Good morning! It’s Friday, September 17, 2021. Election Day 2022 is 417 days away. Election Day 2024 is 1,145 days away.
Happy Constitution Day. The U.S. Constitution was signed exactly 234 years ago. According to legend (which may or may not be true), as Ben Franklin was walking out of the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787 — its final day — he was stopped by a woman, who asked him: “Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic,” he supposedly replied. “If you can keep it.”
House Republican who backed impeachment calls it quits
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) announced on Thursday that he will not run for re-election in 2022. Although he entered office as a Trump-supporting former NFL wide receiver, Gonzalez shocked many in his district earlier this year when he became one of 10 House Republican to vote for former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment.
Once a Republican rising star who seemed poised for higher office, Gonzalez is now leaving Washington after just two terms, opting to leave politics rather than remain a pariah as a Trump critic in the House GOP. Calling Trump “a cancer for the country,” Gonzalez told the New York Times that he was stepping down partly because of how his career had upended his family life, citing the death threats he had received since his impeachment vote.
In addition to family considerations, Gonzalez was facing an uphill primary battle against Max Miller, who was a deputy campaign manager for Trump’s 2020 presidential bid.
All nine of the other pro-impeachment House Republicans are facing primary challengers as well. Many have seen their careers derailed since the vote, such as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who was ousted from her House GOP leadership position in May.
More news to know this morning.
At the border. More than 10,000 migrants are being held outdoors under a bridge in South Texas. According to the Washington Post, the situation — sparked by a sudden influx in migrants hailing from Haiti — has created “a humanitarian emergency and a logistical challenge U.S. agents describe as unprecedented.”
Reconciliation debate. President Biden met with moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) on Thursday, attempting to persuade them to ease their opposition to his $3.5 trillion spending package. It appears his efforts were unsuccessful: according to Axios, the meeting resulted in “little progress” and Manchin remained unmoved after leaving the Oval Office.
Biden’s approval rating. Another poll shows President Biden’s approval rating dropping to its lowest level since he took office. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday found that 44% of U.S. adults approve of Biden’s job performance, while 50% disapproved. As recently as mid-August, a Reuters poll showed 51% of adults approving Biden’s job performance and 43% disapproving, underlining the stark reversal of the president’s fortunes in the past few weeks.
What I’m reading.
An interesting piece on state politics: “How Wisconsin is ruled by a shadow governor,” Politico
A powerful read: “Rep. Susan Wild faced trauma. It transformed her priorities in Congress,” The 19th
A notable milestone: “Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ wedding marks 1st same-sex marriage of sitting governor,” Colorado Public Radio
Numbers to know: This week, as the U.S. death toll from coronavirus exceed 663,000, the Washington Post noted that 1 in 500 Americans have now died of COVID-19. The death rates fluctuate by race and age group: for example, 1 in 240 Native Americans have died of the virus. Among Americans who are 85 years of age and older, it is 1 in 35.
A quick correction to flag from this week: In the “Economics Roundup” in Monday’s newsletter, the number of unfilled job openings at the end of July should have been listed as 10.9 million. Thanks to the readers who pointed the error out.
What’s happening in Washington today. (All times Eastern, unless otherwise noted.)
President Joe Biden will reconvene the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF), a virtual gathering of top world leaders to discuss climate change, at 8:30 a.m. Later, at 10 a.m., he will receive his daily intelligence briefing. At 12:20 p.m., he will depart for his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where he will arrive at 1:25 p.m.
- White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki does not have a press briefing scheduled for today. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and other U.S. public health officials will hold their weekly COVID-19 press briefing at 11:45 a.m.
- The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet virtually at 8:30 a.m. to discuss whether to formally recommend booster shots for the Pfizer vaccine. The issue of booster shots has divided government scientists and caused tension within the Biden administration. FDA generally follows the recommendations made by the advisory committee meeting today.
The Senate is not in session.
The House will briefly convene at 10 a.m. for a pro forma session.
The Supreme Court is not in session.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) will speak tonight at the Pottawattamie County Republican Party’s Lincoln Reagan Dinner in Treynor, Iowa. Cotton is one of several potential 2024 presidential contenders who has ignited speculation with frequent visits to Iowa, which traditionally holds the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses.
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