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On the roster: Senate to hold rare open debate on immigration - White House releases 2019 budget plan - Dems out-raise GOP competitors in open House seats - And she dreams in subtitles

WSJ: “The immigration debate that begins Monday in the Senate promises to be the rarest of things in Washington: a freewheeling, open-ended battle over one of the thorniest subjects, with the expected outcome completely unclear. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) will begin debate on a shell bill that has no immigration provisions, to be filled in with senators’ amendments. The process could take days or weeks, depending on the number of amendments offered and the amount of time Mr. McConnell wishes to devote to a single policy area. It is rare these days for a bill to come to the floor that doesn’t have built-in support from the majority party; even rarer still one that is essentially an empty vessel—to be filled with the ideas of whichever group of senators can come up with the needed votes. The primary goal for many senators is to protect young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, who will soon lose Obama-era protections. But the lawmakers will consider a wide range of other ideas aimed at combating illegal immigration and overhauling the system of legal immigration.”

Hohmann: ‘Freewheeling immigration debate in Senate will test power of conservative outside groups’ - WaPo: “Heritage Action, one of the more influential advocacy groups on the right, loves the proposals to restrict future immigration but spent the weekend mobilizing its grass-roots army to oppose giving citizenship to anyone who entered the United States unlawfully, no matter how old they were when they came. … This posture captures the evolving role that conservative groups like Heritage Action are playing in the Trump era, marked by their newfound willingness to compromise. The group is willing to call out apostasies while also offering sufficient positive reinforcement to ensure that it keeps a seat at the table. Heritage Action’s relationship with GOP leaders on Capitol Hill was especially fraught during Barack Obama’s second term… Lawmakers from the establishment wing of the party routinely grumbled about their influence.”

GOP senators are ready with a plan - The Hill: “Seven GOP senators, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), will file the bill, known as the Secure and Succeed Act, on Monday. … The [immigration] legislation mirrors Trump’s framework by offering a path to citizenship for roughly 1.8 million immigrants brought into the country as children illegally in exchange for $25 billion in border security. It would also place new limits on family-based immigration, a key point for conservatives but considered a nonstarter for many Democrats. And it would toughen interior enforcement, including implementing E-Verify, strengthening penalties for immigrants who re-enter the country illegally after being deported and cracking down on visa overstays. In addition to Grassley, the proposal is backed by GOP Sens. John Cornyn (Texas), Thom Tillis (N.C.), David Perdue (Ga.), James Lankford (Okla.), Tom Cotton (Ark.) and Joni Ernst (Iowa).”

“The only restriction imposed on them is, that they shall not exchange republican for antirepublican Constitutions; a restriction which, it is presumed, will hardly be considered as a grievance.” – James Madison, Federalist No. 43


On this day in 1809 Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgensville, Kentucky. In honor of our nation’s 16th president, we share with you some fun facts about Honest Abe that you may not know. St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “He grew a beard after a suggestion from an 11-year-old girl. Grace Bedell of Westfield, New York, wrote to Lincoln in October 1860 to suggest that the presidential candidate grow whiskers because ‘your face is so thin.’ ‘All the ladies like whiskers,’ she argued. She said the new look would earn him votes. Lincoln started growing a beard not long after. … He often stored papers in his stovepipe hat. … Lincoln’s law partner William H. Herndon described another function: ‘… It was his desk and his memorandum-book. ... Whenever in his reading or researches he wished to preserve an idea, he jotted it down on an envelope or stray piece of paper and placed it inside the lining.’”

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Trump job performance 
Average approval: 
39.6 percent 
Average disapproval: 54.8 percent 
Net Score: 
-15.2 points
Change from one week ago: down 1 points 
[Average includes: Gallup: 40% approve - 57% disapprove; Marist College: 39% approve - 56% disapprove; Quinnipiac University: 40% approve - 55% disapprove; IBD: 35% - 58%; Monmouth University: 44% approve - 48% disapprove.]

Control of House
Republican average: 
40.4 percent
Democratic average: 47 percent
Advantage: Democrats plus 6.6 points 
Change from one week ago:
 Democratic advantage down 1 point 
[Average includes: Marist College: 49% Dems - 38% GOP; Quinnipiac University: 49% Dems - 40% GOP; IBD: 46% Dems - 41% GOP; Monmouth University: 47% Dems - 45% GOP; Fox News: 44% Dems - 38% GOP.]

