Washington Brief: GOP Voters Say Trump Represents Their Values Better Than Congressional Republicans

Top Stories

  • As former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon antagonizes Washington’s political establishment and threatens to back primary challenges against certain Republican lawmakers, a new nationwide poll shows there is fertile ground for contenders who can paint GOP incumbents as insufficiently supportive of President Donald Trump. (Morning Consult)
  • Senate Republicans took a step toward adopting their budget framework by clearing a procedural hurdle in a 50-47 vote, with three senators absent and all other GOP senators voting in favor of the motion to proceed. Senate leadership is planning a final vote Thursday on the budget resolution, a measure that would help pave the way for Republicans to pass forthcoming tax-reform legislation without support from Democrats. (The Washington Post)
  • A bipartisan deal that would fund cost-sharing subsidies to insurers under the Affordable Care Act will require a significant lobbying effort from Trump in order to secure passage in both chambers of Congress. Congressional Republicans have voiced concerns over stabilizing the current health care system instead of continuing with efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. (Politico)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

BPC event with former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz 9 a.m.
Sens. Hassan, Portman speak at Washington Post event on opioid epidemic 9 a.m.
Attorney General Sessions testifies before Senate Judiciary Committee 10 a.m.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce event on health reform 1:30 p.m.
Sens. Cruz, Sanders debate GOP tax plan on CNN 9 p.m.
CSIS event on U.S. energy policy 12:30 p.m.
Heritage Foundation event on North Korea 3 p.m.
Brookings Institution event on Trump’s deregulatory efforts 10:30 a.m.

The NFL Is Now One of the Most Divisive Brands in the U.S.

According to Morning Consult Brand Intelligence data published in The New York Times, the NFL has become one of the most controversial organizations in the country.


Polling Lends Weight to Worries Over GOP Civil War
Cameron Easley, Morning Consult

As former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon continues to antagonize the political establishment of Washington and threatens to back primary challenges against Republican lawmakers he views as obstructing President Donald Trump’s agenda, a new Morning Consult/Politico survey shows there is plenty of fertile ground for contenders who can paint GOP incumbents as insufficiently supportive of Trump. While majorities of self-identified Republicans polled in the Oct. 12-16 survey of 1,991 registered voters said they believed congressional Republicans support the president himself (51 percent) and his legislative agenda (53 percent), there was a significant share of voters who disagreed.

As midterms approach, GOP’s own words are the Democrats’ best weapon
Katie Glueck and Alex Roarty, McClatchy DC

Donald Trump’s Obamacare repeal approach may hurt “vulnerable people.” The Republican Party will “own” the health-care fallout. The GOP-controlled Senate is “not getting the job done.”

Bannon’s army includes candidates backed by the GOP establishment
Annie Karni, Politico

Matt Rosendale, the Montana state auditor running for U.S. Senate, recently received the endorsement du jour in Republican politics: Steve Bannon plucked him for the slate of candidates he is backing as part of his war on the GOP establishment. Rosendale, whose straight-shooting style first impressed Bannon when he still worked in the West Wing, is part of Bannon’s master plan to reshape the party by supporting challengers running against every Republican incumbent in the Senate – except Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

A Marine Attacked an Iraqi Restaurant. But Was It a Hate Crime or PTSD?
Dave Phillips, The New York Times

The DarSalam Iraqi restaurant, with its steaming plates of falafel and kebab, has for years served as a popular community gathering spot here. The Iraqi family who ran it felt welcome in this eclectic city.


Trump would have to broker Obamacare truce
Jennifer Haberkorn and Adam Cancryn, Politico

A bipartisan deal in Congress offers a glimmer of stability for the Obamacare insurance markets. But for it to become law, each party will need to declare a victory — and President Donald Trump will have to agree to prop up a law he just spent months trying to repeal.

