Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaking at the National Press Club on Feb. 27, 2017. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
THE LULL …
CONGRESS is expected to pass a two-week extension of government funding this week by unanimous consent. We don’t expect any problems. But this has given D.C. a strange, two-week lull, during which very little is expected to happen. The real back-and-forth between the two parties is expected to kick off next week, when
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP ,
NANCY PELOSI and
CHUCK SCHUMER are likely to meet at the White House. But even then, the Capitol Hill action won’t get real until the week of Dec. 17.
RIGHT NOW, Democrats and Republicans can’t even agree on the definition of what a border wall is and isn’t.
-- ONE ELEMENT THAT’S NOT GETTING ENOUGH ATTENTION: It’s not just government funding that runs out at year’s end. Congress needs to pass new disaster funding, the Violence Against Women Act needs to be renewed, and so do the farm bill and flood insurance.
NEWS … JOHN BRESNAHAN and
ALEX ISENSTADT: “Hill veteran Poling tapped as NRCC executive director”: “Parker Poling, top aide to Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), will serve as executive director at the National Republican Congressional Committee next cycle, according to GOP officials.
“Poling will serve under Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), the newly appointed NRCC chairman. They will face a formidable task rebuilding GOP fortunes following a Democratic wipeout on Election Day. That will only get harder during the 2020 election cycle with President Donald Trump at the top of the Republican ticket.” POLITICO
-- WHAT NO ONE WILL SAY ON THE RECORD: The knock on the NRCC -- and any party committee, for that matter -- is that it takes dues from members, and doesn’t always support them electorally when they need it. Poling is among the most savvy at dealing with Republican members of Congress. So her skill here will be particularly valuable.
THE NRCC has its work cut out for it. Republicans will be deep in the minority and the committee is facing flak for not telling top members of leadership or the rank and file it was hacked during the election season.
Good Thursday morning. MARKETS POINTING DOWNWARD … FT: “Global stocks extended their declines on Thursday after the arrest in Canada of a top executive at Huawei, one of China’s national technology champions, fanned concern over the ability of Washington and Beijing to make their trade truce permanent.
“Chinese equities tumbled more than 2 per cent, most major European stocks weakened 1 per cent and U.S. futures fell about 1 per cent after the arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder, following an extradition request from the U.S.” FT
-- S&P FUTURES are down nearly 2% this morning.
-- WHY THE MARKETS ARE GOING HAYWIRE … BLOOMBERG’S SHAWN DONNAN: “Trump Weaponizes Uncertainty in Trade War, and Finds Its Limits”
ELIANA JOHNSON and
BURGESS EVERETT: “Trump’s slow-motion staff ‘shakeup’ stunts 2019 planning”: “President Donald Trump is still looking for a new United Nations ambassador. He has no deputy national security adviser. His attorney general and EPA administrator are serving in an acting capacity, and his constant badmouthing of his chief of staff and Secretary of Homeland Security has undermined their authority.
“The president once openly signaled plans to revamp his cabinet and staff after the midterm elections, calling it a ‘very customary’ act — and his aides acknowledged that big changes might be coming. But while he demanded the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions the day after last month’s midterm elections, the once-breathless anticipation of his next personnel move has stretched into a long and awkward waiting game.
“The result is an administration in a holding pattern. Trump has offered almost nothing in the way of a legislative vision for 2019 beyond approval of a new trade deal and vague references to infrastructure. His only clear priority is enforcing border security. The White House has even sent mixed signals about its desire to fight for a criminal justice reform bill that Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, played a key role in shaping. …
“In the latest clue that [John] Kelly’s days may be numbered, his deputy, Zachary Fuentes, has circulated his resume to other cabinet agencies, including the Department of Defense, according to three sources with knowledge of the situation.” POLITICO
SPEAKING OF THE POST-TRUMP LIFE … BURGESS EVERETT: “Sessions hints he’s done with politics”: “Jeff Sessions doesn’t sound eager to run for his old Senate seat in 2020. The former attorney general and Alabama senator said in an interview on Wednesday that he doesn’t miss being a senator and won’t decide on a run anytime soon. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) is seen as the most vulnerable incumbent on the ballot in two years — and Sessions is viewed as a prime candidate to beat him. ...
“‘I’ve been clearing my brain. I think that’s a fair statement,’ he said during a ride on the Senate subway following George H.W. Bush’s state funeral. ‘I’ll go to Alabama, do some things and then that will clarify things a little more before I worry about making a statement.’” POLITICO>
A message from the National Association of Manufacturers:
End the HIT now! Americans already struggle with rising health care costs. Congress must protect Americans from the Health Insurance Tax (HIT), the Medical Device Tax and the “Cadillac” Tax. After 2019, the HIT will impact approximately 140 million Americans, increasing health care costs for manufacturers and workers. >https://www.shopfloor.org/stop-the-hit/
FROM 30,000 FEET -- JOHN HARRIS in POLITICO Magazine
ON THE BUSH FUNERAL: “Bush’s Funeral Wasn’t About Trump. But Of Course It Was”: “The memorial service for George H.W. Bush was a perfectly civil and eminently civilized event, and if one was listening in a literal-minded way it all sounded like a grand exception to life in modern Washington — two hours of stories and tributes that were entirely bereft of political tension.
“The only way to listen in a literal frame of mind, of course, was through some equivalent of self-lobotomy — to be willfully oblivious of context, guileless in a way that certainly does not describe Bush or any of the people he chose to speak at his farewell.
“The service was replete with praise for the 41st president that could, with just the slightest nudge of interpretation, be heard as implied rebuke of the 45th president. But only implied, never explicit—this, unlike almost everything else in American politics today, was not about Donald Trump.
“And yet it very much was. Speakers rhapsodized about Bush’s natural good cheer and optimism; his willingness to share credit and accept blame; his preference for self-deprecating humor; his gift for personal diplomacy; his loyalty to friends when they were down; his talent at assembling international coalitions; his mistrust of ‘unthinking partisanship’; his inaugural address in which he said that Americans must judge our lives by kindness to friends and neighbors rather than the pursuit of ‘a bigger car, a bigger bank account’; his commitment to truth and to living up to the obligations of a ‘gentleman.’” POLITICO