Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have not come to complete agreement on anything with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. | Susan Walsh/AP Photo
HERE’S AN AMAZING FACTOID almost two weeks into the talks aimed at producing a Covid relief bill: The two sides have not resolved a single issue. Let us say this another way: Speaker NANCY PELOSI and Senate Minority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER have not come to complete agreement on anything with White House chief of staff MARK MEADOWS and Treasury Secretary STEVEN MNUCHIN.
THERE’S AN AXIOM in legislative politics that we oftentimes chuckle about: Nothing’s agreed to until everything is agreed to. That’s fair.
IN THIS CASE, nothing is agreed to because many of the main power centers have been unbending in these talks, and are particularly convinced of the wisdom of their arguments and positions:
— DEMOCRATS are the only ones who have passed a bill, and they haven’t really moved an inch from there. In truth, they seem to be waiting for Republicans to fold. Dems involved in the process believe that the pressure of the 2020 election — where vulnerable GOP senators are nervous about getting creamed — will get to Republicans. They may not be wrong. Sen. JOHN CORNYN (R-Texas), who is up comfortably in his race, suggested Monday the Senate should cancel the August recess.
JUST LISTEN HERE … PELOSI sounds like a leader confident in their negotiating position. PELOSI said this on a call with Democrats on Monday, per HEATHER CAGYLE: The two sides “are not together on an amount” for education funding. State and local cash is “still a zero” but Republicans will come their way, but they don’t “know it yet.” SNAP is “not where we need.” She said Dems and Republicans aren’t moving on unemployment benefits. Election money is a “big fight for us,” and she noted they were going back and forth on USPS money. PELOSI suggested no deal until next week.
— MEADOWS is bone tired with these negotiations, and seems to be ready for progress, or an escape hatch. HE IS GIVING THESE TALKS ANOTHER 24 HOURS, and then will try for a series of executive actions to solve some of the problems on the table — and, politically, claim unitary credit for President DONALD TRUMP.
— MNUCHIN, though, wants a deal, and is staunchly against executive actions — putting him in conflict with MEADOWS. He has cut two deals with Democrats, so he has some experience in these formats, and wants to keep talking.
IN THE CLOSED MEETING MONDAY AFTERNOON, SCHUMER ribbed the Republican negotiating pair. SCHUMER turned to MNUCHIN and said: You’re supposed to be a good influence on MEADOWS, he’s not supposed to be a bad influence on you. In other words, the MNUCHIN that cut deals with Democrats is being tempered by the conservative chief of staff.
MONDAY WAS YET ANOTHER modestly productive day. They ran through their policies, with Republicans questioning the Democrats’ numbers, and the Dems backing up what they had proposed.
THE MAIN STUMBLING BLOCK AT THIS POINT is still state and local money. SO IS SCHOOLS … Republicans and Democrats agree on the need, but disagree on how it should be applied.
REPUBLICANS have expressed interest in talking about SNAP — a big priority for Democrats — USPS money and broadband. There is some modest agreement on housing policy — eviction moratorium and mortgage forbearance — but still many loose ends to tie up.
FRONTS: NYT … WSJ, with the story about TRUMP demanding a cut of the TikTok/Microsoft deal for the U.S. … N.Y. POST
Good Tuesday morning. TRUMP on JOHN LEWIS to Axios’ JONATHAN SWAN, in a terrific interview that aired on HBO last night. “He chose not to come to my inauguration”. 1:19 clip
TODAY, MEADOWS and MNUCHIN will be on Capitol Hill at 12:45 p.m. for the Senate GOP lunch, and then they’ll meet with PELOSI and SCHUMER at 3:30 p.m. Expect them to go over money — numbers — during the meeting. MEADOWS and MNUCHIN will then go to meet with Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL.
It’s time for updated internet regulations to prevent election interference. We’ve more than tripled our security and safety teams to 35,000 people, added 5-step political ad verification and partnered with security researchers, other tech companies and law enforcement to combat foreign election interference. What’s next? We support updated internet regulations.
CLASSIC CNN MANU RAJU: “As nation grapples with crisis, McConnell and Schumer aren’t negotiating — with each other”: “‘Ask him,’ Schumer told CNN on Monday when asked why he hasn’t been negotiating directly, one-on-one, with McConnell. Asked to characterize his relationship with McConnell, Schumer only said: ‘Look, he is the Senate leader, but he’s not in the room. And it’s hard to negotiate with someone who’s not in the room.’
“Schumer declined to comment further. ‘That’s all I’ll say,’ he said. In a brief interview last week, McConnell downplayed any rift in his relationship with Schumer. ‘Oh, I think it’s fine,’ McConnell told CNN when asked about their relationship. ‘We haven’t been able to have any real meetings lately, but it’s nothing personal in this.’
