David Nakamura of the Washington Post: "President Obama is preparing to announce new measures that would potentially allow millions of illegal immigrants to remain in the United States without fear of deportation, a politically explosive decision that could jolt Washington just weeks before the midterm elections, according to people who have been in touch with the White House. Administration officials have told allies in private meetings that both the current surge of Central American children crossing the border and Congress's failure this year to pass a broader immigration overhaul have propelled the president toward taking action on his own by summer's end."
White House: "In this week's address, President Obama discussed the new monthly jobs report and the fact that our economy created over 200,000 new jobs in July for the sixth straight month -- the longest streak since 1997":
... New York Times: "Little to rave or rant about. That was the view among economists of Friday's jobs report, in which the Labor Department estimated that the economy added 209,000 jobs in July, continuing a string of sturdy monthly advances above 200,000 but lower than in recent months and less than analysts had expected."
CW: At 8:35 pm Friday, the House border spending bill has passed. ...
... Update: Here's the Washington Post story, by Ed O'Keefe & Robert Costa. ...
Sahil Kapur of TPM: "In a vote likely to exacerbate their party's demographic problems, House Republicans passed legislation on Friday night to effectively require the deportation of everyone in the U.S. illegally, including young people brought as children who attended college or joined the military. It passed by a vote of 216 to 192. Eleven Republicans voted no and four Democrats voted yes. The bill serves a symbolic rebuke of President Barack Obama for his current and upcoming executive actions to relieve undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation. It passed shortly after the House passed 223-189 a separate GOP-led border funding proposal, which gives House Republicans the opportunity to go home for recess and say they acted on the child migrant crisis. 'In the end, the Republican position on immigration can be summed up as: deport 'em all,' said Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL)...."You know it is suicide as a political strategy, but you continue to say deport 'em all." Both bills are dead on arrival in the Senate. Obama slammed them as "extreme and unworkable" and promised to veto them if they land on his desk."
... Greg Sargent: "In a statement, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops condemns the House GOP bill":
It is a sad day for our country. A chamber of Congress is poised to send vulnerable children back to danger and possible death. It violates our commitment to human rights and due process of the law and lessens us as a nation. I pray that this legislation never sees the light of day. -- Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami
The changes brought into this are ones I've developed and advocated for over the past two years. It's like I ordered it off the menu. -- Rep. Steve King (RTP-Iowa), who has claimed most immigrant children are "evil" "marijuana smugglers
Yup, on immigration, the GOP is Steve King's party. -- Greg Sargent
Ed O'Keefe, et al., of the Washington Post: "President Obama warned Friday that he likely will have to use his executive authority to address the historic influx of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border as House Republicans moved closer to consensus on legislation that would do little to immediately solve the crisis. Obama said during an afternoon news conference that Republicans are trying to pass the 'most extreme and unworkable portions' of a bill that they know will go 'nowhere' -- except to his desk for a presidential veto."
... CW: This is a mighty interesting presser. Worth listening to while you're shucking peas or whatever:
... Robert Costa of the Washington Post: "The Thursday collapse of the border security plan offer by the House Republican leadership was a triumph for conservatives in the House GOP caucus, who see it as a high point in their troubled relationship with House Speaker John A. Boehner and his more centrist leadership team. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), one of those conservatives, described the retreat by Boehner (Ohio) as one of the highlights of her career, because the leadership was forced to mostly capitulate to the conservative demands." ...
... CW: I can see why Bachmann is elated: she has saved these hapless children from a terrible fate. Kyle Mantyla of Right Wing Watch: "Appearing on 'WallBuilders Live'..., Bachmann ... claim[ed] that President Obama and the medical community want to bring tens of thousands of children from Central America into the United States so that they can be turned over to state governments and then used for medical experiments." Read the post to see how she figured out Obama's diabolical plot. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Hers is just fried.
Karen DeYoung & Ed O'Keefe of the Washington Post: "The Senate unanimously passed an additional $225 million in emergency funding for Israel's Iron Dome defense system Friday, after refusing to do so just hours earlier out of concern that the money hadn't been offset by spending cuts. Passage appeared directly related to the almost immediate breakdown of a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip that was to begin Friday morning.... The House plans to approve a similar measure later in the day, senior GOP aides said Friday. The vote might be held by unanimous consent, said the aides, who weren't authorized to speak publicly about the plans." ...
