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A1: The stories you need to read before your first conference call.
-- House Republican leadership was confident it had the votes to pass a $659 million border bill as late as Thursday morning, just hours before pulling the bill from the floor. After an emergency meeting, leaders said they would try to pass the border bill today, though it's not clear what changes they will make to attract more votes. (Washington Post) The seeds of defeat were sown in Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) office, where 13 House conservatives met Wednesday night to plot strategy and voice displeasure that the bill didn't address the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program. (Washington Post)
-- Leadership aides said the House could remain in town over the weekend as they rework the bill. Pulling the bill is an early loss for new House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), whose staff had been privately bragging that his whip operation would be better than his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy's. (Politico) The Senate also failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to pass its version of the bill after Republicans and some centrist Democrats objected to the $2.7 billion price tag. (Washington Post)
-- The Senate did manage to approve measures revamping the Department of Veterans Affairs and funding the Highway Trust Fund. Senate Democrats accepted a House version of the highway bill that extends funding for nine months, dropping their proposal to put off a fix until the lame duck session. The $11 billion bill will keep about 6,000 state highway and transit projects funded. (Washington Post)
-- Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) will resign from Congress effective Aug. 18, two months after he lost his primary to Randolph Macon Professor David Brat (R). Cantor asked Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) to call a special election coinciding with Election Day, allowing the winner -- likely Brat -- to take office immediately. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
-- A three-day cease-fire between Israel and Hamas began unraveling after just three hours as clashes between the two sides killed 35 Palestinians. Hamas fired more rockets into Israel and may have abducted an Israeli soldier, Israel's military said. Both sides have sent delegations to Cairo for negotiations, and Secretary of State John Kerry has met with the foreign ministers of Turkey and Qatar, which are acting as intermediaries with Hamas. (Washington Post, Associated Press) Incredible photos of an Israeli missile hitting a building in Gaza City here.
-- CIA Director John Brennan apologized to Senate Intelligence Committee members after an internal investigation found the agency improperly broke into protected databases used by committee staffers. CIA Inspector General David Buckley told senators that five CIA employees had breached Senate servers. Brennan had denied Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-Calif.) accusations of a break-in in March. Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) called on Brennan to resign. (McClatchy, Washington Post)
-- The CDC is sending 50 infectious-disease experts to West Africa to help deal with an Ebola outbreak. One patient infected with the virus is expected to be treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. A plane reportedly picked up two U.S. charity workers infected with the virus in Liberia. It will be the first time a patient with Ebola is treated in the U.S. (Washington Post, CNN)
-- Front Pages: WaPo leads with chaos on the House floor. NYT leads with the CIA's apology to the Senate. WSJ splashes a five-column take on a really bad day for the Dow (see B1 below). USA Today leads with the cease-fire that has since broken down, with a big graphic on market losses next door. LA Times: "Obamacare rates to rise a modest 4.2%." The White House can live with that headline.
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- WH'16: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is heading to Iowa this weekend to campaign with state Sen. Joni Ernst (R). Rubio will appear at the same fundraiser, hosted by Bruce Rastetter, that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is attending. Two senators for the price of one! Bargain! (Des Moines Register) New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is in New Hampshire today to campaign for gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein. He heads to South Carolina to hang out with Gov. Nikki Haley (R) on Sept. 16. (Newark Star Ledger, twice)
-- Virginia: Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams, testifying for a second day in the trial of former Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), said he was sent a photo of McDonnell showing off a watch Williams had given him, a possible indication that McDonnell knew the gift was from Williams. Williams told jurors he believed he was engaged in a corrupt business relationship with Bob and Maureen McDonnell. Williams takes the stand again this morning after testifying for six hours on Thursday. (Washington Post)
-- Hawaii: Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) trails his opponent, state Sen. David Ige (D), by a 51 percent to 41 percent margin in a new Civil Beat Poll, conducted by the Merriman River Group. Abercrombie has outraised Ige by a 10 to 1 margin, but a plurality of Hawaii Democrats view Abercrombie unfavorably. (Civil Beat) In the Senate race, the League of Conservation Voters are running late ads backing Sen. Brian Schatz (D), while EMILY's List dropped $500,000 on TV ads backing Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D). (Roll Call)
-- Wisconsin: The state Supreme Court on Thursday upheld two controversial laws backed by Gov. Scott Walker (R), one limiting unions' ability to collect dues from public employees and the other requiring voters to show identification at their polling place. The rulings are a big win for Walker's camp, which has been fighting lawsuits since signing the laws in 2011. The voter ID law still faces a federal court challenge, making it unlikely to be in effect on Election Day. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Washington Post)
-- Missouri: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) wrote a $240,000 check to the Missouri Democratic State Committee and raised about the same amount at a recent fundraiser at her home. McCaskill and Attorney General Chris Koster (D), the likely gubernatorial standard bearer in 2016, are working to rebuild the party after a restructuring brought the Democratic legislative campaign committees under one roof. The governor's race will be in 2016, while McCaskill is up again in 2018. (PoliticMO)
-- Colorado: The state will begin issuing driver's licenses and identification cards to undocumented immigrants today, and almost 10,000 people have signed up for appointments to receive the cards. Colorado joins Illinois and Nevada in issuing licenses to undocumented immigrants, and five other states are in the process of implementing a similar program. (Associated Press)
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama signs a measure that would allow U.S. consumers to unlock their cell phones. The bill-signing ceremony will take place in the Oval Office this afternoon. That's all he has on his schedule today.
