“Congressional leaders from both parties will sit down with top White House officials on Wednesday to haggle over the basics of a budget deal they were supposed to settle last spring. And while aides say the talks will stick to spending, a fight over immigration looms, along with a host of other thorny policy disputes that will shape the 2018 legislative agenda.
“Ahead of the meeting, there was little sign of conciliation on either side. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to her Democratic colleagues on Tuesday insisting that Democrats would demand higher domestic spending. …Trump tweeted a broadside at Democrats, saying the party is ‘doing nothing for DACA—just interested in politics.’ That missive came days after Trump egged on Democrats over his plan to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, tweeting that ‘there can be no DACA deal’ without a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border—which Democrats have ruled out.
“Whether the parties can reach a deal on immigration is still unclear, but one certainty is that they need to come together by Jan. 19 to avoid a shutdown.” (Politico)
CUOMO. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) “made hundreds of public appearances in 2017, but only a small percentage of them were held anywhere near the state’s capital city. He also continued a trend of increasing the amount of time he spends with national or New York City-based media outlets, while mostly ignoring upstate television and radio programs.”
“The governor has appeared on MSNBC nine times … and CNN on five occasions. As he has increased his profile in the national media, Cuomo has also spent more time outside of New York. He spent all or a portion of 19 days in another country, state or territory. … That’s up from 12 in his first 58 months in office.
“That jump was partially due to his focus on Puerto Rico—Cuomo has visited the hurricane-ravaged island three times in recent months and spent a day in the U.S. Virgin Islands in September. He also took a trip to Israel in March.” (Politico)
MURPHY. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) traveled to Puerto Rico Tuesday “to survey the island’s recovery from Hurricane Maria.” Murphy has been “critical of the Trump administration’s response in Puerto Rico. More than 100 days after the storm, half the island remains without electricity.”
“Lawmakers in October approved a $36.5 billion disaster relief package that included aid for Puerto Rico bundled with help for Texas, Florida and other southern states battered by hurricanes, as well as money for wildfire recovery efforts in California.
“But Murphy said after meeting Tuesday with representatives from FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers he found out that none of that money has made it to Puerto Rico yet.” Murphy follows Cuomo and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who traveled to Puerto Rico last year. (Hartford Courant)
On another note, Murphy “and a number of his colleagues have a bill that would bar Trump from launching a preemptive strike on North Korea.” (Twitter)
ATLANTA MAYORAL RACE. “After months of a brutal campaign, Keisha Lance Bottoms finally was able to bask in a hard won victory when she was sworn in as Atlanta’s mayor on Tuesday.” Her victory came after she “beat fellow Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood in the Dec. 5 runoff.” Bottoms said “she was thrilled to be only the second female mayor in Atlanta’s history.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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"White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly told Democratic lawmakers Wednesday that the United States will never construct a physical wall along the entire stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border and that some of President Trump’s campaign promises on immigration were 'uninformed.'”
"Steve Bannon’s attorney relayed questions, in real time, to the White House during a House Intelligence Committee interview of the former Trump chief strategist" on Tuesday. "Bannon’s attorney Bill Burck was asking the White House counsel’s office by phone whether his client could answer the questions. He was told by that office not to discuss his work on the transition or in the White House."
"The top lobbyist for the U.S. oil-and-gas industry is stepping down after 10 years on the job. Jack Gerard, the president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, sent an email to his staff on Wednesday morning saying that he decided not to seek another five-year contract with the nation’s largest oil-and-gas industry trade association."