Washington Brief: Trump Courts Moderate Senate Democrats for Tax Reform Push

Top Stories

  • President Donald Trump is scheduled to host a group of moderate Democrats – Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (Ind.) – for dinner tonight at the White House to discuss tax reform. They are set to be joined by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.). (The Washington Post)
  • Trump is considering whether to allow more aggressive U.S. responses to Iran and its proxies in Iraq and Syria. The draft policy, which is aimed at curbing Iran’s ballistic missile program and the country’s support for militants, recommends consideration of stronger economic sanctions if Iran violates its 2015 agreement with the United States. (Reuters)
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats called on congressional leaders to reauthorize and make permanent the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Some lawmakers have raised privacy concerns about the law. (The Associated Press)
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the deal negotiated between Trump and Democratic leaders including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) to raise the debt limit and fund the government through Dec. 8 is “not quite as good as my counterpart thought it was.” McConnell said it preserves the Treasury Department’s ability to apply “extraordinary measures” to pay the government’s bills, meaning it could push the debt limit past a December deadline that Democrats have touted as a possible point of leverage on other policy issues. (The New York Times)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Center for Strategic & International Studies event on NAFTA renegotiations 9 a.m.
Reps. Dent, Schrader speak to National Association of Counties 10 a.m.
House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on North Korea 10 a.m.
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.
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.
AEI event on trade deficits and the Trump administration 10 a.m.


United Nations approves new round of sanctions against North Korea
The Associated Press

The U.N. Security Council on Monday unanimously approved new sanctions on North Korea but not the measures sought by the Trump administration to ban all oil imports and freeze international assets of the government and its leader, Kim Jong Un. The unanimous vote endorsed a compromise agreement by the U.S., crafted with China, involving lesser sanctions than the U.S. wanted, but ones that allowed a unified Council to show that with each long-range ballistic missile and nuclear test, there will be consequences for North Korea, CBS News’ Pamela Falk reports from the U.N.

Hillary Clinton says Trump associates helped Russia meddle in the 2016 election
Susan Page, USA Today

Hillary Clinton says she is now convinced that associates of candidate Donald Trump helped Russia meddle in the 2016 presidential election. “There certainly was communication and there certainly was an understanding of some sort,” Clinton told USA TODAY Monday in a far-ranging interview about her new book, What Happened.

Mexico drops Harvey aid to Texas, citing its own natural disasters
Alfredo Corchado, The Dallas Morning News 

Mexico said Monday it is withholding its promised Hurricane Harvey assistance to Texas, citing its own series of natural disasters, from a hurricane to the most powerful earthquake to hit the nation in a century. “Faced with emergencies caused by the September 7th earthquake and Hurricane Katia, Mexico is no longer in any condition to provide aid to the state of Texas,” according to a statement issued by Mexico’s Foreign Ministry.

Hurricane Irma Linked to Climate Change? For Some, a Very ‘Insensitive’ Question
Lisa Friedman, The New York Times

Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, says it is insensitive to discuss climate change in the midst of deadly storms. Tomás Regalado, the Republican mayor of Miami whose citizens raced to evacuate before Hurricane Irma, says if not now, when?


Trump to host six senators from both parties for White House dinner
Ashley Parker and Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

President Trump is poised to host six senators for a bipartisan working dinner Tuesday, according to multiple people familiar with the plans. The dinner is set to include three moderate Democrats — Sen. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Joe Manchin III (W.Va.), as well as three senior Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee: Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), Patrick J. Toomey (Pa.) and John Thune (S.D.), according to aides in both parties who weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the dinner.

Trump Plans Aggressive Road Show to Sell Tax Overhaul
Jennifer Jacobs and Justin Sink, Bloomberg

President Donald Trump plans an aggressive travel schedule, taking him to as many as 13 states over the next seven weeks, to sell the idea of a tax overhaul as the administration tries to avoid repeating the communications failures of its attempt to repeal Obamacare. With a make-or-break legislative battle looming on taxes, the White House is moving to clean up a disorganized communications operation, said four people familiar with the effort.

