October 2, 2018

Sometimes, you wake up with the feeling that it's going to be a good day. You don't know why, exactly; it's just a sense.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) had a similar feeling about the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the NAFTA update President Trump announced on Monday. She's absolutely confident the deal will be a wild success, even if she doesn't know why.

Ernst told CBS on Tuesday that USMCA is a "great win for Iowa." She said it would expand opportunities for the state to trade dairy products with neighboring nations and "level the playing field for wheat, as well."

"Can you explain how it does that?" asked CBS News reporter Norah O'Donnell. Ernst could not.

"We haven't seen the negotiated texts of the language that's being put out there for the agreement," said Ernst. "I do look forward to going through that very specific text. But we do know that we all feel as Americans and Canadians and Mexicans that this is a great way forward." Ernst praised President Trump for securing the deal, lauding his efforts to somehow, in some mysterious way, help Iowa. Watch the full interview below, via CBS News. Summer Meza

July 28, 2018

Fox News pundit (and bedtime phone buddy to President Trump) Sean Hannity endorsed Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for the role of speaker of the House while interviewing Jordan Friday night.

"I will support you for speaker," Hannity said, "because I think the Freedom Caucus has been the most committed to fighting to keep their promises and literally the single biggest group fighting to defend the things that are conservative in the country and have helped the president the most."

Jordan helped found the conservative House Freedom Caucus. However, he is considered an unlikely candidate for the position should the GOP hang on to its House majority after the 2018 midterms. The frontrunner, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, is more popular with Republican leadership.

Watch Hannity's interview with Jordan below; that segment begins around the 18:30 mark. Bonnie Kristian

July 9, 2018

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) knows that the popular vote doesn't count for much.

In an interview with Rolling Stone published late Sunday, Pelosi explained why she doesn't mind if her ratings are way down and she's attacked from every side. The literal 16,000 attack ads that demonize the top House Democrat don't matter much when you've got a House to win back, she said.

Pelosi says that President Trump is "terrible," but that she wants voters to focus on his awful policies, not his bombastic personality. She believes that Democrats have the right message and values, even though "people say, 'Well, it doesn't inspire me.'" In response to people who criticize her for weighing in on primaries, Pelosi just shrugs. She isn't eager to back ultra-liberal and progressive candidates, even if they win primaries, because she thinks they don't have "the faintest chance of winning the general election" in moderate districts, something she's focused on in order to flip 23 House seats this fall.

The minority leader says critics "come after me because I'm effective," and says she's "proud" to stand by values that are alternately called too liberal and too conservative. Rather than focus on bringing her own poll numbers up, she told Rolling Stone, she'd rather focus entirely on winning midterm elections. Joking that Trump helped recruit new Democratic candidates, Pelosi said she'd "rather spend the money on the candidates who win rather than getting into a tickle contest with a skunk over some of this stuff."

Pelosi pointed out that at least her numbers are higher than "whatshisname," aka Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Besides, no matter what people say, concludes Pelosi, "I just want to win the election." Read more at Rolling Stone. Summer Meza

June 19, 2018

Lawmakers will likely clash over how to handle the Trump administration's zero tolerance immigration policy that separates immigrant families at the border, debating two immigration bills that contain other contingencies, Politico reported Tuesday.

President Trump will meet with GOP leaders to offer his input on two bills. The more conservative bill written by Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R) would require the Department of Homeland Security to house detained immigrant families together, but the White House said it would be "tough" to get it through the House. A second, more moderate compromise bill that would give Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients a path to citizenship while putting $25 billion toward border security and the border wall is also under consideration.

Congressional Democrats unanimously supported a bill authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Monday that sought to outlaw nearly every case of family separations. But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he wasn't interested in a GOP-led bill that would keep families together while detained, telling reporters that he wants to keep the onus on President Trump to end the controversial separations. "There are so many obstacles to legislation and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense," said Schumer. "Unacceptable additions have bogged down every piece of legislation we've done." Republicans have also called for Trump to take executive action to speed things along.

The multiple competing bills, including another introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), all include different provisions that offer varying compromises to end the policy that separates families. Sources told Politico that despite the president's mild support for some aspects of each bill, it's unclear exactly how he will choose to move forward, further fracturing the Republican Party as they seek to unite for quick-acting legislation. Read more at Politico. Summer Meza

June 1, 2018

Now that President Trump has taken charge of the Washington swamp, Stephen Bannon wants GOP hopefuls to stop trying to drain it.

Candidates running on the Republican ticket keep trying to follow in Trump's footsteps and campaign on an anti-establishment platform, reports The New York Times, but the president's former chief strategist thinks that's a losing strategy now that Trump is the establishment.

"People are starting to realize that the anti-establishment thing is kind of a luxury we can't afford right now," Bannon told the Times.

It's a far cry from Bannon's previously held views. The former chairman of Breitbart once sought to buck the system, calling for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) to be removed from his seat and hoping for a populist revolt to "take back the government" by rejecting the "political class."

Now that that strategy has failed for fringe GOP candidates like Don Blankenship in West Virginia and Trump has somewhat embraced the swampy political strategizing, Bannon is reframing his opinions on what "taking back the government" should look like. Rebellious candidates should hold their fire on the failing status quo that overlooks the working class, says Bannon, lest it appear that their anti-establishment views are anti-Trump. Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza

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