The Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget




Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy Tuesday! Our newsletter gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Co-creators are Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver (CLICK HERE to subscribe!). On Twitter, find us at @asimendinger and @alweaver22.

Lawmakers are juggling a to-do list this week that defies the space-time continuum in any Congress hurtling toward a Memorial Day recess.


White House economic adviser Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE met with lawmakers in the Capitol on Monday, urging more progress on “everything,” including the budget. “We’re open to a lot of solutions,” he said.


“There’s a possibility we could work out something on the broader issues, the budget,” Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Lawmakers call for investigation into program meant to help student loan borrowers with disabilities Senators sound alarm on dangers of ransomware attacks after briefing MORE (R-Ohio) said with a note of optimism in his voice. “It would be nice to get it done before we go on this break, at least a framework for avoiding another government shutdown, God forbid.”


>     House and Senate leaders will continue talking this week with senior White House officials about how to fund the federal government after Sept. 30. The White House also wants to persuade Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKey House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills Biden: 'No party should have too much power' Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law | Michigan governor seeks to pause Medicaid work requirements | New front in fight over Medicaid block grants House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Why a second Trump term and a Democratic Congress could be a nightmare scenario for the GOP MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing White House, Democrats strike tentative deal to create Space Force in exchange for federal parental leave benefits: report Trump: Fox News 'panders' to Democrats by having on liberal guests MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyDemocrat who opposed Trump, Clinton impeachment inquiries faces big test CNN Pelosi town hall finishes third in cable news ratings race, draws 1.6M Economy adds 266K jobs in November, blowing past expectations MORE (R-Calif.) to raise the nation’s borrowing authority as a separate must-do measure without the partisan jockeying surrounding potential default (The Hill).


>      Today, the entire Congress will be briefed on the intelligence behind the administration’s warnings that Iran could strike U.S. interests in the Middle East (The Hill). President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE has threatened “the official end of Iran,” while Iran says it has quadrupled its production of enriched uranium. “I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything,” Trump told reporters on Monday evening. “If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will.”


>      On Monday, senators from both parties reached a tentative agreement to send Puerto Rico more disaster aid, just one of the stumbling blocks in a major disaster assistance measure that has been in limbo for months. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyDemocrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks On The Money: Economy adds 266K jobs in strong November | Lawmakers sprint to avoid shutdown | Appropriators to hold crucial talks this weekend | Trump asks Supreme Court to halt Deutsche Bank subpoenas Appropriators face crucial weekend to reach deal MORE (R-Ala.), who discussed the topic and the overall budget picture with Trump, isn’t sure the president’s opposition has softened when it comes to Puerto Rico’s disaster travails, but observers think an aid bill could now be on a fast track (The Hill).


>      Trump, Schumer and Pelosi are expected to meet again, as they said they would last month, to discuss ways the government could pay for $2 trillion in infrastructure upgrades (The Hill). House Democrats now say they’re not sure they want to work with Trump on a deal before the 2020 elections, while Republican lawmakers balked at the price tag and Trump, who initially sounded enthusiastic last month, now argues he’s being “played” by the opposition party (The Hill).


>      Vice President Pence on Monday for the first time pressed Congress to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement “this summer,” a brisk schedule before Congress’s August break, particularly for Democrats who want to add provisions to support labor and environmental protections leading into an election year (The Hill).


Also in Congress … McConnell, who is running for re-election in 2020, on Monday announced he’s working across the aisle with Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineKey House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills 'Granite Express' flight to take staffers, journalists to NH after Iowa caucuses Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Senate panel approves Trump FDA pick | Biden downplays Dem enthusiasm around 'Medicare for All' | Trump officials unveil program for free HIV prevention drugs for uninsured MORE (D-Va.) to back what advocates call “Tobacco to 21” legislation to raise to 21 the legal age for the purchase of tobacco products (The Hill).





POLITICS & CAMPAIGNS: Whether he likes it or not, Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashDemocrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Here are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Amash says he will vote in favor of articles of impeachment MORE (R-Mich.) is becoming persona non grata within the Republican Party.


Amash, the libertarian-leaning lawmaker, doubled down on his weekend claim that the president engaged in impeachable conduct and has since been the center of speculation about a possible 2020 challenge to the president on the Libertarian Party ticket.


As Jonathan Easley reported, buzz is building that Amash will leave the Republican Party to launch a bid. Earlier this year, Amash left the door open to a Libertarian Party run and he has repeatedly expressed frustration with the GOP for abandoning its conservative principles to bend for Trump.


