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Jan. 6 panel meets to mull potential criminal referrals for Trump, others

Jan.6.Panel meets

The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is poised to meet Friday morning behind closed doors to take up a critical to-do list, including whether to issue potential criminal referrals for former President Trump and others.

A subcommittee is expected to present their recommendations to the full panel on next steps to consider for Trump and other targets of the more than yearlong probe.

"We'll just accept the report, and probably one day next week, make a decision one way or another," said Mississippi Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, who chairs the House Select Committee panel.

The subcommittee was formed in October and is comprised of the larger panel's four lawyers: Reps. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, Zoe Lofgren and Adam Schiff of California and Republican Vice Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

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Senate votes to avert costly rail strike

Senate votes to avert rail strikeThe Senate voted Thursday to avert a costly nationwide rail strike next week that lawmakers in both parties worried would shut down much of the economy and further add to inflation.

Senators voted 80 to 15 for a House-passed bill to implement the labor agreement between freight rail carriers and unionized workers brokered by the Biden administration.

But senators rejected a proposal to add seven days of paid sick leave to the agreement, which four rail unions demanded.

By intervening, Congress will avert the threat of a national rail shutdown that would have ravaged supply chains and brought significant portions of the economy to a halt in the middle of the holidays.

Roughly one-third of U.S. cargo is transported by rail and truckers would not be able to take on more capacity.

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Matt Gaetz associate Joel Greenberg gets 11 years as probe into congressman stalls

Joel Greenberg

Joel Greenberg, the former Florida tax collector who sources say agreed to cooperate in the federal probe into his one-time close associate, Rep. Matt Gaetz, was sentenced Thursday to 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to crimes ranging from wire fraud to sex trafficking a minor.

Greenberg pleaded guilty last May to six of the 33 federal charges he was facing, including charges of stalking, identity theft, wire fraud, and conspiracy to bribe a public official, as well as one charge of sex trafficking.

The case grabbed national attention in the spring of 2021 after news broke that the investigation into Greenberg, a Seminole County tax collector, had, according to multiple sources, erupted into a sprawling federal probe that included whether Gaetz, his close friend, had had sex with a minor who he met through Greenberg.

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Clyburn elected assistant Dem leader after challenger drops out

James Clyburn voted Dem leader

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) was elected assistant minority leader on Thursday, the No. 4 position in House Democratic leadership, after Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) dropped his unexpected challenge.

Why it matters: Cicilline's surprise announcement on Wednesday that he was taking on Clyburn came amid grumbling from some younger members about the 82-year-old Democratic whip's decision to stay in leadership.

  • Cicilline, the chair of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, argued for LGBTQ+ representation in leadership, citing a recent shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs.

What we're hearing: Cicilline, in a speech to the caucus on Thursday, laid out what he would have run on before endorsing Clyburn to applause from his colleagues, according to members in the room.

  • Cicilline also said he got to sit down with Democratic leadership and was assured there will be LGBTQ+ representation in leadership – though it's not yet clear what form that will take.

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Democrats Are Now In Possession Of 6 Years Of Donald Trump’s Tax Returns

House has Trump tax returns

The House Ways & Means Committee is now in possession of six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns after a three-year battle to obtain them.

The committee received the documents from the Treasury Department on Wednesday after the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s final appeal on Nov. 22, according to the Treasury Department.

“Treasury has complied with last week’s court decision,” a Treasury official said.

The receipt of Trump’s tax returns brings to a close a three-year legal fight that began when Ways & Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) asked the Treasury Department to hand over the then-president’s tax returns under a law that allows congressional tax-writing committees to obtain tax returns for its investigations.

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U.S. House votes to block rail strike, mandate paid sick leave

US House votes to block rail strikeThe U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to approve a bill to block a potentially crippling railroad strike and to mandate paid sick time for rail workers.

Lawmakers voted 290 to 137 to impose a tentative contract deal reached in September on a dozen unions representing 115,000 workers after President Joe Biden warned of the catastrophic impact of a rail stoppage that could begin as early as Dec. 9.

The House separately voted 221 to 207 to give seven days of paid sick leave to railroad employees, but that faces an uncertain fate in the Senate. Democrats and some Republicans have expressed outrage over the lack of paid short-term sick leave for railroad workers.

"We know much more needs to be done for railroad workers," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said ahead of the votes. "No one should be at risk of losing his or her job by staying home when sick, needing to see a doctor or getting lifesaving surgery."

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Hakeem Jeffries Elected To Lead House Dems' Next Generation

Hakeem Jeffries elected new House Minority LeaderEmboldened House Democrats ushered in a new generation of leaders on Wednesday with Rep. Hakeem Jeffries elected to be the first Black American to head a major political party in Congress as long-serving Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team step aside next year.

Showing rare party unity after their midterm election losses, the House Democrats moved seamlessly from one history-making leader to another, choosing the 52-year-old New Yorker, who has vowed to “get things done,” even after Republicans won control of the chamber. The closed-door vote was unanimous, by acclamation.

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