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National Govt & Politics
Congress returns facing Trump demands for action on immigration
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Congress returns facing Trump demands for action on immigration

Congress returns facing Trump demands for action on immigration
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Congress returns facing Trump demands for action on immigration

As lawmakers in the House and Senate return to Capitol Hill after a two-week Easter break, they arrive back at the U.S. Capitol this week facing an increasingly frustrated occupant of the White House, as President Donald Trump has made clear in recent days that he wants action from the Congress on immigration and other issues, and wants it done now.

"We have immigration laws that are laughed at by everybody," the President told reporters last week at the White House. "And it's got to be changed."

But while Mr. Trump has repeatedly pressed for action in Congress, the votes simply aren't there in either the House or Senate for major immigration changes, as shown by a series of March votes in the Senate related to the DACA program.

Here's what to look for as lawmakers return:

1. Trump wants action on immigration. While lawmakers were out of town, the President was venting his frustration about the lack of action on illegal immigration, demanding that Congress close loopholes which he says make it difficult to deport people who get into the U.S. illegally. "We have horrible, horrible, and very unsafe laws," the President said, as aides told reporters that a new legislative package of immigration changes would be sent to Capitol Hill. But the calculus remains the same in Congress - the get-tough measures backed by the President don't have a majority in either the House or Senate. Both parties should expect to hear more from the President on this issue, but it's not clear that will result in any kind of new laws.

2. Will the House even vote on a Trump immigration plan? Republicans have talked for months about voting on a plan related to immigration, but the GOP hasn't been able to put together anything so far which can get enough votes to be passed - a common theme for the GOP in recent years. The current Republican plan from Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) would incorporate many measures to tighten immigration laws which are backed by the President, while providing a temporary, renewable legal status for DACA illegal immigrant "Dreamers." That DACA provision isn't acceptable for a number of more moderate GOP lawmakers, and so Republicans can talk about immigration, but have no vote scheduled on anything at this point. That's going to get more notice as the President makes more noise on the subject.

3. Trump actions on trade worry both parties. Let's imagine a world where a Democratic President gets in a trade fight with China, and each country starts slapping the other with tariffs. One might expect a huge reaction from Republicans against that. So far, while some voices have raised concern, there's no push in Congress to block any new Trump tariffs - we'll see if that changes as lawmakers return, especially in the Senate, where every single Senator has a farm constituency, something that is not true in the House. The Farm Lobby is also worried. "The Administration knew that if it imposed tariffs on Chinese goods, China would retaliate against U.S. agriculture," said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). "I warned President Trump as much in a White House meeting in February." But the President is clearly doing what he wants to do on China and trade.

4. GOP ignores Trump calls to end Senate filibuster. More and more, Mr. Trump is demanding that Senate Republicans use the 'nuclear option' and get rid of the filibuster rule, in order to speed action on his legislative agenda. The President wants that rule changed so he does not have to entertain the idea of compromise with Democrats, as the 51-49 GOP edge has been made even slimmer by the medical absence of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Some day, the Senate might get rid of the cloture rule, established almost 100 years ago after an outcry led by President Woodrow Wilson. But GOP Senators are not ready to lead that charge right now. The irony is that getting rid of the filibuster in the Senate has long been a goal of more liberal groups in Washington.

5. Trump also wants action on his nominations. Instead of legislation, the Senate will again spend another week slowly grinding through a series of judicial and executive nominees by the President. Democrats have made the process about as enjoyable as a visit to the dentist, by insisting that up to 30 hours of debate be used on many nominations - as allowed for under Senate rules - even after a filibuster has been broken by the Senate. But some of Mr. Trump's high-profile choices aren't even getting to the stage of a floor vote - not because of Democrats - but because of the opposition of a few GOP Senators. Among those at dead stop, picks like NASA nominee Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK). "The current nominee doesn't have the votes," said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), who has led the charge against Bridenstine. The key GOP opponent of Bridenstine right now is Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

 

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  • The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health officials are investigating an outbreak of salmonella cases in several states. >> Read more trending news  The CDC has linked the infections to contact with backyard poultry, namely chickens and ducklings. So far, 52 people in 21 states have been infected, the CDC announced. Of those 52, 28% are children younger than 5. Five people have been hospitalized, the CDC said. So far, infections have been found in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.  >> Related: CDC warns consumers not to wash raw chicken In interviews, people said they got their chicks and ducklings from agricultural stores, websites and hatcheries. This is not the first time a salmonella outbreak has been linked to our feathered friends. In July 2018, the CDC discovered 212 salmonella cases in 44 states linked to backyard poultry. >> Related: More people infected with Salmonella from pet hedgehogs, CDC warns There are many ways people can be infected by fowl.  Poultry might have salmonella germs in their droppings, and on their feathers, feet and beaks, even when they appear healthy and clean, the CDC states on its website. The germs can get on cages, coops, feed and water dishes, hay, plants, and soil. Germs also can get on the hands, shoes and clothes of people who handle or care for poultry. >> Related: E. coli outbreak sickens dozens in 5 states, CDC says Infection can be prevented, however. The CDC recommends the following safety tips: Always wash your hands with soap and water right after touching backyard poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise handwashing by young children. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. Don’t let backyard poultry inside the house, especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored. Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside of the house. Children younger than 5, adults over 65, and people with weakened immune systems shouldn’t handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other poultry. Don’t eat or drink where poultry live or roam. Don’t kiss backyard poultry or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth. Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry, such as cages, or feed or water containers. For a complete list of recommendations, visit the Healthy Pets, Healthy People website section on backyard poultry.
  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson mixed up his real estate terms at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, mistaking “real estate owned,” a foreclosure term, for Oreo, as in the cookie.  >> Read more trending news  Representative Katie Porter, (D-CA), was asking Carson about the high REO rates. Porter said the Federal Housing Administration has more properties that become real estate owned than other loans. >> Trending: 14-year-old boy dies after severe beating as baby; ‘Carl’s life was nothing but pain’ Here’s the exchange: “I would also like to ask you to get back to me, if you don’t mind, to explain the disparity in REO rates. Do you know what a REO is?” Porter asked. “An Oreo?” Carson replied. “R, no not an Oreo. An R-E-O,” Porter responded. “Real estate?” Carson asked. “What does the O stand for?” Porter asked Carson. “E organization?” he responded. Porter went on to explain that when a property goes into foreclosure, it’s called an REO. After the hearing, Carson made light of the mix-up, posting a photo of himself with a package of Oreo cookies to social media and tagging Porter. >> Trending: Former White House counsel Don McGahn ignores subpoena, skips Congressional hearing “Enjoying a few post-hearing snacks. Sending some your way!” he wrote on Twitter. Oreo got in on the action by Tuesday afternoon, posting a response on social media. “REO stands for ‘Really Excellent OREO (cookie).’ Everyone knows that,” the brand posted.
  • If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, apparently you’re not alone. No less an authority than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says people frequently confuse the two holidays. >> Read more trending news Make no mistake about it: Both are incredibly important holidays, with their common focus on Americans who’ve served in the military. The key distinction: Memorial Day “is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle,” the VA says. While Veterans Day also honors the dead, it is “the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime.” Here’s a guide to each holiday: Memorial Day When it is: This year, it is on May 27. Its original name: Decoration Day. Initially, it honored only those soldiers who’d died during the Civil War. In 1868, a veteran of the Union Army, Gen. John A. Logan, decided to formalize a growing tradition of towns decorating veterans’ graves with flowers by organizing a nationwide day of remembrance on May 30 Logan also served in Congress from Illinois and in 1884, unsuccessfully ran for vice president on the Republican ticket. During World War I, the holiday’s focus expanded to honoring those lost during all U.S. wars. When it became official: In 1968, Congress officially established Memorial Day, as it had gradually come to be known, as a federal holiday that always takes place on the last Monday in May. Its unofficial designation: Memorial Day is still a solemn day of remembrance everywhere from Arlington National Cemetery to metro Atlanta, where a number of ceremonies and events will take place on Monday. On a lighter note, though, many people view the arrival of the three-day weekend each year as the start of summer. One more thing to know: In 2000, Congress established the National Moment of Remembrance. It asks all Americans to pause at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day each year to remember the dead. Veterans Day When it is: Nov. 11 every year.  Its original name: Armistice Day. The armistice or agreement signed between the Allies and Germany that ended World War I called for the cessation of all hostilities to take effect at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year in 1918. One year later, on Nov. 11, 1919, the first Armistice Day was celebrated in the U.S.  When it became official: In 1938, a congressional act established Armistice Day as an annual legal holiday. In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks first proposed the idea of expanding the holiday to one honoring veterans of all U.S. wars. In 1954, the holiday legally became known as Veterans Day. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan presented Alabama resident Weeks with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in recognition of his efforts in creating Veterans Day. Its temporary relocation: In 1968, the same congressional act that established Memorial Day moved Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October every year. That law took effect in 1971; just four years later, in 1975, President Gerald Ford -- citing the original date’s “historic and patriotic significance,” signed a bill that redesignated Nov. 11 as Veterans Day every year. One more thing to know: Despite much confusion over the spelling, it’s Veterans Day, plural, and without any apostrophes. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which explains on its website: “Veterans Day does not include an apostrophe but does include an ‘s’ at the end of ‘veterans’ because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.”    
  • Authorities were called to a church in Bridgeton, New Jersey, after reports of a man throwing rocks through stained-glass windows, according to news reports. >> Read more trending news  The incident happened at Immaculate Conception Holy Cross Church on Saturday, NJ.com reported. Witnesses called police and described the suspect, reporting that the man had thrown two large rocks through two stained-glass windows at the church. Police said they arrested a suspect identified as Norris Glass III, 40, at a nearby gas station, according to NJ.com. Glass is facing criminal mischief charges after police said he caused $4,000 in damage to the church. >> Trending: Horrified mother watches son, boyfriend drown as powerful rip current drags them out to sea Glass is no stranger to authorities. He was convicted of criminal trespassing in 2013 and pleaded guilty to obstructing the administration of law in 2017, the news outlet reported.  
  • Memorial Day -- it is a holiday many Americans celebrate by spending time with loved ones and enjoying the May weather.  >> Read more trending news But how might some of the more than 21 million U.S. veterans view and celebrate one the country's most somber holidays, which was created to remember the men and women who died fighting for their country? Retired U.S. Army Gen. Bob Drolet told WHNT, 'We're engaged in conflict today in the Middle East and there are people who are giving their lives almost on a daily basis. So you have to have a day where you remember the sacrifices.'  And there are many sacrifices to remember. According to findings from the Pew Research Center, since Sept. 11, 2001, about half of U.S. vets have served alongside a comrade who was killed, with that number rising for men and women in combat.   And because of those firsthand horrors experienced in battle, many soldiers and veterans spend Memorial Day a bit differently than the average American might.   Take Capt. David Danelo, the author of 'The Return' and a Marine Corps infantry officer who served in Iraq. 'I'm proud to be a civilian and I'm proud to be a Marine,' he said.  In honor of Memorial Day, Danelo talked to Legacy.com and said that on Memorial Day, he not only remembers his fallen comrades, but goes to visit the graves of those who may have been forgotten. 'There's one cemetery in Philadelphia that has a Civil War veteran who I'll go see. He’s long been forgotten and nobody thinks about him. I just walk around there and pay my respects to (his) memory.'  The 'Flags In' ceremony is another way a lot of soldiers commemorate Memorial Day: placing flags on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery.  'It's kind of an emotional process to know, 'cause I feel connected to each one of these soldiers that served before me. So it's kind of like a brotherhood thing. We just want to take care of our brothers and sisters, make sure they look good,' Pfc. Michael Samuel told USA Today.  But still, at least for wounded retired Army Staff Sgt. Luke Murphy, there is a feeling that civilians could make more of an effort to pay respects to fallen soldiers.  In a CNN op-ed piece Murphy gave an emotional account of losing his friend and fellow service member Sgt. 1st Class Jason Bishop while serving in Iraq.  Murphy wrote, in part, 'When soldiers die, they don't just roll over and quit like in the movies. They fight like hell. ... And sometimes they lose. The biggest loser is the family, though. ... The next biggest losers are the guys who were with the soldier. Many times they've got survivor's guilt. ... So, what do nonfamily members and nonveterans think about on Memorial Day? Sometimes I think they just don't give a damn.' Murphy suggests that people who want to show respect for members of the military make a donation to organizations such as Homes for Our Troops. That's the program that built Murphy and his family a new home that is accessible for someone with his injuries.   So however you choose to spend Memorial Day, whether by the pool or at a parade, try to remember why the holiday exists. 
  • An Oxford, Mississippi, police officer has been charged with the murder of a north Mississippi mother. >> Read more trending news The shooting happened Sunday afternoon in the 1000 block of Suncrest Drive. Officers arrived to the scene to find an “unresponsive person” who was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim was identified as Dominique Lashelle Clayton, 32. She was the mother of four, according to neighbors. Friends told WHBQ-TV that Clayton was shot in the back of the head during a domestic situation. Her 8-year-old son found her after being dropped off at the house by a family member on Sunday. Interim Oxford Police Chief Jeff McCutchen said the department learned on Sunday that Matthew Paul Kinne, an Oxford police officer, was possibly 'involved' with Clayton. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation took over the case, and Kinne was developed as a suspect. Dominiques Clayton's sister, Shyjuan, said Kinne and Dominique Clayton had been having an affair. Kinne was arrested Monday night and is being held in the Panola County jail. He is charged with murder. “We will not hide behind our badge,' McCutchen said. 'Dominque was a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend and a member of our community. This day is about her.” Kinne has been a police officer with the Oxford Police Department for four years.