March 6, 2017

Top Stories

5 Points: Why Trump's Budget Plan Might Be In Bigger Trouble Than You Think

The Gist: Even though Republicans now control the White House and both chambers of Congress, that doesn't mean they will have an easy time agreeing on and implementing a plan to fund the government going forward.

Democrats Strive To Channel Anti-Trump Fervor Into A Win In Ruby-Red Georgia

The Gist: Tom Price's confirmation as secretary of health and human services left open a seat in Georgia's 6th Congressional District, a fairly wealthy, well-educated suburb north of Atlanta. It's a solidly Republican district where Price consistently won re-election without breaking a sweat. But Trump won the district by just one point in November, giving Democrats a glimmer of hope that they can turn the district blue in an April special election to replace Price.

People Walk Out As Ala. Official Pushes Voter ID At Selma Anniversary Service

The Gist: After Alabama’s Secretary of State John Merrill promoted the state's voter ID law at a church service held Sunday to commemorate the anniversary of a civil rights milestone in Selma, people walked out.

From The Reporter's Notebook

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee will on Monday ask for more information about a report that the White House counsel asked the Justice Department for an order authorizing surveillance of the Trump campaign, although there's no evidence that such an order exists, TPM's Caitlin MacNeal reported. "In our experience, it is highly unusual for the White House to seek access to a government application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In almost any circumstance, it would be inappropriate to ask for that information if the President and his associates are related to the underlying investigation," the Democrats wrote in a letter to McGahn to be sent on Monday.

Agree or Disagree?

Josh Marshall: "Trump did put Manafort in charge of his campaign and foreign policy operation as they started to congeal in the spring of 2016. Let's assume you're Donald Trump and your hands are clean, as far as it goes. Or let's assume you're someone with half a brain and you're charged with protecting Donald Trump. How confident are you that a thorough look at that skein of Putin-aligned oligarchs, deposed strongmen, billion dollar real estate deals, Russian organized crime and mysterious peace deals wouldn't turn up something at least awkward and possibly quite bad? Right, me neither."

Say What?!

"This may come as some surprise to the current occupant of the Oval Office, but the president of the United States does not have the authority to unilaterally order the wiretapping of an American citizen."

- Former White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Sunday that it "may come as some surprise" to President Donald Trump that the president of the United States cannot in fact "unilaterally order" the surveillance of a U.S. citizen.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive

From a TPM Prime member: "National debt is not automatically coupled to the gold standard, but I guess in the sense that it's easier to borrow money than to borrow gold, it is. At the time Nixon dropped it, we were in trouble with having had to pay money outside our country to OPEC for oil. The four-fold price rise made us literally poorer for a while. It took some years to percolate through the economy, and the way we financed the loss of money was debt, so eventually that strained credit supply. Thus, inflation, and the government had to borrow by selling treasuries. Paying off the debt is not inherently a Good Thing. It first reduces the budget available for spending on the country as a whole, and it mainly returns cash to the wealthy. It does not inject money into circulation. Andrew Jackson paid off the debt and we had a major recession. Of course we had a large debt after WWII, and we had high taxes to pay it down a lot, but along with that, we spent a lot on infrastructure and research/development. So the economy was not booming, but it was not in a recession. I consider the debt not as an outstanding loan, but as outstanding shares. There is no problem if the interest load (like paying dividends) fits comfortably into the budget."

Related: Lindsey Graham Says Trump's First Budget Is 'Dead On Arrival'

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What We're Reading

How Danny DeVito Accidentally Created the Defining Meme of the Trump Presidency (New York Magazine)

The Softening Of Kellyanne Conway (BuzzFeed)