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D.C. Memo: Fischbach and Friends

The Conservative Squad; impeachment update; National Defense Authorization Act passes House; and more.

screenshot of fischbach fox and friends appearance
Former Minnesota Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach, second from left, appeared on Fox and Friends with other Republican U.S. House candidates.
Fox News

The D.C. Memo is a weekly recap of Washington political news, journalism, and opinion, delivered with an eye toward what matters for Minnesota. Sign up to get it in your inbox every Thursday.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week in Washington, Fischbach goes on Fox, impeachment continues, and biofuel takes center stage.

But first, a plug: As we get closer to the end of the year, MinnPost is looking at what we can do for the next one. In order to take on more expansive election coverage, we’ll need contributions from folks like yourself. If you’re not already, consider becoming a member today.

Alright. Let’s get on with this.

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Squad goals?

Seventh District Republican candidate Michelle Fischbach appeared on Fox and Friends this morning as a part of “The Conservative Squad,” a group of four Republican women running for seats in the U.S. House. It includes: Fischbach, Jessica Taylor (running in Alabama), Nancy Mace (South Carolina) and Beth Van Duyne (Texas). (Interestingly, the original Squad is made up of four women of color, while this new Republican Squad is all white.)

“This is about bringing the conservative message to the people of the United States, so that people understand we’re looking at ‘Do Nothing Democrats,’” Fischbach, the former Lt. Governor said, echoing the tweets of President Donald Trump.

Impeachment updates

The House Judiciary Committee is set to vote on two articles of impeachment, setting up a full House vote next Thursday. Stay tuned next week for coverage of the vote.

As Rep. Collin Peterson navigates his decision to not back impeachment up to now, good mini-scoop from Patrick Condon in the Strib’s Hot Dish newsletter this morning: “Peterson said leading Republican Party figures have privately urged him to switch parties, but he said that’s not in the cards.”

Hagedorn and biofuels

The biofuel industry is upset with the Trump administration for not yet establishing new rules on ethanol inclusion in gasoline.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley has framed it squarely as the president’s problem. “I shouldn’t have to go back to the president and say anymore,” he said. “If the president and the people advising him say we have a deal, we have a deal.”

Rep. Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota’s First is between a rock and a hard place. As a staunch supporter of the president and in a district heavy on biofuel production, Hagedorn is trying to decide which side do take. Read more at MinnPost.

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The National Defense Authorization Act

The National Defense Authorization Act, which authorizes all military funding for fiscal year 2020, passed the House 377-48.

All of the amendments offered up and passed by Rep. Ilhan Omar were included in the final version of the bill, including reporting on how the Terrorist Screening Database is shared with foreign countries, a requirement that the Pentagon provide contractors and service members who witness human rights violations guidance, reporting on the cost of overseas military operations; and no authorization for permanent military bases in Somalia.

Omar voted no on the bill. “I am proud that all of our amendments were included, but it past time we stop putting our servicemembers and civilians in harm’s way by writing blank checks for endless wars — and passing budgets that are not a reflection of our values,” she said in a statement.

Some other big news: The Liberian Immigrant Fairness Act, a bill that provides Liberians on Deferred Enforced Departure a path to citizenship, was included in the NDAA language. DED was a temporary immigration status given to Liberians who fled to the United States.

President Trump has threatened to end DED next March, and as of now, there is no pathway to citizenship for those with the status. Presuming it’s passed along through the Senate and conference committee, that’s a big deal for Minnesotans, considering the state has one of the largest Liberian populations in the country.

Opinion Piece: ‘Game-changing H.R. 3 would stop prescription-drug price gouging’

Reps. Angie Craig and Dean Phillips have an op-ed in MinnPost about the drug pricing bill that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been trying to push through this year:

This game-changing prescription drug pricing bill finally gives Medicare leverage to negotiate lower drug prices. It has been estimated by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Centers for Medicare (CMS) Office of the Actuary that H.R. 3 will lower drug prices by up to 55% — saving hard-working Americans an enormous $158 billion.

Related: The House Progressive Caucus opposed the bill until recently, when they were able to score a few wins: One, an agreement that expands the number of drugs the Federal government can negotiate to 50, up from 35, by year two. And two, and a mandate that the government issue regulations restricting the pharmaceutical industry’s ability to raise drug prices above the rate of inflation for workplace health coverage.

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The president next door

A new poll from Emerson University has Klobuchar at 10 percent in Iowa. The campaign is excited and again looking for signs of Klobe-mentum. Time yet again to wait for the next poll to see if it’s an outlier.

The next Democratic debate, hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico, will be held on December 19th in Los Angeles with only seven candidates.

The number of candidates on the debate stage has paired down significantly since inception. That means a few things: No Julián Castro. No Cory Booker. No Michael Bloomberg. It also means there will only be on candidate of color on stage: Andrew Yang.

Remember when there were two days of debates? Anyways, here’s who’s on stage this week:

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Andrew Yang
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Tom Steyer

In other news

Quote of the week

“I want to tone things down a little bit, here,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar told Sen. Ted Cruz at a Judiciary Committee hearing on Russian election interference.

What I’m reading

Meg James for the LA Times: One year after Moonves’ exit, CBS TV stations also face harassment and misogyny claims

A long term look at CBS after Executive Les Moonves was ousted for sexual harassment. The LA Times demonstrates that the harassment culture at CBS is structural, and not limited to one person.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for sticking around. Until next week, feel free to send tips, suggestions, and sound advice to: Follow at @gabemschneider. And don’t forget to become a MinnPost member.