His statement over the weekend that he believed Trump committed impeachable offenses energized and united the “Never Trump” Republicans, who have been unable to recruit a candidate of their own, and prominent libertarians.


Since those remarks, Trump and his top allies have gone on the attack on his behalf. Additionally, GOP leaders are poo-pooing the idea that Amash could be a spoiler for the president, particularly in Michigan, which the president won in 2016 by just north of 10,000 votes (The Hill).


McCarthy, who left the door open to supporting a challenger if Amash runs for his House seat again, downplayed impact Amash may have on the 2020 scene and questioned whether anyone there has even heard of him before this past weekend.


“How many people know Justin Amash?” McCarthy asked reporters. “The only people I saw come up and congratulate him [tonight] were Democrats. How well did it play for [former Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing MORE (R-Ariz.)]? How well did it play for others? … It’s really about attention more than anything else.”


“He wondered ‘Who is this guy?’” McCarthy said when asked if he talked to Trump about the congressman, adding that Amash is an inconsequential member who hardly ever gets legislation passed.


“He does have a post office,” he quipped.  


The friction between the two is no surprise as Amash voted for Rep. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieThe Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware House passes anti-robocall bill MORE (R-Ky.) on the House floor for speaker in January while most of the conference supported McCarthy.


The alienation even came from some of his closest colleagues. As Juliegrace Brufke reported, the House Freedom Caucus voted to condemn the impeachment remarks, but decided against expulsion of Amash, a founder of the three-dozen member group.


The Washington Post: Republicans caught between Trump and reluctance to penalize Amash after “impeachable conduct” declaration.





> Trump has a steep mountain to climb 18 months out from his reelection contest, as his approval ratings and polls continue to show him underwater, and a shockingly-high number of voters make it clear they will not vote for him in 2020.


As Niall Stanage writes, Trump also is staring at head-to-head polling that shows him losing heavily to former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden: Buttigieg 'doesn't have significant black support even in his own city' Biden: 'I'd add' Warren to my list of potential VP picks How can top Democrats run the economy with no business skill? MORE, the Democratic front-runner, and other top 2020 Democrats.


However, the president’s supporters believe he still has the wind at his back, pointing to the strong economy and the fact that his polling numbers have nudged upward since special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE’s report was released.


Trump made his latest appearance on the campaign trail Monday night in Montoursville, Pa., where he stumped for state Rep. Fred Keller, the GOP candidate for the special election to replace former Rep. Tom MarinoThomas (Tom) Anthony MarinoWhy the North Carolina special election has national implications The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Republican wins special House election in Pennsylvania MORE (R-Pa.) in the state’s 12th congressional district.


Trump told the Pennsylvania crowd that “I’ll be here a lot” as he looks to repeat his 2016 feat and win the state’s 20 electoral votes.


During the appearance, Trump made a point to ding Biden, a native of Scranton, Pa., on multiple occasions. At one point, he said that foreign leaders can’t wait to deal with the former vice president. Later on, he argued that Biden deserted the state.


“He's not from Pennsylvania,” Trump said. “I guess he was born here, but he left you folks. He left you for another state. Remember that, please....He left you for another state, and he didn't take care of you, because he didn't take care of your jobs. He let other countries come in and rip off America. That doesn't happen anymore."


Biden was born in Scranton in 1942, although his family moved away 11 years later (Politico).


The Washington Post: The narrator in chief: Trump opines on the 2020 Democrats — and so much more.


Reuters: Trump plans an official launch of his reelection campaign in mid-June, to coincide with the four-year anniversary of his initial White House bid.


The New York Times: As Biden rakes in big money, will there be a political cost?


> Biden isn’t the only Democrat trying to appeal to the middle-of-the-road voter as Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats worry about diversity on next debate stage The Hill's Morning Report — Pelosi makes it official: Trump will be impeached Steve Bullock exits: Will conservative Democrats follow? MORE (D) has staked out a position in the middle to win votes from centrists in his bid for the Democratic nomination.


As Reid Wilson reports, Bullock, who entered the race one week ago, is pushing his red-state credentials having won twice in a deep-red state. This is headlined by his reelection bid when Trump won the state by 20 points in 2016.


The Associated Press: Town hall on enemy turf? Fox News debate divides 2020 Dems.


