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The Hill's Morning Report — McCarthy’s impossible shutdown math  

Editor’s note: The Hill’s Morning Report is our daily newsletter that dives deep into Washington’s agenda. To subscribe, click here or fill out the box below.

It looks like a shutdown is near. 

Congress has until Sept. 30 — next Saturday — to fund the government, but so far, lawmakers are far from united in their efforts. 

House Republicans’ latest proposed short-term spending bill is facing internal opposition that could sink the measure and complicate the conference’s attempt to show unity in its opening offer to the Senate and White House. The stopgap bill, unveiled Sunday night, got an icy reception from the right flank of the slim House GOP majority. Enough members have said that they are against the stopgap plan to block it on the House floor, even though leaders hope to bring it up this week. 

THE PLAN TO KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OPEN past Sept. 30 would extend funding for a month and pair spending cuts with border crackdown measures. It was developed by leaders in the House GOP’s Main Street Caucus, a group that bills its members as pragmatic conservatives, and the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus. But despite the involvement of those leaders, many hardline conservatives — including those in the House Freedom Caucus — remain skeptical (The Hill). 

“NO,” Rep. Eli Crane (R-Ariz.) wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, after the proposal was rolled out. 

Still, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Monday he plans to bring the deal to the floor Thursday, even though the odds it passes are slim to none. 

“It’s an unmitigated disaster right now on the majority side,” Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), an appropriator, said on MSNBC Monday of the divisions among Republicans. “I’m fearful of what this leads to.” 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Monday he “cannot think of a worse welcome” for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — who will visit Washington this week — than the House stopgap proposal, which doesn’t include additional funding for Ukraine. 

▪ The Hill: What’s in the GOP’s stopgap deal? 

▪ The Hill: An evolving list of who supports — and who opposes — the House GOP spending bill. 

▪ The Hill: Senate Republicans are mulling a plan to jam the House with a stopgap bill to keep the government open and fund the war in Ukraine, though the muscle-flexing by conservatives in both chambers has them proceeding cautiously. 

FACING THE MUSIC: McCarthy, with an ultra-slim majority, cannot afford to lose more than four votes — and three GOP House members are already temporarily not at the Capitol. Those numbers all-but guarantee the deal is dead on arrival if it makes it to the floor. The situation also highlights just how fractious the House GOP conference is, as Freedom Caucus leaders endorsed the deal only to see it publicly rejected by a group of their members within a matter of minutes (Politico). 

Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) called McCarthy a “weak Speaker” Monday and accused House Republicans of putting politics over discussing spending limits in the House, suggesting that this will be “another worthless Congress.” 

OVER IN THE SENATE, Democrats on Monday moved to suspend the Senate’s rules to advance a stalled government funding bill after Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) objected to the legislation last week. The Senate had been making good progress on the annual spending bills, passing all 12 of them out of the Senate Appropriations Committee with bipartisan support, until Johnson threw a wrench in the works last week (The Hill).  

LEADING THE DAY 

U.S. AND IRAN 

Five Americans imprisoned in Iran for years were released Monday in a hostage exchange for Iranian prisoners held in the U.S. The U.S. government also unblocked the transfer of $6 billion in frozen Iranian oil funds held in South Korea (The Washington Post). 

The Americans began by flying through Qatar and are headed today for the United States. Four are male and one is reported to be a female former U.N. worker (NBC News). “Today, five innocent Americans who were imprisoned in Iran are finally coming home,” Biden said in a statement. “I am grateful to our partners at home and abroad for their tireless efforts to help us achieve this outcome, including the Governments of Qatar, Oman, Switzerland, and South Korea.”  

© The Associated Press / Lujain Jo | Americans Siamak Namazi (left, in Qatar), Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz, were among those freed from Iran on Monday as part of a negotiated prisoner exchange with Iran. 

NBC News: Republicans slammed the Biden administration last week for the prisoner swap deal with Iran. 

The freed Americans include Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz, and the identities of two others have been withheld by their families. One is reported to be a scientist and another a businessman (Al Jazeera has details). 

Biden said the U.S. is sanctioning former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence under the Levinson Act “for their involvement in wrongful detentions. And, we will continue to impose costs on Iran for their provocative actions in the region.” The president warned U.S. citizens of the risks involved in traveling to Iran: “American passport holders should not travel there.” 


COURTS 

Hunter Biden on Monday filed suit against the IRS for what he says is wrongful public release of private tax information by two IRS agents who testified to Congress and spoke publicly during many news media interviews. They were identified by GOP lawmakers as whistleblowers. The IRS had no comment. 

The lawsuit is about the decision by IRS employees, their representatives, and others to disregard their obligations and repeatedly and intentionally publicly disclose and disseminate Mr. Biden’s protected tax return information outside the exceptions for making disclosures in the law,” the lawsuit states (The Hill).  

