Wake Up To Politics - May 24, 2017
I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It's Wednesday, May 24, 2017. 531 days until Election Day 2018. 1,259 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell your friends to sign up to receive the newsletter in their inbox at wakeuptopolitics.com/subscribe!
Coming Today: Health Care CBO Score The Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its updated analysis of the American Health Care Act today. The bill has already been "scored" twice before; both times, the CBO found that the number of uninsured Americans would increase by 24 million over the next 10 years as a result of AHCA's passage. The new estimate of the bill's impact on the deficit and number of uninsured will update for revisions made to the bill before its passage in the House earlier this month. At the time of the House vote, an updated CBO score had not been announced, adding to uncertainty over what Republicans were passing.
Two More Subpoenas for Flynn After former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn invoked the Fifth Amendment in declining to comply with a previous subpoena for documents, the Senate Intelligence Committee announced on Tuesday they were trying again. The panel issued two new subpoenas in an attempt to gain information on Flynn's contacts with Russian officials; these document requests were targeted at Flynn Intel LLC and Flyn Intel Inc., his two businesses.
"While we disagree with Gen. Flynn’s lawyer’s interpretation of taking the Fifth, it is even more clear that a business does not have a right to take the Fifth if it’s a corporation,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the committee's vice chairman said. At their joint press briefing, chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) added that if Flynn does not comply with these subpoenas, holding him in contempt of Congress is "on the table."
After Flynn's initial refusal, lawmakers from both parties questioned Flynn's ability to invoke the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits witnesses from being compelled to testify against themselves, for a subpoena of documents.
Quote of the Day
"I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job [you are doing] on the drug problem. Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that." — President Donald Trump in a telephone call to President Rodrigo Duterte in April, according to a transcript obtained by the Washington Post and published last night. Duterte response to "the drug problem" has been to wage a war on suspected drug users and dealers in which thousands have been killed by the Filipino government without trials. In the call, Trump also refers to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as a "madman with nuclear weapons."
The President's Schedule Today, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump travel to the next stop of their nine-day foreign trip, Vatican City and Rome. The two will participate in an arrival ceremony this morning, before participating in an audience with his Holiness Pope Francis to "discuss cooperation between the United States and religious communities in areas of joint concern." While at the Vatican, Trump will also meet with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and tour the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica.
President Trump's audience with the Pope comes despite their public clash over immigration during the 2016 campaign last year, in which Trump called Pope Francis "disgraceful" after he condemned the candidate's call for construction of a Mexican border wall by saying "building walls...is not Christian."
In Rome, the President will meet with President Sergio Mattarella of Italy and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni of Italy to "discuss multilateral cooperation and bilateral relations between the United States and Italy."
Then, the President and First Lady will depart Rome, Italy for Brussels, Belgium, where Trump will participate in the NATO summit. This afternoon, the Trumps will have a photo-op with Their Majesties King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium; the President will also meet with Prime Minister Charles Michel of Belgium.
Today in Congress The Senate is scheduled to hold two roll call votes today: a confirmation vote on the nomination of John Sullivan to be Deputy Secretary of State and a cloture vote on the nomination of Amul Thapar to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit. Sullivan is an attorney who served as Deputy Secretary of Commerce under President George W. Bush; Thapar is currently a U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Kentucky, also appointed by the second President Bush. Thapar is President Trump's first Trump lower court nominee to be considered by the Senate.
Meanwhile, the House is set to vote on four pieces of legislation today, including a military ban on "the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images," after a nude photo scandal rocked the Marine Corps, and a bill restricting the use of Social Security Numbers on government documents sent by mail.
Also today: Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will testify on Capitol Hill in support of President Trump's budget request, which was released on Tuesday.
Trump's proposed budget sparked criticism from some congressional Democrats and some Republicans particularly for his large cuts to the State Department ($45 billion over the next 10 years), Medicaid ($627 billion over the next 10 years), and food stamps ($194 billion over the next 10 years), among other programs. Others in the GOP, however, welcomed the cuts, while others criticized the $27.4 billion increase in military spending over 10 years as not being enough.
“We’ll be taking into account what the president is recommending, but it will not be determinative in every respect,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said. “I didn’t engage in a ringing endorsement of President [George W.] Bush’s budgets either.” McConnell's No.2, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) called the request "dead on arrival," although he acknowledged that nearly all presidential budget requests are.