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Washington Wednesday: Trump wins New Hampshire

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WORLD Radio - Washington Wednesday: Trump wins New Hampshire

Plus, Congress passes another short-term spending bill


Former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H. on Tuesday. Associated Press/Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Wednesday the 24th of January, 2024.

You’re listening to The World and Everything in It and we’re so glad you’ve joined us today. Good morning, I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

It’s Washington Wednesday. Today, a deeper look at the spending deal Congress made with the White House last week.

But first, the Republican race for New Hampshire.

WORLD reporter Carolina Lumetta was in the Granite State all day, all night, and she brings us this story.

CAROLINA LUMETTA: Nikki Haley came out of Iowa aiming to win over New Hampshire’s unique voter base.

LUMETTA: How did you vote today?

ANDERSON: Republican. 

LUMETTA: Are you a registered Republican?

ANDERSON: Nope, Independent.

LUMETTA: Alright, so who did you pick today?

ANDERSON: Nikki Haley. Because I don’t want Trump.

Amy Anderson is one of nearly 350,000 Independent voters who make up the largest subgroup of the New Hampshire electorate. The state is one of just a few that allow open primaries: meaning that if you’re undeclared on election day, you can pick a party and vote in their primary. Partly for that reason, Independents don’t consistently lean in one direction or the other. Some voters told me they were Republican one year, Democrat the next. Adrianne Ligget said that’s one of the benefits of New Hampshire’s system.

ADRIANNE LIGGET: I vote for who I believe can do the best job regardless of party…and that’s why I like being an undeclared.

But on primary night, Haley was unable to pull enough Republicans and Independents to get the win she needed. Former President Donald Trump declared victory shortly after polls closed.

TRUMP: We won New Hampshire three times now, three. 

With about 90% of the votes counted, Trump led Haley 54% to 43%.

Trump voters I spoke to said they knew more about Trump than about his challengers, and trusted his handling of issues like the economy and the border. That includes Republican Gabriela Cernolev:

CERNOLEV: I became a U.S. citizen in 2015, and I’ve been voting for President Trump ever since.

Rick Gamache, also a Republican, said he voted for Trump because he’s more concerned about the general election.

RICK GAMACHE: It's clear to me that he will be the nominee out of this whole election cycle at this point, and I believe he will put us in the direction that we need to go.

On the Democratic side in New Hampshire, President Joe Biden also won the primary…but in an unusual way.

LAFORD: I wrote in Joe Biden. I don’t quite understand why Biden wasn’t on the ballot.

That goes back to a fight between the Democratic National Committee and New Hampshire over which state goes first in the 2024 election cycle. After New Hampshire refused to accept the DNC’s decision to start with South Carolina, the DNC ruled Tuesday’s vote a “rogue primary.” As a result, no delegates for the national convention will be awarded since the state violates the party’s scheduling rules. The rift has left some Democratic voters frustrated with President Biden.

EMERY: He didn't show up, you know, last time and is not showing up this time. So it's a little bit of a slap in the face.

Democratic leaning voter Shannon Emery cast her ballot for Minnesota Representative Dean Phillips mainly because President Biden’s age and controversial running mate Kamala Harris made her uneasy.

EMERY: I don’t know what Kamala stands for really. You know what I’m saying, if I did, if I could hear more about it, it would be a different story, I’d feel a little bit better, but right, they’re not here, they’re not talking, they’re not stating what’s going on.

Because Biden sided with the DNC, his name did not appear on the New Hampshire ballot. When long-shot challenger Dean Phillips set out to capitalize on Biden’s absence, the president’s supporters in New Hampshire put together a hasty but effective write-in campaign. Phillips finished with roughly 20 percent of the vote…far behind President Biden.

The next elections are on February 6th in South Carolina for Democrats, and Nevada for Republicans.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Carolina Lumetta in Nashua, New Hampshire.

EICHER: You can learn more about the results in detail with World’s 2024 Election Center. wng.org.

REICHARD: Up next, Congress kicks spending decisions down the road, again.

The stage for this was set back in November when Congress and the White House worked out a deal to set new funding deadlines. Here’s Speaker Mike Johnson the day the deal passed.

JOHNSON: We're taking this into the new year to finish the process and get back to the original way that this is supposed to work. And by the way, the House Republican Conference is committed to never being in this situation again, I'm done with short term CRs, we are, we're resolved.

