By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )
ABC's JEFF ZELENY: If no one disputes the severity of the humanitarian crisis unfolding at the border, then President Obama's $3.7 billion emergency spending request will be swiftly approved, right? Wrong. Not in this paralyzed Congress. Some Republicans say the costs have to be offset elsewhere. Others say they don't trust the Obama administration to actually secure the border, no matter how much money is designated to enforcement. Yet make no mistake: Democrats have questions, too. The biggest political challenge to the president's border plan is the underlying law, the 2008 trafficking legislation signed by President George W. Bush that allows minors coming across the border from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to have an easier path to staying in the United States than those from Mexico. Republicans - and some inside the White House - want to rewrite the law to ensure more deportations. But Democrats on Capitol Hill and liberal immigration groups disagree and are unlikely to go along with any such changes. There's little doubt Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was speaking the truth yesterday when he said: "It's something we have to do. How we get there? I really don't know at this stage."
ABC's RICK KLEIN: If one were to graph Sarah Palin's impact on the national political debate, we'd be near a low point about now, with her eclipsed by a new set of tea party leaders and viewed more as a celebritician than someone whose words or deeds can rock the landscape. Palin's call for impeaching President Obama will almost certainly have no impact on the impeachment of President Obama - which is to say, he's not going to be impeached. Yet she's using the moment to send yet another warning to her (for now) fellow Republicans: "we should vehemently oppose any politician on the left or right who would hesitate in voting for articles of impeachment," Palin wrote in her op-ed. Palin knows what she's doing, even if she doesn't command an army of voters like she once did. In the wake of Mississippi, and with primaries still to come in Kansas, Tennessee, and Alaska, such veiled warnings can easily take on greater meaning.
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING
THE ANGUS FACTOR. Sen. Angus King is keeping his options wide open, not ruling out the prospect of joining Republicans if they win the Senate majority. "I'll make that decision at the time based upon what I think is in the best interests of Maine," King told ABC's JEFF ZELENY. King said Republican senators, eager to sway him over to the right, already have a "good-natured" charm offensive in swing. "I've had a lot of, 'Hey Angus, you'll like the weather over here,' and, 'love to have you,' and that king of thing. And then my Democratic friends have said 'stay here.' " Watch the ABC/Yahoo interview: http://yhoo.it/1jdC5d1
with ABC's SCOTT WILSON
WHAT $3.7 BILLION WILL BUY AT THE BORDER. President Obama yesterday requested $3.7 billion to cope with the humanitarian crisis on the border and the spike in illegal crossings by unaccompanied minors from Central America, ABC's MARY BRUCE reports. Roughly half of the funding would go to the Department of Health and Human Services to provide care for the surge of children crossing the border, including additional beds. The rest would be split between several departments to tackle the issue on both sides of the border, including $1.6 billion to the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice to boost law enforcement at the Southwest border and pay for additional immigration judge teams, among other things, and $300 million to the State Department to tackle the root causes of this crisis and to send a clear message to these countries not to send children illegally to the U.S. According to a White House official, greater administrative authority as well as the additional resources will help make it more efficient and expeditious to process and return the children. http://abcn.ws/1lRjL48
BUT DON'T LOOK FOR CONGRESS TO RUBBER STAMP OBAMA'S $3.7 REQUEST. There's no shortage of criticism on Capitol Hill over how President Obama has handled the escalating humanitarian crisis at the border, but don't look for Congress to simply rubber stamp his $3.7 billion emergency spending request, according to ABC's JEFF ZELENY and ARLETTE SAENZ. The concerns are not only coming from Republicans. Democrats have as many questions of their own over the White House proposal. "It's something we have to do. It's something we have to do," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters today. "How we get there, I really don't know at this stage." Some Republicans are uncertain they can support a bill-even one to strengthen border security-if the costs aren't offset by budget cuts elsewhere. "He's asking for a blank check, in essence, $3.7 billion, but no reform," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters. http://abcn.ws/1oFmPFg
