Washington Update - June 11, 2018

Billy Moore    Dc2

The House passed a $147 billion bundle of three annual appropriations bills last week, along with a rescission bill taking about $14 billion in unspendable funds off the federal ledger. The Senate confirmed three judicial nominees. This week, Representatives plan passage of numerous opioid bills while Senators debate the Defense authorization.

President Donald Trump will summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Tuesday after a contentious weekend summit with the G-7, the organization of the popularly-elected leaders of the 7 largest advanced economies in the world.

President Trump again downplayed the summit with Kim, although the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of the peninsula remains the event's lofty goal – providing a key test of the President's leadership and diplomatic ability. It comes after he threatened to "stop trading" with America's closest allies – including NAFTA partner Canada - unless they agree to his demands on tariffs.

The House spending package combines the Energy-Water, Military Construction-VA, and Legislative Branch appropriations. Senate leaders have not signaled when they will take up their first appropriation bill; neither have they hinted about the future the House rescission package, to which several Republican senators objected.

Tuesday is the deadline for moderate Republicans to complete a discharge petition on immigration and force a vote this month. If three more Representatives sign the petition, it will require House votes on four immigration initiatives, including the DREAM Act to protect undocumented aliens who entered the country as children. Negotiations with their conservative counterparts – who feel the petition is betrayal of Republican principles – have not yielded a compromise.

Polling suggests 2018 election messaging: Republicans highlighting economic growth and tax cuts, Democrats emphasizing healthcare and providing a check on President Trump. Democrats feel the President's renewed effort to have courts declare Obamacare's most popular provisions unconstitutional will be helpful to them on both points.