Thursday’s Mini-Report, 5.16.19

Updated

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* The national pattern isn’t subtle: “Missouri’s Senate has passed what its authors call one of the nation’s most stringent anti-abortion bills, which would outlaw nearly all abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy. The Republican-led Senate passed the bill, dubbed Missouri Stands With the Unborn, 24-10 early Thursday morning.”

* In related news: “The top House Republican said Thursday that Alabama’s new state law banning almost all abortions goes too far. California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, told reporters that the law, which doesn’t allow exceptions for abortions in cases of rape and incest, ‘goes further than I believe.’”

* Oversight: “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., blasted the White House on Thursday for asserting that it would not comply with a range of requests from the House Judiciary Committee, arguing that Congress needs certain information to perform its oversight duties and guide any moves toward impeachment.”

* Presidential finances: “[T]he Trump presidency has been taking a modest economic toll on his businesses, according to annual financial disclosure forms released Thursday.”

* Economic news: “The U.S. economy got off to a sluggish start in the second quarter, with both consumers and manufacturers pulling back in April amid trade tensions, a global slowdown and waning effects of the 2017 tax cuts.”

* Maybe Trump ought to tune in: “Live, from a tiny parlor in the Capitol, House Democrats are reading aloud nearly 400 pages of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. The marathon is likely to stretch into the wee hours of Friday. The duty will be split among more than two dozen lawmakers.”

* That’s not something to brag about: “U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told a panel of U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday that he has not lost sleep over record amounts of carbon dioxide recorded in the Earth’s atmosphere, which scientists warn are altering the global climate.”

* Remember him? “Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and his staff spent nearly $124,000 on unnecessary first- and business-class air travel during 10 months in 2017, according to a new report from the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General.”

* Eric Blankenstein: “A senior Consumer Financial Protection Bureau employee whose racially charged blog posts sparked an uproar last year is leaving the agency at the end of the month.”

* Wendy Vitter: “The Senate on Thursday confirmed Wendy Vitter’s appointment to the federal bench, as Republicans overcame strong opposition from Democrats who criticized the nominee’s stand against abortion. Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) was the only Republican to join Democrats and independents in opposing Vitter’s nomination, in the 52-to-45 vote.”

* CBO: “Phillip L. Swagel, an economist with extensive service in the George W. Bush administration, has been appointed the new director of the Congressional Budget Office.”

* He’ll need a good lawyer: “The text message, which allegedly offered up a lawmaker’s vote in exchange for cash, ended with a famous five-word phrase: ‘We never had this discussion.’ But a federal grand jury has [indicted] a Michigan lawmaker [for] doing just that, charging state Rep. Larry Inman (R-Traverse City) with attempted extortion, bribery and lying to an FBI agent. If convicted, he faces up to 35 years in prison.”

* So will former California state Sen. Frank C. Hill: “From the moment he was elected to the Assembly in 1982 at the age of 28, Hill seemed ticketed for statewide office. Popular with his colleagues, the Whittier lawmaker was in the inner circle of the Assembly Republican leadership, and he regularly lunched with the governor. Handsome. Brash. Always smiling. A prodigious fund-raiser. But Hill now faces charges that he extorted $2,500 from an undercover agent. His political career is in shreds, his legal bills mounting, and each of the three counts of extortion, money laundering and conspiracy against him carries a maximum prison term of 20 years.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.