Schumer celebrates expanded Senate majority with Georgia win: ‘It’s big’
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer took an emotional victory lap on Wednesday after Democrats won the Georgia runoff and secured an outright majority with a 51st Senate seat.
The New York Democrat said he was “brought to tears last night” watching Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., in his re-election victory speech, talk about how his mother went from picking cotton and tobacco as a teenager to picking her son to be a U.S. senator. He showered praise on Warnock for an “inspiring” campaign.
“The practical effects of the 51-seat majority: It’s big. It’s significant. We can breathe a sigh of relief,” Schumer told reporters at a news conference in Washington.
“Obviously judges and nominees will be a lot easier to put on the bench,” he added. “It’s going to be a lot quicker, swifter and easier.”
Warnock’s Georgia win concludes a disastrous showing for Republicans in 2022 Senate races, a cycle they began with high hopes of riding a backlash to Democratic President Joe Biden and picking up a swath of seats. But they failed to flip a single seat, falling short in key states like Arizona and Nevada, while losing a seat they held in Pennsylvania.
Schumer attributed it to several factors. He said the Democrats had “great candidates.” He credited legislative wins. He said Americans “began to realize how far-right these MAGA Republicans had gone” as they saw some Republicans struggle to condemn “hooligans” and “insurrectionists” who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The result “shows that Americans believe in democracy,” Schumer said. “The roots of democracy are deep. This 200-plus-year noble experiment is not a fluke. It’s hanging around for a long time, as long as we fight for it, and we’ll continue to do that.”
Still, the GOP narrowly won control of the House, which will sharply limit Biden’s legislative ambitions for the next two years.
Last month, after a poor general election showing by the GOP and before the Georgia runoff, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans failed with moderate voters.
“We underperformed among voters who did not like President Biden’s performance and among independents and among moderate Republicans, who looked at us and concluded: Too much chaos, too much negativity,” McConnell told reporters on Nov. 16. “And we turned off a lot of these centrist voters, which is why I never predicted a red wave to begin with.”
The Georgia win means Democrats can dispense with the power-sharing accord they struck with Senate Republicans when the Senate was evenly divided, 50-50. That means Democrats will gain a clear majority on committees and avoid having to rely on GOP support to issue subpoenas. It also means less dependence on Vice President Kamala Harris for tie-breaking votes.
“It’s going to mean that our committees will have greater oversight ability, subpoena power,” Schumer said. “And people say, ‘Well, it’s the Biden administration.’ Oh, no, no, no. Subpoena power can deal with corporate corruption and inequities and other problems throughout the country.”
Schumer declined to get more specific on how Democrats intend to use that subpoena power, saying senators will meet to discuss it.
He also weighed in on dealing with a Republican-controlled House, calling on newly elected lawmakers in swing districts in states like New York to be moderate.
“A good number of the non-MAGA Republicans — including some who won in New York, I know a few of them pretty well and worked with them when they were in other offices — realize that if they follow a MAGA direction, they’re going to lose, And so I think there’s doing to be a real imperative for them to work with us.”
The majority leader, who is set to keep his post for at least two more years, admitted he initially wanted someone else to run in Georgia.
“Four years ago, I began recruiting candidates in Georgia,” Schumer said. “And my first choice was obviously my friend Stacey Abrams. She said, ‘I don’t want to run for Senate. But there’s someone as good as me, if not better: Raphael Warnock.’”
Looking ahead to the 2024 election, when Democrats will have a much tougher map with more seats to defend, Schumer gave a vote of confidence to Biden as an asset to his party’s Senate hopes.
“I think President Biden being on the ticket — if he runs, and if he runs I’ll support him — would be very, very helpful,” Schumer said.
