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Brooklyn bridge: How two New York City Democrats could be top congressional leaders

Source image: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/brooklyn-bridge-how-two-new-york-city-democrats-top-congressional-leaders

It was not clear whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would stay in leadership or move on when incoming House members gathered at the Capitol for freshmen orientation last week.

“I hope so,” replied Rep.-elect Glenn Ivey, D-Md., when asked if Pelosi should make another run at a leadership post. “The Bulls would still love to have Michael Jordan. I’d still love to have Nancy Pelosi, for sure.”

The Chicago Bulls no longer have Jordan. Or Scottie Pippen. Or Dennis Rodman.

Next year, House Democrats will go to battle without Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., will remain on board, prospectively in the position as “assistant leader.” However, that slot is outside the top tier of the House Democratic leadership hierarchy.

Do not forget, Jordan actually retried twice. 

Pelosi is 82, and it is doubtful that she plays minor league baseball, or makes some comeback into the leadership ranks, à la Jordan.

LISTENER OF THE HOUSE: REPUBLICANS ARE SPENDING MOST OF THEIR TIME INFIGHTING

“A new day is dawning on the horizon,” said Pelosi on the House floor in her valedictory. “The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus that I so deeply respect.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer listens as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer listens as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

However, Pelosi will remain as a rank-and-file member. The same with Hoyer, as both just won re-election to their House seats and will stay on board.

It is not unprecedented for senior Congressional leaders to return to rank-and-file ranks after serving in leadership.

Republicans lost control of the House in 2006. Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., indicated he would not seek a leadership post for 2007. Hastert remained in office for slightly less than a year before resigning.

Former House Majority and Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., stepped aside from his leadership slot in 2002. Gephardt remained on board as a rank-and-file member as he unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004. In fact, it was Gephardt’s decision to move away from leadership which gave Pelosi the opportunity to matriculate from Minority Whip to Minority Leader in early 2003. Pelosi led House Democrats as either speaker or minority leader ever since.

WATCH: WHO WILL BECOME THE NEW FACE OF DEM PARTY LEADERSHIP?

Most Republicans are happy to see Pelosi go. However, as Republicans encounter the prospects of a narrow majority next year, they secretly wish the party had someone with Pelosi’s political and vote-counting acumen on their side. Pelosi’s hallmark was passing major bills like Obamacare or the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, with only a vote or two to spare. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., both in line to lead House Republicans next year, have yet to demonstrate such legislative finesse. 

Pro tip: Watch to see how a potential Speaker McCarthy handles an “Office of the Former Speaker” for Pelosi.” Pelosi and McCarthy have a limited relationship and there is enmity between the two. In fact, McCarthy did not even head to the floor to listen to Pelosi’s retirement address. Scalise did. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks at an event early Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, 2022, in Washington. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., speaks at an event early Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, 2022, in Washington. 
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

After Hastert stepped aside, Pelosi afforded the Illinois Republican a small office near the House floor out of courtesy. This was years before it became public that Hastert did time for bank fraud. Hastert is the highest-serving U.S. official to ever go to jail. At his sentencing, it became public that Hastert molested multiple teenage boys when he was a high school history teacher and wrestling coach.

However, at Pelosi’s departure, even some Republicans applauded the outgoing speaker.

MEDIA SWOONS OVER ‘BADASS’ NANCY PELOSI AS TOP DEM ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP EXIT: LIKE A ‘GREAT ATHLETE’ RETIRING

“It’s really a changing of the guard. It’s history being made. In other countries, you see tanks rolling down the road in the middle of something like this. Everybody’s freaking out. But it’s democracy. It’s a beautiful thing,” said Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn. “We don’t agree on anything. And I went up and talked to her and she hugged my neck.”

It was long thought that Pelosi’s departure would trigger a seismic shock on Capitol Hill. Her departure certainly registers on the political Richter Scale. However, the transition from Pelosi and Hoyer to a younger generation of leaders was velvet-smooth compared to what some political observers forecast for years.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries is poised to succeed Pelosi next year and become House Minority Leader. Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., is slated to become Minority Whip. House Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., will lead the caucus.

However, Pelosi’s departure presents Republicans with another opportunity to demonize the House’s top Democrat. Democrats are now trading in a “San Francisco liberal” for a “New York City liberal.” Jeffries may be the right lawmaker to lead Democrats, presumably running unopposed for the party’s top post. However, there is a reason why House Democrats now struggle to elect members in middle America. It was not that long ago that Democrats held a number of House seats in Oklahoma, Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, North Dakota and South Dakota. Now, those Democrats are hard to find. The party is now bi-coastal and oriented toward a progressive, urban base.

Republicans will burn a lot of political capital on efforts to introduce their version of Jeffries to voters.

“He’s even further to the left of Nancy Pelosi,” said incoming House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer, R-Ky., on Fox. “This is further proof that the Democrat party has been taken over by the far left.”

HAKEEM JEFFRIES CONFIDENT HE CAN UNITE DEMS AFTER PELOSI EXIT, SAYS HE HAS ‘GREAT RESPECT’ FOR AOC

However, political analysts disagree with Comer’s assessment. Jeffries worked with Jared Kushner on prison reform and has squabbled with the “Squad.”

“I think progressives kind of view Jeffries as a kind of Wall Street guy. A kind of corporate Democrat,” said David Cohen of the University of Akron. “And I don’t think he’s particularly well trusted [by progressives].”

House Democratic Conference Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Americans will feel effects from the Inflation Reduction Act on health costs, prescription costs and energy costs. 

House Democratic Conference Chair Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Americans will feel effects from the Inflation Reduction Act on health costs, prescription costs and energy costs. 
(Tyler Olson/Fox News)

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) embraced the promotion of Jeffries as the first minority to lead a party in Congress.

“He’s been mentored by Jim Clyburn and I think he is ready,” said CBC Chairwoman Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio. “He is brilliant. He is timely and people follow him.”

However, the decision of Pelosi and Hoyer to remain as Members of Congress could present a problem for Jeffries. There may be the temptation to become political “helicopter parents,” but Pelosi has a way of saying things in a direct fashion which could impact the new leaders.

A longtime Pelosi aide once told a story of how another female aide came into the office wearing bright red shoes.

“Those shoes are red,” declared Pelosi.

Pelosi only commented on the color of the shoes, technically not indicating whether she liked or disliked the footwear. The comment revealed it was clear that Pelosi did not think much of the aide’s shoes.

CONSERVATIVES REACT TO NANCY PELOSI STEPPING DOWN AS DEMOCRATIC LEADER: ‘GOOD RIDDANCE!’

It is doubtful that Pelosi and Hoyer would ever be discourteous in their counsel to Jeffries or overstep their bounds. Both had been the top Democrats in Congress for two decades. That does not dissipate immediately. Both must be guarded in their comments and actions, lest they be interpreted as undercutting the new leaders. Additionally, rank-and-file Democrats must resist the temptation to run to Pelosi and Hoyer with their problems and instead hit up Jeffries and Clark.

Former Senate Majority and Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., was said to have a “Byrd problem” when Daschle assumed control of House Democrats in 1995. Late Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd, D-W.V., stepped aside from his leadership post in1989. Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, D-Maine, succeeded Byrd, but Daschle initially struggled under Byrd’s shadow in the first few months of his tenure.

All Daschle could do was stand by on the floor late one night in February 1995 when late Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., abruptly called off a vote on a Constitutional balanced budget amendment because it lacked the votes. Byrd seized the floor ahead of Daschle and upbraided Dole. 

President Biden walks with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., at the Capitol in Washington.

President Biden walks with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., at the Capitol in Washington.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

At the time, Daschle was less than two months into the job. It was as though Byrd was saying that going toe-to-toe with Dole was not a job for a rookie just called up from the minors. The situation required a seasoned Senate master like Byrd.

Also, Congressional Democrats also face a “Beastie Boys” conundrum. Both Jeffries and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., hail not only from the same city but the same borough of New York City, Brooklyn.

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“No Sleep Till Brooklyn.” Republicans are certain to highlight this dynamic. The Brooklyn duo of Jeffries and Schumer is emblematic of where the Democratic Party stands on a host of issues, but it does not help the party speak to the middle of the country, where it now struggles to resonate with voters.