Elsewhere on the 2020 scene … Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) will take part in a CNN town hall Tuesday night. The network also announced four more town halls in the coming weeks with Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetKey House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills Bloomberg on 2020 rivals blasting him for using his own money: 'They had a chance to go out and make a lot of money' Senators want FERC to protect critical infrastructure from Huawei threats MORE (D-Colo.) and Reps. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonDeval Patrick beefs up campaign staff Lawmakers honor JFK on 56th anniversary of his death Pardoning war crimes dishonors the military MORE (D-Mass.), Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanGM among partners planning .3B battery plant in Ohio San Francisco 49ers suspend announcer after reference to quarterback's 'dark skin' More than 100 Democrats sign letter calling for Stephen Miller to resign MORE (D-Ohio) and Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Trump: Fox News 'panders' to Democrats by having on liberal guests Democrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week MORE (D-Calif.), all of which will take place in Atlanta (CNN) … Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseFCC votes to bar use of its funds to purchase Huawei, ZTE equipment Senate approves stopgap bill to prevent shutdown Trump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition MORE (R-Neb.) is expected to launch a bid for reelection to the Senate this summer. A final decision will be reached this summer, but Republicans believe will run despite speculation that he could forgo a bid (Politico).


WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Former White House Counsel Don McGahn will not appear on Capitol Hill on Tuesday and plans to “respect the president’s instruction” to defy a congressional subpoena, setting off a new round of calls to get the ball rolling on impeachment proceedings against the president.


Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineTrump: Fox News 'panders' to Democrats by having on liberal guests Democrats express confidence in case as impeachment speeds forward Sunday shows — Nadler: A jury would convict Trump in 'three minutes flat' MORE (D-R.I.), a member of House Democratic leadership, said that the “pattern” of obstruction by the White House is the impetus behind the call, adding that Democrats are being left with no choice.


The impeachment question is also pressuring Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who continues to dismiss the possibility. According to Politico, Cicilline and two other Democratic member pressed her to move forward on impeachment proceedings, which she, along with multiple leadership allies, rejected immediately.


“Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing Pelosi faces tough choices on impeachment managers MORE (D-Md.) — a former law professor — said he wasn't advocating impeaching Trump but suggested that opening an impeachment inquiry would strengthen their legal position while allowing Democrats to move forward with their legislative agenda.


“Pelosi dismissed this argument, asking Raskin if he wanted to shut down the other five committees working on Trump investigations in favor of the Judiciary Committee.  


“‘You want to tell Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsImpeachment can't wait Adam Schiff's star rises with impeachment hearings Tucker Carlson calls Trump 'full-blown BS artist' in segment defending him from media coverage MORE to go home?’ Pelosi quipped, referring to the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee.”


> U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta blocked Trump’s bid to withhold from House Democratic investigators his financial records held by an accounting firm he retained as a New York businessman, giving House Democrats a victory in their bid to unearth a trove of financial information about the president.


Trump panned the decision, pointing to Mehta being a judge appointed by former President Obama in 2014 and calling it “crazy.”


Trump's attorneys filed a lawsuit last month seeking to block Mazars USA, an accounting firm, from complying with a subpoena for years of documents related to the House Oversight Committee's investigation into claims that Trump inflated or deflated financial statements for potentially improper purposes (NBC News).


The Wall Street Journal: Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFive things to watch in Russia probe review Trump, GOP shift focus from alleged surveillance abuse to Durham Russia probe Trump: Giuliani to deliver report on Ukraine trip to Congress, Barr MORE says he is fighting for the presidency, not Trump.


> The Environmental Protection Agency plans to get thousands of deaths off its books by changing its math about air pollution, to the chagrin of scientists and critics who challenge the accuracy and motivation (The New York Times).


> A government watchdog said Secretary Betsy DeVosElizabeth (Betsy) Dee DeVosOn The Money: Economy adds 266K jobs in strong November | Lawmakers sprint to avoid shutdown | Appropriators to hold crucial talks this weekend | Trump asks Supreme Court to halt Deutsche Bank subpoenas GOP set for all-out battle over Michigan Senate seat 'Can I get a ride?' Removing an obstacle for families using school choice MORE used personal email for official purposes in “limited” cases without keeping department copies, an internal investigation disclosed on Monday.


According to the Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General, DeVos sent fewer than 100 emails pertaining to government business from her four known personal email addresses between Jan. 20, 2017, and April 10, 2018, with most coming within the first six months (The Hill).  




The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: and We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!


Don’t recycle another myth to justify a war with Iran, by Dov S. Zakheim, opinion contributor, The Hill.


