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Stopgap Bill Coming?
Congress may try to buy time on keep government open. Politico: “Congress is likely to pass a one-week stopgap government funding bill next week. It effectively would push off the shutdown scare one week, giving lawmakers more time to hash out a compromise.”
Ryan may need Pelosi. Bloomberg: “Cozying up to Pelosi comes with risks for Ryan, who watched his predecessor, John Boehner, resign amid a conservative backlash over some of his bipartisan deals with Democrats on spending measures … Ryan still has to decide whether House Republicans will go along with funding a Mexican border wall that Trump wants, and whether or not to include language to defund so-called sanctuary cities that decline to enforce some immigration laws. Both are policy riders that Democrats have said would prompt them to oppose the spending bill. Also uncertain is whether the bill will reflect any of the cuts Trump has demanded.”
ACA subsidies a sticking point. The Hill: “Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has signaled no plans to include the subsidies in a bill to keep the government open, but President Trump’s recent threat to withhold the subsidies to insurers has led several top Republicans to intervene … Some [Republicans] have … suggested they’d support the Democrats’ push to include the money in the upcoming spending package … Democratic leaders sense they have leverage in the fight…”
WH makes no promises to insurers. NYT: “Insurers who attended Tuesday’s meeting with Seema Verma, the new Medicare administrator, ‘reiterated our most pressing concern: the instability in the individual market created by the uncertainty of funding,’ according to a statement from America’s Health Insurance Plans, one of the main industry trade groups. But Ms. Verma made no promises, according to accounts of the meeting, and indicated to the insurance executives that Congress would have to decide whether to appropriate the money.”
DREAMer Deported Without Review
DREAMer deportation sparks legal action. NBC: “Juan Manuel Montes, 23, filed a complaint Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, alleging that the government did not provide any documentation explaining the legality of sending him back to Mexico … [NILC executive director Marielena] Hincapié said that once they get more information from the government they will assess the next legal steps in Montes’s case..But she said the fact that he had to file a FOIA lawsuit ‘should trouble any American that care about freedom.'”
More from USA Today: “[Montes] was waiting for a ride when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer approached and started asking questions. Montes was twice granted deportation protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by President Barack Obama and left intact by President Trump. Montes had left his wallet in a friend’s car, so he couldn’t produce his ID or proof of his DACA status and was told by agents he couldn’t retrieve them. Within three hours, he was back in Mexico … Montes’ attorneys provided a copy of his work authorization card that showed his DACA status was valid through 2018 … He suffered a traumatic brain injury as a child that left him with learning disabilities … Court records show he has four convictions [but they] are not serious enough to disqualify him from DACA protections…”
Dems estimate border wall cost at $70B. ABC: “Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security Committee estimated that the total cost of the construction of the border wall could ‘soar’ to nearly $70 billion … For FY 2018 [Customs and Border Protection] will request approximately $2.6 billion to construct approximately 71 miles of new border barrier …”
Scott Pruitt May Let Private Sector Write The Rules
EPA chief Scott Pruitt may outsource rule rewrites. Politico: “Industry groups with close ties to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt are considering a highly unusual approach to undoing the Obama administration’s most controversial water regulation — pushing Pruitt to hand the job to private lawyers. Such an approach would help Pruitt bypass the Environmental Protection Agency employees who spent five years writing the Waters of the U.S. regulation … legal experts say privatizing the rule-making process in this manner would be almost unheard of. Although it’s likely legally doable, they say, it would raise a host of ethical questions, while probably limiting the public’s view into decisions about which streams, lakes and wetlands get federal protection.”
EPA employees press Scott Pruitt not to close midwest regional office. The Hill: “AFGE Local 704, which represents 1,000 EPA employees in the Midwest, invited Scott Pruitt to a lunch meeting on Wednesday during his trip to the Chicago area, saying, ‘We need to talk.’ … Pruitt is scheduled to visit a Superfund site in East Chicago, Ind., on Wednesday [as well as] a Chicago Cubs game … the Sun-Times reported that the Trump administration is considering closing the Chicago-based Region 5 office as part of an agency restricting. The Trump administration denied [it]. But local lawmakers, including Republicans, said they were uneasy about reports of shutting it down…”
Pruitt wants to speed up approval of chemicals. Mother Jones: “…his #Back2Basics plans for the EPA [includes] ‘clearing the backlog of new chemicals’ waiting approval from the agency so companies can ‘innovate and create jobs.'”
