Duterte Allies Break Impasse on Philippine House Leadership

(Bloomberg) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies in the House of Representatives broke an impasse on the chamber’s leadership Tuesday, ahead of a special session called to pass next year’s 4.5 trillion-peso ($93 billion) budget.



Alan Peter Cayetano wearing a suit and tie: Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano stands on the rostrum as new Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 18th Congress opening at the House of Representatives in Manila.


© Photographer: NOEL CELIS/AFP
Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano stands on the rostrum as new Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 18th Congress opening at the House of Representatives in Manila.

Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano on Facebook said he’s resigning as House Speaker, as the election of his challenger Lord Allan Velasco was formalized by 186 lawmakers. Duterte will meet the two lawmakers this afternoon to push for the approval of the 2021 budget, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a separate briefing.

Philippines’ 2021 Budget Hangs as Duterte House Allies Clash

The resolution of the House leadership row removes a hurdle in the passage of next year’s budget, which is seen to help boost the economy that Central Bank Governor Benjamin Diokno said may shrink more than expected this year by up to 9%.

Cayetano and Velasco entered into a term-sharing deal last year, where the latter will be speaker starting next month. The rivalry resurfaced last month when an ally of Velasco accused Cayetano of allocating more infrastructure funds to some lawmakers — an allegation he denied.

(Adds comment from Duterte spokesman, more details from 2nd paragraph)

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Notre Dame student: Father Jenkins, Trump failed COVID-19 leadership test

  • An event held in the Rose Garden may have been responsible for infecting many high-profile politicians with coronavirus.
  • As a Notre Dame student, it was extremely disappointing to see our President, Father John Jenkins, at the event and not following the protocols that we students have been carefully following ourselves.
  • Rachel Palermo is a J.D. candidate at Notre Dame Law School.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Leaders must lead by example. 

Setting policies is an important part of being a leader. But the people who set the rules need to join the rest of us in following them.

As a law student at the University of Notre Dame, I have spent the last few months following important rules that have been imposed by our school.

Early this summer, the Notre Dame administration announced that we would return to in-person classes for the fall semester, even as many colleges and universities converted to fully remote learning. In exchange for being able to attend in-person classes, our community has been entrusted with meeting certain safety expectations.

To name a few: we wear masks at all times, stay six feet away from other people, and refrain from traveling outside of the area. We are often reminded that our responsibilities to one another don’t end once we leave campus.

I understand that the only way to keep our community safe is to take the COVID-19 rules and recommendations seriously, even when they are inconvenient. I’m proud that many other Notre Dame students have demonstrated responsible behavior — on and off campus — because they also understand the stakes are too high. 

Last week, along with many of my classmates, I watched the Rose Garden ceremony for the nomination of our professor, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, with disappointment and embarrassment. 

Setting aside whether or not we believe that nominating someone to the US Supreme Court a month before an election is appropriate, we sat in disbelief as some Notre Dame professors and administrators didn’t wear masks, ignored social distancing guidelines, and even shook hands with other attendees. They broke every rule and guideline that we have been told to follow. 

We watched a potential super-spreader event unfold before our eyes on live television, with familiar faces in the crowd. For those of us who have been social distancing since the spring, watching the ceremony was like observing an alternate reality. 

This week, we learned that Donald Trump, Melania Trump, and other high profile White House officials in attendance at the ceremony tested positive for COVID-19. Trump’s diagnoses came just 48 hours after mocking Joe Biden at the presidential debate for his habit of wearing masks. 

Sen. Mike Lee and former Gov. Chris Christie, who tested positive as well, were captured on video hugging other attendees in the Rose Garden. Our own University President, Father John Jenkins, was also present, flouting both mask and social distancing guidance. He has since announced

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State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit to challenge House Speaker Michael Madigan for leadership post he’s held for decades

Four-term Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego said Thursday she will challenge longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan for leadership of the chamber when the new General Assembly is seated in January.

Kifowit is one of a handful of House Democrats who have called for Madigan’s resignation since federal prosecutors unveiled a deferred prosecution agreement with Commonwealth Edison in July in which the state’s largest utility admitted to a yearslong bribery scheme aimed at currying favor with the powerful speaker.

A Marine Corps veteran, Kifowit has been in the House since 2013 and is running for reelection unopposed in the November.

Kifowit said in a statement that she called for Madigan to resign “for compromising the integrity of the office and undermining public trust.”

“The response from Michael Madigan was to double down and has remained that way,” Kifowit said. “It is clear to me that he doesn’t hold the same values that I do and falls short of what the public expects from an elected official.”

Kifowit’s decision to challenge Madigan a month before the election puts vulnerable House Democrats and Democratic candidates, particularly in the suburbs, into an even more awkward position leading up to the election—whether to back Madigan or her or someone else.

It is a question many were hoping to wait out until after the election despite repeated attacks by Republicans on the issue. But her run provides new fuel to the issue.

