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January 05, 2023
What A Day
Kevin’s 11

In This Episode

  • Once again, Rep. Kevin McCarthy failed to secure the votes he needed in the eleventh round of voting for Speaker of the House – even after offering new concessions to the far-right Republicans who continue to oppose him.
  • President Biden announced a major change to border policy, aimed at discouraging migrants from entering the U.S. from Mexico. It expands on a pandemic-era program used by the Trump administration to expel migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Venezuela who illegally cross the southern border.
  • And in headlines: South Carolina’s Supreme Court overturned the state’s six-week abortion ban, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s condition is improving, and the Federal Trade Commission proposed a ban on non-compete clauses in job contracts.

 

Show Notes:

 

 

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TRANSCRIPT

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It is Friday, January 6th. I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: And I’m Priyanka Aribindi. And this is What A Day where we are so glad that on the second anniversary of the insurrection, things are finally chill at the Capitol. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, you know, I guess even though it’s been 11 rounds of voting for the speaker of the House, it could be worse which– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –it could be. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –we have seen. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It has been. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: We’ve seen it before. Yeah. [music break] On today’s show, doctors said Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is improving after collapsing during a game Monday night. Plus, the U.S. has approved the first vaccine for honeybees. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I’m intrigued. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Would love to know more. But first, after Kevin McCarthy failed to secure the votes he needed in the 11th round of voting yesterday, there is still no Speaker of the House. Despite offering new concessions to right wing Republicans who continue to oppose him. He has failed to secure their support. And for the record, it has not taken this many rounds of voting to elect a speaker since 1859. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That is pre-Civil War. For anybody keeping track at home. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yep. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: So what are some of the sticking points behind all of this infighting? Like what’s going on? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. What’s the fuss about? So– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, it really just seems like a lot of these people just don’t want McCarthy to be the speaker. There are currently 20 holdouts, many of the same people who have been not voting for him since the beginning. Most of them are members of the House Freedom Caucus, which is the far right wing of the GOP, and more than half of them have explicitly denied the results of the 2020 election. Just so you get a sense of what we’re working with here. Nearly every one of the incumbents in this group voted against certifying the 2020 election. So, like, you know, not only the worst people, but the ones who are the least rooted in reality. As of now, most of them have been voting for Representative Byron Donalds of Florida. A few others have backed Representative Kevin Hern of Oklahoma. A second Kevin has entered the race. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Wrong Kevin. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Uh. Yeah, the wrong Kevin. Hern himself has actually voted for Kevin McCarthy, so uh he knows he’s the wrong Kevin. [laughter] And uh one of them continues to vote present, which like not the time or the place. Don’t know what you’re doing with that. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: What’s the point you’re trying to make? Unclear. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I do love the idea of just voting present on like the 10th round. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, voting present here is just like I’m sitting there, I’m eating popcorn and I’m watching this unfold like– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: You know, you could do something, but–

