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-- McConnell on Sunday said he won't bring Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch to the floor until the Senate passes human trafficking legislation that stalled last week after Democrats missed a critical abortion-related amendment and objected. They're still co-sponsoring the bill, but they're filibustering all the same. McConnell will try again on Tuesday to reach cloture, with a new arrow in his quiver. But how far can he go before the story becomes "GOP filibusters first African American woman attorney general"?
-- The Republicans-in-disarray storyline has dominated the first two months of the 114th Congress. With the budget debate on deck, the GOP needs a win, and a little momentum. Here's their opportunity.
The Pulse: Today's buzz on the Hill.
-- The trafficking bill "will have an impact on the timing of considering a new attorney general," McConnell said on CNN on Sunday. "I had hoped to turn to her next week, but if we can't finish the trafficking bill, she will be put off again." (CNN, Washington Post)
-- The House is teeing up President Obama's second big veto of the year this week when they take up S.J. Res 8, which reverses a National Labor Relations Board rule on snap union elections.
-- The House will announce a new investigation into Hillary Clinton's email practices as Secretary of State this week, including the 31,000 emails that were apparently destroyed because they were personal in nature, ABC News reported Sunday. (ABC News) House Speaker John Boehner's office declined to comment. House Oversight chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has already announced his committee will review the emails, but not a formal investigation, and Benghazi Committee chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said on Fox News Sunday the House could subpoena Clinton's emails.
-- House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have been personally involved in late-stage negotiations over a $200 billion package to permanently change the formula by which Medicare pays doctors, better known as the doc fix. The package could be introduced as early as this week. Pelosi has reached out to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in recent days. The plan would eliminate the Sustainable Growth Rate and extend the CHIP program for two years. (Politico, Roll Call)
-- Harsh Light of Reality: The way the deal is structured, with $70 billion in new spending required and savings on the back end of the ten-year budget window, virtually guarantees Heritage Action and the Club are going to be whipping against this one.
-- Speaking of Heritage: Republicans are starting to get worried that they'll be able to pass a budget in the coming weeks, given tension between conservative deficit-watchers and military hawks who want spending increases for the Pentagon. Both House and Senate Budget Committees will release budget blueprints this week. House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) plans to stick to sequester-level defense spending. (Politico)
-- Russian President Vladimir Putin says in a new documentary he personally directed the annexation of Crimea. Putin said the speed with which Russia captured the peninsula, just days after former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev, surprised even him. Putin initially denied last year that Russian troops were involved in seizing Crimean infrastructure. (Washington Post) Putin is meeting Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev in St. Petersburg today, in his first public appearance since March 5. (BBC)
-- Miss any of President Obama's remarks at the Gridiron Club? Our colleagues Ben Terris and Roxanne Roberts round up the laugh lines here. True story: The only time we ever went to the Gridiron, the senior administration official seated next to us told us that psychotropic drugs were necessary to cope with the bad jokes.
-- Front Pages: WaPo leads with Israeli elections, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's warning that he could lose. LA Times and NYT lead with the arrest of Robert Durst, accused of killing a friend in 2000. WSJ kicks off with anger at China over too much steel in the marketplace. And USA Today leads with an arrest in Ferguson, and photos of no. 1 seeds Kentucky, Villanova, Wisconsin and Duke.
White House 2016: The long, strange road to Pennsylvania Ave.
-- Bush: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) used a private email account to discuss security and military issues, including troop deployments to the Middle East and security at nuclear facilities. Aides said none of the emails included sensitive or classified information. Bush took the email server that held his private account, email@example.com, with him when he left office in 2007. (Washington Post)
-- Clinton: Clinton's campaign is in talks with veteran organizer Emmy Ruiz to lead her Nevada caucus campaign. Ruiz worked on immigration issues for Organizing for America and worked for both Obama and Clinton's presidential campaigns. (Washington Post)
-- Paul: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) appeared at South by Southwest in Austin on Sunday, where he was critical of criminal justice practices like mandatory minimums and prohibiting convicted felons from voting. Paul pointed to legislation he's working on with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid that would restore voting rights to non-violent felons who complete their sentences. Paul's PAC will open an office in Austin today. (The Hill)
-- Pataki: Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) on Sunday criticized the 47 Republican senators who sent an open letter to Iran. "I’ve always believed that foreign policy, and, in particular, negotiations with foreign states, have to be conducted by the president and his team," Pataki said on John Catsimatidis's radio show. (The Hill) Think this hurts his chances?
Outside The Beltway: What's happening in the rest of the country.
-- California: We sat down with Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Friday, when he said he sees another presidential bid as futile as long as Hillary Clinton is in the race. "Running against Hillary is like running against Jerry Brown in California," he said. Brown told us he hasn't decided how to spend his $22 million war chest, which makes him "a lot less lame." And he said he still has the 1-800 number he used during his 1992 presidential campaign. (Washington Post) We checked, it still works.
-- Ohio: Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) certified a petition for a legal marijuana initiative for this year's ballot. The Ohio Ballot Board has 10 days to certify the initiative covers only one subject, and then supporters have to collect 305,591 valid signatures by July 1 to qualify for this year's election. The Ohio proposal would establish 10 growing locations, a seven-member commission to oversee the industry, and a 5 percent flat tax on pot sales. (WHIO-TV)
-- Missouri: Authorities arrested a 20-year-old man who allegedly shot two police officers during a protest last week in Ferguson. St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said the man, Jeffrey Williams, had attended the protest earlier in the night. Several leaders of the protest movement said Williams was not a regular attendee. Williams was not with the protestors when he fired the shots. (Washington Post)
-- Maryland: Former Prince George's County Council chair Ingrid Turner (D) and Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk (D) will announce they're running for Rep. Donna Edwards' (D) seat on Tuesday. (Washington Post) That makes four Democrats already in the race. Over/under, 10?
