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In today’s edition …  What we’re watching: Wray testifies … Liz Cheney, outspoken Trump critic, weighs third-party presidential run … Four GOP presidential candidates qualify for fourth primary debate … but first …

On the Hill
Democrats turn up the heat on Ukraine supplemental

The Biden administration and Senate Democrats are increasing pressure on Republicans, daring them to oppose a national security supplemental for Ukraine and Israel as skepticism is growing on Capitol Hill that a supplemental can pass. 

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and President Biden invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to address senators this afternoon via video conference at a classified briefing where he is expected to spell out the dire need for military aid in their fight against Russia that is stalemated. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Charles Q. Brown and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines are expected to present the latest on the status of the war at the classified briefing. 

The address by Zelensky and the classified briefing come just one day before Schumer will hold a procedural vote on Biden’s $106 billion supplemental request, which includes $60 billion for Ukraine, $14 billion for Israel as well as funding for border security and Taiwan. 

The vote is expected to fail. Nearly every Republican — if not all — will vote against it because there has been no agreement between Senate Republicans and Democrats on border policy. 

“History will render harsh judgment on those who abandon democracy,” Schumer said. “I urge all senators to work with us to move forward on a national security supplemental.”

Broken down border talks

Republicans continue to insist that the border must be secured with changes to asylum and parole policy before they provide billions more dollars in aid to Ukraine. 

But a group of bipartisan negotiators working on border policy for several weeks are stuck, unable to agree on if they are still negotiating. 

  • Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), one of the negotiators, said talks have broken down. “We have not been negotiating since Friday,” he said. 
  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), the lead Republican in the talks, said the stalemate is “news to me. Several of us talked through the weekend.”
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), another negotiator, said that Murphy said they're at an “impasse.” She said they're waiting for Lankford to send over his latest proposal. “I would say we're still working.”

Democrats say Republicans are only moving further to the right, pushing for policies of mass detention for migrants seeking parole and asylum and unwilling to rule out proposals that Democrats could never support. Lankford said the negotiations are being taken out of context. 

But the reality is Congress has been unable to make major changes to border policy despite multiple attempts over nearly 20 years. 

The dynamics

Republicans think they have the upper hand in negotiations given Democrats’ belief that support for Ukraine is necessary and urgent.

  • The supplemental is “a unique opportunity” for Republicans “to insist” on border policy changes, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) told us Monday night. 

But Democrats are losing patience, united in their support for Ukraine funding and frustrated with Republican attempts to leverage Ukraine in exchange for a conservative overhaul of border policy. They believe that dismissing Ukraine’s request would make it more likely for Ukraine to lose the war and vindicate Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy.

Republicans are holding Ukraine aid “hostage,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said.

Ukraine aid is a tough vote for many Republicans who could risk primary challenges and backlash because their base is increasingly opposed to sending an additional $60 billion — on top of more than $110 billion the United States has already allocated — to Ukraine.

  • “If Republicans take down the Ukraine bill because of their disagreement over a totally unrelated policy fight, then they own the global cataclysm that will be created because of their political gamesmanship,” Murphy said. 

That calculation is difficult for some Republicans. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is an ardent supporter of Ukraine funding, said she is “definitely leaning toward” voting against Wednesday's procedural vote without border policy changes. 

A new deadline

In another attempt to pressure Republicans, as we reported Monday, Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young sent a letter to the top four congressional leaders saying money will run out for Ukraine “by the end of the year.” 

The letter caught the attention of Republicans.

Cornyn said she “makes a compelling case that we need to do Ukraine aid” and Lankford said it’s “the most definitive statement I’ve heard from the White House” on Ukraine funding timing, adding that Congress works better with a deadline and this might give them added pressure. 

In her letter, Young named states that benefit the most from the production of military equipment for Ukraine. Axios writes that Arkansas, the home of one of the Republican negotiators, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), has received $2.3 billion in investments from previous Ukraine funding.

The most optimistic senators think a failed procedural vote this week won't end the prospects for a supplemental but will revive efforts. 

It’s “a necessary next step,” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) said. “Then we can go from there.” 

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What we're watching
On the Hill

FBI Directory Christopher A. Wray will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he’ll push for the reauthorization of Section 702, which allows for the surveillance of foreign citizens outside the United States. He’ll say the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reported that recent changes to the policy “are having a desired effect,” according to prepared remarks of his testimony. 

  • “Stripping the FBI of its 702 authorities would be a form of unilateral disarmament,” Wray will say. We’ll be watching to see if his testimony leads to any changes of position. 

Conservatives and some liberals are opposed to an extension of the policy, which expires at the end of the year, or are demanding major changes. (We doubt it.)

Harvard President Claudine Gay, University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill and Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth will testify today before the House Education Committee in a hearing “holding campus leaders accountable and confronting antisemitism.” Pamela Nadell, professor of history and Jewish studies at American University, will also testify.

