I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It's Monday, April 24, 2017. 561 days until Election Day 2018. 1,289 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at email@example.com. Tell your friends to sign up to receive the newsletter in their inbox at wakeuptopolitics.com/subscribe!
This Week: Health Care, Tax Reform, Government Funding, and More As President Donald J. Trump's 100th day in office, April 29, nears, the White House is forecasting an action-packed week — likely one of the most consequential of Trump's young presidency — with showdowns expected on health care, tax reform, and government funding.
Shutdown Showdown The most pressing deadline facing Washington: government funding expires at 11:59pm on April 28, the night before Trump's 100th day. Congress returns from today from their two-week Easter recess, giving them mere days to hash out a spending bill. The White House is demanding the funding package include money for Trump's proposed border wall, which is running into opposition with both parties on Capitol Hill.
On the Sunday shows, battle lines were clear as all sides discussed their positioning. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on CNN that he expects Trump will be "insistent" on funding the border wall, which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called "immoral, expensive, [and] unwise" on NBC. Congressional Republicans also balked at Trump's $1.4 billion construction request: "We cannot shut down the government right now," Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said on CBS, expressing hope that the fight over border security could be punted to 2018.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) also made clear over the weekend that avoiding a government shutdown is his top priority, which he told GOP lawmakers on a conference call Saturday, according to the Washington Post. No side would prefer to shut down the government, but neither side seems willing to back down. "Shutdown is not a desired end," White House budget director Mick Mulvany said on "Fox News Sunday."
Mulvaney floated a compromise on Friday, promising to match one dollar in Obamacare spending for every dollar that would go to the border wall. Matt House, a spokesman for Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), called the proposal a "gambit to hold hostage health care for millions of Americans, in order to force American taxpayers to foot the bill for a wall that the President said would be paid for by Mexico." Mulvaney used similar language on Sunday, accusing Democrats of "holding hostage national security" by refusing to fund the border wall.
However, congressional Democrats are refusing to shoulder blame for the potential shutdown. "The burden to keep it open is on the Republicans," Leader Pelosi said on Sunday, pointing to GOP control of both chambers of Congress and the White House. According to Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur, every government shutdown in the modern era has been during a period of divided government, when different parties controlled the Executive and Legislative branches.
The White House is also requesting funding increases for the military and for border security (unrelated to the wall), both of which Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that he expects to be in the spending bill. However, there won't be any spending bill unless Democrats and Republicans come together on the border wall. With a deal unlikely to emerge by Saturday, a stopgap solution may be passed to avert a shutdown so the two parties can negotiate a larger package.
Health Care With relatively few legislative accomplishments so far, President Trump is embarking on a mad dash this week to put points on the board with Congress. The crowned jewel of those efforts would be repealing and replacing Obamacare, a goal that has eluded Trump multiple times in his First Hundred Days. A split between the Trump Administration and congressional Republicans has re-opened on the issue, with the White House pushing for a vote this week on a bill Congress has yet to read.
On the same conference call where he discussed the shutdown threat, Speaker Ryan told lawmakers Saturday not to expect a vote on health care this week, Politico reported. Ryan promised that a vote would not be scheduled unless he is confident that there were enough GOP votes to pass a bill, hoping to avoid a repeat of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which he needed to pull from the floor just before a scheduled vote as it was clear that it would not pass.
However, negotiations continued over Easter recess between House Freedom Caucus chairman Mar Meadows (R-NC) and Tuesday Group co-chairman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), the leaders of the conservative and moderate wings of the House Republican Conference. "Health care may happen next week. It may not. We're hopeful it will," Priebus said Sunday, adding: "I would like to have a vote this week and I think the leadership knows that we’d like to have a vote this week.”
But the timeline is the key issue: the first votes in the House this week are on Tuesday night, and the main focus will be on averting a shutdown, giving little time for passage of a health care bill.
