EPA’s new rules put Democrats on their heels

The Morning Line

Today in the Morning Line:

  • New carbon regulations put Democrats on the defensive in the short term
  • Ernst has momentum in Iowa
  • Poll shows McDaniel in the lead in Mississippi

New rules: Let’s put aside the long-term moral arguments on climate change for a moment. The EPA’s expected announcement at 9 a.m. ET, followed by a news conference with EPA administrator Gina McCarthy at 10:30 a.m. ET, of new regulations that would require states to cut carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030 will put Democrats on their heels with yet another issue in the short term. This election is being fought in a lot of red states, where President Barack Obama, and interventionist government, is unpopular — places like Kentucky, West Virginia, Arkansas, Alaska and Louisiana. It’s also boxing in people like Kay Hagan in North Carolina, who called for a delay until after the elections. It will play to a lesser extent in Colorado because of the EPA’s expected call to increase natural gas exploration. Major Democratic green donors are happy with the push. Remember, billionaire activist Tom Steyer is aiming to spend $100 million, elevating environmental issues this election in some key states. President Obama will also be holding a conference call with health groups at 2 p.m. ET, a White House official said. House Speaker John Boehner’s office is already out with a blog post hitting the president, titled, “Promise Made, Promise Kept: “Electricity Rates Would Necessarily Skyrocket.”

Ernst has momentum heading into Tuesday: Iowa GOP Senate candidate Joni Ernst appears to have the wind at her back heading into Tuesday’s primary in the Hawkeye State. A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll released Sunday showed Ernst with an 18-point advantage over her closest rival, former Reliant Energy chief executive Mark Jacobs. Ernst received the support of 36 percent of likely GOP primary voters in the poll, which would be enough to avoid sending the nominating decision to a state convention, a prospect that worries Washington Republicans. But that is BARELY enough to clear the 35 percent threshold, which is needed Tuesday to avoid the nominee being picked by about 2,000 Republican state activists at the state convention June 14. If that were to happen, there’s the potential for a more conservative general election candidate to emerge, who may not even be part of the current primary field. Ernst, who is the rare candidate with the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce AND the Senate Conservatives Fund, will appear at a rally Monday with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. On Friday she was joined on the stump by the GOP’s 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.

Cochran vs. McDaniel up for grabs: In Mississippi, meanwhile, veteran GOP Sen. Thad Cochran is locked in a tough race with tea party challenger Chris McDaniel in the Senate primary. Despite the scandal and arrest of McDaniel supporters for allegedly photographing Cochran’s bedridden wife in a nursing home, a Democratic poll released Sunday showed McDaniel with a 46 percent to 44 percent lead. The poll was conducted by a Mississippi Democratic pollster who has worked for ex-Rep. Travis Childers in past elections. Childers is waiting in the wings in the general election against either Cochran or McDaniel and would rather face McDaniel. Former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and 2012 presidential candidate Rick Santorum have campaigned for McDaniel in recent days. A McDaniel victory Tuesday would create a major headache for Washington Republicans, as past controversial statements from the state lawmaker could have repercussions in other Senate races this cycle.

Daily Presidential Trivia: On this day in 1883, President Grover Cleveland and Frances Folsom were married in the White House. Which presidents have been divorced? Be the first to Tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia, and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to Andrew Hinkle‏(@AndrewRHinkle) for guessing Friday’s trivia: What state was Lincoln originally from? The answer was: Kentucky.


  • President Obama departs Washington for Poland this evening. His European tour will include stops in Poland, Belgium and France.
  • Conservatives criticized the Obama administration’s trading of five members of the Taliban imprisoned at Guantanamo for an American soldier held in Afghanistan. Bowe Bergdahl was the last American held in either Afghanistan or Iraq. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on ABC’s This Week, called the swap “very disturbing.” He said, “What does this tell the terrorists? That if you capture a U.S. soldier, you can trade that soldier for five terrorists.”
  • The New York Times reports that the National Security Agency “intercepts ‘millions of images per day’ — including about 55,000 ‘facial recognition quality images’” in order to help track suspected terrorists and other intelligence informants. The new information comes from documents acquired by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., proposed a wide-ranging bill Sunday to help solve wait time issues at Veterans Affairs medical centers, two days after VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned his post.
  • As the president continues his foreign-policy push, notice the four words emerging as part of the Obama Doctrine, “Don’t do stupid stuff.” As Thomas Friedman writes, “stuff” is “sometimes defined more spicily” when the president uses the phrase in private.
  • The Washington Post’s Dan Balz reports over the weekend from the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, where the issue of paving the way to a successful future continues to plague the GOP.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, won the straw poll at the Republican Leadership Conference, beating out Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., by 20 points.
  • The Office of Management and Budget projects the cost of caring for and establishing immigrant children from Central America could hit $2.28 billion in 2015. The original amount requested for the 2015 budget was $868 million — $1.4 billion less than the current estimate.
  • In yet another attempt to persuade House Republicans to go forward with immigration reform, the White House is requesting that the Pentagon delay its plan to accept immigrant children who grew up in America with illegal status into the military.
  • Politico’s Carrie Budoff Brown and Jennifer Epstein look at the Obama presidency and the effort to shape Mr. Obama’s legacy, writing of a president who is “shadowed by a deepening awareness that his time and power are finite, and that two-thirds of his presidency is already in the past tense.”
  • The Washington Post’s Phil Rucker examines whether Republicans can expand the Senate map this year to include Democratic-leaning Oregon.
  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Monday on the proposed constitutional amendment that will allow states and Congress to limit campaign spending.
  • With 36 states using the federal exchange to enroll their residents in health insurance and more planning to join, the United States could soon have a national enrollment system for health care coverage.
  • Roll Call reports that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has reserved $5.5 million in airtime for North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan’s re-election bid.
  • The Chamber of Commerce is throwing its support behind U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., with $636,335 in television and digital advertisements.
  • 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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