McCarthy, Biden to continue talks on debt limit; Nikki Haley to take on Trump in 2024: recap
Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, plans to challenge Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. Also, the FBI searched President Joe Biden's Delaware beach house Wednesday, as part of the ongoing inquiry into the handling of classified documents.
Here's what else is going on in politics Wednesday:
Haley to announce presidential bid Feb. 15: Sources familiar with the situation confirm reports about her plans.
Kamala Harris attends Tyre Nichols' funeral: The vice president is at the service Wednesday with four other White House officials.
Will Rep. Ilhan Omar lose committee seat?: The House GOP is laying the groundwork for a vote on the Minnesota Democrat's spot on the House Foreign Affairs panel.
Biden, McCarthy meet: President Biden is hosting Kevin McCarthy at the White House with the debt limit high on the agenda.
Biden to continue discussion on debt limit with McCarthy
President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had a “frank and straightforward dialogue” about a range of issues Wednesday, according to a readout of the meeting from the White House.
“President Biden made clear that, as every other leader in both parties in Congress has affirmed, it is their shared duty not to allow an unprecedented and economically catastrophic default,” the readout of the meeting said. “The United States Constitution is explicit about this obligation, and the American people expect Congress to meet it in the same way all of his predecessors have. It is not negotiable or conditional.”
The White House said Biden welcomes a separate discussion with congressional leaders on the debt limit and that the president and McCarthy agreed to continue the conversation.
– Rebecca Morin
McCarthy says opportunity for agreement on debt limit after meeting with Biden
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday “there’s an opportunity here to come to an agreement on both sides” on the debt limit after a meeting with President Joe Biden for an hour at the White House.
“My role right now is to make sure we have a sensible, responsible ability to raise the debt ceiling but not continue this runaway spending,” McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters at the White House. McCarthy said that no agreement or promises have been made on the debt limit, but that he will continue the conversation with the president.
"I told the president I would like to see if we can come to an agreement long before the deadline and we can start working on other things," the speaker also said.
– Rebecca Morin, Candy Woodall
McCarthy says he did not discuss Biden classified documents
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he did not discuss the classified records found at President Joe Biden’s home and former office.
“I did not talk to him about classified documents,” McCarthy said. “I came down here to talk about the debt ceiling and our spending and that's where we spent our time.”
The FBI searched Biden’s beach home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware on Wednesday but found no additional classified records.
– Rebecca Morin
House Oversight Committee investigates pandemic spending
Members of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee demanded more oversight for COVID-19 relief funds during a hearing Wednesday on federal pandemic spending.
The Small Business Administration’s distribution of paycheck protection program loans during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in “substantial fraud” and the issuance of 57,000 loans totaling $3.6 billion to entities on the government’s do-not-pay list, according to Inspector General of the Department of Justice Michael Horowitz.
“The federal government needs more robust cross-agency data sharing agreements to improve program administration, reduce improper payments and identity fraud and better prepare before the next crisis hits,” he said.
– Rachel Looker
NY Democrat requests SEC investigate Rep. George Santos
A Democrat from the Bronx is asking federal and state regulators to investigate the work that Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., did while working at a company now accused of defrauding investors out of $17 million in a Ponzi scheme.
Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., sent letters Tuesday to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York State Department of Financial Services, and the New York attorney general citing concerns about Santos’ work with Harbor City Capital.
“Even though there is no evidence implicating Mr. Santos in the Ponzi scheme itself, there is reason to believe that he operated as a broker at Harbor City Capital without registering as one with the SEC—a clear violation of federal securities law,” the letter to the SEC says.
– Erin Mansfield
VP Harris calls for action at Tyre Nichols' funeral
Vice President Kamala Harris called for Congress to pass police reform legislation at the funeral for Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who died after a brutal beating by Memphis police.
“It is non-negotiable," Harris said Wednesday, urging the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act as Tyre Nichols' mother wept and applauded. The vice president added that the killing of Nichols was a “violent act” not done “in pursuit of public safety."
“Was it not in the interest of keeping the public safe that Tyre Nichols would be with us today? Was he not also entitled to the right to be safe?” Harris said. “So when we talk about public safety, let us understand what it means in its truest form. Tyre Nichols should have been safe.”
Five Memphis police officers have been fired and charged with murder after Nichols' death. Two more officers also have been relieved of duty during the police department's investigation.
– Memphis Commercial Appeal staff, Ella Lee
Fed's Powell warns of "highly risky" scenario if Congress delays on raising debt limit
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Wednesday that the central bank might not be able to prevent an economic catastrophe if House Republicans delay too long on raising the debt ceiling.
"There's only one way forward here, and that is for Congress to raise the debt ceiling so that the United States government can pay all of its obligations when due," Powell told a news conference. "And any deviations from that path would be highly risky."
"No one should assume that the Fed can protect the economy from the consequences of failing to act in a timely manner," added Powell, who spoke as President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy were meeting at the White House with the debt limit among the topics on their agenda.
