, it brings capital off the sidelines, and it will make people’s lives better.” Playbook Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Susan Rice is 56 (h/t Ben Chang) … Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) is 86 … Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) is 59 … John Boehner is 71 … Noah Oppenheim, NBC News president … Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is 72 … Terry Branstad is 74 … Howard Dean is 72 … Linda Moore, president and CEO of TechNet (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Diana Aviv (h/ts Jon Haber) … POLITICO’s Helena Bottemiller Evich … Jarrod Agen, VP for comms at Lockheed Martin, is 43 … Charmaine Yoest, VP of the Institute for Family, Community and Opportunity at the Heritage Foundation … Fox News’ Chris Stirewalt … Arielle Mueller, press secretary for Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) … Brian Jones, partner at Black Rock Group … Felicia Schwartz, WSJ Israel/Palestinian Territories correspondent …
… Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, is 42 … Intuit’s Paul Lindsay … Laurie Norton Moffatt … Howard Fineman is 72 … Rick Dunham … MSNBC’s Lily Corvo … Lorne Michaels is 76 … Denver Peacock … Suzan G. LeVine is 51 … Sarah Gibbens … Chase Purdy … Jeff Watters of the Ocean Conservancy … Isaac Baker, partner at AKPD … Harry Jaffe … Lea Anne Foster … Ralph Posner … Chris Sloan … Kellie Boyle of Boyle Public Affairs … Lucas Fleischer … Erika Compart … Marty Reiser … Russ Grote … Michele Tasoff … Alex Gallo … Greg Croft … Carly Montoya … David Kurtz … Andrew Hinkebein … Mike DeFilippis … Ada Waelder … Mike Maloof … Allison Hayward … Michael Ostrolenk is 5-0 … Gordon Whiting … Maggie Lemere