THE BIG IDEA:
— Refusing to implement standards being unveiled next month by the Environmental Protection Agency is the fossil fuel industry’s biggest new ask of Republican governors, especially the four running for president. The Obama administration is putting the finishing touches on far-reaching rules to cut power plant emissions. Recognizing he will not have the votes to override a presidential veto, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told governors in February that they should decline to respond to federal requests for state-issued plans on how they would meet lower emission targets.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a Republican who retains national ambitions despite passing on a 2016 presidential run, has been the most vocal about his plan to ignore federal orders. Pence said Thusday that he will “refuse to comply” unless a previously issued draft is massively watered down. “The best way for this rule to be improved is for it to be withdrawn completely,” he told reporters on a 40-minute conference call, which was organized by a leading energy industry association. “No state is obligated to adopt the president’s climate change agenda as their own … We’ve drawn a line in the sand and made it clear that the state of Indiana will not comply … We’ll avail ourselves of all legal remedies.”
The American Energy Alliance is pushing governors to “embrace a Just-Say-No approach,” President Tom Pyle said yesterday after a friendly Q&A with Pence. He praised Texas’ Greg Abbott, Oklahoma’s Mary Fallin, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker — all Republicans — for threatening to defy the feds.
— Stopping the EPA regs will be a major focus of discussion at ALEC’s annual meeting later this month. At least three presidential candidates—Scott Walker, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee—are scheduled to speak to the American Legislative Exchange Council when the conservative state policy organization meets in San Diego from July 22-24, according to a copy of the agenda obtained by The Daily 202. The Post’s Tom Hamburger pulls back the curtain:
- At a winter meeting in Washington, ALEC had state legislators and industry underwriters review proposed “model bills” that could be distributed to states. One draft bill called for abolishing the EPA and replacing it with a committee of state officials. The idea was put aside after some corporate lobbyists cautioned that it could hurt ALEC’s credibility. Nonetheless, ALEC officials agreed to set up a “working group” to consider further action.
- While ALEC has been a lightning rod for criticism from the left in recent years, losing some of its high-profile corporate members as a result, the group maintains a core of financial supporters from the coal, oil and utility sectors and has started to grow again. Under new leadership, ALEC has vowed to become more open to dissenting views and debate.
— Walker and Jindal have not firmly committed to ignoring federal regulations, but they have each telegraphed resistance. A Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) spokesman said Thursday that the governor is not talking about non-compliance. A spokeswoman for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did not respond to requests for comment. Read the detailed responses here.
— The oil industry is making its presence felt in the early stages of the presidential race. Those tied to the fossil fuel industry write some of the biggest checks in GOP politics. The billionaire Koch brothers, whose business empire includes oil refining, care personally about the issue.
- In June, Jeb Bush spoke to coal CEOs at a closed-door meeting in Bristol, Va. Many of those attending the Coal & Investment Leadership Forum have supported grassroots and legal challenges to the EPA and plan to spend more. A copy of the official invitation listed the CEOs of Arch Coal, Consol Energy, Drummond Company and other companies as planning to attend.
- Former RNC Chairman Mike Duncan, who now leads a coal industry group in Washington, attended yesterday’s exclusive Jeb Bush gathering at the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. He was among those who helped George W. Bush carry West Virginia in 2000 by capitalizing on coal country anger over Al Gore’s environmental views.
— How does the OPM chief survive yesterday’s revelations? Federal authorities say that the hack of the Office of Personnel Management was way worse than they previous acknowledged: the Chinese likely got access to private data for 21.5 million people. That includes 19.7 million individuals who applied for a background investigation, and 1.8 million non-applicants, predominantly spouses or people who live with the applicants. This includes findings from interviews conducted by background investigators, and about 1.1 million fingerprints. It likely gave an American adversary personal details about people with the highest security clearances, which experts fear could be used to recruit spies.
- OPM director Katherine Archuleta insisted yesterday that she has no plans to give up her post. “I am committed to the work that I’m doing,” she defiantly told reporters on an afternoon conference call. The White House also said the president retains confidence in her leadership. A chorus of Republicans has now called for her ouster, including the top three House leaders. The right is having a field day mocking Archuleta — who was national political director for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign — over old criticisms of Mitt Romney as someone not ready to face the unique challenges of the 21st century.