– Elisabeth Buchwald
Poll: Majority of Black voters think Biden should run In 2024
Nearly 60% of Black voters said President Joe Biden should run for president in 2024, according to Hit Strategies’ BlackTrack survey released Wednesday. Biden has not announced a reelection bid but could possibly do so following next week’s State of the Union.
Among Black voters 50 and older, 66% said Biden should run. But among Black voters under 50, only 55% believe Biden should run again. Additionally, 74% of Black voters approve of Biden’s job performance. In a sign of potential problems for Democrats, only 45% of Black voters under 50 believe the Democratic Party is making progress on issues affecting Black voters, compared to 55% of Black voters 50 and older.
– Mabinty Quarshie
No additional classified documents recovered in FBI search of Biden's Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, beach house
No additional classified records were recovered Wednesday in an FBI search of President Joe Biden’s Delaware beach home
Biden attorney Bob Bauer said the search at the Rehoboth Beach residence, conducted with "the president's full support and cooperation" lasted three and a half hours and concluded at noon.
The attorney said authorities did take "for further review some materials and handwritten notes that appear to relate to his time as Vice President.”
The Rehoboth Beach home is the third known location searched by the FBI as part of the continuing investigation. All of the actions were consensual and did not require warrants, Bauer said.
– Kevin Johnson
FBI searches Biden home: FBI searches Joe Biden's Delaware beach house as part of classified documents investigation
House vote to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from committee expected Thursday
House Republicans are prepared to oust Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., from the Foreign Affairs committee on Thursday, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters they have the votes to do it.
Why they are trying to remove her: GOP members have accused her of making anti-Semitic remarks. She was criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for suggesting pro-Israel lobbyists were buying political favors – a comment for which she apologized.
Omar said on Twitter, “We vote our districts” and accused Republicans of censorship. She and other Democrats have said removing her – and Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell last week – is political payback for GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar being removed in the last Congress for incendiary comments and sharing posts that depicted violence against another representative.
– Candy Woodall
DeSantis plans to block DEI, CRT programs at state colleges
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed preventing state colleges from offering programs on diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical race theory.
“I think people want to see true academics and they want to get rid of some of the political window dressing that seems to accompany all this,” DeSantis said
He added that DEI and CRT programs would get “/no funding, and that will wither on the vine.”
The plan is part of a larger legislative package that the state’s Republican-led legislature is expected to take up when its regular session begins in March.
-Ella Lee, Associated Press
Third Biden border investigation in the works
The border hearing that begins today is the first of at least three House GOP investigations planned to hold accountable President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for what Republicans describe as a worsening crisis.
After the House Judiciary Committee begins its inquiry Wednesday, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee will launch its probe Feb. 7, the same day as Biden’s State of the Union address.
The House Homeland Security Committee will also investigate the border crisis as its top priority, according to Chairman Mark Green. It’s a probe that could include field hearings at the border, he said.
Border hearings renew GOP calls to impeach Mayorkas
The House Judiciary border hearing Wednesday is igniting a push from conservatives to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, with Texas Rep. Pat Fallon trying to rally support for articles he filed a few weeks ago and Oklahoma Rep. Kevin Hern and Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs renewing their calls for impeachment.
This push was forewarned during a November trip to El Paso, Texas, shortly after Republicans narrowly won the House majority. Rep. Kevin McCarthy started persuading border-focused, conservative hardliners to support him in his bid for speaker during a news conference there: “If Secretary Mayorkas does not resign, House Republicans will investigate every order, every action and every failure to determine whether we can begin impeachment inquiries.”
Since his historic win after 15 votes for speaker – a protracted battle for the top leadership post in the House that hadn’t be waged in 100 years – his conference has initiated three border investigations in three committees. In the Judiciary committee, it could lead to the first impeachment procedure of a Cabinet secretary since the 1876 if the GOP can whip enough votes in the narrow majority to do it.
Biden’s Delaware beach house searched by FBI as part of classified documents probe
President Joe Biden’s Delaware beach house was searched by the FBI Wednesday in connection with the ongoing probe into the handling of classified documents, his attorney confirmed.
The search was intentionally planned to be executed without public notice and proceeded with “the president’s full support and cooperation,” Biden attorney Bob Bauer said.
Federal agents searched a former D.C. office used by Biden after leaving the vice presidency in November and his Wilmington, Delaware, home last month. The beach home is the third location the FBI has searched in connection with the investigation.
-Kevin Johnson, Ella Lee
Top Jan. 6 investigator: Law enforcement could have prevented Capitol attack
The Capitol attack could have been prevented if law enforcement acted on the intelligence it had collected beforehand, the chief investigator for the House Jan. 6 committee told NBC News in an exclusive interview.
“There was a lot of advance intelligence about law enforcement, about carrying weapons, about the vulnerability of the Capitol,” Tim Heaphy, the committee’s chief investigative counsel, told NBC. “The intel in advance was pretty specific, and it was enough, in our view, for law enforcement to have done a better job.”
Heaphy also said that while he believes former President Donald Trump was the “proximate cause” of the attack, law enforcement had a “a very direct role in contributing to the security failures that led to the violence.”
