Republicans pick their next speaker – Clinton server faced hacking threats – Politico

10/08/15 08:22 AM EDT

By Lauren French ( & @laurennfrench)

Driving the day: Republican pick their new speaker. The GOP conference will meet at noon today to elect their next speaker. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is expected to win the secret ballot but the real question is can the California Republican get to 218? Yesterday’s endorsement of Florida Rep. Daniel Webster by the House Freedom Caucus hints to no – at least not yet. Thursday’s vote is far from final as the speaker formally needs to be elected on the House Floor – a vote that will take place at the end of the month. If McCarthy wins today he’ll have three weeks to prove to the hardline conservatives that he’s taking seriously their concerns to change how the House is run. Also in the mix is Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who jumped into the race just last Sunday. Stay tuned to at noon for updates and results.

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Kevin McCarthy is torn between the right and the far right. Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan report, “The House Freedom Caucus wants it all. The group — 40 strong — wants Rep. Kevin McCarthy to commit to giving its members prime committee seats. They want campaign cash from the National Republican Congressional Committee. They want a bigger say for rank-and-file members in picking committee chairmen. And they want more involvement in the chamber’s decision-making process. McCarthy, the California Republican vying to become House speaker, is all in favor of being more inclusive. He has relayed that message to the group’s members in countless conversations over the past few weeks. But it wasn’t enough. On Wednesday, the group rejected McCarthy, instead endorsing long-shot candidate Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) for the speakership.”

Republicans accuses Obama of playing politics with the debt ceiling. Burgess Everett has the story, “Capitol Hill Republicans believe the Obama administration may be manipulating the deadline for raising the debt limit as a way to gain the upper hand in this fall’s high-stakes budget negotiations. The Treasury Department has already issued a stark warning to Congress that Nov. 5 is the date the government will run out of money — and risk a potentially catastrophic default — unless lawmakers raise the nation’s borrowing limit. But in a series of interviews, GOP senators running the ideological gamut from moderates to fiscal conservatives said they think there’s significantly more wiggle room than the Obama administration is letting on. They’d always expected to have to act by the end of the year, but an accelerated debt deadline following so quickly on the heels of an averted government shutdown is drawing lots of GOP suspicion.”

Clinton server faced hacking threats. From the AP’s Ken Dilanian, Jack Gillum and Stephen Braun, “Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private email server, which stored some 55,000 pages of emails from her time as secretary of state, was the subject of attempted cyberattacks originating in China, South Korea and Germany after she left office in early 2013, according to a congressional document obtained by The Associated Press. While the attempts were apparently blocked by a “threat monitoring” product that Clinton’s employees connected to her network in October 2013, there was a period of more than three months from June to October 2013 when that protection had not been installed, according to a letter from Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.”

Senate Democrats unveil gun control package. Burgess and Seung Min Kim have the report, “Senate Democrats will begin a campaign to combat gun violence on Thursday as party leaders prepare to unveil a sweeping package of legislation that builds on their failed 2013 attempt to require universal background checks for gun purchases, according to senators and aides. The goal is to have the entire caucus, minus perhaps one centrist Democrat, backing a legislative package aimed at preventing guns from ending up in the hands of the wrong people. In addition to background checks, Democrats are aiming to add new money for the Justice Department’s existing background checks system that has recently faltered and include provisions to prevent domestic abusers from buying guns, sources familiar with the package said. The measure is also expected to include a proposal from Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) intended to cut down on gun trafficking, sources said.”

Happy Thursday, October 9, 2015, and welcome to the Huddle, your play-by-play guide of everything happening on the Hill. It’s going to be a day so load up on coffee early and keep your eyes open. You can reach me with comments, concerns and tips at or @laurennfrench.

TODAY IN CONGRESS: The Senate will vote at 12:45 p.m. The House has votes scheduled but their timing is TBD.

AROUND THE HILL: Reps. Bob Goodlatte and John Conyers will unveil criminal justice reform legislation in HVC-114 at 9:15 a.m. At 10:45 a.m., Democratic Leader Pelosi will hold her weekly news conference in HVC-114. At 4:00 p.m., House GOP Conference members will discuss an oil ban at the House Triangle. At noon, the GOP conference will hold their speaker election in 1100 Longworth.

