Washington News Briefs for June 7th 2018

Good Morning Everyone…..

Today is Mike Pence’s 59th birthday. Happy Birthday, Mr. Vice President!

Now we are off to the races…..

In Congress Wednesday, lawmakers up and down the ranks showcased just how much President Trump can dominate discussions, but also how eager many Republicans are to keep the legislative branch lashed to its own course. Three examples: “Spygate,” immigration, and tariffs.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) joined Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairmen and key investigators in Congress, to contradict the president’s tale about a “spy” or FBI mole inside his presidential campaign. The FBI had a confidential informant assisting its Russia investigation, not a spy planted inside the Trump campaign, they say. Florida Republican Rep. Tom Rooney fumed about the president’s fiction: “What is the point of saying that there was a spy in the campaign when there was none?”

Nothing like those in Congress splitting hairs on words.


Trump’s advisers on Wednesday pressed House Republicans, trying to stave off a slow-motion revolt among the rank and file who want an immigration vote on a measure that doesn’t bow to either West Wing demands or Ryan’s efforts at control. It’s a gentle mutiny without a certain outcome, and the Speaker has a come-to-Jesus conference meeting scheduled.


Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and vacating Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who is retiring from the Senate, is leading an uprising with a bill that would check Trump’s executive powers when it comes to levying tariffs on allies. The president privately tried to get Corker to holster his defiance, but failed. “He’s not pleased with the effort,” Corker said after the two spoke by phone. On Wednesday, Trump had to drum up defenders elsewhere among Senate Republicans, although many in his party wring their hands that tit-for-tat tariffs undermine the Republican Party’s long-held free-trade brand, and could be toxic for the economy.


Among House Republicans, immigration is the intraparty, legislative lightning rod this week. Among some Senate conservatives, however, it’s Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs that sparked a small rebellion.

House – Immigration:

House Republicans face a make-or break moment for immigration legislation today. Retiring Speaker Ryan will pitch a long-awaited compromise proposal to rank-and-file Republicans during a much-watched meeting. But it may be too late to halt momentum among the rank-and-file. The Hill’s Rafael Bernal and Juliegrace Brufke report on the House Republicans who want a “bridge” for “Dreamers.”

Congress role – North Korea denuclearization:

Some lawmakers seek a legislative role as part of the U.S. denuclearization approach to North Korea. Why? Because experience with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal left an impression.

Senate GOP – Trade:

Trump met at the White House with Senate Republicans to discuss his trade policies on Wednesday, and joined his advisers in lobbying his conservative colleagues to reject a bipartisan Senate effort to give Congress approval power over tariffs. Senate leaders and Trump allies heeded the president’s pleas:

During an interview Wednesday with Olivier Knox of Sirius XM Channel 124, McConnell resisted the push among some of his colleagues for a Senate legislative response to Trump’s tariffs, one day after indicating he was open to the bipartisan effort. The Hill reported that the majority leader referred to the effort as “an exercise in futility.”

Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas) also waved off the idea of challenging Trump over tariffs, calling it “an executive function.”

*** Addendum:  Cornyn will be term-limited as the Senate’s No. 2-ranking GOP leader, but McConnell told The Hill that Cornyn won’t be out of the leadership picture next year.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) issued a statement late Wednesday: “Now is not the time to undercut President Trump’s ability to negotiate better trade deals. I will not support any efforts that weaken his position.” All this shows is Graham’s lack of Constitutional knowledge on the subject….. it is one thing to support the President which we do, when he follows Constitutional law.

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