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –clearly not enough. Anyways, Democrats have consistently cast every single one of their 212 votes every single time they’ve done this for Representative Hakeem Jeffries. And according to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, there is no shot that any Democrats will make a deal to help McCarthy out here. He’s got to do this on his own with his own party. He’s really kind of getting a taste of his own medicine. His caucus has empowered these people. His voters have voted for these people, and it this is now their mess to clean up. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. A monster of their own making. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: They did it themselves. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s true. I do have to say, I almost am impressed with how Republicans just keep insisting on making every January as chaotic as humanly possible. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It really is wild. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: They’re committed to the bit. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, they really are. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: So, I mean, as for the holdouts here, they have asked for some big concessions, but they’ve actually gotten a lot of those from McCarthy at this point. He’s reportedly offered to lower the number of members needed to force a vote to oust the speaker. So what would be him if he wins this vote at any time from five members down to one member, [laughter] which is completely crazy because there are 20 people currently who do not want him to be speaker, probably more who just are voting for him to like get this show on the road. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: But at any given time, any one of them can raise their hand and uh force a vote just to fire him. So that’s cool. He also expressed willingness to put more of these a whack a doodle conservatives onto important committees like the Rules Committee, which debates legislation before it moves on to the floor. But as evidenced by this latest vote, these concessions are still not moving the needle. Voting will continue today at noon. Today is also the second anniversary of the January 6th insurrection. And it’s wild to see, especially on this day, just how much power these extremist Republicans are still wielding. I mean, we’ve mentioned before no real work in the House can get done until a speaker is elected. So this will start having very real consequences very soon. And the fact that these people aren’t accepting the many concessions that they’ve been receiving from McCarthy to put an end to this goes to show that maybe this was never about negotiating or getting these concessions or doing anything, that these people were voted in and showed up to get sworn in to do. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. Yeah. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t think that’s the point to these people. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. I mean, this man has literally said, if you vote for me. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Literally, what do you want? Name it, I will make it happen for you. And they are like, fuck, you no. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: We will never vote for you. So.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. And this is kind of what happens, right? Like you caved. You really kind of like tried to work with these people who have told you over and over, they’re extremist, they’re unreasonable, and I think they do not compromise and they want what they want. And this is what happens. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, you’ve empowered the absolute worst people. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right, right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: So congratulations to you. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s honestly super Lucy moving the football to be on your 11th vote. It’s like– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –they’re telling you, just do one more thing and they’ll vote for you and then they’re not voting for you. And we’re on time 11. So– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yup. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –it’s not looking good. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t know. The last time around they got to 44, I think in 1859, so. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Oh, no. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, the next record’s pretty far away. Kevin, if you want to shoot for it. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Dear God save us from this entire party. In other news, yesterday, the president continued the bipartisan tradition of cruelty at the border. Biden announced that the US would turn away Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians who attempt to cross the southern border. The announcement was an expansion on a restriction of Venezuelans who attempt to cross the Mexican U.S. border. That restriction was announced in October. Biden also announced yesterday that the U.S. would instead accept 30,000 people per month from those four nations and would, according to the Associated Press, offer them, quote, “the ability to work legally as long as they come legally, have eligible sponsors, and pass vetting and background checks.” 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Okay. So I need some more background on all of this. Can you tell us, you know, why he’s singling out these four countries in particular? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I can I can try. I mean, [laugh] well, I mean, like the simple answer is that the number of people trying to cross the border from those four countries in particular has increased dramatically lately. Right. So that is the kind of surface reason why Biden is singling them out. But all four of those countries, Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Venezuela, are in the midst of dire, dire political and economic crises. Right. Like, things are really bad in all four of those countries. One BBC article about Nicaraguan migrants stated, quote, “They’d rather die than return.” 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Okay. Yeah, not good at all. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: No, not. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: So given that those four countries are in such a grim state, what does this new rule mean for people seeking asylum? That was a legitimate process that we had. What’s going on there? Can people still do that? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. And as you said, it was a legitimate process, was being the operative word there, because as you may remember, for a couple of years now, there has been a pandemic era restriction in place called Title 42. That is a public health policy that basically allows the U.S. to deport migrants without even a hearing, including people seeking asylum. And it was implemented under Trump, but for years now, Biden has continued it, even though it violates, like tradition and policy around asylum seekers. And with the Supreme Court upholding Title 42 late last month, his administration has now even expanded it. So to answer your question, it means that people from these countries seeking asylum at the border don’t even get a shot at asylum. In fact, Biden said, quote, “Do not, do not just show up at the border. Stay where you are and apply legally from there.” 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: In theory, what a lovely idea if it worked like that. That sounds great. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: But presumably the people who have showed up to the border don’t have the luxury of doing that. That’s not why they have packed all their things and arrived at the border in the manner that they have. Right? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Exactly. I mean, like the reason people come to the border seeking asylum is because they can’t stay home and seek asylum. Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Nobody is like I just want to travel on foot across many countries, you know, risking my life and the health of my family for fun. The entire point of seeking asylum is because they can’t just sit at home and apply from there. And people are desperate. And while Biden acknowledged this in his speech, his policy, which is basically apply from home and sit tight, it doesn’t reflect reality. And even if people do exactly what they’re supposed to do, there is no guarantee that they’ll be one of the 30,000 people that will supposedly have the right to enter the U.S. legally, because, after all, way more than 30,000 people a month are trying to get into the U.S. from those four countries. So since November, immigration authorities have stopped around 80,000 people from those specific countries. And in November alone, they apprehended close to a quarter million people of all nationalities. So like we’re talking about way more than 30,000 people. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Yeah, I mean, that number might sound big on paper, but when you see what these numbers are, it’s a legitimate crisis and that’s not going to fix what’s happening here. So why is Biden doing this now? Like, how did this even come about? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it’s a good question. I mean, part of it is, like I said, the number of migrants trying to cross the border has increased drastically in the last fiscal year. It reached 2.38 million. And that has really given Biden this political incentive to curb immigration since Republicans continue to criticize him on it. They’ve gone so far as to do these inhumane political stunts like flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard and the vice president’s residence on Christmas Eve. Right? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Like, they’re really hammering on the immigration thing. Also, the timing is related to a recent agreement with Mexico, which has agreed to take in 30,000 migrants expelled from America from those four countries. So if you try to cross the border and you get expelled and you’re from one of those four countries, 30,000 of those people can stay in Mexico instead of having to return to their home country. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: But still, this is not an ideal situation. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: No, definitely not. I mean, Biden is framing this like a crackdown in some ways, but also a benefit to migrants in others because he says that 30,000 people a month will be admitted if they adhere to certain criteria. But what do immigrant rights activists have to say about all of this? Like do they agree? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it’s a good question, because he did kind of frame this as like, here’s this nice thing I’m doing. Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Which was like obscuring the reality in a lot of ways. And immigrant rights advocates are not happy. The director of the Refugee Protection Program at Human Rights First called it a, quote, “humanitarian disgrace” and said Biden should be trying to restore asylum, not trying to degrade it further by, quote, “doubling down on cruel and counterproductive policies from the Trump playbook.” So it’s not looking good. This is an area where Biden hasn’t been much better than Trump. And it’s really disappointing. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Right. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Especially in this time where so many people are living in a state of precarity and do need a lot of help. Um. So as always, we’ll have more on this very soon. But that is the latest for now. [music break] Let’s get to some headlines. 

