What to Know in Washington: Hard-Liners Extend McCarthy Blockade

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Speaker Kevin McCarthy called off votes for the remainder of the week and sent lawmakers home as a revolt by Republican hard-liners halted business in the chamber for a second day.

The blockade by a band of 11 ultra-conservatives heightened tensions among Republicans following the speaker’s backing of a compromise with the White House to avert a debt default. It also showcased their capacity to grind the chamber to a halt even if holding off, for now, on a push for McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) ouster.

“There’s a little chaos going on,” McCarthy told reporters a the Capitol Wednesday, shortly after a round of talks with dissidents failed to conclude a deal.

Photographer: Ting Shen/Bloomberg
McCarthy speaks during a press conference in US Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

The speaker said he would continue to speak with the hard-liners during the evening but negotiations were complicated by a lack of clarity in the goals of the protesters, who were angered by the debt deal.

McCarthy mostly projected his customary optimism, predicting that the two sides would resolve their differences soon. Yet he showed flashes of frustration during the day and admitted the protest took him by surprise. Billy House has the update.


  • Senators convene at 10 a.m. to vote on SBA and judge nominees.
  • The House is out until next week.


  • President Joe Biden holds a bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at 11:30 a.m., with a press conference to follow at 1:30 p.m.
  • At 7 p.m., Biden hosts a pride celebration at the White House and plans to announce new federal efforts to counter state and local laws targeting the LGBTQ community and book bans. Read more.

Headlines from the Hill

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Supply Chain Woes Spur GOP Push to Cut Amtrak’s Track Rights

Amtrak’s passenger trains would no longer be given priority over freight trains on certain railroads under legislation being introduced today.

Pandemic Prep Improvements Mired in Fights Over Covid Response

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Binance Appears to Have Lied to Lawmakers, Warren Says

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Debt Bill Dampens Chance Puerto Rico Will Get Expanded Food Aid

Nutrition aid advocates and members of Congress are looking toward the farm bill that’s up for reauthorization this year to move Puerto Rico onto SNAP. But they worry an emphasis on belt-cinching in the GOP-controlled House will slow the momentum they’ve gathered. Puerto Ricans fear they’re vulnerable to a single disaster or economic downturn leaving more residents hungry.

Biden Vetoes Bill to Repeal Student-Debt Cancellation Plan

Biden vetoed a bill designed to kill the administration’s sweeping student-debt relief plan on Wednesday.

FBI Director Contempt Vote Removed From Schedule

Meeting to vote on holding FBI Director Christopher Wray in contempt of Congress is now removed from today’s schedule, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer says in statement.

Politics & Probes

Senate Democrats Demand Investigations Into PGA-LIV Golf Merger

Senate Democrats are demanding investigations into the surprise merger this week between Saudi-owned LIV Golf and the PGA Tour, citing the specter of a monopoly as well as accusations of human rights abuses within the kingdom.

Trump-District Democrat Selective About Party-Line Voting

The House members with the lowest party unity scores for the first five months of the current Congress represent districts where voters either elected a president opposite the lawmaker’s party or favor policies not generally aligned with the lawmaker’s party, an analysis by Bloomberg Government found. It strongly suggests those lawmakers know their best hope for returning to Washington after 2024 is showing an independent streak.

Trump Gets Target Letter in Special Counsel Documents Probe

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Florida’s $1 Trillion Prosperity Obscures Pitfalls for DeSantis

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Legal Perils Loom in Texas AG Ken Paxton’s Impeachment Trial

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What Else We’re Reading

Out of Control Fires Rage in Canada, Smoke Covers US Skies

Wildfires continue to ravage large tracts of forest in Canada, with little sign weather will provide much help to firefighters who are battling the blazes that sent smoke more than 1,000 miles southward and prompted air hazard alerts in cities on both sides of the US border.

  • Biden has directed his team to deploy all available federal firefighting assets that can rapidly assist in suppressing fires impacting Canadian and American communities, the White House says. Read more.

States Push to Expand Medicaid to Undocumented Immigrants

Several states, including California, Illinois, and New York, have implemented or moved forward on plans to expand Medicaid coverage to undocumented immigrants. Others, including Colorado and Washington, have extended clemency to undocumented immigrants looking to enroll in state-subsidized health plans.

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Google Asks US for Guidance on AI Patents

The US Patent and Trademark Office should create guidance on innovations that rely on AI, Google’s head of patent policy told senators Wednesday.

Sunak Engages in Baseball Diplomacy on Visit to Washington

Sunak wooed US business leaders and politicians as he engaged in baseball diplomacy the day before he’s to meet Biden at the White House.

To contact the reporter on this story: Giuseppe Macri in Washington at gmacri@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

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