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Our new Politics newsletter: Time running out to get things done

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- With 35 days to go in the House, what can really get done? There are a lot of bills either in the House or in the Senate and time is ticking to turn them into law. A short sample of what still isn't law: Bill C-69, which would overhaul the pipeline approval process. In total, there are 10 bills still before the House and 13 in the Senate. Now, the leadership of all Senate parties and groups (it's never simple there) did strike a deal to hold third reading votes on or before June 6 for 10 of the 13 bills before senators. If the Conservatives are going to win the election in October, it will be due to significant inroads in Ontario, where the Liberals won 80 of the province's 121 seats in 2015. and Alberta elections and what they could mean for October's federal election. It is true that the United States and China produce significantly more emissions (they also have significantly more people), but there are also 200 countries that emit less than Canada. Canada's commitment is to reduce emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Email us your questions and we'll answer one in the next Canada Votes newsletter.

Don Walton: The death penalty, faith and partisan politics

It's an issue that ought to be deeply personal, and it is. For many people it is faith-guided or faith-based. It's an issue that really shouldn't be used as a partisan political instrument, but it is. Everything is today. Julie Slama, Megan Hunt and Machaela Cavanaugh were among the first to speak. But there's a difference if it's innocent life, several senators responded, a stark difference between death because of abortion and the execution of a convicted killer. Three Republicans who formerly were members of the Legislature were "kicked out" because they voted to repeal the death penalty, Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks said, listing them as former Sens. Jerry Johnson, Les Seiler and Al Davis, each of whom was politically targeted and failed to win re-election. In the end, the vote to advance Chambers' bill to eliminate the death penalty failed on a 17-25 vote. Eight of the 14 women in the Legislature voted for repeal; 26 of 35 men voted to retain the death penalty.

Eyeing 2020, Capito seeks six more years in Senate

Aiming to curb health care costs, build a wall along the southern U.S. border, and create and maintain employment opportunities to anchor young people in West Virginia, Capito said she has amplified the state’s voice on the national stage and will continue to do so. “I think I’ve shown myself to be listening to my constituents -- my fellow West Virginians -- to things that are important to them: jobs, the opioid crisis, broadband, infrastructure,” she said. “I’m placed well in my committees to be effective. She sits on the Committee on Appropriations, among the most powerful of any congressional committee. Prohibiting insurance providers from hiking prices on those with preexisting conditions was a central canon of the ACA. “Who needs health care? Under Trump, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a brief supporting the court’s decision. While Congress has drifted away from ACA repeal efforts, Capito said she has other ideas to curb skyrocketing insurance and health care costs. “We’ve got undocumented children, the DACA population, that could be a bargaining chip, people that were brought here … when they were 3 years old,” she said. In 2014, she walloped then-Secretary of State Natalie Tennant by almost 28 points, winning all 55 counties.

Politics, paradoxes and self-fulfilling prophesies

For many months now President Mauricio Macri has been playing with fire – restricting the electoral alternatives to the populism incarnated by his predecessor Senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, in order to ensure that continuity is at the very least the lesser evil, while running the calculated risk of spooking the markets (supposedly covered by the insurance policy of the biggest International Monetary Fund loan in history). This strategy somehow managed to survive all last year’s crises, but in the anniversary week of that first run on the currency its basic premises now risk collapsing all along the line, thus making the current turbulence potentially more dangerous. Throwing money at the problem becomes akin to using water against an oil fire – it should not be forgotten that the 2018 crisis began exactly a year ago last Wednesday, when then-Central Bank governor Federico Sturzenegger deployed over US$1.4 billion to defend the 20-peso mark. The massive IMF package seemed to stop the rot (just like the blindaje mega-swap of some US$40 billion in early 2001) but this becomes relative when these huge sums only serve to magnify a relatively tiny market out of all proportion, feeding fuel to the flames. Ditto for absurdly high interest rates topping 70 percent to defend the currency – in the long term these serve to liberate an economy from dependence on the dollar (at least based on the precedent of Brazil) but in the short they swell both ends of stagflation by feeding obscene financial bicycles while strangling a credit already at rock-bottom levels (18 percent of the economy as against a regional average of 45 percent). Meanwhile, we have the supreme paradox of a market-friendly government being torpedoed by the markets with international financial dailies muttering about the “brink of default.” The official explanation of this paradox is fear of a populist comeback – a fear which is fast becoming both a vicious circle and a self-fulfilling prophesy because the more these market panics at the prospect of a Fernández de Kirchner victory derail the economy, the likelier that triumph becomes. Macri could thus be forgiven were he to conclude bitterly about the markets: With friends like that, who needs enemies? And yet the government badly needs to introduce some self-criticism into its approach alongside self-pity. The market reaction is not as counterproductively irrational as it might seem. There is not only a “Cristina factor” but also a “Macri factor” – whatever the dangers of populism, Macri’s economic record in three of his four years has not been so dazzling as to inspire much confidence.

