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Washington Report June 3, 2016
03 Jun 2016

Washington Report June 3, 2016

Joyce Rubenstein and the Capstone Team (John Rogers, Alan MacLeod, Will Stone, Diane Rogers, Erik Oksala and Kayla Baca)

158 days to Election Day


4b9c6ff8450acf04c0151c68_560x314AFTER RECESS The Hill: … A 2017 spending bill for legislative branch operations, typically one of the easiest of the 12 annual appropriations bills to pass, could hit the House floor next week. A notice from the House Rules Committee, which determines how legislation is considered on the floor, said the panel will likely meet next week to finalize a limited amendment process for the measure. However, Republican leadership aides stressed on Thursday that next week’s schedule has not yet been finalized. House GOP leaders have been discussing changes to the procedure used to consider most annual spending bills that allows members of either party to offer unlimited amendments.”


PAYDAY LOAN’S DEBT SPIRAL TO BE CURTAILED DealBook: “The payday loan industry, which is vilified for charging exorbitant interest rates on short-term loans that many Americans depend on, could soon be gutted by a set of rules that federal regulators unveil(ed) on Thursday. People who borrow money against their paychecks are generally supposed to pay it back within two weeks, with substantial fees piled on: A customer who borrows $500 would typically owe around $575, at an annual percentage rate of 391%. But most borrowers routinely roll the loan over into a new one, becoming less likely to ever emerge from the debt. Mainstream banks are generally barred from this kind of lending. More than a dozen states have set their own rate caps and other rules that essentially prohibit payday loans, but the market is flourishing in at least 30 states. Some 16,000 lenders run online and storefront operations that thrive on the hefty profits. Under the guidelines from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — the watchdog agency set up in the wake of 2010 banking legislation — lenders will be required in many cases to verify their customers’ income and to confirm that they can afford to repay the money they borrow. The number of times that people could roll over their loans into newer and pricier ones would be curtailed. The new guidelines do not need congressional or other approval to take effect, which could happen as soon as next year.”


“HOW AN OUTSIDER PRESIDENT KILLED A PARTY” … in 1848 Great Read in Politico Magazine.


RYAN ENDORSES TRUMP. IT WAS PRETTY LAME On Thursday, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-WI) ended weeks of drama over whether he would formally back Trump [in a kind-of, sort-of endorsement]. The Fix: “Ryan tweeted out the news just after 3 p.m. Eastern time, just as Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had begun her much publicized foreign policy speech aimed at discrediting Trump. That speech was being carried live by all three cable networks and had the attention of the entire political world. That coincidence was not a coincidence. (Fix rule: There are no coincidences in politics.) And, Ryan was careful — both in the tweet and the op-ed piece he wrote announcing his decision — to carefully walk the line between voting for Trump and endorsing Trump. Asked about the seeming inconsistency, a Ryan aide told the Janesville Gazette that “he said he’ll vote for Trump in the piece. That speaks for itself, in our view.” All of this mishigas — from Ryan’s initial hesitation about backing Trump to his meeting in Washington with the real estate mogul — is evidence of just how painful, politically and personally, this is for Ryan. Trump represents so much of what Ryan has spent his time in office trying to move the Republican brand beyond — both rhetorically and on policy. At the same time, Ryan understands that Trump is the de facto leader of the GOP — for at least the next five months — and doing anything other than voting for him really isn’t an option. Welcome to 2016. The “Okay, but” election for Republicans.”

RYAN & McCONNELL LOCK ARMS Politico: “Paul Ryan was the last holdout … the House speaker and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have consummated the marriage that the GOP establishment has resisted all year long. Their political fates are now formally hitched … and they’ll have to deal with the consequences. LOVE, THOUGH, THIS IS NOT. Both men have made clear that their support for Trump has its limits and that Republican candidates will be advised, even encouraged, to run as far away from the presumptive nominee as they need to.”
A BETTER WAY Politico: “In non-Trump news from the speaker, Ryan will … unveil the Republican agenda starting next Tuesday. The agenda will be called “A Better Way” and for each of the three weeks in June that the House will be in session, the GOP agenda project’s six task forces will release their respective policy prescriptions.”
TRUMP’S VENDETTA AGAINST JUDGE WashPost “Donald Trump’s highly personal, racially tinged attacks on a federal judge overseeing a pair of lawsuits against him have set off a wave of alarm among legal experts. That attitude, many argue, could carry constitutional implications if Trump becomes president. U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is handling two class-action lawsuits against Trump University in San Diego, has emerged as a central target for Trump and his supporters in recent weeks. The enmity only escalated after Curiel ordered the release of embarrassing internal documents detailing predatory marketing practices at the for-profit educational venture; that case is set to go to trial after the November election.
“I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater. He’s a hater,” Trump said at a campaign rally in San Diego, adding that he believed the Indiana-born judge was “Mexican.” FRIGHTENING He also suggested taking action against the judge after the election: “They ought to look into Judge Curiel, because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace. Okay? But we will come back in November. Wouldn’t that be wild if I am president and come back and do a civil case? Where everybody likes it. Okay. This is called life, folks.” Trump’s attacks on Curiel stand out for their personal nature, for the racial remarks and for the suggestion by a potential president that someone “ought to look into” the judge.”
@SchreckReports: “I was removed from Donald Trump’s rally tonight for practicing journalism without the campaign’s permission”
Politico: “A Donald Trump campaign staffer and a private security guard removed a Politico reporter from a campaign rally on Thursday evening for reporting at the event without the campaign’s permission. Thursday’s ejection occurred as Trump mounts an increasingly caustic campaign against the free press. After weeks of media scrutiny about donations he promised to veterans groups, the presumptive GOP nominee held a news conference Tuesday to announce the groups that received the money. But Trump, who often refers to journalists as “scum” and “slime” — used the event instead to lambaste reporters for asking questions about the donations in the first place, referring to one ABC reporter as “sleaze.”
@blakehounshell: “America is starting to remind me of Egypt”


