What to Know in Washington: Ransomware Attacks Outpace US Effort

In the face of continued attacks against governments and the private sector, the US is hosting the International Counter Ransomware Summit that begins Monday.

The gathering comes as the pace and sophistication of ransomware attacks is increasing faster than the US’s ability keep up with efforts to disrupt and recover from them, a senior Biden administration official said Sunday. Pointing to a spike in attacks when Bitcoin became more widely used, the official called the threat borderless.

The summit brings together nearly three dozen countries to tackle the pernicious rise of one of the most challenging cybersecurity threats, which can paralyze hospitals and shut down major gas pipelines.

Firms like CrowdStrike Holdings, Mandiant and Microsoft will also be participating in the summit, the White House said. Read more.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

On Lawmakers’ Radars

GOP Leader Pledges China Investigation If Republicans Win House

House Republicans would set up a committee to investigate how Covid-19 spread from China and focus on military and economic threats posed by Beijing if the GOP wins control in Nov. 8 congressional elections, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said.

  • The US is waiting to see how leadership changes in China will affect the economic relationship between the countries, and will continue to defend American interests until Beijing undertakes reforms, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said. Read more.

Democrats Seek Justice Probe of Contested Pebble Mine in Alaska

House Democrats want the Justice Department to investigate allegations the former head of a group pushing a proposed copper and gold mine in Alaska lied to Congress about the size and scope of the project.

Klobuchar Says Tech Firms Should Be Liable for ‘Amplifying’ Hate

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said she doesn’t trust Elon Musk to run Twitter and called for legislation stripping tech companies of legal immunity when they “amplify” hate speech or election falsehoods.

  • Three days after Musk purchased Twitter, the tech billionaire posted and deleted a tweet spreading a baseless anti-LGBTQ conspiracy theory about the recent attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) in San Francisco. Davey Alba and Daniel Zuidijk have more.

GOP Tells Treasury to Save Global Tax Deal Files, Requests Info

Ways and Means Committee Republicans want Treasury to preserve documents and communications connected with the OECD-led global tax deal, as they press the department for details on how the measure will impact US revenue.

GOP Asks Yellen If IRS Funds Will Be Used for Bank Reporting

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee want clarification on whether any of the $80 billion in new funding given to the IRS would be used to monitor individual bank accounts.

2022 Elections

Join BGOV’s Final Pre-Election Webinar: Bloomberg Government’s election experts will provide their outlook for the 2022 midterms on a Nov. 1 webinar. They’ll offer their take on the issues driving the battle for control of Congress and the key races to watch in the election’s final week. Register here .

Biden to Travel to Florida and New Mexico For Campaign Events

President Joe Biden will travel to Florida Tuesday to participate in a political event for the Democratic National Committee, senatorial candidate Val Demings, and gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist. Then on Thursday, Biden will travel to New Mexico for a DNC rally.

  • When Biden sat for an interview for a panel of six young activists organized by NowThis News, it was intended as a back door for the White House into one of the fastest-growing social media platforms for politics and news, one the White House can’t access directly itself: TikTok Inc. Read more.
  • The president cast an early vote in the midterms as Democrats confront a tough path to retain control of their majorities in Congress. “I’m going to be all around the country” during the final campaign stretch before the Nov. 8 elections, Biden said Saturday after voting in Delaware. Read more.

One-Party Dominance Makes These Hopefuls Shoo-Ins for Congress

Texas Republican Wesley Hunt has such a lock on winning a House seat that he’s focusing on helping his party win in districts where the odds aren’t as stacked in the GOP’s favor.

Fetterman Knocks Oz as ‘Fraud’ Days After Rocky Debate

Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman lashed out at his GOP opponent Mehmet Oz at a fundraiser Friday, days after a rocky debate performance raised concerns about Democrats’ ability to retain control of the Senate.

Inflation, Economy Are Top of Mind for US Voters in Midterm Poll

Inflation and the economy are top-of-mind for US voters heading into the midterm elections, with a majority of registered Republicans prioritizing economic issues, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll.

More Politics & Probes

Biden Blames Violent Rhetoric for Attack on Pelosi’s Husband

Biden blamed political rhetoric including denial of the 2020 election result for the attack on Pelosi’s husband, saying “this talk produces the violence.”

  • Pelosi said her husband is continuing to recover after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured skull and serious injuries on his right arm and hands. Read more.
  • The attack at Pelosi’s home underscored the potential for violence from the escalating threats and misogyny directed at the California Democrat in recent years. Read more.

Some Trump Workers Won’t Talk to Prosecutors, DA Says

Some prosecution witnesses in the Trump Organization criminal fraud case won’t meet with the district attorney’s office, prosecutors said in court during jury selection.

Trump Legal Adviser Appeals Orders to Turn Over Jan. 6 Files

Former California law school dean John Eastman wants the US 9th Circuit of Appeals to review a trial judge’s orders requiring him to hand over his records to the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.

From the Supreme Court

Ivy-Educated Thomas and Sotomayor Divide on Affirmative Action

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas overcame humble beginnings and racial discrimination before earning elite educations, but they bring very different views about race-conscious college admissions to the Supreme Court as it weighs affirmative action challenges.

Veterans, First Time Advocate Arguing Fate of Affirmative Action

The six advocates arguing at the Supreme Court over the future of affirmative action in college admissions include high court veterans, a first timer, and attorneys of color.

Around the Administration


  • Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will host local children of firefighters, nurses, police officers, and members of the National Guard at the White House for trick-or-treating this evening.

Russia Suspends Ukraine Grain Export Deal; Biden Slams Move

Russia pulled out of a deal to allow Ukrainian grain exports from Black Sea ports after drone strikes against its naval vessels, a move that threatens to exacerbate the global food crisis and send prices soaring again. “It’s purely outrageous,” Biden told reporters in Delaware. “It’s going to increase starvation.”

  • Poland chose US-based Westinghouse Electric to build its first nuclear power plant, tightening relations with Washington in the wake of Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. Read more

New England Utility Asks Biden to Declare Energy Emergency

New England’s largest utility is imploring Biden to start preparing emergency measures to prevent a potential wintertime natural gas shortage.

White House Discusses Mississippi River Drought Woes With CEOs

The Biden administration held a virtual meeting with industry leaders on Friday about the historically low water levels along the Mississippi River, the White House said in a statement.

Meta’s Zuckerberg to Testify in FTC Merger Challenge to VR Deal

Meta Platforms said it plans to call CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify in the Federal Trade Commission’s challenge to its proposed acquisition of a virtual reality startup.

CFTC Poised to Deny US Political Gambling Before November Polls

The top US derivatives regulator is poised to deny a plan that could let Americans bet on politics ahead of next month’s elections.

Banks Seek Guidance on Who’s Liable for Open Banking Data Fraud

Banks are voicing concerns that the CFPB’s plans for consumer data sharing with fintech upstarts failed to spell out how to spread liability in the event of fraud.

Opportunity Zone Tracking Difficult Amid Federal, State Overlap

States piggybacking on the federal opportunity zone program have poured millions into tax incentives to spur the construction of apartment buildings, boutique hotels, and commercial real estate projects.

Extended Medicaid Coverage for New Mothers Embraced by States

More than 30 states are working with the Biden administration to ensure new mothers have extended health coverage once the public health emergency ends.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giuseppe Macri at gmacri@bgov.com; Michaela Ross at mross@bgov.com