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Wake Up To Politics - May 12, 2016

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
180 Days Until Election Day 2016
74 Days Until the Democratic National Convention
67 Days Until the Republican National ConventionI'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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2016 Central

  • Who will be Donald Trump’s Running Mate? Since Trump became the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, he has begun considering vice presidential picks in earnest, spiking speculation in the media. Here’s your rundown:
  • THE COMMITTEE In an Associated Press interview, Trump revealed that his vice presidential vetting committee would be led by campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, with ex-presidential candidate Ben Carson and Trump himself also playing roles in the process. Despite what Trump said, Carson’s business manager Armstrong Williams has told news outlets that Carson has left the VP committee after simply submitting a list of names, although he remains involved in the campaign.
  • THE SHORT LIST Trump also told the Associated Press that he has “a very good list of five or six people,” and indicated that none of the potential running mates were business figures (like himself), but all had “deep political experience,” according to AP. By opting to pick a politician, Trump may be seeking to balance the ticket and extend an olive branch to the Republican establishment, which he has warred with in the entire campaign.
  • Chris Christie: Trump “did not rule out” Christie in the AP interview. Christie currently serves as Governor of New Jersey, a post he has held since 2010 and will have for two more years. Christie is a lawyer by training, and was appointed as a U.S. Attorney by President George W. Bush. Since ending his own presidential campaign earlier this year, Christie has emerged as a top Trump surrogate, endorsing the billionaire early and serving as head of Trump’s transition team. However, his brash personality (his campaign slogan was “tell it like it is”) and New York-area roots may not offer enough balance on a Trump ticket.
  • Newt Gingrich Trump has “discussed…the possibility” of Gingrich, according to Bloomberg Politics. Gingrich has not held political office in nearly two decades, serving in the U.S. House from 1979 to 1999 and as Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999. His time as Speaker gives him Capitol Hill chops and experience warring with Bill and Hillary Clinton, Trump’s likely generational election opponent. But picking Gingrich would do Trump no favors with the Washington establishment, who still see Gingrich as an outsider, and is also plagued by scandals that ended his Speakership (an ethics violation) and his 2012 presidential campaign (extramarital affairs). Gingrich endorsed Trump on Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday night.
  • Mary Fallin Trump hinted that Fallin was on his short list in a Fox News interview Wednesday, calling her a “fabulous person.” Fallin has served as Governor of Oklahoma since 2011, and previously served as a U.S. Representative. She has also served in the Oklahoma State House and as Lieutenant Governor, as well as head of the National Governors Association. Fallin was the first female governor of Oklahoma. She endorsed Trump earlier in May, after he became presumptive nominee; she hadn’t previously endorsed anyone in the race.
  • Jan Brewer Trump hinted that Brewer was on his short list in a Fox News interview Wednesday, calling her “fantastic.” Brewer served as Governor of Arizona from 2009 to 2015, and in both houses of the state legislature. She is best-known for her hardline immigration stance, having signed one of the nation’s toughest laws cracking down on illegal immigrants – a position that could help her with fellow anti-immigration advocate Trump. Brewer endorsed Trump in February, very early in the election cycle, citing his proposed border well. While their positions may match well, Brewer’s bombastic positions may have a hard time appealing to independent voters; her age, 71, may also pose a problem when juxtaposed with fellow septuagenarian Doanld Trump.
  • Joni Ernst Many news outlets have reported that Ernst rounds up the short list. Ernst is a U.S. Senator from Iowa, having been elected in 2014 as a State Senator. She is the first female member of Congress from Iowa and the first female veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate (Ernst served in Iraq as an Army lieutenant colonel). Ernst did not endorse anyone in the 2016 cycle, which could improve her chances; she also has been backed by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the 2008 Republican nominee, and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad in the vice presidential speculation
  • THE NAYSAYERS While Trump has assembled a list of possibilities, some politicians have declined consideration all together.
  • Marco Rubio U.S. Senator from Florida. “I have never sought, will not seek and do not want to be considered for Vice President,” he said Monday on Facebook.
  • Rob Portman U.S. Senator from Ohio. “Rob is not interested in anything but continuing to serve Ohio in the U.S. Senate,” a spokesman said in a statement earlier this week.
  • Nikki Haley Governor of South Carolina. “To the members of the press who are asking, while I am flattered to be mentioned and proud of what that says about the great things going on in South Carolina, my plate is full and I am not interested in serving as vice president,” she said in a statement Wednesday.
  • Ben Carson Retired neurosurgeon and 2016 presidential candidate. “I represent everything that the [“left-wing media”] are against, and there would be so much attention on that and I think it would just distract from what needs to be done,” he told Fox News Radio on Wednesday.
  • Rick Scott Governor of Florida. “I’m going to stay in this job,” he said on CNN on Wednesday.

