POLITICO Playbook Daily Briefing-logo

POLITICO Playbook Daily Briefing


POLITICO Playbook's must-listen briefing on what's driving the day in Washington.


United States




POLITICO Playbook's must-listen briefing on what's driving the day in Washington.




October 4, 2023: Speaker McCarthy lost his gavel. What comes next?

For the first time in history, a Speaker of the House was ousted. Yesterday, Kevin McCarthy’s tumultuous time as Speaker came to an end after every Democrat joined Rep. Matt Gaetz and seven others voted to take away his gavel. Rep. Patrick McHenry is serving as temporary Speaker and McCarthy has confirmed he will not run again, but beyond that, not much is clear as the territory is entirely uncharted. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels interviews Playbook Editor Mike DeBonis.


October 3, 2023: What we know about California Senator-designate, Laphonza Butler

Laphonza Butler is well known in Democratic circles. Her resume includes roles as a regent on the board of the University of California, president of the California SEIU, and most recently the third president of EMILY’s List. But with her appointment to the late Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat this afternoon, her profile is about to get far more public. It also means she has mere weeks to decide if she will run to be elected to the seat she is assuming. California Bureau Chief Christopher Cadelago tells Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels that it's a decision that could throw an already complicated race into a tailspin. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels interviews California Bureau Chief Christopher Cadelago.


October 2, 2023: Gaetz v. McCarthy

Capitol Hill is lurching from one crisis to the next. Congressman Matt Gaetz announced yesterday that he plans to file a motion to vacate against Speaker Kevin McCarthy this week. Plus, former President Donald Trump is expected to attend the opening of the civil trial in the New York attorney general’s fraud case against him. And California Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to appoint Laphonza Butler to fill Dianne Feinstein’s seat.


September 29, 2023: The final countdown (to shutdown)

Barring something genuinely surprising, the federal government will shut down in a little more than 24 hours’ time, as House Republicans show no sign of being able to pass the appropriations bills that have vexed them for weeks. Now, as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy takes the blame, there are growing whispers that conservative hard-liners will launch an audacious gambit to oust him and replace him with Majority Whip Tom Emmer. Playbook co-author Rachael Bade walks us through the state of play behind the scenes — including the central role played by Trumpy Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.


September 28, 2023: The GOP primary debate enters its flop era

As the 2024 GOP hopefuls gathered in California to debate, the barbs aimed at Donald Trump were more pointed, the elbows thrown at one another were sharper, and all in all, the moderators let the exchanges careen out of control. And yet, for all of that, the debate largely fell flat: Nobody’s performance was strong enough to touch Trump’s massive polling lead. What exactly happened? Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza talks it all through with national politics correspondent Adam Wren, who covered the debate in person, and takes us behind the camera to reveal how it played in the room. Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza interviews national politics correspondent Adam Wren.


September 27, 2023: Will any candidate close the Trump gap after the second Republican debate?

Candidates vying for the Republican nomination for president will once again take the stage to debate tonight, this time in California. But Donald Trump, whose lead continues to grow, says he once again will not attend. Electrifying performances in August did not translate to bumps in poll numbers; could that change this round?Plus, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is still trying to keep the government open, and Senator Chuck Schumer is now also trying to keep the government open.


September 26, 2023: Silence is golden for Sen. Bob Menendez

After a press conference that provided few answers about the federal charges leveled against him, Sen. Bob Menendez now must face a jury of his peers. Only three of his Democratic colleagues in Washington have called for his resignation, but as New Jersey Playbook author Matthew Friedman tells Ryan Lizza, it's a whole different story back home in New Jersey. We'll be on Cory Booker watch. Plus, President Joe Biden will join the picket line in Michigan, and Speaker Kevin McCarthy is still trying to avoid a shutdown. Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza interviews New Jersey Playbook author Matthew Friedman.


September 25, 2023: Kevin McCarthy girds for battle with the hard right

As the clock ticks down, Kevin McCarthy is still trying to wrangle his fellow Republicans toward avoiding a government shutdown. But there seems to be no straightforward solution for the House speaker. Even if a shutdown is avoided, Playbook co-author Rachael Bade explains, something else seems inevitable: a challenge to McCarthy’s gavel. Plus, on the schedule for this week: the first Biden impeachment hearings and the second Republican debate.


September 22, 2023: The incredible shrinking House speaker

A government shutdown appears inevitable as the clock winds down with little progress evident on the bills necessary to keep the government open. It’s so dire that Speaker Kevin McCarthy is seemingly unable to rally House Republicans on even the smallest necessary procedural matters. Where do we go from here? Congress reporter Daniella Diaz talks to Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza about the road ahead — and what to expect as the most unlikely of characters steps in to try to get things moving. Playbook co-author Ryan Lizza interviews Congress reporter Daniella Diaz.


