Republicans

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett strives to show independence from White House, Republicans

WASHINGTON – Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett fought back Tuesday against caricatures that she is a committed advocate for conservative causes chosen by President Donald Trump to do his bidding on issues ranging from abortion to the Affordable Care Act.

Barrett: Noboday wants ‘Law of Amy’

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In a marathon session before the Senate Judiciary Committee just three weeks from Election Day, Barrett was put on the defensive by Democrats charging that she was picked because of her views on abortion, gun rights, same-sex marriage and particularly the health care law headed to the high court for the third time next month.

“That is their stated objective and plan. Why not take them at their word?” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said in reference to Republicans and special-interest groups backing Barrett’s nomination.

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Barrett strived to show her independence from the president and conservative forces that have joined together in hopes of a speedy confirmation, wedged tightly between Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and an election that Trump has made clear could be challenged in court.

“I certainly hope that all members of the committee have more confidence in my integrity than to think that I would allow myself to be used as a pawn to decide the election for the American people,” Barrett said.

More: Supreme Court begins 2020 term as a key election issue: Will it decide the election, too?

But several Democrats implied just that. They urged Barrett to pledge that if confirmed, she would recuse herself both from cases involving the election and from the challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

“Republicans are scrambling to confirm this nominee as fast as possible because they need

The outlook for House Republicans keeps getting worse

In an interview, Tenney railed against Brindisi as a faux-moderate with a record that doesn’t match his centrist brand. But she conceded that she would be in a better position if she could match Brindisi’s TV ad spending. He has so far reserved $1.6 million in ads to her $200,000, according to media buying data.

Outside groups on both sides are heavily invested in the race. The National Republican Congressional Committee and its ally, the Congressional Leadership Fund, have dropped a whopping $8.4 million on ads. They are attempting to push Tenney over the finish line, a strategy that underscores a benefit of Democrats’ fundraising edge.

“People think I raised their cable rates, that I’m giving Spectrum a tax cut that gave them a $9 billion windfall,” Tenney said in an interview. “Nobody’s fact-checking that in the media. We’re trying to get it out there with a fraction of the resources that he has. He’s running nonstop negative ads making me out to be a monster on every issue, that I’m against people with pre-existing conditions.”

Candidates purchase ads at cheaper rates than super PACs and they can also drive their own messaging. Tenney, who voted in 2017 for the House GOP’s replacement for the 2010 health care law, bemoaned the fact that she can’t invest more in digital ads or put more positive spots on the air.

Top Democratic operatives appear more worried about holding a rural seat in southern New Mexico held by Torres Small, another vulnerable freshman. Recent polling shows a virtually tied race, and Republicans are dumping money on ads casting her as an acolyte of Speaker Nancy Pelosi who won’t support the state’s oil and gas industry.

But like in the Brindisi-Tenney race, Torres Small is also facing a rematch against Yvette Herrell, the woman

White House, Democrats Both Support Coronavirus Stimulus Checks, Kudlow Expects Republicans To Fall In Line

KEY POINTS

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said stimulus talks appear to be at a standstill
  • Larry Kudlow says talks are not dead 
  • Kudlow insisted the U.S. is in a V-shaped recovery but certain sectors still need help

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says he expects Republicans to fall in line if the White House reaches agreement with Democrats on the next round of coronavirus stimulus relief.

Negotiations appeared at a standstill after President Donald Trump agreed to boost the size of the package to $1.8 trillion – a move rejected by Democrats who called it inadequate and Republicans who said it was too expensive.

Kudlow told CNN’s “State of the Union” he talked with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Saturday night and is convinced stimulus talks are not dead, noting Senate Republicans unanimously passed their own version of coronavirus relief – albeit a modest $500 billion measure – and “they will go along with it” once a deal is struck between Democrats and the White House.

House Democrats earlier passed a $2.2 trillion package, a slimmed down version of the more than $3 trillion measure they approved in May.

