If any news story was able to penetrate the hive mind of the political-media class last week, beyond the freaking out over Miley Cyrus’s Video Music Awards performance (along with, you know, the freaking out over the possibility of an attack on Syria), it was word that Washington might be getting another shot at hosting the Olympics, in 2024. On Tuesday, Bob Sweeney, head of the Greater Washington Sports Alliance, announced the launch of D.C. 2024, a nonprofit aimed at exploring a bid for the Summer Games. The dream to bring the Olympics to Washington is still many years and many billions of dollars away from becoming a reality. But it did inspire something almost as rare as an Olympic event: an actually kind of funny D.C.-centric Twitter hashtag. Some of our favorites from #dcolympicevents: single tracking (@techn0cratic); tweeting while walking (@johnson); kicking the can (@peteschroeder); punting on legislation (@danielstrauss4); running of the interns (@asmith83); and softball with Chris Matthews (@ryanbeckwith.) But, as with all good things here, the quality and popularity of the hashtag were inversely proportional. By Wednesday, one-liners about red tape and procedural hurdles were clogging the Twitter stream.
Outside groups are spending money earlier than ever, but missing from all the action: cash-flush American Crossroads, the GOP granddaddy of super PACs. Crossroads notably stayed out of the special Senate election in Massachusetts, believing the race was unwinnable. It didn’t want to touch Mark Sanford in South Carolina’s special House election in the 1st District. But the group also isn’t spending money to soften vulnerable Dem incumbents such as Mark Pryor or Mary Landrieu; at this point in 2011, it had already attacked Claire McCaskill. (Its roster of McConnell alums ensures involvement in Kentucky.) More important, donations to American Crossroads are down significantly in the off-year. Through the first six months of 2013, it raised $1.86 million. During the same period in 2011, it raised $3.93 million. After Crossroads lost 11 of 13 Senate races it spent money on in 2012, big donors are less willing to pony up. The other reason: its renewed focus on persuading Republicans to support immigration reform. That shift from politics to policy came up short, failing to convince its targets despite the ad blitz. Crossroads helped fashion the current campaign finance world, and it’ll play a pivotal role in 2014. But with more money from upstarts being spent earlier, it risks being left behind.
Scott Bland and Josh Kraushaar
Air Marshal President Obama is expected to nominate Janet McCabe, a deputy administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean-air office, to head that division, according to sources familiar with his thinking. The position would put McCabe at the heart of the president’s historic, and controversial, global-warming agenda. She would be charged with crafting massive new pollution regulations affecting coal-fired power plants — rules that could eventually freeze the nation’s coal industry but also position the U.S. as a global leader on climate change. She will step into the shoes of her boss, Gina McCarthy, who was confirmed last month as EPA’s chief. While McCarthy will be the public face of the new climate-change regulations, McCabe will act as her right-hand woman, taking on the burden of drafting and legally bulletproofing the rules, as well as working with all the stakeholders they’ll affect — states, electric utilities, consumers, and environmental advocates. It’s likely that McCabe could face a tough confirmation process. Senate Republicans held up McCarthy’s confirmation for more than 100 days.
What We're Following See More »
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Facebook "outlined new measures it is taking to combat what it calls 'information operations' that go well beyond the phenomenon known as fake news" on Thursday. Facebook acknowledged that there are governments using its platform as a tool to launch propaganda information campaigns and "manipulate public opinion in other countries. ... Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of last Sunday’s first-round presidential election."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.