If only we had a Congress

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On the roster: If only we had a Congress - GOP pressure intensifies to end family border separations - Heller gets a boost and baggage from Trump - Trump
threatens additional tariffs on Chinese goods - So that’s why they don’t have Chinese buffets in China

IF ONLY WE HAD A CONGRESS
If only we had a Congress.

If only we had a Congress, we would have somewhere to declare war and fund it.

If only we had a Congress, we would have some way to override a president who gets out of his lane.

If only we had a Congress, questions about the price at ports would be handled by the largest democratically elected group in our government.

If we only had a Congress, issues of taxation and spending would be resolved on the basis of public benefit.

If only we had a Congress, matters of war would be overseen by the body closest to the people who would pay for it and die for it.

If only we had a Congress, corruption in other branches of government would be treated as strongly as it was in its own.

If only we had a Congress, we could respond to changing immigration patterns in ways that were humane and that accommodated competing needs in the native population.

But we do not have a Congress. Neither do we have separation of powers in a meaningful sense, as far as we can understand.

Alas.

Republicans and Democrats are trading blame over who’s responsible for the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from migrant parents. And Republicans are right in blaming Democrats about one thing. Our failed Congress created this moment by recklessly devolving its power to the executive branch on the issue of immigration.

The contemptable weakness of Congress over the past 40 years has added up to a moment where presidents of both parties can rule by fiat and, apparently, caprice. Courts have affirmed it and Congress has substantially gloried in its role as an overpaid Rotary Club.

So, yes, it is true that whatever policies this and subsequent administrations take that offend your sense of decency, fair play and integrity, you will have Congress to blame for it.

THE RULEBOOK: THERE’S THE RUB
“Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers.” – John Jay, Federalist No. 2

TIME OUT: THE STRANDS THAT BIND US
National Review: “Today, for less than $100, an American consumer can purchase a home DNA test kit that tells them their ancestry down to the most minute detail… Though such tests are a product of our modern technological society, the impulses behind them are ancient. The first book of the Bible is Genesis, and much of it is taken up with the genealogy of the patriarchs who loom large in the Abrahamic religions. Our interest in heredity is testament to a deep human concern with generations past, and those yet to come. Carl Zimmer’s She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity tackles this vast and important topic. … She Has Her Mother’s Laugh is a chronicle of timeless values, and the permanent importance of bonds of kinship and the passing of generations in human culture. It is also a stark caution against human hubris, as the early decades of hereditary science show just how much damage science can cause when it’s poorly done and unethically applied.”
 
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SCOREBOARD
Trump job performance 
Average approval: 
43.6 percent 
Average disapproval: 
50.6 percent 
Net Score:
 -7 points
Change from one week ago: 
up 4.4 points 
[Average includes: CNN: 41% approve - 54% disapprove; CBS News: 42% approve - 52% disapprove; Gallup: 45% approve - 50% disapprove; Monmouth University: 45% approve - 46% disapprove; Fox News: 45% approve - 51% disapprove.]

Control of House
Republican average: 
40 percent
Democratic average: 48 percent
Advantage: 
Democrats plus 8 points
Change from one week ago: 
Democratic advantage down 0.4 points
[Average includes: Monmouth University: 48% Dems - 41% GOP; Fox News: 48% Dems - 39% GOP; NBC/WSJ: 50% Dems - 40% GOP; Quinnipiac University: 47% Dems - 40% GOP; IBD: 47% Dems - 40% GOP.]

GOP PRESSURE INTENSIFIES TO END FAMILY BORDER SEPARATIONS
Fox News: “The Trump administration is facing mounting pressure from fellow Republicans and other allies to end the practice of separating children from parents caught illegally crossing the border, as backlash over the enforcement policy quickly escalates into a political crisis. Some GOP lawmakers want the administration to stop the policy on its own, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and others are proposing emergency legislation. Meanwhile, GOP governors are pulling their state's National Guard troops from the border in protest. All this comes as President Trump and top Cabinet officials put the blame on Congress, in the run-up to a meeting late Tuesday between the president and House Republicans -- where discussion of the family-separation backlash will likely dominate. On Twitter, Trump has not backed down. ‘Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters!’ he tweeted Tuesday morning.”