- A turning point might have come last night when Democratic Sen. Mark Warner said he’s lost confidence in her ability to lead. The Virginian represents a disproportionate number of federal workers. “The technological and security failures at the Office of Personnel Management predate this director’s term, but Director Archuleta’s slow and uneven response has not inspired confidence that she is the right person to manage OPM through this crisis,” Warner said in a statement. “It is time for her to step down, and I strongly urge the administration to choose new management with proven abilities to address a crisis of this magnitude with an appropriate sense of urgency and accountability.” If Archuleta stays on, Hillary Clinton will undoubtedly face pressure to weigh in.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING:
— Charlie Crist is “strongly considering” a run for David Jolly’s House seat after Florida’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the state needs to redraw congressional boundaries. The court’s ruling “nearly guarantees that a swing congressional seat will be redrawn” to include Crist’s home and a lot more Democrats, Politico’s Marc Caputo reports. “The court ruling could also force Rep. David Jolly, the incumbent Republican of the district in question, to forgo a reelection bid and instead try his luck with an open Senate seat.” Trial lawyer John Morgan, Crist’s longtime friend and boss: “The seat would be tailor-made for Charlie.”
GET SMART FAST:
- Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign raised $11.4 million in the second quarter, and his allied super PAC brought in more than $103 million in the first six months of the year. Right to Rise USA has $98 million in cash on hand.
- Hillary Clinton’s campaign tried to raise money off that number last night. “His team called it the ‘shock and awe’ approach to fundraising,” campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in an email solicitation. “We’re not shocked, and we’re certainly not in awe. But let me be clear — this is a big problem for us.”
- Bernie Sanders seized on it during a rally in Arlington that drew 500. “This money is clearly coming from the wealthiest people in the country,” the Vermont senator said. “There’s no accident that Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates who take huge amounts of money from the wealthy and the powerful come up with an agenda that represents the wealthy and the powerful.”
- The Food and Drug Administration is pushing back the deadline for chain restaurants, grocery stories and other establishments to post calorie counts on their menus. The businesses now will have until Dec. 1, 2016, a year longer than the FDA initially proposed. (Brady Dennis)
- The Confederate flag at the South Carolina Capitol will come down at 10 a.m. today.
- “A new Tennessee law now allows people to break into hot cars if an animal is trapped inside — without fear of punishment,” NBC reports. “The law, which went into effect on July 1st, extends the states’ good Samaritan law from including just kids, to pets too. It protects individuals from civil liability for any damages caused while trying to rescue a child or an animal in danger.”
- The Justice Department announced that federal marriage benefits will be available to same-sex couples nationwide following the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision.
- A new GAO report faults the State Department for lax security practices overseas. “More than half of the 68 diplomatic residences reviewed did not meet all the security standards,” per CNN. The report cites “gaps and inconsistencies” in risk management practices which are “complicating posts’ efforts to determine and apply the appropriate security measures and potentially leaving some residences at risk.”
- “A key leader of the Islamic State and another top commander were killed in recent U.S drone strikes in eastern Afghanistan, the latest sign that the radical Islamist group is considered a growing threat in the country.” (Sudarsan Raghavan and Tim Craig in Kabul)
- More than four million Syrians have now fled the country’s civil war, according to a fresh United Nations estimate. (AFP)
- “All British nationals are being urged to leave Tunisia because ‘a further terrorist attack is highly likely,’” the BBC alerts. “The Foreign Office estimates 2,500 to 3,000 UK tourists are in Tunisia and a few hundred British residents … Thirty Britons were among 38 tourists killed in a gunman’s attack on 26 June.”
POWER PLAYERS IN THE NEWS:
- Actor Tom Selleck has reached a tentative, confidential agreement with the local water district that accused him of illegally stealing water from a fire hydrant to keep his 60-acre estate lush, the Los Angeles Times reported last night in a breaking news alert. The water district spent $22,000 on a private investigator to track the unusual deliveries.
- Pope Francis apologized for the “offenses” committed by the Catholic Church against indigenous peoples during colonial-era conquests of the Americas, the AP reports. “History’s first Latin American pope ‘humbly’ begged forgiveness Thursday during an encounter in Bolivia with indigenous groups and other activists and in the presence of Bolivia’s first-ever indigenous president, Evo Morales.”
- Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) will undergo surgery next week to treat prostate cancer. His office said it was discovered in the early stages before it could spread and insisted that it will not affect his ability to run for reelection in 2018, per Reuters.