It remains to be seen if Jeffries and Schumer can bridge that divide.

However, it will have to be a “Brooklyn Bridge.” 

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/brooklyn-bridge-how-two-new-york-city-democrats-top-congressional-leaders

Politics

Hot mic catches President Biden telling Cuban lawmaker he has to talk to him ‘about Cuba’

A hot mic after the State of the Union Tuesday evening caught President Biden telling Sen. Bob Menendez that he has to talk to him “about Cuba.”

Menendez, D-N.J., is a Cuban lawmaker and serves as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, an influential committee for initiating legislative proposals in the chamber. 

“Bob, I gotta talk to you about Cuba,” Biden said to the senator. 

The moment was caught on C-SPAN cameras as Biden spoke with Menendez and Rep. Adam Schiff, who House Speaker Kevin McCarthy blocked from joining the House Intelligence Committee. 

BIDEN BOOED DURING STATE OF THE UNION FOR CLAIMING GOP WANTS TO CUT SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE

President Biden takes photographs with members of Congress after speaking during a State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. 

President Biden takes photographs with members of Congress after speaking during a State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.  (Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Menendez is heard replying, “Okay.”

The lawmaker seemed confused by the president’s comment.

“I’m serious,” added Biden. 

BIDEN APPEARS TO GO OFF SCRIPT TO SAY US NEEDS OIL, GAS DRILLING

Menendez, the son of two Cuban migrants, has spent much of his time working in the House of Representatives and later the U.S. Senate on immigration and national security issues.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on January 26, 2023, in Washington, D.C. 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on January 26, 2023, in Washington, D.C.  (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rep.-elect Robert Menendez Jr., D-N.J., and his father Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol, on Tuesday, January 3, 2023. 

Rep.-elect Robert Menendez Jr., D-N.J., and his father Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol, on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.  (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

He is also credited with helping push through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which went into effect under former President Barack Obama.

Menendez is currently prioritizing his efforts on “competing with China, confronting the global pandemic, and restoring the United States’ place as a leader around the globe,” according to his official government website.

President Biden exits after delivering the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. 

President Biden exits after delivering the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.  (Jacquelyn Martin/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

President Biden, center, speaks during a State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. 

President Biden, center, speaks during a State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.  (Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

President Biden addressed competition with China during Tuesday evening’s address, saying he welcomed competition but would act swiftly to push back on any action that threatens U.S. sovereignty. 

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“But make no mistake about it: as we made clear last week, if China’s threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did,” said Biden, referencing the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by the U.S. military last week.

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Georgia Senate votes to block COVID-19 vaccine requirements at schools, government agencies

The Georgia Senate approved a measure Tuesday to prohibit schools and most state and local government agencies from mandating the coronavirus vaccine.

The legislation, Georgia State Senate Bill 1, passed the state Senate 31-21. The bill would not apply to healthcare providers subject to federal requirements that employees must be vaccinated to continue receiving federal payments.

A one-year ban on vaccine requirements was enacted last year, and this bill would make that measure permanent.

“We have lived for a year under the previous version of this law,” said Republican state Sen. Greg Dolezal, the bill’s main sponsor. “That law is set to sunset this summer so we just removed the sunset and said that we’re never going to have a day in Georgia where governments refuse services to its constituents based on whether or not they have received a COVID-19 vaccine.”

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The Georgia Senate approved a measure Tuesday to prohibit schools and most state and local government agencies from mandating the coronavirus vaccine.

The Georgia Senate approved a measure Tuesday to prohibit schools and most state and local government agencies from mandating the coronavirus vaccine. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Dolezal said he does not believe the government should “discriminate against citizens” based on their vaccination status.

The current one-year ban passed in 2022 is set to expire on June 30.

“We know that there’s been a movement building in America to demonize vaccinations and do it in the name of individual rights,” Democrat Sen. Nan Orrock said, adding that lawmakers who voted for the new bill are “fundamentally signing on to the anti-vaccination movement” and tying the government’s hands should COVID-19 worsen again.

