The Hill's 12:30 Report

The Hill's 12:30 Report

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--> A midday take on what's happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*

*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha-- breaks down crying hysterically.


The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, GOP senators unveil plan to cut legal immigration | Trump signs new Russia sanctions | Blasts bill as 'seriously flawed' | House majority up for grabs in 2018 | Dow hits record high | MLB catch of the year | What we know about GOP tax plan | GOP chairman to hold healthcare hearings

JUST NOW -- TRUMP LAUNCHES 'AMERICA'S GOT TALENT: IMMIGRANT EDITION': President Trump has teamed up with conservative Republican Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonAgencies play catch-up over security concerns with TikTok House Freedom Caucus chairman endorses Collins's Georgia Senate bid Sunday shows preview: 2020 Democrats jockey for top spot ahead of Nevada caucuses MORE (Ark.) and David Perdue (Ga.) to unveil new legislation to dramatically curb legal immigration to the United States. The gist of the legislation: They say it would move the U.S. to a "merit-based" immigration system and away from the current model, which is largely based on family ties. Is this giving you 2016 flashbacks?: It should. Trump argued during the campaign that a spike in legal immigration has taken away job opportunities from American citizens and threatened national security.

Behind-the-scenes tidbit: "Per TV feed, [Treasury Secretary Steve] Mnuchin was hanging just outside the door as POTUS made the immigration announcement." (From TIME's Zeke Miller)  

Summary of the 'RAISE Act':

Full bill, if you're into that kinda thing:

It's Wednesday. I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to and on Facebook.

BREAKING LATE THIS A.M. -- *GRITS TEETH, FAKES A SMILE AND PULLS OUT HIS LUCKY PEN*President Trump quietly signed legislation this morning hitting Russia with new sanctions and limiting his administration's ability to lift them. Back story: Both chambers of Congress easily passed the sanctions bill with overwhelming, veto-proof majorities. However, the White House wanted to water down the bill and had been giving mixed signals on whether Trump would sign it into law.

Trump then released not one, but two statements:

Statement No. 1 -- legal: "In its haste to pass this legislation, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions. For instance, although I share the policy views of sections 253 and 257, those provisions purport to displace the President's exclusive constitutional authority to recognize foreign governments, including their territorial bounds, in conflict with the Supreme Court's recent decision in Zivotofsky v. Kerry..."

Statement No. 2 -- political: "The bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch's authority to negotiate ... yet despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity."

Keep in mind: "The word 'purport' is used three times." (From WSJ's Eli Stokols)

THIS MORNING -- DOW OW OWWWW: Via CNBC's Fred Imbert, the Dow Jones industrial average hit a new record today, hitting 22,000. How it happened: "The 30-stock index climbed about 43 points at the open, receiving a boost from Apple's stock, which surged nearly 6 percent in the premarket after posting quarterly results that blew expectations out of the water."

CNBC's homepage as the news broke:


BUT CONSTRUCTION OF THE ELEPHANT STATUE IS MAKING SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS?!: Via The Hill's Mike Lillis and Scott Wong, the majority in the House is up for grabs in 2018. Democrats are feeling encouraged about their prospects of taking it back despite a string of special election losses. For example: Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball, said the single best gauge for predicting 2018 results may be the House generic ballot, which has the Democrats up between 6 and 14 points. Midterm elections for first-term presidents are historically ruinous for the party that controls the White House. Data points:

Meanwhile, governing is hard: Republicans are questioning their ability to govern following seven months of constant turmoil capped by the dramatic failure in the Senate to advance ObamaCare repeal. GOP lawmakers already face serious divisions over the two biggest items left on the agenda: raising the debt ceiling and reforming the tax code. And Republicans know they'll get the full blame if they fail.

What's being talked about: "Think the GOP will divorce Trump? Not quite. The settlement would be too expensive, reports AP's Julie Bykowicz

SPOTTED IN CHRIS WRAY'S RESUME -- 'ENJOYS LONG WALKS ON THE BEACH, FOREIGN FILMS AND BEING CALLED TO TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS': The Senate easily confirmed Christopher Wray, President Trump's pick for FBI director. The vote: 92-5. Why Dems seem to like him: Democrats praised Trump's nominee, saying they believed he could be independent of the president and any attempts to politicize the bureau.

WAIT. REVOLUTIONARY IDEA. WHAT IF WE GET BOTH PARTIES IN A ROOM TOGETHER...AND COME UP WITH A...SOLUTION ....?: A Senate chairman on Tuesday took a significant step toward working with Democrats on stabilizing a core facet of ObamaCare: the healthcare exchanges. How: Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said he will hold bipartisan hearings during the first week of September on strengthening ObamaCare's individual markets for 2018. The goal: To craft a bipartisan, short-term proposal by mid-September.

HELPFUL READ -- WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU MEAN BY 'TAX? REFORM'?: The Hill's Naomi Jagoda broke down what we know and don't know about Republicans' tax-reform efforts:

THE TALK OF TWITTER: "The Daily Show's" Matt Negrin tweeted, "The last text you sent is the Democrats' slogan for 2018." The replies are pretty entertaining:



NBC's Frank Thorp (Lol.)
[Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThis week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Congress set for clash over surveillance reforms Five things to know about emerging US, Taliban peace deal MORE (R-S.C.): "I voted for a guy I never met, what was that guy's name? Evan....(Reporters: 'McMullin')...I finally met him about a month ago."

The Daily Beast's Asawin Suebsaeng (As a follow-up to this license plate)
Per source who was at a private briefing about a year ago where [Trump's controversial national security aide] Sebastian Gorka was speaking: Gorka was using a Minions smartphone case



The Senate is in. The House is working on an August base tan.

2 p.m. EDT: President Trump meets with Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way GOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law MORE (R-Ohio)

2 p.m. EDT: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has a closed briefing with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis on the Trump administration's views on an authorization for the use of military force.

7 p.m. EDT Thursday: President Trump is holding a rally in Huntington, W.Va.



2:30 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gives the daily press briefing on camera. Livestream:



Today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day!

BAN. BROOKLYN.: Via The Brooklyn Paper, "Anti-[vaccination] movement prompts Brooklynites to withhold inoculations from their pets." Why thaaa?: "The increased skepticism towards inoculating pets is likely the result of a national movement that claims vaccines can cause autism in children, according to [a Brooklyn] doctor, who said she has seen an increase in clients unwilling to have their dogs vaccinated in recent years."

CAN I GET A 'MACH?' 'MACH!' 'IATO?' 'IATO!': Tomorrow through Monday, Starbucks is offering buy-one-get-one-free macchiatos between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE TIME TO SCROLL THROUGH THIS NOW, BOOKMARK IT: National Geographic released its 2017 Travel Photographer of the Year contest. Winners and honorable mentions:

TRENDING IN SPORTS NEWS -- YOWZA: Cleveland Indians outfielder Austin Jackson had an incredible catch last night at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox. By the way, the Sox still won hehehehe ;) Watch:

And because you read this far, here's a house cat challenging a lion to a fight. Survival of the fittest, man...


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