The Beltway Beat: Shutdown Edition

— Marriage Advice: Don’t use C-SPAN to tell your wife that you bought a new vehicle.

— TODAY’S POLITICO PLAYBOOKAs the Senate was voting yesterday, we headed up to the third floor of the capitol to sit down with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). Scalise was recently discharged from the hospital, where he had another post-shooting surgery. Monday was his first day back in the Capitol. 

Scalise was in good spirits. He was sharp -- especially considering he had surgery less than two weeks ago. He had a few thoughts about the immigration debate… Keep this in mind: Scalise -- and Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry of North Carolina -- interact with every single House Republican. They know the mood of the conference as well as anyone. Scalise told us the House doesn’t feel at all bound by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) agreement with Senate Democrats to consider immigration legislation by Feb. 8. “March is really the timeline. … The House wasn’t part of that deal.” 

We asked Scalise if Graham-Durbin -- the bipartisan immigration deal du jour -- stands a chance, and he said “not in the House.” “It’s good for everybody to put their ideas on paper but ultimately there are things that can and cannot pass in the House. And we have to work through those details and we’re working through them.”

Scalise said he thought it would “excite our base” if they get a big immigration deal. But he said bluntly: “We’re not going to pass a bill that has amnesty. There are things that would anger our base that I don’t see us passing in the House.”

— Also in the Playbook: D.C. reporters are now referring to U.S. Sen. John Kennedy as “The Quote Machine,” thanks to another slugger in the Washington Post: “I think most Americans are wondering how some folks up here made it through the birth canal.’”

— Here’s a less ferocious quote from The Machine, in light of this week’s March for Life in Washington, D.C.: “It’s not always easy or comfortable to stand up for what is right, and I want to thank everyone who marches for those who can’t stand up for themselves, just yet.”

— Speaking of which, Kennedy introduced a bill that would make it illegal to abort an unborn child because of gender.

— Kennedy also called on Gov. John Bel Edwards to “push fellow Democrats to embrace long-term CHIP renewal.”

— U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy on ideas to fund the border wall: “There’s a lot of supposedly $120 billion in ill-gotten gains that go from the drug trade south of the border. Is there a way to capture a portion of that using a percentage of that to fund the wall? It wouldn't be the Mexican government funding the wall, it would be the Mexican cartels. And we think that’s a very viable solution; we’re looking into the practicality of it.”

— Here’s another Facebook Live video from Congressman Garret Graves this week.

— Kennedy appeared on MSNBC with Chuck Todd to talk DACA and the budget before the shutdown: “I mean yeah, we’re a nation of immigrants. I’m proud of that. A lot of people want to come to America. When’s the last time anybody’s tried to sneak into China?...But we’ve got to agree on our laws and we’ve got to enforce them. We’re the only country that doesn’t.”

— Kennedy also made appearances on CNN New Day and Fox News to discuss the same topic.

— Congressman Clay Higgins on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act: “These are children of God, and this bill gives them a chance to live.”

— Higgins on the grant for telehealth services in Acadiana: “These funds will go a long way in ensuring that vulnerable populations across South Louisiana will have access to medical care in their community and without having to drive long distances.”

— Higgins on Securing America’s Future Act: “We have a duty as a nation to enforce the law and secure our borders...We are also working to provide a mandate for accountability for DACA participants that puts American citizens first and prioritizes safety.”

— Abraham on Louisiana’s $1 million USDA telemedicine grant: “Patients in rural areas can’t always make it to a specialist. Telemedicine allows us to bring the doctor to them to make sure they get the treatment they need.”

— Abraham honored West Feliciana Deputy Fire Chief Russell Achord, who died Wednesday while responding to a car accident, on the floor.

— What Cassidy’s office wants you to read: New Orleans City Council is reconsidering its “anti-Israel” resolution.

— Congressman Mike Johnson on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act: “As we approach the tragic 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we should remind the next generation that we still hold this truth to be self-evident: all human life is sacred.”

— Cassidy on the Trump administration’s forming a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division: “The freedom to live out your faith is one of America’s founding principles. No one should be forced to violate their conscience or religious beliefs.”

— Cassidy on his legislation to “increase accountability” and “ensure drug discounts” for patients: “The 340B program is an important resource for hospitals serving low-income areas. But too often the program’s discounts are used to pad hospitals’ bottom lines instead of helping disadvantaged patients afford their treatments.”

— Johnson on the Disclosing Foreign Influences Act passing committee: “The American people deserve to know when foreign nations lobby the United States government. We cannot continue the years of lax enforcement that have led to widespread abuse of our current laws and allowed foreign agents to withhold their affiliations”


— Kennedy: “I have always said that there better be an emergency to shut down government.  I am still waiting on someone to tell me what that emergency was.”

— Cassidy: “The shutdown never made sense...I think they realized taking health insurance away from nine million kids nationwide—122,000 of whom live in Louisiana—depriving the military of their funding, just because they weren’t getting their way on DACA, was not defensible.”

— Abraham: "Washington can come up with some crazy ways to waste time and money, but this pointless shutdown that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi orchestrated probably takes the cake.”

— Higgins: “I’m glad to see Senate Democrats join with Republicans to end the government shutdown...I will continue working with my colleagues to secure the border and end chain migration.”

— Johnson: “Senate Democrats finally came to their senses and stopped using vulnerable children and military personnel as bargaining chips.”

— Graves: “It’s a good look around and realize that there actually are not a lot of things that are affecting us by shutting the government down.”

— Richmond: “There should be no question about who is to blame for this government shutdown: Republicans control the White House, Republicans control the Senate, and Republicans control the House...They are unable to govern and will follow this president over a cliff.”

— Richmond again: "The Republican administration and Republican-led Congress is trying to message their way out of their irresponsible approach to governing. These short-term funding bills are disruptive to black communities and to all of the American people.”

— Kennedy: “This is an embarrassment...I defy any Democrat to explain why it was so important to ask our military to sacrifice their pay, furlough hundreds of thousands of workers and reject a long-term renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. They need to get their heads out of the sand.”

— Johnson: “Using our children and our military personnel as bargaining chips is absolutely unacceptable….Rather than gambling with the 9 million children who depend on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the hard-earned salaries of our service members, or the state of our now vigorous and growing economy, Republicans voted to ensure stability and protect American priorities. It is up to Senate Democrats to end this needless shutdown and stop holding the American people hostage.”

— Edwards: “Both parties are spending more time blaming one another than finding common ground...A nation this great should never have its citizens lay awake at night wondering if their children or property are protected.”

— Cassidy: “They (the Democrats) voted to shut down the government just to appease the pro-illegal immigration extremists in their party...I voted for the bill, which would protect children’s health insurance and give Congress and the White House more time to work out a long-term spending bill and an agreement to secure the border before the DACA deadline on March 5th.”

— Higgins: “This shutdown belongs to the Democrats. They own it. There was a clear option tonight: prioritize American children and the safety of our nation or shut down the government to try and give amnesty to illegal immigrants. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats chose the latter.”

— Abraham: “Our brave men and women in uniform must continue their mission without pay because Senate Democrats put amnesty for illegal immigrants ahead of paying our troops. They should be ashamed.”

— Graves: “Senate Democrats are trying to keep us here (and) shut the government down for the sole purpose of putting the rights of illegal immigrants, foreigners, non-Americans that are here illegally, over your rights as Americans. That’s what your government’s doing for you. This place is crazy.” (Via Facebook video)

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