“We’re asking for targeted assistance,” said Kudlow, ticking off a list: enhanced unemployment benefits, aid to small businesses and direct stimulus checks to individuals.

“Those are things everybody absolutely wants,” Kudlow said.

Among the sticking points is the size of enhanced unemployment benefits. Democrats wants Americans who lost their jobs due to the pandemic to receive an extra $600 a week – the same amount that was approved as part of the CARES Act in March – while the White House has supported $400 a week.

Democrats also want funds for cash-strapped state and local governments, which bore the brunt of coronavirus costs, help for schools for COVID-19 testing and cleaning,

POLITICO Playbook: Republicans face the prospect of more House losses

THE UNDERTOLD STORY in Washington right now is how KEVIN MCCARTHY’S House Republican minority is likely to thin quite significantly after this election. STEVE SHEPARD, our election guru, has moved a few Republican incumbents’ seats toward Democrats in his forecast: Reps. ANNE WAGNER in the St. Louis burbs, JIM HAGEDORN in Minnesota and STEVE CHABOT in the Cincinnati area.

OUR OVER/UNDER is Republicans taking a net loss of seven seats. DAVE WASSERMAN of the Cook Political Report pegged the losses at between five and 15 seats.

HERE’S A QUESTION TO PONDER: Who in Republican leadership takes the fall if Republicans lose as many as 10 seats?

SHEPARD has also put JOE BIDEN over 270 electoral votes, which would, of course, hand him the presidency. Steve’s analysis

— ZACH MONTELLARO and DAVID SIDERS: “How Biden could end 2020 on election night — and why Trump’s path is unlikely”

HAPPENING THIS MORNING — AMY CONEY BARRETT’S Supreme Court confirmation hearing begins at 9 a.m. Indiana GOP Sens. MIKE BRAUN and TODD YOUNG will introduce her to the committee, and Notre Dame’s PATRICIA O’HARA will also speak. Senators will give opening statements — some will be in the room, others will be remote.

— THERE ARE 22 MEMBERS of the committee, and they’ll all get 10 minutes to make an opening statement. YOUNG and BRAUN won’t introduce BARRETT until the afternoon. BARRETT will likely give her statement in the mid- to late afternoon.

FIRST IN PLAYBOOK … STATE HOUSE LEADERS in all 50 states have written a letter to Senate and Judiciary Committee leadership urging Barrett’s confirmation. The letter BOSTON GLOBE: “Baker, Sununu do not sign GOP governors’ letter supporting

Nancy Pelosi merely panned the White House’s $1.8 trillion relief offer, but Republicans revolted against it.

Senate Republicans revolted over the contours of a $1.8 trillion relief proposal that is the Trump administration’s latest and largest offer to House Democrats, further jeopardizing already dim prospects for an agreement on a broad stimulus bill before Election Day.

Even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted that the offer remained inadequate, many Republican senators lashed into the administration’s approach to the revived negotiations during a conference call on Saturday morning between close to half of the chamber’s Republicans and top administration officials.

The $1.8 trillion proposal that Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, put forward on Friday was the administration’s biggest offer since bipartisan negotiations began in late summer. The proposal came just days after President Trump abruptly ended negotiations and then, facing a backlash, reversed course and began urgently seeking to secure Democratic support for a deal.

The stark divisions between most Senate Republicans and the White House undercut the potential for an agreement before the election on Nov. 3, even as the country’s economic recovery continues to falter and tens of thousands of Americans, businesses and schools struggle to weather the pandemic without federal relief.

The Republican criticism on Saturday was so severe that Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, at one point told the senators on the conference call that he would relay their concerns to Mr. Trump, but that then “you all will have to come to my funeral.” (Mr. Mnuchin concurred.)

Details of the call were described in some manner by seven people briefed on the discussion, who all insisted on anonymity to disclose details of a private conversation.

Most of the senators who spoke on the call signaled an openness to continuing negotiations. However, there was widespread dissatisfaction with how expensive the administration’s offer had become, as well as with the perception