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Still no consensus on border plan as Congress hurtles toward summer recess

BY Terence Burlij, Rachel Wellford and Simone Pathe  July 17, 2014 at 9:14 AM EST
Anti-immigration activist Judy Lairmore holds a sign during a protest in Oracle, Arizona in anticipation of buses carrying illegal immigrants on Tuesday. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

Anti-immigration activist Judy Lairmore holds a sign during a protest in Oracle, Arizona in anticipation of buses carrying illegal immigrants on Tuesday. Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

The Morning Line

Today in the Morning Line:

  • Still no consensus on border plan
  • Pew poll finds support for accelerating legal process
  • Clinton, undecided leading the 2016 pack
  • Plus daily trivia and Line Items

Congress still searching for consensus on border plan: With Congress closing in on its month-long August recess, time is running out for lawmakers to reach a consensus on legislation to address the flood of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border from Central America. President Obama is pushing lawmakers to approve a $3.7 billion emergency spending request to deal with the situation at the border. The measure aims to boost funding for additional detention facilities and judges, as well as overtime for border patrol agents. Another proposal from a pair of Texas lawmakers, Republican Sen. John Cornyn and Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar, would allow the government to speed up the removal process of the tens of thousands of children who have entered the country. The Obama administration held a briefing for all 100 senators on Wednesday, but the session appeared to do little to resolve the differences between the two parties. Politico reported that “most Democratic senators indicated they wanted a so-called clean supplemental funding measure — meaning with no policy changes attached, which is a key condition of congressional Republicans.” House Republicans, meanwhile, are crafting their own border proposal, which is likely to include increased funding and policy changes. Missouri Rep. Kay Granger, the head of the GOP working group tasked with issuing recommendations, acknowledged the process was taking longer than expected. “I think I made two commitments, and I haven’t held either one of them, so I don’t want to make anymore,” Granger told Roll Call. “But we want to vote on a bill before we leave for August. We think that’s very important.”

Majority of Americans call for expedited legal process: As the president and members of Congress debate how to address the situation at the border, a new survey released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center finds that a majority of Americans believe the U.S. should accelerate the legal process for dealing with children who enter the country illegally, even if some of those eligible for asylum are deported. About four in 10 respondents said the U.S. should follow the current policy even though the process could take a long time to run its course. The Pew poll also showed a five-point decrease in support of granting legal status to undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements. In February, 73 percent of respondents backed that policy, but now just 68 percent do. The sharpest decline came among Republicans, with support falling 10 points from 64 percent to 54 percent. Numbers like that reflect the divided politics on the Hill as lawmakers attempt to hammer out a solution, and it’s not a clean split between the two parties. The survey also gives the president low marks for his handling of the situation at the border, which makes the task of selling lawmakers on his proposal more of a challenge. Just 28 percent of the respondents said they approved of the way the president is handling the surge of children crossing the border, while 56 percent disapprove.

New 2016 poll, same old story: Thursday’s NBC/Marist 2016 presidential poll of New Hampshire primary voters and Iowa caucus-goers underscores what we already knew about how the parties are coalescing around their fields of candidates: Democrats prefer Hillary Clinton by a landslide, while Republicans aren’t sure whom to look to. Clinton bests Vice President Joe Biden by 50 percentage points or more in both states. She also holds huge favorable/unfavorable margins — 94 percent to 4 percent among Granite State Democrats. (It’s worth mentioning that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’s been pushed as a progressive alternative to Clinton, was not tested in the hypotheticals.) On the GOP side, “undecided” leads the field in both states, with about 20 percent support. Named candidates at the top of the pack only got levels of support in the low double-digits, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul leading in Iowa and Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie leading in New Hampshire. Of course, things get tighter for Clinton in the general election matchups. In Iowa, she ties Paul with 45 percent support, and leads Christie just 44 percent to 43 percent. She holds slightly larger margins over Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and maintains a bigger lead over Texas Sen. Cruz and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. That order is similar in New Hampshire. … Thursday’s poll comes as Christie, who gets just 8 percent support among Iowa GOP caucus-goers, returns to the Hawkeye State for the first time in two-and-a-half years. In between fundraising for the Republican Governors Association and the state House speaker and campaigning at a cookout for Gov. Terry Branstad, he’s also planning to chat up voters at a restaurant near Cedar Rapids. With his approval numbers stabilizing in New Jersey, his aides think it’s time for Hawkeye voters to experience Christie unscripted, especially in a place where, The New York Times’ Michael Barbaro reports, many Republicans don’t seem bothered by “Bridgegate.” Based on the tight field in both Iowa and New Hampshire, though, it’s safe to say Christie’s GOP rivals won’t be so quick to forget about the scandal. Christie heads to New Hampshire on July 31.

Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1945, President Truman, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met in Potsdam in the final Allied summit of World War II. What weapon of war was successfully tested just one day before Truman met with the two world leaders? Be the first to Tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to Rich Polanski ‏(@ao2666) for guessing Wednesday’s trivia: What breakthrough information did Alexander Butterfield provide the Senate Watergate Committee? The answer was: Butterfield testified about the existence of White House tapes that automatically recorded conversations in the Oval Office.

LINE ITEMS

  • Senate Republicans blocked a bill Wednesday that required employers to provide their staff with birth control coverage as part of their employee healthcare plan.

  • During a hearing Wednesday, House Rules Committee members debated whether Speaker Boehner’s lawsuit against President Obama is a waste of money or a means of re-balancing power in Washington.

  • National Journal’s Sam Baker takes a look at what would result if the unlikely happens — Speaker Boehner’s lawsuit is successful.

  • As part of its criminal probe of the IRS and its treatment of politically active conservative groups, the Department of Justice will investigate the lost emails from former IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer, according to the prepared testimony of the deputy attorney general, who will appear before a House oversight subcommittee Thursday.

  • Acting Veterans Affairs Sec. Sloan Gibson has requested $17.6 billion and more employees to help deal with the VA’s systemic problems.

  • Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., came out against two anti-fracking ballot initiatives, in a show of support for the state’s energy industry.

  • American Crossroads, Karl Rove’s Super PAC, is out with an ad attacking Iowa Senate candidate Bruce Braley for his “war on chicks”.

  • Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer has raised just $1.2 million from other donors toward the $50 million he pledged to fundraise in outside money to attack Republicans on climate change this cycle.

  • Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., is relying on his buddies on Capitol Hill to get him over next week’s runoff hump. But his opponent, David Perdue, is giving Kingston a run for his money. Perdue is back with more babies in a new campaign ad attacking Kingston for his “22 years of liberal spending”.

  • State Sen. Chris McDaniel will challenge the Mississippi Republican primary runoff results “within the next ten days”, according to his attorney.

  • The Republican Governors Association is outraising its Democratic counterpart, but they have significantly fewer donors.

  • California Gov. Jerry Brown’s strongest political adversary is not the man running against him in the gubernatorial election. It’s the soon-to-be House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

  • Arizona State Rep. Adam Kwasman, who is currently running for a House seat, tweeted a picture of a bus during this week’s protests in Oracle, Arizona saying, “Bus coming in. This is not compassion. This is the abrogation of the rule of law.” Turns out the bus was filled with YMCA campers.

  • A federal judge in California ruled that the death penalty is unconstitutional, saying it violates the 8th Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

  • Democrats are seizing on Scott Brown’s muddled wording in a radio interview with the Boston Herald to suggest that he misspoke about what state he’s running in. They say he referred to his position on immigration as a “difference between Senator Shaheen and me and many other people in the Massachusetts delegation.” Brown’s campaign insists that he said, “your Massachusetts delegation” in reference to the Boston Herald’s audience.

  • Rep. Michael Grimm’s office seems to be struggling to hire staff. “As you can imagine it hasn’t been easy to find a qualified candidate who wants to live on the edge and take a chance working for Rep. Grimm,” Grimm’s deputy chief of staff wrote in an email seeking a legislative assistant.

  • The actress who mailed ricin-laced letters to President Obama and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison yesterday.

  • Instead of taking down the portraits of four criminally convicted former lawmakers, Pennsylvania has decided to keep the paintings at the State Capitol building, however they now include the legislator’s conviction below each portrait.

  • Darrell Issa has a subpoena problem, according to the White House.

  • What will Jay Carney do next? Well for now, the former White House press secretary is busy raking in the dough giving speeches.

  • 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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