September 21, 2023: Mr. Zelenskyy goes to Washington

Republicans emerged from a meeting on Capitol Hill last night confident in their ability to move forward on critical spending bills that would keep the government funded and open. But, as Playbook co-author Rachael Bade explains, that optimism may be short-lived as GOP infighting is likely to derail the legislation. Plus, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Washington tomorrow to present his case for more aid to his country.


September 20, 2023: The White House isn’t saving Kevin McCarthy

As the clock ticks closer to a government shutdown, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is struggling to pass a bill that would keep the government open, and the White House is not going to come to his rescue, reporter Jennifer Haberkorn tells Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels. Plus, a preview of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s comments to the House Judiciary Committee. That, and all of the news you need to know today.


September 19, 2023: What we’re watching at UNGA

With a number of other world leaders skipping the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week, President Joe Biden has the opportunity to take the spotlight. He is expected to push a message of democracy and encourage more funding for humanitarian aid for Ukraine. But, as senior foreign correspondent Nahal Toosi tells Playbook co-author Rachael Bade, there is plenty more to keep an eye on at UNGA. Plus, all the latest on the spending showdown tearing House Republicans apart. Playbook co-author Rachael Bade interviews Senior Foreign Correspondent Nahal Toosi.


September 18, 2023: A slim chance for shutdown stopgap bill

House Republicans spent the weekend trying to find common ground on a stopgap spending bill that could unite them against Democrats ahead of a potential government shutdown on Oct. 1. But with multiple Republican lawmakers already voicing their opposition, its chances of passing the House are already fading. Plus, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits Capitol Hill.


September 15, 2023: The UAW is on strike. Here’s why it matters.

At midnight, the UAW’s roughly 150,000 members went on strike against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis — the first time ever that the union has targeted all three companies simultaneously in a labor action that threatens to rattle national politics. Though the more immediate issues at play are higher wages wages and better benefits, the broader implications for President Joe Biden — who has yet to win the UAW’s endorsement — and for the 2024 electoral map are undeniable. Playbook deputy editor Zack Stanton sits down with E&E White House reporter Scott Waldman for the whole story. That, and the latest from Capitol Hill and Hunter Biden’s legal saga, on this morning’s Playbook Daily Briefing. Playbook Deputy Editor Zack Stanton interviews E&E White House reporter Scott Waldman.


September 14, 2023: What Musk, Gates and Zuck told senators behind closed doors

Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerburg and other of heavy hitters from the tech world joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last night for a closed-door meeting about the future of artificial intelligence — and what the government should do about it. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels talks with Politico Tech host Steven Overly. All that, and the rest of the news you need to know today. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels interviews Politico Tech host Steven Overly.


September 13, 2023: Inside McCarthy's impeachment inquiry

Mere hours into the first day members of the House convened after August recess, Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced he would be opening an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. At the center of the investigation are claims that the overseas business dealings of Biden’s son Hunter influenced his political agenda. But, as Playbook co-author Rachael Bade explains, McCarthy must accomplish a few key tasks before take-off; namely, he must rally his party for enough votes to make it happen.


September 12, 2023: What’s at stake amid House Republican infighting

House Republicans are supposed to be taking up (and are expected to pass) a right-wing defense funding bill this week. But, head butting within the party over spending may throw a wrench in that plan. As Playbook co-author Rachael Bade explains, the vitriol is starting to get messy and spill over onto social media


September 11, 2023: McCarthy faces tumult as the House returns

When the House reconvenes after August recess tomorrow, Speaker Kevin McCarthy will be greeted in the Capitol by unhappy people, many of whom are members of his own party. McCarthy must navigate conservatives who feel the he has not delivered on promises the Speaker made when seeking the gavel back in January. Playbook editor Mike DeBonis talks with Playbook co-author Rachael Bade.


September 8, 2023: The McConnell-McCarthy relationship faces a key test

As the House returns next week, the relationship between Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could face its greatest test yet. Playbook co-author Rachael Bade joins deputy editor Zack Stanton to talk through the road ahead, the unique pressures McCarthy faces, and the battery of issues that threaten to put the House and Senate GOP on very different pages. Deputy Editor Zack Stanton interviews Playbook co-author Rachael Bade.


September 7, 2023: Biden’s big sales pitch to edge out China

Today, President Joe Biden heads to New Delhi for the G-20 summit. The subtext of the trip? Convince countries that the U.S. is a better bet than China. That’s a complicates sales pitch, but could be coming at exactly the right time. National security reporter Alex Ward joins Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels to discuss the potential for a historic breakthrough at the meeting — and what success looks like from the White House’s perspective. Playbook co-author Eugene Daniels interviews national security reporter Alex Ward.