Washington Brief: Trump to Push Congressional Leaders to Pass Health Care, Debt Ceiling Bills by August

Washington Brief

  • At a White House meeting today, President Donald Trump will press congressional leaders to pass a health care overhaul bill and raise the debt ceiling before the August recess, his legislative director said. If successful, the fall legislative calendar would likely be devoted to tax reform and government spending bills. (Roll Call)
  • Reality Leigh Winner, a 25-year-old federal contractor for Pluribus International Corp. who had a top secret security clearance, was arrested in connection with a leaked National Security Agency report (HuffPost). The NSA document says Russian military intelligence officers attempted a cyberattack on a voting software company and local election officials in the United States shortly before Election Day. (The Intercept)
  • Trump will not invoke executive privilege to block former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey from testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, the White House said. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Trump endorsed a plan backed by House Republicans that would move the nation’s air traffic control away from the Federal Aviation Administration to a nonprofit group. He said the shift would result in fewer fees for passengers. (Politico)
  • Registered voters are moving away from congressional Republicans and toward Democrats on key policy issues such as health care and the economy, according to an analysis of weekly polling this year. (Morning Consult)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Tuesday
Brookings Institution event on Dodd-Frank 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday
Labor Secretary Acosta testifies before House Appropriations subcommittee 10 a.m.
Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on FISA legislation 10 a.m.
Transportation Secretary Chao testifies before Senate Commerce Committee 10 a.m.
DHS Secretary Kelly testifies before House Homeland Security Committee 10 a.m.
HUD Secretary Carson testifies before Senate Appropriations subcommittee 2:30 p.m.
Thursday
Interior Secretary Zinke testifies before House Appropriations subcommittee 9:30 a.m.
James Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee 10 a.m.
HUD Secretary Carson testifies before House Appropriations subcommittee 10 a.m.
Peterson Institute event on future of U.S.-China relations 12:15 p.m.
HHS Secretary Price testifies before House Ways and Means Committee 1 p.m.
Friday
House Appropriations subcommittee meets with ICE director, Customs commissioner and Border Patrol chief 8 a.m.
Heritage Foundation event on tax reform, with members of House Freedom Caucus 9:30 a.m.

 

General

Top Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election
Matthew Cole et al., The Intercept

Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election, according to a highly classified intelligence report obtained by The Intercept. The top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to The Intercept and independently authenticated, analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure.

FBI Arrests Federal Contractor In Leak Of NSA Report On Russian Hacking Effort
Ryan J. Reilly, HuffPost

A government contractor in Georgia was arrested this weekend after a classified National Security Agency report was leaked on an alleged cyberattack attempt by Russian military intelligence officers on a voting software company and local election officials. Reality Leigh Winner, a 25-year-old federal contractor for Pluribus International Corp. who had a top secret security clearance and was working at a government agency, was arrested by FBI agents Saturday at her home in Augusta, Georgia, according to the Justice Department.

Robert Mueller Drops Takata Air-Bag Assignment Due to Russia-Probe Post
Mike Spector, The Wall Street Journal

The special counsel investigating Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election relinquished an assignment steering compensation to victims of rupture-prone Takata Corp. air bags, potentially delaying nearly $1 billion in payouts to auto makers and consumers. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller stepped back from the position overseeing two Takata compensation funds in May after Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him as special counsel, said Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mr. Mueller.

London attack: Third London Bridge attacker named
BBC News

The third London Bridge attacker has been named as Youssef Zaghba, a Moroccan-Italian man. Pakistan-born Khuram Butt, 27, and Rachid Radouane, 30, both from Barking were the other two attackers.

The Silicon Valley Billionaires Remaking America’s Schools
Natasha Singer, The New York Times

In San Francisco’s public schools, Marc Benioff, the chief executive of Salesforce, is giving middle school principals $100,000 “innovation grants” and encouraging them to behave more like start-up founders and less like bureaucrats. In Maryland, Texas, Virginia and other states, Netflix’s chief, Reed Hastings, is championing a popular math-teaching program where Netflix-like algorithms determine which lessons students see.

Presidential

White House to Congress: Address Health Care, Debt Ceiling by August
John T. Bennett, Roll Call

White House officials are pressing lawmakers to pass bills that would replace the 2010 health care law and raise the debt ceiling before they leave for their August break, clearing the fall months for tax overhaul and government spending fights. President Donald Trump intends to discuss Republicans’ “path forward” on a health care overhaul and his proposed tax package during a Tuesday afternoon meeting at the executive mansion, said Marc Short, White House legislative affairs director.

