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Washington Brief: Polling Shows Growing GOP Support for Tougher Gun Control Laws


Top Stories

  • Support from Republican voters for stricter gun control laws has risen 5 percentage points, to 49 percent, since June, according to a new poll. The nationwide survey also found that 75 percent of GOP voters support banning bump stocks — devices used by the Las Vegas shooter that speed up the rate at which semi-automatic weapons can fire. (Morning Consult)
  • The Supreme Court dismissed a case challenging the expired version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, marking a legal victory for the administration, which had asked the court to drop the case after the temporary ban was replaced with an indefinite one affecting eight countries. (USA Today)
  • The Trump administration increased its request from Congress for emergency hurricane relief funding to almost $35 billion, with the Office of Management and Budget asking for an additional $4.9 billion to help “address the immediate liquidity issue” for the government of Puerto Rico. The additional amount could be added to the recovery package the House is expected to approve this week. (Politico)
  • Trump is scheduled to pitch the Republican tax plan today in Harrisburg, Pa., where he’s expected to tout “a $4,000 pay raise” for the average American household. However, his economic advisers have said such a benefit would only materialize over eight years, with the annual amount closer to $500. (Bloomberg)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Wednesday
Rep. Sinema at Bloomberg Government event on electronic payments 8 a.m.
Reps. Neal, Roskam at tax policy event hosted by The Hill 8 a.m.
Third Way event on federal student loans 9 a.m.
Bipartisan Policy Center event on Medicare, Social Security 10 a.m.
Rep. McHenry speaks at Financial Services Roundtable event on tax reform 11:30 a.m.
Atlantic Council event on defensible cyberspace 5 p.m.
Thursday
HUD’s Carson testifies at House Financial Services Committee hearing 9:30 a.m.
Energy Secretary Perry testifies at House Energy and Commerce hearing 10 a.m.
House Oversight Committee hearing on 2020 Census 10 a.m.
Heritage Foundation event on Iran policy 12 p.m.
Friday
AEI event on U.S. agricultural policy 1:30 p.m.
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General

North Korean Hackers Stole U.S.-South Korean Military Plans, Lawmaker Says
Choe Sang-Hun, The New York Times

North Korean hackers stole a vast cache of data, including classified wartime contingency plans jointly drawn by the United States and South Korea, when they breached the computer network of the South Korean military last year, a South Korean lawmaker said Tuesday. One of the plans included the South Korean military’s plan to remove the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, referred to as a “decapitation” plan, should war break out on the Korean Peninsula, the lawmaker, Rhee Cheol-hee, told reporters.

Agriculture Secretary Perdue Favors Food Stamp Restrictions
Heather Haddon and Jacob Bunge, The Wall Street Journal

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue criticized the distribution of food stamps to Americans who are able to work, a stance that could concern food retailers who make billions of dollars in sales to the federal program’s beneficiaries. Speaking at the WSJ Global Food Forum on Tuesday, Mr. Perdue said that relying on food stamps has become a “lifestyle” for some able-bodied adults.

Navy punishes 2 more over USS John S. McCain wreck
The Associated Press

The commander and executive officer of the USS John S. McCain were relieved of their duties Wednesday due to lost confidence after the warship and an oil tanker collided near Singapore in August. The cause of the Aug. 21 collision is still under investigation but the U.S. Navy described it as preventable.

Obamas ‘disgusted’ by Weinstein reports
Henry C. Jackson, Politico

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama said Tuesday night that they were “disgusted” by recent reports detailing serial sexual misconduct by film producer and Democratic donor Harvey Weinstein. “Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status,” the Obamas said in a joint statement.

Presidential

In victory for Trump, Supreme Court dismisses travel ban case
Richard Wolf and Gregory Korte, USA Today

The Supreme Court dismissed a major challenge to President Trump’s travel ban on majority-Muslim countries Tuesday because it has been replaced by a new version, sending the controversy back to the starting block. The ruling is a victory for the Trump administration, which had asked the court to drop the case after Trump signed a proclamation Sept. 24 that replaced the temporary travel ban on six nations with a new, indefinite ban affecting eight countries.