- The New York Times is refusing to include Ted Cruz’s “A Time For Truth” on its bestseller list this weekend, even though the book has sold more copies in its first week than all but two of the Times’ bestselling titles. “The overwhelming preponderance of evidence was that sales were limited to strategic bulk purchases,” Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told Politico.
- The first footnote in ex-Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s white paper on Wall Street reform mistakenly referenced a satirical news site. It was quickly updated. (John Wagner)
- The office manager for Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) is listed in SEC filings as holding positions on the two hedge funds that he runs. A spokesman told the Free Beacon that she is paid directly by the hedge funds for part-time work that she performs outside the office.
- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on Fox News last night that he believes “there’s a very good chance” that Hillary was lying when she said in 2013 that she didn’t know about the alleged U.S.-backed flow of weapons to rebels in Libya and Syria as secretary of state.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said his interest in eliminating reminders of the Confederacy stops with his recent support for recalling Sons of Confederate Veterans license plates. Responding to questions during a news conference, he said efforts to remove a statue near the statehouse or the Maryland state song amount to “political correctness run amok.” (Josh Hicks)
- Nevada Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, Harry Reid’s hand-picked successor, raised $1.1 million in her first quarter as a candidate.
- The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is adamant that it will not remove the stars dedicated to Bill Cosby or Donald Trump from the Hollywood Walk of Fame, according to Variety.
- DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz broke with Obama on Cuba in an interview with The Daily Signal.
- Education Secretary Arne Duncan‘s children will attend private school in Chicago starting this fall, per Politico.
— “Trump vows long campaign, won’t commit to backing the GOP nominee,” by Robert Costa and Philip Rucker: In a wide-ranging interview with The Donald on Thursday, the businessman wouldn’t rule out running as an independent and said he would soon file official papers with the FEC confirming his presidential bid. “For now, Trump said he believes that the ‘best chance of defeating the Democrats’ is for him to ‘win as a Republican because I don’t want to be splitting up votes.'” He also characterized a phone call from RNC Chair Reince Priebus as “congratulatory:” “He started off saying, ‘Wow, you really hit a nerve,’ ” Trump said. “He said, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this since I’ve been in politics. Trump added, “Then, in closing, he said, ‘You know, if it would be possible, maybe you could tone it down just a little bit, but you are who are you, and I know you have to do what you have to do.’ ”
— “GOP candidates must turn in financial disclosure on time to get into first debate,” by Matea Gold: “The large field of Republican presidential hopefuls jockeying to make the cut for the first 2016 debate will have to file a public disclosure of their personal finances on time to participate. That means every candidate who declared before July 6 — a group of 14 contenders including former Florida governor Jeb Bush and real estate magnate Donald Trump — will have to reveal information about their assets and debts to get into the Aug. 6 event in Cleveland. Trump told The Washington Post in an interview Thursday that he will file his financial disclosure ahead of schedule, perhaps next week. Bush has not yet said whether he will do so. Fox News, which is hosting the debate with Facebook and the Ohio Republican Party, clarified Thursday that the criteria for candidates to participate include filing the required personal financial disclosure within 30 days of declaring their bids.”
SOCIAL MEDIA SPEED READ:
— ZIGNAL VISUAL: Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal are getting more attention on Twitter than from the mainstream media. Zignal Labs, our campaign analytics partner, tracks total mentions across all forms of traditional and social media. Studying chatter from the past seven days, the team was struck by the ranking of which 2016 candidates got the most chatter. When you include Twitter, Jindal’s ranking jumps dramatically compared to his colleagues and Perry also gets a mentions boost on Twitter compared to the field. Rand Paul, meanwhile, got more relative mainstream love than Twitter attention. Overall, the picture of the week that was is pretty clear: It’s Clinton, Sanders and Bush, then everybody else. (We filtered out Trump because he’s in a league of his own.) Here is the ranking of total mentions for the top candidates over the past seven days:
Here’s the ranking without Twitter:
–WHAT EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT:
The Confederate flag — and whether to remove it from federal sites — dominated the congressional conversation yesterday: Speaker John Boehner called for a review of Confederate symbols and memorabilia, which is likely to include those on display in the Capitol. The Republicans had to stop considering an Interior Department appropriations bill when it became engulfed by the controversy “and whether it was appropriate to display the flags at national cemeteries where Confederate soldiers are buried,” Paul Kane reports.
