The Edge is National Journal's daily look at today in Washington -- and what's coming next. The email features analysis from NJ's top correspondents, the biggest stories of the day -- and always a few surprises. To subscribe, click here.
On Immigration, Passage Is Only the Beginning
It’s finally coming. That immigration bill from the Gang of Eight should make its appearance soon and with it a chance of creating a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people who are in the country illegally.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has thrown his money and prestige behind the effort and momentum seems to be there. Even tea-party types such as Rand Paul are showing sympathy for the idea of a pathway.
But it’s worth remembering that in 1986, Congress passed comprehensive immigration reform and it didn’t work very well. The Immigration and Reform Control Act of 1986, or the Simpson-Mazzoli bill, granted a kind of amnesty. But it didn’t stem illegal immigration, of course.
This new Marco Rubio-blessed legislation may have momentum. But like all big shifts in policy, it could come with unintended consequences, too. Passage is just the beginning.
KING AND THOMPSON FOLLOW MANCHIN, TOOMEY’S LEAD. Following Wednesday’s announcement of a bipartisan agreement on firearms background checks by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., Reps. Peter King, R-N.Y., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., plan to introduce a corresponding bill in the House next week, Politico reports. King said Friday, “I’ve known Pat from the House. We started working with his office. We’re going to introduce the bill, it will probably be Monday or Tuesday at the latest.… We’re also showing [it] to a number of possible other cosponsors.” Read more
- National Journal’s Michael Catalini names five House Republicans to watch in the gun debate.
GANG OF EIGHT SETTLES ON CUTOFF DATE. A comprehensive immigration-reform proposal from the Gang of Eight reportedly would bar any undocumented persons who arrived in the United States after Dec. 31, 2011, from applying for legal status, The New York Times reports. While Democratic members of the group pushed for a cutoff of Jan. 1, 2013, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sought an earlier date. Read more
- Rubio has reportedly decided to commit fully to comprehensive reform, and “is planning a media blitz to promote the bill,” including appearances on the Sunday talk shows and appeals to Spanish-language media and conservative radio hosts. Read more
SEBELIUS DISCUSSES ‘CULTURE OF VIOLENCE.’ During testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, where she was to defend her department’s budget request, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius addressed the impact of violence on the nation’s children, The Washington Examiner reports. “I think we have a culture of violence in this country that is alarming, it clearly has different impact on different people, but there's no question that it does have at minimum a desensitization for a lot of developing minds about what the impact of violence is and certainly for someone who is disturbed may have an even more frightening impact." Read more
- The New York Timesreports that lawmakers are quietly working on several plans that would “lead to some of the most significant advancements in treating mental illness in years,” and that the plans stand a good chance of inclusion in a final gun-control bill.
OBAMA GROUP RAISES MODEST $4.8 MILLION. Organizing for Action, the independent group made up of former Obama campaign staffers, raised just $4.8 million in the first quarter of 2013, the Associated Press reported. In an e-mail to supporters, the group – which is pressuring lawmakers on gun and immigration legislation – said that 109,000 people donated, with an average donation of $44. Read more
McCOTTER SUES FORMER STAFFERS OVER PETITION SCANDAL. Former Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Mich., who resigned from Congress in 2012 after failing to secure the requisite signatures for a primary ballot slot, has filed a lawsuit against former deputy district director Don Yowchuang and former student intern Dillon Breen, alleging that the two “purposefully submitted forged petitions in order to keep McCotter off the ballot.” Yowchuang received probation after pleading no contest to forgery charges, while Breen was not criminally charged in the case. Read more
HOW WASHINGTON RUINED GOVERNORS. It used to be governors cared more about problem solving than ideology. But across the full range of economic and cultural issues, Democratic and Republican state officials are pulling apart far more than they did as recently as two decades ago. On gun control, gay marriage, immigration, taxes, and participation in President Obama's health care law, among other issues, states that lean red and those that lean blue are diverging to an extent that is straining the boundaries of federalism, National Journal's Ronald Brownstein and Stephanie Czekalinski report. Read more
COHEN SAYS LAUPER TWEET WAS A RUSE. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., actually convened a press conference Friday to discuss his since-deleted tweet praising the pop star Cyndi Lauper as “hot.” His explanation: it was all a clever deception to get the press to draw attention to the Memphis music scene. Cohen said he learned his lesson when his recent tweets to a young model raised eyebrows (turns out the model was a long-lost daughter he had only become acquainted with recently). Read more
“First time I can remember having a joint Democrats and Republicans lunch since I’ve been here.” — Sen. Bob Corker on Thursday’s joint Senate lunch (Roll Call)
WHY DID THE NEANDERTHALS DISAPPEAR? DID HUMANS EAT THEM? For 200,000 years, Neanderthals ruled Europe and Asia. Then within 15,000 years of contact with modern humans, they were suddenly, and mysteriously, gone. What happened? Bones, teeth, and new DNA mapping technology are providing the answers. “A deeper desperation is etched in their bones,” Hall writes. “These fractures were—clop—made by humans," said Antonio Rosas of the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid, imitating the blow of a stone tool. Whether for food or rituals, humans cannibalized their close relatives. And as researchers piece together Neanderthal DNA, it’s increasingly apparent that Neanderthals were closer to humans than previously thought. Read more
PLAY OF THE DAY
LASSOING AN ASTEROID. North Korea's threats toward the United States continue to be in the news, as the one-year anniversary of leader Kim Jong Un’s ascension to power was celebrated. Conan O’Brien mentioned the anniversary in regard to Kim’s lack of height. Meanwhile, Jay Leno looked at a new survey that says half of voters would vote for Ronald Reagan over Obama; The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart was interested in the African-American vote in the 2012 election; and as NASA announced plans this week to lasso an asteroid close to the moon for study, Stephen Colbert was curious as to the purpose of the program. Watch it here
CHINESE NEWS FALLS FOR SATIRE OF NORTH KOREA THREATENING MICROSOFT According to The New Yorker’s Andy Borowitz, a potential North Korean nuclear-missile test (that even has the Pentagon on alert) went awry this week thanks to an unspecified glitch in Windows 8. A media outlet in China picked up the piece—not realizing that The Borowitz Report is totally, hilariously fake. The Guangdong-based 21st Century Business Herald, a daily with a circulation of 762,000, rebroadcast the news, unaware that it was picking up a satirical item from the noted humorist.
IMMIGRATION AND GUNS. This week will feature Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., touting immigration reform on no fewer than six Sunday shows. The week will also feature two other big newsmakers: Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., architects of this week’s deal on background checks.
NBC’s Meet the Press hosts Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
CBS’s Face the Nation hosts Rubio, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., with her husband, Mark Kelly.
ABC’s This Week hosts Rubio, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.
Fox News Sunday hosts Rubio, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn
CNN’s State of the Union hosts Rubio, Manchin, and Toomey
Bloomberg’s Capitol Gains hosts Fannie Mae CEO Tim Mayopoulos and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
C-SPAN’s Newsmakers features Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif.