Politics Republican senators lash out at each other inside private luncheon
Immigration fight, tension on tariffs await Congress' return
Congress returns to work Monday to face a House showdown over immigration while Senate Republicans are trying to stop an all-out trade war after President Donald Trump's decision to impose import tariffs on close U.S. allies. Tensions are running particularly high as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is threatening to cancel the traditional August recess as he fights Democratic opposition to GOP priorities in a show of busy-work before the midterm election.It's shaping up to be far from the typical summer slowdown when legislating usually makes way for campaigning."Another summer, another heavy work load," tweeted Sen.
Heated confrontations erupted inside a Senate Republican luncheon on Wednesday as lawmakers traded unusually personal and sometimes profane attacks on one another.
At the center of the ruckus was Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who argued separately with Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), according to a person who attended the lunch and another who was briefed on it.
Graham, a traditional Republican hawk, took issue with an amendment Lee was pushing to the annual defense bill. His measure was designed to protect Americans from detention without charge or trial.
Trump Pressures GOP Allies to Block Restrictions on Tariff Power
Senate Republicans are under intense White House pressure to quash a bipartisan attempt to curtail President Donald Trump’s authority to impose tariffs on national security grounds, as he did last week when he slapped duties on steel and aluminum imports from some of the U.S.’s closest allies. Trump summoned 13 GOP senators to the Oval Office for a late-afternoon meeting Wednesday that lasted two hours, seeking allies in an effort to push back against proposed legislation that would require the president to get congressional approval for such tariffs.
According to the person who attended the lunch, Graham accused Lee of pressing for the amendment raise money, prompting the normally polite and low-key senator to snap back at him.
“Like hell I’m doing that!” Lee responded.
Graham later apologized to Lee, and Lee accepted. The Mormon senator told Graham that if he drank beer, he’d take him out for one.
But the fireworks didn’t end there. Later, Graham and Corker got into an expletive-laced exchange, the people familiar with the lunch discussion said.
Graham pointed out that Corker was on his way out, a reference to his upcoming retirement from the Senate, and he argued that Corker was not helping the Republican Party.
Trump hypes the drama hours before nuclear summit with Kim
The president said he'll know soon if a 'real deal' can be struckSINGAPORE — President Donald Trump hyped the drama surrounding his historic nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Tuesday, tweeting hours before its 9 p.m. ET start that "we will all know soon" if a "real deal" is in the offing.
Corker, who has been one of the GOP’s most outspoken Trump critics, vented frustration with his colleagues Tuesday for being afraid to “poke the bear” and challenge the president by voting on an amendment to grant Congress more authority over tariffs.
“It’s becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it?” Corker told reporters Wednesday morning.
Corker told reporters Wednesday afternoon that the conversation at lunch was “very good.”
Before the lunch, Graham said that Republicans need to “add value” when they speak out against the president.
“You’ve got to show that if you criticize him, fine. But, you know, be able to add value to his agenda,” he said.
Wednesday’s lunch started with a discussion about rescission — the process of paring back previously allocated government spending — and featured White House budget director Mick Mulvaney.
In devolving later into a fight over amendments, the Republican senators were doing what Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had urged against.
Representatives for the senators did not comment on the details of the lunch. The people describing the lunch spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk more candidly about a private gathering.
Senate Rejects White House Plan to Cancel Unused Funding .
Two Republicans, Richard M. Burr and Susan Collins, broke with their party to oppose the plan, which was intended to broadcast fiscal responsibility.WASHINGTON — The Senate rejected on Wednesday a White House plan to rescind nearly $15 billion in unspent funding that had been approved in past years. Two Republican senators joined Democrats to defeat what had been a largely symbolic effort.
3 BRAVE republicans openly defy Trump
As McCain's "bone spurs" comment hit the airwaves, and after yet another Trump Tweeting tantrum-- Senate Republicans had a turbulent Tuesday morning.
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