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Wake Up To Politics - September 9, 2016

Friday, September 9, 2016
60 Days Until Election Day 2016 (AKA my 15th birthday)
17 Days Until the First Presidential DebateI'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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Need to Know

  • Congress Negotiates Government Funding Details Just days after returning from a seven-week summer recess, Congress is already staring down a Sept. 30 deadline to fund the government, with an unsure path to avoiding a shutdown. Passage of a continuing resolution (CR), a stopgap measure to fund the government at current spending levels for a few more weeks or months, could come next week or shortly thereafter.
  • House and Senate leaders, along with the White House, are negotiating the timing of the CR, as well as whether it will include provisions for emergency Zika virus funding and/or aid to the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said Wednesday that he and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) are looking to pass a measure funding the government through Dec. 9, a month after the elections but before the new Congress or new President will be sworn in.
  • McConnell said on Wednesday that he was confident that the negotiations would be mostly in his chamber: “We think the Senate ought to be able to resolve the issues that confront us and go forward and we hope to do that very soon," he told reporters. McConnell also signaled hope that Zika funding would be in the CR, an issue on which both sides blame the other. "We're in discussions about how to work out some of the differences we have that led to the Democrats filibustering Zika funding on multiple occasions," the Kentucky Republican said.
  • “I’m hopeful [Republicans] understand the predicament they’ve created,” Reid said. “I’m willing to be patient while we go through the process of seeing what they’re going to put in the CR, but Zika, we’ve got to do something about that now.”
  • McConnell said Wednesday that he is "hopeful and optimistic" that floor debate would begin next week over a forthcoming deal.
  • The House Republican Conference, which has yet to decide on a stance, will meet Friday. While the GOP leadership in the House is likely to support their Senate counterparts, the conservative House Freedom Caucus is demanding the CR go through 2017 (when McConnell may no longer control the Senate). According to Freedom Caucus chair Jim Jordan (R-OH), his members are "very concerned" that Democrats could take advantage of a post-election spending debate.
  • The hardline conservatives' position gives them leverage in the negotiations, and the Freedom Caucus believes they could force a stop to the Obama Administration's resettling of Syrian refugees in exchange for support of a measure lasting until Dec. 9. Since the Freedom Caucus will be needed for him to gain re-election as Speaker in January, Ryan must keep them happy, if that means pushing for a CR punted to the new year or giving in on their demands on Syrian refugees and the impeachment of IRS commissioner John Koskinen.
  • The White House is also getting into the process: President Obama will meet with the leaders of both chambers on Monday to discuss the spending agreement. While both sides may not agree on a plan forward yet, they all agree on one thing: the Sept. 30 deadline is very inconvenient for everyone, with lawmakers hoping to leave town by the end of next week so they can return home and campaign for re-election in November.

Politics Planner

All times Eastern.

  • White House 10am Vice President Joe Biden will speak at an event in St. Louis, Missouri on "creating affordable, accelerated education and training opportunities so that more Americans obtain the skills they need to get middle class jobs in high growth fields such as technology," according to the White House.
  • President Obama has no public events today, after his 9,300-mile flight back from Laos landed in Washington, D.C. at about 2am this morning. Obama spent a week in China and Laos, the 11th Asia trip of his presidency.
  • Election 2016 3:30pm Donald Trump will address the Value Voters Summit at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. The summit, which Trump's running mate Pence will address on Saturday, is an annual conference for social conservative activists hosted by the Family Research Council.
  • 3:30pm Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine will hold a rally in his home state, at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
  • 7pm Trump will hold a rally at the Penascola Bay Center in Penascola, Florida.
  • Also today: Republican vice-presidential nominee Mike Pence will receive his first classified intelligence briefing since being tapped as Donald Trump's running mate in July. Having spent 12 years in Congress (including time on the Foreign Affairs Committee) and served as Governor of Indiana for the past 3+ years, Pence has more experience with such intelligence than Trump did before his own briefing. Trump has been criticized for telling NBC's Matt Lauer at the "Commander-in-Chief Forum" on Wednesday that he could tell from the "body language" of the intelligence officials at his briefing that they were "not happy" with President Obama. Pence's Democratic counterpart received his first intelligence briefing of the campaign on Thursday.
  • Congress 9am The House gavels in the session for the day; after one-minute speeches by members, the chamber will vote on the Investment Advisers Modernization Act, which would exempt investment advisers from SEC requirements for "advertising, transferring, and selling funds and securities," according to the CBO," and on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which would let families of 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia for any role it had in the terrorist attack.
  • The latter bill is expected to pass with the 2/3 approval needed to fast-track it; the Senate has already passed the measure unanimously, although the White House has threatened a veto.

Daily Data

  • "Commander-in-Chief Forum" Ratings Wednesday's "Commander-in-Chief" forum was seen by 14.7 million viewers on NBC News, jolting the network above its competitors in prime time. Although the candidates did not appear back-to-back, the forum was the first joint event featuring both Trump and Clinton, a preview of the first general election debate coming in less than three weeks.
  • According to Politico, the forum's ratings were higher than that for "at least nine of the Republican primary debates and all but one of the Democratic primary debates."

Weekend Preview

  • Saturday, September 10 Wake Up To Politics Editor-in-Chief Gabe Fleisher will attend a St. Louis rally headlined by Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein, and then participate in a press conference with Stein. What questions do you want Gabe to ask Stein? Email him at gabe@wakeuptopolitics.com.
  • Sunday, September 11 The 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are universally recognized as an off-day for politics, with both Trump and Clinton pledging not to campaign, following tradition. President Obama will speak at the Pentagon to commemorate the victims of the attacks.
  • In honor of the September 11th anniversary, I am re-upping my essay from September 2014, titled "#NeverForget". Read it here.
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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.