Washington Brief: Gun Control Bills Set to Be Introduced in House, Senate


Top Stories

  • Two House lawmakers are preparing to revive bipartisan legislation that would require background checks on all commercial firearm sales. (Morning Consult) Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) is also preparing to introduce a background check bill. (Politico)
  • The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments today in a Wisconsin case over whether extreme partisan gerrymandering violates the Constitution. The court has never struck down a map drawn to benefit one political party. (The New York Times)
  • President Donald Trump visits Puerto Rico today, two weeks after Hurricane Maria struck the U.S. island. The Trump administration has faced criticism for its response to the devastation, and Trump in turn criticized the Democratic mayor of San Juan. (Politico)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Tuesday
Sen. Klobuchar, Rep. Meehan speak at Atlantic event on drug prices 8 a.m.
Senate Banking Committee hearing on Wells Fargo 10 a.m.
Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Trump’s DACA decision 10 a.m.
Senate Finance Committee hearing on international tax reform 10 a.m.
RSC members speak at Heritage Foundation event on taxes 2:30 p.m.
McCain Institute event on Russian containment 6 p.m.
Sen. Cotton speaks at CFR event on Iran nuclear deal 6 p.m.
Wednesday
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Cybersecurity Summit 8 a.m.
House Financial Services Committee hearing with SEC’s Clayton 10 a.m.
Senate Banking Committee hearing on Equifax breach 10 a.m.
OMB’s Mulvaney speaks at Washington Post event 10:30 a.m.
Senate Budget Committee markup of fiscal year 2018 budget resolution 2:30 p.m.
Thursday
Sen. Cotton speaks at Washington Post event 9 a.m.
House Financial Services Committee hearing on Equifax breach 9:15 a.m.
Chairman of Council of Economic Advisers speaks at Tax Policy Center event 9:30 a.m.
Senate Budget Committee markup of fiscal year 2018 budget resolution 10:30 a.m.
Peterson Institute event on global economic prospects for 2017 12:15 p.m.
BPC event on Turkish relations 2 p.m.
Friday
No events scheduled

General

Late-night TV hosts decry Las Vegas killings, gun laws
Lynn Elber, The Associated Press

Late-night comics decried the Las Vegas mass shooting as a confounding and repetitive American tragedy, with Jimmy Kimmel and Trevor Noah lashing out at politicians who oppose gun control. “I don’t know why our so-called leaders continue to allow this to happen,” Kimmel said on his ABC show Monday, the day after the worst shooting in modern U.S. history claimed at least 59 lives.

Russians took a page from corporate America by using Facebook tool to ID and influence voters
Elizabeth Dwoskin et al., The Washington Post

Russian operatives set up an array of misleading Web sites and social media pages to identify American voters susceptible to propaganda, then used a powerful Facebook tool to repeatedly send them messages designed to influence their political behavior, say people familiar with the investigation into foreign meddling in the U.S. election. The tactic resembles what American businesses and political campaigns have been doing in recent years to deliver messages to potentially interested people online.

Did Manafort Use Trump to Curry Favor With a Putin Ally?
Julia Ioffe and Franklin Foer, The Atlantic 

On the evening of April 11, 2016, two weeks after Donald Trump hired the political consultant Paul Manafort to lead his campaign’s efforts to wrangle Republican delegates, Manafort emailed his old lieutenant Konstantin Kilimnik, who had worked for him for a decade in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. “I assume you have shown our friends my media coverage, right?” Manafort wrote.

E.P.A. Chief’s Calendar: A Stream of Industry Meetings and Trips Home
Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman, The New York Times

For lunch on April 26, Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, dined with top executives from Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest coal-burning electric utilities, at Equinox, a white-tablecloth favorite of Washington power brokers. That evening, it was on to BLT Prime, a steakhouse inside the Trump International Hotel in Washington, for a meal with the board of directors of Alliance Resource Partners, a coal-mining giant whose chief executive donated nearly $2 million to help elect President Trump.

Presidential

Trump faces political danger in visit to Puerto Rico
Matthew Nussbaum, Politico

President Donald Trump on Tuesday will come face to face with the “politically motivated ingrates” he slammed on Twitter just days before. The president will land in Puerto Rico after spending much of the past week boasting about a wildly successful response effort that hasn’t matched the reality of the hurricane-ravaged island and after picking a fight over the weekend with the San Juan mayor.