 

[sung] Headlines. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: South Carolina’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday against the state’s six week abortion ban. The 3 to 2 decision found that the policy, which was one of the strictest in the country, violates the right to privacy. It is a win for reproductive rights activists and could be the benchmark for new strategies to make the procedure more accessible in the Deep South. Lawmakers in South Carolina’s GOP led legislature could still try to ban abortions later in pregnancy, but Thursday’s final decision at least restricts their options. The gestational limit for abortions in South Carolina currently stands at 22 weeks. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: This is an exciting win, and I do think it’s really cool that this could kind of be the playbook for other places in the South as well. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I do, too. As someone living in the Deep South would love to see that. That would be great. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Bring it down there. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. Come on. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a temporary cease fire in Ukraine yesterday that would last 36 hours during Orthodox Christmas this weekend. But Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, rejected the call and argued that Russian authorities were using the holiday as a cover up to resupply weapons and strategize ways to advance the invasion. That sounds very up their alley. I would not believe them for two seconds. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: This also comes as Russian forces had suffered numerous losses in recent months while the West has continued to back Ukraine with more aid packages and weapons systems. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: The doctors treating Damar Hamlin, the Buffalo Bills safety who suffered cardiac arrest during play on Monday night, shared some positive news about his recovery yesterday. Hamlin remains in critical condition but is now awake and showing signs of improvement. Hamlin isn’t able to speak because he is still intubated, though he is able to communicate through writing and can move his hands, feet and head. Meanwhile, the next big milestone for him will be to get off a ventilator and breathe on his own. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: That is really good news. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I know. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I know he has a long way to go, but I’m so glad he’s able to communicate and move a little bit. And I– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –hope that road to recovery is smooth for him. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, it’s looking a lot better than we thought it was a few days ago. So that’s a relief. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Definitely. The Federal Trade Commission proposed a new rule yesterday that would ban companies from using non-compete clauses in job contracts. The agreements which the agency itself called exploitative and widespread, typically prevent workers from leaving a job to work for a competing company, sometimes for years at a time. I have heard from friends who signed some for like up to decades, like crazy, crazy amounts of time. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Labor advocates have long opposed the practice because they often stop workers from pursuing jobs with better wages, benefits, and working conditions. The FTC estimates that one in five workers are currently bound by a non-compete clause and that the new rule would increase overall wages by $300 billion dollars a year. I’m here for it. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Get those raises. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, I love that. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Get those benefits. We love that. You’re making employees, like when I signed a non-compete clause, like I was making no money like– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –what like you’re going to bankrupt me for, like–

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –the next year of my life if I don’t–

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –work for you? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Crazy. Crazy. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s super coercive, and it, like, only hurts workers, right? And it keeps people in jobs where they’re not getting the benefits that they deserve. So this could be some good news– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Totally. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –in 2023. That would be great. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Totally. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It might be 2023. But honeybees nationwide are having an iconic 2021 experience because they just got access to a new groundbreaking vaccine. Remember those days? Earlier this week, the US Department of Agriculture approved the first ever honeybee vaccine against American fowl brood disease. This widespread bacterial disease can weaken and kill beehives, which is a major problem considering the role of managed honeybee colonies and pollinating crops. Unfortunately, the vaccine isn’t given using an adorable bug sized needle. Instead, Queen bees will consume it in their food and their bee babies will have immunity as they hatch. It’s kind of cute. The vaccine will initially be able to only commercial beekeepers. So far there’s been no backlash from bee anti-vaxxers and no insect has stepped forward to become the bee. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a.k.a. Dr. Honey Bee Ouchie. [laugh] This is a sign. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Wow. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That we at WAD haven’t changed at all in the New Year. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Not one bit. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Not one– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Not one–

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –single bit. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –bit. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: And those are the headlines. We’ll be back after some ads to discuss an upcoming work in our favorite literary genre, the spicy Royal memoir. [laugh] [music break]. 