Trump firmly stands by his policy - Bloomberg: “President Donald Trump hardened his resolve to maintain his policy of separating children from parents who cross the border illegally amid an intensifying backlash from the public and lawmakers. Trump said Tuesday at a speech to a small-business trade group in Washington that he has ‘only two options’ for immigration enforcement, either ‘totally open borders or criminal prosecution for law-breaking.’ The administration began separating children from their parents as it adopted a policy of criminally charging all adults apprehended for unlawfully crossing the border. ‘People that come in violate the law, they endanger their children in the process,’ Trump told the National Federation of Independent Business. He said that Democrats could end the policy by agreeing to immigration law changes he is seeking, including authority to quickly send back whole families apprehended near the border to their home countries.”

Jim Swift: ‘Jon Kyl’s Art of the Deal’ - Weekly Standard: “The federal government is currently taking in more than 200 children a day, with many of them placed in a former Walmart near the southern border. … Former first lady Laura Bush has voiced her opposition to the policy. Her husband was president the last time there was a chance for sweeping immigration reform. The machinations that led to that bill’s failure are worth revisiting now. Eleven years ago, I was fresh out of college and answering phones for a senator. … My former boss, Arizona’s Jon Kyl, was the lead GOP negotiator on a sweeping immigration reform bill with the late Ted Kennedy (D-MA.) It was called ‘the last, best chance to overhaul America’s immigration laws.’ Pretty much every attempt at immigration reform in the decade since has been doomed from the start, but the 2007 Kyl-Kennedy bill is perhaps the closest we’ve gotten. … Well, a decade later, the vast majority of those 12 million are still here. And now with the economy growing again, a problem that had receded a bit is growing yet again.”

Former first ladies speak out, siding with Melania - AP: “All four former first ladies have joined the current one, Melania Trump, in an unusual united political front expressing horror at children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. Mrs. Trump did not go as far as some of her predecessors, though, and criticize the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy that has led to the separations. But Michelle Obama took to Twitter, in support of Laura Bush, to say, ‘Sometimes truth transcends party.’ … Hillary Clinton, speaking at a women’s event in New York, said the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy that has separated children and parents at the southern border was a ‘moral and humanitarian crisis.’ … The senior among the first ladies, Rosalynn Carter, spoke through The Carter Center: ‘The practice and policy today of removing children from their parents’ care at our border with Mexico is disgraceful and a shame to our country.’”

HELLER GETS A BOOST AND BAGGAGE FROM TRUMP
Roll Call: “In attempts to bolster a vulnerable Senate seat, President Donald Trump will headline a fundraising event Saturday for incumbent Nevada Republican Dean Heller. Tickets run at $15,000 per couple for a photo reception and $50,000 to be seated at a private roundtable with the president. Heller, rated the most vulnerable Senate incumbent, faces Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen in the November general election. Continuing his record of an active role in Nevada GOP politics, the president is also expected to make an appearance at the Nevada Republican Party’s state convention. Trump previously helped Heller avoid a primary challenge from Danny Tarkanian by urging the state representative to run for a seat in Congress instead. Tarkanian won the GOP primary last week for the seat Rosen is vacating. … Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Heller’s race Toss-up. The president will also campaign for Rep. Kevin Cramer on June 27 in his race against Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. This comes amid tension between Cramer and Trump, with Cramer saying that Trump encouraged him to run for Senate but seemed to say good things only about Heitkamp.”

Ryan endorses former staffer to replace him -
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “House Speaker Paul Ryan has endorsed his former staffer, Bryan Steil, in the race for his congressional seat. ‘I’ve known Bryan a long time. He is a lifelong resident of Janesville. He helped me with budgets back in the early days,’ Ryan said Monday. ‘He knows what he’s doing.’ He described Steil as an ‘optimistic problem-solver’ and called on Republicans to unify around him, noting that the district is being targeted by the liberal political group Organizing for Action. Ryan announced that he was backing Steil in an interview with conservative radio talk show host Jay Weber. Steil, a University of Wisconsin regent, launched his campaign for Ryan’s seat in April, soon after Ryan announced he wasn’t seeking re-election. Steil is a member of a powerful Janesville political family with close ties to Ryan.”

Federal judge tosses Kansas voter ID law - Fox News: “A federal judge ruled Monday that Kansas cannot require documentary proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote, finding such laws violate the constitutional right to vote in a ruling with national implications. In an extraordinary rebuke, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson also ordered Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to complete an additional six hours of legal education on top of other requirements before he can renew his law license for the upcoming year. She imposed the sanction for his numerous disclosure violations. The 118-page decision came in two consolidated cases challenging a Kansas voter registration law requiring people to provide documents such as a birth certificate, U.S. passport or naturalization papers. The decision strikes down the Kansas proof-of-citizenship registration law and makes permanent an earlier injunction that had temporarily blocked it.”