Trump administration backs 20-week abortion ban
Jessie Hellmann, The Hill

The Trump administration formally backed a House bill Monday that would ban abortions after 20 weeks. The administration “strongly supports” the bill and “applauds the House of Representatives for continuing its efforts to secure critical pro-life protections,” the Office of Management and Budget wrote in a statement of administration policy.

Trump’s company had more contact with Russia during campaign, according to documents turned over to investigators
Tom Hamburger et al., The Washington Post 

Associates of President Trump and his company have turned over documents to federal investigators that reveal two previously unreported contacts from Russia during the 2016 campaign, according to people familiar with the matter. In one case, Trump’s personal attorney and a business associate exchanged emails weeks before the Republican National Convention about the lawyer possibly traveling to an economic conference in Russia that would be attended by top Russian financial and government leaders, including President Vladi­mir Putin, according to people familiar with the correspondence.

Senate

Connecticut senator to introduce bill strengthening gun background checks
Seung Min Kim, Politico

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said Monday he was planning to introduce legislation to strengthen background checks on gun purchases, following the massacre at a Las Vegas music festival that has become the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Murphy, the Senate’s chief gun control advocate, said he was still hashing out details of the new background checks legislation and wouldn’t introduce it imminently.

Senate Judiciary leaders denied access to CIA material on Russian meddling
Elana Schor, Politico

The CIA has denied a request by the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee to let them view some of the same information about Russian meddling that the intelligence committee has already seen, according to the panel’s top Democrat. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) had asked CIA Director Mike Pompeo last week for access to certain unspecified material related to their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election — information that the Senate Intelligence Committee has already received, a sign that turf battles between the two panels may be heating up.

Hopes reignite for criminal justice reform
Jonathan Swan, Axios

Criminal justice reform is moving again at the federal level after more than a year of inertia and disappointment for advocates. Two bills are being introduced this week: Why this matters: These bills — while only the first step in a long process — mark the first serious congressional engagement on criminal justice reform for more than a year.

CBO Still Expected To Analyze Graham-Cassidy Health Care Measure
Joe Williams, Roll Call 

The Congressional Budget Office will still release a full analysis of a proposal from four Republican senators that would overhaul the health care system, according to one of the bill’s main sponsors. During an interview for Tuesday’s CQ Roll Call Big Story Podcast, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana said a full score from the nonpartisan budget office is still expected.

Collins agonizes over decision to ditch the Senate
Burgess Everett, Politico

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp was watching TV recently when she saw a report that Susan Collins was considering a run for Maine governor and soliciting advice on the decision. The North Dakota Democrat quickly shot a text message to her Republican colleague: “Don’t do it.”

House

Lawmakers Renew Efforts to Push Through Gun Control Bill After Las Vegas Shooting
Eli Yokley, Morning Consult

Lawmakers called for stronger gun control measures on Monday after a gunman killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500 in Las Vegas, with Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) preparing to reintroduce legislation to require background checks on all commercial firearm sales, including at gun shows. An aide to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told Morning Consult that a return of the bill, which had been also introduced in 2013 and 2015, is “imminent” and that the two lawmakers are finalizing the bill’s text.

Massacre blunts momentum of gun silencer bill
John Bresnahan and Heather Caygle, Politico 

A controversial bill to loosen restrictions on purchasing gun silencers won’t be reaching the House floor anytime soon following a horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas that left at least 58 dead and hundreds more wounded, according to GOP sources. Another bill to allow concealed-carry permit holders to take their guns with them to another state could also be impacted by the tragedy, the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

States

Supreme Court to Hear Case on Wisconsin Voting Maps Warped by Politics
Adam Liptak, The New York Times

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on Tuesday in a case that could reshape American democracy. The justices will consider whether extreme partisan gerrymandering — the drawing of voting districts to give lopsided advantages to the party in power — violates the Constitution.

New Jersey Cracks Down on Drug Dealers for Opioid Deaths
Kate King, The Wall Street Journal

Less than four months after New Jersey resident MaryAnn McKinnon died of an overdose, police arrested the man accused of selling the opioids that killed her. Cleveland Spencer, 26, of Paterson, N.J., was charged in late September with four drug offenses, the most serious of which was a felony alleging he sold the drugs that resulted in Ms. McKinnon’s death.

Republicans rage at Rauner
Natasha Korecki, Politico

Until recently, the biggest question looming over Illinois politics has been whether Republican Bruce Rauner, the most vulnerable incumbent governor in the country, can win re-election next year. Now the question is whether Rauner can make it through a Republican primary.