Trump Pulls Out of Arms Treaty During Speech at N.R.A. Convention

INDIANAPOLIS — In a speech to National Rifle Association members on Friday that was part political rally and part pep talk, President Trump called himself a champion of gun rights. Still, Mr. Trump said his decision to sign a letter asking the Senate to send the treaty back to the White House “is a big, big factor,” calling the accord a “badly misguided” arrangement. To supporters of the decision, making certain that the United States does not ratify the treaty is one more step toward deregulation that Mr. Trump has championed. Mr. Trump disparaged this and other legislative attempts as a move by Democrats to ensure that “bad guys” keep their guns. called it a “lawsuit based on a frivolous complaint.”) “There’s definitely some bad news and the N.R.A. “The president is the most enthusiastic supporter of the Second Amendment that has occupied the White House in recent history,” Jennifer Baker, an N.R.A. Ms. Baker added that N.R.A. “Our members are pretty politically astute,” Ms. Baker said. — and suggested that the arming of teachers could make schools safer. Gun rights advocates say Mr. Trump has delivered in an area where many of them say it matters most: reordering the judiciary by appointing two Supreme Court justices.

As Democrats Agonize, G.O.P. Is at Peace With Doing Nothing on Mueller’s Findings

Erin Schaff for The New York Times WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans see the special counsel’s report — with its stark evidence that President Trump repeatedly impeded the investigation into Russian election interference — as a summons for collective inaction. Republicans in the upper chamber, who would serve as Mr. Trump’s jury if House Democrats were to impeach him, reacted to the report’s release with a range of tsk-tsk adjectives like “brash,” “inappropriate” or “unflattering.” Only Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, called out the president’s behavior as “sickening.” Yet no Republican, not even Mr. Romney, a political brand-name who does not face his state’s voters until 2022, has pressed for even a cursory inquiry into the findings by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, that the president pressured senior officials, including the former White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II and the former attorney general Jeff Sessions, to scuttle his investigation. “I consider this to be, basically, the end of the road,” said Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, who once tried to thwart Mr. Trump’s presidential nomination and now serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has the authority to investigate Mr. Mueller’s findings. “But there is a difference between unflattering and something that can and should be prosecuted.” Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, has been as critical in private of Mr. Trump’s actions as Mr. Romney has been in public, but he, too, said it was time to move on. “While the report documents a number of actions taken by the president or his associates that were inappropriate, the special counsel reached no conclusion on obstruction of justice,” Mr. Portman said in a statement. That is factually accurate; in releasing his findings a week ago, Mr. Mueller laid out about a dozen instances in which the president may have obstructed justice, but he left it to Congress to reach that conclusion, counseling “that Congress has authority to prohibit a president’s corrupt use of his authority.” House Democrats responded by ramping up committee investigations, kicking off what is likely to be a long, rending intraparty debate over impeachment. Next week, a bipartisan group of eight Senate and House leaders are scheduled to review an unredacted version of Mr. Mueller’s findings when they return from their spring recess. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, said he had no plans to investigate — and has even suggested that if he pursues a new inquiry it would be to focus on allegations that federal law enforcement agencies conducted surveillance of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. But he added that Mr. Trump had “every right to feel good” about Mr. Mueller’s report. “When is it appropriate to misuse power so that you’re using your federal assets to go after a political opponent?

Syracuse launches program to train veterans in political careers

If you’re a veteran interested in pursuing a career in the political world, Syracuse University may have just the program for you. Haynie also serves as the executive director of the school’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families. He also said that Syracuse plans to ask some of the veterans currently serving in Congress to come impart their wisdom to students. For him, getting more veterans elected to office has larger implications than just representation. “I believe as a citizen that it’s important the individuals making decisions about sending the nation’s sons and daughters to war have firsthand experience of what that means,” he said. Only 96 veterans are currently serving in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. “Anything that is creative and will help veterans get smart in terms of being engaged in the political system is very positive,” he said. “Veterans obviously have a history of putting our country before politics, so having more veterans involved in government and politics ... is a very good thing.” Brown also brought up the notion that veterans’ identities tend to “trump party ideology,” as they “identify more strongly with their military service” than a political party. “The great thing is that Syracuse University has acknowledged that there probably is a need out there for this and is putting a course on,” he said. For Syracuse’s Haynie, giving vets the opportunity to learn the tricks of the political trade through the Veterans in Politics program was the university’s way of serving them.

