Playbook: The next gen: McCarthy and Crowley’s money moves

 In Politics


— SCOOP: HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER KEVIN MCCARTHY sent $1.2 million from his campaign account to the NRCC in February. He’s now given the party committee more than $7 million this cycle. Team McCarthy says this is more than any majority leader has transferred in cycle. NRCC CHAIRMAN STEVE STIVERS: “Kevin is a patriot, a leader, and an invaluable asset to keeping our GOP majority. He’s willing to criss-cross the country to ensure all our candidates and campaigns have the resources to compete — raising 3 times more than any majority leader in history. I’m thankful for all he’s done.” McCarthy raised $20 million in 2017.

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— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS CHAIR JOE CROWLEY (D-N.Y.) raised $900,000 for 12 Democratic candidates Thursday at the kick off fundraising event for his joint fundraising committee the “Better Days Fund.”

The event at the Ides at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg featured Caroline Kennedy. Candidates supported include: Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.), Kate Browning (N.Y.), Veronica Escobar (Texas), Abby Finkenauer (Iowa), Chuy Garcia (Ill.), Brendan Kelly (Ill.), Susie Lee (Nev.), Joe Neguse (Colo.), Max Rose (N.Y.), Mikie Sherrill (N.J.), Elissa Slotkin (Mich.) and Greg Stanton (Ariz.).

— THAT IS A BIG HAUL for Crowley to bring in supporting Democratic candidates in the midterm elections and to grow loyalty among potential incoming freshman lawmakers. NEWSFLASH: One day Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan will both be gone. That day might be soon. And, although no one will say it aloud, the positioning for who’s next is already underway.

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION — NANCY COOK and ANDREW RESTUCCIA: “Donald Trump’s bubble presidency: He has largely done away with the political optics of rubbing shoulders with members of the public, instead cloistering himself in the White House and at his clubs”: “In his 14 months as president, Trump hasn’t yet followed his predecessors’ habit of dropping by local watering holes (even though he’s made no secret of his love for junk food) or public service events either at home or on the road. He hasn’t gone to a baseball game or stopped at a soup kitchen.

“On Saturday, he ventured out of the White House to attend the annual Gridiron Dinner, taking a baby step into Washington’s elite social scene. But his appearance at the white-tie event did little to bring him closer to ordinary Americans. … Trump promised the night of his victory to govern on behalf of ‘the forgotten men and women of our country.’

“Yet as president, he rarely comes into contact with regular people except in the structured setting of the White House or during tightly orchestrated events set up by staff, including a West Wing listening session last month with Stoneman Douglas families that featured some attendees who were critical of his proposals. His announcement last week of new tariffs, the timing of which surprised even some senior staffers, came at a table packed with industry executives rather than at a Rust Belt steel mill.”

— “‘Like a pinball machine’: Lawmakers struggle to negotiate with an erratic Trump,” by WaPo’s John Wagner and Seung Min Kim: “After more than a year of the Trump presidency, members of Congress have learned to brace themselves for unpredictable, confusing and often contradictory positions from the commander in chief on issues ranging from health care to immigration to gun rights. ‘It’s totally not on a straight line,’ Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) said of Trump’s negotiating style. ‘It’s zigzagging, something like a pinball machine. But he does move [the ball] down.’”

2018 WATCH …

— ELENA SCHNEIDER in HOUSTON: “The battle for Congress kicks off in Texas”: “The opening primaries of the 2018 midterm elections on Tuesday feature the first critical test of national Democrats’ strategy for handling the crowded primaries that could threaten the party’s chances of winning control of the House next year.”

— “GOP fears midterm backlash from Trump’s tariffs: The clash suggests that what might be good politics for Trump might not work for the entire party,” by Rachael Bade and Burgess Everett: “President Donald Trump’s threatened trade war has opened a rift within the Republican Party that some lawmakers and strategists believe could undermine their effort to keep their majorities in Congress.

