-- Behind The Scenes: Nine months ago, Obama asked DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson to find creative ways to fix the nation's immigration system. Johnson relied on aides Esther Olavarria, David Shahoulian and Serena Hoy, all long-time Hill aides, to come up with about 60 drafts of potential executive actions. Then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor's loss killed the last Republican hope of passing a bill through the House. In late June, Speaker John Boehner told Obama the House wouldn't take up a bill. At the White House, counsel Neil Eggleston and domestic policy advisor Cecilia Munoz hosted 20 meetings with business, labor and Hispanic leaders. (Politico)
-- Republicans on Capitol Hill are furious, but they can't do much about Obama's order. The House Appropriations Committee confirmed Thursday that they can't actually defund the executive action because it falls under the jurisdiction of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an entirely self-funded agency. (Huffington Post) Some Republicans are worried their members will overreact to Obama's actions and further alienate Hispanic voters. GOP leaders were privately relieved that members had gone home for the Thanksgiving holiday before Obama's speech. (New York Times, Washington Post)
-- The U.S. will increase non-lethal military assistance to Ukraine after deciding not to send weapons. Vice President Biden is expected to announce the new aid, including the first Humvee deliveries, during meetings today in Kiev. President Petro Poroshenko had asked for weapons when he visited Washington in September. (Reuters)
-- The Obama administration included up to 400,000 dental plans in the number of enrollments under the Affordable Care Act it reported in September, a move that helped total enrollment surpass the 7 million projection by the CBO. Including both dental and medical plans in the reported number helped obscure the number of people who dropped out of coverage. (Bloomberg) @SecBurwell: "The mistake we made is unacceptable. I will be communicating that clearly throughout the dept." (Twitter)
-- An investigation into retired diplomat Robin Raphel began earlier this year when U.S. investigators overheard a Pakistani official suggest she was passing secrets to his government. The FBI discovered classified information when agents raided Raphel's home last month. Raphel has not been charged with a crime. Her tight relations with the Pakistani government have drawn scrutiny in India, where the media is closely covering the story. (New York Times)
-- Front Pages: WaPo full page banner: "Obama acts to overhaul immigration." LA Times full page banner: "Obama acts on immigration: The president cites history and quotes Scripture as he unveils his executive plan." NYT four-column lead: "OBAMA MOVES AHEAD ON IMMIGRATION." WSJ two columns: "Immigration Plan Sparks Firestorm."
Facebook Friday: The buzziest stories online this week.
-- We're starting a new feature today: Our friends at Facebook will give us a peek behind the curtain every Friday at the political stories that generated the most buzz online in the last week. This week's top stories, in descending order (Note: These include all stories on a certain topic, not just one specific article):
-- 11. House Democrats refuse to give Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) a proxy vote in leadership elections. 10. Turkish President Erdogan claims Muslims discovered America before Columbus. 9. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) demands answers about Uber's privacy policies. 8. Rev. Franklin Graham denounces Muslim prayer service held at National Cathedral. 7. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) acknowledges humans contribute to climate change. 6. President Obama prepares executive action on immigration.
-- 5. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she doesn't know MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber. 4. The New York Times reports on Al Sharpton's finances. 3. Anonymous seizes control of KKK's social media accounts after threats against Ferguson protestors. 2. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) declares a state of emergency ahead of grand jury decision in Michael Brown case. 1. Senate rejects Keystone XL pipeline.
National Roundup: What's happening outside the Beltway.
-- California: State fiscal planners project budget surpluses through the end of the decade even as temporary tax hikes sunset in the next few years. The Legislative Analyst's Office projected California will take in $2 billion more in revenue than initially expected through the end of the fiscal year in June. The state is expected to have $4.2 billion in reserve by June 2016. (Sacramento Bee)
-- Nevada: Assembly Speaker-elect Ira Hansen (R) is not a fan of gays, African Americans, Hispanics, women and anyone who hasn't lived in Nevada their whole lives. In newspaper columns written for the Sparks Tribune over a 13-year period, Hansen used words like "darkies," complained of "the deliberate ignoring of white history" and said gays are likely to be child molesters. (Las Vegas Sun, Washington Post) Odds he actually survives to take the speakership: 10 percent? Maybe less?
-- Oregon: A ballot initiative that would require labeling food with genetically modified ingredients has clawed back to within 1,500 votes of passing as Oregon elections officials count final ballots. Measure 92, which cost a total of about $30 million, is failing by about one-tenth of one percentage point, out of 1.5 million ballots cast. There are still 13,000 challenged ballots left to examine. A recount is looking more and more likely. (Oregonian)
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama heads to Nevada today to pitch his executive actions on immigration. He speaks at Del Sol High School, the same place where he laid out immigration reform principles about two years ago. Obama overnights in Henderson, Nev.
