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Congress: 'Gang' violence?

Lindsey Graham’s losing patience with Marco Rubio. "How do we put together a bill and then the guy who put it together says that he may not vote for it?" Graham told The Huffington Post. "I just don't get what we're doing here."

“The Republican-led House will take its deepest dive yet into immigration reform this week, rushing to play catchup with the Senate on the chief domestic policy battle this year,” Politico writes. “The House bipartisan group, which has labored for four years without releasing anything, is finally on the verge of producing a bill. The House Judiciary Committee is holding its first immigration markup on Tuesday on an enforcement-centered bill that Democrats abhor. And the all-Democratic Congressional Hispanic Caucus will huddle with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday, and immigration will undoubtedly be a hot topic.”

National Journal: “John Boehner wants immigration reform to pass. To get it done, the House speaker will have to capitalize on the widening gap among conservatives, and he’s preparing the groundwork to do it. The rare split inside the conservative wing of Boehner’s Republican conference offers him an uncommon opportunity to bring a bill to the floor without facing an insurrection among his members. It also means convincing enough conservatives that passing some immigration measure won’t be preamble to the Senate using compromise negotiations to jam a more liberal version down the House’s throat.”

“The abortion wars return to Congress in a big way with House legislation to ban almost all abortions after a fetus reaches the age of 20 weeks,” AP writes. “The legislation expected to pass the Republican-controlled House as early as Tuesday has no chance of becoming law in the near future: The Democratic-led Senate will ignore it and the White House has issued a veto threat. But the measure gives social conservatives a rare chance to promote their anti-abortion agenda and lays the groundwork for what could be a future challenge to the 1973 Supreme Court decision that confirmed a woman’s right to late-term abortions.”

Roll Call: “The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., and intended to be ‘scored’ by the National Right to Life Committee, is based on the belief held by some medical experts that the fetus can begin to experience pain after the 20-week threshold. As originally written, the bill would hold physicians accountable to the law for performing an abortion after that threshold and would provide exemptions only when the pregnancy poses a life-threatening risk to the mother.”

DGA memo: “Today, House Republicans are poised to vote for an extreme ban on abortions after 22 weeks. But, with a Democratic president and Senate, House Republicans’ efforts will be in vain. Unfortunately for American women, the debate in the states—particularly those with Republican governors—isn’t just about political posturing. Whether it’s in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kansas, New Jersey, or one of several other GOP-helmed states, a woman’s right to make critical decisions about her own health is being taken away at a disturbing rate.”

The DSCC is taking aim on student loans: As July 1st quickly approaches, Paul Broun, Jack Kingston and Phil Gingrey continue to put special interests ahead of Georgia’s students and middle class families by siding with House Republicans to charge more for college loans. Champions of obstruction and gridlock in Washington, Broun, Gingrey and Kingston opposed freezing current student loan rates by refusing to sign a petition that would bring a bill directly to the floor that would prevent student loan rates from doubling, while at the same time backing the House Republican plan that would immediately raise interest rates for some students and make college more expensive for students across the country.”

The Hill: “Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is roiling the Senate immigration debate by offering several amendments that could give him an edge in a future Republican presidential primary. Paul, who could square off against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), one of the bill’s primary authors, in the 2016 GOP presidential primary, is taking aim at three of the most controversial areas of the bill, according to Senate aides familiar with the measures.” 

And here was Paul on Edward Snowden… Politico: “Sen. Rand Paul described NSA leaker Edward Snowden a ‘civil disobedient’ and noted that others protesting the government like Martin Luther King Jr. had only faced short jail terms.”

Paul said: “On deciding when you decide to become a civil disobedient - we’ve had famous ones in our career, but some of them only had to serve, like [Henry David] Thoreau only had to serve one day in jail, Martin Luther King served 30 days in jail. [Snowden] may be looking at life in prison. … People are saying, ‘Oh, he ought to just come home.’ But I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad idea if he’s facing life in prison.” 

Chaser: A majority believe Snowden should be prosecuted, per Pew: “54% of the public – including identical majorities of Republicans and Democrats (59% each) – say the government should pursue a criminal case against the person responsible for leaking the classified information about the program. Young people, by 60% to 34%, think that the NSA leak serves the public interest. Americans 30 and older are divided (46% serves vs. 47% harms). And while those younger than 30 are divided over whether Snowden should be prosecuted, majorities in older age groups favor the government pursuing a criminal case against him.”

“Speaker John A. Boehner faces one of his first big leadership tests of the year as he brings a farm bill to the floor this week amid opposition from a host of powerful conservative advocacy groups that have frequently bedeviled his speakership,” Roll Call writes. “It is uncommon for a speaker to pledge to vote for a bill, and the Ohio Republican’s promise last week to do so on the farm bill is even rarer, given that he has not voted for a farm bill since 1996.” 

The Hill: “A group of House Democrats has proposed legislation that would require companies around the country to give workers two hours of paid time off in order to vote in federal elections.”

It’s pot lobby day… “Legalization activists young and old will fan out across the Capitol on June 17 as part of Federal Marijuana Lobby Day, a pro-pot push poised to include food, booze and pep talks from sympathetic policymakers,” Roll Call writes. “Silver Tour founder Robert Platshorn, a convicted drug trafficker cum reform advocate — ‘I caught the first kingpin charge for marijuana,’ he shared, having served three decades of a whopping 64-year sentence — is bringing busloads of senior citizens who are interested in medical marijuana along for the congressional tour.”

Roll Call: “The Capitol community will pause for a few moments this week to honor Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist and former D.C. resident whose statued likeness will be placed in the Capitol on Wednesday.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro soon won’t be able to make his joke anymore that the way to tell between him and his twin brother Julian is that Julian’s married. Joaquin got engaged.

Ex-Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-IL) and his wife will be sentenced July 3. Lynn Sweet: “The couple pleaded guilty in February to looting their campaign funds of $750,000 over seven years. Sandi Jackson also faced income tax evasion charges.”