-- Vice President Biden is in Wilmington with nothing on his public schedule.
-- The House meets at 10 a.m. to reconsider the border bill. New House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says first and last votes are to be determined.
-- The Senate meets at 11:00 a.m. for morning business. No roll call votes are scheduled today; the next roll call vote happens Monday, Sept. 8. Happy August.
TV Time Out: Our exclusive look at who's advertising, and where.
-- Georgia: Businesswoman Michelle Nunn (D) goes up with her first post-runoff ad today, a $331,000 broadcast buy in the Albany, Atlanta, Columbus, Augusta, Savannah and Macon markets. The ads will run through Aug. 11. The conservative group Ending Spending Action Fund is quietly dropping about 200 points a week on Nunn, spending $325,000 between July 23 and Aug. 5.
-- New York: Rep. Tom Reed (R) is one of the first House Republicans we've seen on air with a general election-focused ad. His campaign has spent $310,000 since June 17; this week, he's spending $60,000, which is good for between 350 and 400 gross ratings points in the Buffalo and Elmira markets. The DCCC has reserved $380,000 in October airtime against Reed.
The Buried Lede: The nuggets that deserve the spotlight.
-- We sat in on the NRSC's pen and pad yesterday so you didn't have to (Spoiler: They think they're going to win a bunch of seats). Two interesting nuggets: 1) The NRSC won't be spending in Kentucky. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell asked NRSC chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) to stay out of his race.
-- 2) The RNC has issued a Rule 11 letter in Louisiana, meaning the party can freely back Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) in his Senate bid even though he hasn't technically become the party's nominee. They have not issued a Rule 11 letter in New Hampshire, though the NRSC convinced former Sen. Scott Brown (R) to jump in the race. Watch out for the Bob Smith comeback!
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- Two dozen U.S. Senators spent a combined $1 million on charter flights in 2013, according to Congressional records. The money to pay for those flights comes out of their office budgets. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) spent $91,000 on charters. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spent $83,000. Even Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spent $18,000 flying around Texas. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) were the top charter fliers last year. (USA Today)
-- Tax documents submitted by top outside groups like Crossroads GPS, the Club for Growth and Patriot Majority omit information about how their money is spent. The groups are required to report the names of independent contractors who receive more than $100,000, though they regularly leave them out. The same groups routinely report their spending information to the FEC. (Center for Public Integrity)
-- Not a great time to check your 401K. The Dow sank 317 points (ouch) on Thursday, and stock futures are down more than half a percent before the bell. International markets are taking a serious haircut today, too: The DAX is off 2 percent, while the FTSE in London is down 1.5 percent. (CNN)
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- Dozens of paralegals at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office collected salaries of $60,000 to $80,000 a year from 2009 to 2013 even though they had nothing to do, while a backlog of appeals of patent examinations doubled. A hiring freeze prevented the agency from adding new judges, and in many cases supervisors knew full well the paralegals weren't doing any work. (Washington Post)
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- Policies that work: Banning texting while driving has contributed to a significant drop in traffic fatalities, new research in the American Journal of Public Health shows. States in which texting while driving is illegal have seen traffic deaths among drivers 15 to 21 years old fall by 11 percent. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- The Justice Department spent thousands of dollars on plane tickets, tickets to a big-time boxing match and, of course, strippers in an effort to entrap a Border Patrol agent. The agent, Lauro Tobias, was arrested in March 2013 after he worked security on a Las Vegas drug deal in which 6 kilograms of cocaine changed hands. (BuzzFeed)
-- Fox Nation headline: "Climate Doesn't Cooperate With Al Gore's Group's Visit to Denver EPA Hearings." Because it was 58 degrees at 9 a.m. And it was raining.
Attn HuffPo: What outrages liberals today
-- Shot: House authorizes lawsuit over President Obama's reckless use of executive authority. Chaser: House leaders said in a statement Thursday Obama should use executive authority to address the crisis on the southern border. "There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders," leaders said in a statement. (ThinkProgress)