Capitol Hill News

  • Senate: Today The upper chamber meets today at 9:30am to resume consideration of the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2016, a $37.5 billion spending bill to fund the Department of Energy and other water development programs through fiscal year 2017.
  • After nearly a month of Senate debate, the energy bill is expected to pass the chamber today. The bill advanced in the Senate on Wednesday, in a 97-2 cloture vote, with Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Mike Lee (R-UT) voting “nay”. The bill had been stalled in the chamber by an amendment of Tom Cotton (R-AR)’s to ban the U.S. from purchasing heavy water (which is used to create nuclear weapons) from Iran. The Cotton amendment failed 57-42 in a separate Wednesday cloture vote. The amendment needed 60 “yeas” to advance; five Senate Democrats crossed party lines to vote “yea,” while two Senate Republicans voted “nay”.
  • The bill increases the Energy Department’s defense-related programs by $1.163 billion, while decreasing nondefense programs by $808 million – a total increase of $255 million in funding for energy/water development from fiscal year 2016. The measure, which has wide bipartisan support, was co-sponsored by Energy and Natural Resources Committee chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
  • Murkowski and Cantwell’s bill now heads back to the House for the chamber’s approval and then to the President’s desk. It will be the first appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017 that the Senate has passed.
  • House: Today The lower chamber convenes for the day at 10am, and will continue its voting marathon on bills to combat the opoid epidemic. Today, the chamber will vote on the Comprehensive Opoid Abuse Reduction Act, a bill authorizing $103 million each year for the next four years in Justice Department grants to combat opoid abuse and Lali’s Law, a bill authorizing grants to educate health care professionals about opoid overdoses.
  • In addition, the House will vote on the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act, to assist veterans with military EMT training in meeting EMT certifications in states with a shortage of such technicians.
  • Trump, Ryan Sit Face-to- Face Also today: Donald Trump will be on Capitol Hill, for his much-anticipated sit-down with House Speaker Paul Ryan. Trump and Ryan, who represent very different factions of the Republican Party, will meet at 9am at Republican National Committee headquarters.
  • The meeting, set up by RNC chairman Reince Priebus, is an attempt to clear the air between the party’s two leaders before the November election. If the meeting is successful, Ryan may lend his support to Trump, a big boost to the latter’s party unity efforts. But a failed meeting could permanently set the two on separate ways, with potentially disastrous effects to Trump’s race and Ryan’s race to keep control of the House.
  • Priebus will also join the Trump-Ryan summit, which will be followed by a meeting between Trump and a larger group of House GOP leadership (including Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Whip Steve Scalise, Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry, as well as Ryan).
  • Ryan, the highest-ranking Republican in the nation, has yet to endorse his party’s presumptive nominee, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper last that he’s “just not ready” to support Trump. The Speaker is expected to seek assurances from Trump today on a number of fronts that could persuade him to change his mind.

White House Watch

  • The President’s Schedule At 11am, President Obama will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. Obama has no other events on his public schedule today.
  • Biden’s Day Vice President Joe Biden is in Orlando, Florida to attend the Closing Ceremony of the 2016 Invictus Games. To mark the 5th anniversary of her initiative with First Lady Michelle Obama (who attended the Opening Ceremony), Second Lady Jill Biden will lead the Presidential Delegation to the Closing Ceremony tonight, joined by Betty Easley, a Caregiver Fellow at the Elizabeth Dole Foundation; Iraq War veteran Noah Galloway, founder of No Excuses Charitable Fund; William McNulty, co-founder and CEO of Team Rubicon Global, Ltd.; and retired U.S. Navy Lieutenant Brad Snyder, a 2012 Paralympic Gold Medalist.
  • The Invictus Games are an annual international competition, founded by Prince Harry of Wales, for wounded armed services personnel across the globe. This is the second annual edition of the games; the 2014 games were held in London, while Orlando is host to this year’s games, which have been attended by Prince Harry, the First Lady, and former President George W. Bush.
  • While in Orlando today, Biden will also headline a campaign event for Rep. Patrick Murphy’s campaign for the U.S. Senate. Biden, President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and other prominent Democrats have endorsed Murphy in his effort to win Marco Rubio’s seat (Rubio is retired) – a rare entrance by the President and Vice President in a contested Democratic primary. Murphy’s opponent? Fellow Rep. Alan Grayson, who was publicly embroiled in a spat with Reid on Thursday.
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation, the Political Junkie podcast, and St. Louis Public Radio; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki, and read about Gabe in Politico, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light