Background Briefing: February 2, 2023


Speaker McCarthy Will Continue Legislative Terrorism to Extort Budget Cuts by Threatening to Crash the US and Global Economy

 We begin with the vote of petty vengeance today in the House to remove Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee where she was an important voice who asked uncomfortable and probing questions about our foreign policy. This overshadowed the damning remark by Speaker Kevin McCarthy at the press conference following the vote that the Republicans are continuing their extortion and legislative terrorism over the debt ceiling threatening to crash the US and global economy unless they get their way on budget cuts. Joining us is Thomas Kahn, who is a fellow at the Center for the Study of Congress and the Presidency at American University who worked in Congress for 33 years where he served as staff director and chief counsel of the House Budget Committee and played a critical role on a number of budget negotiations including Simpson/Bowles, the Biden talks, the Super Committee, the successful Balanced Budget agreement of 1997 and the enactment of the Affordable Care Act.


Cleaning Up Corruption Ahead of Ukraine’s Talks on EU Membership

Then, we look into EU leaders gathering in Kyiv for talks with their Ukrainian counterparts over EU membership and recent efforts by President Zelensky to clean up corruption by firing a number of officials including an oligarch who backed Zelensky’s rise to power. Joining us is Luke Cooper, an associate professorial research fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the director of PeaceRep’s Ukraine program and previously was a Visiting Fellow on the Europe’s Futures programme at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna and he runs the Another Europe is Possible Podcast, with Zoe Williams of The Guardian. The author of Authoritarian Contagion: The Global Threat to Democracy, we discuss his article at The American Prospect, “Ukraine’s Neoliberal War Mobilization: Low taxes, privatization, and pared-back labor protections could undermine Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression.”


The US/Philippines Deal For “Spaces Not Bases” Close to Taiwan

Then finally we examine the deal struck by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and President “Bongbong” Marcos of the Philippines for what the US is calling “spaces not bases” on a number of islands including Cagayan, the northernmost 90 miles from Taiwan. Joining us is June Dreyer, a professor of Political Science at the University of Miami specializing in International relations, Asian-Pacific political and economic systems, Chinese government and foreign policy, and U.S. defense policy. She was the Asia Advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations and is the author of China’s Political System: Modernization and Tradition.