The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by T-Mobile — Congress to act soon to avoid shutdown




Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report and happy Thursday! Our newsletter 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!) On Twitter, find us at @joneasley and @asimendinger.

A Houston funeral for former President George H.W. Bush will take place today at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, after which his casket will travel by train across the state for burial at his presidential library in College Station, Texas, alongside the grave of former first lady Barbara Bush and their daughter, Robin.


Congressional leaders are back on the clock today after the state funeral for former President George H.W. Bush provided a brief respite from partisan politics in Washington.

Now it’s back to reality, and a looming government shutdown with billions of dollars for a border wall hanging in the balance.

A handful of federal agencies will run out of money on Friday at midnight and be forced to close unless Congress passes a new spending deal.

The House and Senate are expected to vote today on a two-week continuing resolution that would keep the full government funded until Dec. 21.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCummings says Ivanka Trump not preserving all official communications Property is a fundamental right that is now being threatened 25 states could see severe flooding in coming weeks, scientists say MORE has verbally agreed to the short-term fix but has threatened to shut the government down if a long-term spending package doesn’t include $5 billion for a border wall. Democrats have said they’re open to providing about $1.6 billion in funding for border security.

If the continuing resolution passes on Thursday, as expected, the White House and lawmakers will have two weeks to hash out their differences. No one wants to be in Washington for Christmas so the hope is that the proximity to the holidays will incentivize the two sides to swiftly reach an agreement.

The Senate will vote on the continuing resolution in the morning. This afternoon, the House vote on a short term fix is expected to pass by unanimous consent, underscoring the degree to which Washington is eager to avoid a nasty, eleventh-hour spending fight in the same week it is burying the nation’s 41st president.

The current president and first lady and all of the living former presidents and first ladies sat side by side at the National Cathedral on Wednesday to honor Bush, whose legacy as a pragmatic dealmaker earned him praise from both sides of the aisle.

The Memo: Grief, tension mark Bush memorial service.

The Hill: Touching moments from Bush’s state funeral.




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CONGRESS: `Wake Up, Dudes’: GOP women see a gender crisis brewing for their party. The brutal midterm election decimated the ranks of GOP women in the House, and women leaving Congress and those entering have urged party leaders to be more aggressive in devising a strategy to stop the slide when it comes to female voters and support for women candidates (The Hill).

Red-state Democrat as ranking member: To the consternation of progressives and environmental advocacy groups, West Virginia moderate Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinManchin says he won't support LGBTQ protection bill as written Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law Murkowski, Manchin call for 'responsible solutions' to climate change MORE (D) is poised to lead his party next year as ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The ascension of an occasional Trump ally and supporter of coal and fossil fuels creates headaches for Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality: poll GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar MORE (D-N.Y.) but he’s unlikely to deny Manchin the promotion (The Hill). And here’s one reason why: Manchin can talk to Trump. During their meeting on Monday, the senator pitched the president to revive a bipartisan ObamaCare fix Trump once supported (The Hill).



Mueller protection bill: The Senate Judiciary Committee canceled votes on nearly two dozen judicial nominees for the second time in two weeks. Senate Republicans are at an impasse with Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Trump keeps tight grip on GOP MORE (R-Ariz.), who has said he will block Trump’s judicial nominees unless there is a vote on a bill to protect special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE (The Hill).

McConnell: The Senate’s right and left (not to mention opinion columnists), made Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellRock the Vote President says Dem reform bill 'shines a light' on dark money The Hill's Morning Report - Trump's intraparty feuds divide Republicans Trump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP MORE (R-Ky.) the target of criticism this week — over a criminal justice measure he won’t bring to the floor, and the Mueller protection efforts he insists are unnecessary. His detractors say he’s too controlling and too partisan. Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Dem candidate has Hawley served subpoena at CPAC Annual scorecard ranks GOP environmental efforts far below Dems in 2018 MORE (D-Mo.), who lost her bid for re-election last month, added her 2 cents on Wednesday.



Term limits for Supreme Court justices? “I would sure love to have the debate,” Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) told The Hill last week. “I don’t know exactly how I would come down, but it’s certainly worth talking about.” Lawmakers in both parties agree that an end to lifetime appointments for justices on the highest court might be an interesting public debate in the wake of the bruising confirmation battle for Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughCourt-packing becomes new litmus test on left Warren, Harris, Gillibrand back efforts to add justices to Supreme Court Pence traveling to SC for Graham reelection launch MORE and a recent health incident affecting the court’s oldest member (The Hill).

Share and compare: Democrats taking control of the House in January plan to send Mueller the transcripts of testimony by some of Trump’s closest associates so they can be reviewed for evidence and possible falsehoods (Reuters).

Resolution: A bipartisan group of senators, including Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump's intraparty feuds divide Republicans Trump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP Republicans defend McCain amid Trump attacks MORE (R-S.C.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio's pragmatic thinking on China The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump feuds heat up Rubio to introduce legislation to keep Supreme Court at 9 seats MORE (R-Fla.), filed a resolution Wednesday to condemn Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as responsible for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, directly challenging Trump to do the same (The Washington Post).

General Motors came to Washington: Two key senators, Ohio’s Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownWarren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight Trump faces political risks in fight over GM plant MORE (D) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanTrump faces political risks in fight over GM plant GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration MORE (R), want to stop GM from closing its Lordstown, Ohio, factory, and met with GM CEO and chairwoman Mary Barra on Wednesday to discuss the company’s plans to shutter four factories and lay off 15,000 workers (The Hill).




INTERNATIONAL: China - `We are very confident’: Today, Beijing was notably upbeat about the results of the recent meeting about trade between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. “We are very confident in reaching an agreement [with the United States] within the next 90 days,” China’s commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng said during a weekly briefing, adding that both governments have been communicating and cooperating “smoothly” since the leaders met in Argentina (Reuters).

Gao’s comments on Thursday occurred as Canadian authorities were arresting a top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei. She reportedly is accused of attempting to evade U.S. trade restrictions on Iran and faces possible extradition to the U.S.. China is demanding the executive’s release (The Associated Press). News of the arrest extended the tumbling of stocks in global markets (Financial Times).

Lobbying: Representatives of the Saudi government reserved hundreds of rooms at Trump International Hotel in Washington shortly after the 2016 election (The Washington Post). The lobbyists had been reserving rooms at other locations, but shifted their bookings to the president’s luxury hotel after Trump was elected, spending more than $270,000 there. This development comes amid allegations the president has turned a blind eye to allegations the Saudi Crown Prince was directly involved in the death of journalist Khashoggi. … Meanwhile, attorneys general in two states have issued subpoenas to more than a dozen Trump Organization entities as part of an investigation into allegations Trump has profited off the presidency.


CAMPAIGNS & POLITICS:  Democrats expect two dozen or more candidates will seek the party’s presidential nomination in 2020.

But as Amie Parnes writes, the field has thinned by a few, as one-time potential candidates size up the competition and determine it’s not their time (The Hill).

No matter how many run, the politics of 2020 will weigh heavily on the next Congress.

Max Greenwood has five things to watch in the next race for the House, as Republicans aim to take back the lower chamber for what they hope will be the beginning of Trump’s second term (The Hill).

And Alexander Bolton writes about how Schumer will be freed up to be more aggressive in the next Congress, considering his caucus won’t have 10 senators up for reelection in states the president carried (The Hill).

More from campaigns and politics … Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is demanding an emergency hearing on allegations of voter fraud in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, as Democrats ramp up the pressure on Republicans to investigate (The Hill) … Wisconsin’s GOP-controlled Senate passed new limits on the incoming Democratic governor amid protests of a power-grab (The Hill). Wisconsin’s Gov.-elect Tony Evers (D) wants outgoing Republican Gov. Scott Walker to veto the eleventh-hour legislation and is weighing legal action if the changes become law (The Associated Press).

The Morning Report is created by journalists Jonathan Easley & Alexis Simendinger Suggestions? Tips? We want to hear from you! Share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!


Bush family legacy falls to George P. Bush, by Mark P. Jones, opinion contributor, The Hill.

Trump has shifted the trade paradigm for the worse, by Michael Delaney, opinion contributor, The Hill.


The Senate at 10 a.m. is expected to vote on a short-term spending bill extending government funding past Friday's midnight deadline until Dec. 21 to avert a partial government shutdown.

The House at 12 p.m. is expected to follow the Senate’s lead to pass a short-term spending bill.

The president receives his daily intelligence briefing at 11:30 a.m. and has lunch with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosTrump signs executive order on campus free speech Student loan debt: The government broke it, and must fix it DeVos: DOE to investigate if federal regs were broken in college admissions scandal MORE at 12:30 p.m. Trump will deliver remarks in the East Room about Hanukkah at receptions at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Vice President Pence joined the president at the Hanukkah reception.

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoWhite House rejects Dem request for documents on Trump-Putin communications US calls for Venezuela to release opposition leader's chief of staff Trump: 'It is time' to recognize Israeli control of Golan Heights MORE meets with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha at 8:30 a.m.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Dr. Steven H. Walker, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency director, discuss from 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. how the Pentagon is modernizing America’s armed forces, how new technologies are changing warfare and identify the biggest military challenges today at an event hosted by the Washington Post. Info HERE.

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, starting at 8 a.m., features Rob Jackson, chair of the Global Carbon Project; Elgie Holstein, Environmental Defense Fund’s senior director for strategic planning; and Rep.-elect Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibDems concerned impeachment will make Trump 'appear like a victim,' says pollster Officials dismiss criticism that Trump rhetoric to blame for New Zealand attack Tlaib: Trump needs to send a 'very loud and clear' signal against domestic terrorism, white supremacy MORE (D-Mich).



> Internet: A new study finds that 162.8 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet, far greater than the Federal Communications Commission estimate of 24.7 million, with the majority of those people living in rural areas (The New York Times).

> Medicine: A womb transplanted from a deceased organ donor produced the first baby in 2017, the medical journal Lancet just reported. A 6-pound baby was delivered by Caesarean section in December 2017 in Brazil (BBC).

> Facebook: In another public relations blow to the company, the United Kingdom released internal Facebook emails in which executives, including CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergTop antitrust Dem calls on FTC to probe Facebook's market dominance Conservatives face a tough fight as Big Tech's censorship expands Actually, consumers love Big Tech, even if they say they don't MORE, deliberated about selling user data. The company also gave some developers special access to user data and discussed charging them for it, according to documents disclosed by British lawmakers (The Wall Street Journal).



> Autos: In yet another sign that electric vehicles are the manufacturing bet of the near future, Volkswagen says it will launch its final generation of gas-powered cars in 2026 (NBC News).  


And finally … It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s Morning Report Quiz! Inspired by the nation’s 41st president and the greatest generation, we’re eager for some smart guesses about George Herbert Walker Bush, plus a few other U.S. political leaders who were forever changed by World War II.

Email your responses to or, and please add “Quiz” to subject lines. Winners who submit four correct answers will enjoy some richly deserved newsletter fame on Friday.

Friday is the 77th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a day that lives in infamy and changed life for a generation around the world. The attack helped shape the ambitions of a teenage Bush, who set his sights on joining the U.S. Navy, and by the summer of 1943 became the youngest flying naval officer, earning his wings in the U.S. Naval Reserve.

How old was Bush when he earned his Navy wings and became a war pilot?

  1. 21
  2. 20
  3. 19
  4. 18

Appearing in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday to pay his respects to the late president  with a memorable, poignant salute was a fellow decorated WWII veteran. He was severely wounded in a battle in Italy, received treatment in Kansas and eventually followed the path of politics, becoming his party’s presidential nominee 51 years later. Who was that combat veteran?

  1. Former Sen. Alan Simpson
  2. Former Sen. Robert Dole
  3. Former Sen. James Webb
  4. Former Rep. John DingellJohn DingellAlaskan becomes longest serving Republican in House history The Hill's 12:30 Report: Cohen back on the hot seat Cummings shows how oversight should be done - and that's bad news for Trump MORE

Seated at the end of a pew filled with former presidents and their spouses at the National Cathedral on Wednesday was another former politician who admired Bush for what he called “his grace, civility, and social conscience.” At the conclusion of that VIP’s time in Washington, he decided to make service to others the focus of his exceedingly active senior years. As a young man who worked his way into the U.S. Naval Academy, where he become a midshipman, no one in his father’s family had ever finished high school. He entered the U.S. Navy’s submarine program after two years of surface duty, but without seeing combat during the second World War. Who was the man in that pew?

  1. Former Sen. and former Gov. Pete Wilson
  2. Former Sen. Trent Lott
  3. Former Vice President Dick Cheney
  4. Former President Jimmy Carter

Bush often said he was one of the luckiest people on Earth. In 1944, however, he thought his life might end at age 20 rather than at 94. As a Navy pilot flying bombing runs in the Pacific theater, Bush was the sole survivor when his plane was shot down after he bombed Japanese island Chichi Jima. He parachuted out of his burning plane, inflated a life raft, paddled with his arms until he was delirious and was shocked when he was rescued. How was the future president saved?

  1. A U.S. submarine rose to the surface near the raft and a crewman greeted Bush, saying, “Welcome aboard, sir.”
  2. Bush was picked up at sea by the crew of a battleship.
  3. He drifted to the island’s shore and he was rescued by allied forces.
  4. He was taken prisoner by the Japanese, but escaped.