A lot of stuff can (and did) happen over the course of a three-day weekend. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► After days of speculation, President Trump made Attorney General Jeff Sessions announce the news on Tuesday: The Obama-era immigration policy better known as DACA is coming to an end. As CNN reports:
The Department of Homeland Security will stop processing any new applications for the program as of Tuesday and rescinded the Obama administration policy, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
“I am here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday at the Justice Department.
In the five years since DACA was enacted, the nearly 800,000 individuals who have received the protections have started families, pursued careers and studied in schools and universities across the United States. The business community and education community at large has joined Democrats and many moderate Republicans in supporting the program, citing the contributions to society from the population and the sympathetic fact that many Dreamers have never known another home than the US…
…The administration also announced a plan to continue renewing permits for anyone whose status expires in the next six months, giving Congress time to act before any currently protected individuals lose their ability to work, study and live without fear in the US.
Most Democrats and even some moderate Republicans have largely opposed scrapping DACA, and many business leaders are worried about the impact it will have on reducing the available workforce. As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, Trump’s decision on DACA shows just how much the Republican Party has changed in the last few years.
Here in Colorado, the end of DACA is estimated to impact more than 17,000 people, and many local, state, and federal lawmakers are pushing back on the decision. Students across Colorado responded this morning by walking out of classes and staging public protests. Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), who has a mixed history on immigration reform in general, says he plans to enact a motion in Congress to force a vote on legislation intended to protect so-called DREAMERS.
► Congress is back at “work” today following its annual month-long August recess. As the Washington Post explains, lawmakers have a lot on their schedule:
If you want to understand the situation facing Congress in September, imagine resolving the thorniest problem you can think of in the space of one month.
Now multiply that task by four and add President Trump.
This is what awaits lawmakers as they return from summer break this week. In the small number of working days between now and the end of the month, Congress faces the following decisions: passing a bill to avert a U.S. debt default, renewing government funding to avoid a partial shutdown, reauthorizing critical programs including the Federal Aviation Administration, extending funds for health insurance for about 9 million children and agreeing on emergency aid for victims of Hurricane Harvey.
And that’s all while trying to anticipate the behavior of an unpredictable president.
Oh, but that’s not all. Not even close:
Trump has said he wants members to start working on tax cuts. There’s a chance Congress will respond if Trump phases out protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, as he is expected to do. Lawmakers are under pressure to fund Obamacare cost-sharing reduction payments before Sept. 27, when insurers have to commit to offering plans on the exchanges next year. The Senate needs to pass a defense authorization bill. Committees are expected to interview members of Trump’s inner circle about Russia. Depending on how Hurricane Irma evolves, Capitol Hill could find itself responding to yet another destructive storm.
► Colorado’s air quality is suffering from multiple major wildfires burning in the Western United States. As the Denver Post reports:
Heavy smoke from forest fires in the Northwest has triggered a health advisory for ozone and fine particulates along the northern Front Range through 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Outdoor air quality is at unsafe levels for sensitive groups, such as the elderly and those with health problems. In some areas, particulates are at high levels unhealthy for the public at large, according to the “Action Day Alert” from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The elderly, the very young and those in poor health are urged to remains indoors and to relocate if outside smoke is worsening indoor air quality. Even those in good health should avoid heavy exertion outdoors, such as jogging, until the alert is lifted.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Blair Miller of Denver7 Tweets out a quick guide on how we got to where we are today regarding DACA and DREAMERS:
— Blair Miller (@blairmiller) September 5, 2017
► Former Congressman and two-time gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo is considering running for the top job in the state in 2018. Tancredo couldn’t have asked for a better time to run for governor; the renewed controversy over DACA, which he writes about in his column for Breitbart,
The noxious flavor of the Republican dilemma is illustrated by the political gymnastics of Republican Congressman Michael Coffman of Colorado. Coffman is so desirous of maintaining his “amnesty panderer in chief” status that he says he is going to offer a bill to order President Trump to continue the unlawful Obama program. More astonishing, Coffman is so desperate to save DACA that he has begun threatening to file a discharge petition — which needs 218 signatures — to force his bill out of committee and bring it to a vote on the House floor. Of course, this is just for optics. Discharge petitions rarely succeed and he knows it. Doesn’t matter. He thinks it plays well with the people for whom he is so desperate to prostitute himself and the Republican party.
Thus, Republicans in Congress now have a new problem: Trump, by challenging Congress to deal with the “childhood arrivals” question lawfully and legislatively, has deftly called their bluff. In effect, Trump has said, “Put up or shut up.” Odds are high they will do neither.
Tancredo preceded Coffman in Congress in Colorado’s CD-6, though the district boundaries were significantly different when Tancredo gave up his seat in 2008.
► Remember back in March when President Trump Tweeted that Trump Tower was “wiretapped” under orders from the Obama administration? In case there was any doubt, the Justice Department has confirmed that there is no evidence whatsoever to support Trump’s claims.
► Texans are working to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, and as the New York Times explains, many are weighing a distrust of federal government with the reality that they really need the federal government right now:
Few places need the federal government right now more than Texas does, as it begins to recover from Hurricane Harvey. Yet there are few states where the federal government is viewed with more resentment, suspicion and scorn.
For Republicans, who dominate Texas government, anti-Washington sentiment is more than just a red-meat rhetorical flourish — it is a guiding principle…
…Now, though, it is Texas Republicans who will be crucial in securing, and helping to coordinate, what is likely to be one of the most ambitious and costly federal disaster-relief packages in American history, one that will almost certainly run to tens of billions of dollars.
There are few doubts that a Republican-dominated Congress will end up delivering aid to a battered state and key base of Republican power. But along with an outpouring of support, the process is raising eyebrows and drawing charges of hypocrisy.
► While Harvey is still very much on the minds of millions of Americans, another more massive storm is threatening South Florida. From NBC News:
Bottled water, flashlights, batteries and other staples were flying off store shelves across Puerto Rico on Tuesday as nervous residents braced for the arrival of Hurricane Irma — already one of the strongest storms ever recorded and currently carrying 185 mph winds.
The Category 5 storm is churning toward the Caribbean and expected to make landfall in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by Wednesday. Irma could also sweep across Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos, the National Hurricane Center warned. It was expected to reach Florida later in the week.
The fate of South Florida depends largely on whether or not Irma is weakened as it moves north through Cuba. A State of Emergency has already been declared in Florida.
► A teen pregnancy prevention program in Colorado could be forced to shut down after President Trump decided to cut funding for a federal grant program that provides most of its funding.
► A Republican Congressman from Florida is proposing legislation to protect and preserve research on medical marijuana.
► Mitt Romney’s Nephew will be the beneficiary of yet another independent expenditure committee in the 2018 governor’s race.
► Democrat Pete Lee announced that he will run for State Senate in Colorado Springs in SD-11 (currently held by Democratic Sen. Mike Merrifield).
► The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment released its first list of Colorado companies that have violated wage laws. Some 130 businesses made the inaugural list created by the Wage Theft Transparency Act of 2017.
► Xcel Energy Colorado is taking very public steps to make significant cutbacks to coal-powered electricity.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► A bipartisan group of Governors, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, opposes any change to federal healthcare policy that does not protect the “individual mandate” requirement.
► The New York Times supports Bill de Blasio in a Democratic Primary as the nation’s most-prominent mayor seeks another term in NYC.
► Congressional Republicans don’t want anything to do with a “border wall” right now.