Tax Reform Also coming this week: a White House announcement on tax reform. President Trump told the Associated President in an interview on Friday that he'd be rolling out their plan for "massive tax reform" on Wednesday, promising "maybe the biggest tax cut we've ever had." In guidance to reporters, the White House seemed to downplay the announcement, saying the President would be merely "outlining principles for tax reform," as opposed to detailing his entire plan.
Executive Orders On record, President Trump has dismissed the nearing 100-day mark, which he called a "ridiculous standard" on Twitter last week. But behind the scenes, the White House is hoping to have a busy week before hitting the milestone. In addition to pushes on health care care and tax reform, the President plans to continue signing executive orders this week.
The White House boasted that he will have signed 32 by Friday, the most by any President in this amount of time since World II. According to Axios, orders coming this week will focus on accountability at the VA, a review of the National Monuments declared by previous Presidents, a review of off-shore drilling, and creation of a task force on promoting agriculture, with orders on trade also possible.
In addition, the President will spend the weekend taking a victory lap to mark his First Hundred Days. He will hold another campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday, Day 100, at the same time as the White House Correspondent's Dinner (which is traditionally attended by the President) to "speak straight to the people about these achievements and the countless other successes of his first 100 days in office."
The White House will also launch a web page on the First Hundred Days this week, "producing graphics, videos, and other digital content for the President's massive online following to share."
Data Dump Where does public opinion on President Trump stand as he approaches Day 100? Two key polls came out over the weekend — from the Washington Post/ABC and NBC/Wall Street Journal — that show a president still deeply unpopular with many pockets of the American people, yet holding on to the base that elected him.
BAD FOR TRUMP
- Approval Rating Both polls found Trump to be more unpopular than any of his predecessors at this point in their Presidencies.
- Washington Post/ABC: 42% approve, 53% disapprove
- At this stage... Obama: 69% approve, Bush II: 63%, Clinton: 59%, Bush I: 71%, Reagan: 73%
- NBC/Wall Street Journal: 40% approve, 54% disapprove
- At this stage... Obama: 61% approve, Bush II: 56% approve, Clinton: 52% approve
- Post/ABC: 38% say he is "honest and trustworthy," 43% say he "can be trusted in a crisis"
- At this stage... 74% said Obama was honest, 62% said Bush II was
- NBC/WSJ: 25% "give him high marks for being honest and trustworthy"
- NBC/WSJ: 21% "give him high marks for having the right temperament
- Post/ABC: 38% say he "has the kind of personality and temperament it takes to serve effectively as President"
- First 100 Days
- Post/ABC: 56% say Trump has "accomplished either not much or nothing" so far
- NBC/WSJ: 45% say Trump's presidency is off to a poor start
GOOD FOR TRUMP
- Post/ABC: 41% say he has the "kind of judgment it takes to serve effectively as President," 53% say he "is a strong leader"
- At this stage... 68% said Bush II was a strong leader, 77% said Obama was
- NBC/WSJ: 50% "give Trump high marks for being firm and decisive in his decision-making," higher than his approval rating but a 7-point drop from the amount who said the same in January.
- Re-Do Post/ABC: Trump would actually win the 2016 popular vote if it were held today, 43% to 40% (he lost 46% to 44% in November). 15% of Clinton voters saying they would vote differently, compared to just 4% of Trump voters.
- The Base Post/ABC: 94% of Trump voters approving of his job performance, 84% of Republicans approve. 62% of Trump voters say he's been better than they expected, just 2% said he's been worse.
- Syria NBC/WSJ: 62% say they support Trump's airstrikes against Syria, 50% say they support his handling of Syria
- Democrats Out of Touch Post/ABC: Just 28% say Democrats are "in touch with people's concerns," down from 48% in 2014, and less than Trump (38%) or Republicans (32%).
How did President Trump respond to the latest polls? "New polls out today are very good considering that much of the media is FAKE and almost always negative. Would still beat Hillary in...popular vote. ABC News/Washington Post Poll (wrong big on election) said almost all stand by their vote on me & 53% said strong leader," he tweeted last night.
