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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s health woes risk spilling into the 2024 race, where Republicans face new questions about whether their top tactician and fundraising magnet is up to the task of reclaiming the majority.
The 81-year-old set out this year to block the type of far-right candidates backed by former President Donald Trump who, he says, cost Republicans the Senate in 2022.
McConnell’s (R-Ky.) latest episode — a second public freeze in as many months — comes as he needs to wrestle once again with potentially messy Senate primaries in key states such as Ohio, Nevada, Arizona, and West Virginia.
The conservative National Review called in an editorial this week for McConnell to step down, saying he has “noticeably aged” in recent months and the two recent incidents affect “his ability to function as the leading representative of his caucus.”
A McConnell ally said the leader has maintained his normal political schedule including phone calls, meetings, and fundraisers since returning to work April 17 following a concussion that sidelined him for weeks. On Thursday alone, he made fundraising calls that brought in over $150,000, a person familiar with McConnell’s efforts said.
Additionally, others point to a fundraiser McConnell attended just hours after his latest episode as evidence that he’s up to the job.
But McConnell’s importance to the party machine, coupled with his visibly increased frailty, begs the question: Can the party’s quarterback maintain through next November the type of grueling campaign pace that has been his hallmark for nearly two decades? Laura Litvan and Steven T. Dennis take a closer look.
- Around 3:30 p.m., President Joe Biden awards the Medal of Honor to Captain Larry L. Taylor, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry.
- At 1 p.m., Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre delivers a briefing alongside National Security Advisory Jake Sullivan.
- The Senate is back this afternoon to vote on a Federal Reserve nominee.
- House lawmakers return for floor votes next week.
Congress’ Fall Agenda Takes Shape
Lawmakers are gearing up for a spending showdown this fall as House conservative Republicans oppose a “clean” short-term funding measure and Biden’s requests for emergency supplemental aid.
A little-noticed provision in an annual defense bill would resurrect Trump’s goal to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.
Congressional tax writers return to Washington this week with plans to consider a Taiwan tax bill, scrutinize the global tax deal, and hash out IRS funding.
Ways and Means Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.) criticized the global tax deal during a meeting with OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann, expressing concerns that some countries could abuse the system and provisions such as the 15% global minimum tax.
After two of the biggest years for hiring temporary foreign workers in the US, lawmakers aim to use a Homeland Security Department spending bill to boost businesses seeking to bring in workers from abroad.
Biden’s Global Travel Itinerary
Biden will travel to New Delhi, India to attend the G-20 Leaders’ Summit on Sept. 7. While there, Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral talks on Sept. 8.
- First Lady Jill Biden tested positive for Covid-19 Monday while the president was administered a test that evening and was negative. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the president is reconsidering his travel. Read more.
Biden said he was disappointed about reports his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, plans to skip the G-20 summit. If Xi doesn’t travel to Delhi, he and Biden may have an opportunity to meet in November, when the US hosts the APEC conference in San Francisco.
Biden will skip the annual summit hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations starting today in Jakarta, sending Vice President Harris in his place and prompting former top diplomats in the region to question the bloc’s diminishing influence and its neutral strategy.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet President Vladimir Putin during the annual Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok as the US warns Pyongyang may provide Moscow arms for its war on Ukraine.
Politics, Probes, and 2024
Biden contrasted his policies with those of Trump in a Labor Day pitch to union workers, who form a critical part of his electoral bloc but remain skeptical about his stewardship of the economy.
Lack of federal regulation, limited litigation strategies, and potential action from the Federal Election Commission are creating a volatile legal landscape for political lawyers, who are gearing up for a contentious election cycle featuring a new generation of attack ads — AI-generated deepfake clips of their clients.
Trump is testing a strategy that may soon become a necessity as his four criminal cases threaten to take him off the campaign trail starting in late January or February: relying on Republican surrogates to make his case to voters.
What Else We’re Reading
Drugmakers are poised to change their lawsuits and bring new ones against the Biden administration now that the list of the first 10 drugs subject to Medicare price negotiations is out.
Biden said he did not think a threatened strike by the United Auto Workers union against Detroit’s big three legacy carmakers would take place, as the two sides struggle to reach a new contract.
Biden surveyed damage from Hurricane Idalia without meeting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, even after the two potential 2024 rivals sought to show they can put aside politics and cooperate in the disaster response.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at email@example.com