দুর্দান্ত জয়ে ফাইনাল নিশ্চিত হওয়ার পরে, ‘এগিয়ে যাও আর্জেন্টিনা, হৃদয় নিংড়ানো ভালোবাসা’ মেসির স্ত্রী
আর্জেন্টিনা সেমিফাইনালে ওঠার পরও এমন একটা ছবি পোস্ট করেছিলেন আন্তোনেলা রোকুজ্জো। তিন সন্তানকে নিয়ে হাসিখুশি একটা ছবি নিজের ইনস্টাগ্রাম অ্যাকাউন্টে পোস্ট করে লেখেন,‘সেমিতে! এগিয়ে যাও আর্জেন্টিনা, হৃদয় নিংড়ানো ভালোবাসা।’ কাতার বিশ্বকাপজুড়েই এমন সব ছবি পোস্ট করেছেন রোকুজ্জো। মাঠে তাঁর জীবনসঙ্গী লিওনেল মেসি লড়াই করেন আর্জেন্টিনার জন্য।
আর রোকুজ্জো আর্জেন্টিনার জার্সি পরে গ্যালারি থেকে সমর্থন দেন তাঁর দেশ আর্জেন্টিনাকে, মেসিকে। কাল রাতে আর্জেন্টিনা ফাইনালে ওঠার পরও এমন একটি পোস্ট করেন রোকুজ্জো। লুসাইল
স্টেডিয়ামে কাল রাতে সেমিফাইনালে ক্রোয়েশিয়াকে ৩–০ গোলে হারিয়ে ফাইনালে ওঠে আর্জেন্টিনা। নিজে একটি গোল করার পাশাপাশি হুলিয়ান আলভারেজকে দিয়েও গোল করান মেসি।
আর জোড়া গোল করেন আলভারেজ। দুর্দান্ত এই জয়ের পর মনের আনন্দ আর ধরে রাখতে পারেননি রোকুজ্জো। তিন সন্তান থিয়াগো, মাতেও ও চিরোকে নিয়ে লুসাইলের গ্যালারিতে একটি ছবি তোলেন।
সেই ছবি ইনস্টাগ্রামে পোস্ট করে রোকুজ্জো লিখেছেন, ‘এই আনন্দ ভাষায় প্রকাশ করতে পারব না। কারণ, কেউ তা বুঝবেন না। এগিয়ে যাও আর্জেন্টিনা, এগিয়ে যাও মেসি।’ কাতার বিশ্বকাপে এ পর্যন্ত ৫ গোল করেছেন মেসি। গোল বানিয়েও দিয়েছেন। আর্জেন্টিনার ফাইনালে ওঠায় তাঁর অবদান এক কথায় অনবদ্য।
কাল রাতে ফাইনালে ওঠার পর পরিবারকেও স্মরণ করেছেন এই তারকা, ‘পরিবারের কথা মনে পড়ছে। তারা সব সময় পাশে ছিল। ভালো ও খারাপ—দুই রকম সময়ই পার করেছি। তবে এখনকার সময়টা উপভোগের।’ রোজারিওতে জন্ম নেওয়া রোকুজ্জোর সঙ্গে মেসির প্রথম দেখা ১৯৯৬ সালে। তাঁর কাজিন ও ফুটবলার লুকাস স্কাগলিয়া মেসির শৈশবের বন্ধু। স্কাগলিয়ার মাধ্যমেই রোকুজ্জোর সঙ্গে পরিচয় ঘটে মেসির।
২০০৭ সালে রোকুজ্জোর খুব কাছের এক বন্ধু গাড়ি দুর্ঘটনায় মারা যাওয়ার পর তাঁকে মানসিকভাবে সমর্থন দিতে বার্সেলোনা থেকে আর্জেন্টিনায় ফিরে যান মেসি। সেখান থেকে ফেরার পর প্রণয়ে জড়িয়ে পড়েন দুজন। ২০০৯ সালের জানুয়ারিতে এক সাক্ষাৎকারে মেসি প্রথম স্বীকার করেন, রোকুজ্জোর সঙ্গে তাঁর প্রেমের সম্পর্ক চলছে। ২০১৭ সালে রোজারিওতে বিয়ের পিঁড়িতে বসেন দুজন।
Conservative firebrand launches another bid to block McCarthy from becoming speaker
Three weeks ago, conservative Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., was defeated by GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy in their party’s private, internal vote for speaker of the House.
On Tuesday, Biggs said he’s launching yet another challenge to McCarthy for speaker — this time in the public vote on the House floor set for Jan. 3.
“I’m running for Speaker to break the establishment,” Biggs tweeted, linking to an op-ed in the conservative Daily Caller outlining his opposition to McCarthy. “Kevin McCarthy was created by, elevated by, and maintained by the establishment.”
The point of Biggs’s second bid for speaker in as many months is not to win the coveted gavel — the former leader of the far-right House Freedom Caucus has zero chance of winning over moderate Republicans who have clashed with his group in the past.
Instead, Biggs is aiming to give his colleagues an alternative to vote for on the House floor and to deny McCarthy the 218 GOP votes he needs to secure the speaker’s gavel during the first vote of the new Congress next month.
“People are thrilled that Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reign of Leftist extremism is ending. The question is whether we will be treated to the status quo that will move us along the same path, though perhaps more slowly,” Biggs wrote in his op-ed. “Will we elect an establishment Republican as the speaker — think Paul Ryan, or in this case, Ryan’s right-hand man, Kevin McCarthy.”
Republicans flipped control of the lower chamber in the November midterms, but because they will hold just a razor-thin margin over the Democrats, McCarthy can only afford to lose four GOP votes during the Jan. 3 roll call.
Democrats are expected to back their own leader for speaker, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., and five conservative lawmakers are already on record saying they will not vote for McCarthy under any circumstance.
A McCarthy spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But allies to the California Republican have vowed that McCarthy will take the fight to the House floor rather than quit his quest to be speaker like he did in 2015, when the same group of conservative rabble-rousers threatened his first speaker bid.
