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Wake Up To Politics - April 26, 2017




I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It's Tuesday, April 26, 2017. 559 days until Election Day 2018. 1,287 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com. Tell your friends to sign up to receive the newsletter in their inbox at wakeuptopolitics.com/subscribe!

Need to know

Judge blocks Trump's sanctuary cities order U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick blocked enforcement Tuesday of one of President Donald Trump's January executive order to bar federal funding from going to "sanctuary cities" that refuse to assist the government in finding illegal immigrants.

In his opinion, Orrick held that the executive order was intended to be implemented more broadly than it seemed, despite the Justice Department's claims that the order would just reinforce existing law. The Obama-appointed judge called that argument "not legally plausible," citing comments made by Trump himself, who called the order "a weapon."

The White House responded Tuesday night with a bombshell statement saying that the rule of law suffered another blow" with the ruling "as an unelected judge unilaterally rewrote immigration policy for our Nation." The statement said sanctuary cities are "engaged in the dangerous and unlawful nullification of Federal law in an attempt to erase our borders," adding that they are "putting the well-being of criminal aliens before the safety of our citizens, and those city officials who authored these policies have the blood of dead Americans on their hands."

In the statement, the Administration also promised to press on and fight the ruling in the Supreme Court, where a case on a judge's ruling against Trump's travel ban (also partly based on his own comments) is already pending. "This San Francisco judge's erroneous ruling is a gift to the criminal gang and cartel element in our country, empowering the worst kind of human trafficking and sex trafficking, and putting thousands of innocent lives at risk," it said.

Repeal-and-Replace, Take III: GOP Reaches Obamacare Compromise Two House Republicans, conservative House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) and moderate Tuesday Group co-chairman (R-NJ), have arrived at a new plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, although it remains unclear if the bill has enough votes to succeed where the American Health Care Act (AHCA) failed last month.

The compromise amendment includes two concessions to conservatives who opposed AHCA: under the new plan, states could apply for waivers that would allow insurers to ignore Obamacare's prohibition on charging more for people with pre-existing conditions and states could opt out of Obamacare's Essential Health Benefits, which are benefits the law required insurers include in health care plans, such as hospital services, maternity care, mental health care, and others.

The plan is largely a victory for the Freedom Caucus, who received their top demands; as a result, the three leaders of the Freedom Caucus told the Washington Post on Tuesday night that they would support the plan, which will likely bring the bulk of their rank-and-file along as well. The issue: the compromise does not include much for moderates, other than that the Essential Health Benefits and protections for pre-existing conditions are not completely struck down, simply optional on a state-by-state basis. Many moderate Republicans hail from Democratic-controlled states which will likely not apply for the waivers to opt out.

The Tuesday Group will meet over lunch today; one of their co-chairs, MacArthur (who also supported the original AHCA) helped craft this compromise, while the other, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) is opposed to it. He is joined by a number of other moderate lawmakers, making it unclear whether the newfound Freedom Caucus support will be enough to get the 216 votes needed for the bill to pass.

Chaffetz, Cummings: Flynn Broke the Law The saga of Michael Flynn, who resigned as National Security Advisor just days into the Trump Administration after lying about his contact with Russia, continued on Tuesday. House Oversight & Government Reform Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) both said that Flynn likely broke the law by failing to include income from Russia and Turkey on his financial disclosure forms.

“Personally I see no evidence or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law,” Chaffetz told reporters after viewing classified documents on Flynn's activities in Russia and Turkey, as well as his disclosure form. The bipartisan rebuke of Flynn also included criticism of the White House, which declined to release documents to the committee on Flynn's contacts with foreign nations during his time in the Administration.

The rundown

House of Bush vs. House of Romney Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that a $1.3 billion bid by former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) and former Yankees great Derek Jeter have won the action for the Miami Marlins, beating a group of bidders including Mitt Romney's son Tagg. Also on Tuesday: Romney's nephew Doug Robinson announced his campaign for the Colorado governorship in 2018. He will likely face off in the GOP primary with State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, a second cousin of Jeb Bush and former President George W. Bush. (h/t WaPo's Aaron Blake)

Trump's Base is With Him, 100% A USA TODAY voter panel of 25 Trump voters nationwide found that all 100% of them approve of his job performance, despite recent polls showing the President registering low approval ratings among the nation at large.

Young Voters Disapprove of Trump Meanwhile, a Harvard Institute of Politics poll of 18 to 29-year-olds found that approval of Trump among young voters is even lower than the national average: just 32% said they approve of how Trump has performed as President


The President's Schedule President Trump marks his 97th day in office today, signing two more executive orders to add to the flurry of activity in the run-up to Day 100.

At 10:30am, the President will receive his daily intelligence briefing in the Oval Office.

At 11:20am, the President will sign an Executive Order on the Antiquities Act, a 1906 law that allows presidents to designate land as national monuments, at the Interior Department headquarters. He will also deliver remarks on the topic. According to CNN, Trump will order a review of 24 Antiquities Act designations made by Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama since 1996. Trump may revise some of the designations, a reversal from his predecessor Obama, who declared the most National Monuments of any president in history.

The executive order is a response to Republican criticism of Obama's 2016 designation of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, a 1.3-million-acre tract of land which the GOP said he should not have taken without congressional approval. Once designated, National Monuments are protected by the federal government; past legal opinions have held that they cannot be rescinded, although a President can make a protected area designated by a predecessor smaller.

At 12:30pm, the President will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence in the Presidential Dining Room.

At 1:30pm, the President will meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the Oval Office.

At 2:30pm, the President will participate in a "federalism event with Governors" in the Roosevelt Room and sign an Executive Order on education federalism.

At 3pm, the President will drop by a North Korea briefing on the White House complex with the full Senate. The senators will be briefed by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staf Joseph Dunford.

At 4:30pm, the President will hold an event in the Oval Office honoring the National Teacher of the Year.

Also today: Trump is scheduled to unveil his tax plan, which will reportedly include big tax cuts for businesses. According to the Associated Press, the President will propose slashing the corporate tax rate from 25% to 15% and the tax rate for small businesses from 39.6% to 15%.

A report by the Joint Committee on Taxation, a bipartisan congressional panel, released on Tuesday, found that a decrease in the corporate tax rate to 20% (the level proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan) would decrease federal revenue by $489.7 billion in the next decade. GOP deficit hawks may oppose a cut to 15%, which would cause even more loss of revenue, although that is the level promised by President Trump during the campaign.

Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) questioned whether 15% "is the right figure or not" on Tuesday, although he said he supports the philosophy behind the cuts: "I’m not convinced that cutting taxes is necessarily going to blow a hole in the deficit; I actually believe it could stimulate the economy and get the economy moving," he said. Due to how much it would add to the deficit, the tax reform package would need to overcome a filibuster in the Senate, requiring 60 votes for passage; according to Politico, Trump hopes to accrue Democratic votes with the additions of infrastructure spending and his daughter Ivanka's proposed childcare tax credits.

Today in Congress Both houses of Congress are in session today.

The Senate will meet at 9:30am; after any Leader remarks, the chamber will resume consideration over the nomination of Alexander Acosta to be Secretary of Labor. At 11:30am, the Senate will hold a procedural vote to end debate on the Acosta nomination. The nominee currently serves as dean of the Florida International University College of Law; he is also a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, and member of the National Labor Relations Board, posts he was nominated to by President George W. Bush. He was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in a party-lines vote, 12-11, in March.

If confirmed, Acosta will be the 22nd of the 23 Cabinet-level nominees to gain Senate approval, and will be the only Hispanic to join the Trump Cabinet. The Senate has been on a confirmation spree this week, picking up where they left off before the Easter recess: the chamber approved Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Monday, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Tuesday. Rosenstein was confirmed in a 94-6 vote; he will now take over the Justice Department's probe of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.

Meanwhile, the House will meet at 10am today. The chamber is scheduled to vote on one piece of legislation, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act, which would give the President the power to appoint the director of the U.S. Copyrights Office (and the Senate the power to confirm them), as opposed to the Librarian of Congress.

Today's trivia

Today's Question Melania Trump celebrates her 47th birthday today. She is the second First Lady to be born outside of the United States...today's challenge is to name the first. Email me (trivia@wakeuptopolitics.com) with your answer; correct respondents get their name in tomorrow's newsletter.

Yesterday's Answer On Monday, I asked for the president who coined the term "First Hundred Days." The answer....Franklin Delano Roosevelt, whose action-packed first 100 days is the standard against which all of his successors have been judged. FDR first used the term in a July 1993 radio address.

GREAT JOB... Steve Gitnik, Randy Fleisher, Marlee Millman, Tom Alpert, Peggy Goldberg, Rashida Doctor, Matt Neufeld, Ted Weiner, Calvin Cahan, Brad Chotiner, Jim Wilbat, Raymond Slavin, Frank Teltsch, Miles Kwiatek, Joe Bookman, Aryn Rehbein. Well done, everyone...thanks for playing!