Congress plots immigration, debt for next week

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With an assist from Jordain Carney and Nicholas Wu

The Senate has hit the road and neither chamber will return until Tuesday. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but we’re already plotting out next week. It’s on track to be packed.

WHAT’S ANOTHER WORD FOR ‘LOOMING?’ — That’s what the debt ceiling is doing over Washington. All eyes will be on the White House Tuesday were President Joe Biden will meet with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to discuss solutions for avoiding an economically devastating default on the nation’s debt.

The parties head into the weekend entrenched ahead of the meeting, with Republicans insistent on cuts to federal spending to go along with raising the debt limit and Biden and fellow Democrats committed to separating the two issues and raising the debt ceiling ahead of the traditional annual spending negotiations.

Asked about McConnell’s strategy heading into the four-corners meeting next week, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said “it’s basically to support the House in their efforts to get a deal.”

“The leader has made it very clear… what he thinks about this,” Thune also said. “And that is that it’s up to the House leadership.”

The default date did get some perceived wiggle room on Thursday, with Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, saying the X-date could come June 8 or a “best case scenario” of Aug. 8 – both dates give lawmakers more time that the June 1 protection that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen delivered earlier this week. (And for those of you keeping track of a deal-making timeline, the Senate slated to be in recess the week of May 22 and the House is set for a break the week of May 29.)

BORDER BILLS ON DECK — The House is set to vote on its own sweeping border and immigration proposal next week, which would appropriate millions of dollars of funds to beef up security at the border and place restrictions on asylum. The bills got the sign off from a group of GOP Hispanic conference members, led by Reps. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), after a back-and-forth on certain asylum provisions and two separate markups in the House Homeland Security and House Judiciary committees.

The bill will hit the House floor next week, just as Title 42, a policy that permits the U.S. to deny asylum and migration claims for public health reasons, is set to expire. The planned lifting of the Trump-era Title 42 provision has sparked fierce criticism from Republicans, as well as warnings from some Democrats, who worry that the administration doesn’t have the resources positioned along the U.S.-Mexico border to be able to process an increase in migrants seeking entry into the United States.

What the Senate is trying to do: Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) have introduced a bill (co-sponsors including Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)) that would grant a temporary two-year authority to expel migrants from the United States similar to what is currently allowed under Title 42. But the bill would need at least 60 votes to pass the Senate, making it all but guaranteed that it won’t pass before Title 42’s expiration.

ROSTER WATCH — This week we learned that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) could return to Capitol Hill next week, but her office has repeatedly stressed that her timeline for return is dependent on being cleared by her doctor to travel. But in a Thursday statement, she laid out one of her goals for returning: clearing judges that couldn’t get GOP support in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I’m disappointed that Republicans on the committee are blocking a few from moving forward. I’m confident that when I return to the Senate, we will be able to move the remaining qualified nominees out of committee quickly and to the Senate floor for a vote,” she said in the statement. (One judge was confirmed by voice vote on the Senate floor on Thursday, which is pretty rare these days.)

Related read: Despite renewed focus on Feinstein’s health, details of her condition are scarce, from Melanie Mason, Benjamin Oreskes and Cameron Joseph at The Los Angeles Times

TGIF! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill, on this Friday, May 5, where we want the tea on these early weeks of the House and Senate softball seasons. The team names are already cracking us up.

FIRST IN HUDDLE: ABOUT THAT SUBPOENA… — In response to House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer’s subpoena of the FBI as part of his investigation into Hunter Biden and other family members, the Congressional Integrity Project sent a letter to Comer offering to assist with any similar probe into Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

The letter, obtained by Huddle, invokes a mocking tone and lays out allegations against Trump’s son-in-law and daughter influence peddling with international adversaries. “We are confident the potential conflicts of interest we have identified are of vital importance to anyone with a sincere desire to prevent corrupt business deals from influencing U.S. foreign policy,” executive director Kyle Herring writes.

FIRST IN POLITICO: DWC FOR SU — The Democratic Women’s Caucus is endorsing Labor nominee Julie Su’s confirmation “without delay,” as a handful of moderate Democrats have continued to express indecision, including as recently as this week. Our friends at Morning Shift had the scoop for POLITICO pro subscribers.

The House caucus stressed that of the fifteen Cabinet secretaries, only five are women. (Of the entire 25-member Cabinet, 12 are women, plus Su in her acting role.) “If confirmed, Julie Su would not only be the first AAPI woman to serve as Secretary of Labor—her confirmation would also represent another step towards achieving gender parity among the Secretaries on the President’s Cabinet,” DWC Chair Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) said in a statement. For the record, Frankel’s assertion that Su would be the first AAPI woman to serve as secretary of Labor was incorrect: Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan, held the job under President George W. Bush from 2001-2009.

FIRST IN HUDDLE: FRESH GUN LEGISLATION Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) are introducing new legislation today to allow the Consumer Product Safety Commission to create safety standards for firearms, which are not currently under the agency’s purview. The bill would allow the CPSC to set minimum safety standards for firearms and ammunition, recall defective firearms and collect data on gun-related deaths and injuries. Six fellow Democrats have already signed on to cosponsor: Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). Read the bill text.


Bagel bash... Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.), who is the chair of the Bagel Caucus, had a fun surprise at his in-district meeting at his Brooklyn office.

Hall of famer… Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) will be inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame at Kennedy Space Center on Saturday.


House Republicans grapple with cutting DOJ and FBI funding amid growing internal divisions and outside pressure, from Annie Grayer at CNN

Former SecDefs blast senator over ‘irresponsible’ nomination holds, from Leo Shane at Military Times

DoD overhauls overseas COLA policy, leading to pay decrease for some military members, from Jared Serbu from Federal News Network

Juul execs shower House Oversight chair with campaign cash, just as he launches probe into FDA’s moves on e-cigarettes, from Nicholas Florko at STAT News

Rep. Jamie Raskin Says He Will Spend This Month Deciding on Senate Run, from Eric Cortelessa at Time Magazine

Biden is expected to tap Air Force chief to be nation’s next top military officer, from Lara Seligman, Paul McCleary and Alexander Ward


Ariel Marshall is now chief of staff in the Office of the Under Secretary for Science and Innovation at the Department of Energy. She previously was legislative director for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).

Rikki Miller has been named senior communications director for Rep. Hillary Scholten (D-Mich.). She most recently was comms director for Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.).


The House convenes at 11 a.m. for a pro forma session.

The Senate convenes at 9:30 a.m. for a pro forma session.


A quiet one.


THURSDAY’S WINNER: Judith Fenley correctly answered that Oskaloosa, Kansas was the first town in the United States known to have an all-woman government, with the mayor and entire council being female back in 1888.

TODAY’S QUESTION from Judith: Who are the two American women who are credited with the origin of “Mother’s Day” and in what years did they propose this recognition?

The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your answers to [email protected]

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Follow Katherine on Twitter @ktullymcmanus

Correction: This newsletter has been updated to note that Elaine Chao was the first AAPI person to serve as secretary of Labor, a position she held from 2001-2009.