“Republicans plan to brag about the economy in midterm campaigns in hopes of countering Trump’s unpopularity, touting a strong stock market, low unemployment rate and — most importantly — their increasingly popular tax legislation. But Trump’s suggestion Saturday that he might slap penalties on European cars, in addition to the tariffs on aluminum and steel he already promised, could upend that strategy completely, Republicans say.”

THE BIG READ — “As Congress moves to drop tariffs, some U.S. firms cry foul,” by Reuters’ Andy Sullivan in Naples, Florida: “Even as President Trump threatens to slap protective tariffs on steel and aluminum, lawmakers are moving forward with legislation to lower trade barriers on hundreds of other products, from chemicals to toasters, in a bid to lower costs for U.S. companies and consumers. Supporters of the so-called miscellaneous tariff bill, which unanimously passed the House of Representatives in January, say it would boost the economy by getting rid of tariffs designed to protect U.S. industries that no longer exist.

“The National Association of Manufacturers says U.S. companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars each year on unnecessary import fees. Critics say that miscellaneous tariff bills, which began decades ago as modest efforts to help U.S. manufacturers, have in recent years become sprawling packages of tariff reductions that undercut domestic producers without the means to defend their interests in Washington.”

— WHERE THE PRESIDENT STANDS — @realDonaldTrump at 7:10 p.m.: “We are on the losing side of almost all trade deals. Our friends and enemies have taken advantage of the U.S. for many years. Our Steel and Aluminum industries are dead. Sorry, it’s time for a change! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

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PAGING ADAM SCHIFF — “State Dept. Was Granted $120 Million to Fight Russian Meddling. It Has Spent $0,” by NYT’s Gardiner Harris: “As Russia’s virtual war against the United States continues unabated with the midterm elections approaching, the State Department has yet to spend any of the $120 million it has been allocated since late 2016 to counter foreign efforts to meddle in elections or sow distrust in democracy. As a result, not one of the 23 analysts working in the department’s Global Engagement Center — which has been tasked with countering Moscow’s disinformation campaign — speaks Russian, and a department hiring freeze has hindered efforts to recruit the computer experts needed to track the Russian efforts.”

HILL WATCH — “Congress requires many unpaid interns to sign nondisclosure agreements” – by Vox’s Rachel Wolfe: “For unpaid interns on Capitol Hill, secrecy is so much a part of the job that on their first day, many are required to sign sweeping nondisclosure agreements. Employment lawyers reviewed two Hill NDAs obtained by Vox and said they are written in a way that could discourage interns from speaking up about anything, potentially protecting members of Congress and their staff even in cases of harassment or abuse.

“[L]awyers questioned the scope of the language, the absence of an exception for incidents of harassment, discrimination, or abuse, and the fact that interns are not guaranteed a copy of what they signed. In interviews, 20 current and former Capitol Hill interns said they signed NDAs while working in Republican and Democratic offices in the House and Senate.”

M.I.A. — “Vulnerable lawmakers answer a noisy gun debate with silence,” by AP’s Steve Peoples: “Despite a clamor for action in the wake of the Florida school shooting, a powerful group of vulnerable lawmakers — both Republicans and Democrats — have pointedly avoided the national conversation about guns. They often choose strategic silence rather than get crosswise with the National Rifle Association’s die-hard supporters on the right or the growing movement of passionate gun control advocates on the left.”


— AMERICAN ACTION NETWORK, if you hadn’t heard, thinks Republicans need to sell tax reform early and often. They’re launching a $1-million ad campaign today to thank lawmakers for the legislation. The script: “As a working mom, I’m thrilled with the middle-class tax cut. My paycheck is bigger every two weeks. And I’m one of the millions of Americans who got a bonus. The extra thousand dollars was a big help. Now my bonus and bigger paycheck are giving my family peace of mind. And making it easier to take care of what really matters – my family.” The ad

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