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The Hill’s Morning Report — What do Tuberville, Santos have in common?

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Senate Republicans hope an Alabama colleague will relent and end his one-man showdown against the Pentagon over abortion. In the House on Wednesday, conservatives found a way to dodge direct confrontation with a criminally indicted GOP congressman despite the headaches he’s created.

Two Republican lawmakers, different circumstances, plenty of discomfort.

In the Senate, Alabama’s Tommy Tuberville, 68, a former college football coach who won’t face voters until 2026, has confounded his GOP colleagues after months of blocking Pentagon nominees to protest the Defense Department’s policy to reimburse travel for abortion.

As The Hill’s Al Weaver reports, GOP sources express confusion about how to persuade Tuberville to end his protest strike. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) is not amused by Tuberville’s tactics, while Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin complains the result is affecting U.S. military readiness. The Biden administration might send an economically potent message to Alabama by not relocating the U.S. Space Command headquarters from Colorado to the heart of Dixie (NBC News, The Hill).

Tuberville, whose father was a decorated World War II soldier, has not budged since February. Using his Senate “hold” privilege, he has prevented approval of what would typically be taken up as a block of Defense nominees for a single vote.

While in the spotlight, Tuberville this month criticized the Pentagon for efforts to purge white nationalists from its military ranks. “I call them Americans,” he commented, forcing his Senate staff members to try to clarify his meaning.

“I have heard of no movement,” a Senate source said of Tuberville’s intransigence about Pentagon nominees and promotions. “He’s serious about this. He’s very serious. It’s not just some show that’s going on. That has to be taken into consideration and respected.”

In March, Tuberville explained his determination during a floor speech. “Federal law only allows the military to provide abortions in three very narrow circumstances: rape, incest and threat to the life of the mother. Yet, the Biden administration has turned the DOD into an abortion travel agency. They did it by using just a memo,” he said (Fox News).

In the case of freshman Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), now facing federal charges of ​fraud, money laundering and other alleged crimes, GOP colleagues on Wednesday prevented his expulsion from Congress by voting to send Santos’s legal troubles to the House Ethics Committee for investigation. It was a punt to shift the congressman’s alleged misdeeds and vows not to resign off center stage for the time being.

The House voted 221-204-7 to send an expulsion resolution sponsored by Democrats to the committee. Every Ethics panel Democrat — Susan Wild (Pa.), Glenn Ivey (Md.), Veronica Escobar (Texas), Deborah Ross (N.C.), Mark DeSaulnier (Calif.) — voted present, as did Reps. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) and Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wash.). The remaining votes fell along party lines, The Hill’s Mychael Schnell reported.

Reps. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.) and Nick LaLota (R-N.Y.) announced earlier this year that they supported expulsion of the New York Republican, and Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) joined the ranks following Santos’s arraignment last week. All voted on Wednesday to refer the matter to the Ethics panel.

Related Articles

▪ The Hill: GOP bashes President Biden for leaving the U.S. during the debt showdown.

▪ The Hill: Democrats warn the president against cutting debt ceiling deal with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

▪ The Hill: How the debt crisis could affect your 401(k).

▪ The Hill: What a default could mean for Medicaid and other federal benefits.

▪ The Bipartisan Policy Center, in a report released today, estimates that if the debt ceiling is still not raised and the Treasury Department receives an influx of quarterly tax receipts on June 15, the government might gain a bridge to another tranche of resources on June 30 that could potentially forestall default through early July.   

▪ CNN and Bloomberg News: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) met Wednesday with CEOs who urge Washington to quickly end the debt ceiling battle with a deal.

▪ The Hill: Appeals court shows openness to rolling back abortion pill access.

▪ The Associated Press: U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins in Massachusetts will resign this week after a Justice Department probe by the Office of Inspector General tied to an appearance at a political fundraiser and other ethics issues.



👉 The Hill’s weeklong series turns to the politics of policy in Florida: 

Florida’s conservative shift has culminated in a raft of policies that have earned plaudits from supporters of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), writes The Hill’s Julia Manchester, while stoking fears among many that the Sunshine State is quashing certain viewpoints as it lurches further and further to the right. 

The governor is expected next week to launch his presidential campaign by filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission corresponding with a donor meeting in Miami May 24-25, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

“Ron DeSantis saw an opportunity, particularly for Republican states — it’s something we talk about with the parental rights bill in particular — where you can help make policy for the rest of the nation,” said Ford O’Connell, a Florida-based Republican strategist. “You don’t have to just be in Washington, D.C.”  

In the meantime, it has also put Florida in the spotlight as a conservative laboratory, turning the state into the front-line battleground on a host of social issues.  

DeSantis on Wednesday signed a stack of right-wing bills into state law for a third consecutive day as his entrance into the 2024 race nears. The governor is soon expected to unveil more political endorsements from state lawmakers, and behind the scenes, his allies are jostling with former President Trump’s backers to secure those pledges. At the federal level, members of Florida’s congressional delegation have gone heavily for Trump (The Tampa Bay Times). 

On Tuesday, DeSantis jumped at the chance to call out Trump for dodging a question about abortion. The former president had criticized Florida’s six-week ban as too harsh while remaining noncommittal about what restrictions he might support (NBC News and The New York Times). 

“I signed the bill. I was proud to do it,” DeSantis told reporters. “He won’t answer whether he would sign it or not.” 

▪ The Hill and The New York Times: The Texas legislature on Wednesday banned transgender medical care for children. The measure heads to the governor’s desk. 

▪ Politico: Nine ways Ramaswamy can beat Trump, according to 2020 Democratic candidate Andrew Yang.

As The Hill’s Caroline Vakil and Sarakshi Rai report, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential field is set to be one of the most diverse yet, a development that comes as the party tries to expand its appeal beyond its largely white base. 

Former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, both of whom are Indian American, as well as conservative radio show host Larry Elder, who’s Black, are running for the Republican nomination. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), one of the highest-profile Black Republicans in Washington, is widely expected to join them later this month. The growing field comes as the GOP has made some strides in broadening its appeal to minority voters and as some members of the party say that presidential candidates should embrace their identities in the primary. Also a likely candidate: former Vice President Mike Pence, who has in mind the type of coalition that once supported former President Ronald Reagan (The New York Times).

▪ NBC News: Every administration since the 1980s has mishandled classified documents, according to the National Archives and Records Administration.

▪ The New York Times: FBI revokes security clearances of three agents over Jan. 6 issues. At least two of the agents are scheduled to testify to a House panel today.

▪ Politico: Trump’s lawyer for the government’s classified documents probe resigns.

▪ CBS News: IRS whistleblower in Hunter Biden investigation removed from probe, his attorneys say.



Biden is in Japan meeting with world leaders at the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, with plenty on his plate domestically and internationally. 

Leaders of the G7 nations plan to tighten sanctions on Russia this week, with steps aimed at energy and exports aiding Moscow’s war effort. New measures will target sanctions evasion involving third countries, and seek to undermine Russia’s future energy production and curb trade that supports the military, Reuters reports.

“We stand up for the shared values including supporting the people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereign territory and holding Russia accountable for its brutal aggression … to ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific” Biden said at the summit.

The trip comes at a precarious time for Biden with talks intensifying over the need to raise the debt limit before the U.S. defaults. It will fall to Biden to reassure his counterparts that he will find a way to avoid that, but they understand it is not solely in his control. 

Still, rather than presenting himself as the unchallenged commander of the most powerful superpower on the world stage, Biden will be an embattled leader forced to rush home to avert a catastrophe of his country’s own making (The New York Times).

Biden was originally also scheduled to head to Papua New Guinea and Australia, but he cut his trip short due to debt limit discussions. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has ruled out a Quad summit taking place in Sydney without Biden, saying the four leaders will talk at the G-7 instead. The summit including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had been scheduled for May 24. Modi is still scheduled to visit Australia, where he has other events planned (The Associated Press).

