The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Immigration drama grips Washington


Welcome to The Hill's Morning Report, and TGIF! Our daily email gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch, co-created by Jonathan Easley and Alexis Simendinger. (CLICK HERE to subscribe!)

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, starting at 8 a.m., today features budget expert Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthDemocratic lawmaker calls Trump a 'moron' for his handling of Iran Democrats not keen to reignite Jerusalem embassy fight Pelosi slated to deliver remarks during panel hearing on poverty MORE (D-Ky.); the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, talking about U.S. investments in that country; and actor and comedian Michael Aronin, one of the stars of a 2017 film, “Special Unit,” cast almost entirely with disabled performers.

In memoriam … Conservative columnist and Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer, 68, died on Thursday. In his clear-eyed fashion, he previewed the news himself earlier this month. His fans were everywhere.

Dramatic votes. House floor maneuvers. Protests. Trips to the border.

Immigration issues gripped Washington on Thursday. Nothing was resolved. Today, President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE will return to a familiar narrative about criminal immigrants and gang members in a speech at the White House.

Here’s the tick-tock and fallout from a frantic 24 hours:

The House

Trump fumed over these outcomes.

The Senate

The White House

The executive order Trump signed to stop his administration’s policy of separating children from their families has done nothing to quell the outrage over the plights of the more than 2,000 children who have already been separated.

In Texas and other border communities, and in Washington, the administration is reckoning with the real-world logistics of unwinding the family separation policy, along with ferocious political blowback.

The Associated Press: Confusion swirls on border after Trump reversal on families.

Reuters: Trump policy beset by confusion.

Takeaway: The plight of all of these separated children will dog the administration until the last case is resolved. The issues complicate the already emotional debates about newly arriving migrants, asylum seekers, border security, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, and 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country who face deportation.



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As a Medicare Part D Cliff looms for seniors, the program’s successful structure is also in jeopardy. Congress can act now to protect seniors from the donut hole suddenly increasing by more than $1,200, and secure the program for the future by fixing changes that undermine its successful competitive structure.



CONGRESS: Republican lawmakers appear no closer to a consensus than they were early this week, or early this year, despite Speaker Ryan’s assurances that leaders presented “pretty darn good immigration measures” for House consideration. If there’s a Plan D, it’s a mystery, other than to come back at it next week. Here’s some of the latest coverage at

House GOP – immigration: House Republicans postponed until next week a planned vote on a leadership-backed immigration bill (The Hill).

> A separate conservative GOP immigration bill failed in the House on Thursday by a vote of 193-231, and its rejection was expected (The Hill). Not one Democrat backed the bill and 41 Republicans — many in tough reelection races — voted "no." Noteworthy: Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersOvernight Energy: Fight over fuel standards intensifies | Democrats grill Trump officials over rule rollback | California official blasts EPA chief over broken talks | Former EPA official says Wheeler lied to Congress EPA head clashes with California over how car emissions negotiations broke down Lawmakers celebrate 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote MORE (Wash.), the No. 4-ranked House Republican who is a Democratic target this fall, rejected the measure.

> A House panel rejected an amendment that would have barred separation of migrant children from parents and relatives when apprehended at the border (The Hill).

> Senate - immigration: The Hill: Four leading senators plan to meet next week on immigration issues. Senate Republicans say some kind of measure to address the border crisis involving migrant families is needed, but obstacles have piled up.

Senate - clean water: The Hill: The Senate turned aside a conservative’s bid to block a landmark Obama-era water pollution rule.

House – farm bill: The Hill: The House approved a five-year farm bill, following months of legislative drafting complicated by unrelated snags before a final vote tied to immigration. The measure imposes controversial new work requirements on food stamp beneficiaries.

House - budget: The Hill: The House Budget Committee approved, with a party-line vote, a budget resolution for the 2019 fiscal year, advancing the measure two months after its legal deadline and well into the appropriations process it’s meant to precede. 

Trade issues: Turkey imposed tariffs on $1.8 billion of U.S. goods on Thursday in retaliation for the Trump administration’s tariffs on aluminum and steel (Bloomberg) … Trump jabbed first and now the world hits back in trade fight (The Associated Press) ...