Most Voters in Poll Back Trump’s Health Care Order But Are Divided Over Impact
Jon Reid, Morning Consult

A majority of voters back a key component of President Donald Trump’s executive order to promote the sale of health insurance that is cheaper but less generous than coverage sold under the Affordable Care Act. Fifty-two percent of voters said they support Trump’s plan to make it easier for small businesses to band together in associations to sponsor low-cost, less comprehensive health care coverage across state lines, while 30 percent said they oppose the policy, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll of 1,991 registered voters that was conducted online Oct. 12-16.

Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility, and spousal abuse
Damian Paletta, The Washington Post

White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter said. The documents, which were obtained by The Washington Post, were prepared and distributed by Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.

Trump Narrows Fed Leader Search to Five Final Candidates
Peter Nicholas and Kate Davidson, The Wall Street Journal

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he soon will choose a Federal Reserve chairman, having narrowed his search to five finalists. “Honestly, I like them all, I do,” the president said at a news conference in the Rose Garden. “I have a great respect for all of them.”

National Archives warned Trump White House to preserve documents
Josh Dawsey and Bryan Bender, Politico

National Archives officials have periodically warned White House lawyers that the Trump administration needs to follow document preservation laws, according to people familiar with the conversations and emails reviewed by POLITICO. The White House legally must preserve all presidential records, which are given to the National Archives after the president leaves office and are used for historical records.

Politics and the fallen: Trump hasn’t called all families
Calvin Woodward and Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press

President Donald Trump has pulled bereaved military families into a painful political fight of his own making, going so far Tuesday as to cite the death of his chief of staff’s son in Afghanistan to question whether Barack Obama and other presidents did enough to honor the military dead. He’s boasted that “I think I’ve called every family of someone who’s died,” though The Associated Press found relatives of two soldiers who died overseas during Trump’s presidency who said they never received a call or a letter from him, as well as relatives of a third who did not get a call from him.


McCain endorses budget bill in win for GOP tax-reform effort
Elise Viebeck and Damian Paletta, The Washington Post

The White House’s push for tax cuts made crucial progress on Tuesday as Senate Republicans rallied behind a budget proposal the party needs to pass to keep alive its hopes of enacting sharp reductions in tax rates later this year. Senate Republican leaders earned a series of much-needed victories Tuesday, first with the return of ailing Sen. Thad Cochran (R – Miss.) and later with an announcement from Sen. John McCain (R – Ariz.) that he would back the budget resolution in order to help passage of tax cuts.

Dems look to make GOP squirm on budget
Elana Schor et al., Politico

The Senate’s budget debate, typically jam-packed with a range of hot-button symbolic votes, could be a little more focused this time around. That’s because Democrats are planning to concentrate later this week on the meat of the GOP proposal: Its greenlight for tax cuts for the wealthy that promise to balloon the deficit or put safety-net programs at risk.

Cochran returns to the Senate
Seung Min Kim, Politico

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) has returned to Washington after spending several weeks at home recovering from medical issues, he said in a statement Tuesday. “I am pleased to be back in Washington where I look forward to continuing work on the 2018 appropriations bills and to taking part in the debate on the budget and tax cuts,” Cochran said.

Poll shows tied Alabama Senate race
Eric Bradner, CNN

Democrat Doug Jones — once thought to be a longshot in the Deep South — has tied Republican nominee and former judge Roy Moore in Alabama’s US Senate race, a new poll shows. The two are tied at 42% each among registered voters, the Fox News poll published Tuesday, conducted by Democratic firm Anderson Robbins Research and GOP firm Shaw & Company Research.

Hatch Raises $936K Amid Re-Election Speculation
Eric Garcia, Roll Call

Sen. Orrin Hatch raised $936,992 in the most recent fundraising quarter amid speculation about whether he will seek an eighth term. After re-election in 2012, the Utah Republican said this term would be his last.

Feinstein 2018 fundraising picks up after quiet summer
Emily Cadei, McClatchy DC

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is facing what very well could be her first competitive race in more than two decades, but you wouldn’t know it from her latest fundraising report. The veteran California Democrat raised just over half a million dollars between July 1 and Sept. 30, according to a portion of her campaign finance report that was released by her campaign.

