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 TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally 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) ManchinHillicon Valley: Facebook removes Trump post | TikTok gets competitor | Lawmakers raise grid safety concerns OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court cancels shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline | US could avoid 4.5M early deaths by fighting climate change, study finds | Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic Officials warn of increasing cyber threats to critical infrastructure during pandemic 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 SchumerChuck SchumerPelosi, Schumer slam Trump executive orders, call for GOP to come back to negotiating table Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief Postal Service says it lost .2 billion over three-month period 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 FlakeCheney clashes with Trump Sessions-Tuberville Senate runoff heats up in Alabama GOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism 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 (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE (The Hill).

McConnell: The Senate’s right and left (not to mention opinion columnists), made Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump signs executive orders after coronavirus relief talks falter Coronavirus deal key to Republicans protecting Senate majority Coronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal 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 McCaskillDemocratic-linked group runs ads in Kansas GOP Senate primary Trump mocked for low attendance at rally Missouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties 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 KavanaughMcConnell has 17-point lead over Democratic challenger McGrath: poll Davis: My recommendation for vice president on Biden ticket Kavanaugh urged Supreme Court to avoid decisions on Trump finances, abortion: report 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 GrahamSeveral GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Graham says he appreciates Trump orders, but 'would much prefer a congressional agreement' Sunday shows preview: White House, congressional Democrats unable to breach stalemate over coronavirus relief MORE (R-S.C.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPPP application window closes after coronavirus talks deadlock  The Hill's Campaign Report: US officials say Russia, China are looking to sow discord in election US intelligence says Russia seeking to 'denigrate' Biden 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 BrownOvernight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was 'unprovoked escalation' | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors Democrats urge controversial Pentagon policy nominee to withdraw Chamber of Commerce, banking industry groups call on Senate to pass corporate diversity bill MORE (D) and Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanNot a pretty picture: Money laundering and America's art market Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire Senators holding behind-the-scenes talks on breaking coronavirus package stalemate 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 DeVosStudents at school system Pence called 'forefront' of reopening now in quarantine The Hill's Coronavirus Report: GoDaddy CEO Aman Bhutani says DC policymakers need to do more to support ventures and 'solo-preneurs'; Federal unemployment benefits expire as coronavirus deal-making deadlocks Democrats look to go on offense in debate over reopening schools 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 PompeoBeirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally Advocacy groups come out against Trump pick for ambassador to Germany US pledges million in disaster aid to Lebanon 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 TlaibEthics Committee orders Tlaib to refund campaign ,800 for salary payments HuffPost reporter discusses progressives' successful showing on Tuesday Minneapolis Star Tribune endorses Ilhan Omar's primary challenger 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 ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Trump order targets TikTok, WeChat | TikTok fires back | Chinese firms hit hard in aftermath Female lawmakers pressure Facebook to crack down on disinformation targeting women leaders Hillicon Valley: Facebook removes Trump post | TikTok gets competitor | Lawmakers raise grid safety concerns 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 DingellCOVID-19 bill limiting liability would strike the wrong balance Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell easily wins House primary Great American Outdoors Act will deliver critical investments to our national parks, forests 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.