Top paid-leave adviser departs White House
With help from Ted Hesson
TOP PAID-LEAVE ADVISER DEPARTS WHITE HOUSE: Ivanka Trump has lost a top adviser on her signature issue — paid family leave — signaling a likely pullback from the Trump White House’s efforts to pass a bill in the face of steep congressional resistance, POLITICO’s Ian Kullgren reports.
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A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Maggie Cordish is no longer working at 1600 Penn. The push for paid leave legislation will continue under the White House’s Domestic Policy Council and Office of Legislative Affairs, the official said. The official took exception to any suggestion that the Trump administration was giving up on paid leave–”nothing could be further from the truth”— but there are no immediate plans to replace Cordish.
Cordish’s departure comes as Republicans struggle to get paid leave off the ground. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) have been working on a bill — not yet introduced — that would let people borrow from Social Security to fund paid leave. But Democrats and even many Republicans are wary of putting the social insurance program in more financial jeopardy. More here.
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CONSERVATIVES’ POST-JANUS STRATEGY: “Major conservative outside groups connected to Charles Koch and other megadonors are mounting a multi-million dollar campaign to erode public sector union membership following a win at the Supreme Court,” POLITICO’S Maggie Severns reported Thursday. “The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is operating a $10 million national campaign during 2018 to educate union employees about their ‘opt out’ rights, while AFP Foundation — part of the Koch network of political groups — has targeted New Jersey as its first state.” New Jersey passed a law anticipating Janus even before the decision was handed down that allows unions more contact with members and limits the means for employers to discourage unionization.
Bloomberg’s Josh Eidelson reported Wednesday that the conservative Freedom Foundation “will deploy 80 people to a trio of West Coast union bastions: California, Oregon and its home state of Washington. The canvassers were hired in March and trained this month, according to internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg News. The goal of the multi-pronged campaign is to shrink union ranks in the three states by 127,000 members—and to offer an example for similar efforts targeting unions around the country.” More from Severns here and from Eidelson here.
ICE’S INVESTIGATIVE ARM WANTS OUT: A majority of special agents in charge at ICE Homeland Security Investigations field offices informed DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen last week that they want to split off from the agency, the Texas Observer reports. ICE is composed of two parts: HSI, which focuses on transnational crimes, and Enforcement and Removal Operations, which arrests, detains, and deports immigrants. In a letter to Nielsen, the top investigators said the “political nature” of ICE’s work could make it more difficult for HSI to do its job. “This sentiment isn’t new,” an ICE official told Morning Shift. “There’s always been that tension.” But the timing piqued agency officials, given the rising leftist rallying cry of “Abolish ICE” and the upset primary victory Tuesday of Abolish-ICE-er Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over Rep. Joe Crowley (D.-N.Y). “I think a lot of our employees are looking for solidarity,” the official said. More (including the letter’s text) here.
HOMAN FAREWELL: Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan will depart the department today, according to an ICE official. The leading candidate to replace him is Ron Vitiello, acting CBP deputy commissioner and a 33-year veteran of the Border Patrol. Homan, who announced in May that he planned to retire, was an energetic defender of the administration’s hard-line immigration policies. “If you’re in this country illegally and you committed a crime by entering this country, you should be uncomfortable,” he said during a House subcommittee hearing last year. “You should look over your shoulder, and you need to be worried.” DHS declined to comment on Homan’s retirement or any possible replacement..
TODDLERS’ DAY IN COURT: Children as young as 3 years old “are being ordered into court for their own deportation proceedings,” Kaiser Health News’ Christina Jewett and Shefali Luthra report. “Requiring unaccompanied minors to go through deportation alone is not a new practice. But since the Trump administration’s controversial family separation policy, more young children — including toddlers — are being affected than in the past.” Said Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles: “We were representing a 3-year-old in court recently who had been separated from the parents. And the child — in the middle of the hearing — started climbing up on the table. It really highlighted the absurdity of what we’re doing.” More here.
HOUSE DEMS WANT INFO ON MIGRANT CHILDREN: House Democrats demanded answers from Trump Cabinet officials about what is being done to “ensure the provision of educational, health and other services” for the migrant children currently being held in detention, according to a letter sent Thursday and obtained by Morning Shift. All 17 Democrats on the Education and the Workforce committee signed a letter to Secretaries Alexander Azar, Betsy DeVos, Kirstjen Nielsen and Jeff Sessions. The lawmakers sought information on various topics, including the use of “tender-age” facilities for very young children, giving the officials until July 6 to respond.
Last week HHS said it would create a task force to reunify migrant children with their families. In a separate letter, the top two Democrats on the committee — Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) — asked committee chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) to convene an oversight hearing on the matter. Read the letters here and here.
FOOD STAMP SHOWDOWN: The Senate on Thursday passed its own version of the farm bill, setting up a showdown with House Republicans who want to impose new work requirements for food stamp recipients, POLITICO’s Catherine Boudreau and Liz Crampton report. Unlike the House version, the Senate bill gained broad bipartisan support, passing 86-11.
The House version “could lead some 400,000 households that receive benefits to fail to qualify for assistance, which may also risk some children losing eligibility for free and reduced-price school meals, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate,” Boudreau and Crampton write.
“The House bill’s food stamp proposals, a priority for House Speaker Paul Ryan in his long quest for welfare reform, also include a plan to spend billions of dollars to expand capacity in state-run SNAP education and work training programs. Democrats have questioned the soundness of that investment, arguing that it doesn’t make sense to expand state education and training programs until the effectiveness of related pilot projects funded by the 2014 farm bill are fully evaluated, which won’t be for another few years.” More here.
SENATE GIVES UP UNPAID LABOR: “In a bid to open Washington’s halls of power to more economically diverse students … the Senate has allocated $5 million to compensate all of its interns,” the New York Times’ Catie Edmondson reports. “The money — approximately $50,000 per Senate office — will become available if it is approved by the House, and then only at the start of the next fiscal year, Oct. 1. But the Senate measure is the first widespread organized congressional effort in two decades to ensure such payments.”