Washington Brief: Cornyn Promises Eventual Vote on Senate’s Health Care Bill

Government Brief

  • Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said a vote on the chamber’s health care bill will happen “as soon as we have a full contingent of senators.” But with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) recovering from surgery — a process that could take weeks — critics of the legislation are taking advantage of the delay by lobbying senators to oppose the measure. (The New York Times)
  • Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for an investigation into the data firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Warner raised questions about the company and Trump’s “digital campaign activities” because of the way fake news was disseminated and circulated by online “trolls.” (Bloomberg)
  • The White House is dubbing this week “Made in America Week,” part of an effort to focus on U.S. manufacturing jobs. (ABC News)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

House convenes 12 p.m.
SEC’s Piwowar speaks at Heritage Foundation event on economic growth 12 p.m.
Brookings Institution’s Municipal Finance Conference 1 p.m.
Senate convenes 3 p.m.
Brookings Institution’s Municipal Finance Conference 7:45 a.m.
Energy Secretary Perry speaks at National Press Club 8:45 a.m.
Gov. Fallin, Sens. Harris, Booker and Reps. Love, Jackson Lee, Collins at Justice Action Network event 9 a.m.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Callista Gingrich’s nomination to be ambassador to the Vatican 10 a.m.
Rep. Massie speaks at Heritage Foundation event on aviation 11:30 a.m.
Center for American Progress event on voting rights 9 a.m.
Sen. Kaine speaks at Brookings Institution event on foreign policy 9 a.m.
Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the Foreign Agents Registration Act 10 a.m.
Senate Judiciary Committee meets to vote on nominations 9:30 a.m.
J.D. Vance speaks at Brookings Institution event on economic trends 10 a.m.
No events scheduled


DeVos: Civil rights office will return to being a ‘neutral’ agency
Caitlin Emma, Politico

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she is “returning” the Office for Civil Rights “to its role as a neutral, impartial, investigative agency.” In a July 11 letter to Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, DeVos asserted that the department’s civil rights arm under the Obama administration “had descended into a pattern of overreaching, of setting out to punish and embarrass institutions rather than work with them to correct civil rights violations and of ignoring public input prior to issuing new rules.”

A Supreme Court mystery: Has Roberts embraced same-sex marriage ruling?
Robert Barnes, The Washington Post

A Supreme Court mystery: Has Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. embraced the court’s same-sex marriage decision that he so passionately protested two years ago? The “does-he-doesn’t-he” question is prompted by a case that the court decided without oral arguments at the end of the recently completed term.

The Republican War On The Media Is (Mostly) Fake News
Alexis Levinson, BuzzFeed News

You’ve read a lot about the Republican war on what Donald Trump calls fake news. But here’s the thing: For many Republicans, it’s a phony war too.

UAE orchestrated hacking of Qatari government sites, sparking regional upheaval, according to U.S. intelligence officials
Karen DeYoung and Ellen Nakashima, The Washington Post

The United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in late May that sparked the ongoing upheaval between Qatar and its neighbors, according to U.S. intelligence officials. Officials became aware last week that newly analyzed information gathered by U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed that on May 23, senior members of the UAE government discussed the plan and its implementation.


White House planning ‘Made in America’ week
Jim Colvin, The Associated Press

Plagued by daily revelations related to the escalating Russia investigations, the White House is dubbing the coming week “Made in America week” as it tries to focus on issues that matter to the president’s base. Speaking to reporters at a hotel near President Donald Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, White House director of media affairs Helen Aguirre Ferre said Sunday that the White House will be hosting a “Made in America” product showcase Monday featuring products from all 50 states.

Trump attorney Sekulow says he’s unaware of any additional Trump Jr. Russia meetings

President Donald Trump’s attorney said Sunday he’s not aware of any additional meetings the president’s son had with people linked to Russia besides the one with a Russian attorney, and he sought to downplay the incident. Jay Sekulow, who appeared on multiple Sunday morning news programs, told CNN’s Jake Tapper there were “none that I know of,” when asked whether there were more meetings between Donald Trump Jr. and people linked to Russia.

Trump Ready to Shake Things Up as Russia Investigations Grind On
Jennifer Jacobs et al., Bloomberg

President Donald Trump is planning to shake up his legal team and is also evaluating options for his communications shop as the FBI and congressional investigations into his campaign’s possible ties to Russia heat up. The president’s long-time attorney, Marc Kasowitz, will likely be eased into a less prominent role within Trump’s outside legal team, according to a person familiar with the president’s thinking who requested anonymity to discuss Trump’s plans.


A Top Republican Vows a Vote on Health Care, but Uncertainty Reigns
Robert Pear, The New York Times

A top Senate Republican vowed on Sunday to bring the party’s health care bill to a vote as soon as possible, even as detractors said they would use a delay caused by the absence of Senator John McCain to mobilize further opposition to the measure. “I believe as soon as we have a full contingent of senators, that we’ll have that vote,” the No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

No new CBO score Monday as Senate delays health care vote
CBS News

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will not be releasing its updated score for the Senate health care plan Monday as originally planned, according to a Republican aide on the Senate Budget Committee. The shift follows Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s announcement Saturday night that a vote on the bill will be delayed due to Arizona Republican John McCain’s absence from the health care debate.

McCain’s Surgery May Be More Serious Than Thought, Experts Say
Denise Grady and Robert Pear, The New York Times 

The condition for which Senator John McCain had surgery on Friday may be more serious than initial descriptions have implied, and it may delay his return to Washington by at least a week or two, medical experts said on Sunday. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has already announced that votes on a bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act will not begin until Mr. McCain’s return.