Trump to weigh more aggressive U.S. strategy on Iran – sources
Jonathan Landay et al., Reuters

President Donald Trump is weighing a strategy that could allow more aggressive U.S. responses to Iran’s forces, its Shi‘ite Muslim proxies in Iraq and Syria, and its support for militant groups, according to six current and former U.S. officials. The proposal was prepared by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and other top officials, and presented to Trump at a National Security Council meeting on Friday, the sources said.

Trump wants Congress to reauthorize surveillance tool
Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press 

The Trump administration is urging Congress to reauthorize an intelligence surveillance law set to expire at the end of the year. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats wrote a letter Monday to top Republicans and Democrats in Congress, asking them to not only reauthorize it as it’s written, but make it a permanent fixture in the law books.

Some Trump Lawyers Wanted Kushner Out
Peter Nicholas et al., The Wall Street Journal

Some of President Donald Trump’s lawyers earlier this summer concluded that Jared Kushner should step down as senior White House adviser because of possible legal complications related to a probe of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election and aired concerns about him to the president, people familiar with the matter said. Among their concerns was that Mr. Kushner was the adviser closest to the president who had the most dealings with Russian officials and businesspeople during the campaign and transition, some of which are currently being examined by federal investigators and congressional oversight panels.


McConnell Says Democrats’ Glee on Debt Limit Deal Was Premature
Carl Hulse, The New York Times

Senator Mitch McConnell thinks Democrats were a tad premature in exuberantly celebrating the surprise spending deal they struck last week with President Trump. “Let’s put it this way,” Mr. McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and majority leader, said Monday in an interview for The New York Times podcast “The New Washington.”

Senate approves resolution condemning white supremacist groups
Jordain Carney, The Hill

The Senate easily passed a resolution on Monday condemning white supremacist organizations and urging President Trump to speak out against hate groups. The resolution — introduced last week by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) — cleared the upper chamber by unanimous consent.

Mitt Romney planning to run for Senate if Orrin Hatch retires
Bryan Schott, Utah Policy

Sources tell UtahPolicy.com that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is preparing to run for Senate in 2018 if Sen. Orrin Hatch decides to retire. Sources close to Romney say the two-time presidential candidate will jump into the 2018 Utah Senate scrum if Hatch opts not to.

Republican Sen. Bob Corker weighs whether to retire in 2018
Manu Raju, CNN 

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the influential chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee who was once considered for a spot in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, is weighing whether to call it quits next year. Corker told CNN last week that he has not made a decision about his future, and appeared to confirm Trump’s tweet that he asked the President for political advice about whether to run for reelection.

A Harlem Republican Is Mulling A Bid For US Senate In 2018
Darren Sands, BuzzFeed News 

John Burnett, a Harlem Republican who ran for New York City comptroller in 2013, and was a delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention, is considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2018, he told BuzzFeed News. Burnett is weighing whether to join a Senate primary for the chance to try and unseat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who is considered to be a possible Democratic presidential contender in 2020, but has said she plans running to keep her Senate seat and staying there.

McCain to helm defense debate with hot-button issues
Connor O’Brien and Austin Wright, Politico

The Senate is likely to tackle a slew of contentious issues this week during debate over the annual defense policy bill, from the status of transgender troops to war powers and even a surprise push by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to allow the military to close bases across the country. It’ll also give the 81-year-old McCain, now being treated for an aggressive form of brain cancer, a week in the congressional spotlight as he seeks to rally the Senate against the partisanship and gridlock that have entangled Capitol Hill.


Taxes, Immigration Bigger Tests for Ryan Speakership Than Fiscal Deal
Lindsey McPherson, Roll Call

Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s leadership capabilities are back in the spotlight after September’s fiscal crises were quickly resolved last week without any wins for conservative policies. But that deal is unlikely to define his speakership the way upcoming legislative battles on taxes and immigration will.


States to Trump: Leave Retirement Rule Intact or We’ll Act
Lisa Beilfuss, The Wall Street Journal

The controversy over a rule restricting conflicted retirement advice is shifting to states, which are moving to bolster investor protections out of concern the Trump administration will weaken the federal provision. In recent months, the governors of Nevada and Connecticut signed bills to expand or amplify “fiduciary” requirements for brokers.

