BULLETIN — A Wisconsin jury found KYLE RITTENHOUSE not guilty on all counts stemming from the 2020 incident in Kenosha, where the then-17-year-old shot three men, killing two of them. Live updates from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
BBB PASSES HOUSE — Just after 10 a.m. — after being delayed for hours by a historically long speech by Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY — the gavel slammed down in the House, marking the passage of the Build Back Better package (BBB). The ledeall, from Heather Caygle, Sarah Ferris and Nicholas Wu
The final vote: 220-213. No Republicans joined Dems in supporting the bill. One single Democrat voted no: Maine Rep. JARED GOLDEN. “Nearly 100 members of the House voted by proxy on final passage of the $1.7 trillion climate and families spending package,” according to a tally by Anthony Adragna for Congress Minutes.
When the chamber hit the 218-vote threshold for passage, Democratic members broke out into hooting and hollering, chanting “Build Back Better,” per our colleague Olivia Beavers.
“We’ll be telling our children and grandchildren that we were here this day,” House Speaker NANCY PELOSI said after the vote. As for McCarthy’s epically long de facto filibuster, which broke her own record for longest floor speech in House history? “I barely noticed.”
But the journey is just beginning for the BBB, as the bill now ships over to the Senate, where it will be pulled in multiple directions at once, as progressives and moderates continue their tug-of-war over Biden’s signature legislation.
— The view from the House: This morning, Pelosi downplayed the potential for changes in the Senate, per @sarahnferris, “saying what’s in the bill is 90 percent agreed to with House, Senate and WH. ‘There were some differences at the end, and we’ll deal with that as we go forward.’”
— The view from Senate progressives: Sen. BERNIE SANDERS (I-Vt.) said he hopes “to see it strengthened in a number of ways,” per WaPo’s Tony Romm, emphasizing his ambitions to make changes on taxes, drug pricing, climate provisions and expanding Medicare.
— The view from Senate moderates: Here’s Sen. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-Ariz.) speaking to Romm and Seung Min Kim about how she views the House-passed version of BBB: “So, that’s not the agreement the president put out in his framework several weeks ago. While I’m not going to comment on what’s happening in the House at this moment, I can just refer you back to the comments I made when the president put out his framework. … I’m looking forward to working with him to get this done.”
Two other things Sinema said that caught our eye:
— “My opinion is that legislation that is crafted together, in a bipartisan way, is the legislation that’s most likely to pass and stand the test of time. And I would certainly encourage my colleagues to use that effort to move forward.”
— “I’m always surprised when people say, ‘Oh, she’s an enigma.’ I’m, like, not at all, actually. I’m very straightforward about what I believe in and why I’m doing what I do.”
Whatever its final form, the messaging war over BBB is well underway. As Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle report, “House Democrats are gambling that its medley of popular family, health care and climate proposals can steer them toward a radically different political fate than eleven years ago. … Unlike in 2010, when former President BARACK OBAMA and congressional Democrats fumbled the messaging on their mammoth legislative achievement, Democrats now say they’ve learned their communications lessons as they set out to convince voters to pay attention to what’s in the social spending measure.”
Meanwhile, over in the Senate, the NDAA is now scheduled for a roll-call vote on Monday, Nov. 29.
Happy Friday afternoon. Our colleague Nicholas Wu tweeted that the Capitol Christmas Tree is arriving today — hailing from Rep. JARED HUFFMAN’s district in California. If you ask us, Christmas decorations (and music) are meant for after Thanksgiving and not a day sooner! When do you start getting into the holiday spirit? Let us know.
A HISTORY-MAKING DAY — Today, Biden went to Walter Reed Medical Center for a routine physical and colonoscopy. Ahead of the procedure, press secretary JEN PSAKI announced that Biden would temporarily transfer power to the VP “for the brief period of time” he was under anesthesia. “The Vice President will work from her office in the West Wing during this time,” said Psaki.
Yes, that technically means for a brief period this morning — 85 minutes, from 10:10 a.m. to 11:35 a.m. — KAMALA HARRIS became the first female (acting) president of the United States.