WashEx: “The White House on Monday published President Trump’s fiscal year 2019 budget, which calls for significant cuts to federal spending but does not call for balancing the budget within the next 10 years. The White House budget, written by budget director Mick Mulvaney, is a request to Congress regarding spending and tax policy, and a statement of Trump’s priorities. It is not law or legislation, and is certain to be largely ignored by Congress. However, it does correspond to the spending cap agreement that lawmakers reached last week, which would break through the previously agreed discretionary spending limits and boost both defense and non-defense spending over the next two years. Like Trump’s budget last year, the document calls for major spending cuts to domestic government programs. Altogether, the called-for reductions would lower the total by about $3 trillion over the next 10 years compared to current spending levels.”

The plan includes major infrastructure spending - Fox News: “President Trump is calling to pump $1.5 trillion into fixing America’s infrastructure while streamlining the often-cumbersome permitting process… The infrastructure component, however, would not necessarily be a huge driver of Washington’s red ink. Under the plan, $200 billion of the $1.5 trillion in proposed spending would be federal dollars, which a senior administration official said would come from ‘reductions in other areas of the budget.’ The plan calls on state and local governments and the private sector to put up most of the funding. The federal funding would be used to match local spending, provide ‘incentives’ and expand loan programs. The plan also would boost investment for projects in rural America -- including transportation, broadband, water, waste, power, flood management and ports -- by $50 billion in a bid to address criticism from some Republican senators that the Trump administration’s initial emphasis on public-private partnerships would do little to help those areas.”

The wall and Medicare are factors too - Bloomberg: “President Donald Trump will propose cutting entitlement programs by $1.7 trillion, including Medicare, in a fiscal 2019 budget that seeks billions of dollars to build a border wall, improve veterans’ health care and combat opioid abuse… The document says that the budget will propose cutting spending on Medicare, the health program for the elderly and disabled, by $237 billion but doesn’t specify other mandatory programs that would face reductions, a category that also includes Social Security, Medicaid, food stamps, welfare and agricultural subsidies. … According to the summary, Trump will urge an increase in defense spending to $716 billion and a 2.6 percent pay raise for troops. He will request $18 billion to build a wall on the Mexican border, the summary indicates.”

Ryan praises the plan - WashEx: “House Speaker Paul Ryan on Monday endorsed President Trump's fiscal 2019 budget proposal, even though the plan misses Ryan's longtime goal of balancing the federal budget. ‘This budget lays out a thoughtful, detailed, and responsible blueprint for achieving our shared agenda,’ said Ryan, R-Wis. ‘It builds on last week’s budget agreement by focusing on rebuilding our national defense and promoting a stronger economy. It seeks to further improve services for our veterans, and expand access to resources for fighting the opioid epidemic. And it reflects the historic tax reform law that is already improving the lives of American families.’”

Investors brace themselves - Fox Business: “Investors will look to a slew of economic reports and specifics on the president’s infrastructure and budget plan for direction after one of the most volatile weeks for global equities in history. Over the past six sessions, U.S. equity markets, saw wild swings and 1,000-plus point drops for the Dow, which racked up two of the worst point declines in history. The VIX index, the so-called fear gauge which measures volatility, hit the highest level in a year. Economists, including Brian Wesbury, told FOX Business Network last week that the fundamentals of the U.S. remain solid and the correction in stocks was overdue. Investors will get a fresh read on the U.S. economy with a host of reports during the upcoming week. January’s U.S. consumer price index and the producer price index … will be released on Wednesday and could determine the market’s behavior for the week.”

Bloomberg: “Democrats see some of their strongest opportunities to pick up seats in six districts where Hillary Clinton prevailed in 2016 and a Republican member of Congress is stepping down. That includes seats held by [Ed Royce of California], Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Republican Darrell Issa of California, Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania, David Reichert of Washington and Martha McSally of Arizona. The contests are drawing multiple Democratic candidates who have proven adept at raising money. A Bloomberg analysis of Federal Election Commission data found that Democrats have raised $23.3 million in 12 competitive open seats, more than three times as much as their Republican opponents. In the Senate, where the GOP holds a 51 to 49 majority, Democrats’ chance of wresting control may be more difficult, as 26 Democratic-held seats are on the ballot compared with eight Republican seats. … Based on historical trends, Democrats can expect to do particularly well in open House seats.”

