Can GOP find consensus on immigration?

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On the roster: Can GOP find consensus on immigration? - The days are just packed: Congress faces busy month - Trump to meet with ‘Big Six’ on taxes today - Trump gives go ahead on military sales to S Korea, Japan - Belly bomber

Immigrations hardliners are already rallying to try to kill expected legislation that would grant permanent legal status to young adults who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

There may be broad consensus that these beneficiaries of selective protection by the Obama administration should be allowed to remain in the country, there will be significant political advantages for some members and outside groups to oppose it.

The smart money would have to be on lawmakers fashioning some modest response to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that before the spring of next year, recipients of these promised protections will start to face the possibility of deportation.

Democrats, however, surely hope that Republicans will gag on this gnat-sized number and manage to both divide themselves and energize Democratic voters for 2018.

But there is another possibility here beyond the possibilities of either a narrow response or a legislative breakdown.

As anyone who knows the difference between an earmark and ear wax, September is going to be the most astonishing goat roping of recent legislative memory. As you will see below, the list of tasks that Congress needs to accomplish in the next three weeks and five days is prodigious.

We understand that this is a pretty big assumption to grant us, given the manifest inadequacies of Republicans in the White House and in Congress to date, but let’s assume that somehow, someway the Red Team comes up with a means to navigate all of the fiscal cliffs ahead.

We certainly grant the possibility that they will fail, even in the face of stark deadlines and starker consequences, but it is certainly not unreasonable to think that a month from now there will be a spending plan for the next year in place, some patched to the individual insurance market under ObamaCare and, yes, maybe even a tax cut. And the reasonability of that outcome is because these are not the core issues that divide Republicans. Immigration, on the other hand…

Sessions set essentially a November 1 deadline for Congress for aiding the so-called “DREAMers,” the beneficiaries of the Obama administration’s deportation shield.

That should be enough to get moderates to the negotiating table on immigration. While many immigration doves will say that the congressional response should be absolute, immediate amnesty for everyone in the program, this will more likely be a starting off point for a larger discussion.

Those same hardliners already grousing about President Trump’s refusal to immediately strip protections from this favored group of immigrants will ask for something in return for their votes for what, to many in their movement is a reward to lawless behavior.

If we think back to what doomed the past two efforts at an immigration overhaul, it was the mistrust of the executive branch by hardline activists that doomed the plans.

The demise of compromise measures sought by both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama was that conservatives believed that the administration would not follow through on promised enforcement measures – that the amnesty would never be matched by border security and internal enforcement aimed at preventing the next immigration breakdown.

It becomes interesting then to imagine how those same conservatives will approach negotiations knowing that executive branch laxity is not exactly a concern when it comes to immigration in the Trump era.

Again, we grant that this requires several logical leaps, but it is possible to see a path forward for immigration legislation during the Trump administration. It will depend on the willingness of pro-immigrant, moderate Republicans (and some Democrats) to grant the assumption of good faith to some ideological adversaries who have mercilessly exploited the issue in the past, but the chance is there.

Moderates had hoped to simply survive the Trump era on the issue of immigration. But if a pathway to a larger deal opened up from the starting point of the end of the Obama era amnesty for those who arrived illegally as children, would centrists really refuse it?

By this time next week, Congress will be deep in the throes of a desperate, self-loathing anguish over the fiscal legislation before it. It will be about as attractive to see as a floating log of fire ants, and about equal cordial.

But if the ants hang together in the flood, this might actually be something they can build together.

“For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 1

Writer Vic Matus offers keen review of a new book on the way Americans eat and shop, Michael Ruhlman’s “Grocery.” Weekly Standard: “With these new competitors, plus Walmart and Amazon and technology-enabled services, the future for today’s U.S. grocery chains is unclear. But one possibility is that supermarkets will stop being super. If people choose to have a large fraction of their groceries delivered to their homes, stores may contract in size. That’s what [Cleveland-based grocer] Jeff Heinen predicts – that grocery stores will offer ‘prepared food and specialty products’ but ‘everything else will be so commoditized that we won’t be able to compete from a price perspective.’ From the consumer point of view, it would be like going ‘back to the old days, where it’s all specialty stores.’ Your great-grandparents’ routine of visiting a separate butcher, baker, and greengrocer may seem quaint to you but might look familiar to your great-grandkids.”

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Trump net job-approval rating: -17.2 points
Change from one week ago: up 1.2 points

[President Trump’s score is determined by subtracting his average job disapproval rating in the five most recent, methodologically sound public polls from his average approval rating, calculated in the same fashion.]