There are also questions about the extent of support for her candidacy. Madigan still holds the power and controls the purse strings in the Democratic caucus and has made loyalty paramount during his decades long tenure as speaker.

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Madigan has not been charged in connection with the ComEd probe and has denied any wrongdoing.

At the request of House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs, a special House committee is investigating whether Madigan engaged in “conduct unbecoming to a legislator.” The committee heard testimony from an executive with ComEd parent Exelon this week, but Madigan and other witnesses have declined the invitation to testify.

Madigan has been speaker since 1983, with the exception of two years in the 1990s when Republicans took control of the House. House Democrats have been nearly unanimous in voting for him to remain speaker, with only a few dissents. Most recently, Rep. Anne Stava-Murray of Naperville voted “present” in 2019, as did then-Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood in 2017.

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Tennessee House leadership calls for review of Nashville’s use of COVID-19 relief funds

Republican leadership in the Tennessee House has asked the state comptroller to conduct a “thorough review” of Nashville’s management of $131 million in state and federal COVID-19 relief funding.



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In response to Nashville’s lagging economic recovery and anticipating additional requests for state aid from the state’s budget next year, House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, and 10 other House Republicans sent Comptroller Justin Wilson a letter Friday, asking him to review the city’s use of federal relief funds.

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“In Tennessee, we do let locals do what they need to do, but we’re not here to write a blank check and go into a partnership blind,” Sexton said in an interview with The Center Square. “So we are asking the comptroller to give us some thorough review of where their spending has been.”

Sexton called out Nashville Mayor John Cooper’s restrictive economic policies that have prevented many businesses from fully reopening after mandatory pandemic-related shutdowns.

“When he’s saying that business is what keeps this economy thriving and growing, and they need businesses to be open, it calls into question why he shut down Nashville for as long as he has, and why it’s the worst performing city in America right now, and why it’s the worst performing county in our state right now,” Sexton said.

The letter noted that of the more than 19,000 local governments in the country, only 36 municipalities were provided direct federal COVID-19 relief. Sexton said Cooper’s request for additional funding from the state earlier this month raised questions about how the city used the significant funding it already received.

“They had $121 million coming from the federal government, we gave them 10 additional million – so that’s $130 million. They said they needed another $82 million from the state. And then on top of that, they’re raising taxes about 34%, potentially,” Sexton said.

Gov. Bill Lee denied the city’s request for an additional $82 million in state funding last week.

In response to House leadership’s request, Cooper’s office said Nashville is ready for the comptroller’s review.

“We welcome the comptroller’s audit,” Chris Song, a spokesperson from Cooper’s office told The Center Square, praising the work of Metro’s COVID-19 Financial Oversight Committee.

“Nashville’s direct CARES Act allocation has been spent directly on our COVID-19 emergency response and responsibly allocated to address the greatest need in our community, helping struggling Nashvillians keep food on their tables and roofs over their families’ heads, providing our residents with job placement assistance, and supporting our small businesses during the sharpest and most sudden recession in our lifetimes,” Song said.

Cooper outlined how the city has spent the federal funds in his letter requesting additional funds from the state earlier this month. According to Cooper, the city has spent $51.3 million on mass COVID-19 testing operations in the city, labor costs and hazard pay for more than 3,000 critical infrastructure employees and personal protective equipment.

Additionally, the city spent $24

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House Democrats’ leadership races reflect coming generational change

Only one House Democrat in the caucus’s 14-member elected leadership team is exiting the chamber next year, but that opening has created a competitive race for assistant speaker and cleared opportunities for other ambitious Democrats to run for the lower-ranking positions those candidates are vacating.

With Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján running for the open Senate seat in New Mexico, three lawmakers — Tony Cárdenas of California, David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Katherine M. Clark of Massachusetts — are vying to replace him as the fourth-ranking House Democrat.

The top three leaders who have led the caucus for nearly two decades, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 80, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, 81, and Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, 80, are expected to stay in those positions, according to several Democratic lawmakers and aides CQ Roll Call spoke with for this report.

The team forming below them represents the generational change many rank-and-file Democrats have long sought. All of the candidates running were first elected to the House in the past decade.

Pelosi has promised she wouldn’t serve as speaker beyond 2022, so whoever becomes assistant speaker is likely a potential candidate to replace her. Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, 50, first elected in 2012, is seeking reelection to the No. 5 leadership post unchallenged and is another potential speaker hopeful.

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Moderate Democrats pressure Pelosi, House leadership to move new coronavirus bill: ‘Stop the stupidity’

Moderate Democrats, especially those in swing districts, have been pressuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pass another coronavirus relief bill, signaling that blaming the Senate Republicans and the White House for the inaction isn’t flying back home with their constituents who need help.

One of the boldest efforts of revolt came Tuesday when the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus revealed their $1.5 trillion coronavirus relief plan, with 25 Democrats breaking with their leadership and joining 25 Republicans on a compromise plan.