“Asked why the two of them aren’t trying to cut a deal, McConnell said: ‘Because you need the guy with the pen. You cannot make a deal unless you have the President involved. So the two power-centers on legislation are the President and the Democratic majority in the House and a substantial Democratic minority in the Senate.’”
NYT, A1: MAGGIE HABERMAN, EMILY COCHRANE and JIM TANKERSLEY: “With Jobless Aid Expired, Trump Sidelines Himself in Stimulus Talks”: “White House officials describe Mr. Trump as interested in the talks, but from a distance. He calls Mr. Meadows, a former House member, for updates nearly a dozen times on some days, and in general gets briefed in 10-minute increments from other aides.”
REAL-LIFE CONSEQUENCES … “Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states,” by AP’s Regina Garcia Cano and Michael Casey
NEW: SUSAN PAGE’S new biography of PELOSI has a title, and a cover: “Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power.” It will be out April 6, 2021. Page tells us that she’s had eight extended conversations so far with Pelosi and that she’s interviewed more than 150 people for the book, including her high school boyfriend in Baltimore and former President Barack Obama. The book will cover events through Election Day 2020.
— PAGE SAYS: “My goal has been to explain how Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi became the most powerful woman in American history and to explore how she’s used that power. The book details how she’s managed to hold onto power against all challengers, and in showdowns with a series of presidents. It also shows a personal side to her that she rarely reveals.”
STEVEN SHEPARD: “Census Bureau will finish count earlier than expected, deliver data to Trump”: “The Census Bureau said late on Monday that it would finish collecting data for the decennial count next month and work to deliver population tallies to President Donald Trump that meet his constitutionally questionable order to exclude undocumented immigrants for the purpose of congressional apportionment.
“The agency, which is part of the Commerce Department, had said this spring that it would require more time to complete its data collection because of the coronavirus pandemic. But amid a renewed push by Trump to remove those in the country without documentation from the count, Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham now says the data will be sent to the president by the end of the year — and not next spring, when Joe Biden could be in the Oval Office.”
YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS … WSJ ED BOARD ran an editorial with this headline: “Will Joe Biden Duck the Debates? There are growing calls to shield the former Veep from having to perform.” The only evidence they cite for these “growing calls” is an op-ed from Elizabeth Drew.
PRIMARY DAY — “Kansas set to decide Kobach’s fate — and possibly the Senate,’” by James Arkin and Ally Mutnick: “Republicans are about to learn if they have a serious problem in Kansas — and another major threat to their teetering Senate majority.
“In Tuesday’s primary, GOP voters will decide between hard-line conservative Kris Kobach and Rep. Roger Marshall as their nominee for an open Senate seat. Democrats haven’t won a Senate race in Kansas in nearly a century. But both parties think Kobach as the nominee would put the race squarely on the map, stretching Republican resources thinner as they’re already spending to protect a half-dozen vulnerable incumbents.
“Also on the ballot, House GOP operatives are paying close attention to embattled Rep. Steve Watkins (R-Kan.), who’s up against two primary challengers and a barrage of bad headlines over alleged ethical transgressions. If Watkins hangs on, Democrats are ready to pounce, despite the district’s pronounced pro-Trump tilt.” POLITICO
TRUMP’S TUESDAY — The president will participate in a signing ceremony for H.R. 1957 — the Great American Outdoors Act — at 10:30 a.m. in the East Room. He will have lunch at 12:45 p.m. with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the private dining room. Trump will receive his intel briefing at 2 p.m. in the Oval Office.
HAPPENING TODAY – ECONOMIC RECOVERY IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC: The coronavirus has caused a record-setting economic decline and tens millions of Americans have lost their jobs. Join POLITICO chief economic correspondent Ben White for an interview with LinkedIn chief economist Karin Kimbrough to discuss prospects for economic growth, the uptick in jobless claims after weeks of decline and how extending unemployment benefits could help in the economic recovery. REGISTER HERE.
PHOTO DU JOUR: People enter a shopping mall through passages equipped with disinfectant sprays in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Aug. 3. | Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo
BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN: “Democrats to introduce legislation to tighten DHS intel oversight”: “Members of Congress responsible for oversight of the Department of Homeland Security will introduce legislation strengthening its internal civil rights office, they announced Monday. The move comes after POLITICO reported that a top DHS official limited the ability of that office to oversee the work of the department’s intelligence arm.
“Several months ago, the department’s second-in-command constrained the ability of DHS’ Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) to review intelligence products from the department’s Office of Intelligence & Analysis (I&A). After making that change, I&A released intelligence reports to law enforcement partners with information about journalists and protesters — sparking national criticism.”
