The dissenters cited uneasiness with stopgap funding measures on principle. They disapproved of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s proposal because it keeps the government funded at current levels that represent agreements approved during the last Congress when Democrats were in control.
“The American people didn’t give us the majority to continue Nancy Pelosi’s bloated spending levels or advance the Left’s radical policies that are destroying our nation,” said Clyde.
Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC
Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC
The last ditch effort to avoid a shutdown happened abruptly. McCarthy, R-Calif., announced the introduction of a “clean” bill Saturday morning and called for an immediate vote. This sudden turnabout by the speaker, who for weeks had taken actions to appease the hard-line conservatives in his caucus, troubled Democrats.
Democratic leaders used a filibuster and other legislative means to stall the vote for a couple of hours to give members and staff time to read the bill, and that’s not even counting the fire alarm incident that drew rebukes to Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y. Bowman said he inadvertently tripped the alarm and was not trying to disrupt the proceedings.
Although a crisis was averted, the government could now face another shutdown right before the Thanksgiving holiday. A planned two-week U.S. House recess set to begin today was canceled so that more appropriations bills could be brought to the floor, a request of McCarthy critics.
MCCARTHY’S GAETZ PROBLEM. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s decision to back a government shutdown-averting funding bill that Democrats embraced puts his speakership at risk.
Florida U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz said on CNN Sunday that he will bring a motion to the floor this week to remove McCarthy as speaker. Formally, it’s called a “motion to vacate,” and the House could vote to oust McCarthy as early as this evening.
Gaetz’s efforts won’t succeed unless Democrats back the effort to remove McCarthy. The overwhelming majority of Republicans support McCarthy and are not only lining up to defend the speaker but are also seeking to neutralize Gaetz. Those strategies could include an attempt to expel Gaetz from the House.
In a social media post, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich warned expulsion is too high a bar. The Georgian, who resigned as speaker in 1998 after rank-and-file members turned on him, said there are other ways to take the Florida lawmaker’s power away.
“Expulsion from the House requires a two thirds vote,” Gingrich wrote. “However expelling him from the House Republican Conference and eliminating all his committee assignments and all resources other than those an individual member is entitled to would be a rational response to his suicidal efforts to cripple the House GOP.”
99 YEARS YOUNG. Former President Jimmy Carter celebrated his 99th birthday privately at home with family. Elsewhere on Sunday, others honored the longest living president in a more public manner.
- In Carter’s hometown of Plains, hundreds of well-wishers gathered in front of the local high school to sing “Happy Birthday.” A video of the celebration, along with a signed birthday banner, will be given to Carter.
- In Atlanta, 99 immigrants from 45 countries became American citizens in a special ceremony at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. Those visitors along with others were invited to eat birthday cake, sign a birthday card and participate in other activities, including painting and trivia games.
- At the White House, President Joe Biden posted a birthday wishes tribute to Carter on social media. Officials also erected an outdoor display on the South Lawn featuring a birthday card and candles.
MEDICAID MESS. U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock has voiced fresh concerns about people getting kicked off the Medicaid rolls even though they still should qualify for the program.
The Democrat on Friday sent a letter to federal health care regulators. The inquiry came days after the AJC reported that Georgia is among 30 states cited for mistakenly revoking Medicaid benefits.
Like other states, Georgia is reevaluating the 2.8 million people enrolled in the program. Medicaid expanded temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic and those emergency protections have expired.
Georgia is one of few states yet to offer details on the snafu. Warnock’s letter questions the roll-trimming process and how many Georgians are affected — and what is being done to ensure it won’t happen again.
GUILTY. Scott Hall, the bail bondsman charged in the Fulton County election interference case, became the first of the 19 defendants under indictment to take a plea agreement with prosecutors, our colleague Tamar Hallerman reports.
Hall was accused of multiple felony counts in connection with the breach of Coffee County’s election system following the 2020 vote. He chartered the plane to ferry allies of former President Donald Trump to the South Georgia county and went with them to the county’s election office.
Appearing in court Friday, Hall pleaded guilty to five misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with the performance of election duties. He won’t serve jail time, but agreed to write a letter of apology to Georgia voters and “testify truthfully” when called.
