Eyeglasses with newspaper and coffee cup

CALENDAR:

The House will return Monday, with no votes scheduled before 6:30 PM, and will be done for the week on Thursday, with no votes scheduled later than 3 PM.

The Senate will return Monday, with the first vote set to take place at approximately 7 PM. They’ll stay in session through Thursday.

And, of course, the Big Event for the week will take place Tuesday evening at 9 PM, when President Trump addresses a Joint Session of Congress.

LAST WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:

The House was not in session last week.

THIS WEEK ON THE HOUSE FLOOR:

The House will return to session on Monday at noon, with no votes held before 6:30 PM. At that time, they will take up six bills on the Suspension Calendar.

On Tuesday, the House will come back into session at noon for legislative business, then will recess no later than 5 PM. Scheduled for floor action on Tuesday is one bill, H.R. 998, the Searching for and Cutting Regulations that are Unnecessarily Burdensome Act, also known as the SCRUB Act.

The House will reconvene at approximately 8:35 PM for a Joint Session of Congress to receive President Trump’s address.

On Wednesday, and for the balance of the week, the House will consider three bills:

  • J.Res. 83, disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of Labor relating to “Clarification of Employer’s Continuing Obligation to Make and Maintain an Accurate Record of Each Recordable Injury and Illness”
  • R. 1009, the OIRA Insight, Reform, and Accountability Act
  • R. 1004, the Regulatory Integrity Act of 2017

LAST WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:

The Senate was not in session last week.

THIS WEEK ON THE SENATE FLOOR:

The Senate will come back into session at noon on Monday. At 3 PM, Sen. Sasse of NE will be recognized, to deliver President Washington’s Farewell Address on the Senate floor.

Beginning at 7 PM, the Senate will conduct two roll call votes. The first will be a vote to confirm Wilbur Ross to serve as Secretary of Commerce. That will be followed by a cloture vote on the motion to proceed to consideration of the nomination of Congressman Ryan Zinke of MT to serve as Secretary of the Interior. That will be followed by up to 30 hours of post-cloture debate on the Zinke nomination, setting up a vote to confirm Zinke on Wednesday.

BUDGET:

Late word this afternoon, in advance of the President’s speech to a Joint Session of Congress Tuesday evening, that the President’s budget submission will include what The New York Times is calling “sharp increases” in defense spending; major cuts to other agencies, including the EPA; and no attempt at entitlement reform.

Speaking on FOX News this afternoon, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reiterated that the President’s budget – which is due to be submitted on March 13 – will bypass any attempt at entitlement reform and focus instead on fundamental tax reform. In a comment that makes clear Mnuchin and others on Trump’s tax team plan to be aggressive with their revenue assumptions, he said the administration “fundamentally believes in dynamic scoring.”

The media and Democrats, predictably, will go nuts.

CONFIRMATIONS:

In addition to scheduled votes upcoming this week to confirm Wilbur Ross at Commerce and Ryan Zinke at Interior, we are expecting votes – possibly this week – to confirm Ben Carson at Housing and Urban Development and Rick Perry at Energy.

That leaves four more Cabinet rank officials who are still waiting for their hearings. They are:

  • Dan Coats, nominated for Director of National Intelligence
  • Robert Lighthizer, nominated for U.S. Trade Representative
  • Sonny Perdue, nominated for Secretary of Agriculture
  • Alexander Acosta, nominated for Secretary of Labor

CPAC:

White House Senior Counselor Steve Bannon appeared Thursday at CPAC with White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus. The two appeared jointly as part of a larger effort they’ve been making in recent weeks to counter stories of a feud between them. It was Bannon’s first public appearance since President Trump’s inauguration.

During the joint interview, Bannon made several very revealing remarks. He said, “[I]f you look at the lines of work, I kind of break it up into three verticals or three buckets. The first is kind of national security and sovereignty and that’s your intelligence, the Defense Department, Homeland Security. The second line of work is what I refer to as economic nationalism and that is Wilbur Ross at Commerce, Steven Mnuchin at Treasury, Lighthizer at Trade, Peter Navarro, Stephen Miller, these people that are rethinking how we’re gonna reconstruct the – our trade arrangements around the world. The third, broadly, line of work is what is deconstruction of the administrative state.”