Trump added this morning: "The two fake news polls released yesterday, ABC & NBC, while containing some very positive info, were totally wrong in General E. Watch!"
The President's Schedule President Trump has a busy day today to kick off this important week. Here's what's on tap for POTUS...
At 9:30am, President Trump will begin his day in the Residence with a telephone call to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.
At 10am, President Trump will hold a video conference call from the Oval Office with NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer, who are currently orbiting Earth aboard the International Space Station. Trump, along with his daughter Ivanka and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, will discuss "life aboard the International Space Station, NASA’s mission, and the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education." They will also congratulate Whitson on "break[ing] the record for the most cumulative days in space of any American astronaut," a milestone she reaches today on her 535th day in space. The conversation will be livestreamed online and in classrooms across America.
At 10:30am, President Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing in the Cabinet Room.
At 11:30am, President Trump will hold a working lunch in the State Dining Room with representatives of the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council. The United States currently chairs the Council, a status that rotates monthly among its five permanent members and 10 temporary members. During the campaign, Trump was critical of the UN, and his budget proposal slashes U.S. funding to the organization.
At 2:30pm, President Trump will sign a proclamation on Holocaust Remembrance. Yom HaShoah, Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, began on Sunday and lasts until tonight. Trump will mark the holiday at an event at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday; he also spoke about the Holocaust in video remarks to the World Jewish Congress on Sunday night. Multiple incidents have already complicated the Trump Administration's record on the Holocaust, drawing criticism for not specifically mentioning the Jewish people in a statement on International Holocaust Remembrance Day in January and for comments by White House press secretary Sean Spicer seemingly earlier this month which seemingly denied Adolph Hitler's use of chemical weapons.
At 3pm, President Trump will host an Oval Office credential ceremony for newly appointed Ambassadors to the United States from other countries, who traditionally do not begin their service in Washington, D.C. until the President signs off on their credentials.
At 4:30pm, President Trump will meet with Defense Secretary James Matter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford in the Oval Office.
At 5:30pm, President Trump will participate in a reception with conservative media outlets on the patio outside of Chief of Staff Reince Priebus' office. According to Politico, One America News Network, The Daily Caller, and Breitbart will be among the attending outlets, joining right-leaning columnists and radio personalities.
Finally, at 6:30pm, President Trump will have dinner in the Residence with Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), as well as McCain's wife Cindy. Neither McCain nor Graham voted for Trump in November; the two are some of the President's loudest critics among congressional Republicans.
Vice President's Schedule Vice President Mike Pence returns to Washington today after a 9-day trip to South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and Australia. Pence had been scheduled to spend a final day in Hawaii, meeting with troops and visiting the USS Arizona Memorial. However, the trip is being cut short by a day due to "the amount of issues on deck in Washington this week — between health care, the continuing resolution and tax reform," a Pence aide told reporters.
Congress Schedule The Senate convenes at 3pm today for the first time in two weeks. Two votes are scheduled, both on Trump nominees: At 5:30pm, the Senate will vote on confirmation of former Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-GA) to be Secretary of Agriculture, immediately followed by a procedural vote on the nomination of U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein to be Deputy Attorney General.
If confirmed, Perdue will be the final member of the Trump Cabinet to receive Senate approval.
Obama Returns One last thing to watch today: Former President Barack Obama will return to the public stage today for his first event since leaving office. According to his post-presidential office, Obama will headline an 11am event at the University of Chicago on "community organizing and civic engagement" with "young leaders" from schools across the Chicago area.
Today's Trivia Under which Administration did the term "First hundred days" begin to measure a president's accomplishments in their first months in office? This president also coined the term himself, and his busy First Hundred Days are often the standard against which succeeding Presidents are judged.
Think you know the answer? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; correct respondents get their name in tomorrow's newsletter!