January, 2018

FEMA Ends Food, Water Shipments to Puerto Rico

“More than four months after Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is halting new shipments of food and water to the island,” CNN reports.

“The island government appeared blindsided by the decision, saying it was still in talks with FEMA on a timetable for assuming control of food and water distribution.”

Where Polls Live Forever

Cornell University political scientist Peter Enns, who also heads up the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, joins Chris Riback for a discussion on how American views have evolved — in big ways and really nuanced ways — over time on some of our biggest issues: immigration, criminal justice, religion, politics, and more.

Enns is also author of Incarceration Nation: How the United States Became the Most Punitive Democracy in the World.

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Thanks to the Cook Political Report for sponsoring this episode.

Trump Approval Bounces Back

A new Monmouth poll finds President Trump’s job rating now stands at 42% to 50% after Congress passed his tax bill. Last month his approval was 32% to 56%.

Also interesting: Democrats now lead the generic congressional ballot by just two points, 47% to 45%.

Said pollster Patrick Murray: “The generic congressional ballot is prone to bouncing around for a bit until the campaign really gets underway later this year. But Democrats who counted on riding public hostility toward the tax bill to retake the House may have to rethink that strategy.”

FBI Publicly Challenges GOP Secret Memo

“The FBI spoke out publicly Wednesday against a GOP memo criticizing the bureau’s use of surveillance authorities, challenging the classified document’s accuracy as the White House and congressional Republicans are expected to soon make its contents public,” the Washington Post reports.

From a statement: “As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about the material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

New York Times: “Christopher Wray, the FBI director, clashed publicly with the president for the first time on Wednesday, condemning a push by House Republicans to release a secret memo that purports to show how the bureau and the Justice Department abused their authorities to obtain a warrant to spy on a former Trump campaign adviser.”

Gowdy Will Not Run for Re-Election

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has announced he will not be running for re-election in Congress or any other political or elected office, WSPA-TV reports.

Said Gowdy: “I will not be filing for re-election to Congress nor seeking any other political or elected office; instead I will be returning to the justice system. Whatever skills I may have are better utilized in a courtroom than in Congress, and I enjoy our justice system more than our political system.”

As of yesterday, there’s now a vacancy on the 4th circuit court of appeals which covers South Carolina.

Brady Will Not Run Again

Rep. Bob Brady (D-PA) will not run for re-election, WPVI-TV reports.

“His attorney tells us the decision is not related to the corruption charges filed against two of his aides last year.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: “Brady’s announcement is guaranteed to shake up the city: It could reduce the political clout of Philadelphia’s delegation, which besides Brady includes two congressmen with little to no seniority, in an election year in which many observers think Democrats could take back control of the U.S. House.”

Train Carrying Lawmakers Hit a Truck

“A train carrying members of Congress to their legislative retreat in West Virginia, hit a truck Wednesday,” CNN reports.

“One GOP source was unsure how many members of Congress were on the train or how many people were injured, but said there were injuries.”

Binyamin Appelbaum of the New York Times tweets: “Fortunately there is on the scene an entire trainload of experts in administering ‘thoughts and prayers.'”

CDC Director Resigns Over Conflicts

Brenda Fitzgerald, the embattled director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has resigned after facing questions about including her purchase of tobacco stocks while leading the nation’s anti-smoking efforts.

Politico: “Fitzgerald had also come under congressional scrutiny because of financial conflicts that led her to recuse herself from speaking to Congress about issues including cancer detection and aspects of the opioid crisis.”

Hawley Falls Short on Fundraising

Josh Hawley (R), the Republican party’s top pick to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) — widely regarded as the most vulnerable Senate incumbent in the nation — raised just shy of $1 million in final three months of last year, McClatchy reports.

“Hawley, the Missouri attorney general, is fundraising well ahead of other Republicans in the field. But he’s far short of the $2.9 million McCaskill collected during the fourth quarter of 2017.”

U.K. Is Worse Off In Every Brexit Scenario

“The government’s new analysis of the impact of Brexit says the UK would be worse off outside the European Union under every scenario modeled,” BuzzFeed News reports.

Bloomberg: “It said that each of the three scenarios modeled, from no trade deal with the EU to membership of the European Economic Area, would bludgeon growth. The hardest Brexit would leave the economy 8 percent smaller than otherwise in 15 years time, and the softest would still slow growth by 2 percent.”