Defense policy bill, Garland contempt push in spotlight at House Rules

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A split-screen of partisanship is set to dominate headlines in the House this week: Action on defense legislation that lawmakers like to find common ground on, contrasted with an attempt to hold the attorney general in contempt, which has split along party lines.

Contempt push: The House contempt effort for Merrick Garland stems from the Justice Department’s refusal to hand over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview with former special counsel Robert Hur. Biden has asserted executive privilege over the audio, and DOJ says it has cooperated by handing over the transcripts of the interview.

On Tuesday morning, Garland hit back at the push in a Washington Post op-ed, denouncing what he called “baseless, personal and dangerous” attacks on the DOJ.

Both the Judiciary and Oversight panels advanced contempt resolutions last month, but the floor votes were delayed as Republicans figured out if they had the votes. At noon Tuesday, the House Rules Committee will meet to tee up the contempt votes, as well as …

NDAA action: More than 1,300 amendments have been filed to the annual National Defense Authorization Act, and the Rules Committee is charged with sorting out which of those will get a vote on the floor.

Keep an eye out for hot button amendments on abortion in the military, NATO, Ukraine, Israel and Gaza, as well as budget toplines and issues surrounding diversity, climate and transgender troops. Grab the coffees and keep the Celsius supply stocked: A late night is expected.

Primaries continue: Maine, Nevada, North Dakota and South Carolina will see primary elections Tuesday. Here are some races we are watching:

Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) has the backing of both former President Donald Trump and Speaker Mike Johnson as she faces Catherine Templeton, who has support from former Speaker Newt Gingrich and longtime GOP South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson. With a third candidate in the race, Bill Young, there is the possibility of a runoff.

Rep. William Timmons (R-S.C.) faces state Rep. Adam Morgan, who chairs the state-level Freedom Caucus. Timmons is trying to counter Morgan’s support from nine of his conservative House colleagues, along with Sen. Mike Lee of Utah. Timmons has backing from Trump and Johnson, and he cut a radio ad with Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

Trump made a late endorsement in the Nevada Republican Senate primary of Sam Brown, who appears to have the edge over Trump’s former ambassador to Iceland, Jeff Gunter. The winner would be trying to unseat incumbent Democrat Sen. Jacky Rosen (R-Nev.) in the key swing state.

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