DC Digest: What's on tap today in DC.
-- President Obama meets with the Council of the Great City Schools Leadership to talk about education in urban school districts. That's the only thing on his public schedule today.
-- Vice President Biden heads to Baltimore this afternoon to tour the Maryland State Police Forensic Science Lab, alongside Sen. Ben Cardin (D) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D). He'll deliver remarks on the administration's effort to reduce the rape kit backlog.
-- The House returns at noon today to consider a bunch of non-controversial measures under suspension of the rules, several of which deal with access to trauma care. Votes are postponed until 6:30 p.m.
-- The Senate meets at 3 p.m. to take up Sen. John Cornyn's (R-Texas) human trafficking bill for a second week. They'll pause this afternoon to consider nominations for assistant secretary posts in the departments of Transportation and Commerce. A roll call vote to invoke cloture on Cornyn's bill is expected at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
-- Don't Miss This Hearing: Secret Service director Joseph Clancy appears before the House Appropriations homeland security subcommittee today to discuss his agency's budget for next year. (Approps) FCC chairman Tom Wheeler will testify before five different Hill committees in the next two weeks, beginning with the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday. He and his four FCC colleagues join the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday and the House telecom subcommittee on Thursday, and Wheeler appears alone before the House Judiciary Committee and an appropriations subcommittee next week. (Politico) By that point, he should have his net neutrality talking points down pretty well.
-- Comings and Goings: Long-time House GOP staffer Neil Bradley will leave Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office to help run McCarthy's 501(c)(4) group, the newly-renamed Conservative Reform Network (formerly known as the Young Guns Network). Bradley, who spent 20 years on the Hill and 11 years in leadership, will also open his own consulting firm, Chartwell Policy Solutions. (Roll Call)
-- Hometown Fallout: Editorial boards weighed in last week, and over the weekend, against Sen. Tom Cotton's (R-Ark.) open letter to Iran, and criticized some of the Republican signatories up for re-election in 2016. Check out editorials from the Greensboro (N.C.) News & Record, the Raleigh News & Observer, the Concord Monitor, the Keene Sentinel, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Toledo Blade, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Peoria Journal Star. We didn't find any editorials backing the 47 Republican senators. Did we miss one? Let us know.
-- And/But: "Republicans are on the brink of veto-proof majorities for legislation that could undercut any deal" with Iran. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he hasn't lost any Democratic support for his proposal to give Congress 60 days to sign off on any deal with Iran. White House chief of staff Denis McDonough wrote Corker this weekend urging him not to hold a vote on his bill. (Politico)
-- A new report to be released today from Cause of Action will fault most federal departments for dragging their feet on Freedom of Information Act requests. The report finds long delays in FOIA requests to the State Department, Energy and Justice. But kudos to the Interior Department, which manages the fastest turnaround time on its FOIA requests. (Cause of Action, pdf)
-- D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has offered legal marijuana activist Adam Eidinger a very special license plate reading "420" to honor his work on last year's ballot initiative. "I was just -- 'Is this real? Is it a joke?'" Eidinger said. (WTOP) Well played, Mayor Bowser.
The Intersection: Business, politics and the business of politics.
-- The Federal Trade Commission is revising procedures for challenging mergers in a way that will reduce the number of court cases it brings. The new rules propose requiring the commission to suspend trial proceedings if it doesn't win an injunction from a federal judge. The FTC's top competition officer said the rule change would revert to a practice that was in place until 2009. House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) called the proposed rule a good first step, but he said there's more to do. (Wall Street Journal)
-- Just 39 percent of Americans view the Democratic Party favorably, and only 37 percent view the Republican Party favorably. It's the first time in the 23 years Gallup has been tracking party image that neither side has cracked 40 percent. (Gallup)
-- Stock futures are slightly higher this morning after the Dow lost another 145 points on Friday. Asian markets posted a mixed day on Monday, but European markets are trading higher so far. (CNN)
Long Reads: Take the time when you're bored at work.
-- Hillary Clinton manager-in-waiting Robby Mook managed the firestorm over Clinton's private email server from his standing desk, where he's working to hire a campaign team. "The Clintons anointed Mr. Mook as much for his ease with data and technology as for his calm temperament. They value his rare ability to charm and include the abundant advice-givers [collected by the Clintons over more than three decades in politics] without allowing them to become too intrusive. Still, asserting himself among so many influential veterans will not be easy." (New York Times, A1 on Sunday)
-- Most-tweeted nugget of the entire profile (based on an unscientific scanning of your author's timeline): James Carville is 70.
-- Israelis go to the polls tomorrow to elect a new parliament, and the latest polls show the center-left Zionist Union bloc leading Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party by a few seats. Both the Zionist Union and Likud will scramble to build a 61-seat coalition, which might include the centrist Yesh Atid and Kulanu parties, the right-wing Jewish Home party, the ultra-Orthodox Shas party and Avigdor Lieberman's ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party. Full rundown of all the players here.
Attn Fox News: What outrages conservatives today.
-- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is urging a happy ending to a story about one animal in particular -- Dumbo. In a letter to director Tim Burton, a top PETA official asks that Burton write an ending that frees the fictional elephant and his mother. (Breitbart)
Attn MSNBC: Cable fodder for liberals today.
-- Nevada voters in 2006 approved a ballot measure to enshrine the minimum wage in the state constitution. Now, a Republican state senator wants to repeal the minimum wage, which is $8.25, a dollar higher than the federal minimum. Legislators in South Dakota have also considering lowering the minimum wage, though no state has actually gone through with it yet. (ThinkProgress)