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10 Things in Politics: McCarthy delays Dems' spending plan

Brent D. Griffiths   

10 Things in Politics: McCarthy delays Dems' spending plan

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Here's what we're talking about:

1. THE MINUTE THAT LASTED HOURS: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has had enough. Beginning last night, he used the longest floor speech in House history to delay House Democrats' plans to vote on their massive $1.7 trillion social-spending plan. With his meandering and chaotic marathon speech, which lasted over eight hours, the chamber's top Republican tore into Democrats' bill as well as how they had managed the House while outlining what may well become his party's midterm message, assailing "one-party rule in one year."

McCarthy also wondered whether McDonald's still had "the dollar meal," talked about one of his "best friends," Elon Musk, and mentioned that his mother purchased the wrong tickets for an Alcatraz tour decades ago.

Here's where things stand:

Democrats eventually gave up and postponed the vote: Lawmakers are now set to vote later this morning on passing the core of President Joe Biden's domestic agenda — something that has been the subject of spirited intraparty disputes for months. One of those disputes is still simmering as Sen. Bernie Sanders slammed the inclusion of what would amount to a major tax cut for the rich.

As for McCarthy's speech, Democrats initially responded by trolling him: Lawmakers poked fun at the California Republican on Twitter, while Pelosi's office called it a "temper tantrum."

  • Wait, I thought the House didn't allow filibusters?: Indeed, such delay tactics are usually allowed only in the Senate. But House custom allows party leaders to use so-called magic minutes in which they can continue speaking long after their allotted time has expired. Usually, this isn't for very long. But minority leaders have historically used this power to needle the majority, especially before major votes. John Boehner famously bellowed "Hell no you can't" before the House passed Obamacare in 2010. And Nancy Pelosi spoke for eight hours in 2018 in a bid to force votes on immigration.

McCarthy made a not-so-subtle nod to the future: It's no secret the Californian wants to become speaker of the House, especially after his previous effort blew up in 2015. McCarthy even jokingly asked "Can I be speaker?" at one point and later added that he wanted Pelosi to hand the gavel over to him.

  • His path isn't as easy as it may seem: Republicans are ecstatic about the possibility of a wave election that sweeps them back into power, but McCarthy could have some obstacles in his path to the speakership. The former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has breathed new life into the seemingly made-for-TV plotline in which former President Donald Trump becomes the next speaker.

2. Pete Buttigieg's former campaign manager is showing Democrats how to win back rural America: After leading his childhood pal's 2020 campaign, Mike Schmuhl is in Indiana trying to lead Democrats out of the wilderness. Schmuhl, now chairman of the state Democratic Party, is traveling small-town Indiana pitching the benefits of the Biden administration's COVID-19-relief and infrastructure plans. Read more about what Democrats say they need to do to not get blown out in rural America.

3. Florida becomes the first state to impose fines on businesses and hospitals that require a COVID-19 shot: Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law delineating vaccine exemptions for private employers including "health or religious concerns; pregnancy or anticipated future pregnancy; and past recovery from COVID-19." DeSantis signed the bill at a car dealership near Brandon, Florida. The crowd chanted "Let's go, Brandon," a new coded anti-Biden chant. More on Florida's new law.

4. Why Steve Bannon should worry about the Trump-appointed judge handling his criminal case: In the two years since Judge Carl Nichols' confirmation to the federal trial court in Washington, DC, he has ruled repeatedly against Trump and his allies — and often found himself in high-profile cases like the closely watched prosecution against Bannon that has landed in his lap. Here's what else you need to know about the judge presiding over Bannon's case.

5. Trump endorsed Rep. Paul Gosar for reelection one day after the House censured him: House lawmakers censured Gosar for sharing an anime video that was edited to portray him killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Trump, in a statement, praised Gosar for being "a loyal supporter of our America First agenda." More on the GOP rallying behind Gosar.

6. The defense gets served in Elizabeth Holmes' trial: Holmes' defense team tried to trip up Brian Grossman, a hedge funder who invested $96 million in the failed startup Theranos. It didn't go well. Grossman made a clear case that Theranos actively tried to prevent him from learning the truth about the startup's shortcomings. More on why the testimony could damage Holmes' defense.

7. Defense attorneys rest in the trial over Ahmaud Arbery's killing: "Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley scheduled closing arguments in the trial for Monday, setting up the possibility of verdicts before Thanksgiving for the three white men charged with murder in Arbery's death," the Associated Press reports. "Under cross-examination by the prosecution on his second day of testimony, Travis McMichael said that Arbery hadn't shown a weapon or spoken to him at all before McMichael raised his shotgun. McMichael testified that he was "under the impression" Arbery could be a threat. McMichael's testimony marked the first time any of the three men involved with Arbery's killing had spoken publicly.

8. Oklahoma governor commutes death sentence of Julius Jones: Gov. Kevin Stitt commuted Jones' sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole just hours before he was scheduled to be executed. Jones had been on death row since 2002, when he was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1999 killing of Paul Howell in Edmond, Oklahoma. Jones has maintained his innocence in the case. The parole board previously called on Stitt to commute Jones' sentence. More on the news that came after a large public outcry.

9. Tensions begin to cool in debt-limit talks: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell shrugged off Trump's most recent taunt of him and met with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to discuss how to raise the debt ceiling before the expected December 15 deadline. This is a notably different approach from the one earlier this fall, when McConnell remained adamant it was Democrats' jobs to raise limit while consistently blocking every attempt by Democrats to do just that. Here's where things stand.

10. An "Office" actor says he's made more than $1 million on Cameo: Kevin Malone struggled with math despite being a Dunder Mifflin accountant, but Brian Baumgartner can easily count the commas now. Baumgartner, who played the bumbling and lovable character, told the BBC he had made upward of six figures by recording video shout-outs for fans. Other celebrities have also made tidy sums from Cameo too.

Today's trivia question: Which founding father famously declined to mark a day of Thanksgiving long before the tradition became a firmly set national holiday? Email your answer and a suggested question to me at

That's all for now; have a great weekend!


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