Debate over the future of the military’s Guantanamo Bay detention center, and the candidates’ past actions related to that base in Cuba, “continued to dominate the race” 8/31.
Ex-Air Force Col. Morris Davis, who “was the chief prosecutor there” until ‘07, “bashed” ex-Sen. Dan Coats (R) over a TV ad Coats is airing in which he says he would oppose moving detainees to U.S. soil. His complaint: The lobbying firm for which Coats worked for five years also employed two lawyers who represented detainees on a pro bono basis — a fact Davis says caused the Coats ad to strike him as “the ultimate hypocrisy.”
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On a call arranged by Rep. Brad Ellsworth’s (D-08) camp, Davis pointed to the firm’s ‘09 annual report, which specifically mentions its pro bono work on behalf of six Yemen natives held in Guantanamo and its efforts to have those detainees tried in the U.S. According to Coats spokesperson Pete Seat, Coats was not aware the firm was representing those detainees.
Meanwhile, the Coats camp “continued its criticism” of Ellsworth, saying he brought on a surrogate to talk about Coats’ lobbying work because he is afraid to address the issue of whether he supports moving those Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.
Ellsworth spokesperson Liz Farrar said Ellsworth has not rejected the possibility of transferring some Guantanamo detainees into the U.S. for trial. She said he is open to considering ways to deal with detainees on a case-by-case basis, as the military says is appropriate (Bradner, Evansville Courier & Press, 9/1).
Coats said Ellsworth’s vote in support of closing Guantanamo was “poor judgment on his part, and another in a long list of votes and decisions that pretty much rubber-stamped whatever the Obama-Pelosi agenda called for.”
Coats said Ellsworth’s campaign has misrepresented his connection to the attys who worked on behalf of a half-dozen detainees at Guantanamo. Coats: “This was a service done by two lawyers out of 800 and some lawyers in offices around the country. … I didn’t even know these people were lawyers from King & Spalding until the other day” (Allen, South Bend Tribune, 9/1).
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President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.
Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
The White House on Wednesday laid out its plan for tax reform, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying it would be "the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country." The tax code would be broken down into just three tax brackets, with the highest personal income tax rate cut from 39.6 percent to 35 percent. The plan would also slash the tax rate on corporations and small businesses from 35 percent to 15 percent. "The White House plan is a set of principles with few details, but it’s designed to be the starting point of a major push to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive tax reform package this year," said National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn.