Video of the Day
4/14/17: Weekly Address
Today’s Hill Action
Senate Floor Schedule
The Senate meets in a pro forma session.
House Floor Schedule
The House is not in session.
Pence Visits North Korea Border, ‘Heartened’ by China Moves
On a visit to the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea, Pence said he was “heartened” by early signs from China and hoped its leaders would “use the extraordinary levers they have” to prod Kim into giving up his nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. He repeated President Donald Trump’s warning that the U.S. would act without China if necessary.
“Either China will deal with this problem or the United States and its allies will,” Pence said on Monday. “We want to see change. we want to see North Korea abandon its reckless path.”
Trump’s team is weighing options for preventing Kim from acquiring the ability to strike North America with a nuclear weapon. The administration is leaning on China, North Korea’s main ally and benefactor, and seeking to bolster missile defense systems in allies South Korea and Japan.
A ‘Cuban Missile Crisis in Slow Motion’ in North Korea
All the elements of the North Korean nuclear crisis – the relentless drive by Kim Jong-un to assemble an arsenal, the propaganda and deception swirling around his progress, the hints of a covert war by the United States to undermine the effort, rather than be forced into open confrontation – were on vivid display this weekend.
There was the parade in Pyongyang’s main square, with wave after wave of missiles atop mobile launchers, intended to convey a sense that Mr. Kim’s program is unstoppable. Then came another embarrassing setback, a missile test that failed seconds after liftoff, the same pattern seen in a surprising number of launches since President Barack Obama ordered stepped-up cyber- and electronic-warfare attacks in early 2014. Finally, there was the test that did not happen, at least yet – a sixth nuclear explosion. It is primed and ready to go, satellite images show.
What is playing out, said Robert Litwak of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, who tracks this potentially deadly interplay, is “the Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.” But the slow-motion part appears to be speeding up, as President Trump and his aides have made it clear that the United States will no longer tolerate the incremental advances that have moved Mr. Kim so close to his goals.
Sweeping change at DOJ under Sessions
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has brought sweeping change to the Department of Justice.
In just two months as the nation’s top cop, Sessions has moved quickly to overhaul the policies and priorities set by the Obama administration.
He has rolled back protections for transgender students that allowed children to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity and rescinded plans to phase out the federal government’s use of private prisons.
He called for a review of reform agreements, known as consent decrees, reached with local police departments to address allegations of misconduct. Many of the consent decrees were drafted in response to fating shootings by police.
Sessions has made immigration enforcement a top priority. Late last month he put “sanctuary” cities on notice, announcing that grant money would be withheld from state and local governments that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities and turn over illegal immigrants arrested for crimes.