PORTS SUCCESS. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made three stops during a Friday tour of the Port of Savannah. All three waypoints — the Mason Mega Rail, Container Berth 8 and Container Berth 1 — had something in common: Recent improvements funded in part by federal taxpayers.
The ports leveraged federal grants on all three projects. The recently completed Mason Mega Rail has made the Georgia Ports a national leader in container shipping via rail. At Container Berth 8, the northernmost dock at the port, ships have greater access thanks to the Savannah Harbor Deepening Project that wrapped up last year. And Berth 1 recently reopened after being reconfigured to accommodate larger ships.
Yellen acknowledged the port’s growth and lauded the investments by federal, state and local governments to improve both capacity and efficiency. She focused her remarks on Biden administration-led legislation that has aided in the Georgia Ports Authority’s success, both directly and indirectly.
She mentioned the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, which included funding for the port; the Inflation Reduction Act, with its electric vehicle incentives that Georgia EV makers — and port users — will benefit from; and the CHIPS Act, which will also spark activity through the port.
As the Jolt’s Adam Van Brimmer reported, Yellen also weighed in on the federal government shutdown, sparing no criticism for U.S. House Republicans.
TODAY IN WASHINGTON:
- President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House to celebrate the Americans with Disabilities Act and Disability Pride Month. He’ll also hold a Cabinet meeting.
- The U.S. House votes on noncontroversial measures this evening, but everyone will be watching to see if U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., tries a “motion to vacate” against Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
- The U.S. Senate is in recess until Tuesday.
Credit: Georgia Conservancy
Credit: Georgia Conservancy
SWAMP PROTECTION. As a strip mining company continues its push to dig near the Okefenokee Swamp, the U.S. National Park Service is preparing to nominate the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A UNESCO designation would not prohibit Alabama-based Twin Pines from mining a site three miles southeast of the refuge. However, Savannah TV station WTOC reports that conservationists say the refuge making the World Heritage Site list could increase the pressure on state and local governments to protect and preserve the swamp.
Scientists say mining for titanium dioxide, used in paints, toothpaste and medical equipment, that close to the Okefenokee would cause environmental harm. The mining operation’s dig pits would draw an additional million gallons of water a day from the two rivers that flow out of the Okefenokee headwaters, according to a University of Georgia hydrologist, upsetting the swamp’s balance.
U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, the Pooler Republican whose district includes the Okefenokee, collaborated with U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, to push for the UNESCO designation.
Credit: SK Battery America
Credit: SK Battery America
LOW BATTERY. Georgia’s green technology wave receded, albeit slightly, last week with word that electric vehicle battery maker SK Innovations had laid off an undisclosed number of employees.
According to an SK spokesman, the South Korean company’s manufacturing facility near Commerce still employs 3,000 workers — 400 more than the firm promised in striking a deal to build its factory in Georgia in November 2018.
Brian Kemp won Georgia’s governor’s race that same month and has made clean energy technology the foundation of his economic development agenda. Since Kemp took office, green sector companies have announced more than 30 projects in Georgia, building everything from solar panels to EVs to e-bikes to lithium-ion batteries.
The SK Innovations facility’s first phase opened in January 2022 and the factory was completed earlier this year. The company told the AJC’s Michael E. Kanell the recent job cuts were about “aligning production with current market demands.”
DOG OF THE DAY. Life is full of surprises, especially for dogs like Blu Strong.
Blu got her name from her original owners, who expected to adopt a blue-eyed husky and kept the name “Blu” for this brown-eyed Carolina dog. Blu also expected to live with her first people forever, until they moved and AJC subscriber Julia Strong stepped in to adopt her instead.
It’s been love at first sight for Julia, who now gets surprises from Blu like unexpected shedding and mysterious odors due to Blu’s habit of rolling in the woods. And now it’s our turn — surprise, Blu! You’re our Dog of the Day.
Send us your dogs of any political persuasion and location, and cats on a cat-by-cat basis, to email@example.com, or DM us at @MurphyAJC.
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