Southern lawmakers expressed raw, conflicting views over Confederate symbols in the Capitol. Elise Viebeck got some pretty intense quotes from both sides:
- Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.) called the Confederate flag “the most vicious symbol of hatred of black people”: “That is the knife that is in the wound of African-Americans,” he said. “That was the thing that white Southerners changed to become a symbol of racism … We can’t erase the Confederacy or the Civil War, but we can take this knife out of the wound and let the wound heal.”
- On the other end of the debate, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said he would “violently,” “fervently” oppose the idea of reviewing Confederate statuary at the Capitol. “A statue of John C. Calhoun was never a tool of the segregationists,” Mulvaney said. “It is part of our history. The Washington Monument is not a tool of segregation. It is part of our history. So I would violently oppose, I would fervently oppose any attempts at revisionist history, political correctness run amok, and just outright absurdities when it comes to making our history something that it isn’t.”
Seizing an opening, White House press secretary Josh Earnest invoked the revelation last year that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise appeared before a white supremacist group in 2002: “These are the same House Republicans who voted for a party leader who once described himself as ‘David Duke without the baggage’!”
Pictures of the day:
It was quite a contrast to the celebrations in Columbia last night after Gov. Nikki Haley (R) signed into law the bill that will bring the flag down in South Carolina:
During yesterday’s brouhaha, Boehner probably wished he was back in Ireland, where he spent the July Fourth weekend on a CODEL (and was mistaken for Bill Clinton!):
Tweets of the day:
Pols paid homage to #Sharkweek:
And is somebody hiding from the press?
Walking through press corps, Bernie Sanders was holding his phone next to his ear and it rang — Matt Laslo (@MattLaslo) July 9, 2015
Meanwhile, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) celebrated Ramadan:
And Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) reacted to the chaos over the Confederate flag on the House floor:
Instagrams of the Day:
Steny Hoyer shared a photo with Frank Underwood:
Trumpmania has even crossed over to cat lovers (haters?), as this picture from the Insta account “Trumpyourcat” shows:
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) posted a fun #TBT:
And Vice has a new staffer:
GOOD READS FROM ELSEWHERE:
— USA Today, “In joint interview, Bush, Clinton talk 2016 politics and friendship,” by Susan Page: “They seemed relaxed and at ease, friendly and deferential to one another. They discussed a challenge they had shared: how to raise confident daughters into adulthood. Bush reached over to touch Clinton’s shoulder as he made a point; at another time, Clinton tapped Bush’s arm…They said neither believes a 2016 Clinton-Bush campaign would be waged any differently because of their friendship and collaboration — nor do they think it should.”
— The New York Times, “Hillary Clinton’s economic agenda aims at moving party to the left,” by Patrick Healy and Maggie Haberman: “Nearly 20 years after President Bill Clinton declared that ‘the era of big government is over,’ Hillary Rodham Clinton is proposing muscular federal policies that would require hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending and markedly expand Washington’s influence in a host of areas…Her presidential campaign has said little yet about the costs…or how she would pay for them, but Mrs. Clinton is calling for government activism on a scale that she has not sought since her failed health care initiative…But if her liberalism was seen as out in front of where many Democrats were then, she now seems to be catching up to the mood of the party.” On Monday at 10 a.m., Hillary will deliver a policy address laying out her vision for the country’s economic future at the New School in New York.
— Wall Street Journal, “New Greek Plan Appears Closer to Creditor Demands,” by Gabriele Steinhauser, Nektarai Stamouli and Matthew Dalton: “The proposals suggest that changes to Greece’s sales tax system should create additional revenue of around 1% of gross domestic product annually, according to a copy of the plan seen by The Wall Street Journal. An overhaul of the pension system—which it pledged to start this month—is meant to deliver the same amount of savings as of next year. Both targets are in line with demands by the creditors—the other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund.” European leaders will meet this weekend to decide whether the plan is acceptable.
BUZZING AT THE CAPITOL:
— The Hill, “Late objections cast doubt on cures bill,” by Peter Sullivan and Sarah Ferris: “Objections from both sides of the aisle are stirring doubts about a bipartisan medical cures bill that is slated to hit the House floor on Friday … The bill includes $8.75 billion over five years in new funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). That spending is drawing fire from conservatives because it is mandatory, meaning it is not revisited each year through the appropriations process. Some Republicans oppose adding another spending program to the books and are upset that the move would bust budget caps put in place in 2011.”
