Abandoning The Border?

By MICHAEL FALCONE ( @michaelpfalcone )


  • SENATE REPUBLICANS BLOCK BORDER-FUNDING BILL: Last night Senate Republicans blocked a bill to provide $2.7 billion in funding to address the crisis of minors from Central America illegally entering the U.S. With 50 yeas and 44 nays, the Senate did not advance Sen. Barbara Mikulski's, D-Md., proposal to provide funding in response to President Obama's request, according to ABC's CHRIS GOOD. The measure required a 60-vote threshold. On July 8, the president asked Congress to supply an emergency $3.7 billion to address what members of both parties have deemed a national crisis. In response to that request, Mikulski proposed a pared-down $2.7 billion package. http://abcn.ws/1kpvJs7
  • HAPPENING TODAY: Republicans will huddle privately this morning to try to find consensus within their own ranks to approve an emergency supplemental to deal with the humanitarian crisis at the southern border. Meanwhile, the Senate will be in session today, but it will not hold any votes.
  • WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING: Rep. Eric Cantor, who officially lost his House Majority Leader title yesterday, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in an interview that he will resign from Congress effective Aug. 18. "It has been the highest honor of my professional life to serve the people of Virginia's 7th District in Congress. That is why it is with tremendous gratitude and a heavy heart that I have decided to resign from Congress, effective Aug. 18," Cantor said. "During this time of transition for me and my family, it is my foremost desire to ensure that representation is maintained for the people of the 7th District. For this reason, I have asked Gov. McAuliffe to hold a special election on Election Day, at no additional cost to taxpayers, so my successor can be sworn in immediately in November."

2,401: THE NUMBER OF DAYS SINCE HILLARY CLINTON LAST VISITED IOWA. At this point in the presidential cycle, virtually anybody even thinking about running for President has racked up frequent flier miles going back-and-forth to Iowa and New Hampshire, ABC's JONATHAN KARL reports. Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have already made a combined 10 trips to Iowa since the last election. Democrats too. Joe Biden's been there. Martin O'Malley and Amy Klobucher too. Even Sen. Bernie Sanders has made two trips each to Iowa and New Hampshire. But the most formidable candidate of all hasn't been to either state in ages. Hillary Clinton has not stepped foot in Iowa since she came in third in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 4, 2008 - 2,401 days ago. And it appears Mrs. Clinton hasn't made a public appearance in New Hampshire since she won the 2008 New Hampshire primary - 2,397 days ago. http://abcn.ws/1oVfJxA

-AT LEAST SOME IN IOWA ARE STARTING TO FEEL NEGLECTED: Last month, the Iowa Gazette practically begged Mrs. Clinton to visit. "We've watched as you have flexed your muscles on the international stage and have been impressed with your ability to connect," the Gazette editorialized. "But as Iowans, we need to see that connection in action. Our hope, if you are really considering a 2016 run, is that you have learned from your experience and come to Iowa intent on having true conversations about what matters to our state and the fine people in it." http://abcn.ws/1oVfJxA

THIS WEEK ON 'THIS WEEK': On Sunday, the powerhouse roundtable debates all the week's politics, with Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, ABC News contributor and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, New Yorker editor David Remnick, and Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren. See the "This Week" homepage for full guest listings. Be sure to use #ThisWeek when you tweet about the program. TUNE IN SUNDAY: http://abcnews.go.com/thisweek



CIA APOLOGIZES FOR SEARCHING SENATE INTEL COMMITTEE COMPUTERS. CIA Director John Brennan apologized to the leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee after the CIA's Inspector General determined that agency officials inappropriately searched the stand-alone computer network used by committee staffers in preparing their report on the C.I.A.'s detention and interrogation program, ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ and LUIS MARTINEZ report. Earlier this year, Brennan denied the C.I.A. had illegally monitored the committee's computers calling the suggestions as "just beyond the scope of reason." To follow up on the Inspector General's determination Brennan has ordered the formation of an accountability board to review the incident and make recommendations that could potentially lead to disciplinary action. On Thursday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) called Brennan's apology and his decision to refer the Inspector General report to an accountability board "positive first steps." Other Democratic members of the committee were more critical. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) called for Brennan to make a "public apology" and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colorado) expressed a loss of confidence in Brennan. http://abcn.ws/1k9JgU9

CONGRESS APPROVES $15 BILLION VA DEAL. In a rare moment of bipartisan, bicameral unity, Congress has approved a deal to add $15 billion and institute reforms at the Veterans Administration, ABC's CHRIS GOOD and ARLETTE SAENZ report. After the House passed the measure on Wednesday, the Senate followed suit yesterday. The VA deal sailed through two votes: an 86-8 vote to waive budget rules, and a 91-3 vote to pass the bill and send it to President Obama's desk. After weeks of negotiations, the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees this week reached a deal to provide $10 billion in "mandatory emergency money" to contract health care outside the VA system. An additional $5 billion, offset by spending cuts within the VA, will go to hiring new doctors and nurses. Veterans living more than 40 miles away from a VA facility will be able to obtain care outside the VA network. http://abcn.ws/1oflEJ5

RUSSIA'S DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER TAUNTS OBAMA LIKE A 5TH GRADER. This picture, tweeted out by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, pretty much sums up the Kremlin's opinion of Washington, notes ABC's ALI WEINBERG. The tweet, accompanied by the caption, "We have different values and allies," has already been retweeted more than 600 times in two hours. VIEW THE TWEET HERE: http://abcn.ws/WQ1Fv1

