Roll Call: “More than one-third of the money President Trump wants to redirect from other federal programs to build a border barrier is likely to be unavailable from the sources he has identified. As a result, it may be difficult for the president to circumvent Congress, even if a resolution disapproving of his ’emergency’ moves is never enacted.”
“Trump announced Feb. 15 that, using emergency powers, he wants to divert as much as $6.7 billion from other programs to finance the construction of barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border. That includes $3.6 billion from unspent military construction money, $2.5 billion in unspent Pentagon counterdrug funds and $600 million from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture account.”
“But the Defense Department has told lawmakers that only $85 million remains unspent in the counterdrug account… The Pentagon is planning to ask Congress for authority to reprogram more than $2.4 billion from other military programs into the counterdrug account in order to then take it right back out and move it to the wall project.”
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) February 23, 2019
“Republican politicians across the country have for years railed against the threat of voter fraud. Some have made unproven claims about how rampant it has become in order to pass voter ID laws and open sweeping investigations. The sanctity of the vote, they have said, must be protected at all costs,” the New York Times reports.
“But when a hard-fought congressional election in North Carolina — in which a Republican candidate appeared to narrowly beat his Democratic opponent — was overturned this week because of election fraud by a Republican political operative, the party was measured, and largely muted, in its response.”
“Average tax refund amounts are down double-digits compared to last year, according to the latest batch of weekly IRS data about the 2019 tax-filing season released late Friday,” The Hill reports.
“The average refund through Feb. 15 was $2,640, which is 16.7 percent smaller than the average refund through Feb. 16, 2018, according to the IRS data.”
— The New Republic (@newrepublic) February 22, 2019
Jonathan Greenberg: “Nearly four decades ago, Donald Trump deceived me into including him on the first Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans. He claimed a net worth of $100 million but was actually worth less than a tenth of that. Last week, President Trump declared a national state of emergency to bypass the constitutional budgeting powers of Congress and divert money to build a wall on the border with Mexico. What do these acts have in common? Only that they are the first and latest entries on the continuum of cons that have defined Trump’s success.”
“A real estate insider told me back in the 1980s that Trump’s win-at-all-costs father, Fred, ‘loves a crook and he loves a showman.’ Donald Trump has built his extraordinary career by exhibiting the characteristics of both. He is a self-promoter willing to lie, swindle and destroy to advance his insatiable self-interest. I am not the first journalist to observe that for Trump, the ‘Art of the Deal’ has been the art of the con. But as the first journalist to enable the consummate con man’s career-boosting deceptions, I have a completist’s view of the pernicious racket that is his playbook. Here, in roughly chronological order, are the six essential cons around which Trump has built and sustained his success.”
“House Democrats are laying the groundwork to subpoena the Trump administration for a trove of documents relating to its controversial migrant family separation policy at the border,” Politico reports.
“The House Oversight Committee will vote next Tuesday to authorize three subpoenas for the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Health and Human Services, teeing up the first subpoena of the panel’s new Democratic majority.”
A new poll shows Democrats are excited about a more diverse America, but Republicans are more skeptical. https://t.co/FHqlVfW8gk
— Vox (@voxdotcom) February 22, 2019
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said she is likely to support a resolution of disapproval over President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to secure more money for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, the Anchorage Daily News reports.
The evidence doesn't support the idea that Bernie Sanders is the key to a revival for Democrats among white working-class voters https://t.co/IFFwpwnhgG
— Intelligencer (@intelligencer) February 23, 2019
Politico: “Many, including several of the president’s top advisers, are less excited. Some have expressed trepidation not only that the summit, scheduled to take place next week in Hanoi, may not yield big results. They worry, too, that Trump, eager to declare victory on the world stage, could make big concessions in exchange for empty promises of denuclearization.”
“Inside the administration, concern about the upcoming summit has come from predictable skeptics, including national security adviser John Bolton, a longtime opponent of diplomacy with North Korea, but also from unexpected corners. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the man charged with leading the negotiations, has expressed frustration to allies about the lack of diplomatic progress and voiced concern that his boss will get outmaneuvered, according to a source with direct knowledge of the conversations.”
“Look, you could be a senior senator and have never managed more than a hundred people in your life. I not only have more years of government experience than the president of the United States, but I have more years of executive experience than the vice president of the United States, and more wartime experience than anybody who arrived in the office since George H.W. Bush.”
— South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, quoted by the Washington Post, on his experience to be president despite being 37 years old.
— Meredith Hankins (@mjhankins) February 23, 2019
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló (D) said that “as Democratic candidates begin visiting the island ahead of the 2020 presidential nominating contests there is one question they must answer: whether the U.S. territory should become a state,” Reuters reports.
Said Rosselló: “What I want to hear everybody talk about is their stance on the equality of U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico? It should be a yes or no answer. There should be no room for wiggle.”
“Though the national political focus has largely turned to the 2020 presidential campaign, three Southern states will see hard-fought governors’ races this year, with Democrats trying to show they can compete in Donald Trump territory,” the Associated Press reports.
“Democrats hope to unseat Kentucky’s Republican Gov. Matt Bevin and win an open governorship in Mississippi. In Louisiana, they’re working to re-elect John Bel Edwards, the lone Democratic governor in the Deep South.”
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) February 23, 2019
Daily Beast: “Nearly three years after hacked materials upended the 2016 presidential campaign, each Democratic candidate running for the White House has pledged not to knowingly use such material should they end up being published during the current election cycle.”
“Only one 2020 campaign chose not to respond: President Donald Trump’s.”
After the North Carolina state board of elections unanimously ordered a new election in the state’s 9th congressional district, the Cook Political Report says the seat remains a Toss Up.
“Meanwhile, Republicans are likely headed for a crowded primary, with or without Mark Harris. And things could get even worse for Republicans: under state law, a runoff will be held if no candidate gets 30 percent of the primary vote, further threatening to drain the party’s time and resources (the legislature lowered the threshold from 40 percent to 30 percent back in fall 2017, marginally reducing the chances this would occur).”
Dan McCready (D) kicked off his campaign for a new 9th congressional district election in North Carolina, saying the people of the district need representation, the Charlotte Observer reports.
Asked whether opponent Mark Harris (R) had disqualified himself from the election during the fraud investigation, McCready said, “That’s a question for the people to decide. I think he’s going to need a few days.”
How America Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Deficits and Debt. My latest.https://t.co/kEB1lBzbxl
— Neil Irwin (@Neil_Irwin) February 23, 2019
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Kentucky finds just 33% of voters approve of the job Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is doing, while 56% disapprove and 11% are unsure.