FED UP — Today, two Democratic senators added to Biden’s headache over who to appoint as Fed chair. Rhode Island’s SHELDON WHITEHOUSE and Oregon’s JEFF MERKLEY said they would oppose a potential reappointment of JEROME POWELL. “President Biden must appoint a Fed Chair who … shares the Administration’s view that fighting climate change is the responsibility of every policymaker,” Whitehouse and Merkley said in a statement, per AP’s Christopher Rugaber. “That person is not Jerome Powell.” They join Sen. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-Mass.) in their opposition.
BOOSTER BUSINESS — The FDA cleared the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 booster shots for all adults, regardless of which vaccine they first received. Katherine Ellen Foley has more
DISINFO DOGS FAUCI — October saw a busy month for ANTHONY FAUCI as he and public health officials began a campaign to vaccinate children. But it also was a tumultuous time for the Covid expert, who became the target of angry messages and threats stemming “from a viral and false claim that the agency Fauci leads, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, had funded a medical experiment in which beagles were trapped in mesh cages filled with diseased sand flies,” WaPo’s Yasmeen Abutaleb and Beth Reinhard report. “The outrage was supercharged by a bipartisan letter signed by 24 members of Congress that questioned the agency’s funding of medical research on dogs.”
THE WRATH OF KHAN — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is taking on FTC Chair LINA KHAN, arguing that she is “overstepping the agency’s legal authority,” WSJ’s Ryan Tracy reports. “In three letters to the FTC dated Friday, the Chamber cited potential breaches of administrative procedure that it said could be open to legal challenge. It also was set to file more than 30 requests with the FTC under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking documents that could include Ms. Khan’s personal communications and those of her staff. The letters and records requests, which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, represent what Chamber leaders described as a rare public challenge to a regulatory agency that is still in the early months of new leadership.”
WISCO SHOWDOWN — On the heels of the 2020 election, Republicans in Wisconsin are pushing hard to wrest complete control of the state’s elections, amounting to an “all-out assault” that has even roped in GOP Sen. RON JOHNSON, NYT’s Reid Epstein writes. “The Republican effort — broader and more forceful than that in any other state where allies of former President DONALD J. TRUMP are trying to overhaul elections — takes direct aim at the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission, an agency Republicans created half a decade ago that has been under attack since the chaotic aftermath of last year’s election.”
DEMS’ RED-STATE BLUEPRINT — MIKE SCHMUHL is trying to win the hearts, minds and votes of Democrats in rural America. But the task is proving much easier said than done for the former PETE BUTTIGIEG campaign manager, Insider’s Adam Wren writes. “Since January I’ve interviewed Schmuhl at least a dozen times, following him across Indiana in an off year to places such as French Lick, two hours south of Indianapolis and not far from Louisville, Kentucky, as he rallied Democrats at the Indiana Democratic Editorial Association confab. I’ve had long conversations about Schmuhl’s unlikely rescue operation and the fate of rural Democrats with more than two dozen party insiders, donors, and operatives. These people tell me that what Schmuhl is doing in Indiana could yield the party valuable insights about what works in red states.”
THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS — A townhouse tucked into a neighborhood a few blocks from the Capitol has become an influence hub for a bipartisan group of lawmakers who have Big Tech in their sights, Emily Birnbaum reports. “The red-brick home that Oracle owns two blocks south of the Capitol has long been a popular waypoint on the D.C. fundraising and lobbying circuit, one of a slew of townhouses that corporations and advocacy groups use as perches of D.C. influence. But recent months have brought it an uptick in fundraisers for lawmakers pushing legislation that would rein in the cloud and database company’s Big Tech competitors.”
AMAZON’S INSIDE MAN — Reuters’ Jeffrey Dastin, Chris Kirkham and Aditya Kalra have an inside look at how a former Biden aide, JAY CARNEY, has helped Amazon “build a lobbying juggernaut that has gutted legislation in two dozen states seeking to give consumers more control over their data.” They write: “Amazon’s lobbying against privacy protections aims to preserve the company’s access to detailed consumer data that has fueled its explosive online-retailing growth and provided an advantage in emerging technologies, according to the Amazon documents and former employees. The data Amazon amasses includes Alexa voice recordings; videos from home-camera systems; personal health data from fitness trackers; and data on consumers’ web-searching and buying habits from its e-commerce business.”