Hunter Biden is under federal indictment for a felony gun charge. He previously faced misdemeanor tax charges. His plea deal with the Justice Department fell apart in July and his case may not be resolved or wind up at trial until next year (USA Today). Monday’s lawsuit seeks $1,000 for “each and every unauthorized disclosure of Hunter Biden’s tax return information” made by the two IRS agents, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler.   

The Hill: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) demands an interview with the Justice Department’s top prosecutor and documents from department’s Hunter Biden probe. 

DOCUMENTS OBSTRUCTION CASE: Molly Michael, a former longtime executive assistant to Trump, told federal investigators, according to ABC News, that when the FBI first contacted her last year about Trump’s handling of classified documents, she notified the former president about the request. “You don’t know anything about the boxes,” he told her, according to his aide. Michael turned over to the government some classified briefing cards, on which Trump scrawled to-do lists for staff members at Mar-a-Lago. 

GEORGIA ELECTION RACKETEERING CASE: Lawyers for Jeffrey Clark, a former assistant attorney general in the Trump administration, appeared in court Monday. The defendant in the Fulton County, Ga., election interference case is seeking to move his defense to federal court (CNN). Clark is accused, in part, of writing a post-election letter to Georgia election officials that made bogus claims of irregularities. Jones questioned Clark’s attorney about why Clark included such claims when his superiors at the Justice Department told him they were false. The judge, who previously rejected a similar request from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to move a case out of state court, will issue a ruling at a later date. 


WHERE AND WHEN 

The House will convene at 10 a.m. 

The Senate will meet at 10 a.m.  

The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 8 a.m. Biden will address the U.N. General Assembly at 10 a.m. Biden will meet with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres at 11:30 a.m. He’ll host a meeting at 1:45 p.m. of the Central Asia 5+1 group (Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan). Biden and first lady Jill Biden will host a reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City at 7:15 p.m. 

Vice President Harris will travel to Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa., to mark National Voter Registration Day as part of the administration’s outreach to college students and young voters at 12:45 p.m. She will visit IBEW Local 743’s training facility for a briefing on the focus on job apprenticeships at 3:05 p.m. Harris will host a roundtable conversation at 3:15 p.m with apprenticeship students, then return to Washington. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in New York City through Friday for the U.N. General Assembly gathering. ​​In addition to tracking the president’s schedule, Blinken at 3 p.m. will speak at the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals Summit and meet at 5:40 p.m. with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan

The Treasury secretary is in New York City and will meet with the leaders of some of the largest philanthropies that fund groups working on private sector net-zero efforts at 1:30 p.m, followed at 2:45 p.m. with a roundtable with leaders of a range of financial institutions. The secretary at 4 p.m. will speak at the Bloomberg Transition Finance Action Forum and unveil a climate change announcement. In the evening, Yellen will speak during an event commemorating the Pandemic Fund’s one-year launch. 

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff will mark National Recovery Month with remarks at a Mobilize Recovery event at a Washington hotel at 12:30 p.m. 

The Federal Reserve begins a two-day meeting. 


ZOOM IN 

POLITICS 

Zelensky — who anticipates headwinds over additional U.S. funding for Ukraine when he meets with some skeptical House conservatives this week — today joins United Nations Security Council meetings, delivers a speech and holds bilateral talks with other leaders.   

“We are now at a critical juncture in time, as Ukraine continues to advance on the battlefield, and it is critical to sustain and strengthen worldwide support for Ukraine,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Washington Post. 

Before his arrival in New York, Zelensky did some house cleaning, announcing a defense shakeup aimed at demonstrating that the billions of dollars Washington is spending to aid his country is not being squandered through corruption (The New York Times). 

McCarthy — who aligned with GOP colleagues this summer in opposing additional U.S. aid to Ukraine — meets with Zelensky this week in Washington. The Speaker on Monday said “no” when asked by reporters if funding for Ukraine would be added to legislation pending in the House. 

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© The Associated Press / Bryan Woolston | Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday visited wounded Ukrainian soldiers at Staten Island University Hospital in New York ahead of his speech Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly. 


2024 ROUNDUP  

▪ A small-town New Jersey mayor, Christine Serrano Glassner, who served in the George W. Bush administration and has ties to Trump, announced her candidacy Monday in the Republican primary to challenge New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez (D).  

▪ Trump late Sunday shared a post bashing “liberal Jews who voted to destroy America.” 

▪ Divisions surrounding the impeachment and acquittal of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s (R) are a microcosm of larger strains within the GOP across the country, reports The Hill’s Julia Mueller. 

▪ Trump’s criticism of a six-week abortion ban poses risks in Iowa

▪ How Florida became the center of the Republican universe.  

▪ Planned Parenthood on Monday in Wisconsin resumed abortion services Monday after more than a year.  

▪ Allegheny County, Pa. — which helped Biden win in 2020 — will see voters head to the polls today in a special election to determine party control of the state House. 

Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D) announced Monday she will not seek reelection after receiving a diagnosis of a rare form of incurable Parkinson’s disease. 


