With Susannah Luthi.
IMMIGRATION ON THE MIND: It is a big week for immigration. The House is poised to vote on two immigration bills this week, both narrower pieces of legislation while Democrats weigh how ambitious to go with President Joe Bidens comprehensive immigration plan. All of this is unfolding amid a growing debate about how to address the surging numbers of migrant children and families being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.
1) The Dream and Promise Act would provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers, young immigrants who were brought to the country as children and have remained in the country illegally. This bill also provides a path to citizenship for the immigrants living in the U.S. with Temporary Protected Status. Seven House Republicans supported this legislation last time around.
2) The second bill, the Farm Modernization Workforce Act, aims to provide a path to citizenship for farm workers who are living in the country illegally. Thirty-four Republicans supported this legislation last Congress.
Both bills passed the House last session but werent taken up in the Senate. Still, despite Dems narrow majority, the bills as they currently stand are unlikely to get the 60 needed votes to pass in the upper chamber. (This has also fueled talk
of including key immigration provisions to Dems next use of the reconciliation process.) Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is talking with Republicans about a narrow bipartisan approach on Dreamers.
Heading on down there: Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) is taking a delegation of a dozen GOP members to El Paso, Texas, today as part of an effort to highlight what they say is a crisis at the border that the Biden administration has failed to adequately address. Republicans claim Bidens policies on immigration and the border have sparked the rise in migrants coming to the U.S. (And some Dem moderates are also calling on Biden
to be more forceful in warning migrants not to come to the U.S.)
Currently, there are thousands of migrant children
who showed up at the border unaccompanied being held in detention centers for longer than legally allowed, and government resources are feeling the strain amid the uptick. The Biden administration over the weekend directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide support at the border.
If FEMA is involved, its a disaster by definition, Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement.
Dems argue it is former President Donald Trump who not only failed to address problems at the border while in office but also left the Department of Homeland Security in shambles, which the Biden admin is now reckoning with as they seek to address the surge.
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Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters yesterday: I do know that the Biden administration is trying to fix the broken system that was left to them by the Trump administration.” Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) put it more bluntly, telling your Huddle host recently that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is doing his best to rebuild the agency, but it is as though he’s building an airplane in mid-flight.
Republicans are not buying what Dems are selling: No ones buying the blame Trump for the border line from Democrats but I hope they keep trying to sell it, Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) tells me. Biden will have to act meaningfully on this growing crisis or all the talk will be border problems instead of Covid recovery.
As NYT reports, there are other factors at play: Immigrant smugglers, known as coyotes, are falsely promising migrants that the border is open under Bidens presidency, leading many to spend their life savings to try to come to the U.S. Still, the migrants keep coming, and many officials believe the numbers could be bigger than those seen in recent years, after the pandemic and recent natural disasters in Central America wiped away livelihoods.
Progressives patience is beginning to wear thin as the Biden administration grapples with how to restructure the Trump-era policies and adopt a more humane approach. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) told Playbook
she and a group of other members will press the administration today to stop housing migrants in local prison and jail facilities, which have faced allegations of misconduct and abuse.
Additionally, House Democratic leaders originally aimed to bring Bidens comprehensive package up for a vote this month, but an internal temperature check on the caucus showed they didnt have enough support, per reports. A Dem aide tells me the House Judiciary Committees Immigration Subcommittee expects a hearing on the U.S. Citizenship Act next month, where it could undergo some changes.
Related: House to test waters on immigration overhaul with votes on two bills, by WSJs Michelle Hackman: http://on.wsj.com/3rPWv0N
| Texas lawmaker: Biden administration didn’t cause influx of migrants at border, by our Maya Parthasarathy: http://politi.co/2Owfmj5
| Backlog of migrant children in Border Patrol custody soars to 4,200, with 3,000 held past legal limit, by CBSs Camilo Montoya-Galvez: http://cbsn.ws/3cxlYWr
ALSO UPCOMING: House Democrats are starting to shape the legislative process around the biggest climate bill in American history. It could get uglyeven within the caucus, The National Journals Brian Dabbs reports:http://bit.ly/3vjSzaZ
KEEP AN EYE ON: Gun control groups focus all efforts on Senate, by The Hills Alex Gangitano: https://bit.ly/3bNzd6a
A message from Freight Rail Works:
According the American Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure Report Card, rail is top of the class. The U.S. rail network was recently awarded its highest grade. Thanks to spending $260,000 on average per mile of track, freight railroads are keeping our economy and our country moving forward. Learn more.
