Believe it or not, there are other political stories not related to the GOP’s persistent inability to select a House Speaker. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.
► Congressional Thunderdome got underway on Thursday at 10:00 with Republican Rep-elect John James of Michigan (first elected in November) nominating Kevin McCarthy for House Speaker. CLICK HERE to keep up with our updates, starting with vote #7.
A desperate McCarthy made new concessions to right-wing holdouts on Wednesday evening. As The Washington Post reports:
McCarthy has made fresh concessions to a group of 20 GOP lawmakers in hopes of ending their blockade of his speakership ahead of votes Thursday, a stunning reversal that, if adopted, would weaken the position of speaker and ensure a tenuous hold on the job.
During late-hour negotiations Wednesday, McCarthy (R-Calif.) agreed to the proposed rule changes, according to four people familiar with the talks who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations.
In a major allowance to the hard-right Republicans, McCarthy offered to lower from five to one the number of members required to sponsor a resolution to force a vote on ousting the speaker — a change that the California Republican had previously said he would not accept.
McCarthy also expressed a willingness to place more members of the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus on the House Rules Committee, which debates legislation before it’s moved to the floor.
To track the votes on a member-by-member basis, check out this handy guide from The New York Times.
► Colorado Rep-elect Lauren Boebert rose to nominate Florida Republican Rep-elect Byron Donalds on Wednesday, kicking former President Donald Trump in the nuts in the process. As POLITICO explains:
It was the second day of chaos on the floor of the House of Representatives when Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) took the previously unthinkable step of thumbing her nose at Donald Trump, the ex-president she otherwise venerates.
“Let’s stop with the campaign smears and tactics to get people to turn against us — even having my favorite president call us and tell us to knock this off. I think it actually needs to be reversed and the [former] president needs to tell Kevin McCarthy you do not have the votes and it’s time to withdraw,” Boebert said. “Ooo”s from Democrats could be heard from the chamber.
The inability of McCarthy to secure the needed votes to be House Speaker — despite six tries at doing so — represents a unique failure on his part. But it has also called into question the extent of Trump’s own power to shape the party in his image, coming at a time when some Republicans have openly soured on his current run for the presidency.
Boebert is clearly enjoying her role as potential spoiler, telling reporters that there is NOTHING McCarthy can do to get her vote for Speaker. Boebert is also she’s getting hammered by right-wing McCarthy supporters — including Sean Hannity of Fox News and former Trump cabinet member Ryan Zinke:
Colorado’s other Republican Members of Congress are diverging in different ways. Colorado Springs Republican Doug Lamborn has steadfastly voted for McCarthy, as has Greeley’s Ken Buck…
…but Buck has offered several conflicting answers on what might happen to end this circus. Shaun Boyd of CBS4 Denver somehow managed to put together a story with AN INACCURATE INTERVIEW from Buck’s own mouth.
► Colorado lawmakers kick off their legislative session next week; they’ll be able to get right to work because there is no confusion about who will be House Speaker (Julie McCluskie). As Seth Klamann reports for The Denver Post reports, rent control could be front-and-center:
For years, the idea of rent control in Colorado simmered at a low temperature. Advocacy groups have pushed for it, some lawmakers have nudged at it, but there was no broad political movement to cap rising rents.
Even as Minneapolis, St. Paul and the state of Oregon have enacted or are considering policies capping how much rent can be raised in a given year, Colorado has eschewed it. When one lawmaker proposed limited rent protections for mobile home residents last year, Gov. Jared Polis threatened to veto it. A state law, on the books for more than 40 years, prohibits local governments from enacting any form of rent caps.
“It’s important to remember — this housing crisis we’re in right now, this affordability crisis, it’s actually a very new thing,” said Brian Connolly, a lawyer who works in land use policy and has taught at the University of Colorado law school. “Even five years ago, there was such little conversation — even though it was a problem — so little conversation about housing affordability and how we address this.”
The problem is not what it was five years ago. The housing crisis in Colorado has come to a head, several state and local officials say, prompting broader conversations about how to address it. The lessons of the pandemic — which required tens of millions of dollars of federal intervention to stave off mass evictions — and broader questions about the state’s role in addressing a statewide problem have reframed the housing debate.
Rent for Denver apartments increased more than 14% between 2021 and 2022, according to one survey. Another found that suburban rents had jumped 25% on average since the pandemic began.
This discussion also touches on local control issues; cities and counties aren’t thrilled at the idea of the state government dictating their housing policies.
The Colorado Sun has more to discuss in its preview of the upcoming legislative session.
Click below to keep learning things…
Check Out All This Other Stuff To Know…
► As Sam Brasch reports for Colorado Public Radio, oil and gas production in Colorado is definitely, absolutely a serious health problem:
New calculations predicted nitrogen oxide emissions from drilling and hydraulic fracturing expected in 2023 were likely nearly double the state’s original estimates. As a result, those two activities alone appeared likely to account for more ozone-causing emissions than all cars and trucks along the Front Range.
The revised estimates also showed that all oil and gas activities, not just drilling and fracking, likely represented by far the largest source of expected releases of ozone ingredients in 2023, representing 45 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions and 41 percent of volatile organic compound emissions.
Following a request from state regulators, the data error led governor-appointed commissioners to hold back parts of its new ozone plan. Michael Ogletree, the director of the Air Quality Control Division, said the decision would allow regulators to consider adding “significant pollution controls” in a follow-up rulemaking next year.
