Washington Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead


Week in Review

The White House

  • President Donald Trump made two trips to Texas as the state grappled with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Vice President Mike Pence also visited the state. Early estimates put the cost of recovery at $190 billion.
  • The Trump administration slashed by almost $116 million the amount it will spend on advertising and grants aimed at getting people to sign up for health care plans under the Affordable Care Act. Democrats fear the administration is trying to undermine the law ahead of the Nov. 1 open enrollment period.
  • Robert Mueller, the Justice Department’s special counsel, issued subpoenas to a spokesman and a former lawyer for Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman.
  • The United States ordered the closure of Russia’s consulate in San Francisco and forced the Kremlin to scale back its diplomatic staff in New York and Washington. Moscow took similar actions against U.S. diplomats after Trump signed into law new sanctions against Russia.

Congress

  • House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said members of the conservative faction would be willing to support a short-term plan to fund the government past Sept. 30, even if it does not include funding for Trump’s proposed border wall. Lawmakers are considering funding the government until December to allow more time to reach a long-term agreement.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said she would co-sponsor single-payer health care legislation backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), putting the potential 2020 prospect opposite California’s other Democratic senator, Dianne Feinstein.
  • Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R) said he would not enter the Republican primary to challenge Sen. Jeff Flake. He was among the group of potential candidates, including former state Sen. Kelli Ward, who met with Trump about challenging Flake.
  • The House Ethics Committee said it is expanding its investigation of what role Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) played in getting members of Congress to invest in an Australian pharmaceutical company.
  • Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) said he would run for Senate in hopes of challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Bob Casey next year. He is considered the most well-known candidate among those seeking the Republican nomination. Other GOP candidates include state Reps. Jim Christiana and Rick Saccone, as well as businessman Jeff Bartos.
  • Hawaii Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D) said she will challenge her home state’s governor, David Ige, for the party’s nomination for governor next year.

What’s Ahead

  • Both chambers of Congress are scheduled to reconvene on Tuesday.
  • House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are scheduled to head to the White House on Wednesday to meet with Trump about the September agenda, which includes government funding, hurricane relief and the debt limit.
  • Members of both chambers are expected to be briefed by top Trump administration officials this week about the security situations in North Korea and Afghanistan. Closed sessions with Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others are scheduled for Wednesday.
  • A judge in New Jersey denied a request by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) to delay oral arguments in his corruption trial, which is set to begin on Wednesday. The trial is expected to last six to eight weeks.
  • Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have set a date to privately question Donald Trump Jr. about his June 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer. The date has not been made public but is expected in the “next few weeks.”

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Monday
Federal holiday — no events scheduled
Tuesday
Heritage Foundation event on BRAC 10:30 a.m.
William Julius Wilson and J.D. Vance speak at Brookings Institution event 3:30 a.m.
Wednesday
Atlantic Council discussion on modernizing NAFTA, North American energy sector 9 a.m.
EPA public hearing on mid-term evaluations for greenhouse gas emissions standards 9 a.m.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on U.S.-Turkey relations 10:30 a.m.
Senate Appropriations subcommittee markup of the FY2018 Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations Bill 11 a.m.
Senate Appropriations subcommittee markup of FY2018 State & Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill 2 p.m.
Thursday
CAP event on part-time college students 10 a.m.
Senate Finance Committee hearing on Children’s Health Insurance Program 10 a.m.
House Armed Services Committee hearing on problems with USS Fitzgerald, USS John S. McCain 2 p.m.
Friday
Govs. Hickenlooper, Kasich discuss health care proposal at AEI 9:15 a.m.
Brookings Institution event on foreign cyber interference in U.S. elections 10:30 a.m.
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