HAPPY MONDAY! Welcome to Huddle, the play-by-play guide to all things Capitol Hill on this March 15, where vaccinations mean hugs can soon be had even if one had to wait a year
for a heartwarming embrace.
FRIDAYS MOST CLICKED:The Atlantics story
on whether John Fetterman can win Pennsylvania’s Senate Seat was the big winner.
PUPS OF CAPITOL HILL:Your Huddle host received some amazingly cute photos of your pups for Huddles Pups of Capitol Hill photo competition. Keep sending them in. We will have our first round of match-up competitions shortly. Please pick one pic or let me know which photo is your favorite before the competition commences. Email them to me at [email protected]
NO WARM GOP GREETINGS FOR GREITENS: Former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens who resigned in mid-2018 less than two years after taking office, after facing allegations he sexually assaulted a woman who wasnt his wife is moving closer to a 2022 Senate bid as he places calls to Republicans about his deliberations. Many are convinced he is running, which has top GOP leaders alarmed that he will jeopardize the partys grip on the seat and imperil their prospects of taking back the majority.
Alex has more: http://politi.co/3liFZ79
WORKING IT OUT DURING A WORKOUT: Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) may have been working to prevent Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) from becoming Senate majority leader as NRSC chairman, he was also privately hatching a massive foreign-policy plan with the New York Democrat — all of which started in the Senate gym.
No heavy lifting here: Now, Schumer is vowing to take up and pass the so-called Endless Frontier Act, which will be an unprecedented bipartisan bill aimed at countering the technological influence of a rising China.
More here from Andrew on how Young is building a McCain model towards foreign policy: http://politi.co/2NgjmDE
CUOMO = CU-OH-NO: The pressure is building on Andrew Cuomo to resign as governor of New York after half a dozen women have come forward alleging sexual misconduct by the high-profile politician.
Top Democrats in both chambers called for him to step down on Friday, including the two Senators in the New York delegation — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who was the first to call for Sen. Al Franken’s resignation in 2017 amid sexual harassment claims.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other New York Dems also followed Rep. Kathleen Rice in calling for him to leave, citing the harassment allegations and his administration severely undercounting
nursing home deaths.
Cuomo, who has denied the allegations and said he wont bow to cancel culture, signaled he has no plans to leave: “I’m not going to resign. I was not elected by the politicians, I was elected by the people.
To Republicans, the calls for him to step down from Dems shouldve been sooner, when other scandals were already hitting the Cuomo administration. Although these allegations are disturbing and should be investigated, the Democrats have been mostly silent on the nursing home scandal that Republicans have been focused on for nearly a year, freshman Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) told your Huddle host in a statement.
Related: As Cuomo reels, pleas for political support come from his Vaccine Czar, by NYTs Jesse McKinley and J. David Goodman: http://nyti.ms/2ONORp7
| Biden, Pelosi stop short of calling on Cuomo to resign, instead deferring to investigation, by WaPos Amy Wang: http://wapo.st/30PaO9T
HAPPENING THURSDAY – PLAYBOOK INTERVIEW WITH CONGRESSMAN LEE ZELDIN: The GOP has not won a statewide election in New York in nearly two decades. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), an ally of former President Donald Trump, is one of several Republicans considering a challenge against embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Join Playbook co-authors Tara Palmeri and Ryan Lizza for a conversation with Rep. Zeldin to discuss a potential gubernatorial run and how he is working with Democrats in Congress. REGISTER HERE.
WIN SOME, LOSE SOME?: Bidens ambitious agenda — including the recent passage of the Covid relief bill — has liberals very excited that the former Senate institutionalist would pursue such major pieces of legislation. But, the applause of one side of the political spectrum may spell danger for Dems in 2022 as Republicans look to paint Biden as a left-leaning radical, WaPos Ashley Parker and Matt Viser report
. Moderates are now warning about going too big on immigration and infrastructure as a result.
But then again, Dems are also hoping to use the stimulus bill as a political weapon, making the making the political bet that the stimulus will be so transformational for Americans across party lines and demographic groups, NYTs Jonathan Martin reports: https://nyti.ms/3rPXHkL
What Republicans Are Reading: Biden eyes first major tax hike since 1993 in next economic plan, by Bloombergs Nancy Cook and Laura Davison: http://bloom.bg/3voJZrb
Related: Beyond Covid relief: Biden invokes LBJ as Democrats aim to expand welfare state, by our Megan Cassella: http://politi.co/2OU5fVe
| How Trumps team amassed a $1 trillion war chest for Biden to deploy, by Victoria Guida: http://politi.co/3rTAMW0
DONT STOP AT GO, DEMS TO FOCUS ON PAYGO: House Democrats are planning to vote later this week to waive the Pay-As-You-Go
or PAYGO rules, which are poised to trigger broad funding cuts at the end of the year following passage of their $1.9 trillion spending package. But in the same measure, introduced Friday by House Budget Chair John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), Dems also extend the temporary pandemic freeze on provider Medicare cuts that are set to expire at the end of this month.