Gillespie Floods Airwaves, Outspends Northam in Television Time
Michael Pope, WVTF 

If you’ve been watching TV, you’ve probably noticed it’s election season. This fall, candidates for governor have been flooding the airwaves with commercials.

In reversal, Hogan offers $500 million extra for Metro if Virginia, D.C. and feds match it
Robert McCartney and Faiz Siddiqui, The Washington Post 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) upended the regional debate over Metro funding Monday by offering to give the transit system an extra $500 million over four years if Virginia, the District and the federal government each do the same. Hogan’s proposal, made in a letter delivered Monday morning to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), narrowed their differences over funding and appeared to increase chances that the region could agree on a plan to save the agency.

Cuomo signs law giving unlimited sick time to ill 9/11 responders
Jillian Jorgensen and Glenn Blain, New York Daily News 

Gov. Cuomo signed legislation on Monday granting unlimited sick time to any government employee in New York who became ill from working at the World Trade Center rescue and recovery effort. The bill, which was passed by the Legislature earlier this year, allows rescue and recovery workers who now work for government entities outside of New York City to receive the same benefits already offered to city cops, firefighters, correction officers and sanitation workers.

Trump’s DACA action injects immigration into Nebraska midterm elections
Joseph Morton, Omaha World-Herald

President Donald Trump last week thrust immigration issues right into the heart of next year’s midterm elections. The decision to rescind his predecessor’s shield for those brought to the country illegally as children brought condemnation from various Democrats running for Congress.

Deal clears path for California statewide sanctuary bill
Melody Gutierrez, San Francisco Chronicle 

Gov. Jerry Brown and state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León announced a deal Monday designed to clear the way for a statewide sanctuary policy that would limit law enforcement’s ability to work with federal authorities to deport undocumented immigrants. The deal would amend de León’s SB54, which has already cleared the state Senate but ran into trouble in the Assembly in the face of law enforcement opposition.

Law that would expand firearms ban on California campuses goes to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk
Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times 

A measure that would expand a firearms ban on school campuses in California won final legislative approval Monday and was sent to Gov. Jerry Brown, a rifle owner who has been skeptical about some gun control measures. The measure approved by the state Assembly on Monday eliminates the power of school district administrators to give people with concealed weapon permits permission to have firearms on K-12 campuses.

Rick Scott: In the eye of the storm
Matt Dixon et al., Politico 

As Hurricane Irma churned towards Florida last week, it left Gov. Rick Scott facing the kind of potentially catastrophic natural disaster that helps make or break any governor’s legacy. While millions of Floridians are now dealing with flooding and power outages, Scott’s preparation and response to the storm — a logistical nightmare that affected nearly every inch of the nation’s third largest state — have so far won praise.


Equifax Lobbied for Easier Regulation Before Data Breach
Michael Rapoport and AnnaMaria Andriotis, The Wall Street Journal

Equifax Inc. was lobbying lawmakers and federal agencies to ease up on regulation of credit-reporting companies in the months before its massive data breach. Equifax spent at least $500,000 on lobbying Congress and federal regulators in the first half of 2017, according to its congressional lobbying-disclosure reports.

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

Trump, Taxes and the Democrats
The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal

President Trump is elated with the media applause for his new political condominium with Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, and it is amusing to see sudden praise from the same circles that claim he’s unfit for the Presidency. If Mr. Trump endorses Medicare for all, maybe they’ll put him on Mount Rushmore.

Want to Make a Deal, Mr. Trump?
The Editorial Board, The New York Times

Was President Trump’s bipartisan hurricane relief/debt ceiling/government funding deal last week simply a “bipartisan moment,” as the House speaker, Paul Ryan, put it? Probably, given this president’s pattern of poor impulse control and of reverting to base politics.

Trump welcomes an authoritarian to the White House
Editorial Board, The Washington Post

President Trump has made a habit of embracing authoritarian rulers he regards as friendly, without regard for their subversion of democratic norms or gross human rights violations. Yet his meeting with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak at the White House on Tuesday sets a new low.

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

How People Approach Facts and Information
John B. Horrigan, Pew Research Center

People deal in varying ways with tensions about what information to trust and how much they want to learn. Some are interested and engaged with information; others are wary and stressed.