 

[AD BREAK]

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It is Friday, WAD squad. And today we’re doing a segment called WAD Recommends, where we share an under-the-radar news story, movie book, or even a rude bumper sticker that caught our attention. Meghan and Harry famously under the radar. [laugh] 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Famously. Yes. And today our recommendation is a little different. It is specifically the leaks from the Spanish language version of Prince Harry’s tell all memoir Spare, which briefly appeared on a chain stores bookshelves in Spain yesterday. The book was supposed to be kept under wraps until January 10th. Now, we may not be native Spanish speakers, but royal gossip has no language. And the new information that Harry reveals in his book is, as the British say, spicier than a bottle of Nando’s Peri Peri Sauce. Here are some of the highlights that were widely reported online. First, the craziest. Harry says Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, encouraged him to dress up as a Nazi for that one infamous Halloween party in 2005. He describes how William attacked him in 2019, knocking him over onto a dog food bowl following an argument about Harry’s wife, Meghan. And he claims that prior to meeting Meghan, William and Kate were, quote, “religious fans” of her TV show, Suits. There is way more in there that we don’t have time to cover. But Josie, what were your thoughts on these leaks and will you be purchasing your very own hardcover? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Okay. I have so many thoughts, and I do think it’s worth mentioning that he also casually mentions that he killed 25 people in Afghanistan, which is– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: There’s so much in this in the leaks– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: There’s– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: There’s–

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –so much. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –endless, endless amounts. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Including 25 deaths by his hand. It’s a lot. It’s intense. I just want to say that like this thing where it’s like the only reason I, an adult dressed up as a Nazi is because my brother told me it was fine is– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –Crazy. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –an insane excuse. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Crazy. Stop bringing it up. Don’t talk about it. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Like this is your book. I would just leave the Nazi costume out of it entirely. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I don’t think he understands that like, if you’re writing the tell all, you don’t actually have to tell all. Like, people will still buy the book, whether or not you say shit. Like he just was like, let me bare my soul like [?] [laughing] 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Literally like, who’s your audience? Like, who’s the person that’s like, ugh I’m so mad at Harry about the Nazi costume. Oh, his brother told him to do it. Okay? 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Fuck them. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: No big deal then. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Like you still did it. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Like that– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Right you still–

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –that is classic like– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –did it. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –well, well they said it’s like, excuse me, what? You’re– 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s so crazy. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: –a grown man! 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Also, I have so many questions about William and Kate being into Suits. Like– [laughter]

 

Priyanka Aribindi: That feels like a lie. That feels like a lie. I’m sorry.

 

Josie Duffy Rice: That’s gotta be a lie. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Listen, I liked Suits. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s great. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: It’s a fun show, it [?] pass the time. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It is what it is. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I’m not buying that they were fangirls of Meghan. Like, I’m just not. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I’m not buying it. And if they were, I do sort of feel like we really got to talk to the U.K. about their television offerings because they’re clearly not offering enough.

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I mean, I’m sorry, with Love Island, like they’re going to spend time watching Suits? 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: There are so many seasons– 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Well I will [?] on that. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: –of Love Island they could really go through before they get to Suits. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I know. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s very confusing. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I know. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: Anyway, yes, I’ll be purchasing this book. Never read, I don’t think, think it will be my first celebrity memoir and I am ready. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Gonna rip through that. We’ll have a whole podcast dedicated to it. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: It’s so chaotic that I just have to know for myself. So all of this ridiculous press worked. Thank you, Spain. Thank you, Harry. Thank you to the USA Network. That was WAD Recommends, meet back here on January 11th for an in-depth review of the entire book. [music break] That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. Vaccinate a bee and tell your friends to listen. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: And if you’re into reading and not just leaked Spanish language memoirs like me, What A Day is also a nightly newsletter. Check it out and subscribe at Crooked.com/subscribe. I’m Priyanka Aribindi. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 

 

[spoken together] And let’s all go out there and have a great January 6th. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: I guess. I don’t know. Cursed day. 

 

Josie Duffy Rice: I know, two years ago I like locked myself in my house. I was like, not playing with these people. 

 

Priyanka Aribindi: Bad times. [music break] What A Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Jazzi Marine and Raven Yamamoto are our associate producers. Our head writer is Jon Millstein and our executive producer is Lita Martinez. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.