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Washington Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Week in Review

The White House

  • President Donald Trump’s approval rating went underwater for the first time since he took office after the failure to advance a bill to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s 2010 health care law. Republican voters are still hoping a plan will make it across the finish line, but the rest of Americans want Congress to move on.
  • The president continued to be dogged by questions about possible Russian connections to his campaign, with reports emerging that some White House officials interfered with the House Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Additionally, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn offered to testify in exchange for immunity from prosecution, although the Senate Intelligence Committee has already rebuffed that offer.
  • Trump’s temporary travel ban remains snarled in the courts. A judge in Hawaii extended an order blocking the implementation of Trump’s ban, a measure that would block refugees and suspend new visas for people from six majority-Muslim countries. The Justice Department is appealing the ruling.
  • The administration has stopped disclosing how many U.S. troops it is sending into Iraq and Syria, according to a report.
  • The administration also signaled that they would mostly seek modest changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump frequently railed against on the campaign trail.
  • The White House announced it would release financial disclosure forms for about 180 of its highest-paid members of staff, which are available here.
  • Trump’s elder daughter, Ivanka Trump, is joining his administration as an assistant to the president. The White House also announced this week that her husband, Jared Kushner, will lead the newly created White House Office of American Innovation.

Congress

  • With questions being raised about House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’ ability to conduct a fair investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2018 election, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee presented a united front to assuage concerns about the integrity of their own investigation.
  • Vice President Mike Pence cast his second and third Senate tiebreakers of the year, this time on a resolution targeting funding for Planned Parenthood. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), at home recovering from back surgery, was also called in to cast a deciding vote.
  • The House passed a resolution that would repeal Federal Communications Commission rules that prohibit internet service providers from selling customers’ browsing and app usage data without their explicit consent.
  • A Senate committee advanced the nomination of Trump’s Labor secretary nominee, Alexander Acosta, leaving his nomination in the hands of the full chamber.

What’s Ahead

  • The House will return at 12 p..m. Monday, with first votes expected around 6:30 p.m.
  • The Senate will be back at 3 p.m. Monday ahead of a 5:30 p.m. vote on a measure backed by Missouri Sens. Roy Blunt (R) and Claire McCaskill (D) to let a historic wooden steamboat cruise the Mississippi River.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged to confirm Gorsuch by the end of the week, and with Senate Democrats holding firm on their filibuster threat, it looks nailed-on that Republicans will trigger the “nuclear option” and change the chamber’s rules for SCOTUS nominees.

Calendar Events (All Times Local)

Monday
Senate Judiciary Committee meets to advance Gorsuch nomination 10 a.m.
Tuesday
AEI event on paid family and medical leave 9 a.m.
Senate Banking committee on Jay Clayton to be on SEC 10 a.m.
Richard Trumka at the Press Club 12:30 a.m.
Brookings event on taxes 2 p.m.
Wednesday
House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on opioids 10 a.m.
Thursday
Brookings event with Sen. Chris Coons 9 a.m.
Senate Commerce hearing on FAA reauthorization 10 a.m.
Friday
No events scheduled

 

Morning Consult Washington Top Reads

1) Trump Approval Underwater After GOP’s Obamacare Repeal Effort Stalls
Cameron Easley, Morning Consult

2) Mike Flynn Offers to Testify in Exchange for Immunity
Shane Harris et al., The Wall Street Journal

3) Three White House officials tied to files shared with House intelligence chairman
Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung, The Washington Post

4) Two Democrats Back Gorsuch as McCain Seeks Deal to Avoid Fight
Laura Litvan and Steven Dennis, Bloomberg News

5) Ryan opposes Trump working with Democrats on healthcare
Reuters

6) Hill Republicans trying to avert a shutdown need Democrats — and Trump
Kelsey Snell and Robert Costa, The Washington Post

7) Ivanka Trump, Shifting Plans, Will Become a Federal Employee
Maggie Haberman and Rachel Adams, The New York Times

8) Trump breaks the silent treatment with Schumer: ‘Hello, Chuck’
Shane Goldmacher and Burgess Everett, Politico

9) Congress Just Gave Internet Providers the Green Light to Sell Your Browsing History Without Consent
Libby Watson, Gizmodo

10) Why Ryan Is Key to Republican Moderates’ Survival
Simone Pathé, Roll Call