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y., was among the backers of the plan and said his frustration with leadership’s failure to make a deal pales in comparison to the frustration of his constituents needing help. It’s been four months since the House passed its $3 trillion HEROES Act — which died in the GOP-led Senate — and now Rose and fellow frontline Democrats have been urging House leadership to put another bill on the floor that could actually become law.

BIPARTISAN LAWMAKERS OFFER CORONAVIRUS RELIEF SOLUTION IN EFFORT TO BREAK LOGJAM

“The pressure is loud and forthright and it is bipartisan in nature,” Rose told Fox News of the urging on both GOP and Democratic leadership to move a “real” bill. “Because that pressure is reflective of where the American people are. They are sick and tired of politics.”

Rep. Max Rose, D-N.Y.

“To the leadership, we said this very simple message: It’s time for you to stop playing games. Let’s stop the charade. Let’s stop this stupidity. Let’s put the country first.”

The Problem Solvers’ effort was designed to break the logjam on stalled coronavirus talks between Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and the White House. Instead, it met with unified resistance from Pelosi and her leadership team.

In a rare move, all eight major Democratic committee chairs put out a joint statement Tuesday rejecting the bipartisan plan, saying it “falls short of what is needed to save lives and boost the economy.”

PELOSI TO KEEP HOUSE IN SESSION UNTIL CORONAVIRUS DEAL REACHED AS ELECTION QUICKLY APPROACHES

A national Democratic source said the move by the Problem Solvers Caucus Democrats “undermined” Pelosi’s negotiating position in trying to secure a robust coronavirus deal.

“The Problem Solvers Caucus’ play put Democrats in disarray and clearly undermined Schumer and Pelosi in such important negotiations,” the source told Fox News.

“That statement is highly unusual,” the source continued about the swift condemnation from Democratic chairs. “It shows how worried the Democratic leadership is that Pelosi is being undercut.”

Democrats took control of the House in 2018 thanks to flipping some 40 seats from red to blue. Those front-line members fighting for another term in office have been among the most outspoken about wanting a deal.

SENATE FAILS TO ADVANCE ‘TARGETED’ $300B CORONAVIRUS BILL; RELIEF IN LIMBO

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, a Problem Solvers Caucus member who opposed the $3 trillion bill in May and flipped a GOP district, criticized Pelosi’s resistance to a smaller coronavirus package.

“What the House put forward months ago isn’t moving forward,” Spanberger, D-Va., 

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POLITICO Playbook: Inside the House Dem leadership talks

HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP MET in the Capitol for the first time in a while Monday evening, and they began to confront what many of them see as an only-in-a-TRUMP-presidency question: If DONALD TRUMP loses, will he lash out and do something dramatic, like shut down the government?

THE SCENARIO was raised in the closed-door, no-staff meeting by Connecticut Democratic Rep. ROSA DELAURO, and it’s more than a passing political hypothetical. It’s a real-life governing challenge that Democrats believe they are being forced to confront in the coming days.

SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI is working with Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN and Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL on how long to fund the government for after Sept. 30.

THERE ARE TWO GENERAL OPTIONS: 1) Extend government funding to sometime in December. This would make the most sense. THE UPSIDE: A mid-December expiration would give a tad bit of post-election breathing room for lawmakers. It would also give Congress a chance to try for some more Covid relief this calendar year with a cudgel to force action. THE DOWNSIDE: If the election is undecided, lawmakers may be hesitant to engage in big-ticket legislating. And with TRUMP as unpredictable as we’ve seen, could he shut down the government if things aren’t going his way, they asked?

2) CONGRESS could extend funding until February. But that’s a really long time to wait for another deadline to force through Covid relief. (Of course, Covid relief can move without a funding deadline, but let’s not give Congress too much credit.)

OF COURSE, Congress could just do its job and pass a full year of government funding, and more Covid relief for a nation reeling from the deadly virus. But … 2020.

A MASSIVE DAY FOR MIDDLE EAST POLITICS … ISRAEL, BAHRAIN and THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES will sign the Abraham Accords today at the White House. Here’s what to expect: ISRAEL and the UAE will sign a document, as will ISRAEL and BAHRAIN. Then all three parties will sign one together. THE UAE document will be longer because they had a longer negotiation. BAHRAIN just committed last week. “A FEW HUNDRED” people will be at the event, on the South Lawn, including some senior Democrats. …

… THE TEXT that the three countries will sign will not be made public until after the event, so we won’t really know what they are signing quite yet.

NOTABLE QUOTABLE, from a senior administration official on a background call with reporters: “Hi, everybody. This is [senior administration official], but I guess it’s on background. I don’t know why we can’t say who I am, but OK. Here we are.”

— NYT’S MICHAEL CROWLEY and DAVID KIRKPATRICK: “A White House Ceremony Will Celebrate a Diplomatic Win and Campaign Gift”: “[A]s proclaimed in new Trump campaign advertisements, they make up the heart of the president’s message on foreign policy as the 2020 campaign

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