Ready for a Filibuster

Tuesday, April 4, 2017Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 10.57.01

Good Tuesday morning, 
Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today:
  • Senate Republicans approved the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch and vowed to have him confirmed by the end of the week. But they may need to change Senate rules to subvert a filibuster.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a review of federal agreements with thousands of law enforcement agencies, including those that address abuses. The examination, which reflects President Trump’s emphasis on law and order and reducing violent crime, could lead to a further retreat on consent decrees nationwide.
  • President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt got just what he was looking for: validation from an American president after the cold shoulder of the recent past.
  • Possible changes to a program that allows technology companies to import foreign workers may be adding to an even heavier rush for visas than usual this year.
— The First Draft Team

The Senate Filibuster, Explained

By CHARLIE SAVAGE
Senators Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, left, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island are among the Democrats planning to filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch.

Senators Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, left, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island are among the Democrats planning to filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch. Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times

The Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch is now going to the Senate floor. The Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, has pledged to lead Democrats in a filibuster of the nomination. If he does, the majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has vowed to change Senate rules to clear the way for Judge Gorsuch. The potential showdown has raised interest in the peculiar Senate filibuster rule.
What is a filibuster?
A filibuster is an effort by a minority of lawmakers to delay or block the Senate from voting on a bill or a confirmation. By exploiting the chamber’s rules for full debate on an issue, the minority can indefinitely obstruct something that has majority support. According to the Senate Historical Office, the term traces back to a Dutch word meaning “pirate.”
Read more »

Democrats’ Vow to Filibuster Ensures Bitter Fight Over Gorsuch

By MATT FLEGENHEIMER

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch and sent it to the deeply divided full Senate.

POLITICAL MEMO

Trump Declines Opening Day Pitch, Throwing Ritual a Curveball

By NOAH WEILAND

White House officials cited a scheduling conflict as the president skipped a tradition rife with the potential for embarrassment and, in a heavily Democratic city, a hostile crowd.

Congress Balks at Plan to Cut Funds for Biomedical Research

By ROBERT PEAR

Politicians on both sides are calling a proposal to cut funding to the National Institutes of Health by 18 percent seriously misguided.

Trump Donates First-Quarter Salary to National Park Service

By PETER BAKER

After promising to work for free, the president sent a check for $78,333 to the interior secretary, who oversees the park service.

Trump Is Ready for Tax Cuts, but His Treasury Department Isn’t

By ALAN RAPPEPORT

With a mammoth task ahead, none of the 27 political appointees below the Treasury secretary in the department’s leadership have been confirmed.

SIDEBAR

Trump’s Precedent for Claiming Immunity? Clinton v. Jones

By ADAM LIPTAK

The president’s lawyers argue he is protected from being sued in state court while in office, while plaintiffs say the Clinton decision favors them.

In Gorsuch Confirmation Battle, Both Sides Spin and Mislead

By LINDA QIU

Democrats and Republicans alike have offered inaccurate talking points to defend their positions on the Supreme Court nomination.

Supreme Court to Weigh if Firms Can Be Sued in Rights Cases

By ADAM LIPTAK

The case concerns the Jordan-based Arab Bank, which is accused of processing financial transactions through a branch in New York for groups linked to terrorism.

Trump Completes Repeal of Online Privacy Rules From Obama Era

By STEVE LOHR

Republicans said the rules were unfair to broadband providers, while privacy experts said they could allow companies to sell personal data to advertisers.

Jared Kushner Meets With Iraqi Leader on Future of ISIS Battle

By TIM ARANGO

Mr. Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, is the first Trump administration official to visit Baghdad, amid strain over his travel ban.

Kansas House Upholds Governor’s Veto of Medicaid Expansion

By ABBY GOODNOUGH AND MITCH SMITH

Despite phone calls and in-person pleas from constituents, legislators fell three votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto.

Trump Shifts Course on Egypt, Praising Its Authoritarian Leader

By PETER BAKER AND DECLAN WALSH

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt got just what he was looking for: validation from an American president after the cold shoulder of the recent past.

At a Kushner Building, Mounting Debt and a Foundered Deal

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

Charles and Jared Kushner’s company was already losing money on its $1.8 billion skyscraper. Then a deal with the Chinese for a replacement fell apart.

North Korea’s Nuclear Strength, Encapsulated in an Online Ad

By DAVID E. SANGER AND WILLIAM J. BROAD

An ad for the bomb-boosting isotope lithium 6 suggests how far the North’s nuclear program has come, and how difficult President Trump’s vow to halt it will be.

Trump Tries to Deflect Russia Scrutiny, Citing Obama ‘Scheme’

By PETER BAKER AND MATTHEW ROSENBERG

The president seized on reports in conservative news outlets to bolster his case that he was targeted for surveillance by his predecessor for political reasons.

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
• Jim Geraghty in National Review:
“Democrats might want to use the filibuster later, in circumstances it’s more likely to work.”
Jim Geraghty argues that a filibuster of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination would be self-defeating for Democrats. At the risk of disappointing some of the party’s more hard-line voters, forcing the Republicans to change the rules on the filibuster now might prevent the Democrats (and a few moderate Republicans) from denying a Supreme Court seat to a truly unacceptable candidate in the future. Read more »
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From the Left
• Ari Berman in The Nation:
“Caving on Gorsuch will make it harder, not easier, to wage future battles.”
Ari Berman outlines five reasons why Democrats must filibuster Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Mr. Berman also rejects the advice of those like Jim Geraghty who urge Democrats to save the power of the filibuster for more objectionable nominees: “It’s delusional to believe that Mitch McConnell — who prevented Merrick Garland from even receiving a hearing — would allow Democrats to filibuster the next Supreme Court vacancy if they allow Gorsuch to go through.” Read more »
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