Washington Brief: Republicans Say Trump’s Deal With Schumer, Pelosi Will Embolden Democrats in Future Negotiations

Top Stories

  • President Donald Trump enraged some congressional Republicans by cutting a deal with Democratic leaders to raise the federal debt limit for three months. Republican leaders had been crafting a longer extension to prevent additional debt limit votes before next year’s midterm elections. (Politico)
  • Trump visited North Dakota to campaign for overhauling the U.S. tax code. He praised the state’s Democratic senator, Heidi Heitkamp, as a “good woman,” courting her support for tax reform as she faces what is expected to be a tough re-election campaign next year. (The Associated Press)
  • House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and other members of the conservative group met with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to vent their frustrations with his handling of the GOP’s legislative agenda. Meadows met Monday with former Trump strategist Steve Bannon to discuss who could replace Ryan as speaker in the event that conservatives withdraw their support for Ryan. (The Washington Post)
  • Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, is scheduled to meet behind closed doors today with staff members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss his June 2016 meeting with a Russia-connected lawyer. (The New York Times)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

CAP event on part-time college students 10 a.m.
Senate Finance Committee hearing on Children’s Health Insurance Program 10 a.m.
House Armed Services Committee hearing on problems with USS Fitzgerald, USS John S. McCain 2 p.m.
Govs. Hickenlooper, Kasich discuss health care proposal at AEI 9:15 a.m.
Brookings Institution event on foreign cyber interference in U.S. elections 10:30 a.m.

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Facebook Found Election Ad Spending Likely Linked to Russia
Sarah Frier et al., Bloomberg 

Facebook Inc. says it found about $100,000 in ad spending connected to fake accounts likely run from Russia that aimed to stir political controversy in the U.S. ahead of last year’s presidential election. While the majority of the ads, run between June 2015 and May 2017, didn’t directly reference the election, they amplified “divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum,” Facebook said in a statement.

President Trump Unlikely to Nominate Gary Cohn to Become Fed Chairman
Michael C. Bender et al., The Wall Street Journal 

President Donald Trump is unlikely to nominate Gary Cohn, his top economic adviser, as the next Federal Reserve chairman, according to people familiar with the president’s thinking, adding to the uncertainty over the U.S. central bank’s leadership and policies next year. Mr. Trump told The Wall Street Journal in July that he was considering Mr. Cohn as a potential successor to Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen, whose term as central bank chief expires in early February.

Democrats dread Hillary’s book tour
Edward-Isaac Dovere and Gabriel Debenedetti, Politico

President Donald Trump may be the only person in politics truly excited about Hillary Clinton’s book tour. Democratic operatives can’t stand the thought of her picking the scabs of 2016, again — the Bernie Sanders divide, the Jim Comey complaints, the casting blame on Barack Obama for not speaking out more on Russia.


GOP livid after Trump cuts deal with Democrats
Burgess Everett et al., Politico 

President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s tête-à-tête on Tuesday — after a summer of sniping between the two — lifted Republican hopes that the GOP was finally back in sync ahead of a brutal fall of fiscal deadlines. Not 24 hours later, the president cut a deal with Democrats on a short-term debt ceiling increase opposed by McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

One day after deal with Dems, Trump campaign ad says Pelosi, Schumer ‘trying to stop him’
Rebecca Savransky, The Hill

A new campaign ad for President Trump slams “career politicians” for trying to impede his agenda. “Career politicians and the media, trying to stop him, but President Trump is fighting for America,” the ad says, flashing pictures of Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Trump courts Heitkamp in North Dakota tax pitch
Jill Colvin and Ken Thomas, The Associated Press 

President Donald Trump made an overt pitch Wednesday for Democrats to support his tax overhaul plan, singling out a North Dakota Democratic senator whose vote would be prized by the White House. Delivering an outdoor speech to a crowd of hundreds in front of the dramatic backdrop of an oil refinery, Trump called for the state’s governor and congressional delegation to join him on stage, including Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, the only statewide elected Democrat in heavily Republican North Dakota.

Former House Tax Chief Says Overhaul Unlikely to Happen in 2017
Alexis Leondis, Bloomberg 

Dave Camp, the former head of Congress’s tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said he doesn’t think a revamp of the U.S. tax code will happen this year. “There are a lot of competing issues,” Camp said in a Bloomberg TV interview Wednesday.


Donald Trump Jr. to Meet With Senate Russia Investigators
Nicholas Fandos, The New York Times  

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, is set to meet with Senate Judiciary Committee investigators behind closed doors on Thursday to answer questions about his June 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, committee officials said. Committee aides said the interview, Mr. Trump’s first with congressional investigators, will be transcribed and could last for much of the day.

