Congressional Climate May 30th, 2017

Video of the Day
President Trump Lays a Wreath at Arlington National Cemetery for Memorial Day Ceremony

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Today’s Hill Action
Senate Floor Schedule
The Senate is not in session
Committee Hearings
None
House Floor Schedule
The House meets in a pro forma session
Committee Hearings
None
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Trump’s White House Communications Director Resigns
Mike Dubke has resigned as White House communications director, he confirmed to The Hill early Tuesday, in what could be the beginning of a major staff overhaul amid the growing Russia controversy.

Dubke had only been on the job for three months before tendering his resignation on May 18. He offered to remain in his post to help manage communications during President Trump’s overseas trip, and Trump accepted.

Dubke’s last day has not yet been determined. His resignation was first reported by Axios’s Mike Allen.

The veteran Republican operative was hired in February to help restructure a White House communications shop that struggled to deal with a number of controversies that that consumed Trump’s presidency.
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Debt fight blindsides Congress
President Donald Trump’s top economic aides are urging Capitol Hill leaders to raise the debt ceiling by the end of July. And Congress is totally unprepared to do so.

Lawmakers in both parties thought they’d have until the fall to act, and had planned to roll the always-difficult vote into a broader spending package that could be more easily swallowed. That strategy may now have to be tossed aside with the debt limit deadline approaching faster than expected.

The White House request raises the prospect of a bruising fight over the debt limit – not just between Republicans and Democrats but within both parties. The GOP is torn over whether to combine spending cuts with the debt ceiling lift, and Senate Democrats are already signaling they may push for their own concessions since their votes are going to be needed to avoid a devastating government default.

The request will also scramble the congressional calendar. The GOP is currently embroiled in an effort to repeal Obamacare and rewrite the tax code, two massive legislative items that are expected to suck up time and energy all summer. And now, they’ve been caught flat-footed by last week’s pleas from White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
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Trump attacks ‘fake news’ following Kushner reports
U.S. President Donald Trump attacked the news media and dismissed leaks from the White House as “fake news” on Sunday, following reports his son-in-law tried to set up a secret channel of communications with Moscow before Trump took office.

Shortly after Trump’s remarks on Twitter, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly made the rounds of Sunday television news shows to praise any so-called back channel communications, especially with Russia, as “a good thing.”

The Republican president returned to the White House after a nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe that ended on Saturday to face more questions about alleged communications between Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington.

“It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” Trump wrote in a series of Twitter posts on Sunday.

In a statement later on Sunday night, carried by the New York Times, Trump praised Kushner and the work he has done in the White House.

“Jared is doing a great job for the country,” he said. “I have total confidence in him. He is respected by virtually everyone and is working on programs that will save our country billions of dollars. In addition to that, and perhaps more importantly, he is a very good person.”
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