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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.

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?

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.

DUI bill that caused political furor over process is now dead

“I think a lot of legislators thought that the process was being circumvented, and I didn’t care to have it keep going,” Sen. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, told MTN News on Tuesday. “I’m disappointed for the people of Montana because it is a serious problem in this state,” he said. “When one to two people die every week because of impaired drivers, that’s serious.” The proposal, crafted originally by Republican Attorney General Tim Fox, would have taken a number of steps to attempt to reduce drunken driving, including the use of blood draws from first-time drunken-driving suspects. “Without that hard evidence, it’s hard to get a conviction,” Regier said. In an interview Tuesday, Fox told MTN News that he, too, is disappointed that the bill didn’t pass — but said he plans to keep working on the issue. “Montana, unfortunately, is a state that leads the nation in the number of DUI deaths and DUI, in general, per capita.” Other elements of the bill included increasing fines for serial DUI offenders and making it harder for DUI offenders to get those offenses removed from their record. Regier’s Senate Bill 65, which contained the original proposals, passed the Senate but was killed last Friday by the House Judiciary Committee, with both Republicans and Democrats voting against it. However, late that same evening, Regier and others decided to take parts of the bill and place them in a lengthy amendment that would be offered to another bill Saturday morning, in the Senate Finance and Claims Committee. The committee voted Saturday morning to place the DUI language into House Bill 685, a one-page “companion bill” that had a broad title and had been sitting in committee with virtually no content. Story by Mike Dennison, MTN News

Waiting for the Mueller Report: US Politics in 60 Seconds

How are Americans feeling about President Trump's tax cut bill? Well, not very good. Polls suggests that it remains really unpopular. What's the Dems' biggest achievement in their first 100 days in the House? That'll continue to be their number one role in the House since they don't control the Senate. Will the Mueller report reveal more details of collusion? I'd say it's much more likely to give us details about potential obstruction rather than collusion, but I'm not sure there will be huge blockbusters in there. Is President Trump moving to consolidate power? He's cleared out DHS, he's got acting directors or leaders in six agencies not Senate confirmed. And go deeper on topics like cybersecurity and artificial intelligence Microsoft On The Issues.

Mitch McConnell, Never a Grandstander, Learns to Play by Trump’s Rules

Mr. McConnell, of Kentucky, who grumbled in private about Mr. Trump’s decision, managed a laugh. He had spent much of that week urging Mr. Trump, unsuccessfully, to abandon his plan to declare a national emergency at the border with Mexico to secure wall funds that Congress had denied him. Mr. McConnell, speaking in his office last week, promoted his collaboration with the White House on nominations and tax reform but pushed back when asked if Mr. Trump’s unpredictable behavior had hijacked his legacy. “Anyone that deals with the president is part of the Trump message,” said former Senator Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat who was majority leader, when asked about Mr. McConnell during a phone interview on Saturday. Soon after, Mr. McConnell told one fellow Republican senator that Mr. Pence, while well intentioned, could not be entirely relied upon as a negotiator who spoke for the president. Other times, Mr. McConnell sends his message more by what he does not do than what he does. “When Democrats were in the majority, we had a positive legislative agenda that would help the middle class in this country,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “The Senate Republican agenda for the last two years has been to do whatever Donald Trump tweeted that morning.” Mr. McConnell’s approach is rooted in his personal political realities: He cannot afford to have the president, whose support with the party’s base remains solid, turn on him. While Mr. McConnell does not interact with Mr. Mulvaney much, he did reach out to him last year, when Mr. Mulvaney was running the White House budget office, to ask that the president request $400 million for a new Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Louisville, according to a person with direct knowledge of the conversation. Mr. Mulvaney said yes.