Overnight Senate and House votes mean one of the shorter and most pointless shutdowns in history will itself be history with a morning presidential signature.
But Sen. Rand Paul’s point was heard – much as his colleagues wanted to unhear it — as were the “no” votes of the House Freedom Caucus. This is big spending coming quick on the heels of a deficit-driving tax cut; the chapter of GOP deficit hawks dictating policy outcomes now appears closed, with President Donald Trump along for that ride.
Also gone, of course, are long-term prospects for Trump’s plans for slashing government agencies, and for ending budget deficits. The great immigration debate starts next with no clear GOP plan, and now no new money for the president’s border wall.
Then there are the costs incurred in the Rob Porter affair. A communications director whose name has stayed relatively clean of controversy is in the middle of that, as is a chief of staff who was supposed to be the guy who brought order to White House chaos.
That doesn’t even begin to cover the damage to relationships with the Justice Department and the FBI, as the Democratic-authored memo still waits on presidential approval.
It’s been less than two weeks since Trump’s first State of the Union address opened possibilities for a new start. Things have changed fast, but there are no do-overs for the White House now.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
Politically, Democrats are on the offensive.
This week, they expanded their battleground map (increasing the number of races they plan to invest and aggressively compete in) and looked confident and united as they celebrated recruitment and fundraising numbers.
On Capitol Hill, the story felt very different as Democratic lawmakers appeared divided, both between the House and the Senate and within the House Democratic caucus itself.
First, there was the split-screen of the two chambers. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., taking a victory lap on the Senate floor and tying a bow on the bipartisan deal he crafted, while his should-be counterpart, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., launched into a history-making protest performance of the floor of her chamber.
Clearly Pelosi, or at least enough members of her caucus, felt she did not get enough from the budget talks. Half in her ranks wanted to deliver something concrete on immigration before moving forward, while others felt the budget deal that landed in their laps was one they could not ignore. Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, John Yarmuth, D-Ky., announced he would back the deal even though Pelosi was holding out.
Arguably, Schumer left Pelosi out to dry.
The TIP with Lissette Rodriguez
If you’re looking to gauge electoral implications around budget votes, the primaries might be the first place to go. One particular congressman from Florida is being closely watched — for his ties to Trump and the Freedom Caucus.
Rep. Ron DeSantis, and his already Trump tweet-endorsed campaign for Florida governor, is a tried-and-true conservative who helped create the House Freedom Caucus.
“We support funding our troops, but growing the size of government by 13 percent is not what the voters sent us here to do,” read a Feb. 7 Wednesday night tweet from the House Freedom Caucus.
Conservative organizations like the Club for Growth, which helped get DeSantis elected to the House and gives him a 96 percent lifetime score, also oppose the deal. According to a statement released Wednesday night, the group opposes the deal on the grounds it provides “$80+ billion in so-called disaster relief spending.”
Disaster relief is on the forefront in the minds of many Floridians after the devastating effects of a historic 2017 hurricane season.
Early Friday morning. Rep. DeSantis voted for the budget deal.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“If you were against President Obama’s deficits and now you’re for the Republican deficits, isn’t that the very definition of hypocrisy,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said on the Senate Floor Thursday during the debate over the budget deal.
NEED TO READ
Government shutdown set to end as budget deal passes Senate, House. The House and Senate both passed a sweeping budget deal in the early hours of Friday morning — but not before the government technically ran out of money at midnight Thursday, triggering the second shutdown in less than a month. (Ali Rogin, John Parkinson and Devin Dwyer) https://abcn.ws/2C5hfag
Senior Trump staffers knew about allegations of abuse against Rob Porter: Sources. Senior members of President Donald Trump’s administration knew for months that there was a personal issue haunting White House staff secretary Rob Porter, multiple sources told ABC News — raising questions among staffers about why he was allowed to continue in such a prominent role in the West Wing. (Jordyn Phelps, John Santucci, Tara Palmeri and Alex Hosenball) https://abcn.ws/2E86da2
Lawmaker slams Republicans over security clearances amid Porter scandal. A Democratic lawmaker is taking aim at his Republican colleagues following reports that White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter was able to continue to work in the West Wing despite being denied a permanent security clearance due to domestic abuse allegations made against him. (Benjamin Siegel, Matthew Mosk, Pete Madden) https://abcn.ws/2EbJI3V
Pence bashes North Korea’s military parade, endorses Trump’s parade. Vice President Mike Pence engaged in a game of parade one-upmanship on Friday as he spoke to reporters in South Korea ahead of the opening ceremonies for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. (Mark Osborne and Adam Kelsey) https://abcn.ws/2FXBnxu
North Korea has no plans to talk with US, Pence at Olympics, foreign ministry says. Despite previous signs of an openness from the U.S., North Korea on Thursday said they do not have any interest in meeting members of the American delegation during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang beginning this week. (Mark Osborne) https://abcn.ws/2EpqR4Z
Two of the ISIS executioner ‘Beatles’ captured in Syria. Two notorious British ISIS members believed to be involved in the brutal torture and beheadings of Western hostages are being detained by U.S.-backed rebel forces in Syria, U.S. officials confirmed. The pair were part of a group of four ISIS members from the United Kingdom nicknamed “The Beatles” by their hostages because of their English accents and origins. (James Gordon Meek and Luis Martinez) https://abcn.ws/2FYMBBF
Meet the little girl Trump called ‘a hero’. President Donald Trump shared the spotlight with a pint-size “hero” this morning. He praised Sophia Marie Campa-Peters, a 9-year-old who earned national attention for her call for 10,000 prayers from strangers before she underwent a high-risk surgery. (Meghan Keneally) https://abcn.ws/2BjYbIH
Democrats return to the middle class roots in 2018 campaign message. After a year of contemplation and hand-wringing, Democrats have decided to go back to basics and return to their roots for the 2018 midterm cycle. (MaryAlice Parks and Emily Goodin) https://abcn.ws/2EeXZcp
Some White House staff to get second phones to coordinate with RNC. Ahead of this fall’s midterm elections, the White House will soon allow some senior staff to use specially-provided cell phones to communicate with the Republican National Committee, according to White House officials. (John Santucci, Jordyn Phelps and Katherine Faulders) https://abcn.ws/2ESGmQM
The New York Times reports that after drawing a string of unwelcome headlines, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is falling out of favor with the president as Trump turns to Kelly’s predecessor Reince Priebus to confide his grievances. https://nyti.ms/2Ed9EfI