** A message from the National Association of Manufacturers: Manufacturers need lawmakers to support tax policies that encourage investment, allowing job creators to invest more money into new equipment and machinery to grow and compete. Congress must renew these incentives now and empower manufacturers to lead our nation to sustained economic growth. Learn more at **

Conservatives back Webster, warn McCarthy. Anna Palmer and I report, “The House Freedom Caucus sent a shot across Kevin McCarthy’s bow on Wednesday night. The group of hard-line conservatives passed on endorsing the California Republican in favor of a long-shot bid from Rep. Daniel Webster — in hopes of securing fundamental changes to how the House operates. The move, so far, affects McCarthy only during an internal Republican Conference vote on Thursday — as members of the group could still end up voting for McCarthy in a few weeks when the entire House votes to elect a new speaker. But it’s a strong signal that conservatives aren’t happy with McCarthy’s campaign to this point, and they’re going to try and move him closer to the far-right flank of the party — the same group that rebelled against GOP leadership and helped force Speaker John Boehner’s retirement.”

Sanctuary cities vote planned. Seung Min and Burgess report, “Senate Republicans are planning a vote on a controversial immigration bill later this month punishing so-called sanctuary cities that give safe harbor to immigrants in the U.S. illegally — months after authorities say an undocumented immigrant shot and killed a young woman on a San Francisco pier. The legislation from Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) would target sanctuary cities — localities where local law enforcement officials decline to cooperate with federal immigration authorities — by withholding key federal grants and increasing prison sentences for those who try to re-enter the United States after being deported.”

Congress investigating U.S. intelligence lapses on Russia. Fox News reports, “U.S. lawmakers have begun investigating possible intelligence lapses related to Russia’s ongoing military action in Syria, it was reported early Thursday, as NATO defense ministers held a crisis meeting in Brussels. Reuters, citing congressional officials and other official sources, reported that the House and Senate intelligence committees were looking at whether the intelligence community misjudged or overlooked signs of Moscow’s action, which began in earnest Sept. 30 with airstrikes supporting Syrian government forces.”

Reid sues over injury. The AP reports, “Senator Harry Reid is suing a company that makes and markets a flexible exercise band that he says broke or slipped from his hand during an arm-strengthening routine on New Year’s Day, causing the veteran lawmaker to fall and sustain face, rib and eye injuries. Mr. Reid, the Senate minority leader from Nevada, and his wife, Landra Gould, are seeking more than $50,000 in damages from the elastic band’s makers, Hygenic Intangible Property Holding Co., The Hygenic Corp. and Performance Health LLC.”

Pols take bets over baseball playoffs. Javier Panzar for the LA Times, “Major League Baseball playoffs are here. This means one thing above all else: an onslaught of quirky sports bets between politicians from competing cities. With the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets set to meet Friday at Dodger Stadium for Game 1 of the National League Division Series, the latest workplace wager is between House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles and his deputy, Rep. Joe Crowley of New York…. What are they wagering? A meal, of course. ”

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WEDNESDAY’S ANSWER. Tuppy Dougherty was the first to name Fredrick Sanger as the scientist who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry twice.

TODAY’S TRIVIA – Continuing the theme of Nobel Prize questions. The ex-wife of one Nobel Prize winner put a clause in their divorce settlement that she would receive 50 percent of any award money. Who was the winner, what did he win for and what is his wife’s name? The first to email with the correct answer gets a mention in tomorrow’s Huddle.

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** A message from the National Association of Manufacturers: Our economy is not where it needs to be, and uncertainty is holding back greater investment in the economy. Increased investment by the manufacturing sector will make a difference. Investment incentives that allow companies to immediately write off at least 50 percent (or 100 percent for small businesses) of the cost of capital equipment and provide relief for businesses that continue to struggle have made a difference in recent years. These incentives expired at the end of 2014. Reviving and extending these important provisions will promote the investment needed to jump-start our economy into high gear.

To create jobs and grow the economy, manufacturers need Congress to act now. By reducing the tax cost of investment, these incentives allow job creators to invest more money into new equipment and machinery to grow, expand and compete. Congress must act to empower manufacturers to lead our nation to sustained economic growth. Learn more at **


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