Fox on the HillAugust 8, 2016 – Newsletters
Hillary Clinton appears to be pulling ahead of Donald Trump with a substantial lead in polls taken after the Democratic National Convention. In the key battleground states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Hampshire, Clinton is now leading Trump by healthy margins. Maps predicting the outcome of the vote in November are showing Clinton with an Electoral College lead as high as 347 to 191 — far more than the 270 needed to win.
Prominent Republican women are beginning to break ranks with their party and publicly declare their support of Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Sally Bradshaw, a top adviser to Jeb Bush, announced she had switched her party registration from Republican to Independent. Also coming out in support of Clinton are Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO, Republican fundraiser and former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman; Maria Comella, the longtime adviser to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; and Caroline McCain, the granddaughter of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
Since the final night of the Democratic National Convention, Donald Trump has been embroiled in a battle over one of the DNC’s most talked-about moments when Trump was denounced by the parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq. The couple, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, said Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigrants is unconstitutional. Mr. Khan offered Trump his own copy of the Constitution. Trump responded by saying the man had no right to make such accusations and questioning whether his wife had remained silent because she was “not allowed” to speak. Mrs. Khan fired back in an Op-Ed calling Trump ignorant about Islam and stating that, as a Gold Star parent, her mere presence spoke for itself. Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, put out a statement to clarify Trump’s support of all veterans and Gold Star families while affirming the campaign’s position on restricting immigration from countries known to harbor terrorists. Several leading Republicans, including Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), have publicly denounced Trump’s comments about the Khan family.
Conservative billionaire Charles Koch told his donor network that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump are poised to strengthen “the country’s financial future and eliminate corporate welfare," and that he and his brother David would support neither. Instead, he said, the Koch brothers will focus their $300 million political war chest on House and Senate races.
With a Sept. 30 deadline looming, Congress is far from completing the appropriations process. When lawmakers return from the August break, discussions and negotiations on a stopgap measure will get underway. A group connected to the Koch brothers has been working to garner support from Republicans in Congress to create a stopgap plan that would postpone this year’s appropriations process until the spring of 2017, sidestepping the “lame duck” session of Congress and the last days of the Obama administration. House Democrats have voiced their support for a continuing resolution that would expire in December with the goal of getting an omnibus appropriations bill on the President’s desk sometime after the election.
Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump announced his team of economic advisors. The economic advisors to Trump are 12 men from Wall Street and former Republican economic officials. They include: Steve Mnuchin of Dune Capital Management LP, who is also on Trump’s short list for Treasury Secretary; Stephen Moore, the founder of the Club for Growth, Senior Economic Contribution at FreedomWorks, and the Chief Economist at the Heritage Foundation; David Malpass, who served as Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary under President Ronald Reagan and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under President George H.W. Bush; and Dan DiMicco, the Executive Chairman of the Nucor Corporation, the largest steel producer in America.
Foreign Affairs and National Security
Republican lawmakers have called for hearings to investigate reports of $400 million in cash being paid to Iran at the same time that the United States was negotiating the release of servicemen taken hostage. The Obama administration insisted that the payment was not ransom, but instead was the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement of a case in international court. The administration struck a deal with Iran to resolve the dispute over a failed arms deal dating back to the ouster of Iran’s last monarch in 1979.
The Treasury Department proposed new regulations last week that would make it more difficult for American families to avoid the estate tax, also called the “death tax.” Currently an estate tax is levied on estates worth more than $5.45 million per person, or $10.86 million per couple, and anything above that is taxed at 40 percent. However, most families with that wealth are currently paying closer to 16.6 percent. The tax currently affects two out of every 1,000 estates and the Treasury Department did not say how many more estates will be affected by the new regulations. Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump has proposed eliminating the estate tax completely and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has proposed reducing the threshold the from $5.45 million to $3.5 million.
In conjunction with the visit by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President Obama announced that he is committed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). On the presidential campaign trail this year, TPP has become a hot topic even though all three major candidates — Trump, Clinton and Bernie Sanders — said they opposed the deal, and their combined stumping against TPP has turned many voters against international trade and globalization. The presidential nominees are not the only ones coming out against the deal; six House Republicans, five of whom supported President Obama’s fast-track trade promotion authority bill last year, have written to the President to express that they do not support a lame-duck consideration of TPP.
Of the 102 veterans serving in Congress, only four are women. These four female combat veterans — Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) — are divided ideologically, but they present a unified voice on many of the issues important for recruitment and retention of women in the armed forces. Specifically, they have spoken out on sexual harassment, expanding family leave and whether women should be eligible for the draft. Duckworth said of the draft: “It’s about equality…. If we’re going to have a draft, then everyone should register.”