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Washington Brief: Supreme Court Grants Administration Request to Bar Most Refugees Under Travel Ban


Top Stories

  • The Supreme Court lifted some restrictions on President Donald Trump’s travel ban for the time being, allowing the administration to prohibit most refugees from entering the United States. A lower court had ruled that the administration cannot ban refugees who have a formal relationship with a refugee resettlement agency. (The Hill)
  • Following last night’s meeting with a bipartisan group of senators to discuss tax reform, Trump is scheduled to hold similar talks today with members of the House Problem Solvers Caucus and centrist Democratic “Blue Dogs.” The leaders will also discuss infrastructure and health care, and possibly immigration policy. (USA Today)
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) are scheduled to meet today to discuss the Dream Act and the fate of people enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which the Trump administration is expected to end in March. (The Washington Post)
  • The House joined the Senate in unanimously adopting a joint resolution that condemns last month’s racially motivated violence in Charlottesville, Va. The resolution will be sent to the White House as early as today. (The New York Times)
  • GOP voters trust Trump more than Republican congressional leaders, 56 percent to 28 percent, to work with Democrats to achieve certain policy outcomes, according to a new poll. The national survey of registered voters also showed that Republicans prefer that Trump work with congressional Democrats, not just GOP lawmakers, to advance his agenda. (Morning Consult)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Wednesday
Sen. Portman, Rep. Tonko speak at event on opioid epidemic 8 a.m.
Rep. Ro Khanna speaks at Atlantic Council event on visa policies 10:30 a.m.
Millennial Action Project event on the book “The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Highest Office” 12 p.m.
Airlines for America Commercial Aviation Industry Summit 12 p.m.
House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Venezuela 2 p.m.
CFR event on the upcoming German federal election 6:30 p.m.
Thursday
Politico Pro Policy Summit 7:45 a.m.
Sens. Heitkamp, Whitehouse, Capito, Barrasso speak at Center for Climate and Energy Solutions 8:30 a.m.
Senate Finance Committee hearing on individual tax reform 10 a.m.
Senate HELP Committee hearing on the individual insurance market 10 a.m.
Friday
AEI event on trade deficits and the Trump administration 10 a.m.

General

Congress Passes Measure Challenging Trump to Denounce Hate Groups
Glenn Thrush, The New York Times 

The House and Senate have unanimously passed a joint resolution urging President Trump to denounce racist and anti-Semitic hate groups, sending a blunt message of dissatisfaction with the president’s initial, equivocal response to the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Va., last month. The resolution passed the Senate without dissent on Monday and was approved without objection by the entire House on Tuesday night.

U.S. Threatens China Over North Korea Sanctions
Ian Talley, The Wall Street Journal

The Trump administration threatened on Tuesday to impose further sanctions on China if Beijing doesn’t do more to shut down banks and other Chinese firms aiding North Korea. If China doesn’t implement the United Nations sanctions regime it has backed, “We will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the U.S. and international dollar system,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday at a conference.

FEMA estimates 25 percent of Florida Keys homes are gone
Jason Dearen and Martha Mendoza, The Associated Press

With 25 percent of the homes in the Florida Keys feared destroyed, emergency workers Tuesday rushed to find Hurricane Irma’s victims — dead or alive — and deliver food and water to the stricken island chain. As crews labored to repair the lone highway connecting the Keys, residents of some of the islands closest to Florida’s mainland were allowed to return and get their first look at the devastation.

U.S. middle-class incomes reached highest-ever level in 2016, Census Bureau says
Heather Long, The Washington Post

The incomes of middle-class Americans rose last year to the highest level ever recorded by the Census Bureau, as poverty declined and the scars of the past decade’s Great Recession seemed to finally fade. Median household income rose to $59,039 in 2016, a 3.2 percent increase from the previous year and the second consecutive year of healthy gains, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

Edith Windsor, Whose Same-Sex Marriage Fight Led to Landmark Ruling, Dies at 88
Robert D. McFadden, The New York Times 

Edith Windsor, the gay-rights activist whose landmark Supreme Court case struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 and granted same-sex married couples federal recognition for the first time and rights to myriad federal benefits, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. She was 88.

Presidential

Supreme Court lifts restrictions on Trump travel ban
Lydia Wheeler, The Hill

The Supreme Court agreed late Tuesday to lift restrictions on President Trump’s travel ban until further notice, allowing the administration to continue barring most refugees under the ban. The court granted the government’s request to block a federal appeals court ruling that said the administration cannot ban refugees who have formal assurances from resettlement agencies or are in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

White House Weighs Lowering Refugee Quota to Below 50,000
Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Miriam Jordan, The New York Times

The Trump administration is considering reducing the number of refugees admitted to the country over the next year to below 50,000, according to current and former government officials familiar with the discussions, the lowest number since at least 1980. President Trump promised during his 2016 campaign to deny admittance to refugees who posed a terrorist threat.