White House Won’t Seek to Block Former FBI Director Comey From Testifying
Byron Tau and Erica Orden, The Wall Street Journal

President Donald Trump won’t seek to invoke executive privilege to block former FBI director James Comey from testifying before Congress later this week. The announcement, by White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday, paves the way for Mr. Comey to face questions from lawmakers that are expected to focus on whether he felt the president tried to influence the FBI’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the election.

Trump endorses FAA breakup, with same roadblocks ahead
Brianna Gurciullo and Kathryn A. Wolfe, Politico

President Donald Trump on Monday backed a controversial House GOP plan to wrest air traffic control away from the FAA, placing the safety of millions of airline passengers under a nonprofit that he said will perform better, cheaper and faster. He also called for eliminating the current air traffic control system’s airline ticket and fuel taxes in favor of user fees that the new non-governmental entity would determine.

White House: Intends To Nominate Banker Joseph Otting To Top Bank Oversight Post
Ryan Tracy, The Wall Street Journal

President Donald Trump will nominate Joseph Otting to a post overseeing federally chartered banks, a move that would place a former banker in a key role as the Trump team reviews financial regulatory policies. The White House announced late Monday it intends to nominate Mr. Otting to be comptroller of the currency.

Trump Grows Discontented With Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, The New York Times

Few Republicans were quicker to embrace President Trump’s campaign last year than Jeff Sessions, and his reward was one of the most prestigious jobs in America. But more than four months into his presidency, Mr. Trump has grown sour on Mr. Sessions, now his attorney general, blaming him for various troubles that have plagued the White House.

Top U.S. Diplomat in China Said to Quit Over Climate Move
Nick Wadhams, Bloomberg News  

The top U.S. diplomat in China, David Rank, has resigned in protest of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change accord, according to three people familiar with the matter. The past weekend was Rank’s final one as charge d’affaires at the embassy in Beijing, the top job until former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad arrives to take the post of ambassador.

Senate

Senate GOP aims for June vote on Obamacare repeal
Jennifer Haberkorn and Burgess Everett, Politico

Senate Republicans’ uncertain efforts to repeal Obamacare are at a crossroads, with GOP leaders pressing members to make decisions on moving forward and pushing for a vote by the end of June, according to senators and aides. After spending a month deliberating over a response to the House’s passage of a bill to repeal the law, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is accelerating the party’s stagnant work as a jam-packed fall agenda confronts congressional leaders and President Donald Trump.

Senate to vote on new Iran sanctions
Jordain Carney, The Hill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is turning the Senate toward passing tougher Iran sanctions, potentially renewing a fight over financial penalties against Russia. The Kentucky Republican teed up a procedural vote for Wednesday on the Iran Destabilizing Activities Act.

Senate prods Trump to move Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem
Elana Schor, Politico

The Senate overwhelmingly agreed on Monday night to nudge President Donald Trump to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a campaign promise that he punted on last week. The Senate voted 90-0 on a resolution marking the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification.

House

Ryan raising more funds to protect the House after health-care vote
Rachael Bade, Politico

Speaker Paul Ryan, eager to protect his House majority in what’s expected to be a politically volatile election cycle, is stepping up his fundraising following the chamber’s vote to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Wisconsin Republican’s political team on Tuesday morning will announce that Ryan has raised $22 million for House Republicans in the first five months of 2017, setting him on track to far outpace his 2016 fundraising haul.

Trump to host fundraiser for New Jersey ally in health care
The Associated Press

President Donald Trump will be hosting a fundraiser at his New Jersey golf club for the Republican lawmaker who helped revive the GOP health care overhaul. The invitation, obtained by The Associated Press on Sunday, says the Republican president and Rep. Tom MacArthur of southern New Jersey’s 3rd District will host the June 11 event at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.

Amid Trump’s unpopularity, Democrats face criticism for not investing more in special elections
Mike DeBonis and David Weigel, The Washington Post 

Democrat Jon Ossoff, whose $8.3 million war chest has made him a contender for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, is under siege. The National Republican Congressional Committee is up with ads claiming Ossoff “lied” about his national security clearance.

‘Kill them. Kill them all’: GOP congressman calls for war against radical Islamists
Peter Holley, The Washington Post

When Clay Higgins was a sheriff’s department spokesman in rural Louisiana, his rare candor precipitated his downfall, but not before it catapulted him to online fame and, more recently, a seat in the U.S. House. Like another Republican politician who rode a populist wave to Washington this year — also with a penchant for making controversial statements off the cuff — the newly elected congressman finds himself under fire for making controversial statements about Islam.

