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Thursday, April 23, 2015
565 Days Until Election Day 2016It's Thursday, April 23, 2015, I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
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Capitol Hill News
- Senate Passes Trafficking Bill, Turns to Lynch After six weeks of debate focused on an abortion provision, a bill to assisting victims of human trafficking passes the Senate 99-0 Wednesday.
- For over a month, Democrats had filibustered the bill, due to a provision stopping money from the bill going to abortion. Complicating things, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tied the trafficking legislation with Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be U.S. Attorney General, refusing to bring the latter up for a vote until the former was passed.
- On Tuesday, a deal was cut on the abortion language in the bill, which passed unanimously Wednesday. Keeping his promise, McConnell has scheduled a cloture vote for approximately 11:40 AM today, with two hours of debate afterwards, and then a confirmation vote at approximately 2:00 PM, which is expected to be successful.
- Lynch, who will become the first African-American female Attorney General, was nominated in November 2014, and her nomination has waited in limbo for over five months.
- Senate Panel Votes to Grant Obama Trade “Fast Track” The Senate Finance Committee voted Wednesday to grant President Barack Obama “fast track” trade promotion authority (TPA), igniting a debate among Democrats on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
- If Congress grants Obama “fast track authority,” then he can negotiate a trade deal, which will not be able to be amended by Congress (which it could be without TPA) – it will just be presented for an up-or-down vote. Obama is currently negotiating TPP, a trade deal with 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The TPP deal is supported by most Republicans and by President Barack Obama, but is opposed by many members of his own party, because of the effect on the environment and manufacturing jobs.
- As Obama requests TPA on TPP (confusing, right), it has been the Democratic Party (which he leads, also kind of confusing) leading the opposition. The top Democrat in the Senate, Minority Leader Harry Reid opposes the deal, as does a majority of his caucus and the House Democratic caucus. This issue could affect the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, and many of the potential candidates are involved.
- Hillary Clinton, the only announced candidate, hedged when asked if she supported the trade deal, raising eyebrows among the progressive wing of the party. This has opened a contrast to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has led the opposition to the deal and has been asked by many progressives to challenge Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
- Meanwhile, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is expected to enter the Democratic primary next month, sent an email to supporters (subject line “Hard Choice?” referring to Hillary Clinton’s memoir “Hard Choices”) writing, “American workers whose jobs could be on the line right now are owed more than lip service. They deserve to know where leaders stand.”
- Race to 45: Travel Tracker Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be in Manhattan, New York today to give the keynote address at the sixth annual Women in the World summit.
- The conference, founded by Tina Brown, will feature other participants, such as: actress Meryl Streep; Comedy Central host Jon Stewart; Selma director Ava DuVernay; White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett; California Attorney General Kamala Harris; Yahoo News anchor Katie Couric; MSNBC host Alex Witt; “Today Show” host Savannah Guthrie; Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
- Look Inside: the Clinton Campaign “What's being called the ‘Ramp Up Grassroots Organizing Program’ will have paid staffers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the territories through the end of May. They'll be working with Clinton supporters to organize local meetings, volunteer trainings and other grassroots events, according to the campaign.”
- “Clinton's team recently launched a ‘Hillstarters’ fundraising program where donors are asked to raise $2,700 -- the maximum an individual can give during a primary season -- from 10 people. In return, Hillstarters will get an invitation to a summit with Clinton next month.”
- Huffington Post: “Hillary Clinton Campaign Launches Grassroots Organizing Program In All 50 States”
- Look Inside: the O’Malley Campaign-in-Waiting “Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s supporters are getting ready for a likely presidential campaign launch in Baltimore in late May, while the candidate meets with prospective donors in the San Francisco area this week.”
- “In late May, he will likely make his White House intentions official at an announcement in Baltimore, where he launched his political career and served eight years as mayor.”
- “As the consensus grows that progressive hero Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) won’t pursue the presidency, O’Malley’s appearances have been calibrated to position himself as the liberal alternative to Clinton with a record of proven accomplishments. He regularly talks about imposing tighter regulations on Wall Street banks, an issue closely associated with Warren, and he has also aligned himself with her wing of the party against the 12-nation Pacific trade deal that is supported by President Barack Obama.”
- Politico: “Martin O’Malley Forces Ramp Up for Late May Launch”
White House Watch
- The President’s Schedule At 2:15 PM, President Obama honors the New England Patriots for their Super Bowl championship.
- At 4:55 PM, he will speak at a meeting of Organizing of Action, the “grassroots” organization that grew out of Obama’s campaign mechanism, and is run by many former Obama staffers.
- Biden’s Day Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign today about “preventing sexual assault on college campuses,” according to CBS’ Mark Knoller.