A Source of Bitter Debate in GOP, Ex-Im Bank May Fade as Flashpoint on Local Level
Ryan Rainey, Morning Consult

Two of the leading possible candidates in the Republican primary to replace Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) are on opposite sides of a debate regarding the importance of the Export-Import Bank, a major economic issue that has divided Republicans and Washington-based groups for the last few years. But what has been the source of acrimonious disagreement among Washington insiders could lack resonance in a state that is grappling with an opioid crisis.


Texas’ O’Rourke wants Texas money in his bid to topple Cruz
Andrea Drusch, McClatchy DC

Progressive donors fired up about President Donald Trump’s election have been raising big sums of money for red state Democratic congressional candidates this year – but Texas Democrat Beto O’Rourke doesn’t want their help. O’Rourke, an El Paso area congressman, faces long odds in his Senate bid against well-funded incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Puerto Rico Rep. Calls Trump Comments ‘Shocking’
Edward-Isaac Dovere, Politico

Just before the interview starts, Jenniffer González-Colón tries four different numbers she’s been trying to reach back home in Puerto Rico. She gets the same error message for all of them. Can’t connect.


Kasich, Biden call for civility, compromise in dysfunctional D.C.
Randy Ludlow, The Columbus Dispatch

Aside from their working-class backgrounds and positions of leadership, Joe Biden and John Kasich don’t have much in common. But the liberal former Democratic vice president and Ohio’s mainstream Republican two–term governor agree that partisan disagreement is ripping apart Washington, D.C., and the ability to get things done for the American people.

Women Denounce Harassment in California’s Capital
Adam Nagourney and Jennifer Medina, The New York Times

The groundswell over sexual harassment that has rocked Hollywood moved into California’s capital on Tuesday as more than 140 women — including legislators, senior legislative aides and lobbyists — came forward to denounce what they describe as pervasive sexual misconduct by powerful men in the nation’s most influential legislature. Women complained of groping, lewd comments and suggestions of trading sexual favors for legislation while doing business in Sacramento.


Trump’s Army pick has lavished Congress with campaign cash
Christopher Rowland, The Boston Globe

When Raytheon’s top lobbyist faces senators for his confirmation to become secretary of the Army, the hearing may answer a crucial question: How much good will does half a million dollars buy in Congress? That’s roughly how much political money Mark Esper, Raytheon’s vice president for government relations, has lavished over the last seven years on Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee, through the giant defense company’s political action committee.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Federal Lobbying and Ethics Reform Is Long Overdue and Misunderstood
Joshua Habursky and Mike Fulton, Morning Consult

First and foremost, lobbying is an honorable profession if performed ethically and responsibly. The right to petition our United States government is offered the nation’s highest protection in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Mr. Trump Outdoes Himself in Picking a Conflicted Regulator
The Editorial Board, The New York Times

President Trump has made a habit of filling important jobs with people dedicated to undermining the laws they’re supposed to administer while pampering the industries they’re supposed to regulate. His nominee for the Environmental Protection Agency’s top clean air post, William Wehrum, is a retread from the George W. Bush administration with a deep doctrinal dislike of clean air regulations.

Where Critics of Tax Reform Go Wrong
Laurence Kotlikoff and Jack Mintz, The Wall Street Journal

The Republican framework for tax reform is taking considerable heat. Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers calls it an “atrocity.”

The GOP’s bump-stock cop-out
Marc A. Thiessen, The Washington Post

Congressional Republicans are backing away from legislation banning “bump stocks” — devices used by Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock that effectively turn semiautomatic rifles into machine guns — and are turning to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to ban them by executive action instead. “We think the regulatory fix is the smartest, quickest fix, and then, frankly, we’d like to know how it happened in the first place,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a news conference last week.

Research Reports and Polling

Fox News Poll — Alabama
Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company Research

The Fox News Poll is conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R). The poll was conducted by telephone with live interviewers October 14-16, 2017 among a random sample of 801 Alabama registered voters (RV).