Daily Dispatch 2/5/19
February 4, 2019
Happy SOTU Day!
The president will deliver his third State of the Union address before the standard joint session of Congress on the House floor. The difference between this one and the others? The face appearing right behind him. No longer a deferential Paul Ryan smiling and nodding and looking sincere – instead, sitting to the left of what we think might be a mannequin but is probably VP Pence, we will see Nancy Pelosi, the woman who just OWNED him in the shutdown showdown.
Here is an artistic rendering of what we think it will look like:
Dems are making a statement with their guest invitations. Here's a partial list of +ones:
- Rep. Pelosi (D-NY) will bring Jose Andres, who provided millions of meals in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and thousands for furloughed workers during the government shutdown. She has also invited Angelica Salas of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights.
- Sen. Merkley (D-OR) will bring a Guatemalan mother and daughter who were separated by CBP under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy last year.
- Rep. Coleman (D-NJ) and Gomez (D-CA) will bring former employees of Trump’s golf clubs who were recently fired due to their immigration status.
- Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) will bring the activist who confronted then-Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator during the Kavanaugh hearings.
- Sen. Harris (D-CA), Sen. Warren (D-MA), Rep. Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Kaine (D-VA), and 9 others will bring government employees (including a lot of air traffic controllers) who were impacted by the government shutdown.
- Sen. Murphy (D-CA) will bring the director of a shelter for kids separated at the border.
Much of the SOTU address will focus on immigration and border security. Given that he has been spending hours working on the speech with Mr. “I’d-be-happy-if-no-refugees-ever-set-foot-on-American-soil-again” Stephen Miller, including three hours this afternoon, it’s likely to be much of more of the same extremist anti-immigrant rhetoric. No surprise there.
The big question is: will he use this high-profile event to declare a national emergency?
Most invested in the answer are Senate Republicans, for four reasons. First, it flouts the authority of Congress as co-equal branch of government. Second, such a move would force them into a potential vote against the president. Third, it sets a precedent that future presidents (i.e. Democratic presidents) could use. Fourth, who knows where he’ll take the money from? Of course Senate Dems oppose the declaration as well.
But even if he doesn’t do so tonight, it’s looking more and more likely that he will at some point between now and next Friday, the deadline for spending bill negotiations. He and Jared Kushner have been meeting with contractors about beginning the construction.
But who knows? Trump’s definition of “wall” vacillates and today he even suggested using the military to build a “Human Wall if necessary.”
Tremendous numbers of people are coming up through Mexico in the hopes of flooding our Southern Border. We have sent additional military. We will build a Human Wall if necessary. If we had a real Wall, this would be a non-event!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2019
All we can do now is watch and wait.
From Politico: “Nielsen to testify before House panel after subpoena threat”
From Bloomberg Law: “Businesses Challenging Visa Denials Seeing Early Successes”
From Reuters: “Founder of Proud Boys sues over being labeled hate group”
From WaPo: “D.C. will offer up to $725 per person to help residents seeking U.S. citizenship”
From Politico: “’They basically have nothing to do’: Trio of Republicans face life in exile”
Excerpt: “Now, while the rest of their colleagues work on crafting bills, the trio of committee exiles are searching for ways to spend their time on Capitol Hill so they’re not just waiting around to vote or aimlessly roaming the hallways.”
Rep. Raskin (D-MD): “I suppose they can form a pariah caucus.’”