Democrats say the provisions should pass easily as a stand-alone, even though theyll need GOP votes in the Senate.They point out that they agreed to waive PAYGO after the Republicans passed their partisan tax package, and that the temporary waiver of the 2 percent Medicare sequester was done in a bipartisan way last Congress. Also included is a technical fix to the last year end spending package saving California from any disproportionate share hospital cuts.
But lawmakers dont have an immediate deadline to waive Paygo, and some on the GOP side are wondering why Democrats didnt extend the sequester freeze as part of their spending package if it was a priority. And with relations between the parties at an all-time low on Capitol Hill, some industry lobbyists expect a rocky road ahead although key GOP offices in the upper chamber were mum on how they see the discussion going on their side.
Yarmuth, meanwhile, has already issued fighting words, stating Friday that if Republicans play political games and dont do their jobs, Medicare and the seniors that depend on it will pay the price.
ICYMI over the weekend:
-Biden’s embrace of Warren World poses new risks for Wall Street, by our Zachary Warmbrodt: http://politi.co/3thTAhK
-After monthslong delay, congressional leaders stand up intelligence committee, Melanie and Kyle report: http://politi.co/3qMiB31
-Former Fox host Eric Bolling considering congressional campaign against GOP Rep. Tom Rice, per our Alex Isenstadt: http://politi.co/3vo4og2
-Poll: Majority of Iowans do not want Grassley to seek reelection, by our Jesse Naranjo: http://politi.co/38FKELb
-Pro-Vaxxers: Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) and Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), both doctors, separately posted pics on social media of them vaccinating people in their community over the weekend. Pretty great if you ask your Huddle host. (Links: Uno
A message from Freight Rail Works:
-The Senate will resume consideration of the nomination of Debra Haaland to be Bidens Secretary of the Interior. At 5:30 p.m. the Senate will proceed to a roll call vote on her confirmation. As Jennifer Bendery reports
, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is going to support her after he received a letter from a tribal leader in his state.
-FIRST IN HUDDLE: Over 100 interfaith organizations led by Muslim Advocates, National Council of Jewish Women, and Sojourners are voicing support of Kristen Clarkes nomination to serve as the DOJs Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. The organizations are sending a letter to each Senator and the White House to make their support known.
-Lily Adams, a veteran of VP Kamala Harris presidential bid, is joining the Treasury Department to help promote the admins Covid relief bill, Axios reports
-Ashton Davies is joining the media relations team of the Tennessee Valley Authority. She most recently was comms director for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and is an RNC and Bob Corker alum.
TODAY IN CONGRESS
The House is out.
The Senate will convene at 3 p.m.
AROUND THE HILL
1 p.m. eastern: McCarthy and a dozen GOP members are expected to hold a press conference after traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border today.
6 p.m: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will receive a closed briefing on the policy and legal rationale of U.S. airstrikes in Syria.
FRIDAYS WINNER: Rob Chamberlin was the first person to correctly guess
the legendary ale house located in NYC that served beer to both Abraham Lincoln and John Lennon is McSorley’s Old Ale House.
TODAYS QUESTION: From Rob: How about how many times has the senate been split evenly since its founding and which party has held the effective majority more times?
The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next edition of Huddle. Send your answer to [email protected]
GET HUDDLEemailed to your phone
Follow Olivia on Twitter: @Olivia_Beavers
A message from Freight Rail Works:
Once again, rail receives top marks in safety and infrastructure. The American Society of Civil Engineers just awarded freight rail the highest accolade of any U.S. infrastructure. How does the industry keep almost 140,000 rail miles running smoothly? Through healthy private investment that prioritizes improvements in safety and efficiency. Over the last 40 years, freight railroads have spent nearly $740 billion to maintain and modernize todays network, averaging $25 billion a year. And as policymakers work to address infrastructure challenges and advance other priorities, railroads stand as ready partners to help craft well-designed, viable solutions. See how rail is uniquely poised to be a key player in helping the U.S. meet future climate, economic and infrastructure goals.