Two months later, and Speaker Johnson was not done with CRs, that’s Hill talk for “continuing resolutions.”

EICHER: Was there anything different about this newest deal and are the Republicans who pushed Kevin McCarthy out still on board with the current speaker?

Joining us now to answer those questions and more is Leo Briceno. He’s a politics reporter for WORLD based on Capitol Hill in Washington.

REICHARD: Leo, good morning!

LEO BRICENO: Good morning, Mary.

REICHARD: The plan was to vote on appropriations bills in batches, some due in January and others due in February. Was any meaningful action taken between November and last week?

BRICENO: Well, that is still the plan going forward. But to answer your question, no, which is the reason they really had to punt it until early March, one deadline on March 1, and then another separate one on March 8, kind of continuing with this two step approach. But I think the most significant development as far as appropriation goes in that time was just the outline of a top line number that the House is now working with, which for non discretionary spending would be $1.59 trillion, or close to $1.6 trillion. That’s all the details they know, though what the actual substance of that spending agreement looks like still remains to be seen. They have to hash that out through the 12 bills that you mentioned.

REICHARD: Leo, where are the bottlenecks in the current appropriations process? House Republicans get a lot of flak for passing so-called poisoned bills that call for spending cuts…but what has Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer been doing about the appropriations bills the House has sent over so far?

BRICENO: Yeah, well, they’ve passed three of them. So they had kind of a batch, but none of them have made it to the President. And none of them really stand a shot of getting signed into law, at least not the ones that have already been passed, because those bills, as you alluded to, contain certain policy ride-ons, right. Some of them have provisions that are a little bit pro-life language in there. Some of them would remove things like drag queen storytime. Small elements like that, that don’t really have a lot to do with spending or is sometimes they do have to do with spending. Sometimes they include reductions to whatever it is the budget they’re addressing. And so because of these policy riders, that 12 bills that Republicans had been working on prior to the agreement that Johnson cut with Democrats, they’re not likely to get passed. So with respect to the question on bottlenecks, those policy riders are a big part of the reason why the Senate hasn’t gone ahead and picked up all the bills that Republicans have passed so far, which at this point, would account for about 70% of the government’s funding into 2024.

REICHARD: How do Republicans you’ve spoken to feel about passing another continuing resolution?

BRICENO: I think, overall, not great. But within that not great, there are kind of two separate camps. So there are the very outspoken conservative Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus, like chip Roy like Marjorie Taylor Greene, who have very vocally said this is a complete failure by Republicans, because it extends last year spending without altering at all, without without achieving any cuts, essentially an extension of what the government was spending under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. That’s one camp. 

There’s a separate camp, I would say a larger camp of Republicans who look at the CR and say, it’s unfortunate that we’re having to do this again. But really, given the timeline, it was something that was necessary to keep the government open. Without the CR, the government would have shut down last Friday. So one of those moderate Republicans, Marcus Molinaro, had this to say.

REP. MOLINARO: The framework the speaker negotiated is, is the best scenario with a divided government. Now it’s a matter of negotiating out those appropriation bills. You know, it is a little bit like Groundhog Day. There’s no question. We don’t, we shouldn’t be doing this over and over. We should have gotten here already, but we are here now. We are progressing, I think relatively earnestly and I’m optimistic we can get to an agreement.

REICHARD: Well since November, the House has lost three members, all Republicans. Kevin McCarthy of California resigned last month, and George Santos of New York was expelled earlier this month. And then last week, Representative Bill Johnson of Ohio gave his farewell address.

BILL JOHNSON: But I hear a new call. It’s a call to help prepare the next generation of American leaders and I’ll be doing it at one of our country’s finest public institutions of higher learning, Youngstown State University.

The three seats will be filled by special elections in the next couple months.

Leo, how does that affect Speaker Mike Johnson’s ability to lead on funding negotiations?

BRICENO: It makes his job harder, because the margin for error is now like a two vote margin. Speaker Johnson really can’t afford to lose any Republican votes if he plans to pass legislation without Democratic support. Now, he could use Democratic support, as he did with the continuing resolution this past week. But I don’t think he’s going to be able to count on that Democratic support for you know, everything that he wants to pass. Surely some of these items have to be things that Republicans can rally around and that’s just going to be harder to do with less room for disagreement there.

REICHARD: Leo Briceno is a politics reporter for WORLD’s Washington Bureau. Leo, thanks for this report!

BRICENO: Thank you, Mary.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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