White House seeks $4.9B to shore up Puerto Rico finances
Sarah Ferris, Politico

The Trump administration on Tuesday sought an additional $4.9 billion in emergency hurricane aid to stave off what Puerto Rico’s governor recently warned could become a fiscal catastrophe. The Office of Management and Budget sent a formal request to House leadership Tuesday afternoon, revising its most recent recovery package request to nearly $35 billion.

Trump to Tout $4,000 Worker Benefit in Tax Sales Pitch
Jennifer Epstein, Bloomberg

President Donald Trump will try to make the case that corporate tax breaks would benefit middle-class wage earners Wednesday evening — and an excerpt of his speech suggests he’ll use a measure of salesmanship. Trump is expected to say the typical American household would get “a $4,000 pay raise” from facets of the planned legislation that would cut the corporate tax rate and end the current U.S. practice of taxing corporations’ foreign earnings, according to part of the speech released by the White House.

Trump Wanted Tenfold Increase in Nuclear Arsenal, Surprising Military
Courtney Kube et al., NBC News

President Donald Trump said he wanted what amounted to a nearly tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal during a gathering this past summer of the nation’s highest ranking national security leaders, according to three officials who were in the room. Trump’s comments, the officials said, came in response to a briefing slide he was shown that charted the steady reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons since the late 1960s.

Senate

Twitter reverses decision, will allow Blackburn to promote Senate ad
Kevin Robillard, Politico

Twitter is reversing a decision to block Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee from promoting her Senate campaign launch video on the social network. The company on Monday said a line in Blackburn’s video referencing “baby body parts” was “inflammatory” and violated its guidelines, a decision that Blackburn and other Republicans quickly criticized.

McCaskill tears into GOP challenger Hawley during Jackson County visit
Bryan Lowry, The Kansas City Star

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill tore into her Republican challenger during a visit Tuesday to Independence, accusing Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley of avoiding tough questions in recent weeks. Hawley, who filed in August with the Federal Election Commission to create a campaign committee, officially announced his candidacy Tuesday.

Senate Democrats worry Russia could jeopardize reelection bids
Kyle Cheney et al., Politico

Democratic senators fighting to hold on to their seats next year are increasingly worried about a troubling reality: Russia appears set to mess with U.S. elections — again. The bipartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee warned last week that Russia’s second straight attempt to upend a major election appears certain.

Lawmakers Seek to Crack Down on Veterans Affairs Budget Requests
Kellie Mejdrich, Roll Call

Following repeated last-minute requests from the Department of Veterans Affairs for billions of dollars to keep a private care access program running, lawmakers have introduced legislation to crack down on how the agency comes calling for more money. Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., John McCain, R-Ariz., Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., introduced legislation that would require the VA to make additional funding requests outside the regular budget process 45 days before a veteran could lose health care or benefits, according to a press release late last week.

House

Nunes signs off on new subpoenas to firm behind Trump-Russia dossier
Evan Perez et al., CNN

The chairman of the House intelligence committee has issued subpoenas to the partners who run Fusion GPS, the research firm that produced the dossier of memos on alleged Russian efforts to aid the Trump campaign, according to sources briefed on the matter. The subpoenas — signed by California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes — were issued Oct. 4, demanding documents and testimony later this month and early November.

Iran deal negotiators to brief House Democrats
Heather Caygle, Politico

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will hold a briefing with key negotiators of the Iran nuclear deal just days before President Trump is expected to decertify the Obama-era agreement. Former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who spearheaded the negotiations that led to the agreement, will participate in a panel discussion for Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday, according to a notice obtained by POLITICO.

DCCC to donate all Harvey Weinstein donations to women’s group
Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

The campaign arm for House Democrats is donating more than $23,000 it’s received from Harvey Weinstein over more than two decades in response to allegations of rape and sexual assault against the Hollywood mogul. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee confirmed it has received $23,225 from Weinstein in four separate donations since 1993.

