Wake Up To Politics - May 22, 2015
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Friday, May 22, 2015
536 Days Until Election Day 2016It's Friday, May 22, 2015, I'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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Capitol Hill News
- House: Schedule The House has left for Memorial Day recess
- Senate: Schedule This was supposed to be the Senate’s last day before leaving town for the summer, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced the upper chamber will stay in session at least through the weekend to vote on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA); the USA FREEDOM Act, which bans the NSA from collecting Americans’ telephone calls; and a two-month extension of the Patriot Act, the surveillance bill that expires June 1; and a bill that extends funding for the Highway Trust Fund, which runs out May 31.
- Trade Promotion Authority The Senate advanced a bill granting President Barack Obama fast-track authority on trade deals (including his controversial trans-Pacific trade deal recently negotiated) , or TPA, on Thursday.
- This bill is controversial because if it passed, Obama can easily get the trans-Pacific deal – supported by Republicans, but not by most Democrats – through Congress.
- TPA will likely be voted on Saturday, after it was advanced by a 62-38 vote; all but five Republicans voted “yea,” joined by 13 Democrats to advance the bill – two more senators than were needed.
- USA Freedom/Patriot Acts These two bills both deal with the issue of surveillance, as key provisions of the PATRIOT Act expire June 1. This is the controversial bill that allows the NSA to collect phone records in their bulk data collection of Americans and terrorists alike. The House passed the USA Freedom Act last week to strike down parts of the PATRIOT Act and end the NSA’s bulk data collection; however, it appears the Senate will just vote Saturday for a two-month extension of the PATRIOT ACT, to give time for bicameral negotiations.
- Highways The Senate will be voting on the House transportation package, which taps money from taxes and offshore corporate profits.
White House Watch
- The President’s Schedule The President will visit Congregation Adas Israel, one of the largest congregations in the DC area, today, to speak in celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month, which takes place in May and recognizes contributions by Jewish Americans to the United States.
- In addition, the President’s visit takes place on Solidarity Shabbat, an event tonight when government officials in Europe and North America visit synagogues to discuss combating anti-Semitism. In the United States, 11 Democratic lawmakers will participate (including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Rep. Keith Ellison, one of the two Muslims in Congress), as will Rep. Peter King (R-NY).
- This is not the first time Adas Israel has been visited by a President: it was the location of the first synagogue service attended by a sitting U.S. President, when Ulysses S. Grant attended the dedication service for the new Adas Israel building in 1876.