President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in a hurricane-damaged spot.
Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
Photo: AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The Jolt: Senate plays ‘Deal or No Deal’ with disaster relief

The Senate has plans to vote as soon as today on a long-awaited disaster relief bill. What might be in it remains a mystery.

We wrote earlier this week that momentum was pointing toward a bipartisan deal as lawmakers prepped for their Memorial Day recesses.

But the most recent signs aren’t looking so positive. The White House’s request to add border security money to the $17 billion package is currently the biggest holdup, Politico reported last night:

Republicans said Democrats’ requests to add new restrictions on immigration were unproductive and raised doubts over whether the bill would pass in time, per two GOP sources close to the issue.

Meanwhile, Democrats said the two parties were still far apart on immigration, and complained about Republicans’ “ theatrics” in trying to set up an 11th-hour meeting.

Talks are still underway, but time is running out. House lawmakers are scheduled to leave for the week by 11:15 this morning. The Senate could stick around an extra day, but many lawmakers have international trips planned over the weekend that will complicate matters.

Deal or no deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised a vote on a disaster package. He’s kept today’s schedule wide open for it. Our question is what they vote on without a deal in hand. 

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Gov. Brian Kemp named 15 board appointments but one stood out in particular: June Wood, who was elected in 2016 as the first black woman to lead the Henry County Commission. The Republican on the state’s powerful economic development board. 

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University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato highlights the importance of Georgia’s Senate race in his latest Crystal ball column today:

Barring some other big upset (Texas?), Democrats probably won’t win the Senate without at least one of Georgia, Iowa, or North Carolina.

Winning one or more of those is possible for Democrats, but none of them look like a Toss-up right now. That, plus the reality that even more plausible targets like Arizona and Colorado are far from sure things, helps illustrate why Republicans remain favorites to retain the upper chamber.

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Former Stacey Abrams staffer Priyanka Mantha landed a fancy new gig as the first-ever communications director for NowThis, which is amping up its political coverage before the 2020 election.

Mantha was for years the chief spokeswoman for Abrams, first when she was the Georgia House’s top Democrat and then when she was a candidate for governor. Before and during the campaign, she cultivated a team that helped bring tremendous media attention to Abrams - and helped set the stage that catapulted the Georgian into the national spotlight she now enjoys.

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This faux-promotional tourism video inspired by the “heartbeat” anti-abortion law will make some laugh, some cry and some want to punch a wall. Either way, it’s worth a look.

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