Good morning. Here’s your Daily SITREP for Monday, 13 November 2023.
- READ TIME: 5 Minutes, 37 Seconds
- Inside the Beltway
- (1) Jordan: Biden Impeachment Decision Coming Next Year
- (2) Manchin to Retire and “Mobilize the Middle”
- (3) Johnson Pushes CR Before Friday Shutdown Deadline
- Domestic INTSUM
- (4) 2024 Minimum Wage Hikes to Stress Consumers, Small Businesses
- (5) Feds Step Up Probe Into NYC Mayor Eric Adams 2021 Campaign
- (6) Power Official: No One Has Authority to Keep the Lights On
- Global SITREP
- (7) Guterres: A Second Front Would Completely Destroy Lebanon
- (8) China and Pakistan Practice Guarding Sea Lanes
- (9) China’s Escalating Harassment of Philippines
INSIDE THE BELTWAY
- (1) JORDAN: BIDEN IMPEACHMENT DECISION COMING NEXT YEAR: House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) said the Judiciary Committee will finish interviews and depositions by the end of the year and make a decision on impeaching President Joe Biden in early 2024.
- Jordan added that the Department of Justice allowed the statute of limitations to expire on possible charges against Hunter Biden for unpaid taxes because it “takes them right back to the White House.”
- House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) said there was “insufficient evidence at the moment” to proceed with a formal impeachment against Biden.
- Why It Matters: House Republicans may be backing off on getting a formal impeachment started before 2024 because Biden’s polling is tanking, and calls from Democrats for Biden to step back from reelection are increasing. – R.C.
- (2) MANCHIN TO RETIRE AND “MOBILIZE THE MIDDLE”: Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he will not seek reelection next year and will travel the country to start “a movement to mobilize the middle.”
- The head of the progressive Revolving Door Project, Jeff Hauser, said he doubts Manchin will run for president, because losing would hurt his brand “considering his services as a K Street fixer and potential board member.”
- Why It Matters: Manchin was very unlikely to beat Republican West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, who is running for his Senate seat and leading him by 13% in polling. Democrats are concerned about a Manchin third-party run as the Biden campaign is attempting to court the same “middle” voters that Manchin says he will now mobilize. Manchin’s retirement will also hand Republicans another seat when Democrats are already facing a tough Senate map in 2024. Republicans could take control of the Senate in 2024 while Democrats flip the House. – R.C.
- (3) JOHNSON PUSHES CR BEFORE FRIDAY SHUTDOWN DEADLINE: House Speaker Mike Johnson’s (R-LA) “laddered” continuing resolution (CR) will be taken up by the House Rules Committee today and will not include spending cuts.
- Some Freedom Caucus Republicans, including Chip Roy (R-TX) and Marjory Taylor Greene (R-GA), said they are against the “laddered CR,” but House Democratic leadership said they would not call for Democrats to vote it down.
- Why It Matters: Johnson’s CR seems to have alleviated the concerns of Democratic leadership in both the House and Senate, with one Senate Democratic leadership aide even calling it “a good thing.” Senate Democrats are still waiting to see if Johnson can get his CR past the House Freedom Caucus, and the White House has threatened to veto it if the bill doesn’t include the $106 billion requested for Ukraine and Israel funding. – R.C.
- (4) 2024 MINIMUM WAGE HIKES TO STRESS CONSUMERS, SMALL BUSINESSES: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, and Nebraska will raise minimum wages by 13% or more in 2024, which will challenge these states’ small businesses and consumers dealing with inflation.
- California will increase the minimum wage for fast food workers to $20 per hour on 01 April 2024 – a 23% pay hike compared to last year’s average hourly wage for California fast food employees.
- Chipotle’s Chief Financial Officer said they would raise prices in California by a “mid-to-high single digit” percentage after the minimum wage hikes, and McDonald’s plans to raise prices in California but has not specified the amount.
- Why It Matters: These pay hikes will benefit the most productive minimum wage workers, but other workers and small businesses will suffer. Many small companies will fire staff, while larger companies will adopt more automation to avoid paying higher wages. Meanwhile, consumers will face immediate price raises, especially hurting the 60% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck. – H.B.