BOOK CLUB — Trump has plans for his first post-presidency book, featuring 300-plus official White House photos, called “Our Journey Together,” Axios’ Mike Allen reports. “DON JR. tells Axios: ‘My father picked every single photo in this book, wrote all the captions, including some by hand.’ The coffee-table book includes Trump at the border wall and with KIM JONG-UN, and behind-the-scenes family photos. The book is from Winning Team Publishing — a venture formed by Don Jr. and SERGIO GOR, with plans to publish more MAGA authors.”
AMERICA AND THE WORLD
FOR YOUR RADAR — “U.S. intelligence agencies learned this spring that China was secretly building what they suspected was a military facility at a port in the United Arab Emirates, one of the U.S.’s closest Mideast allies, according to people familiar with the matter,” WSJ’s Gordon Lubold and Warren Strobel report. “Alarmed, the Biden administration warned the Emirati government that a Chinese military presence in its country could threaten ties between the two nations. After rounds of meetings and visits by U.S. officials, construction was recently halted, according to people familiar with the matter.”
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? — In the U.S., MARIA BUTINA is known as a Russian operative who was convicted “of operating as an unregistered foreign agent trying to infiltrate influential conservative political circles before and after the 2016 election.” But back home in Russia, she’s a newly seated member of parliament. “Her critics have characterized her rapid political rise as a thank you from the Kremlin, a claim she rejects,” NYT’s Valerie Hopkins writes in Moscow. “‘It’s not a reward,’ Ms. Butina said in an interview at a cafe in central Moscow near where she lives. ‘I wasn’t a spy. I wasn’t working for the government. I was just a civilian.’”
ARABIAN NIGHT AT THE WHARF — ilili executive chef and owner Philippe Massoud and his partner, Alexander, celebrated the launch of the D.C. outpost of their famed Manhattan Lebanese restaurant with a splashy soiree at The Wharf on Thursday. There were live musical performances, Arabic calligraphy, a contortionist and a guest list that included: Rima Al-Sabah, Vince Evans, Tammy Haddad, John Falcicchio, Adrian Fenty, Vinoda Basnayake, Sarosh Olpadwala, Shannon Washburn, Awanate Cobbina, Maggie O’Neill, Amer Hammour and Nasser Nakib.
MEDIA MOVE — Rachael Levy is joining POLITICO as a health care reporter. She previously was a domestic terrorism and federal law enforcement reporter for the WSJ.
STAFFING UP — The General Services Administration announced a slate of new appointments: Alex Goldman will be special assistant in the Office of the Administrator and previously was at Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Angela Lesnak will be counsel to the general counsel and previously was at Jones Day, and Sam Myers will be the director of advance and is an Obama White House alum.
TRANSITIONS — Shawn Bennett is now a managing director in FTI Consulting’s strategic comms practice. He previously was deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Oil and Natural Gas at DOE. … Katelyn Petroka Joyce is now corporate comms lead at Tevogen Bio. She previously was a strategic comms specialist at Hogan Lovells and is a CNN alum.
WEDDING — Zeppa Kreager-Schreyer, White House liaison for USAID, and Andrew Kreager-Schreyer, deputy assistant administrator for mission support at the EPA, got married on Nov. 5 at Latrobe’s on Royal in New Orleans. The two met on Zeppa’s first night in New York City in March 2017 via a mutual friend, Kelly Mehlenbacher (who officiated their wedding ceremony), at a party in Brooklyn. Zeppa had just finished serving as director of public engagement for then-VP Joe Biden and Andrew had finished serving on the Hillary for America campaign. Pic, via Dark Roux Photography … SPOTTED: Greg Schultz, Pete Kavanaugh, Becca Siegel, Jessalyn Reid, Iran Campana, Esther Ongeri, Courtney Corbisiero, DJ Sigworth, Sharon Weber, Bill Doerrer and Meredith Jachowicz.