WASHINGTON — President Trump has his own strategy for selling the tax reform plan to Congress. Lawmakers are being slow to fund a program that funds low-income children’s health care.
And a male member of Congress opens up to CNN about how he’s dealing with the issue of sexual harassment on the Hill.
It’s all in this week’s “Inside Politics” forecast, where you get tomorrow’s headlines today.
1) How Trump plans to sell the tax reform package
It’s crunch time for the GOP’s efforts to get a tax plan passed, and President Trump is hoping he can help push the legislation across the finish line. The President is headed to the Hill Tuesday to meet with Senate Republicans at their luncheon. He’ll also speak with the so-called ‘Big Four’: House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
But that isn’t Trump’s only play in his tax reform pitch. As Wall Street Journal’s Michael Bender tells CNN, he’s using a familiar page from his playbook: persuasion in his own words.
“His team now is drafting a speech to be delivered this week in a purple state where, unsurprisingly, a Democratic senator is seeking re-election in 2018,” Bender reports.
“But to find success with this, watch for two things: Can Trump avoid the kind of unforced errors that normally cause him needless distractions? And can he show the kind of discipline and follow through in the days and weeks to come that are necessary?” Bender wonders.
“The fate of this party’s last best chance to pass major legislation this year hangs in the balance. ”
2) The fallout from Trump’s Mulvaney appointment
The White House is defending its decision to appoint Mick Mulvaney as the acting director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Meanwhile, President Trump knocked the agency and its former director, Richard Cordray, who stepped down Friday night.
Trump on Saturday called the CFPB “a total disaster” under Cordray.
“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, has been a total disaster as run by the previous Administrations pick,” Trump tweeted. “Financial Institutions have been devastated and unable to properly serve the public. We will bring it back to life!”
Cordray may have stepped away from the CFPB, but as Time’s Molly Ball explains, he isn’t out of the political spotlight just yet.
“He has become — to some on the left — a sort of hero of battling the banks along with [Senator] Elizabeth Warren, and he is widely expected to run for governor in Ohio to succeed John Kasich as a Democrat,” Ball reports.
“We’ve got crowded fields on both sides. There will be a Democratic and a Republican primary in that crucial battleground of battlegrounds, Ohio, next year.”
3) A ‘blue slip’ process for judicial nominees
While Congress deals with its crunch time for the tax bills and a looming government shutdown, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hone in on judicial nominees. It’s done through something called the “blue slip” process: Basically, a senator who’s from the same state as the nominee must sign off on the person before that nominee can go forward.
But as Washington Post’s Karoun Demirjian tells us, that process isn’t very cut and dry.
“Republicans kind of hinted earlier this year that they were not going to actually honor that process for all of the circuit court nominees and now we’re actually seeing the first time that those people are coming to sit before the Judiciary Committee for a confirmation hearing,” Demirjian says.
“It’s not going to be so much about what those people say to justify their own nominations as what these lawmakers are saying to each other because this really is the opening round of what’s going to be a very ugly fight,” she adds.
“Democrats see the judicial bench as their last best block against the president’s agenda … but Republicans really really want to clear the road to get a lot of these people through. So this will be the first act of what’s likely to be a very, very long process.”
4) Congress and CHIP funding
Also on Congress’s packed agenda is the question over whether to keep funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides care for millions of low-income families.
As CNN’s Nia-Malika Henderson reports, Congress missed a crucial funding deadline for CHIP already.
“Congress missed the September deadline to extend the funding, which means that a handful of states could run out of funding in the next few weeks and many, many more [may come] in the next months,” Henderson says.
“So far, Congress can’t seem to agree on how to fund the $15 billion program — a program that has been re-authorized several times over the last two decades.”
5) What a member of Congress told his staff about sexual harassment
And then there’s the issue of sexual harassment on the Hill. Earlier this month two female House lawmakers accused unnamed male lawmakers of sexual harassment and misconduct, including an allegation that a male lawmaker exposed his genitals to a female staffer.
Lawmakers are set to vote on a resolution this week that deals with anti-sexual-harassment training on the Hill.
As CNN’s Lauren Fox explains, some members are opening up to their staffs about the culture in their own offices and beyond.
Fox talked to Congressman Mike Simpson of Idaho, who asked his staffers to share any concerns about harassment on the job.
“He … said, ‘Listen, I want you guys to feel like this is an open-door policy. I want you to come talk to me if you’re ever concerned. I want to make sure that this is a good work environment,'” Fox says.
“I thought that was really interesting that men on Capitol Hill really want to make sure that … those other lines are not being crossed in their workplaces.”