Late Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) office announced that "the House will consider two bills next week that will avert the discharge petition and resolve the border security and immigration issues," signaling defeat for a group of moderate Republicans who had worked with Democrats to force a vote on a bipartisan immigration measure that would easily pass in the House. The discharge petition to force consideration of a bill that would reinstate legal protections for DREAMers — young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children — got 216 signatures, two short of the 218 needed, after GOP leaders pressured supportive Republicans to abstain from signing the petition.
Neither of the rival bills the House will vote on next week — a hard-line conservative bill that focuses on enforcement and restricting all sorts of immigration while offering a narrow path to permanent residence for DREAMers, and an as-yet unwritten bill that Ryan says will be a "compromise" measure — have much of a chance. The hard-line bill almost certainly won't pass the House and the other one, even if it does pass, won't pass in the Senate. Democrats have signaled they will support neither. "If Republicans plan to use Dreamers as a way to advance [Trump's] xenophobic, anti-immigrant agenda, they will get a fight from House Democrats," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tweeted.
Paul and other House leaders fought against the discharge petition on the grounds that forcing a vote on a bill that would protect DREAMers could depress turnout among conservatives in the 2018 midterms. The moderates have one more shot to execute the discharge petition before the midterms, on July 23. Peter Weber
The White House wants to push the Departments of Education and Labor together.
The Office of Management and Budget on Thursday proposed a merger of the two departments into one Department of Education and the Workforce, its first step under President Trump's plan to shrink the federal government. Federal food stamps would be relocated to the Department of Health and Human Services, which would be given a new name, among other proposed moves, ABC News reports.
OMB Director Mick Mulvaney cited redundancy in government agencies for this and future mergers. "If it's cheese pizza, it's [under the Food and Drug Administration], but you put pepperoni on it and it becomes a USDA product," he told The Associated Press. That's why the OMB suggested a single food safety agency within the Agriculture Department.
Most changes, including the Education-Labor union, would require congressional approval, per AP. Former President Ronald Reagan similarly thought to eliminate the Education Department but couldn't get Congress on board.
The merger was reported Wednesday in the trade publication Education Week. It's the first official move in Trump's executive order mandating the reorganization of the executive branch announced in March 2017. Kathryn Krawczyk
The House of Representatives on Thursday swatted down the more conservative of two immigration bills under consideration — but the margin between passing and failing was narrower than expected.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), met its end with a 231-193 vote against, per NBC News. It would've authorized but not specifically doled out border wall funding, and contained no provisions for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients brought here illegally as children. The Goodlatte bill was expected to fail spectacularly, but only 41 Republicans opposed it, along with all Democrats.
The more moderate of the two bills, backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), is also expected to fail. It contains a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, provides $25 billion in border wall funding, and eliminates the visa lottery in favor of a merit-based system, per NBC. That vote was supposed to happen Thursday but was postponed until Friday, NPR reports. Republican lawmakers will likely use the time to try to attract more "yes" votes. Kathryn Krawczyk
Melania Trump flew to Texas to visit detained immigrant children. She apparently wore a jacket that said 'I really don't care, do you?'
First lady Melania Trump faced extraordinary backlash last year when she traveled to visit victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas while wearing "black snakeskin stilettos." She's really outdone herself this time, though: On Thursday, the first lady was photographed traveling to visit immigrant children who have been separated from their parents at the border due to her husband's policies while apparently wearing a jacket that says "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?"
— Tim Mak (@timkmak) June 21, 2018
The British tabloid the Daily Mail noticed the message on the back of the Zara jacket. The first lady apparently "removed the offending jacket, which bore the controversial phrase in white graffiti-style writing across the entire back section, before disembarking the plane upon her arrival," the Daily Mail notes. Jeva Lange
Genealogy testing is inherently creepy. After spitting into a vial and sending it off, your saliva's final resting place can be a mystery (unless it's accidentally sent to another customer).
That's why lawmakers want to protect your bodily fluids and the data they provide. Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) wrote a letter asking four major genetic testing companies to clarify their privacy and security policies, and they shared the letter with Stat.
The four companies that got a letter — 23andMe, AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, and National Geographic Geno — haven't been embroiled in any scandals. But the Democrats told Stat they want to uncover potential problems in how data is used and stored before something does go wrong. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) similarly questioned these companies' ethics in November and pressed the FTC to ensure it was clear how customers' DNA would be used.
After all, earlier this month, testing company MyHeritage announced that it had accidentally leaked 92 million customers' email addresses, per Reuters. And McClatchy recently found some skeevy details about what Ancestry has done with the world's largest collection of human saliva. Questioning these companies early will hopefully avert a sticky situation. Read more at Stat. Kathryn Krawczyk
Two wrongs don't make a right, but apparently no one told that to the Republican defenders of the Trump administration's policies of child separation and detention. On Thursday, the Republican National Committee tweeted out a video of former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson "admit[ting] to expanding family detention under President Obama" in an attempted gotcha.
The RNC has sent out a couple talking points on this today. Increasingly seems like Republicans’ official response to questions about child separation and detention is “Obama did it too!” https://t.co/aHBsqpX9rH
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) June 21, 2018
Yahoo News' Hunter Walker added: "Just a reminder, Obama isn't president."
The current homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, has also used the "we didn't start it" excuse, claiming that "the Obama administration, the Bush administration all separated families … This is not new." The Annenberg Public Policy Center's FactCheck.org writes that while "experts say there were some separations under previous administrations," there was "no blanket policy to prosecute parents and, therefore, separate them from their children," like the strategy announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this spring.
Besides, "he started it!" is never the best excuse — especially when you're now the only one who can end it. Jeva Lange
There are plenty of people who would find it extremely difficult to muster up any pity for Donald Trump Jr., the eldest child of the president. Still, the GQ profile of Junior published Thursday makes a pretty compelling case — from his birth through his engagement through the end of his marriage. "Maybe he's not an intellectual, but he tried to be useful for his family," was how one insider gently put it. "I feel bad for him, honestly."
Here are four of the most depressing details in the profile, which you can read in full here. Jeva Lange
His parents dashed off to other engagements as soon as he was born.
That evening he was born, little Don was left by his parents to the care of the hospital's nursery. His father headed home to celebrate New Year's Eve, while Ivana put a boa and a mink over her hospital gown and went to visit a girlfriend recovering from back surgery on another floor of the hospital. [GQ]
His father didn't want to give him his name.
“You can't do that!" Trump is quoted as saying in Ivana's memoir, Raising Trump. "What if he's a loser?" [GQ]
When his parents were getting divorced, they had a spat over who had to raise him.
First lady Melania Trump has touched ground in Texas to check out immigrant detention centers and speak with Border Patrol officials, CNN reported Thursday.
Trump made a last-minute decision to take a trip to McAllen, Texas, the first member of the Trump family to personally visit the immigration facilities where children are being detained separately from their parents as they await prosecution for entering the U.S. without documentation.
Upon arriving in McAllen, the first lady told shelter workers she was "looking forward" to seeing immigrant children. "We all know they're here without their families and I want to thank you for your hard work, your kindness, and your compassion you're giving them in these hard times," she said, per The Hill. She additionally asked how she could "help these children to reunite with their families as quickly as possible."