Trump heads to Capitol for lunch meeting with GOP Senators

Trump heads to Capitol for lunch meeting with GOP Senators 

Posted: 3:30 am Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

By Jamie Dupree

President Donald Trump goes to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, ready to press GOP Senators to act on his plans to fund his wall along the border with Mexico, and encouraging Republican leaders to put more pressure on Democrats to confirm various judicial and executive nominees moving slowly through the Senate.

“He will be discussing the administration’s agenda,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah, who told reporters on Monday that he also expected Mr. Trump to plug his choice for CIA Director.

“I think a focus of that will be on appointees and getting the President’s team in place, particularly Gina Haspel, who we believe should be confirmed as the next CIA Director,” Shah added.

As of now, Haspel seems to have enough votes to be confirmed; the Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to vote on her nomination on Wednesday morning, as Democrats stepped up their opposition.

“Gina Haspel was intimately involved in one of the darkest chapters of U.S. history, yet very little information has been made public about her actions,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), as Democrats demanded more information about Haspel’s involvement in the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes in 2005.

Mr. Trump’s visit also gives him a chance to prod GOP leaders about possibly changing the rules in the Senate in order to speed up the process of confirming his nominees, as Democrats have been forcing Republicans to routinely use 30 hours of debate, effectively keeping the Senate focused only on Mr. Trump’s picks, and not legislation.

Republicans could use the ‘nuclear option’ to reduce the amount of time for debate after the Senate has voted invoke cloture, and force a final vote on a nomination.

Currently, that time limit is 30 hours on nominees by a President; many Republicans would like to lower that to eight hours for most Executive branch nominees, and two hours for lower level judges.

Before the President arrives for lunch, a group of 16 GOP Senators will hold a news conference to demand that the Senate scrap its summer break in August, and keep working on weekends to both confirm nominees of the President, and act on spending bills for the federal government.

“We continue to witness historic obstruction by the minority party when it comes to funding the federal government and confirming the President’s nominees,” the group of Republicans, led by Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) argued in a letter to the Senate Majority Leader.

“The American people are fed up,” Perdue told reporters last week, as the President embraced his call for action over the weekend.

The House and Senate are supposed to finish work on funding bills by September 30; lawmakers have only completed that on time four of the last 43 years – in 1976, 1988, 1994, and 1996.

Mr. Trump has hinted several times in recent weeks that he might be ready to force a funding showdown in the fall, arguing it would highlight the opposition of Democrats to tougher measures along the border.

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