The bill bans state agencies, local governments, schools and colleges from requiring proof of vaccination.

The bill would not apply to healthcare providers subject to federal requirements that employees must be vaccinated to continue receiving federal payments.

The bill would not apply to healthcare providers subject to federal requirements that employees must be vaccinated to continue receiving federal payments. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“When we throw bills up on the floor and take votes on them in the General Assembly that result in further undermining the public’s faith in vaccines and in public health measures, I think that poses a danger to all of us in the long run,” Orrock said. “It is not wise.”

Republican Sen. Ben Watson, a medical doctor, said a mandate is not needed since the virus has become less severe.

“The science certainly has evolved, the disease certainly has evolved,” Watson said.

COVID-19’S LASTING IMPACT: ‘LESS ATTRACTIVE’ PEOPLE WEAR MASKS MORE OFTEN THAN OTHERS, STUDY FINDS

A one-year ban on vaccine requirements was enacted last year, and this bill would make that measure permanent.

A one-year ban on vaccine requirements was enacted last year, and this bill would make that measure permanent. (iStock)

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Democrats, meanwhile, claim COVID-19 is less lethal thanks to vaccines and other public safety measures, and that there is no guarantee the virus will remain that way.

The bill now heads to the state House for consideration. 

Dolezal has said he plans to introduce a separate bill to make the current five-year ban on school mask mandates permanent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Biden’s State of the Union touted economic success, but are Americans better off?

President Biden touted his economic accomplishments during his State of the Union address, but Americans across the country shared divided views on how their finances have fared two years into his term.

“If I didn’t work in a restaurant, I don’t think I’d be able to afford to eat,” Romello, a Washington state resident, told Fox News. “I’m dipping into my savings now.”

The cost of living is “crazy expensive” and rent is “mind-blowing,” he said. 

But Michael, of Nashville, said his financial situation has improved.

I make more money than I did three years ago,” he said. 

AMERICANS SHARE HOW THEIR FINANCIAL SITUATION HAS CHANGED UNDER BIDEN’S PRESIDENCY:

WATCH MORE FOX NEWS DIGITAL ORIGINALS HERE

A recent Fox News poll reported that 61% of registered voters disapproved of Biden’s handling of the economy. Additionally, 45% of respondents said economic conditions are “poor” while 35% answered “only fair.”

“We’re building an economy where no one’s left behind,” Biden said Tuesday during his State of the Union address. “Jobs are coming back, pride is coming back because of the choices we made in the last several years.”

Laura of Bellingham, Washington, doesn’t feel she’s in a better position than before Biden took office.

“Definitely worse off, but I still sit in a role of privilege,” she told Fox News. “So I’m fortunate enough to have weathered the storm without it being fully damaging to my family.” 

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Laura said she is worse off financially under President Biden.

Laura said she is worse off financially under President Biden. (Fox News Digital / Hannah Ray Lambert)

But Rich, a D.C. resident, said: “If you look at it closely, the jobs are way up, inflation is down, corporate earnings are way up, wages are up.” 

“So, yes, all in all, I think the economy is doing better, although most people apparently do not think so,” he continued.

U.S. employers added 517,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.4% — the lowest since 1969, according to the Department of Labor. But some economists warned that labor participation rates are still below pre-pandemic levels, though others say the report shows promise for sectors hit hard by the pandemic.

FOX NEWS POLL: STATE OF THE UNION IS DYSFUNCTION, DISSATISFACTION AND DISAPPROVAL

Joe Biden speaks about the progress of the administration's economic agenda.

Joe Biden speaks about the progress of the administration’s economic agenda. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, some Americans told Fox News they’re preparing for harder times ahead.

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“I’m being a little bit smarter and more frugal,” Pola, of Austin, said. “Especially for somebody like me in the service industry, you definitely have a little bit tougher of a time making your money.”

And a Nashville man said: “Things are more expensive, and I think it’s just digging us into a deeper hole.”

To watch the full responses, click here

Hannah Ray Lambert reported from Bellingham, Washington; Megan Myers from Washington, D.C.; Gabrielle Reyes from Austin; and Teny Sahakian from Nashville.

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