Union of Concerned Scientists’ Michael Halpern touts upcoming March for Science in The Guardian: “From Oklahoma to Greenland, scientists and their champions will gather on April 22 for the much anticipated March for Science. And in many ways, the event is already a success: because thousands of scientists are speaking up, millions of people are considering how science actually matters to our lives … The March for Science is spawning a new generation of scientists who see public engagement as a responsibility.”
Trump Swears Health Care, Tax Reform and Infrastructure Coming Soon
Trump back to saying health care will precede tax reform. Politico: “Trump encouraged attendees at the Snap-on facility to call their congressmen and ‘press everybody’ to support GOP leaders’ legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare so Congress could pass tax reform next … Trump insisted that ‘we’re on time, if we get that health care approval … as soon as health care takes care of, we are gonna march very quickly. You’re gonna watch. We’re gonna surprise you. Right, Steve Mnuchin?…’ The president didn’t end his bold promises there. He added infrastructure spending to the mix … ‘Probably use it with something else that’s a little bit harder to get approved in order to get that approved. But infrastructure is coming, and it’s coming fast.'”
Trump may back cap on charitable deductions. The Hill: “The Trump administration is taking a serious look at capping tax deductions for charitable contributions, according to a source familiar with the discussions. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump’s other senior advisers are mulling their next steps on tax reform, and the proposal to limit deductions for charitable giving hasn’t yet gained widespread acceptance … A senior Senate aide said limiting charitable giving is ‘within the realm of possibility,’ although Mnuchin has not raised it explicitly in his meetings with some GOP senators.”
WH may target state and local tax deduction. Axios: “Gary Cohn has privately said he’s warming to the idea of eliminating the local and state tax deduction to pay for tax cuts and simplify the code…”
Trump tax advisers Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore complain about emerging plan in NYT oped: “Unfortunately, the White House seems all over the map on the subject. One day there is a trial balloon for a value-added tax. The next, the idea of a carbon tax or a reciprocal tax. And now we are hearing the curve ball of a payroll tax cut … One sure lesson from the health care setback is the old admonition ‘Keep it simple, stupid.'”
Roll Call details all the trip wires in the tax reform battle: “One major stress point is the so-called border adjustment tax, or BAT … the House GOP’s plan to effectively nix the ability of businesses to deduct interest expenses as another major issue. ‘It’s simmering in potential to be almost as big as the BAT,’ [a] former GOP aide said … Another area where Republicans may disagree is the GOP blueprint’s proposal to end the deduction for state and local taxes.
Georgia 6 Goes To Runoff
Tight race expected for June 20 runoff. NYT: “[Democrat] Ossoff received 48.1 percent of the vote, just short of the 50 percent threshold needed to win the seat, and he will face Karen Handel, the top Republican vote-getter … Mr. Ossoff’s strong showing will ensure that national Democrats continue to compete here and will increase pressure on the party to contest a special House election next month in Montana that it has so far ignored … Handel, who received just under 20 percent of the vote, is a former Georgia secretary of state and is viewed as an establishment-friendly Republican … she has struggled in her two previous [statewide] campaigns … Handel dismissed her opponent as a ‘young man’ beholden to national liberals and vowed to ‘kick a little Ossoff.'”
Ossoff overperformed, says FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten: “… a Democrat would be expected to lose Georgia 6 by 9.5 percentage points in a neutral national environment (one in which the two parties fought to a tie nationally). Democrats did far better than that on Tuesday, losing by 2 points … there are 48 House districts that were won by GOP candidates in 2016 that are bluer than Georgia 6. The district’s Round 1 results suggest Republicans could lose a good portion of those 48 seats.”
Right-wing populists unnerved by Trump’s governing. NYT: “…Patrick Howley, who worked for Mr. Bannon at Breitbart News, wrote in a recent open letter to Mr. Trump on The American Spectator’s website … ‘If you abandon populism … then you will not really have any constituency anymore.’ … Even some of Mr. Trump’s friends worry that he has gotten away from the policies that fueled his success in the campaign. ‘He ran as a populist but so far has governed as a traditionalist,’ said Christopher Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders most popular politician. The Hill: “Sanders is viewed favorably by 57 percent of registered voters, according to data from a Harvard-Harris survey provided exclusively to The Hill. Sanders is the only person in a field of 16 Trump administration officials or congressional leaders included in the survey who is viewed favorably by a majority of those polled.”