Congress on edge as nation creeps closer to war with Iran

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NEW PLAN ON IRAN -- Iran’s missile strikes on U.S. army bases in Iraq have scrambled plans on Capitol Hill to respond to the escalating battle in the Middle East. Home Democrats had been planning to vote on a resolution this week to limit President Donald Trump’s authority to go to warfare with Iran, in an effort to repudiate Trump’s determination to kill a prime Iranian army figure last week.

But now, Democrats say they are more likely to pause — if not abandon — their plans for a struggle powers resolution. “This is one thing that we've to think about critically and thoughtfully and appropriately and we will do this,” stated House Majority Chief Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Even earlier than Tuesday night time’s counter-attack by the Iranians, Democrats had been struggling to agree on precisely what the resolution would appear to be — underscoring the tough politics of conflict. Sarah, Heather and Bres with extra: https://politi.co/2tHDzIh.

Shortly after information of the missile strikes broke, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence began phoning up congressional leaders in each events to temporary them on the state of affairs. Home and Senate members are additionally anticipated to receive top-secret briefings from key administration officers this afternoon on Iran, which have been scheduled before the Iranian counter-attack.

A sampling of the congressional reactions: GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.), a leading defense hawk, stated the U.S. should retaliate. “The Iranians have been warned,” stated Cheney. “The president has been very clear that an attack on our bases can be taken critically. And there should be a retaliation.” However other lawmakers faulted Trump, blaming him for an “impulsive” choice final week to take out Iran’s Qassem Soleimani. “I worry we’re far from the top of it,” stated Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), a former senior State Department official. Nahal Toosi and Andrew have the newest: https://politi.co/2N68Njo.

And a sampling of another reactions: “Iran simply launched some missiles? Shits officialy Popin Off… Wow! Smh,” tweeted rapper, actor and Military veteran Ice-T.

Related reads: “A Strategy for the Mideast That Has Even Trump’s Allies Scratching Their Heads,” by the NYT’s Peter Baker: https://nyti.ms/2sUGkpG; and “'This was an act of warfare': Lawmakers react to Iran's missile strike on US army bases,” by way of USA TODAY’s Savannah Behrmann and Jeanine Santucci: http://bit.ly/2uuqWAZ.



IMPEACHMENT IMPASSE -- Neither Democrats nor Republicans are budging within the impeachment battle. Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is getting ready to cross a partisan guidelines package deal without Democratic votes, after locking down sufficient help from inside his personal convention for a technique that sets aside the query of witnesses until later in the trial. “We've the votes as soon as the impeachment trial has begun to move a decision primarily the identical — very comparable — to the 100 to nothing vote in the Clinton trial,” McConnell informed reporters. More from Burgess and Marianne: https://politi.co/36zKHVZ.

The GOP unity, nevertheless, wasn’t essentially assured — especially after former national safety adviser John Bolton threw a curveball into the trial by saying he was prepared to testify if subpoenaed. But McConnell had spent months cultivating his caucus to get thus far, report Bres and Burgess, by way of shows to his members and conversations with potential swing voters like Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine). The backstory on how McConnell scored an early victory in the battle: https://politi.co/2QOxce8.

Across the Capitol … Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is still refusing to submit articles of impeachment to the Senate — or identify impeachment managers — till she sees the principles package deal in writing. It's unclear what leverage, if any, she has left. “It is essential that he immediately publish this decision, in order that, as I've stated earlier than, we will see the world during which we can be collaborating, appoint managers and transmit the articles to the Senate,” Pelosi wrote in a “Pricey Colleague” letter yesterday evening, after huddling together with her leadership workforce. Meaning the timing of a trial continues to be a thriller on Capitol Hill. Sarah and Heather with the newest: https://politi.co/39Ni6hV.

Associated: “Trump’s House warriors possible sidelined in Senate trial,” from your Huddle host and Anita Kumar: https://politi.co/2ul8iv9; and “The mood on Capitol Hill: Let's just get to the Senate impeachment trial,” by CNN’s Lauren Fox: https://cnn.it/2ZYKHfA.

HAPPY HUMP DAY! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all issues Capitol Hill, on this Wednesday, January Eight, where this photograph of a shoeless man climbing into a trash bin outdoors the Capitol seems like a metaphor for the information cycle right now (h/t Invoice Clark.)

TUESDAY’S MOST CLICKED: The Philadelphia Inquirer’s obit on former Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick was the large winner.


GOING BACK TO CALI -- Rep. Duncan Hunter will finally resign from Congress subsequent week, more than a month after the California Republican pleaded guilty to misusing marketing campaign funds. The delay in his departure signifies that California Gov. Gavin Newsom is not required to call a particular election to exchange him, because it’s now an election yr. The San Diego seat will probably be a lot simpler for Republicans to hold on to with Hunter out of the best way. “It has been an honor to serve the individuals of California’s 50th district, and I tremendously respect the belief they have put in me over these last 11 years,” Hunter wrote in his resignation letter.

The Hunters have been a political dynasty in Southern California politics for decades. Hunter or his father, Duncan Hunter Sr., have held that San Diego seat since 1980. When he first came to Congress in 2009, Hunter, a Marine Corps veteran, was seen as a rising star in the GOP. But he developed a fame on Capitol Hill for consuming closely and carousing. After being arrested for misusing marketing campaign funds, Hunter — one in every of Trump’s earliest congressional supporters — went on to win reelection in the 2018 midterms. Extra from your Huddle host: https://politi.co/2uusniR.