That insight shows that Bannon understands that any attempt to change the course of events in Washington needs, by definition, to recognize the role unelected bureaucrats play. He gets it, and that’s why you’ve seen so much focus on executive orders in the first 30 days of the Trump Administration. And it’s not going to end any time soon, because there are a lot of bureaucrats who need to be tamed and have their power taken away.

You can read the full interview transcript in the Suggested Reading.

EXECUTIVE ORDERS:

On Wednesday, the Departments of Justice and Education jointly issued new guidance to schools in the form of letters regarding the issue of transgender bathroom selection, rolling back Obama-era federal guidance that allowed transgender students to use bathrooms and other facilities that corresponded to their gender “identities,” rather than to their gender. The media and Democrats, predictably, went nuts.

IMMIGRATION:

Following up on the two draft memos we discussed last week, on Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security issued two new guidance memos that give federal immigration officials wide latitude to arrest, detain and deport illegal immigrants and legal immigrants with criminal records. One focuses on border security, the other on interior enforcement. The media and Democrats, predictably, went nuts.

Meanwhile, the revamped executive order temporarily blocking travel from certain countries is still on hold. We now expect it to be issued next week. The media and Democrats will, predictably, go nuts.

MEDIA RELATIONS:

On Friday, there was no on-camera White House press briefing by Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Instead, he held an off-camera briefing with a smaller group of reporters, called a “gaggle.” But instead of limiting it merely to the reporters who made up the day’s press “pool,” he invited others, primarily conservative media outlets, to attend – but he didn’t extend the invitation to several mainstream media outlets like The New York Times, CNN, and Politico.

The media and Democrats, predictably, went nuts.

NATIONAL SECURITY:

On Monday, the President named Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to serve as his National Security Adviser, replacing retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

Gen. McMaster will not retire from the military, but will remain in the service. He’ll be the first National Security Adviser to serve on active duty since Gen. Colin Powell served as President Reagan’s National Security Adviser.

RUSSIA PROBE:

On Thursday, CNN breathlessly reported that the FBI had denied a request from senior Trump Administration officials that the FBI “knock down” media reports about contacts between Russian intelligence officials and Trump campaign operatives. The CNN report indicated that the conversation between White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe violated a decade-old policy limiting contact between White House and DOJ officials.

The White House pushed back hard against the story, declaring that the White House had not reached out to the FBI in the first place. According to Press Secretary Sean Spicer, McCabe had pulled Priebus aside at a meeting on another topic to tell Priebus that a New York Times story that had appeared the previous day reporting “constant” contact between Russian intelligence officials and Trump campaign operatives was, and I quote, “bullshit.” Priebus then asked the FBI Deputy Director if the FBI would talk to reporters publicly to help correct the record, and McCabe said he would get back to Priebus. Later that day, the two men spoke again, and McCabe – presumably after having spoken with others at the FBI – demurred, saying the FBI didn’t want to be put in the position of commenting on such stories. Priebus then asked if McCabe or FBI Director Comey would talk to reporters on background, and was again denied.

The media and Democrats, predictably, went nuts. But what the CNN report failed to mention is that the decade-old policy on contact between the White House and the Department of Justice includes a specific carve-out for communications related to public affairs matters, so there wasn’t any violation of the policy to begin with.

Nevertheless, the incident fed into the ongoing meme of a Trump White House “war on the media.”

TAX REFORM:

The President suggested this week that his thinking on a border adjustment tax might be changing – in an interview with Reuters, he said a border adjustment tax “could lead to a lot more jobs in the United States … I certainly support a form of tax on the border. What is going to happen is companies are going to come back here, they’re going to build their factories and they’re going to create a lot of jobs and there’s no tax.”

SUGGESTED READING:

JENNY BETH MARTIN/TEA PARTY PATRIOTS:

WT: The Art Of Listening: Congress Could Learn A Thing Or Two From Trump

Binghamton Homepage: Tea Party Rally Held In Downtown Binghamton Criticizing Schumer

Gazette: Pro Trump Spirit Of America Rally Coming To Denver

TN Star: Tea Party Going Back to Washington

BUDGET:

NYT: trump To Ask for Sharp Increases in Military Spending, Officials Say

IMMIGRATION:

Politico: Trump Puts Tougher Immigration Policy In Motion

Morning Consult: DHS To Ramp Up Deportations, Continue Protections For Dreamers

Hill: White House Punts New Travel Order To Next Week

Politico: Ryan’s Border Visit Launches Push For Trump’s Wall

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-administration-seeks-to-prevent-panic-over-new-immigration-enforcement-policies/2017/02/21/a2a695a8-f847-11e6-bf01-d47f8cf9b643_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_immigration-1157a:homepage/story&utm_term=.7bbe58e23955

Hill: The Memo: Trump’s Big Immigration Gamble

Hill: Immigration Hard Liners Hold Fire On Dreamers

OBAMACARE:

Bloomberg: Conservatives Object To ObamaCare Replacement’s Tax Credits

Hill: Trump Officials Weigh Fate Of Birth Control Mandate

Hill: Two Tax Issues Dividing Republicans On ObamaCare

Hill: ObamaCare Fix Hinges On Medicaid Clash In Senate

CNN: Hill GOP Asks Governors To Help Save ObamaCare Repeal

Axios: Not Invited To Administration’s ObamaCare Meeting: Treasury

Politico: Exclusive: Leaked GOP ObamaCare Replacement Shrinks Subsidies, Medicaid Expansion

SCOTUS:

Politico: Gorsuch’s Charm Offensive May Be Working

Politico: Senator Gillibrand Predicts Gorsuch Will Be Confirmed

TAX REFORM:

Reuters: Exclusive: Trump Says Republican Border Tax Could Boost U.S. Jobs

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION:

APPOINTMENTS/CONFIRMATIONS:

USAT: Senate Confirms Scott Pruitt Amid Last Minute Drama

WSJ: McMaster Named As National Security Adviser

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-taps-army-lt-gen-hr-mcmaster-as-his-new-national-security-adviser/2017/02/20/3a8fd9fa-f7ae-11e6-be05-1a3817ac21a5_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_mcmaster-320pm-nondesktop%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.9439bd202467

Politico: Trump’s New Warrior-Scholar

Politico: Tillerson Is Looking For Ways To Raise His Public Profile

CPAC:

BG: In 2011, Trump Was A Sideshow At CPAC. Times Have Changed

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/top-wh-strategist-vows-a-daily-fight-for-deconstruction-of-the-administrative-state/2017/02/23/03f6b8da-f9ea-11e6-bf01-d47f8cf9b643_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_trumpcpac-730pm:homepage/story&tid=a_inl&utm_term=.66c7ec5e3af0

TIME: Read Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus’ Joint Interview at CPAC

WaPo: Trump Tells Conservative Gathering that His Supporters Are the GOP’s Future

CBS: Trump Appeals to Conservatives at CPAC, Vows To Keep Campaign Promises

Politico: At CPAC, Trump Tightens His Grip on the GOP

Hill: Trump Tells Conservatives He Is Future of GOP

EXECUTIVE ORDERS:

Hill: Trump Administration Withdraws Protections For Transgender Students

WSJ: Trump Administration Rescinds Obama Rules On Transgender Bathroom Use

WaPo: Trump Administration Rolls Back Protections For Transgender Students

MEDIA RELATIONS:

Hill: White House Hand-Picks Select Media Outlets for Briefing

WaPo: CNN, NYT, Other Media Barred from White House Briefing

Politico: White House Goes to War with Media

TRANSCRIPT: 2/24/17 WH Press Gaggle

Politico: Media Companies Rethink Their WHCA Dinner Party Plans

Politico: Trump Bails on White House Correspondents’ Dinner

RUSSIA PROBE:

Politico: GOP To Bury House Resolution On Trump Conflicts

Politico: Trump’s Russia Problem Dogs Republicans At Town Halls

Politico: GOP Senator Wants Flynn To Testify On Russia Ties

CNN: FBI Refused White House Request To Knock Down Recent Trump Russia Stories

Politico: Democrats Slam White House over Report It Asked FBI To Downplay Russia Stories

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-administration-sought-to-enlist-intelligence-officials-key-lawmakers-to-counter-russia-stories/2017/02/24/c8487552-fa99-11e6-be05-1a3817ac21a5_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_trumprussia-720pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.9b96dd208a4b

Politico: Trump Tweets Anger at FBI While White House Scrambles To Contain Fallout

MISCELLANEOUS:

AP: Trump Tries To Move Past Controversies Toward Legislating

Politico: Trump’s Open-Door Oval Office