No shortage of drama as Menendez trial kicks off
Matt Friedman and Ryan Hutchins, Politico 

The corruption trial of Sen. Robert Menendez is expected to last at least six weeks — and if the first day was any indication, they won’t be boring. The trial had barely started Wednesday before U.S. District Court Judge William H. Walls was telling a Menendez defense lawyer to “shut up” as they sparred over whether Walls had “disparaged” the defense.

Feinstein faces growing storm on the left
Carla Marinucci, Politico

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has dominated California politics for more than a quarter of a century. But facing blistering criticism that she’s out of touch with the progressive left following her recent comments about President Donald Trump and DACA, it’s increasingly looking like the Democratic lawmaker will face a major primary challenge if she runs for a fifth full term.


Freedom Caucus leaders vent to Paul Ryan after talks with Steve Bannon
Robert Costa, The Washington Post 

Leaders of the Freedom Caucus met with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) on Wednesday to candidly express their frustrations with his leadership and his handling of the Republican legislative agenda, according to two people familiar with the discussion. The exchange comes as former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon is having conversations with hard-line GOP lawmakers about how they should exert greater influence in the fall’s political fights and pressure congressional Republican leaders.

Ryan: DACA Fix Needs to Include Border Security Measures, Trump’s Support
Lindsey McPherson, Roll Call

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Wednesday that a legislative solution to replace an Obama-era program designed to protect children of undocumented immigrants from deportation will need to include border security measures and have the support of President Donald Trump. The Wisconsin Republican said the dilemma that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provided work permits and social security numbers for roughly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, sought to alleviate was a symptom of a larger border security problem.

Congressman Tim Murphy issues statement on extramarital affair
Paula Reed Ward, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Congressman Tim Murphy publicly admitted Wednesday to having an extramarital affair with a personal friend, issuing a statement about the relationship hours after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette prevailed in a court motion to unseal a divorce action. Mr. Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, is not a party to the divorce.

House Challengers Find Fundraising Success Outside Their Districts
Sean McMinn, Roll Call

Democrats are energized. They’re running for Congress. And they’re raising money — lots of it. And for nearly a dozen Democratic challengers who have raised at least $50,000 in individual contributions worth at least $200 each during the first half of this year, more than 90 percent of the money raised came from outside their districts, a Roll Call review of Federal Election Commission data found.


Attorneys general from 15 states, D.C. sue to save DACA
Matt Zapotosky, The Washington Post 

A group of attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit Wednesday to stop the administration from winding down the DACA program, which granted a reprieve from deportation to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. The suit, filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York, alleges that rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was a “culmination” of President Trump’s “oft-stated commitments — whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof — to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots.”

Massachusetts ballot initiative on president tax return passes hurdle
Nate Raymond, Reuters

A proposed Massachusetts ballot initiative that would allow voters to require U.S. presidential candidates to release their tax returns cleared a key hurdle on Wednesday, as state lawmakers mulled a similar bill after President Donald Trump declined to release his returns. The state’s attorney general, Maura Healey, a Democrat, certified the initiative petition along with 20 others covering a variety of topics as having met constitutional requirements for ballot questions.

Irma threatens Puerto Rico’s hopes to emerge from debt crisis
Colin Wilhelm, Politico 

As Hurricane Irma bears down on Puerto Rico, the cash-strapped island is bracing not only for the initial devastation but also for lasting economic fallout from the historic storm. Puerto Rico is grappling with the worst debt crisis in U.S. municipal history, having defaulted on more than $70 billion in debt that it ran up over a crippling, decade-long recession.

Optima’s Reduction of Coverage in Virginia May Leave 63 Counties Bare
Hannah Recht, Bloomberg

Seventy-thousand Obamacare enrollees in Virginia may be without insurance options next year after Optima Health Plan announced Wednesday that it is reducing its presence in the state. Optima, which served in 35 of the state’s counties and county-equivalents in 2017, had planned to cover nearly the entire state next year. Instead, Optima will exit about half of the counties it served in 2017 and enter only the Charlottesville area, Halifax County and Mecklenburg County.

John Hickenlooper’s No. 2 sounds like his No. 1 pick for Colorado governor in 2018
John Frank, The Denver Post 

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper pledged to remain neutral in the Democratic race to replace him, but one candidate appears to be his favorite to win. Donna Lynne, the state’s lieutenant governor, will launch her campaign Thursday with the governor’s blessing and, thanks to him, the advantages of an incumbent in the crowded 2018 contest.

