Can Congress Avoid a Government Shutdown? A Budget Extension, Obamacare and a Tax Package Fight For Attention. Sphere Consulting’s TenCount for April 24, 2017

Congress returns and faces a budget deadline and a potential government shutdown, as the Trump Administration, wrapping up its first 100 days in office on Saturday, is desperately seeking a legislative victory to trumpet as evidence of its successful start. The Senate will vote late Monday to confirm Sonny Perdue as Agriculture Secretary. The President of Argentina visits the White House on Thursday. And the Supreme Court wraps up its final three days of oral arguments for the current session Monday through Wednesday; among the six cases it will hear are two death penalty appeals and a fight over generic drug availability. Funding for the federal government ends at midnight Friday, on President Trump’s 99th day in office. Much of Congress’s week, therefore, will be spent trying to avoid a ...

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Egypt to the White House, China to Mar-A-Lago, Gorsuch to a Nuclear Showdown

THE BIG EVENT: President Trump meets Thursday and Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-A-Lago, a summit that Trump tweeted he expects to be “very difficult,” focused on jobs and the trade deficit. It could make for an awkward meeting; during the campaign, Trump accused China of “rape” of the U.S. economy and of currency manipulation, a charge on which he has gone silent since being inaugurated. NO SMALL THING: Before China gets its welcome, President Trump will play host to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the military ruler of Egypt, who helped lead the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government in 2013 and subsequently took the title of President in an election in which he claimed 97 percent of the vote. Sisi, according to Politico, is “reviled by activists for what they call the ...

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Wiretap Inquiry, Obamacare Repeal and A Supreme Court Hearing

Did Russian security services – or the Obama Administration – take “active measures” to influence the 2016 Presidential election? The House Select Intelligence Committee wants to know; it will conduct a hearing Monday headlined by testimony from FBI Director James Comey and Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, on whether Russia hacked into email accounts at the Democratic National Committee and elsewhere, and whether President Obama had Trump Tower bugged. The chairman of that committee, Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, said Sunday that new information provided to the committee on Friday revealed no signs of physical wiretaps at Trump Tower and no FISA warrant authorizing such surveillance. The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, put it simply: “We are a ...

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Turmoil at Justice, Merkel in the Oval and the Fight to End – or Save – Obamacare – TenCount

As if the Justice Department didn’t already have enough worries, President Trump sparked another conflict on Friday when he ordered the remaining 46 United States Attorneys held over from the Obama Administration to resign. Preet Bharara, the outspoken and aggressive U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, refused to do so and was fired, he says – which probably lessens the chance that there will be a real investigation anytime soon into allegations that Trump Tower was bugged. Tic Tac alert! German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits the Oval Office on Tuesday, the first meeting between two of the most powerful leaders in the West. One subject likely to come up is how to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom Merkel has had 11 meetings, making her by far the Western leader most familiar wi ...

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An Address to Congress, a Hopeful Stock Market, and Budget Gains and Losses: TenCount for February 27, 2017

President Trump’s recent speeches have been free-wheeling – not to say rambling – affairs. On Tuesday, he will give his first address to a joint session of Congress, where legislators are hoping to be shown a roadmap for progress on tax reform and infrastructure investment. If Mr. Trump instead spends considerable time talking about his election results and the “dishonest media,” it will bode ill for hopes that Congress is able to get anything done quickly. The stock market certainly is hoping that President Trump scores some big victories soon, having risen some 13 percent since Election Day, a run that as of Friday includes 11 straight days of new record closes. That leaves little room for disappointment if the president isn’t able to soon get Congress to move on some of his initiatives ...

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