States

Corey Stewart in talks to endorse Gillespie at urging of Trump allies Bannon and Bossie
Laura Vozzella and Robert Costa, The Washington Post

Corey Stewart, who pilloried Republican Ed Gillespie during their GOP gubernatorial primary fight in Virginia, has been communicating with Gillespie about a potential endorsement at the urging of former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon and President Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, David N. Bossie, according to five people familiar with the matter. Stewart, who had run for governor in Trump’s anti-establishment mold and derided Gillespie as “Establishment Ed,” withheld his support after narrowly losing the June 13 primary.  

Biden to campaign for Northam in Northern VA
NBC 12

Former Vice President Joe Biden will hit the campaign trail in Northern Virginia on Saturday as Election Day draws closer. Biden and Democratic candidate for governor Ralph Northam will host a workforce development roundtable in Reston.

Ben Jealous wants tuition-free college in Maryland. His plan is like Sanders’ ‘College For All’ bill
Ovetta Wiggins, The Washington Post

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous wants Maryland to become the second state after New York to provide public higher education free of charge. Jealous told a group of students and progressive activists gathered Tuesday night at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, that he would help pay for the plan by ending mass incarceration.

Internal affairs: Gov. Scott Walker’s administration shut unit down for exposing Lincoln Hills problems
Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The leaders of a Department of Corrections internal affairs unit that was recently shut down by Gov. Scott Walker’s administration said changes were ordered because they had done too good a job at exposing problems at the state’s juvenile prison. A Department of Corrections spokesman discounted that contention.

Kansas Tried a Tax Plan Similar to Trump’s. It Failed.
Jim Tankersley, The New York Times

In December 2014, the University of Kansas agreed to pay David Beaty $800,000 a year, plus incentives, to be the football program’s head coach, but with an interesting structure: More than two-thirds of that pay would be channeled to an organization called DB Sports L.L.C. DB Sports is what accountants call a pass-through entity, and it pays all of its profits directly to Mr. Beaty.

Steve Bullock and the Lost Art of Political Persuasion
Gabriel Debenedetti, Politico

He’s one of the most popular governors in the country. Some Democrats think he’d make a great presidential candidate. There’s just one problem: Few outside of Montana have heard of the guy.

Advocacy

Sheryl Sandberg is headed to D.C. to do damage control on Facebook’s Russian ad problem
Tony Romm, Recode

Facebook is dispatching Sheryl Sandberg, its powerful chief operating officer, to Washington, D.C., this week, as the company attempts to contain the political fallout from revelations that Russian agents spread disinformation on the social network. The house call to the nation’s capital — confirmed to Recode on Tuesday by multiple source — comes as Facebook prepares to join its tech peers and testify at two public congressional hearings in November that are focused on the Kremlin’s suspected meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.  

Former Pence aide Pitcock joining Oracle
Nancy Cook and Anna Palmer, Politico

Vice President Mike Pence’s former chief of staff and longtime aide Josh Pitcock has landed a new job at the tech giant Oracle, according to two people briefed on the hire. Pitcock left the White House in August during a summer of high-profile departures that included chief of staff Reince Priebus, chief strategist Steve Bannon, and communications director Sean Spicer.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Tax Reform and Deficits
The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal

While you are reading about Donald Trump’s Twitter irruptions, real news keeps happening. To wit, results for the government’s complete fiscal year 2017, which ended on Sept. 30, prove again that the federal budget will never be balanced without faster economic growth.

Erdogan is bullying America. Trump should do something.
Editorial Board, The Washington Post

Authoritarian governments around the world have increasingly embraced the disgraceful tactic of arresting U.S. citizens and holding them as de facto hostages in an attempt to gain leverage over Washington. Iran and North Korea were pioneering practitioners — and both repeatedly extracted U.S. concessions.

Mr. Trump Nails Shut the Coffin on Climate Relief
The Editorial Board, The New York Times

The Trump administration formally proposed on Tuesday to roll back yet another of President Barack Obama’s efforts to position the United States as a global leader in the fight against climate change. The move, though widely anticipated, was deeply disheartening.

Research Reports and Polling

Americans’ Views on Government Regulation Remain Steady
Art Swift, Gallup

For the 12th year in a row, more Americans say there is “too much” government regulation of business and industry than say there is either “too little” or “the right amount.” Forty-five percent of U.S. adults say there is too much government regulation of business and industry, compared with 23% who think there is too little and 29% the right amount.