Analysis: Why the Border Adjustment Tax Is Dead and an Overhaul Could Be Too
Lindsey McPherson, Roll Call

House Republican leaders’ controversial border adjustment tax is dead, and as a result, their plans to dramatically overhaul the tax code could soon be too. The border adjustment tax, or BAT, is a proposal to tax imports instead of exports, reversing the way the United States currently taxes goods crossing its borders.

States

7 things to watch for in today’s primaries
Matt Friedman, Politico

Today is primary day, the first electoral step toward a post-Chris Christie New Jersey. Former Goldman Sachs executive and U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy for the Democrats and Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno for the Republicans have been the front-runners from the beginning. Still, the Republican contest appears to be substantially closer than the Democratic race.

US Supreme Court affirms NC legislative districts as racial gerrymanders
Anne Blythe, The News and Observer

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday affirmed a lower court ruling that found 28 North Carolina legislative districts to be illegal racial gerrymanders that diluted the overall impact of black voters. But the justices did not agree with the panel of three federal judges who decided that new maps should be drawn and special elections should be held in 2017 to correct the district lines approved by the Republican-led General Assembly in 2011.

Abbott cites property tax “shortcoming” as potential special session looms
Patrick Svitek, The Texas Tribune

With an announcement of a special session potentially hours away, Gov. Greg Abbott used a speech in this Central Texas city on Monday night to argue that lawmakers went home last week without adequately addressing property tax relief — a “shortcoming” in his eyes. “Our goal is to solve your challenges, to solve your problems,” Abbott said at a Bell County GOP dinner.

Pritzker faces a test as union weighs endorsement
Greg Hinz, Crain’s Chicago Business

After launching his campaign for governor with a huge boost, Chicago businessman J.B. Pritzker lately has seemed to stumble amid damaging stories about his low real estate taxes and favor-seeking from now-imprisoned Gov. Rod Blagojevich. A good test of whether those stumbles are meaningful or transitory will occur tomorrow.

Advocacy

Lobbyist with ties to Perry signs new clients
Theodoric Meyer, Politico

Jeff Miller, a lobbyist who served as a top adviser to Energy Secretary Rick Perry as he prepared to run for president a few years ago and who started a federal lobbying firm earlier this year, has signed five new clients, including several energy interests. He’s now representing the Nuclear Energy Institute, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, PhRMA, Dow Chemical Company and Valero Energy Corporation.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Building the Political Voice of the AAPI Voting Community
Varun Nikore, Morning Consult

Even as Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders celebrated Heritage Month throughout the month of May, we received reminders that AAPIs are under siege by President Donald Trump’s agenda. Across America, 1.5 million undocumented Asian immigrants, many in mixed-immigration status families, fear the prospect of mass deportation.

The Buck Stops Everywhere Else
Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal

Some people with a propensity for self-destructive behavior can’t seem to help themselves, President Trump apparently among them. Over the weekend and into Monday he indulged in another cycle of Twitter outbursts and pointless personal feuding that may damage his agenda and the powers of the Presidency.

Britain answered the latest attack with substance and strength. Trump, not so much.
Editorial Board, The Washington Post

Britain continues to respond with impressive fortitude and sobriety to a string of terrorist attacks claimed by the Islamic State. London bar customers who suddenly found themselves confronting armed attackers Saturday responded by hurling glasses and stools at them.

Where Are the United States Attorneys?
The Editorial Board, The New York Times

Three months after President Trump abruptly fired half of the nation’s 93 United States attorneys, following the resignations of the other half, he has yet to replace a single one. It’s bizarre — and revealing — that a man who called himself the “law and order candidate” during the 2016 campaign and spoke of “lawless chaos” in his address to Congress would permit such a leadership vacuum at federal prosecutors’ offices around the country.

Research Reports and Polling

Congressional Republicans Are Losing Voters’ Trust on Many Issues
Cameron Easley, Morning Consult

Congressional Republicans have stumbled somewhat coming out of the gate in 2017, and Morning Consult polling indicates the American people are starting to lose faith in their ability to govern. Weekly tracking surveys from early March into late May show that registered voters are moving away from Republicans — and toward Democrats — on a number of policy issues.

Ready or Not: The Challenging Cybersecurity Realities for State Governments
Route Fifty Staff, Route Fifty 

The bad news? Year over year, state governments will undoubtedly see cyberattacks and breaches escalate. The good news? Many of these cyber threats are not only known but understood.

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