We support updated regulations to set clear rules and hold companies, including Facebook, accountable for:— Combating foreign election interference— Protecting people’s privacy— Enabling safe and easy data portability between platforms
MEDIAWATCH — THE KNIGHT FOUNDATION and GALLUP are out this morning with a new poll surveying 20,000 Americans about their views on the news media. Top findings: 84% think the media is critical or very important to democracy. 49% think the media is very biased. 8% think the media is trying to destroy society. And REPUBLICANS distrust the media much more than DEMOCRATS. The report
— PBS is premiering a new documentary from the MILLER CENTER, “Statecraft: The Bush 41 Team,” tonight at 10 p.m. The film centers on President George H.W. Bush’s foreign policy team through the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Gulf War, the collapse of the Soviet Union and more. Details
POLITICO’S “FUTURE PULSE” – THE COLLISION OF HEALTH CARE AND TECHNOLOGY: As the United States remains stuck in a screening crisis, a worldwide competition has been launched to find the top Covid-19 rapid testing solutions. The contest aims to find a system with a painless sample and quick turnaround for results. When will a breakthrough come? From Congress and the White House, to state legislatures and Silicon Valley, Future Pulse spotlights the politics, policies and technologies driving long-term change on the most personal issue for voters: Their health. SUBSCRIBE NOW.
TRANSITIONS — Katherine Schneider will be deputy comms director for Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.). She currently is deputy comms director for Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas). … Ellen Sciales is now press secretary for Barbara Bollier’s Senate campaign in Kansas. She previously was an organizer for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign in New Hampshire and North Carolina. …
… The Brookings Institution is adding Kristen Broady as policy director of the Hamilton Project and Sanjay Patnaik as director of the Center on Regulation and Markets. Broady previously was dean of Dillard University’s College of Business. Patnaik previously was an assistant professor at George Washington University.
WEEKEND WEDDINGS — Amanda House, director of video and deputy political editor at Breitbart News, and Nicholas Lombardi, an associate at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, got married Saturday at St. Rita Catholic Church, with a reception at Woodlawn, both in Alexandria, Va. They were introduced at a staged birthday party in Queens thrown solely for them to meet. They originally planned to marry in April before postponing due to the pandemic. Pic … Another pic
— Lauren Claffey, president of Claffey Communications and a Trump DHS and Saxby Chambliss alum, recently married Brock Tomlinson, head of acquisitions at Bozzuto. They met at the D.C. jazz bar Soto in January 2018, and were married in front of their mask-wearing immediate family at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in D.C. Pic
BIRTHDAY OF THE DAY: Bob Cusack, editor-in-chief of The Hill. A trend he thinks doesn’t get enough attention: “The amount of missing and murdered Native American women in the U.S. The numbers are staggering.” Playbook Q&A
BIRTHDAYS: Former President Barack Obama is 59 … Sheldon Adelson is 87 … Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) is 5-0 … Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.) is 63 … Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.) is 58 … Bret Baier is 5-0 … WaPo’s Seung Min Kim … Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is 61 … Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is 58 … former A.G. Alberto Gonzales, now dean of Belmont University law school, is 65 … WaPo’s Joby Warrick is 6-0 … John Edgell (h/t Jon Haber) … Something Major’s Randi Braun … CBS’ Katie Watson … Kristine Bucci … Richard Carlbom, founder at United Strategies … Andrei Cherny is 45 … Caren Auchman, SVP and head of Lewis’ D.C. office … Alex Mallin of ABC … Minnesota A.G. Keith Ellison is 57 … Joel Bailey, chief of staff for Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) (h/t Mitchell Rivard) … Andrea Hechavarria of 3M (h/t Jeff Grappone) … Daniel Moss, columnist at Bloomberg Opinion … Amelia Irvine … CNN’s Cristina Alesci and Greg Krieg … Pete Brodnitz …
… USA Today’s Deirdre Shesgreen … Amazon’s Kartik Das is 3-0 (h/t Nihal Krishan) … Washingtonian editor Michael Schaffer is 47 … POLITICO’s Ashley Ryan … Fritz Fitzpatrick … former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin is 62 … Susan Whitson … Robert Tuttle … Sinan Salaheddin Mahmoud … Brett Loper, EVP at American Express … David FitzSimmons … Jordan Maynard of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s office … Nick Wing, media strategist at the Justice Collaborative, is 33 … Kate Michelman … IMG’s Maura McGreevy … Edelman’s Helen Lapkovsky … WaPo’s Mike Madden is 44 … Wendy Cohen … former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland is 79 … Daniel Son … Reagan Anderson … Jonathan Green … Sam Carmody … former Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) is 63 … Kaci Sturgeon … Derek Dash … Uber’s Hayley Prim … Valerie McCabe … Steve Rudin … Emil Hill … Chad Kolton is 47 … Martha Love … Anna Bennett … Lina Brunton (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) … Steve Kean … Paige Shipman
News – POLITICO Playbook: Nothing is decided