Trump to meet with bipartisan group of House moderates Wednesday
Nicole Gaudiano, USA Today

President Trump has invited a bipartisan group of moderate House members to the White House on Wednesday to discuss a host of issues, including tax reform, infrastructure and health care, according to a congressional source familiar with the meeting. The meeting may also include a discussion of the path forward for “DREAMers,” undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, the source said, asking for anonymity to discuss a meeting that had not been publicly announced

Trump Woos Democrats on Tax Overhaul at White House Dinner
John Voskuhl, Bloomberg

Three Democratic senators joined President Donald Trump for a White House dinner Tuesday aimed at winning their support for an as-yet unreleased tax overhaul bill that would be written by Republican leaders. Trump’s guests — Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana — are the only three Democratic senators who haven’t signed on to a list of conditions for supporting any tax legislation: that it not add to the federal deficit, that it not increase the burden on the middle class and that it go through the regular order process in Congress.

White House: Justice Department should ‘certainly look at’ prosecuting former FBI Director James Comey
Melissa Quinn, Washington Examiner

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday the Department of Justice should “certainly look at” whether to prosecute former FBI Director James Comey over recent actions. “That’s not the president’s role. That’s the job of the Department of Justice and something they should certainly look at,” Sanders said during Tuesday’s White House press briefing when asked if President Trump would encourage the Justice Department to prosecute the former FBI director.

Russia Sought A Broad Reset With Trump, Secret Document Shows
John Hudson, BuzzFeed News

In the third month of Donald Trump’s presidency, Vladimir Putin dispatched one of his diplomats to the State Department to deliver a bold proposition: The full normalization of relations between the United States and Russia across all major branches of government. The proposal, spelled out in a detailed document obtained by BuzzFeed News, called for the wholesale restoration of diplomatic, military and intelligence channels severed between the two countries after Russia’s military interventions in Ukraine and Syria.

Senate

Ready Or Not, Here Comes Bernie Sanders And His Single-Payer Plan
Jonathan Cohn, HuffPost

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to unveil a new version of his “Medicare-for-all” proposal on Wednesday. But the actual substance of the plan may matter less than what he says about it ― and the role he envisions that proposal playing in future debates over how to reform the U.S. health care system.

Conservative Democrat Open to Single-Payer Health System
Sahil Kapur, Bloomberg

The Senate’s most conservative Democrat said Tuesday Congress should consider adopting a single-payer health-care system, a sign of how fast politics are shifting on what was once seen as a fringe issue on the left. “It should be explored,” said West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who faces re-election next year in a state President Donald Trump carried by 42 points.

Senate to vote on Rand Paul’s war proposal
Jordain Carney, The Hill

The Senate will weigh in on Sen. Rand Paul‘s push to sunset two war authorizations, a vote that follows the Kentucky Republican’s threat to grind an annual defense bill to a standstill.  Senators will hold a vote on Paul’s amendment to sunset the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) on Wednesday.

Cruz Wades Into Tax Debate With Focus on Expensing
Richard Rubin and Siobhan Hughes, The Wall Street Journal

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) will lay down a marker in the tax debate on Wednesday, endorsing full and immediate deductions for capital investment by businesses. In a speech at a Tax Foundation event, Mr. Cruz will emphasize that such full expensing instead of current multiyear depreciation schedules would make the tax code simpler and direct tax benefits to new investments, according to a person familiar with his remarks.

House

Ryan and Pelosi to huddle on Dream Act to protect DACA recipients
Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

Top House leaders plan to huddle Wednesday to begin discussing legislation that would provide protections to nearly 700,000 “dreamers” at risk of losing their legal status in six months if Congress fails to act. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) plan to meet with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and the leaders of the congressional Asian, Black and Hispanic caucuses to discuss potential debate of the Dream Act, a bill that would grant legal protections to the roughly 690,000 people currently enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama-era executive action that protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

Luis Gutiérrez doubles down, calls John Kelly ‘mean’ for supporting DACA’s demise
Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) doubled down on his criticisms of White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly on Tuesday, saying that President Trump’s top aide is “mean” for standing by while the administration prepares to deport hundreds of thousands of immigrants known as “dreamers.” Appearing Tuesday at a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute event, Gutiérrez was asked by a Washington Post reporter moderating the event to clarify why he recently called Kelly a “hypocrite” and “a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear” because he supported Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Dems to Mueller: Flynn failed to disclose trip to broker Saudi-Russian business deal
Manu Raju and Marshall Cohen, CNN  

House Democrats sent special counsel Robert Mueller what they say is evidence that former national security adviser Michael Flynn failed to disclose a trip he took to the Middle East to explore a business deal with the Saudi government and a Russian government agency. The Democrats allege the retired Army lieutenant general broke the law by omitting the trip, according to the letter they sent to Flynn’s former business partners requesting more information about his overseas travels and contacts.

States

Michigan Attorney General Schuette joins Republican race for governor
Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette officially joined the Republican race for Michigan governor Tuesday night, promising that if elected he would cut state income taxes, push Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and bring the state more and better-paying jobs. “Michigan needs leaders who are laser-focused on jobs,” Schuette said in a hall at the Midland County Fairgrounds.