— Washington Post, “House Republicans say no to allowing federal studies of medical marijuana,” by Aaron C. Davis: “A rare bipartisan pot proposal died a quiet death in the House that would have reclassified marijuana so that national laboratories could conduct ‘credible research on its safety and efficacy as a medical treatment.’ The amendment to a bill scheduled for debate Thursday on the House floor would have encouraged the National Institutes of Health and the Drug Enforcement Administration to work together to allow studies of the benefits and risks of marijuana to treat cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other conditions.”
— Politico, “Bipartisan marijuana banking bill introduced in the Senate,” by Burgess Everett: “Reflecting growing public support for changing the nation’s drug laws, a bipartisan group of senators on Thursday introduced the chamber’s first bill that would legalize banking for recreational marijuana companies. Introduced by the Senate delegations from Oregon and Colorado, two of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, the bill would prohibit the federal government from penalizing banks that work with marijuana businesses.”
HOT ON THE LEFT
Trump-mentum not stopping yet: the Donald leads GOP pack in new poll. From Talking Points Memo: Donald Trump has set himself apart from the crowded Republican presidential field by refusing to back off from his derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants – and a new poll shows that strategy could be working with voters. Trump leads the GOP pack in this week’s Economist/YouGov poll, with 15 percent of registered Republican voters calling the billionaire-reality TV star their first-choice candidate for 2016.
HOT ON THE RIGHT
If Hillary makes it to the White House, so will Huma Abedin. From the New York Post: “If the phone rings at 3 a.m. in the Hillary Clinton White House, the person answering reportedly will be Huma Abedin, her ‘body woman.’ … ‘Huma’s influence is so pervasive, and Hillary’s dependence on her so total, that it is expected she will have her own bedroom upstairs in the White House,’ a Clinton associate told OrbMagazine’s Richard Turley. ‘After 20 years as Hillary’s gatekeeper, no one else could screen the calls and decide who gets access as ably as she does.’”
–What’s happening today on the campaign trail: Ben Carson, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, and Rick Santorum will speak at the National Right to Life Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. Marco Rubio will speak at Freedomfest in Las Vegas. Rand Paul will campaign in Highland Park, Mich. Lindsey Graham will attend meet and greets in Manchester and Goffstown, N.H.
–On the Hill: The House will meet at 9 a.m. to consider the 21st Century Cures Act.
–At the White House: President Obama has no public events scheduled. Press Secretary Josh Earnest will brief the media at 12:30 p.m.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “You know, there are three branches of our government. You have the Supreme Court, the legislative branch and the people – the people and their ability to vote.” – Gov. Mary Fallin (R) gaffes as she defends her refusal to comply with an Oklahoma Supreme Court order that she remove the 10 Commandments from the state Capitol grounds
NEWS YOU CAN USE IF YOU LIVE IN D.C.:
— We’ll have less rain and humidity this weekend than the past couple of days. “We’ve got a chance to get some drying in, with limited risks for showers in the coming days,” the Capital Weather Gang forecasts. “Typical July 80s and 90s are on tap, but with it being our average hottest and muggiest time of the year, any small break from humidity and storms is appreciated. Also, triple-digit temperatures remain off the table for now!”
— The streetcar line increasingly feels like D.C.’s Big Dig: “The District failed to install underground heaters at key points along its beleaguered streetcar line, allowing snow and ice to freeze up critical switches that are supposed to guide the 35-ton vehicles from one piece of track to another, according to a review by a panel of outside experts,” Michael Laris reports. “The decision, made during construction of the system years ago, has broad implications for the reliability of the 2.2-mile line running east of Union Station along H Street and Benning Road NE. During months of test runs last winter, the city’s red-and-gray streetcars were sometimes essentially left frozen in their tracks; workers had to dig out blockages by hand so the vehicles could pass.”
— Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett is proposing $50 million in funding cuts that — among other things — would reduce library hours and delay the arrival of police body cameras. Council President George Leventhal (D-At Large) tells my colleagues that lawmakers are likely to make substantial changes.
— Serena Williams crushed Russian Maria Sharapova in the semifinals at Wimbledon yesterday, continuing a great week for American female athletes.
— The Nationals are playing the Orioles in Baltimore tonight, tomorrow and Sunday.
VIDEO OF THE DAY:
–An earlier version of this post misstated Rep. Marcia Fudge’s Instagram handle. It is repmarciafudge, not repmarthafudge.