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Wake Up To Politics - May 12, 2021

Good morning! It’s Wednesday, May 12, 2021. Election Day 2022 is 545 days away. Election Day 2024 is 1,273 days away.

Liz Cheney’s last stand

By all accounts, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) will be gone from House Republican leadership by the end of the day.

The House GOP will meet this morning to vote on Cheney’s future as the chair of the House Republican Conference, the third-ranking leadership post. Cheney survived a similar vote to oust her in February, but she is expected to lose her position in a landslide today as frustrations have steadily grown with her willingness to speak out against former President Donald Trump.

Even with her place in leadership — and in the Republican Party as a whole — in jeopardy, Cheney has signaled no plans to reverse course. The political scion delivered a fiery address from the House floor on Tuesday night, excoriating her fellow Republicans for embracing Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election had been stolen from him.

“Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” Cheney said. “I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.”

Cheney was one of 10 Republicans who voted for Trump’s impeachment earlier this year, after the January 6 riot at the Capitol. “He risks inciting further violence,” she said of Trump on Tuesday. “Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. They have heard only his words, not the truth.”

But that stance puts her in a small minority within the GOP, as today’s vote is likely to reflect. According to Punchbowl News, if there is a recorded roll call, Cheney may receive as few as 20 to 30 votes in her favor, out of 212 House Republicans. (By comparison, 147 House Republicans voted to overturn the 2020 election results in January; a CNN poll last month found that 70% of GOP voters do not believe Joe Biden legitimately won the election.)

Cheney has reportedly opted not to fight her ouster, already having accepted the outcome of today’s vote and making plans to continue her lonely campaign against Trump from outside of leadership.

According to Reuters, a group of 100 anti-Trump Republicans (including former governors, members of Congress, and Cabinet officers) will come to her defense with a joint letter this week, threatening to leave the GOP if it doesn’t soon change course. But many of the signatories have been out of office for years, and without Cheney, they will have little in common with those in the top ranks of the party. Today’s vote represents a last gasp for the Bush-era GOP that Cheney and other anti-Trump Republicans represent.

Further underlining the swerve away from the pre-Trump GOP, Cheney is expected to be replaced by Rep. Elise Stefanik, one of the former president’s top defenders on the Hill. Stefanik, who will likely be installed in the coming days, has already notched endorsements from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Trump himself.

The former president issued a statement this morning delighting in the forthcoming defeat of his longtime antagonist. “As a representative of the Great State of Wyoming, Liz Cheney is bad for our Country and bad for herself,” Trump said. “Almost everyone in the Republican Party, including 90% of Wyoming, looks forward to her ouster—and that includes me!”

The Rundown

What else you need to know today.

MIDDLE EAST: “Israel stepped up its attacks on the Gaza Strip, flattening a high-rise building used by the Hamas militant group and killing at least three militants in their hideouts on Tuesday as Palestinian rockets rained down almost nonstop on parts of Israel. It was the heaviest fighting between the bitter enemies since 2014, and it showed no signs of slowing.” Associated Press

FUEL SHORTAGES: “Lines of panicked drivers overwhelmed gas stations in the Southeast on Tuesday, as rising prices fed fears of shortages in the aftermath of a ransomware attack that forced the nation’s largest fuel pipeline offline.” Washington Post

INFRASTRUCTURE: “President Biden will meet with the top four leaders in Congress on Wednesday as negotiations over the president's multi-trillion dollar infrastructure agenda continue. This is Mr. Biden's first meeting with the leaders as a group since he was inaugurated in January.” CBS News

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Ask Gabe

Today’s question is about the courts, so I’m turning it over to WUTP legal contributor Anna Salvatore.

Q: What does it mean when you write in Daybook that the Supreme Court is “releasing orders”? — Jay M. of Kensington, CA

A: Every year, the Supreme Court receives approximately 10,000 petitions from people who would like their case reviewed. The justices have limited time and resources, so they only agree to hear about 100 of the most pressing cases.

In orders lists — which come out a few times a week — the justices announce which few cases they are adding to their docket; deny many, many more cases; and direct parties about when and how to submit their briefs. Every now and then, a justice will also include a dissent from the court’s decision to deny a case. — Anna Salvatore, legal contributor

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What’s happening in Washington today. (All times Eastern.)

President Joe Biden will receive his daily intelligence briefing at 9:30 a.m. Then, at 11 a.m., he will meet with the top four congressional leaders — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) — to “discuss policy areas of mutual agreement.”

At 3:30 p.m., Biden will deliver remarks on the COVID-19 response and vaccinations. At 10 p.m., he will be interviewed by Lawrence O’Donnell for an MSNBC special, “Vaccinating America.”

  • Vice President Kamala Harris will join Biden for the meeting with congressional leaders.
  • White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will hold her daily press briefing at 12 p.m.The Senate will convene at 10 a.m. and resume consideration of several Biden administration nominees. At 12 p.m., the chamber will vote to advance Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator nominee Chiquita Brooks-LaSure and U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors nominee Ronald Stroman. At 3:30 p.m., the chamber will vote to confirm Stroman.

    At around 5:30 p.m., the Senate will vote to advance U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors nominee Amber McReynolds.
  • The Senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. on “domestic violent extremism in America.” Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas will testify.
  • The Senate Commerce Committee will meet at 10 a.m. to mark up several pieces of legislation. One of the measures will be S.1260, the Endless Frontier Act, a bipartisan proposal by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Todd Young (R-IN) which would increase funding for U.S. science and technology innovation and research in order to compete with China. The House will convene at 10 a.m. and vote on as many as 21 pieces of legislation, including several mental health measures and a bill creating a National Pulse Memorial to commemorate the victims of the 2016 shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando.
  • The House Republican Conference will meet at 9 a.m. to vote on ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as conference chair.
  • The House Oversight and Reform Committee will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. on “unexplained delays and unanswered questions” from the January 6 attack. Jeffrey Rosen, who served as acting Attorney General at the time of the attack, and Christopher Miller, who was then acting Defense Secretary, will testify.
  • The House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing at 10 a.m. on “driving a global, whole-of-society response to climate action.” Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will testify. The Supreme Court is not in session.

    The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet at 11 a.m. to vote on the FDA’s decision to extend Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorization for 12- to 15-year-olds.

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