Wake Up To Politics - April 25, 2017
I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It's Tuesday, April 25, 2017. 560 days until Election Day 2018. 1,288 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!
Shutdown Showdown: Trump Appears to Back Down on Wall Funding President Donald Trump on Monday seemed to backtrack on his insistence that his proposed Mexican border wall had to be funded in the spending bill Congress needs to pass by Friday to keep the government open. On the Sunday shows this weekend, Trump Administration officials demanded that the border wall be included in the spending bill, even threatening to shut down the government over it — a request that came after Democrats and Republicans were nearing agreement on a bipartisan funding solution, with no funding for the wall attached.
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Trump would likely be "insistent on the funding," and White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said on "Fox News Sunday" that Trump could refuse to sign a spending bill without money for the border wall.
Democratic lawmakers immediately made clear that they would not support a spending bill that funded the border wall. And few in the GOP stepped up to support the wall; according to a Wall Street Journal survey, zero members of Congress who represent districts along the U.S.-Mexico border support the construction of a wall. Trump requested $1.5 billion this year to begin construction and $2.6 billion next year; the Department of Homeland Security estimates that the wall would take $21.6 billion and more than three years of construction to complete.
By Monday night, President Trump was retreating, telling conservative media at a White House reception that he would be fine with Congress waiting until September, when the next fiscal year starts, to appropriate funds for the wall. Democrats took his signal as a victory, jumping to declare that the wall was no longer under consideration. "It's good for the country that President Trump is taking the wall off the table in these negotiations," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said. "Now the bipartisan and bicameral negotiations can continue working on the outstanding issues. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also called reports of Trump's reversal "welcome news."
Spending bills can be filibustered in the Senate, which is why the GOP needs Democratic votes to go forward. A shutdown would likely have been embarrassing for Republicans, who control both Congress and the White House (up until now, shutdowns have only occurred when different parties control the two branches). Congress is now expected to easily pass a bill to keep the government open, likely a stopgap measure that will mostly continue current funding levels, although the Trump Administration will probably receive their smaller requests for boosts in spending on the military and border security.
Trump's Day: Holocaust Remembrance, Agriculture How President Trump is spending his 96th day in office...
At 10am, President Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing in the Oval Office.
At 11:20am, President Trump will deliver the keynote address at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's National Days of Remembrance ceremony in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. Every president since the Museum's opening has participated at least once in the Days of Remembrance ceremony, which includes the lighting of six candles by a Holocaust survivor and a member of Congress in memory of Holocaust victims. The ceremony opens with a procession of flags led by the U.S. Army, to recognize the American troops who liberated the Nazi concentration camps.
Trump signed a presidential proclamation on Monday designating this week as the Days of Remembrance of Victims of the Holocaust, the U.S.' formal commemoration of the atrocities.
At 1:45pm, President Trump will meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, before holding a larger 2:15pm meeting on tax reform in the Oval Office. Trump is set to outline his plans for tax reform on Wednesday; a number of news outlets have reported that he will propose a cut in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%, following throw on a campaign promise. This cut would likely have difficulty passing Congress, with Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) saying Monday that he is "not sure" such a decrease could be achieved.
Mnuchin and National Economic Council director Gary Cohn, Trump's top economic advisers, will meet with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) today to preview the President's tax reform plans.
At 3pm, President Trump will participate in a farmers' roundtable and sign an Executive Order "promoting agriculture and rural prosperity in America" in the Roosevelt Room. According to CNN, the roundtable will include "15 farmers from across the country, including Zippy Duvall, the president of the American Farm Bureau; Bill Northey, the Iowa Secretary of Agriculture; and Lisa Johnson Billy, a farmer and former Oklahoma House member."
CNN also reported that the executive order will create a task force led by newly-confirmed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, which will be charged with crafting a report for the President in 180 days on "impediments to farming in the United States."
At 5:30pm, President Trump will meet with National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster.
At 6:30pm, President Trump will have dinner with Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Corker was a finalist for Secretary of State during the transition.
Ivanka Trump to Berlin First Daughter Ivanka Trump, who serves in the White House as an Assistant to the President, embarks on her first trip in an official capacity today. Trump will visit Berlin at German Chancellor Angela Merkel's invitation, to participate in a panel on "Inspiring Women: Scaling up Women's Entrepreneurship" at the W20 summit. While in Berlin, she will also visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe to mark Yom HaShoah (the Israeli holiday remembering the Holocaust, which coincides with the U.S. Days of Remembrance) and will meet with staff at the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.
Today in Congress After a two-week Easter recess, both houses of Congress will be in session today.
The Senate will begin their day at10am. Now that they are back in Washington, the chamber is picking up where they left off on confirming Trump's Cabinet-level and sub-Cabinet nominees. The main item on the chamber's schedule today is two hours of debate over the nomination of Rod Rosenstein to be Deputy Attorney General. Rosenstein is the longest-serving U.S. Attorney in the nation: he has held the post of U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland since 2005, retained by Presidents Obama and Trump. The Senate voted 92-6 on Monday to advance Rosenstein's nomination; he will likely be confirmed today or tomorrow.
Also today: the Senate Finance Committee will vote on the nomination of attorney Robert Lighthizer to be U.S. Trade Representative. And... in addition to advancing Rosenstein on Monday, the upper chamber also confirmed former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as Agriculture Secretary ina 87-11 vote. According to Politico, Perdue is the first Agriculture chief not to be confirmed unanimously since the Reagan Administration. However, Perdue and Rosenstein were both approved with bipartisan support, which makes it interesting to look at the Democrats who opposed them both: Sens. Chris Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). A preview of the 2020 Democratic field?
Meanwhile, the House will convene at12pm for the day. The lower chamber has eight bills to consider, including the Aviation Employee Screening and Security Enhancement Act, the Homeland Security for Children Act, and the U.S. Wants to Compete for a World Expo Act.
Also today: Rep. Ron Estes (R-KS) will be sworn in to the House. He was elected in a special election two weeks ago to succeed Mike Pompeo, who left Congress to become CIA Director in the Trump Administration.