-- Vice President Biden woke up in Kiev this morning, 7 hours ahead of D.C. time. He's already met with President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. This afternoon (Kiev time) Biden sits down with local officials to discuss anti-corruption and reform efforts. Tonight, Biden departs for Istanbul, where he'll have dinner with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
-- The House and Senate are gone for the week. They'll be off for Thanksgiving next week, back Dec. 1 for more lame duck action.
-- The Senate will begin the 114th Congress on Jan. 6 with a work period lasting until President's Day. The only breaks before August, according to a draft calendar, will fall during the two weeks around Easter, the week of Memorial Day and the week of July 4th. August recess would begin on the 10th. (Roll Call) Incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell even says he'll make senators work on Fridays. (Bloomberg) Woah woah woah, let's not go nuts here.
-- Barbecue fans on Capitol Hill, rejoice! Chef Andrew Evans has signed a 2-year lease to open a barbecue counter at Union Market, where he'll sell cut-to-order ribs, Sriracha-and-beer sausage and brisket. (Washingtonian)
-- A 23-year old Michigan woman was arrested late Thursday after she was spotted walking along the White House's north fence with a handgun. The woman was not cooperating with Secret Service officers. (Washington Post) An Iowa man arrested near the White House with a rifle in his car told authorities President Obama had called to invite him to the White House. (Washington Post)
The Buried Lede: Spotlighting the way Washington works.
-- Earlier this week, we spotlighted a CNN story on Republicans communicating with outside groups via Twitter. We said it happens all the time. As it turns out, it does: Democrats have done it too. The DCCC ran the Twitter handle @AdBuyDetails to share, well, ad buy details with their independent expenditure wing. (Huffington Post) Again, all perfectly legal, part of the gaping loopholes of McCain-Feingold.
B1: Business, politics and the business of politics
-- The Pollster Primary: WH'16 hopefuls aren't announcing yet, but they're quietly building campaign teams and signing up consultants. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is likely to sign the Tarrance Group as his pollster. (Politico) New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has used Adam Geller at National Research. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has Whit Ayres at North Star Opinion Research on board. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will use Wilson Perkins Allen, which has offices in Austin and D.C. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) no longer relies on Mike Baselice, so it's not clear who he would turn to in 2016.
-- Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) will rely on Wes Anderson at OnMessage Inc. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have both used Tarrance Group partner Brian Tringali, though neither Kasich nor Portman have gotten around to hiring a pollster for 2016. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is interviewing possible pollsters now. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has used Fred Yang in the past. Hillary Clinton's team is likely to be led by Geoff Garin, Yang's business partner, though no decisions have been made. Did we miss anybody? Email us if we did.
-- Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) will serve as RGA chairman in 2015 after being elected Thursday at the group's annual meeting in Boca Raton, Fla. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) will serve as vice chair, putting her in line to take over in 2016. (Washington Post)
C1: The long reads you'll need to check out before tonight's cocktail party.
-- Rep.-elect Rod Blum (R-Iowa) loaned $2 million to the parents of Columbus Blue Jackets star Jack Johnson at a 12 percent interest rate. It was one of a handful of loans for millions of dollars Johnson's parents took out in his name after he signed a $30 million deal with the Los Angeles Kings, and one that went into default soon after. Johnson settled with Blum, though he's not speaking with his parents anymore. Sad story from the Columbus Dispatch.
-- Sheldon Adelson has done a lot for the Republican Party, but when it comes to the top issue on his agenda, he's not getting a lot of help. Adelson wants a ban on internet gambling, but conservative groups like Americans for Tax Reform and the American Conservative Union oppose the ban on states' rights grounds. The internet gambling fight pits Adelson, owner of casino resorts in Nevada, Macao and Singapore, against rivals like Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts. Adelson's top lobbyist, Andy Abboud, has held discussions with top aides to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid. (Washington Post)
C4: The comics page, fun things to read when you're bored at work
-- Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) is selling the townhouse he owns just a few blocks from the House office buildings, the real-life inspiration for the Amazon series "Alpha House." Miller, who's retiring at the end of the 113th Congress, has shared the house with Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) for decades. (National Journal)
Attn Matt Drudge: Things conservatives will get outraged by today.
-- The Republicans who took President Obama's immigration speech the hardest: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) used the phrase "ethnic cleansing." (Talking Points Memo) Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) says Obama is acting like a "petulant child." He pledged to "vigorously look at every weapon in our arsenal" to reverse Obama's actions. (Huntsville Times) How does one vigorously look at something? Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott (R) said Obama's actions are "eroding the very foundation of our nation's Constitution." (Dallas Morning News) Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) channeled Cicero, with only light edits. (Washington Post)