Two IRS whistleblowers, Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler, will testify again about the Hunter Biden tax investigation. They previously testified before the House Oversight Committee. This time, they’ll appear before the House Ways and Means Committee. 

At the Supreme Court

Today, the nine justices will hear oral arguments for Moore v. United States, which challenges Congress’s authority to impose a tax on offshore earnings. The provision helped fund former president Donald Trump’s 2017 tax cut. 

A ruling in favor of Charles and Kathleen Moore “could preemptively bar other taxes that Congress has not previously tried to impose, including a tax on wealth that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and others on the left have pushed as an equitable way to generate new funds for government spending,” per our colleagues Ann E. Marimow and Julie Zauzmer Weil.

  • For that reason, “an unusual political coalition has come together to defend the offshore-earnings tax, from the Biden administration to conservatives including former House speaker Paul D. Ryan. Not because they favor a wealth tax, but because they worry a ruling against one little-known provision could undermine vast swaths of existing taxes on investments, partnerships and foreign income, which together raise billions or even trillions in revenue.”

But two issues have arisen since the high court announced in June that it would hear the case. 

  • Alito’s interviews: Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. has rebuffed calls to recuse himself from the tax case over his ties to a member of the pair’s legal team. The lawyer, David B. Rivkin Jr., interviewed Alito twice for articles that appeared on the Wall Street Journal editorial page. Alito defended the relationship, saying that he and Rivkin have not discussed the case.
  • Inconsistencies in the couple’s stories: “The case has also exposed questions about the accuracy of the personal story a Washington state couple presented to the court in making their constitutional challenge to the tax, a one-time levy on offshore earnings,” Ann and Julie write. “Charles and Kathleen Moore appear to have closer ties to the company central to the case than they disclosed in court filings. Among other things, Charles Moore served on its board for five years and made a significant cash contribution to the company, records show.”
    • Mindy Herzfeld, a tax policy expert at the University of Florida who has written extensively about the case, urged the court in a recent column in Tax Notes not to decide a constitutional question based on “an inaccurate set of facts.” Doing so “risks undermining the Court’s legitimacy and creating the impression that its docket and its decisions are too easily manipulated by politically motivated interest groups.”
  • Mindy Herzfeld, a tax policy expert at the University of Florida who has written extensively about the case, urged the court in a recent column in Tax Notes not to decide a constitutional question based on “an inaccurate set of facts.” Doing so “risks undermining the Court’s legitimacy and creating the impression that its docket and its decisions are too easily manipulated by politically motivated interest groups.”
The campaign
Liz Cheney, outspoken Trump critic, weighs third-party presidential run

Our colleague Maeve Reston sat down with former Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney (R), who is promoting her new book “Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning.” The pair talked about Trump, a potential third-party campaign for president and voting for Biden during the interview. Here’s an excerpt: 

“Cheney, one of the most vociferous critics of Donald Trump in the Republican Party, says she is weighing whether to mount her own third-party candidacy for the White House, as she vows to do ‘whatever it takes’ to prevent the former president from returning to office,” Maeve writes. 

Cheney warns that “Trump could transform America’s democracy into a dictatorship if he is reelected; anticipating, she said, that he would attempt to stay longer than his term.”

  • “Several years ago, I would not have contemplated a third-party run,” Cheney said in a Monday interview with The Washington Post. But, she said, “I happen to think democracy is at risk at home, obviously, as a result of Donald Trump’s continued grip on the Republican Party, and I think democracy is at risk internationally as well.”

“Given her appeal to independents, former Republicans and some Democrats, many Trump critics in both parties have noted that a presidential run by Cheney could undercut her stated goal of defeating Trump, because it could draw some votes away from President Biden,” Maeve writes. “Cheney said those considerations would all be part of her analysis, and underscored that she would not do anything that would help Trump return to the White House.”

Four GOP presidential candidates qualify for fourth primary debate

Former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy have all qualified for the fourth primary debate which will take place in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Wednesday night, our colleague Dylan Wells reports.

Former president Donald Trump will once again skip the event.

  • “Haley has emerged as the most viable alternative candidate to Trump in recent weeks, surpassing or tying DeSantis for second place in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Last week, she won the endorsement of the political network led by conservative billionaire Charles Koch. DeSantis’s campaign and the super PAC supporting him have faced recent drama, with the PAC that has overseen much of his presidential operation firing its CEO less than two weeks after the previous chief executive resigned.”
  • “With the Iowa caucuses just six weeks away, Christie and Haley have both made inroads with independents and anti-Trump Republicans voters, but the overlapping pool of supporters complicates both of their paths in New Hampshire. Haley currently is polling second in the state, but Christie is pulling more than 10 percent of potential primary voters — a share that could prove essential to GOP consolidation efforts against Trump.”
  • Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee this week is set to decide on whether to allow candidates to participate in presidential debates that have not been approved by the national party. The proposal would give candidates, including Trump who has boycotted the debates, the opportunity to confront one another in additional forums.