“The bottom line is we’re acknowledging the mistake and we’re going to make lemons out of lemonade. In the end, we’ll get an even stronger state implementation plan,” Ogletree told CPR News.
► Um, no:
Steve Bannon suggests the Republicans make Donald Trump Speaker for 100 days to break the deadlock. pic.twitter.com/YghvoWE7kz
— The Republican Accountability Project (@AccountableGOP) January 5, 2023
► Recently-retired Congressman Ed Perlmutter of Jefferson County has a new job, taking a role as a partner in the public policy and regulation group at the law firm of Holland and Knight.
► Joe Rubino of The Denver Post wonders if it is too easy to get on the ballot for Mayor of Denver:
It took Leslie Herod’s campaign less than 17 hours to collect the 300 verified voter signatures needed to get the mayoral hopeful on the ballot for Denver’s April 4 municipal election.
Being the first candidate to be certified for the ballot could give Herod an edge if she makes it to the runoff stage of the mayor’s race in June. She would be the first name listed above any opponent, an arrangement that research suggests gives a candidate a higher likelihood of winning. With 24 active candidates vying for the mayor’s seat there is a good chance that no one person will clear 50% of the vote in April, meaning the top two vote-getters will go head-to-head in the runoff.
The speed with which Herod hit the petition mark — turning in her signatures at 4:30 p.m. on the first day gathering was allowed, according to her campaign staff — highlights a concern that has been rumbling beneath the surface of Denver elections: Is it too easy for candidates and citizens’ initiative to get on the ballot?
Our opinion? It is definitely too easy to get on the ballot in Denver.
► Arizona Democratic Rep-elect Ruben Gallego is building up his campaign warchest for a 2024 challenge to incumbent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema.
► As Denver7 reports, Colorado is helping to transport migrants to their planned destinations:
Many of the more than 3,600 migrants who have arrived in Colorado in the past month are from Venezuela, a place they say could no longer support their lives.
“There are no jobs. The dictatorship is very hard over there. Everything is monopolized,” the migrant said.
About 70% of the migrants arriving have plans to go elsewhere, Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday. The recent weather delayed their journeys — until now.
Polis says that the federal government needs to step in and help with the issue over an increase in migrants flooding into cities such as Denver.
► Dan Balz of The Washington Post wonders how Republicans can possibly function in Washington D.C. given their inability to select a House Speaker:
The roots run deep that brought House Republicans to this week’s demonstration of chaos and dysfunction. The problems have been building for years. Now they have been exposed for all to see — to see just how broken the GOP has become. The opening two days of the 118th Congress foreshadow turmoil, frustration and a potential breakdown in governing in the coming two years.
What has been on display is a perfect storm of misjudgment and anti-institutionalism. The failure of House Republicans to properly assess the political climate (and their own vulnerabilities) in the 2022 midterm elections left them with a narrow majority rather than the “red wave” margin they expected. That empowered the band of rebels, whose sole objective, at least for a handful, appears simply to be to blow up both the party and Congress for their own gain…
…When a new speaker is chosen, McCarthy or someone else, that person will enter the office weakened and compromised, presiding over a majority that is not just fragile but also highly volatile. This is a dangerous combination not just for the party but for the country. The power of the Freedom Caucus rebels, who have demonstrated an insatiable appetite to claim power and extract concessions, means that even the most basic but essential functions of Congress — among them passing a budget and raising the debt ceiling limit to cover previously authorized spending — will be difficult to achieve.
► Colorado Republicans are as confused about who might be their next leader as are Republicans in Congress.
► Outgoing Colorado Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown sent out a statement via the Colorado GOP complaining about excessive spending in Congress. She signed her statement, “Never Surrender!” which is hilarious given that KBB literally just “surrendered” herself in late December.
► Colorado may open an office of school safety to coordinate resources and strategies among school districts across the state.
► Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a 36-hour Christmas cease fire in the war in Ukraine. Observers of Eastern Orthodox Christianity celebrate Christmas Day on Saturday, January 7.
► The annual Stock Show parade takes place today.
Say What, Now?
What a mess:
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Florida Republican Rep-elect Kat Cammack on Wednesday accused Democrats of drinking alcohol in the House Chamber — an accusation that was met with howls of disapproval.
► This is a very Florida thing to happen.
► Caitlyn Kim of Colorado Public Radio looks back at what Colorado’s federal lawmakers supported in Congress in 2022.
► Tired of reading? Then listen to the latest episode of the Get More Smarter Podcast!
Don’t forget to give Colorado Pols a thumbs up on Facebook and Twitter. Check out The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.
"Our opinion? It is definitely too easy to get on the ballot in Denver."
For candidates I would agree. For comparison, it takes 1000 signatures for an Unaffiliated candidate to get on the ballot for CD1. The Congressional District is slightly smaller than the City and County. The numbers currently used for nominating petitions for municipal offices were last amended in 1988 when our population was significantly lower.
I think 1000 would be an appropriate number for city-wide office (Mayor, Auditor, County Clerk, City Council-at-Large). and maybe 300 for District Council seats.
For ballot measures, I think the current numbers are reasonable and they are based on a percentage of the number of people who voted in the previous city election so as the population increases, so does that threshold.