- (5) FEDS STEP UP PROBE INTO NYC MAYOR ERIC ADAMS 2021 CAMPAIGN: The FBI seized New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ electronic devices last week as part of a larger probe into contributions to his campaign in 2021.
- The FBI is now investigating if Adams used political influence to help the Turkish government move into a new consulate building in 2021.
- Why It Matters: The sudden escalation of the FBI investigation appears to be retaliation for Adams’ public criticism of the Biden administration over the immigration crisis and public trips to Mexico and Ecuador to discourage immigrants from coming to the United States. – R.C.
- (6) POWER OFFICIAL: NO ONE HAS AUTHORITY TO KEEP THE LIGHTS ON: During a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conference, Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO) compliance officer Jennifer Curran said that no state commissions have “the authority” to prevent the shutdown of fossil fuel power plants even if it increased grid instability.
- MISO Executive Director Scott Wright added that “accelerated retirements” of fossil fuel power plants are decreasing grid dependability.
- Why It Matters: Federal officials at the FERC and state utilities have been sounding the alarm on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan 2.0 for the last year. Now, Curran has revealed that there is no one with the authority to prevent the closure of fossil fuel power plants that don’t meet the Clean Power Plan 2.0 standards despite the likelihood of crippling the U.S. power grid. – R.C.
- (7) GUTERRES: A SECOND FRONT WOULD COMPLETELY DESTROY LEBANON: United Nations Secretary General António Guterres warned that Iranian officials said they have no control over Hezbollah creating a second front in the war against Israel.
- “I’m very worried… [I’ve asked Iran] to tell Hezbollah you cannot create a situation in which Lebanon will be completely engulfed by this conflict because if Hezbollah will launch a massive attack on Israel, it might create, I don’t know what kind of impact. But one thing I’m sure, Lebanon would not survive.”
- Guterres said he’s in contact with Israeli, Iranian, and Lebanese officials. Guterres later added that in a massive strike by Hezbollah, Lebanon “would be completely destroyed” by the Israeli response.
- U.S. jets over the weekend struck a weapons storage facility used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – Quds Force (IRGC-QF), according to U.S. officials.
- Why It Matters: Gueterres did not seem confident that the region would escape an Israeli-Hezbollah war in Lebanon and said that he didn’t know whether Iran was responsive to his pleas not to escalate the current conflict. One dangerous scenario remains that the United States and its three carrier strike groups in the region get pulled into a conflict with Iran, severely disrupting oil markets and international trade. – M.S.
- (8) CHINA AND PAKISTAN PRACTICE GUARDING SEA LANES: China and Pakistan kicked off their largest-ever iteration of the Sea Guardian exercise on Saturday, which aims to practice guarding critical sea lanes.
- China sent a destroyer, two frigates, a submarine, and its tender. The submarine is independently steaming. One of the frigates is reassigned from its ongoing anti-piracy mission.
- Pakistan’s forces are unannounced, however, the exercise will launch from the naval base in Karachi.
- Meanwhile, China, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam kicked off the “Peace and Friendship 2023” naval exercises that focus on anti-terrorism and maritime security.
- Why It Matters: Since 2020, these exercises have grown in scale and complexity and have always focused on “guarding sea lanes.” This particular verbiage suggests a much higher threat level than mere anti-piracy, an exercise for which China is undertaking with five other countries. China will not say it outright, but this joint exercise with Pakistan is likely planning for Western navies, which could shut down these sea lanes during a war. – J.V.
- (9) CHINA’S ESCALATING HARASSMENT OF PHILIPPINES: Over the weekend, Chinese Coast Guard and maritime militia vessels harassed another Philippine Navy resupply mission to the Second Thomas Shoal.
- Chinese deterrence methods included water cannons and cutting off the resupply vessels at high speed.
- Resupply missions are monthly, according to the Philippine Navy.
- Why It Matters: China’s deterrence methods continue to escalate with each resupply mission. While they probably don’t intend for these encounters to be lethal, reckless maneuvering at high speeds could easily turn lethal. With the maritime militia involved, further escalation is a likely course of action. – J.V.
— END REPORT
M.S. indicates analyst commentary from Mike Shelby
M.M. indicates analyst commentary from Max Morton
J.V. indicates analyst commentary from Jared Vaughn
R.C. indicates analyst commentary from Robert Cook
H.B. indicates analyst commentary from Harrison Burge
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