Oklahoma Governor to Call for Special Session on Budget Fix
Sean Murphy, The Associated Press 

Republican Gov. Mary Fallin said Wednesday she will ask lawmakers to return for a special session on Sept. 25 to adjust the budget after the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected a proposed cigarette tax, creating a $215 million shortfall. Fallin said the high court’s decision to overturn the $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax because of a loss of federal matching funds will result in a nearly $500 million financial blow.


Former Washington Post publisher Donald Graham behind Dreamer lobbying effort
Ginger Gibson, Reuters

Donald Graham, the chairman of the board of Graham Holdings Company (GHC.N) and former publisher of The Washington Post, personally retained two lobbyists earlier this year to advocate on behalf of retaining the program that has allowed immigrant children to remain legally in the country. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced the end of the Obama-era program that protects immigrants known as Dreamers, brought illegally into the United States as children, from deportation.

Dairy Cries Over ‘Soymilk’ as Lobbying Spills Into Legislation
Teaganne Finn, Bloomberg

Dairy groups are squaring off against soy, almond, and rice producers on legislation that would prohibit use of such terms as “milk” or “ice cream” in a product name, such as “soymilk,” if the product isn’t from a hooved animal. The DAIRY PRIDE Act was introduced in January by two dairy-state lawmakers, Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

Trump gets millions from golf members. CEOs and lobbyists get access to president
Brad Heath et al., USA Today 

Dozens of lobbyists, contractors and others who make their living influencing the government pay President Trump’s companies for membership in his private golf clubs, a status that can put them in close contact with the president, a USA TODAY investigation found. Members of the clubs Trump has visited most often as president — in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia — include at least 50 executives whose companies hold federal contracts and 21 lobbyists and trade group officials.

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Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Fighting ‘Fake News’ Claims and What We Can Do About It
Frank Islam, Morning Consult

As an Indian American, I have had the privilege of living in the two largest democracies in the world. One of those democracies — the United States — came into being in part because of the free press. The other — India — was born essentially without a free press.

The Pelosi-Schumer-Trump Congress
The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal 

The American people may think they elected a Republican government last November, but it’s increasingly hard to tell. The latest evidence came Wednesday when President Trump accepted a Democratic offer to raise the federal debt ceiling for a mere three months in return for $8 billion for Hurricane Harvey relief.

The Pivot Is Real, And It’s Spectacular
Ben Domenech, The Federalist

Trump doesn’t like McConnell and Ryan, and never did. He likes Chuck Schumer, and knows Chuck always makes money for his partners.

Trump’s messy and muddled reasoning on DACA
Editorial Board, The Washington Post

In announcing an end to the program providing temporary relief from deportation to young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children, both President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have been clear: The responsibility of saving the “dreamers” is now on Congress’s shoulders. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) has sent encouraging signals so far, promising to push forward with legislation and telling dreamers to “rest easy.”

The Struggle Between Clinton and Sanders Is Not Over
Thomas B. Edsall, The New York Times

The surge in Democratic enthusiasm and activism driven by animosity to President Trump is proving to be a mixed blessing. Renewed fervor improves Democratic prospects in 2018 House and Senate elections.

Virginia needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission on race
Tom Perriello, The Washington Post 

Virginia is the birthplace of American democracy, but it is also the birthplace of American slavery. We often hear our history described as a steady progress toward equality, but in reality, each generation that has pushed for progress has faced violence from those who seek to preserve a system of racial hierarchy.

Research Reports and Polling

Federal Spending and Revenues Will Need to Grow in Coming Years, Not Shrink
Paul N. Van De Water, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities 

Although some policymakers seek to prevent the federal government from growing, or to shrink it, federal spending and taxes will have to grow significantly as a share of the economy in the coming decades.  This is not a statement of political values; it’s a reflection of basic realities — the aging of America’s population, health care costs that rise faster than the economy grows (especially as medical advances continue), potential national security threats, and current and emerging domestic challenges such as large infrastructure needs that cannot be deferred indefinitely.

Report on Network Sunday Morning Talk Show Content and Ratings, Comparing 1983, 1999, and 2015
Matthew A. Baum, Harvard Kennedy School 

We studied the content and Nielsen ratings for interviews on the three network Sunday morning talk shows—Meet the Press (henceforth MTP), Face the Nation (FTN), and This Week (TW). We compared three time periods—1983 (MTP, FTN), 1999 (all three shows), and 2015 (all three shows).