Intense races for U.S. House show in ad spending - Bloomberg: “The intensity of the fight for the U.S. House is playing out on the nation’s television screens where the number of campaign ads is up more than 50 percent from where it was at the same point in the most recent comparable election year. The surge reflects the high stakes faced by both parties and special interests trying to influence the first midterm election of Donald Trump’s presidency, with the outcome determining whether Democrats can bring his agenda to a dead stop if they win control of at least one chamber of Congress from Republicans. The increase is also being driven by the unusually large number of retirements among House members. The open seats created by those departures have prompted scores of Republican and Democrats to jump into competitive primaries, sometimes with multiple candidates competing in a district for their party’s nomination.”

It's primary day in the nation’s capital - WaPo: “Voters in the District are casting ballots Tuesday in a primary election that is likely to set Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) on a glide path toward becoming the first mayor to win a second term since 2006. In the nation’s capital, where the overwhelming majority of voters are registered Democrats, the primary is tantamount to a general election - unless an independent challenger emerges in time for the November contest. Bowser and about half of D.C. lawmakers face re-election in the Democratic primary, but in most cases they do not have credible challengers. After voting at Shepherd Elementary around 8 a.m., the mayor made stops at polling places around the city. ‘I feel great,’ Bowser said when we reached the Columbia Heights Education Campus around 11 a.m.”

TRUMP THREATENS ADDITIONAL TARIFFS ON CHINESE GOODS
LAT: “President Trump, moving to amp up pressure on China to make trade concessions, threatened late Monday to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports and to double that amount if Beijing retaliates with countermeasures. Trump’s announcement marks the latest escalation of a brewing trade conflict with China. It comes after the White House on Friday detailed plans to slap 25% tariffs on $50 billion in goods imported from China, most of that to take effect July 6. The news sparked widespread fears that the two largest economies were heading inexorably to a trade war that would have damaging ripple effects across the globe. Stocks plunged overnight in Asia, with indexes in Shanghai falling almost 4% and in Hong Kong dropping nearly 3%. U.S. stock futures were pointing to a sharply lower opening. The reaction from Beijing was swift. China’s Ministry of Commerce said that preparing tariffs on $200 billion more of the country’s exports to the United States was tantamount to ‘extreme pressure and blackmail.’”

Senate passes bill to block Trump deal with ZTE - CBS News: “The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act, 85 yeas to 10 nays (NDAA) Monday, and in the legislation included language that would ban Chinese telecom giant ZTE from conducting business in the United States. The Senate measure reverses an agreement by the Trump administration to allow ZTE to resume buying component parts from U.S. companies. The Chinese company is accused of violating trade laws by selling sensitive technologies to North Korea and Iran. The Trump administration announced a deal with ZTE earlier this month, but Senate leaders have sought to reverse it by tucking a provision into the must-pass defense package. The House passed its version of the NDAA late last month, and its version did not include the ZTE provision. The Senate and House will have to work out the differences in their two bills and reach compromise language before passing a final version of the bill. The Trump administration hopes to revise the ZTE language in House-Senate negotiations on the defense bill.”

AUDIBLE: STAR-LORD IS NOT WRONG

“And grace is a gift. Like the freedom that we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for with somebody else’s blood. Do not forget that. Don’t take that for granted.” – “Guardians of the Galaxy” star, Chris Pratt, in his speech after receiving the Generation Award at the MTV Movie & TV Awards Monday night.

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SO THAT’S WHY THEY DON’T HAVE CHINESE BUFFETS IN CHINA

Newsweek: “Chinese hot pot restaurant was forced to shutter after an all-you-can-eat offer left the company around $78,000 in debt. Jiamener, a restaurant in the city of Chengdu in China’s Sichuan province, had offered a monthly membership for $19 that allowed customers to eat an unlimited amount of food throughout the month starting June 1. But the customers were so enthusiastic about the all-you-can-eat hot pot deal that they ate the restaurant into bankruptcy. The restaurant was forced to close after less than a month because hundreds of new customers began flooding in, taking full advantage of the buffet. Reports suggested that at least 500 customers visited the restaurant every day. Patrons allegedly shared the monthly membership card with their family members, and customers formed long lines that lasted from 8:00 a.m. until long past normal closing hours. … One of the restaurant’s owners told local media that the company was aware that it might lose money from the deal, but it had aimed to develop a loyal clientele.”

AND NOW, A WORD FROM CHARLES…
“We should not be blaming the Supreme Court for refusing to do for us what we the people, in Congress (and state legislatures) assembled, refuse to do for ourselves.”  – Charles Krauthammer writing in the Washington Post, June 27, 2003.
 
Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C.