Related: “Duncan Hunter will in all probability get his congressional pension regardless of responsible plea,” by Jerry Zremski of the Los Angeles Occasions: https://lat.ms/2N80RxZ.

PACT ON TRACK -- A Senate panel on Tuesday simply permitted Trump’s new trade pact with Mexico and Canada, sending the deal to the floor — the final step before it is ratified by Congress. However the trade settlement, which handed the House late final month, nonetheless confronted some criticism from lawmakers who fear it is going to harm U.S. companies. “We’ve slapped on all these provisions designed to limit commerce and funding,” stated Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), certainly one of three “no” votes on the committee. “It’s the primary time we’re ever going to go backwards on a trade settlement.”

The commerce deal will provide a serious increase for Trump, who campaigned on revamping the North American Free Trade Settlement. However it can also have an upside for Democrats: displaying they will legislate even while they impeach the president. Many average Democrats in swing districts had been determined for a policy win — and a few much-needed certainty – after a yr of uncertainty within the markets. The newest from WSJ’s William Mauldin: https://on.wsj.com/2ZZxKlE.

Associated: “Senate Passage of USMCA Faces Delay, Even With Committee Passage,” per Bloomberg’s Erik Wasson: https://bloom.bg/2s1qk4O.


IS THERE HOPE FOR HEALTH CARE? -- Lawmakers in each events need to minimize huge offers on drug pricing and surprise medical payments this yr — however they're about to run into a 2020 buzzsaw. The politics of a presidential election yr (and not to point out a attainable conflict with Iran) are threatening to complicate the probabilities of any bipartisan breakthroughs on well being care, despite the fact that it’s one of many prime priorities for voters. “If we could not come to a consensus in 2019, it is exhausting to think about for 2020," stated freshman Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.).

The first check is just across the nook, write Adam Cancryn and Alice Miranda Ollstein, when a bipartisan group of House lawmakers will sit down and attempt to reach an settlement on shock medical payments. While the thought has widespread help on Capitol Hill, the trouble stalled last yr amid fierce battles in the business over who would pay for a fix. “The settlement is that something must be completed about every of these issues, however there's nice debate about what it is,” stated Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas). “[2020] is probably extra marketing campaign speeches than critical bipartisan policymaking.” The dispatch: https://politi.co/39Sofcq.

Related: “GOP Sen. Grassley turns to House Speaker Pelosi for assist promoting his bipartisan drug pricing invoice,” by CNBC’s Berkeley Lovelace Jr.: https://cnb.cx/39RBVo8.


YOU *CAN* SIT WITH US -- In a brand new interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, former Vice President Joe Biden insisted that there's room within the Democratic social gathering for each his centrist, pragmatic views and members of the progressive squad like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). "This tent is lots massive for each of us,” he stated. Biden has managed to cling on to his frontrunner status in the 2020 race, despite some grumbling on the left. However he should unite Democrats — and energize the young, liberal wing of the get together — if he clinches the nomination.

Biden's feedback are available response to Ocasio-Cortez lamenting that Democrats' tent could be “too massive” typically. “Oh God,” Ocasio-Cortez informed New York Journal. “In another nation, Joe Biden and I might not be in the same celebration, but in America, we're.” The liberal celebrity officially endorsed Bernie Sanders after his coronary heart attack final yr and has been stumping for him on the campaign path, providing the Vermont senator a serious increase and helping his outreach to young individuals, female voters and minorities.




Former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has joined the Mercury Public Affairs lobbying agency.

Dan Keniry is now head of federal authorities affairs at Anheuser-Busch. He previously was employees director of the Home Price range Committee for rating member Steve Womack (R-Ark.).

Becky Relic has been named the new Republican employees director for the Home Finances Committee. Relic, now the deputy employees director, will take over next week for Keniry.

Evan Lukaske is now communications director for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). He beforehand was senior communications advisor and national press secretary for Gillibrand's presidential campaign.


The House gavels in at 10 a.m., with first and final votes anticipated between three:45 and 4:45 p.m. At present’s agenda: http://bit.ly/2Fv7VR8.

The Senate meets at 10 a.m. to resume consideration of Matthew H. Solomson’s nomination to be decide of the U.S. Courtroom of Federal Claims. At 11 a.m., the Senate will take a number of roll name votes.


The House Democratic Caucus holds a closed-door assembly at 9 a.m. in HC-5.

The Home Republican Convention holds a closed-door meeting at 9 a.m. at HVC-215.

Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.) and Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) maintain a news conference to discuss the Senate impeachment trial at 9 a.m. on the House Triangle.

Reps. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) maintain a information conference to debate the introduction of laws to fight local weather change at 9:30 a.m. in HVC Studio B.

Home Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and GOP leaders maintain a media availability at 10 a.m. in HVC Studio A.

Home Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Vice-Chair Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) hold a press conference at 10:15 a.m. in HC-8.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) holds his pen and pad briefing with reporters at 11 a.m. in H-107.


TUESDAY’S WINNER: Jim Brewer was the first individual to appropriately guess that the Johnson administration was the first one to significantly contemplate shopping for Greenland.

TODAY’S QUESTION: From Jim: Which current Cecil B. Demille award winner was answerable for gifting the White Home press corps coffee machines, beginning with the administration of George W. Bush? First individual to appropriately guess gets a point out in the subsequent edition of Huddle. Ship your greatest guess my approach: mzanona@politico.com

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Article originally revealed on POLITICO Magazine