Conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats (R) will consider a Senate run, per spokesperson Dave Barnett. Barnett: “He would consider looking at it in the middle of October, and decide by the end of the year.” Vander Plaats “has sought statewide office before.” He ran in the GOP gubernatorial primaries in 2002, 2006 and 2010. “Vander Plaats emerged as an important statewide figure in part for his role in Mike Huckabee’s 2008 victory in the state, and then led a successful recall of judges who had backed marriage equality in Iowa.” (BuzzFeed)
IN BRALEY’S CORNER. Vice President Biden “called on Democrats to support” Rep. Bruce Braley’s (D) candidacy, “warning of threats to the party’s achievements if Republicans gain control of the chamber.” Biden made his remarks at a fundraising reception prior to Sen. Tom Harkin’s (D) annual Steam Fry. Biden: “Unless we can maintain this seat, unless we can begin to break down the majority in the House of Representatives, everything you have fought for for the last six years and beyond is in jeopardy. … This is now a party where the tail is wagging the dog, where Ted Cruz is running the show, a freshman, in terms of the ideas of the party.” (Des Moines Register)
GIFFORDS COMING. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) “will headline a fundraiser” for Braley’s campaign. She and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, will talk at Braley’s annual “Bruce, Blues, and BBQ” fundraiser on Oct. 27 in Des Moines. Since the attack that badly wounded her, “Giffords has advocated for gun control legislation. Over the summer, Giffords and Kelly toured seven states seeking support for federal legislation that would expand background checks on gun purchases. Braley and Giffords both were elected to Congress in 2006 and became friends. Earlier this year, Braley gave Giffords his guest ticket for the State of the Union Address so she could bring more family members to the event.” (AP)
— Julie Sobel
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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.