Stocks set for worst week in three months on trade war worries (Reuters).




CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS: Trump is in full campaign mode following his rally this week in Minnesota, a state he’d love to turn red in 2020.

The president’s next stop is another swing state he lost narrowly in 2016. He’ll stump for Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerThis week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report Trump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary MORE (R) in Nevada on Saturday. Heller is among the most vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection in 2018.

And the president used his influential twitter account to endorse Republican Henry McMaster for governor in South Carolina. Trump heads to Columbia to campaign for McMaster on Monday.

> Republicans would love to be focusing on their tax-cuts bill and the economy this election season, but that’s been swamped by immigration. Six months in, The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda takes a look at whether the law will be an asset or an anchor for Republicans in the fall (The Hill).

> And The New York Times sits down with Faith and Freedom Coalition president Ralph Reed to explain why Christians are unlikely to ever abandon Trump. The entire interview is worth a read, but here is one critical quote:

“Mr. Trump won 81 percent of the evangelical vote in 2016, which was the highest share won by any presidential candidate in the history of modern polling. I think it is entirely possible that in 2020 his support could be even higher because of his record on judges, protecting life and religious freedom and defending Israel. There is one way for that support to drop precipitously, and that is if he were to betray his commitments on these critical issues. I don’t expect that to happen.” – Reed.

More from the campaign trail … Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani has infuriated Republicans by backing an obscure challenger to Rep. Clay HigginsGlen (Clay) Clay Higgins58 GOP lawmakers vote against disaster aid bill GOP lawmaker vows to catch those responsible for string of arsons at black churches in Louisiana GOP lawmaker says border situation threatens US 'integrity' MORE (R-La.) … Giuliani’s girlfriend works for the challenger (Politico) … Did former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt resign from the party and become a Democrat so he could advise Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz’s potential presidential campaign? … connecting the dots (CALmatters) … Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillConservatives spark threat of bloody GOP primaries Congress needs to work to combat the poverty, abuse and neglect issues that children face Lobbying world MORE (D-Mo.) has airplane issues again (The Hill).



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As a Medicare Part D Cliff looms for seniors, the program’s successful structure is also in jeopardy. Congress can act now to protect seniors from the donut hole suddenly increasing by more than $1,200, and secure the program for the future by fixing changes that undermine its successful competitive structure.



ADMINISTRATION & WHITE HOUSE: Trump wants to remake the entire federal government, according to a detailed plan released Thursday by the Office of Management and Budget. Congress would have to agree to consolidate the Education and Labor departments, move food and nutrition services from the Agriculture Department to the Department of Health and Human Services, and reshape the U.S. Census Bureau, among other ideas (Education Week).

The New York Times: Trump’s plan for government overhaul targets the safety net.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: The Hill: A federal district judge ruled Thursday that the structure of the CFPB violates the Constitution, countering a January ruling from a federal appeals court. Judge Loretta Preska of the Southern District of New York ruled that the CFPB’s creation as an independent agency with a director that could only be dismissed for wrongdoing was unconstitutional. Meanwhile acting CFPB chief Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyOn The Money: Sanders unveils plan to wipe .6T in student debt | How Sanders plan plays in rivalry with Warren | Treasury watchdog to probe delay of Harriet Tubman bills | Trump says Fed 'blew it' on rate decision The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions Top Democrat accuses White House of obstructing review related to Trump-Putin communications MORE has emerged as a key proponent for Kathy Kraninger, nominated this week to be the bureau’s full-time director. Mulvaney, who also serves as Office of Management and Budget director, hopes to quiet the concerns in the Senate and among stakeholders about Kraninger’s credentials.

White House and Ethics: Ethics watchdogs had assailed Donald Trump and White House senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump puts the cart before the horse in Palestine Negotiators face major obstacles to meeting July border deadline GOP launches 'WinRed' online fundraising site in response to Democrats' small-donor advantage MORE, the president’s son-in-law, for retaining stakes in their family businesses while the companies were financially entangled in New Jersey. The New York Times reports that Kushner Cos. and the Trump Organization recently dropped plans for the Trumps to manage an oceanfront hotel that the Kushners are building at the Jersey shore. The companies also terminated an arrangement that would have seen the Trumps managing a hotel outside New York City in Kushner’s childhood hometown, Livingston, N.J.


