Gamard’s Beltway Beat: French Folks, Beltway Cajuns & Pompeo

French Folks, Beltway Cajuns & Pompeo

The governor isn’t the only one getting face-time with French President Emmanuel Macron tonight. U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and U.S. Sen. John Kennedy are also wining and dining at the state dinner. Cassidy and his wife Laura also attended Macron’s White House arrival ceremony and a luncheon hosted by Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence.

Kennedy’s office could not confirm whether the junior senator attended the daytime events as well. Our House members don’t appear to be attending the dinner, but will be sitting in for President Macron’s joint address with both chambers tomorrow.

Dinner attendees tonight will have Carolina gold rice jambalaya, which “will be cooked in a New Orleans tradition and scented with the trinity of Cajun cooking—celery, peppers, and onions, and spiced with herbs from the South Lawn,” according to the White House. Here’s tonight’s menu and banquet atmosphere, courtesy of New York Times White House correspondent Katie Rogers.

Also this week, President Donald Trump’s new secretary of state pick Mike Pompeo is going through confirmation through the upper chamber. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved his confirmation yesterday, and the full chamber votes later this week. Democrats backed Pompeo for his initial job as CIA Director, but the parties appear more split over this new job, partly because it works with foreign powers.

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— U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy is showing support for Pompeo: “If there’s one thing everyone in Washington seems to agree on these days and indeed in our country, is that we face very serious threats across the globe...What’s troubling about our colleagues across the aisle who appear ready to oppose his nomination en masse, for no other reason than that he is a Republican nominated by President Trump.” He’s also backing 5th Circuit Court of Appeals judicial nominee Stuart Kyle Duncan for confirmation.

— U.S. Sen. John Kennedy has a new social media privacy bill with Democrat Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Among other things, it requires social media user agreements be in “plain language.” Last week, he asked President Trump for tariffs on crawfish and shrimp imported from China: “The Chinese have been dumping their inferior and sometimes tainted seafood on American markets for years. Louisiana’s seafood families need a fair playing field in order to keep the lights on.”

— Congressman Steve Scalise is still recovering from surgery. He’s also launching a new joint-fundraising committee called “Geaux Red,” aimed to boost GOP candidates in upcoming elections. But, as POLITICO put it yesterday, “everything Scalise does at this point is viewed by many of his colleagues as part of a tit for tat with U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the No. 2 House Republican … To be fair, to be in leadership is to be in constant competition with your colleagues about who is doling out more money.” And that’s not counting his other contender for U.S. House speaker, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan.

— Congressman Cedric Richmond is asking the Senate to reject Kyle Duncan for 5th Circuit judge: “His record is offensive to us and he has time and time again worked in service of interests that are stridently opposed to progress and to civil rights for America’s racial and ethnic minorities. President Trump is continuing his assault on civil rights and civil liberties with this nomination and we urge you to not be co-conspirators in this effort.”

— Congressman Clay Higgins sat next to Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson on his flight to Washington: “Shawn was wishing he could've changed seats.” He appears to have spent yesterday in Lafayette with Second Harvest Food Bank, and talked to his Facebook followers the “compassion and Christian principles that should drive our country.”

— Congressman Mike Johnson recently met with out-of-state nonprofits and corporations to talk about Louisiana's coast. He also met with Tulane University President Mike Fitts. ICYMI: Johnson spoke at the Bipartisan Policy Center Governors’ Council panel, "Restoring Our Democracy,” with Florida Democrat Charlie Crist.

— Congressman Ralph Abraham has a new bill to “end postal subsidies for China.” The Oversight Subcommittee chairman for the U.S. House Science, Space, and Technology Committee also sent a letter to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Corporation, asking for the accountability measures taken after a scathing new report: “At best, these actions exhibit ignorance of congressional authorities; at worst, they are willful obstruction of a congressional investigation.”

— Congressman Garret Graves talked about working with the House Appropriations Committee on Restore Louisiana and school shootings with Michelle Southern on Eagle 98.1. He’s been speaking to high school students in Ascension and Livingston Parishes about college costs and gun control. Here’s his latest Facebook Live that touches on Scalise vs. McCarthy for speaker (and a condensed version, in case you only want to hear about the Balanced Budget Amendment).

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