White House pushes for pre-election SCOTUS vote, ‘Zoombie’ storm Paulette and CDC issues Halloween warnings

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump appears to have secured enough Senate support to push a vote on his Supreme Court nominee. “Zombie” storm Paulette has come back to life and Covid-19 claims another victim: Halloween.

Here’s what we’re watching this Wednesday morning.


White House gets behind idea of pushing Supreme Court nominee vote before the election

A consensus has formed within the West Wing to push for a vote on President Donald Trump’s coming Supreme Court nominee before the election, with aides and advisers saying they are increasingly optimistic that they will be able to pull off the speedy confirmation, three NBC News White House correspondents report.

Some outside advisers had initially argued that waiting to hold a vote until after Election Day could be the most politically advantageous strategy, said a person familiar with the thinking. Having the seat vacant could motivate conservatives to turn out for Trump to ensure that it got filled and save senators in tight races from having to make a controversial vote so close to the election.

But the momentum in the past 48 hours has swung toward getting a vote done as soon as possible, with those inside and outside the White House arguing that the quicker the process, the more likely they are to fill the seat, senior administration officials said.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, added to GOP confidence Tuesday when he threw his support behind Trump’s push to fill the seat vacated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg quickly.

All eyes had been on Romney, often a Trump critic who voted to convict the president during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year, as someone who could join Democrats to block the confirmation vote.

Trump even expressed appreciation toward his frequent foe during a rally in Pennsylvania Tuesday, saying: “Thank you, Mitt.”

To date, only two Republican senators have said it is too close to the presidential election to consider a court nomination, not enough to block it.

The president promised to “reveal” his nominee at the White House at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Meantime, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden punted on the hypothetical question of how Democrats should retaliate if Republicans manage to secure their nominee. Asked if he’d be open to expanding on the number of Supreme Court seats if given the opportunity, he demurred.

“It’s a legitimate question. But let me tell you why I’m not going to answer that question. Because it will shift the focus,” Biden said.

The former vice president also won an interesting endorsement Tuesday: Cindy McCain threw her support behind Biden in a stinging rebuke of Trump by the widow of the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee.

Trump has had a fraught relationship with members of John McCain’s family since he disparaged the Arizona senator during his 2016 campaign. But the McCains have stopped short of endorsing Trump’s rivals until now.

Cindy McCain’s backing could help Biden appeal to Republicans disaffected with Trump and give him a boost the crucial swing state

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White House pushes for pre-election SCOTUS vote

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump appears to have secured enough Senate support to push a vote on his Supreme Court nominee. “Zombie” storm Paulette has come back to life and Covid-19 claims another victim: Halloween.

Here’s what we’re watching this Wednesday morning.

White House gets behind idea of pushing Supreme Court nominee vote before the election

A consensus has formed within the West Wing to push for a vote on President Donald Trump’s coming Supreme Court nominee before the election, with aides and advisers saying they are increasingly optimistic that they will be able to pull off the speedy confirmation, three NBC News White House correspondents report.

Some outside advisers had initially argued that waiting to hold a vote until after Election Day could be the most politically advantageous strategy, said a person familiar with the thinking. Having the seat vacant could motivate conservatives to turn out for Trump to ensure that it got filled and save senators in tight races from having to make a controversial vote so close to the election.

But the momentum in the past 48 hours has swung toward getting a vote done as soon as possible, with those inside and outside the White House arguing that the quicker the process, the more likely they are to fill the seat, senior administration officials said.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, added to GOP confidence Tuesday when he threw his support behind Trump’s push to fill the seat vacated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg quickly.

All eyes had been on Romney, often a Trump critic who voted to convict the president during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year, as someone who could join Democrats to block the confirmation vote.

Trump even expressed appreciation toward his frequent foe during a rally in Pennsylvania Tuesday, saying: “Thank you, Mitt.”

To date, only two Republican senators have said it is too close to the presidential election to consider a court nomination, not enough to block it.

The president promised to “reveal” his nominee at the White House at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Meantime, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden punted on the hypothetical question of how Democrats should retaliate if Republicans manage to secure their nominee. Asked if he’d be open to expanding on the number of Supreme Court seats if given the opportunity, he demurred.

“It’s a legitimate question. But let me tell you why I’m not going to answer that question. Because it will shift the focus,” Biden said.

The former vice president also won an interesting endorsement Tuesday: Cindy McCain threw her support behind Biden in a stinging rebuke of Trump by the widow of the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee.

Trump has had a fraught relationship with members of John McCain’s family since he disparaged the Arizona senator during his 2016 campaign. But the McCains have stopped short of endorsing Trump’s rivals until now.

Cindy McCain’s backing could help Biden appeal to Republicans disaffected with Trump and give him a boost the crucial

Read more

White House views coalesce behind pre-election vote on Trump Supreme Court pick

WASHINGTON — A consensus has formed within the West Wing to push for a vote on President Donald Trump’s coming Supreme Court nominee before the election, with aides and advisers saying they are increasingly optimistic that they will be able to pull off the speedy confirmation.

Some outside advisers had initially argued that waiting to hold a vote until after Election Day could be the most politically advantageous strategy, said a person familiar with the thinking. Having the seat vacant could motivate conservatives to turn out for Trump to ensure that it got filled and save senators in tight races from having to make a controversial vote so close to the election.

