House Republicans are expected to vote Thursday on a bill to prevent President Obama from stopping more undocumented immigrant deportations by executive order, as he’s expected to do soon. It may not end up being a big deal in the 2014 elections. But one state illuminates a looming future issue for the GOP.
— As the GOP bashes Obama’s immigration policies and several red-state Democratic senators ask him to be cautious about further action, one battleground Democrat has gone the other way. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) announced on a Latino Denver radio station in June that he wanted Obama to push forward with executive immigration action if the House wouldn’t act on immigration reform.
— In the spring of 2013, days after Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) initially decided not to run for Senate, Gardner joined most of his party in supporting an amendment to undo Obama’s 2012 “deferred action” DREAM Act-like order. Between then and now, though, Gardner made a move from a safely Republican district to a purple state-wide run, and Udall, Democrats, and immigration activists have been fiercely critical of him on immigration, often citing that old vote.
— By running for the Senate instead of the House, Gardner’s environment has changed in the same way that the country’s will from 2014 to 2016. This election is focused in areas of the country that are far less diverse than average and that Mitt Romney won in 2012, from the Senate battleground to a majority of the House of Representatives. That doesn’t minimize Democrats’ liabilities this year. But it does raise the question, again, of how Republican strategies in the demographically shielded environs of 2014 will affect the party’s presidential prospects in 2014. The House vote on preventing further immigration action by Obama won’t prevent him from taking action, thanks to Senate Democrats (just like the 2013 amendment), but it will increase pressure on 2016 Republicans to join in after Obama does make his move on immigration — before a presidential election when Republicans have acknowledged their need to increase the party’s share of Latino votes.
The House immigration vote Thursday may only affect a few races in 2014. But it’s easy to see how it could give Republicans trouble on a different playing field in 2016.
— Scott Bland
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The conventional wisdom is already emerging that Donald Trump opened last night's debate well, but that he faded badly down the stretch. And most viewers apparently witnessed it. "The early Nielsen data confirms that viewership stayed high the entire time. Contrary to some speculation, there was not a big drop-off after the first hour of the 98-minute debate." Final data is still being tallied, but "Monday's face-off may well have been the most-watched debate in American history. CNN and other cable news channels saw big increases over past election years. So did some of the broadcast networks."
As Congress continues to bicker on riders to a continuing resolution, federal agencies have started working with the Office of Management and Budget to prepare for a government shutdown, which will occur if no continuing resolution is passed by 11:59 p.m. on Friday night. The OMB held a call with agencies on Sept. 23, one that is required one week before a possible shutdown. The government last shut down for 16 days in 2013, and multiple shutdowns have been narrowly avoided since then. It is expected that Congress will reach a deal before the clock strikes midnight, but until it does, preparations will continue.
President Obama's Clean Power Plan, a large pillar of his efforts to leave a lasting environmental legacy, "goes before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today." The plan "imposes the first national limits on carbon pollution from power plants." A number of consolidated cases finds 27 states challenging this plan, which was blocked by the Supreme Court in February pending decisions from lower courts. The states will argue that the government doesn't have the right to impose restrictions requiring them to shutter plans and restructure full industries.
There seems to be a clear consensus forming about Monday's debate: Hillary Clinton was the winner. One focus group of undecided Pennsylvania voters, conducted by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, found 16 favored Clinton while five picked Donald Trump. In a Florida focus group organized by CNN, 18 of 20 undecided voters saw Clinton as the winner.
As both candidates walked off the stage, Donald Trump lauded himself for being restrained and for not bringing up Bill Clinton. "I didn’t want to say—her husband was in the room along with her daughter, who I think is a very nice young lady—and I didn’t want to say what I was going to say about what’s been going on in their life," Trump said. Trump claims he stopped himself from hitting Bill Clinton because daughter Chelsea was in the room.