Democrats should seize the day with a trade agreement, by Luis de la Calle, former Mexican deputy secretary for trade, and Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican ambassador to the United States, opinion contributors, The Hill.


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program, starting at 8 a.m., features Rep. Mark GreenMark GreenTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization Trump says he will designate Mexican drug cartels as terror organizations House GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues MORE (R-Tenn.) on the situation with Iran; Robert Scott, director of trade and manufacturing for the Economic Policy Institute, on China and the trade war; and New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker, interviewed about his latest book, “Obama: The Call of History.”


The House convenes at 10 a.m. House Democrats will hold a private weekly caucus meeting to be briefed about Iran by former White House national security adviser John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanKrystal Ball: Yang's MSNBC boycott shows network has 'officially lost the left' Trump predicts 'historic' conclusions from DOJ's watchdog report on 'spying' Trump bemoans 'double standard' in Stone conviction MORE and other former U.S. officials who negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran (The Associated Press).


The Senate will meet at 10 a.m. and resumes consideration of Daniel P. Collins to be a United States circuit judge for the 9th Circuit.


The president has lunch with the vice president. Trump holds an expanded bilateral meeting with the leaders of the Freely Associated States, which are three Micronesian nations (Honolulu Civil Beat).


Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoDemocrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Linda Ronstadt tells Pompeo at dinner that he'll 'be loved' when 'he stops enabling Donald Trump' Gaetz defends Ukraine call: Trump acted on 'sincere' concerns of corruption MORE, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanDefense chief calls on European allies to be wary of China's investments, blasts Russia Pentagon chief approves 20 more miles of border wall Why Dave Norquist is the perfect choice for DOD's deputy secretary MORE, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, and other officials are briefing lawmakers in the House and Senate about Iran (The Associated Press).  


The National Association of Realtors at 10 a.m. will report on U.S. existing-home sales in April, a closely watched economic indicator during a year in which home sales nationally have been up and down.


Manufacturing: Ford Motor Co. on Monday said it will eliminate about 10 percent of its global salaried workforce, cutting approximately 7,000 jobs by the end of August as part of its larger restructuring in a move that will save the No. 2 automaker $600 million annually (Reuters). … Tesla Inc.’s stock slide intensified on Monday after a once-bullish analyst called the range of financial issues facing the electric-car maker a “code red situation” (Bloomberg).


Abortion: The Supreme Court on Monday took no action on appeals seeking to revive two restrictive Republican-backed abortion laws from Indiana. The court could next announce whether it will hear the cases on May 28. If the court takes up either case, it would give conservative justices an opportunity to chip away at the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling during a period in which states’ adoption of restrictive abortion laws are at the forefront of political debate (Reuters).


Tech: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is recommending approval of a T-Mobile and Sprint merger after the two companies agreed to changes to a proposed $26 billion deal (The Hill). However, the Department of Justice Antitrust Division is leaning toward a thumbs-down on the merger (Bloomberg). … Meanwhile, Chinese telecom giant Huawei continues to be in the middle of a U.S.-China tech cold war (The New York Times). The company got temporary exemptions from a U.S. blacklist in order to keep existing communications systems operating (The Wall Street Journal).


Jeopardy! Contestant James Holzhauer was back at the buzzer on the game show match-up that aired Monday. Guess what? Yep, the professional sports bettor won again. Will he beat Ken Jennings’s all-time Jeopardy record? Ken has been rooting for him (The Washington Post).


Eiffel Tower: Rescuers in Paris eventually persuaded a man who scaled the Eiffel Tower on Monday to give himself up after his actions forced the monument’s evacuation and closure. “The man entered the tower normally and started to climb once he was on the second floor,” a spokeswoman for the tower’s operator told Reuters. The iconic, 1,063-foot tower reopened today and tourists with timed tickets to ascend on Monday said they were désappointé to find themselves still on the ground (The Associated Press).





And finally … Washington commuters and a summer’s supply of visitors to the nation’s capital should prepare this week to get a little hot under the collar. Beginning on Saturday and extending through Sept. 8, Metro system repairs will shut down subway stops in Virginia that are south of Reagan National Airport.


Virginia stations along the blue and yellow Metro lines that will be affected for months are Braddock Road, Van Dorn Street, Franconia-Springfield, Eisenhower Avenue, Huntington and King Street-Old Town. Express shuttle buses, local shuttle buses and water taxis are planned to help alleviate some of the public transportation gaps (WTOP). More details HERE.