Democratic candidate for governor proposes Medicaid-for-all health care plan in Colorado
John Frank, The Denver Post

A Democratic candidate for governor is proposing a Medicaid-for-all health care system in Colorado, endorsing a public option to help address limited insurance options in rural counties. Cary Kennedy announced Tuesday that she supports allowing anyone to buy into the state’s government-run Medicaid system — a policy stance that puts a line in the sand in the crowded 2018 Democratic primary on the issue of health care.

Over liberals’ objections, Supreme Court says Texas need not draw new districts now
Robert Barnes, The Washington Post

Over the objections of four liberal justices, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday night that Texas does not immediately have to redraw electoral districts that a lower court found diminished the influence of minority voters. The 5-to-4 ruling almost surely means the 2018 midterm elections will be conducted in the disputed congressional and legislative districts.

Kobach’s unproven voter fraud claim is challenged by fellow Trump commission members
Hunter Woodall, The Kansas City Star

Kris Kobach faced backlash from two of his colleagues on President Donald Trump’s election commission Tuesday over the Kansas Republican’s recent unproven claim that voter fraud likely changed the outcome of a key U.S. Senate election in New Hampshire. Kobach, who is vice chairman of President Donald Trump’s special election integrity commission, explained the thinking behind his allegation, which brought national criticism and attention his way, during the panel’s second meeting Tuesday.

Gov. Matt Bevin’s plan for budget cuts illegal, Attorney General Andy Beshear says
Tom Loftus, Louisville Courier-Journal

Much, and perhaps all, of the recent Bevin administration plan to cut spending within most state agencies is illegal, Attorney General Andy Beshear said Tuesday. Beshear said while it may be prudent to warn state agencies of the need to curb spending, the budget action taken by the administration on Friday violates Kentucky law.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigns after fifth child sex-abuse allegation
Jim Brunner et al., The Seattle Times

For five months, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray rejected calls for his resignation amid allegations he sexually abused teens decades before entering politics. But Murray couldn’t withstand a devastating new allegation from within his own family.

Advocacy

The NRA has already spent more money on lobbying in 2017 than it did all last year
Alex Yablon and Mike Spies, Business Insider

In the first two quarters of of 2017, the National Rifle Association has already spent more on lobbying than it did in all of last year. The gun group has spent $3.2 million from January 1 to June 30 trying to advance its policy agenda, according to an analysis of  data provided by Open Secrets , a campaign finance and lobbying watchdog.

‘Friends of the Court’ Have Hidden Ties to Big Investors
Zachary R. Mider, Bloomberg

Chuck Cooper, one of Washington’s top litigators, gives each new lawyer in his firm a full-size broadsword, a reminder of his motto: “Victory or death.” For the past four years, Cooper has pursued a claim against the U.S. government that could generate a huge payday for his client, Bruce Berkowitz, a wealthy Miami investor.

A Message from the Electronic Payments Coalition:

A majority of voters are concerned with data breaches, yet there are no national data security standards to protect consumers at checkout. It’s time retailers share responsibility for data security. Learn more from the Electronic Payments Coalition.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Why We Need Medicare for All
Bernie Sanders, The New York Times

This is a pivotal moment in American history. Do we, as a nation, join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee comprehensive health care to every person as a human right?

How Florida Saved Taxpayers
The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal

These columns are often critical of government, especially when public officials put taxpayers on the hook for future risks. Think Fannie Mae, or federal flood insurance. So it’s worth pointing out when a government acts to reduce taxpayer liabilities ahead of a fiscal storm, as Florida did before Hurricane Irma.

The Supreme Court should strike down Wisconsin’s gerrymandering
Editorial Board, The Washington Post

The Supreme Court has long kept a distance from arguments over gerrymandering, that most American practice of redrawing the lines of legislative districts in order to tip elections toward the party in power. But early next month, the justices will hear a challenge to the 2011 redrawing of Wisconsin’s state legislative map by Republican lawmakers — a demonstration of how increasingly powerful technology allows partisan mapmakers to distort representation with ever-greater precision.

There’s Blood In The Water In Silicon Valley
Ben Smith, BuzzFeed News

The blinding rise of Donald Trump over the past year has masked another major trend in American politics: the palpable, and perhaps permanent, turn against the tech industry. The new corporate leviathans that used to be seen as bright new avatars of American innovation are increasingly portrayed as sinister new centers of unaccountable power, a transformation likely to have major consequences for the industry and for American politics.

A Message from the Electronic Payments Coalition:

Four times as many voters trust financial institutions over retailers to create new, more secure ways to pay, which is just one reason why the payments industry is focused on innovation. Banks and credit unions are continuously working to provide consumers with the latest security features when they pay. Get the latest from EPC.

Research Reports and Polling

 So Far, the GOP Isn’t Outpacing Trump’s Approval
David Byler, RealClearPolitics

Presidential approval matters in midterms — but how? Political scientists and analysts have puzzled over this question for years in academic journals and other wonkish publications.

Global Human Capital Report 2017
World Economic Forum

Human capital is a key factor for growth, development and competitiveness. This link works through multiple pathways at the individual, firm and national level.