POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 2/18
Sen. John McCain told Meet the Press that he expects there will be broad support in the Senate for a bipartisan plan to require background checks on gun purchases.
Politico: “McCain’s comments are the latest indication that the background checks element of President Barack Obama’s broad gun control agenda is probably the only measure that stands a chance of becoming law.”
A draft of a White House immigration proposal obtained by USA Today would allow illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents within eight years.
“The bill is being developed as members in both chambers of Congress are drafting their own immigration bills. In the House, a bipartisan group of representatives has been negotiating an immigration proposal for years and are writing their own bill. Last month, four Republican senators joined with four Democratic senators to announce their agreement on the general outlines of an immigration plan.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that many Republicans and some Democrats have cautioned Obama “to keep his distance from the process for fear of driving away potential GOP support.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called the proposal “half-baked” and predicted it was dead on arrival on Capitol Hill.
Sen. John McCain told NBC News that Chuck Hagel will likely be confirmed next week as Defense secretary.
“After Senate Republicans voted to sustain a filibuster and block the former Nebraska senator’s nomination from advancing toward confirmation, McCain acknowledged that Hagel will likely win confirmation once the chamber returns from its recess.”
“Bucking a trend in which states have been seeking to restrict abortion, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is putting the finishing touches on legislation that would guarantee women in New York the right to late-term abortions when their health is in danger or the fetus is not viable,” the New York Times reports.
Cuomo’s proposal “would also clarify that licensed health care practitioners, and not only physicians, can perform abortions. It would remove abortion from the state’s penal law and regulate it through the state’s public health law.”
Illinois state Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D) is expected to drop out of the 2nd congressional district special Democratic primary and back former state Rep. Robin Kelly (D) in the contest to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The move shakes up the Democratic field just nine days before the Feb. 26 primary election.
Capitol Fax: “The reasons are many, including Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to point his massive super PAC right at Hutchinson while backing rival Robin Kelly.”
Bloomberg has attacked Hutchinson for her support for the National Rifle Association.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) “is laying the groundwork for a likely presidential run — and using his state as a testing ground for policies that play well with national conservatives,” Politico reports.
“He’s passed a sweeping school voucher plan, rejected the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare and proposed scrapping the state income tax.”
“But political observers who’ve watched Jindal up close for years say it’s become increasingly fuzzy where his governing ends and his presidential ambitions begin — whether the 41-year-old policy wonk’s plans are aimed at Louisiana’s problems or future GOP voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.”
“Turmoil deepened among leading Republicans over efforts to ward off controversial candidates in the next election, as Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad blasted a new candidate-steering plan by Karl Rove and warned him to stay out of state and congressional races,” the AP reports.
Said Branstad: “I basically told Karl Rove that what he was doing is counter-productive and he needs to stay out of it.”
“In the aftermath of last fall’s disappointing election outcome for the GOP, party leaders have been focusing on fielding more candidates with broad appeal – and fewer unpredictable ones – but have split bitterly over how to do it, worsening party tensions.”
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) told Politicker NJ that he is interested in running for U.S. Senate.
Said Holt: “There’s no point in being coy. I’ve made no secret in previous years that I would consider the Senate at the right time. But an expression of interest should not be taken as a campaign announcement.”
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) have also indicated they’re looking at possible bids.
In just two months, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) “has made his presence felt in an institution where new arrivals are usually not heard from for months, if not years,” the New York Times reports.
“Besides suggesting that Mr. Hagel might have received compensation from foreign enemies, he has tangled with the mayor of Chicago, challenged the Senate’s third-ranking Democrat on national television, voted against virtually everything before him — including the confirmation of John Kerry as secretary of state — and raised the hackles of colleagues from both parties.”
Roll Call: “If a lobbying campaign is war, then opposition research is the equivalent of elite special forces. K Street deploys all sorts of quiet, behind-the-scenes tactics and troops to influence legislation and policy. The most clandestine and high-risk is the use of political-style operatives to dig up dirt on foes.”