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7 Things: Deal for new Speaker; Trump joins Alabama GOP for McCarthy; and more …

7. CNN’s favorite Republican comes home

  • Now that former U.S. Rep. Adam Kinizinger (R-Ill.) is done with Congress, even though he isn’t so sure, he is set to become a CNN Republican.
  • CNN has hired Kinzinger and he will now represent the Republican party in debates where CNN hosts need a Republican to say all other Republicans are terrible.

6. McConnell and Biden meet to promote infrastructure project

  • President Joe Biden, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and other members of both parties arrived at the site of a new infrastructure project – a project he voted for that cost $1.7 trillion. 
  • The timing of this event could not be worse for Republicans who are in the middle of a heated and somewhat silly battle for House Speaker. Optics aren’t great when a leader of the party is embracing the president from the other party while a leader in the other chamber is battling his own members over the argument that the leadership isn’t conservative enough.

5. Fire still burning, schools are being impacted

  • A landfill fire that has been burning since late November at an Environmental Landfill in Moody is now impacting even more of the area. The landfill was meant for yard waste and other organic material, but investigators have found appliances and tires at the site and those items burning could cause even more air quality issues.
  • Schools in the area are now installing air quality monitors and severely limiting outdoor activities over the issue. Trussville City Schools interim superintendent Dr. Frank Costanzo says, “We want to instill trust in our citizens, community, employees, parents and that’s important, we aren’t working in isolation and we aren’t going to wait until something happens.”

4. Trump endorses McCarthy

  • Former President Donald Trump jumped into the fray involving U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s attempt to get control of the Speaker’s gavel in the House of Representatives and offered his endorsement. The votes prior to that endorsement and after did not change, leading to attacks from the media and requests for retraction from the awesomely named “rebels.”
  • MSNBC’s Chuck Todd took the media-approved position that this shows Trump is weak and added, “We have been chronicling how much power he has been losing inside the party. This is why Trump had been quiet for a while, for fear his voice doesn’t matter.” Fox News’ Sean Hannity and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) sparred over the endorsement and Boebert said Trump should recall the endorsement.

3. Terri Sewell says GOP is “embarrassment”

  • Unsurprisingly, the lone Alabama Democrat in Congress, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) is using the drama surrounding the Speaker of the House battle to hit her Republican colleagues. 
  • Sewell tweeted, “What a shame” and added, “Thanks to Republican infighting, the United States of America lacks a fully formed Congress for the first time in a century.” Not sure how much this actually matters, as much as some are pretending this is an embarrassment around the world, I doubt Sewell could even name the leader of other countries’ legislative bodies. Neither can I.

2. Strong says the battle over the speakership is “disingenuous”

  • Not yet U.S. Rep. Dale Strong (R-Monrovia) is less than impressed with his first few days in Washington. Stong has voted for Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) every time there has been a vote and appears to be a strong vote in favor of him.
  • Strong made it clear that he thought McCarthy had made the needed concessions to get the votes to be Speaker of the House, “(Y)ou look at these rules, you’ve got the most conservative rules package probably in the history of Congress.” That wasn’t enough, the votes against McCarthy said, according to Strong, “‘we want the power to go back to the committees in original order,’ and here’s the thing, he gave in on all that … when he relented and gave all that power back to the committees, I said ‘here we go, this ought to go good.'” It did not go good.

1. Is there a deal?

  • The House of Representatives adjourned until noon EST today as the battle over which Republican will lead the chamber continued. Much like the day before, U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) implied there is movement in his direction and discussions are ongoing.
  • In McCarthy’s favor, Republican firebrand U.S. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) has intimated that he is willing to move in the direction of McCarthy AND bring 10 people with him. Roy is one of the faces of the opposition and said, “We’re having ongoing conversations; they’ve actually been more productive in the last two hours than they’ve been in a long time.” Also adding, “There’s genuine, good faith, ‘Hey let’s get this done’ conversations.”

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