- Ella Lee
Nikki Haley to launch 2024 presidential bid on Feb. 15, taking on Trump: sources
Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley will formally launch her 2024 presidential run on Feb. 15, becoming the first Republican to jump into the field to challenge to Donald Trump, according to multiple sources familiar with her plans.
Haley has teased her presidential run for weeks, including a tweeted video this week in which she said: "It's time for a new generation to lead." She has sought to cast herself as a new kind of Republican who can take new approaches to the nation's challenges, and to President Joe Biden and the Democrats.
Aides are putting together a Feb, 15 announcement event in Charleston, according to three sources familiar with her plans who spoke to USA TODAY on condition of anonymity.
– David Jackson and Francesca Chambers
Nine Republican-led states ask court to end DACA protections
A coalition of nine Republican-led states asked a federal judge in Texas to block a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program rule which gives protections to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as kids.
The states – Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia – claim the program is “unlawful” and aim to stop DACA recipients from renewing existing work permits and deportation protections. The complaint suggest phasing out the program over two years.
DACA lets undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. before their 16th birthday, have attended school or joined the military and have not committed any major crimes remain in the country for two-year stays. It was created in 2012 by the Obama administration and protects nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation.
- Ella Lee
Biden on Black History Month: America ‘never fully lived up to’ equality promise
The United States has not yet fulfilled its promise of equality for all Americans, President Joe Biden said in a Black History Month proclamation.
“It is an idea America has never fully lived up to, but it is an idea we have never fully walked away from either,” the president said. “The struggles and challenges of the Black American story to make a way out of no way have been the crucible where our resolve to fulfill this vision has most often been tested.”
- Ella Lee
Biden schedule today
President Joe Biden will meet at 1:15 p.m. with his so-called Competition Council, which is targeting corporate consolidation and coordinating anti-trust actions. As part of that meeting, he will discuss his administration's new push to cap most credit card late fees at $8 for a missed payment.
Federal regulators will propose a rule on capping credit card late fees today, and Biden will also urge Congress to crack down on "excessive" junk fees, or the additional fees ticket brokers, airlines and resorts tack onto customers' bills, the White House said in a call previewing the announcement.
Biden's meeting with McCarthy is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. And at 5 p.m., he hosts a sendoff for his outgoing chief of staff Ron Klain and welcomes his new one, Jeff Zients.
Biden, McCarthy to meet amid high-stakes debt ceiling standoff
In his meeting with McCarthy, Biden is expected to ask whether he can commit that the U.S. will never go into default, which would occur if the debt ceiling were not raised. He will also press the speaker for an answer on when Republicans will release a budget proposal, according to the White House.
Republicans want to use action on the debt ceiling to eliminate “wasteful spending in Washington,” but they’ve not specified which programs they want cut. The White House, which argues the debt limit should be raised without conditions, has called on McCarthy and Republicans to detail their plan.
The Treasury Department took “extraordinary measures” in January to ensure the government’s borrowing capacity until at least early June after the U.S. reached its $31.8 trillion debt limit. Economists fear failure to raise the debt limit could result in an economic catastrophe and plunge the U.S. into a deep recession.
– Joey Garrison
Vice President Kamala Harris to attend Tyre Nichols’ funeral
Vice President Kamala Harris will attend Tyre Nichols’ funeral Wednesday, the White House announced.
In early January, Nichols was brutally beaten by five Memphis police officers who have been charged with murder.
In addition to Harris, four other White House officials are attending. They are: Keisha Lance Bottoms, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; Tara Murray, deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; senior adviser Mitch Landrieu; and Erica Loewe, White House director of African American media.
– Maureen Groppe
GOP-led House Judiciary Committee set to examine Biden's border policy
The House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing Wednesday and putting Biden’s border policies, as well as the flow of fentanyl into the United States, under a microscope.
The hearing, entitled “Biden’s Border Crisis – Part One,” is the beginning of planned hearings and investigations into the border, as House Republicans prepare to haul Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas up to Capitol Hill.
Biden has long faced criticism from both Republicans and Democrats over his handling of immigration and border security.
– Rebecca Morin
House Transportation & Infrastructure set to examine effects of supply chain issues
The House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure is set to hold a hearing Wednesday about the state of the country’s rail, road and port systems in the wake of supply chain issues, which helped drive inflation to 40-year highs.
The committee is scheduled to hear from a range of witnesses, including Ian Jefferies, the Association of American Railroads president and CEO.
– Sarah Elbeshbishi
House Oversight and Accountability Committee to hold COVID-19 spending hearing
The Committee on Oversight and Accountability is holding a hearing Wednesday morning entitled, “Federal Pandemic Spending: A Prescription for Waste, Fraud and Abuse.”
The House hearing will focus on fraud and abuse of COVID-19 relief programs and examine policies to ensure federal funds reach the intended recipients.
Those testifying include: Michael Horowitz, chair of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee; Gene Dodaro, comptroller general in the U.S. Government Accountability Office and David Smith, assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service Office of Investigations.
– Rachel Looker
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: McCarthy, Biden to continue debt limit talks; Haley to take on Trump