But the momentum in the past 48 hours has swung toward getting a vote done as soon as possible, with those inside and outside the White House arguing that the quicker the process, the more likely they are to fill the seat, senior administration officials said. An official said it now looks like a “strong possibility” that there will be a vote before Election Day as consensus grows among Republican senators to move ahead with the nomination.

Ultimately, the timing will be up to Senate Republicans. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky refused to specify a timeline Tuesday, saying instead that he would proceed with a vote when the nominee emerges from the Judiciary Committee, chaired by Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Graham has said he would announce timing for a committee hearing and a vote after Trump names a nominee.

Trump and White House aides have been in regular contact with McConnell and his staff, officials have said.

If Trump names his pick to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday, as he has indicated he will, the Senate would have less than 40 days before the election to confirm a nominee — a speedy schedule by recent standards, although not unprecedented. Trump met Monday with one possible nominee, federal appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett, and he is scheduled to meet Friday in Miami with another front-runner, federal appeals Judge Barbara Lagoa.

Trump said Monday that one reason he wanted a vote as soon as possible was that he doesn’t want to have a tie in any future court rulings. The court, now at eight members, is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a case involving the Affordable Care Act on Nov. 10, and the justices could have a role to play in the election if the results are contested.

“So let’s say I make the announcement on Saturday — there’s a great deal of time before the election,” Trump said Monday. “That’ll be up to Mitch in the Senate. But I’d certainly much rather have the vote. I think it sends a good signal. And it’s solidarity and lots of other things.”

If Republicans lose control of the Senate, they would still be able to vote on a nominee during the lame-duck session

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House Democrats worry pre-election schedule lacks coronavirus relief

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far resisted calls for another House vote, arguing that Democrats shouldn’t do anything to undermine the priorities they passed in the $3.4 trillion package. The California Democrat has said Democrats are willing to comprise by moving up expiration dates to cut the cost to $2.2 trillion, but they’re not willing to budge on the scope of relief.

“We all know that we need to come to agreement,” Pelosi said Monday on MSNBC. “Coming to agreement is not, though, to say, ‘What’s the least we can do?  Let’s ignore the states. Let’s ignore the need for the testing. Let’s ignore the hunger. Let’s ignore the evictions.’”

As some Democrats pushed for additional House action during a biweekly caucus call last Thursday, Pelosi warned her members against falling for Republicans’ calls for a narrower package and told them not to be a “cheap date,” according to a source on the call who requested anonymity to describe the private discussion.

The 50-member bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, comprised of centrists in both parties, on Tuesday is releasing a $1.5 trillion bipartisan relief proposal the group has endorsed, which requires support from 75 percent of its members. The proposal stakes out compromise positions on two key sticking points, with $500 billion for state and local governments and an initial extension of federal enhanced unemployment benefits at $450 per week, but does not meet the bar Pelosi has set for a deal.

‘Some form of action’

Rank-and-file members have been careful not to question Pelosi’s negotiating strategy as they’ve started to go public with their calls for another coronavirus relief vote.

Source Article

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This week: House returns for pre-election sprint

The House is returning this week for its final work period before the November election, with a government funding fight looming and uncertainty growing over whether Congress will pass a fifth coronavirus relief bill. 

The House, set to reconvene on Monday, has only 12 working days before they are scheduled to leave Washington, D.C., again until after the election. The Senate is currently scheduled to be in for part of October, though senators have questioned, absent a last-minute COVID-19 bill, if they will stick to their full schedule. 

Before they leave, Congress will need to pass a stopgap funding bill by Sept. 30 in order to prevent an election year government shutdown. Lawmakers are expected to use a continuing resolution (CR), which will continue funding at fiscal year 2020 levels, to keep the government open starting on Oct. 1. 

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBattle over timing complicates Democratic shutdown strategy Overnight Health Care: McConnell: Chance for coronavirus deal ‘doesn’t look that good right now’ | Fauci disagrees with Trump that US rounding ‘final turn’ on pandemic | NIH director ‘disheartened’ by lack of masks at Trump rally McConnell: Chance for coronavirus deal ‘doesn’t look that good right now’ MORE and House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden marks anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, knocks Trump and McConnell Sunday shows – Trump team defends coronavirus response GOP chair defends Trump messaging on masks: ‘To say that he should have known then what we know now isn’t really fair’ MORE (D-Calif.) have agreed to a “clean” CR, meaning it will not include items either side would view as political poison pills. Because of that informal deal the funding bill is not expected to include coronavirus relief amid a stalemate between congressional Democrats and the White House. 

“We are now looking at anomalies in the rest, and we’ll figure out the timing when we do,” Pelosi said during a weekly press conference.

But they have not agreed yet on a length for the stopgap funding bill. 

Democrats are locked in a behind-the-scenes debate about if they should accept a bill that goes into December, a timeline supported by Republicans, or push for a CR that would go into early next year, when Democrats hope they will have more leverage if they win back the Senate and Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenCrowd aims ‘lock him up’ chant at Obama during Trump rally Biden campaign plans to run ad during every NFL game until Election Day LA mayor condemns protesters shouting ‘death to police’ outside hospital treating ambushed officers MORE wins the White House. 

“We’ve gone back and forth, it’s a split decision in the caucus. If you can tell us what happens Nov. 3 it is a lot easier. … The uncertainty about the presidential election is an element,” Senate Democratic Whip Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinBattle over timing complicates Democratic shutdown strategy GOP senators say coronavirus deal dead until after election Senate Democrats introduce bill to sanction Russians

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