Can A DC Insider Win as a Republican in 2017? Ed Gillespie is About to Find Out.
Simon Van Zuylen-Wood, Washingtonian 

It’s a muggy afternoon in early summer, and Ed Gillespie is making a lunchtime stop at Mission BBQ, a military-themed chain restaurant in a strip-malled stretch of the Fairfax County exurbs. Arriving with no entourage other than his driver, Gillespie walks to the register and orders a brisket sandwich with French fries.

Advocacy

NRA goes dark after Vegas massacre
Josh Meyer, Politico

Democrats lashed out at the National Rifle Association after the worst mass shooting in American history on Monday, but instead of fighting back the gun rights group retreated to a familiar posture: silence. The NRA’s website, Twitter feed and Facebook page — all of which are typically updated frequently throughout the day —went dark on Monday, posting no new content, and the group did not respond to several calls and emails seeking comment.

Lobbyists Use of Capitol Meeting Space Raises Questions
Kate Ackley, Roll Call

A recent panel discussion about alleged governmental corruption in Ukraine, organized by lobbyist and former Rep. Connie Mack, has raised questions about the appropriate uses of meeting rooms under the House speaker’s jurisdiction. It also offers a glimpse into the often murky world of lobbying on behalf of foreign clients seeking to use the nation’s capital as a way to advance policies abroad.

A Message from the Electronic Payments Coalition:

The evidence is mounting: There are now at least a dozen studies that illustrate the failure of the Durbin amendment. In fact, a recent paper from Federal Reserve economists provides empirical evidence of harm to the consumer. Get the facts from the Electronic Payments Coalition.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Congress Must Stop Foreign Ocean Carriers From Harming U.S. Economy
Sean O’Shea, Morning Consult

After years of failing to crack down on big foreign ocean carriers that manipulate U.S. laws to fix prices and impose unilateral service terms on American ports and shippers, Congress is finally considering legislation that would protect the domestic maritime industry. But these reforms will only work if Congress empowers federal regulators and U.S. maritime companies to take legal action against foreign shipping cartels engaging in anti-competitive practices that threaten the economy and hurt American workers.

477 Days. 521 Mass Shootings. Zero Action From Congress.
The Editorial Board, The New York Times

Each colored square represents a day in which at least one mass shooting took place in the United States.

Mass shootings are an American problem. There’s an American solution.
Chris Murphy, The Washington Post

On awful, gut-churning days such as Monday, I find it important to remind myself that mass shootings happen almost nowhere else but the United States. As we become normalized to the regular pace of massive, execution-style killings — Sandy Hook, Charleston, Orlando and now Las Vegas — it’s critical to understand that the Groundhog Day phenomenon of horrific mass shootings is exclusive to the United States.

Of Judges and Gerrymanders
The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal

Partisan gerrymanders predate the republic, though improved technology has made it easier for politicians to pick their voters. This makes elections less competitive and politics perhaps more polarized, but the question before the Supreme Court on Tuesday is whether judges should become the deciders in what Felix Frankfurter called “this political thicket.”

Google and Facebook Failed Us
Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic

In the crucial early hours after the Las Vegas mass shooting, it happened again: Hoaxes, completely unverified rumors, failed witch hunts, and blatant falsehoods spread across the internet. But they did not do so by themselves: They used the infrastructure that Google and Facebook and YouTube have built to achieve wide distribution.

The Morality of Charles Koch
William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal

For those who regard capitalism and Christianity as mortal enemies, few villains loom as large as Charles Koch, whose name in some quarters has become a synonym for a system based on greed and exploitation. By his own admission, the libertarian-leaning billionaire is not religious.

A Message from the Electronic Payments Coalition:

In a recent paper, Federal Reserve economists confirm what many industry experts have said before: The Durbin amendment harms consumers. There are now at least a dozen studies that illustrate why this failed policy must be repealed. Learn the truth from EPC.

Research Reports and Polling

The press, branded the ‘enemy’ by Trump, increasingly trusted by the public: Reuters/Ipsos poll
Chris Kahn, Reuters

Americans are increasingly confident in the news media and less so in President Donald Trump’s administration after a tumultuous year in U.S. politics that tested the public’s trust in both institutions, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday. The poll of more than 14,300 people found that the percentage of adults who said they had a “great deal” or “some” confidence in the press rose to 48 percent in September from 39 percent last November.

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