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.
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The National Defense Authorization Act passed the House this morning by a 375-34 vote. The bill, which heads to the Senate next week for final consideration, would fund the military to the tune of $618.7 billion, "about $3.2 billion more than the president requested for fiscal 2017. ... The White House has issued a veto threat on both the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill, but has not yet said if it will sign the compromise bill released by the conference committee this week."
"Republicans have elected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) the next chairman of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. Walden defeated Reps. John Shimkus (R-IL) and Joe Barton (R-TX), the former committee chairman, in the race for the gavel" to succeed Michgan's Fred Upton.
"Democratic and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are working on legislation that would limit deportations" under President-elect Donald Trump. Leading the effort are Judiciary Committee members Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is also expected to sign on.
Donald Trump has selected retired Marine Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis as his secretary of defense, according to The Washington Post. Mattis retired from active duty just four years ago, so Congress will have "to pass new legislation to bypass a federal law that states secretaries of defense must not have been on active duty in the previous seven years." The official announcement is likely to come next week.