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Six months in, the GOP tax bill is an utter flop, by Damon Silvers, policy director for the AFL-CIO and opinion contributor with The Hill.

The cyber security sector is booming, but so are our enemies, by Morgan Wright, opinion contributor with The Hill.


The House convenes at 9 a.m. today.

The Senate will reconvene at 3 p.m. on Monday.            

The president confirms newly appointed ambassadors at a ceremony at 12:15 p.m. Trump will give a speech about the impacts of illegal immigration at the White House in the afternoon. In the evening, the president and first lady will attend the U.S. Marine Corps Evening Parade at the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C.

Vice President Pence will have lunch with Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, and in the afternoon, he’ll speak by phone with the president-elect of Colombia, Ivan Duque.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Trump says he doesn't need Congress to approve Iran strikes in interview with The Hill | New sanctions hit Iran's supreme leader | Schumer seeks to delay defense bill amid Iran tensions | Esper's first day as acting Pentagon chief Pompeo meets with Saudi crown prince amid tensions with Iran Poll: 24 percent of voters want military action against Iran MORE speaks this morning about the administration’s promotion of  “global economic prosperity” as part of the Commerce Department’s SelectUSA Initiative, which is a three-day event to attract foreign business investment. Pompeo’s remarks will be streamed live on from the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, Md. Later, he hosts a working lunch for King Abdullah II of Jordan at the State Department.


> Supreme Court: Internet retailers can be required to collect sales taxes in states where they have no physical presence, The New York Times. In a 5-4 ruling, the court overturned a 1992 court precedent (The Hill).

> How Michael Jackson changed dance history ( A 1988 video “introduced a dance trick in which Jackson … leans forward at about 45 degrees. The move was aided by patented shoes with bolts that lodged the heel into the floor.”

> Koko, the talented lowland gorilla who forged bonds with humans and kittens, died in her sleep earlier this week at age 46, the Gorilla Foundation announced. Born at the San Francisco Zoo in 1971, Koko was for decades a media sensation, contributing to the study of primate language, empathy and understanding among species. “Her impact has been profound, and what she has taught us about the emotional capacity of gorillas and their cognitive abilities will continue to shape the world,” the foundation said in a statement (The Washington Post). 



And finally … Smart news consumers who’ve been listening to this week’s emotional immigration debate responded to the Morning Report Quiz and matched five speakers with their statements referencing “heart.” (A missing bit of copy in the quiz yesterday prompted The Hill to email a “corrected” version of the newsletter; we apologize for any confusion.)  

The answers:

  1. “I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.” -- Former first lady Laura Bush
  2.  “We need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with a heart.”  -- First lady Melania Trump
  3. “There’s no doubt the images that we’ve seen of children and children being separated from their parents are heartbreaking. They were heartbreaking when Obama was president.”  -- Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas
  4. "Mr. President, have a heart for a change. Take that goddamn pen of yours and do away with this horrendous, inhumane policy of yours that rips children from the arms of their parents." -- Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMcConnell-backed Super PAC says nominating Roy Moore would be 'gift wrapping' seat to Dems McConnell vows to 'vigorously' oppose Moore's Senate bid Pelosi: Trump delay on Harriet Tubman is 'an insult to the hopes of millions' MORE (D-N.Y.)
  5. "You have people that want absolute security and safety, and you have people that do look at the children, and then you have people like me, and I think most of the people in this room, that want both. We want the heart, but we also want strong borders, and we want no crime. We don't want crime in this country. We don't want people coming in." -- President Trump

✅ This week, who-said-what was clear to these readers, and hat tips to all: Craig S. Corker, Liz Mair, Alla Yun, Dallas “Rob” Sweezy, Nancy Stenberg, Dara Umberger, Rachel Roberts, Jess Gravitt, Barbara Werling, Ashley Cummins, Cheryl Gibson, Gary Breakfield, Ricardo Duran, Mary Brule, John Dziennik Jr., Tami Allen, Greg Stetson and Denise Scovel.