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Wake Up To Politics - September 29, 2016

Thursday, September 29, 2016

1 Days until the Government Funding Deadline (Sept. 30)
5 Days until the Vice Presidential Debate (Oct. 4)
10 Days until the Second Presidential Debate (Oct. 9)

41 Days until Election Day 2016 + my 15th birthday (Nov. 8)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

  • Congress Averts Shutdown, Passes CR and Flint Bills Both houses of Congress quickly ended the latest funding fight Wednesday as they passed the stopgap spending bill in quick succession, taking a few hours to approve a deal that took weeks to negotiate - and waiting until wait before the deadline to do it.
  • Passage of the continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open through December 9 came only after a deal was struck between House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to ensure aid will be sent to Flint, Michigan in light of the city's water crisis - although Flint was not mentioned in the CR, as Democrats had originally demanded. The CR did, however, provide $1.1 billion in funding to combat the Zika virus and $500 million in relief to Louisiana and other states with recent natural disasters, and boost spending to the Veterans Affairs Department. Besides that, the measure mostly maintains current spending levels - with Congress postponing the actual work of negotiating a new spending package until the lame-duck session.
  • The Senate passed the CR at about 3pm Wednesday, in a 72-26 vote. The bill was supported by both Democratic and Republican leaderships, although the "nay" votes came from both parties: twelve Democrats voted against the measure, and fourteen Republicans. Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) did not vote, both due to campaigning.
  • Just hours later, at about 10pm, the House also passed the CR in a 342-85 vote, with all but 75 Republicans and 10 Democrats voting for the measure. The measure now sits on President Obama's desk; he must sign it before midnight to avoid a government shutdown.
  • Also Wednesday, both chambers dispensed with their other major piece of business: overriding the President's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which allows families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia. 2/3 votes in both houses of Congress were needed to override the veto; the Senate voted 97-1 to override, with just Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) standing with Obama. The House concurred, voting 348-77 to hand President Obama his first veto override.
  • The CR had been held up for weeks as Democratic leadership demanded that the city of Flint, Michigan be assisted as they face lead-contaminated drinking water. Republicans insisted that the issue should be dealt with in the water infrastructure bill, although they had blocked an amendment by Rep. Dale Kildee (D-MI) to that bill to provide aid for Flint.
  • In a compromise, the Flint money was kept out of the CR - but the House voted, 284-141, to approve the Kildee amendment and authorize $170 million for Flint. The Senate-passed version of the bill appropriated $220 million for Flint, which is expected to be the amount Congress will end up with during conference negotiations after the November elections. One member voted "present" on the amendment, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), a right-wing Republican who couldn't vote against the measure due to his district's proximity to Flint.
  • Today in Congress Neither House of Congress is conducting business today: the House is not in session, and the Senate will meet for member speeches but has no legislative business scheduled.
  • The House has held its last vote until the November elections; the chamber will return in November 14 for its lame-duck session. The Senate, meanwhile, goes on recess after Friday's session, and will only meet for four days (October 4 to 7) from then until November 14.

2016 Central

  • Quote of the Day While making annother preimtime blunder Wednesday day night, Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson referred to his own previous live TV misstep earlier this month. Johnson, who didn't recognize the name of the Syrian city of Aleppo in an interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" three weeks ago, again coming up short on foreign policy, as he failed to tell MSNBC's Chris Matthews a favorite foreign leader. "You gotta do this. Anywhere, any continent," Matthews urged, "Canada, Mexico, Europe, over there, Asia, South America, Africa. Name a foreign leader that you respect."
  • Johnson referred to "the former president of Mexico" in his answer, but when asked to specify a name, he had a "brain freeze." Or, as he said: "I guess I'm having an Aleppo moment."
  • In response to the same question, Johnson's running mate Bill Weld, himself a former Republican governor, provided a few answers, including the late Shimon Peres of Israel, former Mexican president Vicente Fox, and German chancellor Angela Merkel.
  • Today on the Trail Republican nominee Donald Trump campaigns in New Hampshire today, holding a 3pm rally at the NH Sportsplex in Bedford. The Granite State is a key battleground; according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, Clinton holds a 5-point lead
  • Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton holds a 12:30pm "Early Vote Event" today at Cowles Commons in Des Moines, Iowa. The Hawkeye State is another top batteground; Trump leads this one by 5% in the RealClearPolitics polling average.
  • Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence will hold a 2:30pm rally at Penn Waste, Inc. in York, Pennsylvania.
  • Meanwhile, Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine is not holding any public events for the next several days, as he prepares for Tuesday's vice-presidential debate. Kaine's debate prep is taking place in Raleigh, North Carolina, through Saturday, and will include mock debates against Washington superlawyer/book agent Bob Barnett, who will play Pence in the sessions. Barnett's clients have included Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, George W. and Laura Bush, Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, Paul Ryan, Tim Russert, and Barabara Streisand, among others. He has played a leading role in debate preparations for every Democratic nominee since 1976, playing George Bush vs. Geraldine Ferraro, Michael Dukakis, and Bill Clinton and Dick Cheney vs. Joe Lieberman and John Edwards. Barnett has assisted Hillary Clinton in every debate she's ever participated in, from her 2000 and 2006 Senate campaigns to the 2008 presidential primaries to the 2016 primaries, when he played Bernie Sanders.
  • To make up for her husband's absence, former Virginia Secretary of Education Ann Holton, wife of Tim Kaine, will hold a 10am "meet and greet" in Milwaukee, Wiconsin; a 12pm "Meet the Future Second Lady" event in Kenosha; and a 7pm "Millennial Vote Kick Off" event at World of Beer in St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • Finally, Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein will campaign in Florida today, holding a 12pm rally in Sarasota and a 6pm rally in Orlando. Libertarian vice-presidential nominee Bill Weld will hold a rally at 3pm in Temple University in Philadelphia.

