A Busy September for Congress

4 minute read

President Donald Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is set to announce Tuesday morning that the administration is ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with a six-month delay. The popular Obama-era executive action provides legal status to some 800,000 people brought to the U.S. illegally, and was instituted during the 2012 campaign as Congress refused to budge on immigration-reform legislation. Trump’s action, reached after months of internal West Wing debate, fulfills a campaign pledge to end the program, but flies in the face of his comments to so-called Dreamers that they had nothing to fear from his administration and that he would treat them “with heart.” Caught between his core base and the mainstream of his party—and the country–Trump is effectively punting the ball to Congress, forcing lawmakers on Capitol Hill to act in the coming six months to maintain protections for DACA recipients. Trump admitted as much Tuesday in a tweet previewing the decision: “Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!” Sessions and Trump are expected to focus their arguments on the process by which Obama implemented DACA, rather than its popular effects. The program was the subject of a legal threat by conservative state attorneys general, who promised a lawsuit if action wasn’t taken to undermine the program by Sept. 5.

Now DACA adds to the mounting stack of items waiting on Congressional action. Congress must raise the debt limit and keep the government funded by the end of the month. Lawmakers must also approve billions in aid for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief, reauthorize the Children’s’ Health Insurance Program, the National Flood Insurance Program, and the FAA. All of that is before GOP lawmakers move to what they say is their priority for the fall: tax reform. Harvey’s devastation has highlighted the need to act swiftly—the House plans on voting this week—and lessened the odds of a government shutdown right now. But with 12 legislative days remaining before the crucial end-of-month deadlines, lawmakers have their work cut out for them.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula are reaching new heights as North Korea claims to have tested a hydrogen bomb over the weekend. In a series of tweets, calls and statements, administration officials have ratcheted up the rhetoric on the rogue state, but Trump faces a daunting challenge with no promising options.

The Russian probes move closer to Trump’s inner circle. DACA tests Trump’s relationships on Capitol Hill. And Putin speaks.

Here are your must reads:

Must Reads

Why Does Trump Always Shoot The Hostages?

The president prepares to throw DREAMers’ lives into chaos, his political goals unknown [BuzzFeed]

Why Congress Will Decide Dreamers’ Fate

Trump puts the ball in Congress’ court [TIME]

Trump’s punt to Congress on DACA threatens new GOP rift

A growing number of Republican lawmakers are softening toward Dreamers, but others say Trump can’t end the program fast enough [Politico]

Congress Faces a Tense Agenda, With Little Margin for Error

After a summer recess, Congress must grapple with keeping the government open, paying U.S. creditors and passing a hurricane-aid bill [Wall Street Journal]

How Hurricane Harvey Could Save Congress From Itself

A break in the stalemate [TIME]

Trump family and associates to be in Russia probe crosshairs

Congress and Mueller close in [Associated Press]

Sound Off

“We have kicked the can down the road long enough. There is no more road left.” —U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, adding North Korea is “begging for war.”

“After all, he is not my bride, and I am not his groom” —Russian President Vladimir Putin on President Donald Trump.

Bits and Bites

Richard Cordray could step down soon, leaving the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in limbo [LA Times]

Breitbart bangs the drum in Alabama Senate showdown [Politico]

EPA now requires political aide’s sign-off for agency awards, grant applications [Washington Post]

Reid Hoffman has billions of dollars and one of the best networks in Silicon Valley. Here’s how he’s using them to take on Trump. [Recode]

Menendez Trial Set to Begin With Tensions High and Washington Watching [New York Times]

Paul Ryan: Trump Shouldn’t Scrap DACA for Kids ‘Who Know No Other Country’ [TIME]

Justice Department Confirms There is No Evidence Barack Obama Wiretapped Trump Tower [TIME]

Read the Inauguration Day letter Obama left for Trump [CNN]

James Mattis to North Korea: Any Threat Will Be Met With ‘Massive Military Response’ [TIME]

Harvey wreaks havoc on Houston’s undocumented immigrants [USA Today]

Spicer lands post-White House gig [Politico]

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