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Wake Up To Politics - April 30, 2019

I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Tuesday, April 30, 2019. 279 days until the 2020 Iowa caucuses. 553 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com.

Trump, Democratic leaders to meet on infrastructure

President Donald Trump will sit down with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at the White House today in an attempt to find common ground on infrastructure policy, an area that both parties have discussed working on together since the outset of the Trump presidency, although a bipartisan deal has yet to emerge.

"Our message is: Let's work together," Pelosi told reporters on Monday, adding: "The American people understand the need to build the infrastructure of our country. Let's find a solution."

In a letter to the president on Monday, the top two Democrats — "Chuck and Nancy," as he has called them at their other high-profile meetings on fiscal matters — called for a potential comprehensive infrastructure package to include "substantial, new and real revenue," "clean energy and resiliency priorities," and "strong Buy America, labor, and women, veteran and minority-owned business protections."

The meeting comes at a particularly contentious time for relations between the executive and legislative branches, with the White House and congressional Democrats clashing over a series of oversight actions. Just last night, President Trump, his three eldest children, and his private company filed a federal lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Capital One, in an attempt to block the banks from responding to House subpoenas relating to Trump's finances.

The Trump administration is also brawling Democrats on a request for the president's tax returns, as well as subpoenas for testimony from Attorney General William Barr, former White House counsel Don McGahn, a top Justice Department official involved in the 2020 census, and the former White House official who oversaw the security clearance process. "We're fighting all the subpoenas," Trump told reporters last week.

According to the Washington Post, Trump's refusal to cooperate with congressional investigators is increasingly frustrating House Democrats, "leading some to privately question whether they should try to pressure Speaker Nancy Pelosi into launching impeachment proceedings."

Despite the ensuing constitutional back-and-forth, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders heralded today's meeting as a "good first step" in comments to reporters on Monday. "Certainly, it is a big step that both sides who, frankly, had a lot of hostility toward one another over the last couple months are sitting down at the table and discussing an issue that has to be addressed," she said.

The meeting, originally slated to include just Pelosi, Schumer, and Trump, will also be attended by other top Democrats from both chambers. According to CNN, the full roster of additional attendees are: Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Democratic Assistant Leader Patty Murray (D-WA), Democratic Policy Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member Tom Carper (D-DE) from the Senate side, and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard Neal (D-MA), and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) from the House side.

Biden sees post-announcement polling surge

Former Vice President Joe Biden has solidified his front-runner status in the Democratic presidential primary race in the days after his announcement, according to three polls released this morning.

A CNN poll found Biden receiving support from 39% of Democratic voters, an 11-point bounce from the network's poll in March. The ex-VP was well ahead of his nearest competitor, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who received 15% support in the poll, a five-point drop from March. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) came in third place with 8%, followed by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 7%, former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) at 6%, and Sen. Kamala Harris at 5%. No other candidate received more than 2% in the survey.

Additionally, according to CNN, "Biden's lead extends across most every major demographic or political group," leading among white voters, non-white voters, men, women, younger voters, older voters, college graduates, non-college graduates, liberals, and moderates.

Biden also led in a Morning Consult poll released today, which found him receiving 36% support (from 30% last week), to Sanders' 22% (from 24% last week), as well as a Boston Globe/Suffolk University poll of New Hampshire, which found him leading with 20% in the state. In the latter survey, Sanders (who won the state in the 2016 primaries) and Buttigieg tied for second place, with 12% each.

The polling surge for Biden comes after he held his first campaign rally, in Pittsburgh, in which he looked past the Democratic primaries to focus on the race against President Trump. "If I'm going to be able to beat Donald Trump in 2020, it's going to happen here," he told the crowd at the Teamsters Local 249 union hall.

More 2020 news...

--- "Stacey Abrams won't run for Senate" (Politico)

--- "'Bring it on’: Biden and Sanders teams kick off debate over Medicare-for-all" (Washington Post)
--- "Joe Biden on handling of Anita Hill during Clarence Thomas hearings: 'I take responsibility'" (ABC News)

--- "Beto O'Rourke releases $5 trillion plan to combat climate crisis" (NBC News)

Trump orders sweeping changes for asylum seekers

Via the New York Times:

"President Trump on Monday ordered new restrictions on asylum seekers at the Mexican border — including application fees and work permit restraints — and directed that cases in the already clogged immigration courts be settled within 180 days."

"In a memo sent to Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of homeland security, and Attorney General William P. Barr, the president took another step to reshape asylum law, which is determined by Congress, from the White House."

"The restrictions do not take effect immediately. Mr. Trump gave administration officials 90 days to draw up regulations that would carry out his orders. They would be among the first significant changes to asylum policy since Mr. McAleenan replaced Kirstjen Nielsen as head of homeland security and the president signaled he would take a tougher stance on the asylum seekers swamping the border."

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White House schedule

--- At 10:30 a.m., President Trump meets with congressional Democrats in the Cabinet Room. At 12 p.m., he receives his intelligence briefing. At 3:40 p.m., he hosts Joey Logano, the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Champion.

--- Vice President Mike Pence travels to Norfolk, Virginia. At 11:25 a.m., he participates in a meeting with representatives of NATO at the Norfolk Naval Station. At 12 p.m., he receives a briefing from senior Naval leadership aboard the USS Harry S. Truman. At 12:10 p.m., he tours the USS Harry S. Truman. At 12:50 p.m., he speaks to crew members. At 2:35 p.m., the vice president participates in a roundtable discussion at the headquarters of Dollar Tree with Virginia business leaders to discuss the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the Trump administration's proposed NAFTA replacement.

Congress schedule

--- The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. today. At 11:45 a.m., the chamber will vote on confirmation of William Cooper to be General Counsel of the Department of Energy, followed by a cloture vote on the nomination of R. Clarke Cooper to be Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.

--- The House convenes at 10 a.m. today. The chamber is scheduled to vote on six pieces of legislation:

  1. H.Res. 327 – Encouraging greater public-private sector collaboration to promote financial literacy for students and young adults
  2. H.R. 1876 – Senior Security Act of 2019
  3. H.Res. 328 – Supporting the protection of elders through financial literacy
  4. H.R. 1449 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 3033 203rd Street in Olympia Fields, Illinois, as the “Captain Robert L. Martin Post Office”
  5. H.R. 1198 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 404 South Boulder Highway in Henderson, Nevada, as the “Henderson Veterans Memorial Post Office Building”
  6. H.R. 828 – To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 25 Route 111 in Smithtown, New York, as the “Congressman Bill Carney Post Office”

Supreme Court schedule

The Supreme Court does not have any oral arguments or conference scheduled for today.

2020 schedules

--- Former Vice President Joe Biden holds campaign stops in two Iowa cities: Cedar Rapids and Dubuque.

--- South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg holds a grassroots fundraiser in Somerville, Massachusetts.

--- Former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) delivers a speech on his foreign policy vision, titled "America Foremost – A Democratic Vision for Defending Our Country and Resuming US Leadership in a Turbulent World," at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.

--- Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) holds a roundtable discussion on teacher pay in West Columbia, South Carolina, one day before teachers in the state are set to stage a public protest for higher pay and better working conditions.

--- Former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) both participate in the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, California.

--- Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke holds a town hall in San Diego, California.

*All times Eastern