Washington Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

The White House

  • Trump’s heavy engagement in the health care legislative battle was a first for him, though some viewed his participation as counterproductive because of mixed messages sent.
  • Trump asked all 46 U.S. attorneys appointed by President Barack Obama to resign. Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said he was fired after refusing to quit.
  • The Treasury Department sent notice to the Congress that it should raise the debt limit. Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he is taking “extraordinary measures” to delay the government from defaulting on its obligations.
  • Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who served as U.S. ambassador to China during the Obama administration, has accepted Trump’s offer to be ambassador to Russia. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is being considered to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations for food and agriculture.

Congress

  • After years of opposing the Affordable Care Act, Republicans presented their plan to repeal and replace the 2010 law. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said conservative have a “binary” choice and that “this is the closest” the party will get to keeping its signature campaign pledge of the last eight years.
  • The plan is making its way through the committee process, but it could face conservative opposition on the House floor. Outside groups, members of the House Freedom Caucus and lawmakers like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have expressed concerns with advanced refundable tax credits and Medicaid spending.
  • Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), chairman of the National Republican Campaign Committee, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) raised questions about the future of Trump’s planned border wall.
  • James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, visited Capitol Hill as lawmakers continued their investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. A Morning Consult/POLITICO poll found more Americans are saying Russia did influence the 2016 contest, but voters are skeptical of reporting that uses anonymous sources.
  • WikiLeaks released thousands of documents that purportedly detail software tools used by the Central Intelligence Agency to hack into smartphones, computers and internet-connected televisions. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) called for a wholesale re-evaluation of who is allowed access to classified information.

What’s Ahead

  • The Senate convenes on Monday, when it will resume consideration of Seema Verma to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The House will be back in session on Tuesday.
  • As House Republicans advance their health care legislation, the Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its score this week. Republicans have already sought to downplay the score, which will detail cost and coverage estimates amid a contentious debate that is pitting conservatives against House GOP leaders.
  • The Federal Reserve will meet this week and could announce a new interest rate hike. The move could slow stock market growth celebrated by Trump, and it could soften the economic boost of potential infrastructure spending and tax cuts.
  • Trump will hold a rally in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday.

Calendar Events (All Times Local)

Monday
Brookings Institution event on U.S.-Japanese relations 9 a.m.
Heritage Foundation event on Judge Gorsuch 12 p.m.
Senate convenes 2 p.m.
Sen. Lee talks trade at AEI event 5:15 p.m.
Tuesday
Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing for USTR nominee Lighthizer 10 a.m.
House convenes 12 p.m.
Wednesday
Washington Post event on Trump’s First 50 Days 9 a.m.
House Armed Services Committee hearing on security challenges in Middle East 10 a.m.
Senate HELP Committee confirmation hearing for DOL nominee Acosta 1:30 p.m.
Pew Charitable Trusts event on infrastructure 3:30 p.m.
Trump campaign rally in Nashville, Tenn. 6:30 p.m.
Thursday
Heritage Foundation event on tobacco, e-cigarette regulations 12 p.m.
Friday
No events scheduled

 

Morning Consult Washington Top Reads

1) Trump’s Obamacare moves cause chaos in Congress
Rachael Bade and Burgess Everett, Politico

2) GOP Leaders Say Republicans Won’t Get 2nd Chance on Health Care
Jon Reid, Morning Consult

3) Purple America Has All But Disappeared
David Wasserman, FiveThirtyEight

4) Meet the Hundreds of Officials Trump Has Quietly Installed Across the Government
Justin Elliott et al., ProPublica

5) Growing Number of Americans Believe Russia Influenced 2016 Election
Jon Reid, Morning Consult

6) To fund border wall, Trump administration weighs cuts to Coast Guard, airport security
Dan Lamothe et al., The Washington Post

7) Poll: Most Americans Don’t Want Budget Cuts at Government Agencies
Eli Yokley, Morning Consult

8) House Republicans Unveil Plan to Replace Health Law
Robert Pear and Thomas Kaplan, The New York Times

9) Trump, Putin, and the New Cold War
Evan Osnos et al., The New Yorker

10) Liberals to Senate Democrats: Step up the Gorsuch fight
Elana Schor, Politico

Briefings

Washington Brief: Gorsuch Stresses Independence From Trump; Schumer Calls for Delaying Confirmation Vote

On his second day of confirmation hearings, Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch stressed his independence from President Donald Trump. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Gorsuch’s confirmation vote should be delayed because of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe of alleged ties between the Russian government and Trump’s presidential campaign.

Washington Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

President Donald Trump unveiled his fiscal year 2018 budget blueprint. Along with proposed cuts to foreign aid and the Department of Energy, the proposal would roll back funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, cut funding for the National Institutes of Health and implement large cuts across the government to fund defense and security increases.

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