HHS SEEKS MORE MILITARY BASES TO HOUSE UNACCOMPANIED BORDER MINORS. The Department of Health and Human Services is in talks with the Pentagon to use additional bases to house thousands more unaccompanied minors from Central America that are swamping its facilities, according to ABC's LUIS MARTINEZ. The Pentagon is housing 2,700 minors at unused housing facilities at three military bases; it has authorization to house up to 3,600 children at those facilities for 120 days. The Defense Department is allowing HHS to temporarily use vacant housing facilities at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; Ventura Naval Facility in California and Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters Tuesday that the Pentagon is processing more requests from HHS to house more children. http://abcn.ws/1rOTgoc
REPUBLICANS CHOOSE CLEVELAND AS 2016 CONVENTION SITE. The Republican National Committee chose Cleveland yesterday as their city to host the 2016 presidential convention, knocking out Dallas in the final round, ABC's SHUSHANNAH WALSHE reports. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus made the announcement on Fox News, calling it a "city that's on the rise" and calling it a "business decision." "In the end it's Cleveland, Ohio," Priebus said. "As goes Ohio, so goes the presidential race." Cleveland is in the always important swing state of Ohio, one critical reason it was chosen, but far from the only one. Denver, Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Las Vegas were all eliminated earlier in the process. Priebus said today the start date would be either June 28 or July 18. http://abcn.ws/1tjJxb3
-15 THINGS TO DO IN CLEVELAND. As is the case every four years, the Republican National Convention is expected to bring an increase in tourism - and an influx of cash - to the host city. ABC's SCOTT WILSON has the scoop with a list of some of the top places to visit in Cleveland, Ohio, which is known as the "Rock and Roll Capital of the World." Some highlights from the list include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Indians, West Side Market, Playhouse Square Center, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. http://abcn.ws/1kBhjz7
SENATE DEMOCRATS TAKE ON SUPREME COURT'S CONTRACEPTION RULING. Senate Democrats said they plan to unveil legislation in the coming weeks in response to the Supreme Court's controversial ruling in the Hobby Lobby contraception case, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ notes. "This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous, and we're going to do something about it," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters on Capitol Hill yesterday. "People are going to have to walk down here and vote, and if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think it's - they're going to have - be treated unfavorably come November with the elections." While Senate Democrats plan on making this initiative a major priority in the weeks before the month-long August recess, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused them of only being interested in holding "show votes" ahead of the November elections. "We'd have a better chance of working our way through the bills that we need to pass if we cut out the show votes and didn't eat up time trying to score points for the fall election," McConnell said. http://abcn.ws/1k3nDQa
TED CRUZ BACKS CALL FOR PROBE OF MISSISSIPPI GOP PRIMARY RUNOFF. Chris McDaniel's plans to legally challenge the results of the Republican Senate run-off in Mississippi have a supporter in Washington: Sen. Ted Cruz, notes ABC's BENJAMIN SIEGEL. "Chris McDaniel won a sizable majority of the votes from Republicans who voted in the run-off," Cruz said in a Monday interview with conservative radio host Mark Levin. "The DC machine spent hundreds of thousands of dollars urging some 30,000-40,000 partisan Democrats to vote in the run-off which changed the outcome." When pressed by a reporter at the Capitol on Tuesday for evidence of his claim that Sen. Thad Cochran won because of Democratic votes, Cruz said: "The evidence are the numbers from the race." "The votes that decided that primary were from Democrats, who are all but certain to vote Democrat in the general election," said Cruz, a Texas Republican, weighing in on the Mississippi fight for the first time. http://abcn.ws/1oyZgfI
@meekwire: Whether guilty, innocent or informants, The Intercept admits they only got FISA targets' email addresses, not results http://abcn.ws/1xRt8tl
@alicetweet: . @adrienneelrod on immigration crisis: "It is the job of congress to work w/ POTUS to determine how to spend the money properly."
@AP_Ken_Thomas: MOSCOW (AP) - Russian media quote a lawyer saying Edward Snowden asks to extend his stay in Russia.
@brianjameswalsh: Nice story on @TomCoburn. He will be missed in DC. A conservative who achieved real results, not just rhetoric. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/tom-coburn-politics-108686.html?hp=f3 …