Washington Update - August 7, 2023

Billy Moore    Dc2

Indictments and investigations consumed Washington last week as worries mount about the September congressional session.

House investigators interviewed a former business partner of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter on Monday. Republican claims of a bombshell and Democratic assertions of exoneration were both exaggerated. The witness said he never perceived any involvement of President Biden in his son’s business affairs, but testified the President was often on speakerphone with Hunter and business associates, suggesting the President was helpful to his son’s efforts to profit from his family name. 

Former President Donald Trump was arraigned Thursday on felony charges he conspired to overturn the 2020 election. Trump’s indictment probably won’t erode his commanding lead in the contest to win the 2024 presidential nomination. The indictment seems designed to proceed swiftly to trial, perhaps before the November 2024 general election. Should he be convicted before the election, it could make a big difference: one poll shows 70 percent of Independents and 45 percent of Republicans would not vote for Trump is he is convicted of a felony crime by a jury.

There are 55 days until government funding expires September 30, but only 12 legislative days during which the House and Senate will be in session. With only one of the twelve annual appropriations passed by the House and none by the Senate, it is guaranteed Congress will need to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to avoid a government shutdown. 

Avoiding shutdown is probably up to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. If he insists the CR cut spending by billions of dollars, which can't pass the Senate, there will be shutdown. If he supports a clean CR that can clear the Senate and be signed by President Biden, his most conservative members will shut down the House floor, as they did after the debt limit increase was enacted in May.