If Biggs and other conservatives can successfully block McCarthy from 218 votes — more than half of the total 435 seats in the chamber — it could throw the House into complete chaos. Because House business is essentially at a standstill until lawmakers elect a speaker, members will need to vote again and again until someone secures a simple majority of the votes.
The last time a speaker vote went multiple ballots was exactly a century ago. During a two-month stretch before the Civil War, the House was deadlocked on a choice for speaker, eventually holding 133 votes before settling on Rep. Nathaniel Banks of Massachusetts.
Some moderate GOP McCarthy allies say it would never reach that point. Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., told NBC News last month that to avoid potential chaos he would be willing to cross the aisle and team up with Democrats to elect a consensus moderate GOP speaker.
Bacon repeated his threat to conservative “cowboys” during an appearance on C-SPAN on Tuesday, saying they “divide the team, weaken the team” at a time Republicans need to be unified.
“I’m one of the folks who are playing hardball back. We’re not going to be held hostage by a small number of people that’s going to hurt the team,” Bacon said. “So we’re going to stand up to this.”
In his op-ed Tuesday, Biggs attacked McCarthy for his talks with the White House for a year-end spending package that would “bloat our national debt and extend until next October.” By striking a deal before Republicans assume the House majority in January, Biggs argued, “Leader McCarthy is about to eviscerate our leverage for the balance of the Biden presidency.”
A past chairman of the Donald Trump-aligned Freedom Caucus, Biggs also knocked McCarthy for proposing a resolution to censure the former president for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and for initially defending then-GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., after she voted to impeach Trump.
McCarthy later called on Cheney to resign from leadership and backed her Trump-endorsed primary challenger, Harriet Hageman, who ousted Cheney in the GOP primary in August.
“Here we have an establishment candidate for speaker of the House who circulated a censure resolution of Trump and protected Liz Cheney when the majority of the Republicans wanted to remove her as their leader,” Biggs wrote of McCarthy. “It wasn’t until she personally embarrassed him that McCarthy supported her dismissal.”
Another Freedom Caucus member and McCarthy foe, Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., has said it’s time for Republicans to turn the page on McCarthy and move on to other candidates.
“It’s in the best interest of the Congress and the country for [colleagues] to come out publicly to illustrate or demonstrate that he’s not going to be speaker,” Good told reporters. “He doesn’t have the votes to get to 218; he’s not going to get to 218.
“The number of public hard ‘no’ votes is going to just continue to increase,” he said.
Jan. 6 committee chair expects panel to issue criminal referrals to DOJ
The chairman of the House Jan. 6 committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., expects the panel to make criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, he told reporters Tuesday.
“We have made decisions on criminal referrals,” Thompson said.
Thompson said the panel has yet to formalize its decision. He also declined to say which individuals would be subject to the referrals or how many he expects the panel to make.
Thompson later told reporters that he thinks there is “general agreement” on the panel that referrals will be issued.
“But we’re not there yet,” he said. “I wish I could tell you one, two, three, four but that’s all still being discussed.”
In a statement to NBC News, a spokesperson for the committee said it “has determined that referrals to outside entities should be considered as a final part of its work,” and that it will make “decisions about specifics in the days ahead.”
Committee members previously signaled the possibility of sending multiple criminal referrals to the Justice Department involving former President Donald Trump and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results based on evidence they’ve uncovered investigating the events surrounding the attack on the Capitol.
Last July, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the vice chair and one of two Republicans on the panel, told ABC News that the committee would make a decision about whether to alert the Justice Department to possible crimes it has uncovered.
“The Justice Department doesn’t have to wait for the committee to make a criminal referral, and there could be more than one criminal referral,” she said on ABC’s “This Week” in July.
Cheney pointed to one of the committee’s public hearings in June that featured explosive testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, former top aide to Trump’s White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows. In her testimony, Hutchinson detailed outbursts of rage from Trump as he urged his supporters to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6, which included demanding his aides get rid of magnetometers near the White House before he addressed a “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse.
“It’s very chilling, and I think we will, you know, continue to present to the American people what we found,” Cheney said at the time, referring to details Hutchinson shared in her testimony.
The panel has been conflicted over whether to refer its findings to the Justice Department. Thompson told reporters in June that “we do not have authority” when asked whether the panel ruled out potential criminal charges for the former president.
The panel voted unanimously to subpoena Trump during its ninth public hearing, its last before the November midterm election. It subpoenaed Trump for any communications he may have had regarding extremist groups involved in the Capitol attack and any attempts in the past year to contact witnesses testifying before the committee.
The former president sued the committee last month in an effort to block the subpoena, arguing that the panel lacked the constitutional authority to issue it. Trump’s lawyers also argued that the subpoena’s purpose is “partisan, not legislative — to punish President Trump, and to score political points.”
Trump’s lawsuit came days before he announced his 2024 presidential bid.