“The blocking and the disruption that’s occurring in domestic politics in the United States, with the debt ceiling issue, means that, because that has to be solved prior to 1st June — otherwise there are quite drastic consequences for the U.S. economy, which will flow on to the global economy — he understandably has had to make that decision,” Albanese told reporters.

The Hill’s Alex Gangitano, Brett Samuels and Niall Stanage break down what to watch as Biden meets with counterparts in Asia. 

▪ Nikkei Asia: Biden met with Prime Minister Kishida today.

▪ The Wall Street Journal: Biden seeks to rally G-7 allies against Russia and China as debt talks cloud message.


Russia fired 30 cruise missiles at different parts of Ukraine early Thursday, marking the latest nighttime test of Ukrainian air defenses. Officials said 29 were shot down. Loud explosions were reported in Kyiv as Moscow targeted the capital for the ninth time this month — a clear escalation after weeks of lull as Ukraine prepares for a much-anticipated counteroffensive using newly supplied advanced Western weapons (The Associated Press).

The attack comes after both countries agreed on Wednesday to a two-month extension of a wartime agreement that allows Ukraine to ship its grain across the Black Sea, easing uncertainty over a deal seen as vital for preventing famine in other parts of the world. The arrangement, first brokered last July, and its subsequent extensions, have been a rare example of cooperation between Moscow and Kyiv in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion 15 months ago (NPR).

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is facing a new and amplified pressure campaign to greenlight the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine, after the United Kingdom announced it will train Ukrainian fighter pilots and Kyiv ramped up its calls for the warplanes. While the administration has crossed several other red lines in military aid, it’s held firm on the planes. But Washington may be able to do the next best thing: allow other countries that fly the F-16 to send their own jets to Ukraine (Politico).

▪ The Wall Street Journal: The offensive before the offensive: Ukraine strikes behind Russian lines.

▪ Politico EU: EU balks at adding Russian gas pipeline ban to sanctions package.

The United Nations said on Wednesday it is seeking $3 billion in aid for more than half of Sudan’s population, as civilians take shelter from air strikes and sporadic clashes between rival military factions in the Khartoum area. Residents said power had been cut, food was in short supply, and drinking water scarce due to the violent power struggle, now in its second month despite international mediation efforts. There has been no let-up in the conflict between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) (Reuters).

▪ The Washington Post: Sudan’s warring factions target doctors and activists.

▪ The New York Times: He lost Turkey’s presidential election — but could swing the runoff.

▪ Al Jazeera: Turkey’s opposition claims ballot irregularities in Sunday’s polls.

▪ The Washington Post: On the verge of impeachment, Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso dissolved the country’s legislature on Wednesday, moving to rule by decree.


■ Japan can’t pass the buck anymore, by Jennifer Lind, guest essayist, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/3OmW9wW

■ The survivors of Putin’s atrocities have a warning for us, by Josh Rogin, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/45aWdWn


📲 Ask The Hill: Share a news query tied to an expert journalist’s insights: The Hill launched something new and (we hope) engaging via text with Editor-in-Chief Bob Cusack. Learn more and sign up HERE.

The House will meet at 9 a.m.

The Senate will convene at 10 a.m.

The president is in Hiroshima, Japan, to participate in the annual Group of Seven summit. Biden will participate in a bilateral meeting with G-7 host, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. 

The vice president will participate in a virtual press briefing at 12:40 p.m. to provide updates about default prevention and the debt limit.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Japan with the president.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will speak to members of the board of the Bank Policy Institute to discuss recent developments in the banking system and the debt limit.

Economic indicator: The Labor Department at 8:30 a.m. will report on unemployment claims filed in the week ending on May 13.



Prices have cooled in the once red-hot housing market, but competition is heating up between two generations in seemingly perpetual conflict. As The Hill’s Adam Barnes reports, millennials entering their prime homebuying years and baby boomers — many of whom are nearing retirement age — are finding themselves vying for the same homes. And the substantial equity in previous home purchases and often greater cash flows put baby boomers at a decided advantage over younger buyers who are more likely to be tethered to a long-term mortgage. 

▪ CBS News: More Americans than ever are deterred by rising home prices.

▪ Fortune: The Big Squeeze: The housing market is so unaffordable that builders have no choice but to build smaller homes.

Meanwhile, state laws in Florida and Texas that crack down on undocumented immigrants are prompting some Latinos to reconsider where they live and work, writes The Hill’s Rafael Bernal. In Florida, videos of empty workplaces began to go viral after DeSantis signed a bill that ratchets up sanctions for employing undocumented workers. The Florida law goes into effect on July 1, stacked with provisions that will make daily life harder for undocumented immigrants. The state will no longer recognize driver’s licenses issued out of state to undocumented immigrants, and it will prohibit Florida counties from issuing ID cards to that demographic. 

In Texas, Republicans last week passed a bill through the state House that would create the “Border Protection Unit,” a specialized immigration police force that would operate in counties along the border where the state’s Hispanic population is concentrated.

▪ Vox: Why videos of Florida workers leaving their jobs are going viral.

▪ WPTV: Florida’s new immigration law creates “panic” in the agriculture community.

▪ Tallahassee Democrat: Florida is a “dangerous and hostile environment,” Hispanic organization says in travel warning.

🔥 Here’s a forecast with economic implications: Global temperatures are likely to soar to record highs over the next five years, driven by human-caused warming and a climate pattern known as El Niño, forecasters at the World Meteorological Organization said Wednesday. “This will have far-reaching repercussions for health, food security, water management and the environment,” said Petteri Taalas, the secretary general of the organization. “We need to be prepared” (The New York Times).


American men are facing a suicide epidemic, dying of suicide at four times the rate of women — a 20-year high. Suicide among men has been somewhat overshadowed by concern over the mental health crisis afflicting women, who, paradoxically, suffer depression at a higher rate than men and attempt suicide more. Yet men die by suicide at much higher rates. 

As The Hill’s Daniel de Visé reports, the main reason is firearms. Men are much more likely than women to turn guns on themselves, and the lethality rate of suicide-by-gun is staggeringly high. 

▪ The Hill: Depression rates hit new high in Gallup polling.

▪ ABC News: Drug overdoses in the U.S. slightly increased last year. But experts see hopeful signs.

▪ The Wall Street Journal: Young Americans are dying at alarming rates, reversing years of progress.

With drug shortages in the U.S. approaching record levels, thousands of patients are facing delays in getting treatments for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. 

Hundreds of drugs are on the list of medications in short supply across the country, as officials grapple with an opaque and sometimes interrupted supply chain, quality and financial issues that are leading to manufacturing shutdowns. The shortages are so acute that the White House and Congress are examining the underlying causes of the faltering generic drug market, which accounts for about 90 percent of domestic prescriptions (The New York Times).

▪ KBIA: Drug shortages have hit near-record highs. It’s getting harder to shield patients from the impacts.

▪ Some upbeat news!: A 98-year-old Chicago man who works seven days a week described the secret to his longevity (Fox 32 Chicago).


Take Our Morning Report Quiz

And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by Biden jetting off to Japan, we’re eager for some smart guesses about presidential travel.

Be sure to email your responses to [email protected] and [email protected] — please add “Quiz” to your subject line. Winners who submit correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.

Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to travel abroad while in office. Where did he go?

Canada to meet the prime minister

The U.K. for an audience with King Edward VIII

The Panama Canal to inspect construction

Mexico for a beach vacation 

Which president visited the most countries while in office?

Barack Obama

Bill Clinton

George H.W. Bush

George W. Bush

Which president made the first around-the-world trip aboard Air Force One? 

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Gerald Ford

Jimmy Carter

Lyndon B. Johnson

With eight state visits, which country has received the most presidential pomp in the past decade? 


United Kingdom 



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