INSIDE TEXAS' NEW FAMILY-FRIENDLY DETENTION CENTER FOR THE UNDOCUMENTED. A model detention facility for moms with children crossing the border illegally opened yesterday, ABC's JIM AVILA and SERENA MARSHALL report. The brand new facility in Karnes, Texas, is designed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be family friendly with drawings on the walls, toy rooms and classrooms for children, and full medical facilities. The 532-bed building, at a cost of $140 per day per person is the third ICE facility to house mothers with children, but the first specifically modified with their needs as a consideration. While residents will not be free to leave, they are free to roam the grounds, visit the library, call family with pre-paid phone cards, play outdoors, use computers - excluding accessing Facebook and Twitter - and participate in soccer matches, religious concerts and church services. http://abcn.ws/UE7fPo

MICHELLE OBAMA: VETERAN HOMELESSNESS 'SHOULD HORRIFY US'. As Congress works on a long-term plan to reform the Veterans Administration, first lady Michelle Obama used her platform to speak out on ending veterans' homelessness, according to ABC's BETSY KLEIN. Obama called the more than 58,000 homeless American veterans a "stain on the soul of this nation." "As Americans, the idea that anyone who has worn our country's uniform is sleeping on the ground should horrify us," Obama told an estimated 1,600 federal and local officials and homeless advocates in Washington, D.C., at the 2014 National Conference on Ending Homelessness. "That moral and patriotic duty is only part of the reason why ending veteran homelessness is so critical. As we all know, ending homelessness for our veterans can also be a crucial first step, a proof point to show that we can end homelessness for everyone in this country." Obama called the work of homeless advocates "critically important." http://abcn.ws/1obfCNI

MORE THAN 100 PROTESTERS ARRESTED OUTSIDE WHITE HOUSE OVER DEPORTATIONS. More than a hundred demonstrators intentionally had themselves arrested outside the White House yesterday in protest against the Obama administration's response to the sudden surge of undocumented immigrants across the border with Mexico, notes ABC's MATTHEW LAROTONDA. The act of civil disobedience was organized mostly by religious groups, including the Catholic Sisters of Mercy and the United Methodist Church. The demonstrators demanded the Obama administration cease the deportation of an estimated 1,100 of those undocumented per day - a number expected to rise as the federal government grapples with the hundreds of thousands believed to have slipped through in the last nine months, and a 106 percent increase over the same period last year. http://abcn.ws/1u4qjD3

'HISPANDERING': IS DC'S NEWEST BUZZWORD OFFENSIVE? Washington has never been short of political jargon. The "conversation," the "narrative," "filibuster," and even "sequester" have all seeped into everyday language. But a new word has arrived on the scene, and it's causing a stir. "Hispandering," a portmanteau of "Hispanic" and "pandering," is a charge that means precisely what it looks like, ABC's NOAH WEILAND notes. No one can say exactly who coined the term; Rush Limbaugh used it in 2012, as did syndicated columnist Esther J. Cepeda. Some point to mentions as early as 2002. The current kerfuffle over "hispandering" started this summer when Republican National Committee Hispanic Media Communications Director Izzy Santa accused Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley of doing it in a recent string of public comments. The debate comes at a time when Congress, on the verge of its August recess, is mulling a solution to the flow of migrants across the border. Some Hispanic voices are skeptical of "hispandering," but say the real question is whether Congress will act on the border crisis and immigration reform. http://abcn.ws/UNVc1G

DRIVING WHILE STONED: CONGRESS SEARCHES FOR A TEST STANDARD. With the clock ticking down to the congressional recess and amid a day of high drama over how to handle the border crisis, the House of Representatives made time for another matter: "Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Operating While Stoned," ABC's SCOTT WILSON notes. That was the title of a hearing held yesterday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, which was reviewing the federal government's response to state-level marijuana legalization as it pertains to transportation policy. The consensus of experts who testified before the committee was that operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs poses a clear danger to the public, but lawmakers expressed concern that methods to test for marijuana are not up to date - and neither is the science. "We don't have a uniform standard," said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. "The variable is much greater than that of other controlled substances such as alcohol. We actually can't scientifically pinpoint levels of impairment with any accuracy." http://abcn.ws/1pJXzvg


WHO WORE IT BEST? SEERSUCKERS IN THE SENATE. After a two year hiatus, the tradition of Seersucker Thursday returned to the Senate yesterday with lawmakers donning their finest seersucker suits. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., resurrected the fashion day to stir up some bipartisan good will. "It's a tradition that demonstrates summer time in Washington, D.C., and also a little bit of lightheartedness which is needed and a whole lot of bipartisanship is also needed and this is a gesture towards bipartisanship," Wicker told ABC News. "It was high time we brought it back…Seersucker is a wonderful summer fabric that was designed for the hot summer months." The tradition was started in the late 1990-s by former Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., who wanted people to know "the Senate isn't just a bunch of dour folks wearing dark suits and-in the case of men-red or blue ties." ABC's ARLETTE SAENZ snapped some photos of the seersucker senatorial swag: http://abcn.ws/1oeDKe3


@amyewalter: Fake outrage replaces real campaigns. http://cookpolitical.com/story/7615

@Goldfarb: We've now had six consecutive months of 200,000+ jobs growth. We haven't had that since 1997!

?@EllieWallace: . @GOP Statement on July Jobs Report: http://bit.ly/1ogssWT

@samyoungman: Political Paddock: Candidates have little to gain, lots to lose at Fancy Farm picnic this weekend http://www.kentucky.com/2014/07/31/3360242/political-paddock-candidates-have.html …

@SenJohnMcCain: Must-read Joe Lieberman @WSJ: "Leaving U.S. Allies Adrift as Chaos Rises" http://online.wsj.com/articles/joseph-lieberman-leaving-u-s-allies-adrift-as-chaos-rises-1406849664 …