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As conservative border backlash continues, bipartisan bill emerges

BY Domenico Montanaro, Rachel Wellford and Simone Pathe  July 15, 2014 at 9:30 AM EDT
A young boy bows his head in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18 in Nogales, Arizona. Photo by Ross D. Franklin-Pool/Getty Images

A young boy bows his head in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18 in Nogales, Arizona. Photo by Ross D. Franklin-Pool/Getty Images

The Morning Line

Today in the Morning Line:

  • Bipartisan border bill; more protests planned
  • Democrats lead in key blue-state Senate races
  • Push is on for highway bill; conservative groups lobby against passage
  • Despite loss, Cantor set to cash in

Bipartisan border bill: A bipartisan pair of Texas legislators will introduce a border bill Tuesday intended to stem the tide of unaccompanied children at the Southern U.S. border. The bill would amend the 2008 child trafficking law that even the White House says is making it harder to expeditiously send the children back to their home countries in Central America. But the White House did not request to change the law in its $3.7 billion request to Congress. The bill, called The Humane Act, from Republican Sen. John Cornyn and Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar, would, per The New York Times: (1) “allow children from Central American countries to opt to be voluntarily sent home”; (2) children with a legal claim for staying in the U.S. could “make their case before an immigration judge within seven days of undergoing a screening by the Department of Homeland Security”; (3) “Judges would then have 72 hours to decide whether the child can remain in the country with a sponsor while pursuing legal action”; (4) would “authorize up to 40 new immigration judges to expedite the process”; (5) “require a plan, as well as additional resources, for gaining operational control over 90 percent of the nation’s southern border.”

Obama officials talk to Congress; more protests planned: DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Brian Deese and Deputy Attorney General James Cole will address all 100 senators in a closed-door session Tuesday. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a briefing Monday that if the children “face a credible threat of death upon their return to their home country, then…it is likely” the children will get to stay in the U.S. Look for fresh pictures from a town that is protesting the children and families being detained in their towns. Protests are expected Tuesday in Oracle, Arizona. By the way, the protests were organized, in part, by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who appeared in Sen. John McCain’s 2010 “Complete the danged fence” ad and then ironically landed in controversy for this story. No one right now is looking good on handling this crisis. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds 58 percent disapprove of Mr. Obama’s handling of it — including 54 percent of Latinos — while 66 percent disapprove of Republicans’ handling.

Democrats lead (narrowly) in blue-state Senate races: Republicans are making a push a little more than 100 days out from November’s elections (112 to be exact, but who’s counting) to say that they have expanded the playing field. To an extent, that’s true. In states President Barack Obama won twice, like Colorado, Iowa, and Michigan, Republicans are within striking distance. But two new NBC News/Marist polls released Tuesday morning show Democrats maintaining leads in two of those states. Incumbent Sen. Mark Udall leads 48 percent to 41 percent over Republican challenger Rep. Cory Gardner, and in the open race in Michigan, Rep. Gary Peters leads 43 percent to 37 percent over Terri Lynn Land (meaning there are lots of undecideds). In both states, Mr. Obama and the health care law are unpopular, but women are fueling the Democrats’ leads. In Colorado, Udall leads with women by 12 points. He also leads with Latinos by a whopping 31 points. In Michigan, Peters leads with that group by 13 points. Speaking of the gender gap, Senate Majority PAC, an outside group that helps support Democrats, is up with a new ad in Colorado focusing on rape. “Gardner tried to redefine rape to mean only ‘forcible rape,’” an announcer says. The charge is a reference to a bill introduced in 2011 that wanted to reinforce no taxpayer funding for abortion. The original version made an exception for “forcible rape,” language that was later dropped. By the way, the Rothenberg Political Report is out with some ratings changes, moving Iowa from Lean Democrat to Toss Up, Colorado from Lean Democrat to Toss Up/Tilt Democrat, and North Carolina from Toss Up to Toss Up/Tilt Democrat.

Washington getting a move on highway bill: Mr. Obama will deliver remarks on the economy at 11:35 a.m. ET at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Virginia. It’s part of a week-long push by the White House on infrastructure spending and to urge passage of the Highway Trust Fund. The president will speak in Delaware Thursday, where he’s expected to announce an executive action on private-sector investment in infrastructure, according to a White House official. The House is expected to begin debate sometime after noon ET on a $10.8 billion highway bill to temporarily extend transportation funding, which the White House has endorsed. “This week, Congress will consider a solution to avoid that scenario, and the President will continue to urge Republican lawmakers to not block it,” a White House official said. Conservative groups, though, are rallying against the bill. Both Heritage Action and The Club for Growth are urging “no” votes. The club even called it “a wasteful and inefficient program that shouldn’t even exist.” NewsHour’s Quinn Bowman went to West Virginia, where he reported on the real-world impact of the bill.