Republicans seek big bucks from casino mogul -
Politico: “Republicans made their annual sojourn to the lavish Venetian hotel here this weekend to kiss the ring of a benefactor they need more than ever: casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Confronting the potential loss of one or both chambers of Congress in the midterms, and struggling to raise money against an energized Democratic base, the party is desperate for Adelson’s millions. … The gushing underscored Adelson’s outsize influence in the party, which is expected only to grow this year as Republicans lean on him to help salvage their control of Congress. With energized Democratic candidates raising fistfuls of cash, party officials say they are depending on major givers like Adelson, a longtime bankroller of GOP causes, to close the gap.”

HRC to help 2018 candidates who supported her -
WaPo: “In the first electoral season since the stunning loss that extinguished her years-long drive for the presidency, Clinton, 70, has begun a discreet and low-profile reentry into the political fray. Her emerging 2018 strategy, according to more than a dozen friends and advisers familiar with her plans, is to leverage the star power she retains in some Democratic circles on behalf of select candidates while remaining sufficiently below the radar to avoid becoming a useful target for Republicans seeking to rile up their base. Most likely, they said, Clinton will attempt to help Democratic candidates who have a history of supporting her and her family, and expending her political capital in a number of the 23 congressional districts she won in 2016 but are now held by a Republican.”

Trump tweets support for Barletta -
Politico: “President Donald Trump on Sunday sought to bolster Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Lou Barletta’s Senate campaign, as the early Trump supporter competes in a primary to face incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Casey. ‘Rep. Lou Barletta, a Great Republican from Pennsylvania who was one of my very earliest supporters, will make a FANTASTIC Senator,’ the president wrote on Twitter. Trump pointed out that Casey opposed the passage of the GOP tax plan, an argument the White House is employing against Democratic senators who are up for reelection in states the president won in 2016. ‘Voted for Tax Cuts, unlike Bob Casey, who listened to Tax Hikers Pelosi and Schumer!’ Trump tweeted about Barletta.”

Cuomo’s opponent gains momentum - WSJ: “Upstate New York legislator John DeFrancisco is sewing up Republican support in his bid to unseat Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo as other GOP rivals drop out or decline to run for governor this year. Over the weekend, Assembly Minority Leader Republican Brian Kolb of Rochester ended his gubernatorial bid after just two months, saying he didn’t want to spend the time away from his family. Since Mr. Kolb left the race Friday night, nine Republican county chairs—all from areas outside New York City—threw their support behind Mr. DeFrancisco, who is deputy majority leader of the Senate.”

Report: Corker may be reconsidering retirement - CNN: “Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker has had conversations with a few colleagues in recent days about whether he should reconsider his decision to leave Congress and not seek re-election this year, GOP sources tell CNN. Whether it is a serious reconsideration, or just chatter with colleagues is the subject of some disagreement. There are also conflicting accounts of whether Corker has initiated the conversations, or whether he has had them with colleagues who are pushing him to think again. But several sources say the issue has come up in recent conversations Corker has had with fellow Tennessean Sen. Lamar Alexander and with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, two of Corker's friends.”

Pa. lawmakers still not agreeing on new map - Philadelphia Inquirer: “A proposed new map of Pennsylvania congressional districts may have sanded off some of the rougher edges of the current version, but it still amounts to a pro-Republican gerrymander, a chorus of Democrats complained Saturday as they urged Gov. [Tom Wolf] to reject it. The governor, whose administration is combing through the proposal with the advice of a prominent mathematics professor, is expected to announce his position on the new map early this week. Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) and House Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny), the leaders of the GOP-controlled legislature, submitted the map Friday night in an effort to meet the deadline in a state Supreme Court order to redraw the current boundaries.”


White House aide Jim Carroll is expected to be new drug czar - Fox News

“Speaking of portraits... Left: My official portrait as Governor. Right: My official ‘Pancake Portrait,’ which one of my staffers ordered off @Etsy. I’m certainly partial to one of these over the other…” – Sen. Tim Kaine said on Twitter in light of Barack and Michelle Obama unveiling their official portraits at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery earlier Monday morning.

KNXV: “Imagine going to sleep and waking up sounding British. It’s a real thing, and it happened to a Valley [Buckeye, Arizona] woman who has never even left the country. … Three times in the past seven years, [Michelle Myers] has gone to sleep with blinding headaches only to wake up with a different accent. The first time it was Irish. The second time was Australian. Both incidents lasted about a week. But two years ago she went down with a crippling headache and woke up with the British accent she’s had ever since. … According to experts, she’s not crazy and not faking it. She’s been diagnosed with Foreign Accent Syndrome. It’s an extremely rare condition that usually accompanies a stroke, neurological damage or other underlying medical issues. … But her outlook is positive. She’s loves spending time with her seven kids, listening to them sing and play instruments.”

Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.