A wall – more specifically, *the* wall – could wind up fencing President Donald Trump and his Republican Party in.
A day after seeming to endorse a “clean” bill to help the Dreamers – and also saying he would basically sign any immigration bill Congress could pass – the president added back one big, beautiful, and familiar caveat.
“Any solution has to include the wall, because without the wall, it all doesn’t work,” Trump said.
So it is that a defining battle for the Republican and Democratic parties gets higher – and more expensive – stakes.
Legislative proposals are only now bouncing around Capitol Hill, just eight days before a possible government shutdown. A big slice of the Democratic base would risk a shutdown to protect Dreamers; a chunk of Republican lawmakers would be willing to force a similar outcome if left unhappy by an agreement. Businesses are mobilizing to make the case that Dreamers can’t wind up facing deportation.
The widespread belief is that the president will take whatever border security money he gets and declare it a down payment on the wall. Trump’s guidance notwithstanding, it’s not clear whether he is helping or hindering Congress as it scrambles to get its work done.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives is going to be a whole lot different next year, even if the GOP maintains its majority.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., was not only the nineteenth House Republican to announce his retirement, he was one of almost as many top tier, well-known, powerful Republicans to do so.
Of the 19, seven currently lead committees and another six, like Issa, formerly headed up committees or led subcommittees. Big picture, we are talking about men and women who have been decision-makers on the Hill and the face of the party.
It is these folks, in decent numbers now, who are packing it in and deciding it is not worth grueling fights at home that they may very well lose.
A new poll out from Quinnipiac, marking the almost-one year anniversary of the president’s time in office, perhaps shed light on these retirement decisions.
More than twice as many respondents gave the president an “F” for his first year, compared to those who gave him an “A.” While his approval rating hovered, in the high 30s, his disapproval rating shot up by double-digits across the board over the year, and a comfortable majority said he did not represent average Americans.
Those are numbers that are hard to shake in a year that will likely be a referendum on him.
The TIP with Meridith McGraw
A new report says that if Congress fails to approve funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program in January, least 24 states with separate CHIP programs are projected to have insufficient funds to cover all children beyond February.
The report from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families estimates 11 states, Ariz., Conn., D.C., Fla., Hawaii, La., Minn., Nev., N.Y., Ohio, and Wash., will experience funding shortfalls after January.
Funding for CHIP, a federal program that provides low-cost insurance to nearly 9 million babies, children, and pregnant women, expired over 100 days ago on Sept. 30. Congress passed a short term patch of $2.85 billion to prop up the program until March.
But even CMS isn’t confident that the money will stretch until then, saying some states could run out of money after Jan. 19.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
President Donald Trump will hold a prison reform roundtable in the afternoon. Later in the day the president will meet with his national security team.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders will hold a press briefing at 2:15pm.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing on Syria with Acting Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) will hold a rally outside the White House advocating for the closure of the military prison at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) will host a discussion with former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the role of nuclear weapons in today’s increasingly dangerous global security environment.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We’ll see what happens. Certainly I’ll see what happens. But when they have no collusion and nobody has found any collusion at any level, it seems unlikely that you would even have an interview,” –President Trump said, responding to a question at a joint press conference with the Prime Minister of Norway.
NEED TO READ
Trump on prospect of meeting with Mueller: ‘It seems unlikely’. President Donald Trump would not commit Wednesday to being interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of the Russia investigation and called the prospect “unlikely,” despite saying last year that he would be willing to speak with him. (Adam Kelsey) http://abcn.ws/2DhDVGE
White House memo: Kelly orders West Wing staff no personal phones, no smart watches. With an eye on bolstering cyber security protocols and cracking down on leaks to the media, Chief of Staff John Kelly issued a memo to staff on Wednesday outlining the administration’s new ban on personal cell phones within the West Wing complex of the White House. (Katherine Faulders) http://abcn.ws/2mpZ3mz
ICE targets 7-Elevens nationwide, as it ramps up worksite enforcement. In the early morning hours Wednesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents served notices of employment verification inspection to 98 7-Eleven franchise stores across the country. (Geneva Sands) http://abcn.ws/2EtGnZG
Cyber veteran joins Special Counsel Mueller’s team. A longtime federal prosecutor who specializes in cyber crimes and fraud has joined Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and alleged collusion between Trump associates and Russian operatives. (Pierre Thomas) http://abcn.ws/2mo3ezf
Pentagon’s top enlisted leader suggests fatally beating ISIS fighters with a shovel. A Facebook post written by a senior enlisted U.S. military leader raised eyebrows this week after it instructed troops to beat ISIS fighters with a shovel if they don’t surrender. Senior Enlisted Adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Command Sergeant Major John Wayne Troxell, wrote Tuesday that ISIS has two options: “surrender or die.” (Elizabeth McLaughlin, Luis Martinez) http://abcn.ws/2qQT66T
DACA court ruling sparks outrage from WH, hope from advocates. The White House is calling the federal court ruling to halt dismantlement of DACA”outrageous,” but immigration advocates see it as a victory — although not a lasting one. On Tuesday, a federal district judge in California issued a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The program was begun under the Obama administration to offer deportation relief and work authorization to young people brought to the U.S. as children, known as “Dreamers.” (Geneva Sands) http://abcn.ws/2moDiUd
Supreme Court hears arguments on Ohio voter-purge practices. The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments on whether the State of Ohio’s process of removing individuals from voter rolls violates federal law. The case before the court, Husted v A. Philip Randolph Institute, questions the legality of an Ohio law that allows the removal of individuals from voting rolls if that individual has not voted in two federal elections and have not responded to a confirmation notice or update their registration. (Audrey Taylor) http://abcn.ws/2qUUHZE
ABC News ‘Powerhouse Politics’ Podcast: Trump displayed ‘rare genius’ in listening, being flexible at immigration meeting: GOP senator. Building off momentum from a bipartisan meeting hosted by President Trump, lawmakers are racing to craft a plan to protect so-called ‘Dreamers’–but Democrats and Republicans are still far apart on how to fix the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. In a news conference Wednesday, the president likely made that negotiation even harder– by insisting again that any immigration deal must include funding for a border wall. (Adam Kelsey) http://abcn.ws/2FlBFyt
In offhand comment, Trump reignites debate over congressional earmarks. During Tuesday’s White House meeting–already unusual for being open to cameras and the public–President Trump threw a curveball to the 20 lawmakers present when he brought up earmarks–the mere mention of which is pretty much banned along with the practice itself. (Ali Rogin) http://abcn.ws/2EvEZ97
California Rep. Darrell Issa not seeking re-election in 2018. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., will not seek re-election to his Orange County congressional seat, he announced Wednesday, the latest in a string of retirements from Republican House members in recent weeks. (John Verhovek) http://abcn.ws/2mpDsdZ
Trump to get first presidential physical exam amid questions on health, fitness. During the campaign, Donald Trump’s longtime personal physician asserted that the Republican candidate would be “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” Now, a year into his presidency, the 71-year-old Trump — the oldest person ever to assume the job — is set to undergo his first checkup as commander in chief. Trump heads to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday for a presidential physical, according to the White House.(Jordyn Phelps) http://abcn.ws/2D1PtAM
Former Breitbart News spokesman Kurt Bardella details his experiences working with the outlet’s former head Steve Bannon in a New York Times Op-ed. https://nyti.ms/2Eu6csM
Reuters reports that Canadian officials are growing “increasingly convinced” that President Trump will soon announced that the United States intends to pull out the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). https://reut.rs/2CYK2md
Politico reports on the detailed blueprint revealing the Trump administration’s secret plan to dismantle Obamacare using executive authority. http://politi.co/2qU3URM