STRIKE  

The United Auto Workers’ (UAW) strike against Detroit’s three major auto manufacturers went into its fourth day Monday with no signs of an early breakthrough. So far the strike is limited to about 13,000 workers at three factories — one each at General Motors, Ford Motor and Stellantis. Stellantis said it resumed negotiations with the union Monday and described the talks as “constructive.” A spokesman for GM said representatives of the company and the United Auto Workers also were continuing to negotiate (CBS News and The Associated Press). 

However, as UAW President Shawn Fain told NPR, “We have a long way to go.” Fain said Monday that the White House would not play any role in negotiating a deal to end the union’s strike against the companies. 

“Our negotiating teams are working hard. Our members are out there manning the picket lines, and our allies are out there with us,” Fain said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “This battle is not about the president. It’s not about the former president, or any other person prior to that. This battle is about the workers standing up for economic and social justice and getting their fair share because they’re fed up with going backwards.” 

His comments come after Biden said Friday that he would direct acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and senior aide Gene Sperling to Detroit to help broker a “win-win” contract (The Hill). Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Monday she is hoping for a quick resolution, and that it is too soon to gauge the economic impact of the strike.  

“It would depend on how long the strike lasts and who would be affected by it,” she said on CNBC. 

Reuters: Ford could face strike in Canada, adding to U.S. labor pressure. 

The UAW strike has reenergized a progressive wing that has so far struggled to maintain its relevance early into the 2024 election, writes The Hill’s Hanna Trudo. Left-wing Democrats see the strike as bringing their top priorities back into the focus, offering a clear and more immediate purpose for their activism around workers’ rights, corporate profits, and income inequality that had been deemphasized this cycle. 

Meanwhile Trump, who told told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in an interview broadcast on Sunday that the UAW “leadership should endorse Trump,” will skip the second Republican presidential debate in California next week and head to Detroit instead, where he will speak to current and former union members in a primetime speech (CNN).  

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© The Associated Press / Paul Sancya | United Auto Workers President Shawn Fain at a rally in Detroit on Friday. 


ELSEWHERE 

INTERNATIONAL 

Biden at the United Nations General Assembly wants to maintain robust global support for Ukraine. It’s a challenge this year; the conflict’s toll on food and energy prices has accelerated calls in the developing world for a negotiated settlement. Support among the American public has been slipping as a segment of the GOP criticizes the price of U.S. taxpayer generosity (The Hill and The Washington Post). 

With the world on track to break the record for the hottest year in history, world leaders, business leaders, celebrities and activists have converged on New York for Climate Week and the U.N.’s Climate Action Summit. The annual climate gathering coincides with the start of the General Assembly; its main event will take place Wednesday when U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres hosts his own Climate Action Summit, a high-profile event meant to reverse backsliding on Paris climate agreement goals.  

“There is lingering doubt that … we can meet our climate goals. There is too much backtracking; so we’re really hoping that this summit can be used as a moment to inspire people,” Selwin Hart, special adviser on climate to the secretary-general, told Reuters. 

While the climate crisis and the war in Ukraine will be in focus, the 78th annual UNGA session also seeks to advance the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals — a lofty, nearly decade-old effort to address poverty, education and other socioeconomic issues. Many major world leaders will be skipping this year’s event, sending ministers on their behalf (The New York Times and Al Jazeera). 

▪ ABC News: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in San Francisco Monday to meet with billionaire Elon Musk about antisemitic content on X, formerly known as Twitter, and to discuss generative AI. 

▪ CNN analysis: Here’s what to watch for as world leaders gather at the U.N. 

▪ The New York Times: Crisis and bailout: The tortuous cycle stalking nations in debt. 


OPINION 

■ The Iran prisoner deal continues a miserable cycle of hostage-taking, by The Washington Post editorial board. 

■ Protect Medicare patients’ right to get care at home, by Terry Wilcox, opinion contributor, The Hill. 


THE CLOSER 

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© The Associated Press / Alex Brandon | Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) on Sept. 6 in the Capitol on his way to vote. 

And finally … 🩳 In the Senate, Schumer’s weekend announcement relaxing a longstanding dress code for members on the floor has been met with partisan criticism, including from House Republicans (whose chamber is unaffected). Hoodies? Shorts? No neckties? Oh my.  

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) appreciates the sartorial rules change after critics complained he’s breaching decorum. He told a Fox News reporter, when asked Monday, that the change is “a good thing.” His basketball shorts and hooded sweatshirts are now Senate-floor appropriate. Fetterman, who previously served as Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor, has been known to keep dress suits at the office for quick changes (The Philadelphia Inquirer).  

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), known for her campy, colorful ensembles, caused a stir when she was sworn in for the first time and navigated the Senate’s no-bare-shoulders rule by adding a furry stole to her sleeveless dress (Harper’s Bazaar with photos).  

Flashback: There was an era in the upper chamber when slacks on women were discouraged and open-toed shoes and sandals were verboten. The House in 2017 had its own flap about sleeveless garbs when Republicans were in charge (CBS News).  


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