Cantor set to cash in — any wonder people hate Washington? Most expected Eric Cantor would, ironically, cash in after leaving Congress despite being embarrassed in his GOP primary election. Mark Leibovich in the New York Times Magazine digs into it: “While LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony shopped their talents around the N.B.A. this summer, Cantor was preparing for his own free agency.” Said former Republican Congressman Tom Davis, “I think it would be easy for him to become Eric Cantor Inc. and make a few million dollars a year.” Just how rich? Leibovich continues: “Given his contacts and pedigree, he could one day eclipse the Tauzin Line, which is named for the former Louisiana congressman Billy Tauzin, who made $11.6 million as a pharmaceutical lobbyist in 2010.” The article also notes how this is a relatively new phenomenon. Per The Atlantic, in 1974, “3 percent of retiring Congressmen became lobbyists. Now it’s 50 percent of Senators, 42 percent of House members.” Wow. Between stories like this and Hillary Clinton’s “truly well off” comments, the divide between inside the Acela Corridor and outside of it couldn’t be clearer. Members of Congress already make $174,000 a year. Median HOUSEHOLD income in this country is just slightly more than $53,000. But many members of Congress — from both sides of the aisle — complain that their salaries aren’t enough. Cost of living is higher inside the corridor than almost anywhere in the country, and members have to maintain two homes. But for those wondering why populist rhetoric and anti-Washington antipathy are at all-time highs, look no further.

Quote of the day: “It’s show trial. If that’s really what Republicans want, they should go talk to Judge Judy. I think she would throw this case out in half a second.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, on Speaker Boehner’s lawsuit against President Obama.

Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1948, President Harry S. Truman was nominated for another term in office by the Democratic national convention in Philadelphia. What other Democratic president was nominated on the same day years later? Be the first to Tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to Roy Wait ‏(@ind22rxw) for guessing Monday’s trivia: How did Harry Atwood arrive at the White House the day Taft gave him an award? The answer was: He landed his plane on the South Lawn of the White House.

LINE ITEMS

  • A Huffington Post/YouGov poll found that 35 percent of Americans feel that Mr. Obama’s impeachment is warranted.

  • Senate hopeful Chris McDaniel just won’t quit, and now he wants to see the original copies of poll books to prove illegal voting during Mississippi’s June runoff election.

  • Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush headlined a fundraiser for New Hampshire GOP candidate Scott Brown and the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Boston on Monday.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., stumped for West Virginia hopeful Natalie Tennant to motivate the progressive base Tennant will need, but Tennant was careful to keep her distance from Warren on coal and the EPA. “I will stand up to Elizabeth Warren if I need to,” she said. On campaign stops around the country, Warren has capitalized on progressive frustration with Mr. Obama.

  • Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum stumped for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback Monday, calling him a “warrior” who “takes on the dragons.”

  • The Club for Growth is looking to turn around their fortunes in the next week in Alabama and Georgia.

  • The Service Employees International Union is launching a new Spanish-language ad campaign Tuesday attacking four GOP House lawmakers for their inaction on immigration reform.

  • Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., won’t drop his subpoena of White House political adviser David Simas, in spite of a direct request from the White House ahead of a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Wednesday.

  • The Department of Justice told a federal court panel Monday that the Texas legislature deliberately marginalized minority voters in electoral maps drawn in 2011. Federal judges have already redrawn those districts, but in the first voting rights trial since the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act, the DOJ is arguing that Texas should still be required to seek preclearance under the VRA.

  • Massachusetts lawmakers filed a bill Monday that will attempt to counter the Supreme Court’s June decision that ruled against the state’s 30-foot abortion clinic buffer zone.

  • The Wisconsin Democratic Party is calling for Gov. Scott Walker to repay the state for security costs racked up during a family vacation and multiple out-of-state political trips.

  • The fight over removing abortion protections from Tennessee’s constitution is on track to be the costliest voter referendum battle in the state’s history.

  • North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said Monday he’d consider accepting federal funds for Medicaid expansion if his state is allowed to craft its own plan.

  • Based on early voting, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that turnout for next week’s Georgia runoff election is likely to lag May’s primary turnout.

  • The Washington Post’s Philip Bump outlines a brief history of political gaffes and the impact of their timing on the results.

  • In a departure for the president, Mr. Obama has recently wanted to attend more late-night, unofficial dinners in his second term — a reflection of the intellectual company he likes to keep and his restlessness with the formalities of his job, Julie Hirchfield Davis writes in The New York Times.

  • Seventeen years after President Bill Clinton nominated him for the federal bench, a former Missouri judge may finally win Senate confirmation Tuesday, after Mr. Obama renominated him for the job in November.

  • Chief Justice John G. Roberts is a George W. Bush-appointed Supreme Court justice, but he may not be ruling exactly the way his fellow conservatives would like.

  • Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our home page for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.

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Questions or comments? Email Domenico Montanaro at dmontanaro-at-newshour-dot-org or Terence Burlij at tburlij-at-newshour-dot-org.

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