... Update. Christina Marcos of the Hill: "The House late Friday sent a measure to the president that would provide Israel with funding for its Iron Dome missile defense system. The vote was 395-8."
Today in Both-Sides-Do-It, starring Jonathan Weisman & Ashley Parker of the New York Times. The gist of the story is that this is the do-nothingest Congress in history, & both Republicans & Democrats are to blame. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is holding back bills when Republicans threaten to attach amendments designed specifically to hurt Democratic Senators running for re-election. More of the reporters' "evidence" against Democrats: "Senate Democrats, who continue to blame Republicans for failing to reaching any broader immigration deal, were unable to overcome a procedural maneuver to even vote on their own border bill." Translated into language ordinary readers could understand:Republicans filibustered the vote. ...
... Gail Collins looks at the bright side: Both sides passed a short-term highway fund bill, which (1) relies on an "outrageous" accounting gimmick; (2) includes no long-term infrastructure plan; & (3) which represents about half what Europeans spend on infrastructure. (CW: And remember, Europeans already had a pretty good infrastructure in place; they're still traveling the old Appian Way, & there are a few Roman aqueducts still in use.) Anyhow, that's the bright side.
You can't say on the one hand that the president is overreaching by acting without legislative authority and direction and then refuse to give him legislative authority and direction in another area. -- Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), an ally of John Boehner's, on msnbc, addressing Boehner's, um, mixed messages
Dana Milbank: "Apparently, if Obama is using his executive authority to advance a policy House Republicans support, it's a meritorious exercise of presidential authority; if he uses that same authority to aid a policy they oppose, it's time to write up articles of impeachment."
I take my job one day at a time. -- John Boehner, Thursday
The problem with day-by-day leadership, though, is inconsistency: What you do on Thursday has a way of contradicting what you said on Wednesday. -- Dana Milbank
One lie too many? Here's a taste of that Taiwanese parliamentary procedure which Milbank mentions. John Parkinson of ABC News: "In an unusual breach of decorum, even for the divided Congress, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi chased Rep. Tom Marino across the House floor...."
"We Tortured Some Folks." Josh Gerstein of Politico: "President Barack Obama couldn't have been more blunt in acknowledging that the U.S. crossed a moral line in its treatment of war-on-terror prisoners. 'We tortured some folks,' Obama said during a White House news conference Friday. 'When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line. And that needs to be understood and accepted.'" ...
... Michael Shear of the New York Times: "President Obama said on Friday that he has 'full confidence' in John Brennan, the director of the C.I.A., despite Mr. Brennan’s admission this week that his agency improperly searched the computers of the congressional committee that is preparing to release a report on the use of torture in the fight against terror."
... Julian Hattem of the Hill: "Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Friday became the third senator to publicly call for CIA Director John Brennan to leave office in the wake of the agency's admission that some officials spied on Senate staffers. In a statement sent to The Hill, Paul, who mounted a 13-hour filibuster against Brennan's confirmation in March, said that the spy agency chief and everyone else involved with the hacking should be removed from office.... Paul's call comes after Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who both sit on the Intelligence Committee, on Thursday urged Brennan to step aside." ...
... Charles Pierce calls President Obama's comments on torture "the single most revolting thing this president ever said in public.... Most of the torture went on long after we knew that there weren't going to be follow-up acts of terror. Much of it was used to get information with which to gin up an illegal war of aggression against a country that had not attacked us. The lies of Iraq were seeded with torture, and if the president thinks he can use the word and then just walk away from its profound implication in a cloud of banalities, he's been out on the golf course without a hat too long."
Andrew Zajak of Bloomberg News: "The Obama administration asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington to reconsider a three-judge panel's ruling that customers on the federal marketplace authorized by the health-care overhaul are ineligible for subsidies to buy insurance.... Later today, the appeals court ordered the plaintiffs to file within 15 days a response to the government's motion. Yesterday, the plaintiffs asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, saying a ruling by the high court would end uncertainty about the IRS provision." ...