Warner Wants More Investigation Into Trump Digital Campaign Role
Mark Niquette and Alan Bjerga, Bloomberg

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee called for more investigation into the digital activities of Donald Trump’s campaign, amid concerns about Russian-directed misinformation efforts to influence the election, even as the president’s lawyer vigorously defended his client. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia said he wants to look into the activities of Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that advised Trump’s campaign, as well as Trump’s digital efforts during the election because of the way false election stories about Hillary Clinton were circulated and targeted online.

White House squeezes Jeff Flake
Alex Isenstadt, Politico

The White House has met with at least three actual or prospective primary challengers to Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake in recent weeks, a reflection of Donald Trump’s strained relations with the senator and the latest sign of the president’s willingness to play hardball with lawmakers who cross him — even Republican incumbents. Flake, a longtime Trump critic who refused to endorse the president during the 2016 campaign, is one of a handful of undecided Republican votes on the Obamacare repeal effort.

Caitlyn Jenner considering a bid for U.S. Senate in California
Seema Mehta, The Los Angeles Times 

Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympic gold medalist, reality show star and transgender activist, is weighing a run for the U.S. Senate representing California. “I have considered it. I like the political side of it,” Jenner said in a radio interview with New York’s AM 970 that aired Sunday, adding that she planned to make a decision within the next six months or so.


House Republicans weigh massive partisan spending bill
Rachael Bade et al., Politico

House GOP leaders will decide next week whether to brave an ugly floor fight over a massive GOP spending bill — a proposal applauded by some rank-and-file Republicans but that risks embarrassment if it fails. In a closed-door GOP conference meeting Friday morning, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said all 12 appropriations bills will be finished in committee by the end of next week.

House Looking at Moving Its Own Sanctions Bill, Adding North Korea
Lindsey McPherson, Roll Call

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Friday that the House is looking to add North Korea provisions to a Russia and Iran sanctions bill that is stuck in a procedural morass. The House passed a standalone North Korea sanctions bill in May on a 419 — 1 vote, but the Senate has yet to take up the measure.

Republicans Seeing Red in Newly Open Nevada Seat
Bridget Bowman, Roll Call

House Republicans are largely on defense in 2018, but they see a bright spot in Nevada’s 3rd District. And they believe that spot is even brighter now that the Democratic incumbent is running for Senate.


Governors From Both Parties Denounce Senate Obamacare Repeal Bill
Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, The New York Times 

The nation’s governors, gathered here for their annual summer meeting, came out strongly on Friday against the new Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, turning up the pressure on Republican leaders struggling to round up the votes to pass the bill next week. Opposition came not just from Democratic governors but from Republicans who split along familiar lines — conservatives who said the legislation did not go far enough and moderates who said it was far too harsh on their state’s vulnerable residents.

Madaleno enters Democratic race for governor
Michael Dresser, Baltimore Sun

Stalwart liberal state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. is planning to launch his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for governor Monday — heralding a contest for the party’s progressive base. Madaleno told The Baltimore Sun he would be the first Montgomery countian, the first Italian-American and the first openly gay person to be elected governor of Maryland.

Georgia 2018: Lobbyists are voting with their wallet in governor race
Greg Bluestein and James Salzer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In Georgia’s 2018 governor’s race, statehouse lobbyists are already voting with their wallets. The top firms and the special interests they represent have almost exclusively written big checks in recent weeks to Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution review of campaign disclosures filed last week.


Inside Philip Morris’ campaign to subvert the global anti-smoking treaty
Aditya Kalra et al., Reuters 

A group of cigarette company executives stood in the lobby of a drab convention center near New Delhi last November. They were waiting for credentials to enter the World Health Organization’s global tobacco treaty conference, one designed to curb smoking and combat the influence of the cigarette industry.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Trump is killing the Republican Party
Joe Scarborough, The Washington Post

I did not leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left its senses.

Republicans Aren’t Team Players
Fred Barnes, The Wall Street Journal

Politics is a team sport, and Republicans are playing it poorly. They have one more chance in the Senate to repeal and replace ObamaCare—possibly their last hope for a victory.

Save the Census
The Editorial Board, The New York Times

An administration uninterested in staffing federal agencies, at war with facts and eager to help Congress cut the budget is further endangering a cornerstone of American democracy: the duty to count all who live here. Every decade since 1790, as required by the Constitution, the federal government has undertaken a painstaking census of its people, the accuracy and fairness of which serves the interests of both political parties and of every citizen.

Why Europeans Oppose the Russia Sanctions Bill
Wolfgang Ischinger, The Wall Street Journal

The U.S. Senate was almost unanimous—98-2—when it passed a bill updating and expanding the sanctions regime against Russia. Congress has every right to make a strong statement on Russia’s alleged interference in last year’s presidential election.

Research Reports and Polling

Poll finds Trump’s standing weakened since springtime
Scott Clement and Dan Balz, The Washington Post 

President Trump’s standing with the American people has deteriorated since the spring, buffeted by perceptions of a decline in U.S. leadership abroad, a stalled presidential agenda at home and an unpopular Republican health-care bill, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Approaching six months in office, Trump’s overall approval rating has dropped to 36 percent from 42 percent in April. His disapproval rating has risen five points to 58 percent.

Americans Feel Good About the Economy, Not So Good About Trump
John McCormick, Bloomberg

Almost six months into Donald Trump’s presidency, Americans are feeling fairly optimistic about their jobs, the strength of the U.S. economy, and their own fortunes. That should be welcome news for the president, except for one thing: The public’s confidence largely appears to be in spite of Trump, not because of him. The latest Bloomberg National Poll shows 58 percent of Americans believe they’re moving closer to realizing their own career and financial aspirations, tied for the highest recorded in the poll since the question was first asked in February 2013.