“Nearly two-dozen senators from both parties want to offer legislation next week that would protect almost 700,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation, but they’re stuck on whether their measure should protect the parents of these immigrants from deportation too.
“Most Democrats want to preserve the so-called ‘chain migration’ system that lets newly documented immigrants line family members up to attain legal status. Many conservative lawmakers counter this system has to end or at least be substantially scaled back.”
“Lawmakers have been meeting almost daily. … They’ve even delighted over the use of a ‘talking stick’ to curb interruptions during heated debates. Leaving one such meeting Thursday afternoon, senators routinely cited ‘progress.’
“But so far, no amount of sweets or gimmicks have helped lawmakers overcome major divides.”(McClatchy)
BIDEN. Former Vice President Joe Biden “criticized the White House Thursday for allowing a top aide to President Trump to stay on despite apparent knowledge of his alleged history of domestic abuse. That aide, White House staff secretary Rob Porter, resigned Wednesday after the allegations became public.
“‘I can’t explain it. It’s long past due that he left,’” Biden said. … “‘I’m having enormous difficulty understanding how this White House functions,’ Biden added, calling the administration ‘controlled chaos.’” (NBC)
CUOMO. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) “launched a ‘tax fairness campaign’ Thursday encouraging residents to urge federal lawmakers to repeal a provision in the new federal tax law that caps state and local deductions at $10,000. In a speech … Cuomo characterized the legislation, signed into law late last year by … Trump, as politically motivated.”
“‘This is a transfer of wealth from one area of the country to another,’ Cuomo told a crowd of seniors and labor leaders. ‘It’s not fair. That’s exactly what this is. You’re taking from the Democratic states and you’re giving it to the Republican states. And that’s politics on a level this nation has never played before.’” (Newsday)
MOULTON. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) said “he wants a ‘new generation of Democrats’ to stand bravely up against ‘the party establishment’ of Democrats, who he describes as those who would rather talk poorly about Republicans than talk positively about their own visions.
“‘The party establishment has gotten us into a terrible position right now,’ he said. ‘We don’t control anything in Washington… . The thing about veterans, they know how to challenge the establishment. They’re not afraid to take on the people in control. They’re not afraid to put people over politics or over their political party,’ he said.” (Boston Globe)
WYOMING. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro (D) is scheduled to headline Wyoming Democrats’ “Nellie Tayloe Ross Dinner and Auction on Saturday, February 24th at the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, Wyoming.” (release)
HARASSMENT. California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D), “whose high-profile advocacy of the #MeToo movement earned her national media notice, is herself the subject of a state legislative investigation in the wake of a report that she sexually harassed and groped a former legislative staffer.
“In December, when Time magazine announced that ‘Silence Breakers’ who spoke out against sexual harassment were its Persons of the Year, Garcia’s face was prominently included in the art accompanying the cover story.”
“But Daniel Fierro of Cerritos” said that in 2014, “as a 25-year-old staffer to Assemblyman Ian Calderon, he was groped by Garcia, a powerful Democratic lawmaker who chairs the Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Natural Resources Committee.”
“The accusations against Garcia come at the close of months of high-profile activism on the issue of sexual harassment by the assemblywoman, who became one of Sacramento’s leading voices on #MeToo issue.” (Politico)
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Greitens "was indicted by an St. Louis grand jury...The indictment stems from allegations he threatened to release a naked photo of a woman he was having an affair with if she revealed their relationship."
Robert Mueller announced new charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort advisor Rick Gates. "The new indictment contains 32 counts, including tax charges." The pair had been indicted on 12 charges in October. Since then, Gates's attorneys have asked to be excused from the case.
"The House is shortening its Feb. 26 work week, canceling votes that Wednesday and Thursday, for the late Rev. Billy Graham to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda." The Senate still plans on voting all week.
"A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a Florida eye doctor linked to Sen. Bob Menendez to 17 years in prison for stealing $73 million in one of history's largest Medicare frauds. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra sentenced Dr. Salomon Melgen for 67 crimes, including health-care fraud, submitting false claims and falsifying records in patients' files." In a related case, Menendez was tried for taking bribes from Melgen, but the trial ended in a hung jury.
"As questions about the official travel habits of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt mount, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is demanding documents and other information on his first-class flights, as it looks into whether federal laws were broken."