Axios: “Congress is back in session with a busy schedule ahead… Here's their full September to-do list: Prevent a government shut down: Trump has demanded funding for his border wall…Raise the debt limit: Treasury
Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the federal government might not be able to pay its bills on time if Congress doesn't raise the debt limit by the end of the month.) Tax reform: Trump has ordered tax reform to be passed this month as well, although there has yet to be any detailed plan released. … Harvey relief funding: The devastation brought by Hurricane Harvey in Texas has added one more thing to Congress's immediate to-do list… Decide on DACA: … Now pressure's on the House and Senate to act on legislation providing DREAMers with some type of legal status. Health care: … Trump campaigned on repealing and replacing Obamacare, and the topic is not likely to go away…”

Can Trump play nice with his Congress? - WSJ: “Congress returns… in a test of the uneasy alliance between President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans, will have to grapple with keeping the federal government open, paying U.S. creditors and passing a hurricane-aid bill. The list is long, and the time is short. … Adding to the tension, the House and Senate are in session at the same time for just 12 days in September, and Mr. Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell haven’t met in weeks. The president invited the Kentucky Republican and other GOP leaders to Bedminster, N.J., during his working vacation last month, but they were unable to coordinate schedules, according to people familiar with the planning.”

Head of conservative House group opposes tying Harvey relief to debt ceiling - Axios: “Mark Walker, who leads the Republican Study Committee, a group of 170-some House members, said: ‘Congress is united behind this effort, but I worry about jeopardizing an agreement with such legislative games. Our obligation is to assist those impacted by this great flood, but it’s past time the swamp waters in DC begin receding as well... As we have stated for months, the debt ceiling should be paired with significant fiscal and structural reforms.’ … Axios broke the news on Sunday that Republican leadership plans to pass a ‘clean’ emergency Harvey aid package through the House, and then the Senate will attach a debt ceiling raise before sending it back. Walker's opposition signals that leadership could have big problems from conservatives when the bill returns to the House.”

Bannon huddles with Freedom Caucus leader Meadows - Axios: “Steve Bannon met with Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows on Monday afternoon… Joining Bannon and Meadows at the dining table on the second floor of the townhouse was Breitbart's Washington editor Matt Boyle. The three men plotted for nearly two hours on the agenda for the month ahead, with an emphasis on the Breitbart-Freedom Caucus war against Republican leadership on multiple fronts. They discussed the Freedom Caucus's plans for taking on GOP leadership over the debt ceiling, tax reform, health care payments, the budget and the government funding bill. Expect them to demand payments for the wall and to combat leadership's plans to attach Hurricane Harvey aid to the debt ceiling increase.”

Trump to meet with ‘Big Six’ on taxes today - Politico: “When President Donald Trump sits down Tuesday with tax reform negotiators from his administration and Congress, they’re hoping it will mark the start of a final push to get legislation to Trump’s desk before the year is through. Agreement on a plan to cut taxes for individuals and businesses, along with more fundamental changes to the tax code, would allow the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees to start putting meat on the bone with legislative language. The major issues to settle remain how low to push tax rates, particularly for corporations; whether and how to pay for most of the package; and if parts of it will have to be temporary to comply with budget rules.”

AP: “U.S. President Donald Trump says he has given the go-ahead for Japan and South Korea to buy a ‘substantially increased amount’ of sophisticated military equipment from the United States. The move comes amid tensions over North Korea's latest nuclear test. The U.S. is weighing a number of military, economic and diplomatic responses. The White House said that in a phone call with South Korean's president on Monday, Trump gave approval ‘in principle’ to lifting previous restrictions on South Korean missile payloads and to approving ‘many billions’ in weapons sales to South Korea. In an early morning tweet Tuesday, Trump said, ‘I am allowing Japan & South Korea to buy a substantially increased amount of highly sophisticated military equipment from the United States.’”

Hayley calls for strongest UN sanctions possible - Fox News: “U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Monday asked the body’s Security Council to impose the strongest possible sanctions against North Korea in response to the rogue nation’s most recent nuclear test, saying ‘the time for half measures … is over.’ Haley spoke at U.N. headquarters in New York a day after North Korea claimed to have conducted an underground test on a hydrogen bomb. It was the country’s sixth such test, following five previous ones on a nuclear warhead and recent launches of inter-continental missiles to land such weapons on foreign soil. The United States is calling for a U.N. vote on sanctions as early as next week.”

Special counsel investigation butting heads with Russia congressional probe - The Hill

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declares state of emergency over Hurricane Irma
 - The Hill

Shrinking inner circle: Longtime Trump confidante departs after Kelly imposes new rules - Bloomberg

Pruitt cracks down on EPA awards, grants applications WaPo

Trial for Sen. Bob Menendez begins with tensions high - NYT

Hillary plugs social media platform launched by former adviser - Gizmodo

Mnuchin’s wife, Louise Linton, uses glossy mag spread to apologize for haughty remarks Hollywood Reporter    

Spice(r) rack: Former press secretary to do speeches for hire, maybe book Politico


“[Trump is] not my bride, and I’m not his groom.” – Russian President Vladimir Putin when asked if he was disappointed in Trump during a news conference on Tuesday. 

[Ed. note: I will be away from my post for the remainder of the week, but leave you in Brianna’s quite capable hands. I will be back on full duty Monday to watch what promises to be another remarkable week unfold, and, of course, answer your notes! Talk soon…]

“I can really relate to the statement that if you want to know the real America, read the obituaries. I am a retired RN. More times than I can count I have read the obituary of someone I recognized as a former patient and been amazed at their life history.” – Margery PetersonSalinas, Calif.

[Ed. note: Thank you for saying so, Ms. Peterson. I’m afraid, though, that the obituary is going – and in many cases has already gone – the way of the daily newspaper itself. Starved for revenue, publishers have largely given up on obituaries for everyone but celebrities, instead preferring to extract a few hundred dollars for the price of a paid death notice. That’s too bad because, of course, it puts families of fewer means at a disadvantage when it comes to telling the fascinating, wonderful stories of everyday Americans. And it also deprives us of the insights that journalistically sound obituary writing provides. A grieving family is unlikely to paint a complicated picture of the deceased. Like much in the funeral-industrial complex, it often substitutes mawkishness in favor of more honest memoria.]

“I propose that Congress organize (1) regular, public, open public participation, formal hearings where anyone can arrange to appear and present detailed proposals and arguments for new legislation or reforms of existing law to correct existing or recently revealed inequities; and (2) that every new bill submitted be required to include a short description of who has contacted and provided the motivation inducing the Congressman/woman to prepare the proposed bill. Perhaps, these steps can still evade full disclosure of the quid pro quo of a bill, but simply opportunity of ordinary individuals, those who elect the Congress, to openly make a record on an issue deemed to need attention and have it become widely known and distributed for the media and public at large for review and discussion - and comparison with what Congress is actually preoccupied and doing - or not doing, in preparation for the next election.” – Herb Caplan, Chicago

[Ed. note: I love where your heart is on this, Mr. Caplan, but I’m afraid that you may be overestimating your fellow citizens’ interest in legislative affairs. Your proposal for public hearings hosted by Congress in which citizens could propose legislation actually already exists to a certain degree. Individual Americans have to work through their representatives to bring legislation forward. A group of interested and organized activists can do a lot in terms of influencing an individual member of Congress. That’s actually the way it is supposed to work: Legislators responsible to the desires of their own constituents come to Washington to represent their interests. It is okay for individual members to represent the narrow interests of their districts, that’s why we have so many members and why it’s so hard to get legislation passed. On your second proposal, I think that the disclosures would be insincere, especially in the cases where they would be the most material. But even if you could somehow compel lawmakers to honestly say who influenced their thinking on a particular issue, I don’t suppose very many of our fellow citizens would take the time to read all of the headers on all of the bills that tumble their way through Congress.]

“G’day Chris (they say ‘g’day’ a lot here in New Zealand!) I follow US politics quite closely, because: a) When the US sneezes, the rest of us catch a cold! b) I have family in Wisconsin. Thus I thought you MAY be interested in an ‘outside’ view, in this case on the violence currently besetting you (antifa etc.). As a retired military man, it occurs to me that those conducting the violence would be less likely to do so if they were ‘visible’ - i.e. not allowed to cover their faces - thereby inviting the possibility of retribution. Therefore one asks is this not already enshrined in your laws, and if so, why not make further efforts to apply the law? If not the law, can the President make it so by Executive Order?” – Mike O’Neill, New Zealand

[Ed. note: And g’day to you, Mr. O’Neill! That is a tricky subject of which you speak. Strictly speaking, it is no business of the federal government’s who wears what in the United States. If you wish to go about dressed as a ninja, it’s not up to Uncle Sam to say yea or nay. This relates to the limited powers of the federal government, especially as it concerns free expression. In a country this large and varied, it falls to states, counties and cities to come up with rules about things like public protests. While local governments have to be concerned about abridging citizens’ constitutionally guaranteed freedoms, local officials have broad latitude for addressing concerns about public safety, as well as the rights and privileges of other groups, especially non-protestors. Some jurisdictions have banned masks and face coverings, and there seems to be a strong legal argument to be made there. After all, you have a right to free expression, but not a right to be shielded from the ordinary consequences of your publically expressed sentiments. Suzy Creamcheese has the right to say that she is an enthusiastic racist. Her boss has the right to fire her. Interestingly, the argument about the anonymity of public protest takes us back to the days of the influential Ku Klux Klan and public cross burnings. The legal actions taken against the Klan may prove useful in dealing with Antifa. Thanks for reading from so far away and using us as one of your windows into the baffling world of American politics.]   

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Fox News: “Nathan Howatt was flying back from a dentist’s appointment in Devils Lake, North Dakota, when he decided to airdrop his buddy a care-package: a sandwich from Subway with melted pepper-jack cheese, ranch and, banana peppers. Mitchell Wirth, who was on the receiving end of the exchange, videotaped the delivery on Snapchat, documenting what the drop looked like from a ground view. He captioned the video, ‘Thanks buddy nice shot.’ The sandwich fell to safety and Howatt says it was even still warm when Wirth got it. Howatt posted the whole adventure to his Facebook, where it’s been viewed nearly 11,000 times. Subway even reposted the video on its own Facebook page, writing, ‘Friend level: Expert.’”

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.