Overtime? Travis Cummings sees possibility of extended Session

Call it a Good Friday news dump: House Appropriations Chair Travis Cummings said there was a chance an extended or Special Session may be needed this year to finish the 2019-20 state budget. “I could see a scenario where we extend Session past Sine Die … if we do not make the necessary progress with our Senate partners in budget negotiations,” Cummings, a Fleming Island Republican, told Florida Politics. That included VISIT FLORIDA, which the Senate authorized $50 million, below the $76 million level sought by DeSantis, while the House once again seeks to sunset the program. And being a legislator has increased the importance I place on tourism for our state. “If House priorities are met with great success this Session, then I would say yes. I think it is always very important in this process to be open minded to what is important to each presiding officer,” Cummings said. Cummings, who has gotten committee level contributions from medical cannabis companies, sees a balancing act in play between “providing relief and treatment for Floridians coping with very difficult and sometimes terminal medical conditions … without harming children or having other negative societal impacts.” Overall, the House budget chair is optimistic, including about a path to Certificate of Need (CON) reform. The House wants to open up competition in sectors that are profitable for hospitals, and the Senate (as of this writing) seeks somewhat more conditional competition. “Whether it be CON or other health care reform bills, major progress occurred (Thursday) in the Senate,” Cummings said. “ … It is shaping up to be a Session in which the Florida Legislature and Gov.

Trump and impeachment: where Democrats stand after Mueller

Because it matters not just for this president, but for all future presidents. Despite deciding not to run, he has continued to pursue impeachment. He continues to push on. “Let me assure you that whatever the issue and challenge we face, the Congress of the United States will honor its oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States to protect our democracy,” she told reporters this week. “We believe that the first article – Article I, the legislative branch – has the responsibility of oversight of our democracy, and we will exercise that.” The avenue is not impeachment. “The avenue is not impeachment,” he said this week. The New York representative, who has subpoenaed the unredacted report, has discussed impeachment repeatedly as it would originate with his committee. “The idea is not whether to debate articles of impeachment,” Nadler said. Kamala Harris: “I think that there is definitely a conversation to be had on that subject,” the California senator and presidential hopeful told MSNBC on Thursday, “but first I want to hear from Bob Mueller and really understand what exactly is the evidence that supports the summary that we have been given today.” Cory Booker: Speaking in Nevada on Friday, the New Jersey senator, who is also a member of the judiciary committee and a 2020 hopeful, said it was too soon to discuss impeachment because Congress has not seen the unredacted report and has not had a chance to interview Mueller. April 18, 2019 Beto O’Rourke: The 2020 contender and former Texas representative said he believed voters cared more about policy discussions than impeachment, telling reporters on Thursday: “I don’t know that impeachment and those proceedings in the House and potential trial in the Senate is going to answer those questions for people.” The full text of Robert Mueller's report on Trump and Russia Read more Elijah Cummings: The House oversight committee chairman told MSNBC on Friday the Mueller report revealed actions that were “at least 100 times worse” than those that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998.

Biden, at Hollings Funeral, Talks About How ‘People Can Change’

Mic Smith/Associated Press CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday remembered Ernest F. Hollings as “a giant in this state and nation” who evolved to “write the great story of our times.” Speaking at the funeral of Mr. Hollings, the former South Carolina senator who died this month at 97, Mr. Biden hailed his longtime friend and former colleague, a one-time segregationist, as the embodiment of this state’s growth. “People can change,” Mr. Biden said of Mr. Hollings, who was known as Fritz, adding, “We can learn from the past and build a better future.” Mr. Biden’s trip here marked his first visit to an early nominating state this year and came just a week before he is expected to make his long-anticipated entry into the Democratic presidential primary. His somber appearance at The Citadel, South Carolina’s military college and Mr. Hollings’s alma mater, was not the 2020 debut the former vice president and his aides were planning. But his eulogy underscored Mr. Biden’s deep ties to this pivotal state with its high percentage of black voters — and the promise and peril of his candidacy. Mr. Biden once described Mr. Hollings as his best friend in the Senate. Such older Americans here and beyond make up the core of Mr. Biden’s initial base, early polls indicate, and are the sort of reliable participants in primaries that candidates covet. And Mr. Hollings was not the first South Carolina political icon Mr. Biden has honored: In 2003, he delivered a eulogy for Strom Thurmond, a longtime Republican senator and onetime Dixiecrat nominee for president. “Fritz grew and I grew along with him.” Neither he nor Mr. Biden mentioned the fact that the Confederate flag was raised atop South Carolina’s Capitol dome by a state legislator in 1961 when Mr. Hollings was governor. The flag would remain on the Statehouse grounds until 2015, when it was removed in the aftermath of the racist killing of black parishioners at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel church. “He put the Confederate flag on the Statehouse that we had to fight to take down,” said Melissa Watson, a Charleston-area teacher and local Democratic official who is black.