“A majority of Fortune 500 CEOs favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the presidential election, according to a survey conducted last month by Fortune. The survey, which was sent to all Fortune 500 CEOs, asked which candidate they would favor most as next President of the United States, and gave only the two leading candidates as options. Of those answering, 58% said Clinton; 42% said Trump.”


“D” VEEPSTAKES – USA Today Vice President Power Rankings: 1) Sen. Tim Kaine (VA) … 2) Labor Secretary Tom Perez, “a hero of organized labor” … 3) Sen. Cory Booker (NJ) … 4) Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) … 5) Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA), “the only Latino holding a Democratic leadership post in Congress” … 6) Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA).

SANDERS DIGS IN ON PUERTO RICO AP “Three days before Puerto Rico’s primary, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is digging in on his opposition to a House deal to rescue the U.S. territory from $70 billion in debt … His bill would allow the Federal Reserve to give the territory emergency loans and provide broad bankruptcy protections, unlike legislation approved by a House committee last week that would create a control board to oversee limited debt restructuring.” –“Sanders’ bill would also boost Medicaid and Medicare payments to the island and designate $10.8 billion to rebuild the territory’s crumbling infrastructure. The Vermont senator has said the existing House bill would make ‘a terrible situation even worse’ and that it serves Wall Street bondholders over ordinary Puerto Ricans.”

“CLINTON FINDS HER MESSAGE” AP Hillary Clinton may have found her message. Wrapped in the guise of a foreign policy speech, Clinton delivered a political thrashing of Donald Trump on Thursday that was unquestionably a standout moment for a candidate who has often struggled to focus her White House campaign.” HILLARY GOES NUCLEAR ON TRUMP Politico: “Hillary Clinton threw a barrage of stinging one-liners at Donald Trump on Thursday. But at the heart of her speech was one powerful question for voters: “Do we want his finger anywhere near the button?” In an address that slammed Trump … nothing was so grave as Clinton’s implication that a Trump presidency might end the 70-year global taboo against the use of nuclear weapons. At a time when Clinton is road-testing lines of attack against the businessman who sometimes seems immune to traditional political rhetoric, Democrats say the nuclear issue could be especially potent, touching on some of the deepest fears voters have about their own security.”

THE BERN AND HILL IN CALIFORNIA LATimes “Hillary Clinton’s popularity has slumped in California under an unrelenting challenge from Bernie Sanders, who has succeeded in breaching the demographic wall Clinton had counted on to protect her in the state’s presidential primary, a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll has found. … Yet, Tuesday’s outcome remains difficult to predict, precisely because of the untested nature of Sanders’ following. That portends an intense fight in the final days of the campaign.”


CHA, CHA, CHANGES The Fix “Sixteen years ago (2000!) – in the waning days of the Bill Clinton administration — the U.S. was running a budget surplus. The Internet seemed old, but wasn’t; the first wave of Internet-based companies was about to crest. The economy was humming, and the unemployment rate that June was 4%. No one, save a few geeks who probably worked for some county in Florida, knew what a hanging chad was. In July of that year, Gallup asked voters a question it doesn’t often ask. With the now-infamous 2000 election looming, the pollsters asked voters “what single issue or challenge” they were most interested in having the next president address. It was an open-ended question, and people’s responses were logged and grouped together as necessary. The most common response… EDUCATION. The issue of terrorism (pre 9.11), which has defined much of our foreign policy debate for the past 15 years, didn’t even hit a measurable percentage. Now, the ECONOMY tops the list, with nearly a fifth of voters saying that it is the top issue to address. In 2000, only a third as many people said the same thing. Immigration is a key concern, no doubt buoyed by the focus placed on the issue by the Republican nominee. Education still comes up — but only half as often as it did then.”


THE FUTURE OF WATER Politico: “America’s long complacency about its water supply is being eroded not just by crises like Flint, Michigan’s lead-poisoned pipes, but by a growing realization that, as clean water becomes scarcer, especially in the West, it can’t remain so cheap. In Texas, the Great Plains and California, groundwater is disappearing. More than 40 million people now live in drought-affected areas in the 11 Western states, where more than half the land is officially designated “abnormally dry.” The real problem in a larger sense isn’t a lack of water—the oceans are full of it. It’s the shortage of water that’s actually available, and pure enough, to drink. Just 2.5% of the world’s water is fresh water, and less than1% of that is accessible — almost all of the rest is frozen in glaciers or buried deep underground. Right now, water technologists are hard at work on two separate challenges: squeezing more drinkable water from the oceans of water already out there and devising new ways to use — and waste — less of the water we already have. Here’s a sampling of new technologies that promise to change the way we use water. Full Article.


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