Today among the Halbig Troofers.... The troofer argument is that a single cherry skin on the ground makes an apple orchard a cherry tree. -- Scott Lemieux in Lawyers, Guns & Money
... Dylan Scott of TPM: "The story of whether Congress ever intended to limit Obamacare subsidies to state-based exchanges begins and ends with the Congressional Budget Office. And what it reveals about the latest legal threat to Obamacare dramatically undercuts the arguments against the law.... Every tweak to the law was funneled through the accounting brains of the non-partisan congressional scorekeeper.... Like everybody else on Capitol Hill in 2009 and 2010, from legislators to the journalists who covered them, the CBO's quants never even considered ... factor[ing federal exchange subsidy cuts] into its analyses.... The CBO itself has said, in a December 2012 letter to House Oversight Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA), that it never considered limited subsidies to only state exchanges...."
Anna Palmer, et al., of Politico: "In his decision to quit Congress altogether, Eric Cantor gave only one reason: so his successor could get a head start.... But several GOP lawmakers and aides suggested to Politico that ... the last thing he wanted ... was to endure the humbling shift from 11 years in the leadership to being a back bencher, even if only for four months. And, they said he was already focused on the next chapter of his life in the private sector. Although members can explore new job opportunities while still in office, his departure from Congress means that Cantor won't have to disclose any companies or firms with whom he may be negotiating for a job."
Beyond the Beltway
Rosalind Helderman, et al., of the Washington Post: "The star witness for the prosecution at the corruption trial of former Virginia governor and his wife told jurors Friday that Robert F. McDonnell was not directly involved in soliciting many gifts he gave the first family. Jonnie R. Williams Sr. also acknowledged under questioning from defense attorneys that he was not aware if the former governor was directly involved in arranging things that helped benefit his company or the dietary supplement it was launching. Williams's testimony concluded the first week of the trial, which could stretch on for four more weeks."
Fernanda Santos of the New York Times: "Lawyers for an inmate who was executed last month by lethal injection said Friday that his executioners injected him with 15 times the standard dose of a sedative and a painkiller during a procedure that lasted nearly two hours before their client was declared dead.
Washington Post: "An Israeli soldier who the military feared had been abducted by Hamas gunmen in a firefight Friday that shattered a temporary cease-fire in Gaza was declared dead Sunday, just hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled that military operations against Palestinian militants would continue. 'We will take as much time as necessary, and will exert as much force as needed,' Netanyahu said Saturday. He said that Hamas will pay 'an intolerable price' for its attacks."
New York Times: "Israel will continue its military campaign in the Gaza Strip as long as necessary to stop Hamas's attacks on Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday evening, but he added that once the army's operations to destroy tunnels into Israel were completed, Israel would decide how to redeploy its forces, suggesting a de-escalation of the ground war in Gaza." ...
... New York Times: "The armed wing of Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian faction that dominates the Gaza Strip, said early Saturday that it was not holding an Israeli officer who has been missing since a deadly clash Friday that shattered a planned 72-hour cease-fire. The Qassam Brigades, which have led the 26-day-old battle with Israel, suggested in a statement that the officer may have been killed along with his captors in an Israeli assault that followed a suicide-bomb attack by Palestinian militants, who emerged from a tunnel that Israeli troops were trying to destroy near the southern border town of Rafah."
AP: "Following the quick collapse of the cease-fire in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the White House not to force a truce with Palestinian militants on Israel. Sources familiar with conversations between Netanyahu and senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, say the Israeli leader advised the Obama administration 'not to ever second guess me again' on the matter. The officials also said Netanyahu said he should be 'trusted' on the issue and about the unwillingness of Hamas to enter into and follow through on cease-fire talks."
Guardian: "A large team of international investigators, including Australian police, have recovered human remains and passenger belongings from the MH17 crash site during their first visit to the area. An 80-strong Australian and Dutch team spent five hours combing farmland, paddocks and villages in eastern Ukraine in an operation that could last up to 10 days."