Closer to a Budget

Wednesday, February 7, 2018Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 9.34.13 AM

Good Wednesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • On Tuesday night, the House approved a stopgap spending bill, a first step in what congressional leaders hoped would be a legislative dance that yields a bipartisan spending deal. The House measure is still unlikely to pass the Senate.
  • President Trump is likely to redact parts of a classified Democratic memo rebutting allegations of political bias at the F.B.I.

  • In an effort to block Republicans from single-handedly drawing congressional maps after 2020, a Democratic group backed by former President Barack Obama intends to pour millions of dollars into elections in a dozen states.
  • Vice President Mike Pence did not rule out contact with North Korean officials when he attends the Winter Olympics in South Korea this week.
  • After Hurricane Maria, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a contract for 30 million meals to be delivered to Puerto Rico. Only 50,000 meals made it.
— The First Draft Team
White House Memo

Trump’s Latest Surprise: Shutdown Might Be a Good Idea

President Trump during a discussion of the gang MS-13 on Tuesday at the White House.
President Trump during a discussion of the gang MS-13 on Tuesday at the White House. Tom Brenner/The New York Times
A week ago, President Trump stood before Congress as an improbable unifier. “Tonight,” he declared, “I call upon all of us to set aside our differences, to seek out common ground and to summon the unity we need to deliver for the people.”
This week, Mr. Trump is back to being a disrupter. After accusing Democrats of being un-American and even treasonous for not applauding during his State of the Union speech, he said on Tuesday that he would welcome a government shutdown if he could not reach a spending deal with Congress that tightened immigration laws.
A week ago, Mr. Trump called for a grand compromise with Democrats on the legal status of the undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers — a deal, he said, “where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs.” After all, the president added, “Americans are dreamers too.”
On Tuesday, his chief of staff, John F. Kelly, said that many Dreamers failed to register for protected status with the government because they “were too afraid to sign up” or were “too lazy to get off their asses.” He said he doubted Mr. Trump would extend the March 5 deadline that shields them from deportation.
The Supreme Court in Washington. On Tuesday, it partly granted a request from North Carolina Republicans to block a voting map drawn by a federal court there.

Supreme Court Issues Partial Stay in North Carolina Voting Case


In the latest battle in the voting wars in North Carolina, the Supreme Court blocked part of a lower court order revising voting districts there.

A draft budget plan by the Office of Management and Budget would place federal law enforcement officers in charge of a drug prevention program.

State Officials Fight Plan to Move Drug Program to Justice Dept.


A proposal to move a key prevention program would effectively gut the embattled Office of National Drug Control Policy.

President Trump signing a $1.5 trillion tax cut into law in December. The tax cuts, combined with a potential agreement to increase federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars, would deliver a larger short-term fiscal boost than President Barack Obama’s stimulus.

Republican Fiscal Stimulus Could Be Bigger Than Obama’s


Republicans are poised to pump in economic fuel while unemployment is low and wages are starting to rise, a combination that is stoking fears over inflation and deficits.

Ignore the Stock Market. The Economy Looks Fine.


Economic data and the bond market are painting a more optimistic picture than the Dow Jones average.

President Trump on Tuesday at a White House meeting with law enforcement officials on the MS-13 gang.

How a Football Player’s Death Turned Into a Political Exhibit


After the police said an illegal immigrant killed an N.F.L. linebacker in a drunken-driving accident, President Trump used the case to push his immigration agenda.

Gov. C. L. Otter of Idaho in the State Legislature last month. He supports efforts to implement new standards that include climate science education.

Idaho Stripped Climate Change From Schools, Setting Off Battle


Idaho is the only state whose legislature has removed climate change from its education guidelines. Teachers and students testified for it to be reinstated.

Mayor Megan Barry of Nashville, during a news conference last week when she revealed that she had an extramarital affair with the former head of her security detail.

‘God Will Forgive Me,’ Nashville’s Mayor Says. But Will Voters?


Mayor Megan Barry is facing questions after acknowledging having had an extramarital affair with the head of her security detail.

Workers installing solar panels in New Mexico. President Trump has approved solar tariffs for the next four years, a trade action aimed at Chinese imports.

U.S.-China Trade Deficit Hits a Record, Fueling a Trade Fight


The trade deficit that Mr. Trump has often railed against hit historical highs last year.

Right and Left: Partisan Writing You Shouldn’t Miss
Read about how the other side thinks. We have collected political writing from around the web and across ideologies.
From the Right
Mollie Hemingway in The Federalist:
“Is it possible to criticize a law enforcement agency without warring against the very existence of a law enforcement agency? Obviously it is.”
Ms. Hemingway believes that some of the news media’s characterization of the Trump administration as being “at war” with the F.B.I. and federal law enforcement is disingenuous and damaging. She cites, as an example, the reporting that The New York Times did over the weekend on the F.B.I.’s slow action in the Larry Nassar molestation investigation. “No reasonable person would think that highlighting problems at the F.B.I. as it relates to inquiries into the abuse of children means that The New York Times is at war with the F.B.I.,” she writes. This is precisely what Representative Devin Nunes of California, who spearheaded the memo, and President Trump are doing in releasing it, she maintains. Read more »
From the Left
John Nichols in The Nation:
“The speaker’s embrace of Nunes and his memo has dishonored the chamber that he, above all others, is duty bound to defend.”
Mr. Nichols takes aim at Speaker Paul D. Ryan, writing that the Republican congressional leader abandoned his duty to steer the legislative branch as a check on the “lawless” executive branch of the Trump administration. “Paul Ryan is not supporting the Constitution,” Mr. Nichols writes. “He is shredding it.” Read more »
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