White House Watch

  • The President's Schedule At 12:05pm, President Barack Obama will welcome the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the East Room of the White House for a ceremony celebrating their success in the Rio games last month. The United States came in 1st place for most medals won at the 2016 Olympics, and in 4th place at the Paralympics.
  • At 2:35pm, the President will depart the White House for Jerusalem, where he attends the late President Shimon Peres' funeral Friday. Obama will be joined at Peres' funeral by former President Bill Clinton.

Smart Reads

  • What's Next for Ryan? A look at the potential future for House Speaker Paul Ryan, who already has the tall order of leading House Republicans - a task expected to get even tougher under either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Could the next four years hurt is chances at a 2020 (or 2024) presidential run? Politico's Jake Sherman and Rachel Bade explore.
  • Voting Bugs In the early 21st century, hanging chads drove many states to enact computerized voting and avoid the plagues of the 2000 election. But election technology has made voting even more buggy, Michael Riley, Jordan Robertson, and David Kocieniewski of Bloomberg Businessweek write.
  • A Book Review Subtly Hints At More Read Michiko Kakutani's New York Times book review of "Hitler: Ascent," and you may get the sense that she's writing about something more. While describing Adolph Hitler's rise as it is told in the book, Kakutani portrays Hitler as a "self-obsessed 'clown' with a strangely 'scattershot, impulsive style'," pulling dozens of quotes evocative of Donald Trump - writing a rebuke of the GOP nominee without so much as a wink to his presence.
  • Supreme Court Fight Drags On Ahead of the opening of the Supreme Court's term next week, CNN legal analyst Joan Biskupic writes about Mitch McConnell's victory in the fight over Merrick Garland - as the judge remains in confirmation limbo, with no change to his position for months.
  • Cruz Is...Happy? Stories have been written for years about Ted Cruz's hatred of the U.S. Senate: how he has few friends in the body, how he hasn't achieved many of his legislative priorities, and how he just wants to get out. Cruz's restfulness had to be put to an end this year, as his ultimate goal - the White House - was taken from him by Donald Trump. Now, Cruz has to come to grips with the fact that he has at least four more years to wait before he can mount another presidential bid, and he'll have to stay in the Senate until then. And the Texan might just be starting to like the work, as he fundraises for colleagues and whips votes for his Internet freedom bill and legislation to help the Houston space industry.  An interesting probe inside Cruz's mind, from the Washington Post's Paul Kane, a Wake Up To Politics subscriber.

Today's Trivia

  • Today's Question On this day in 1789, the Continental Congress officially established the United States Army. What is the official motto of the U.S. Army?
  • Yesterday's Answer Wednesday's trivia question asked for the most recent presidential veto to be overridden. The answer...the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA), which President George W. Bush vetoed until to be overridden by Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.
  • GREAT JOB...Joan Zucker, Marlee Millman, Dan Filliol, Joe Bookman, and Scott Bennett. Jordan "JBurg" Burger also answered MIPPA, emailing at 9:02am - but amended his answer at 5:37pm, pointing out that the correct answer is now technically JASTA.
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation", St. Louis Public Radio, the Political Junkie podcast, and on StoryCorps; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki"; and read about Gabe in Politico, the Washington Post, Independent Journal, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Salon, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light.