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.
Is Immigration the Only Answer for the GOP?
Are Republicans doomed without passing comprehensive immigration reform? That's been the underlying assumption in much of the media coverage over the last month. As the thinking goes, rejection of the Gang of Eight's legislation will permanently consign Republicans to the measly 27 percent of Hispanic voters that Mitt Romney received in the 2012 election.
Republicans face a serious challenge diversifying their coalition. But the narrow focus on immigration as a silver bullet understates their problems and neglects the possibility that other factors contributed to the GOP's problem. President Obama didn't touch immigration throughout most of his first term, only belatedly addressing the issue during a tight campaign. Yet he still won Latinos in a landslide.
Romney's crack on "self-deportation" surely cost him minority support, but his economic messaging and privileged background didn't help either. Indeed, Romney performed even worse among Asian-Americans than Hispanics—a sign that the GOP problems go well beyond immigration.
If Republicans focused on proposals for economic opportunity—education reform and worker retraining programs, to name two—it could yield greater dividends across racial lines than simply passing an immigration bill.
NAPOLITANO LEAVING DHS TO RUN UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SYSTEM. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Friday she is stepping down from her Cabinet post in September to become president of the University of California system, bringing an end to a tenure in which she oversaw the Obama administration's handling of homegrown terrorism, powerful natural disasters, and immigration, The New York Times reports. Napolitano, who was Arizona's governor before being chosen for Obama's Cabinet and was believed to want the U.S. attorney general job, said in a statement that her department "worked together to minimize threats of all kinds to the American public." Napolitano's new job, reported first by the Los Angeles Times, will make her the first woman to head the 10-campus system in its 145-year history. Read more
- News of Napolitano's imminent departure sent Washington policy wonks into a frenzy of speculation about who would take her place this fall, National Journal's Sara Sorcher reports. Read more
DESPITE HURDLES, LAWMAKERS VOICE CONFIDENCE ON IMMIGRATION PUSH. Some lawmakers in both the Senate and House remain optimistic that the two chambers can negotiate on immigration reform and hammer out a compromise by the end of the year. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who chairs an immigration panel, told Bloomberg News on Friday that "I don't know anyone who doesn't think the current system is broken," but cautioned that the House might not vote on a measure before the August recess. Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and John McCain, R-Ariz., said Thursday they are confident that House Republicans will choose action over inaction. Meanwhile, some high-ranking House Republicans are drafting legislation that would resemble the Dream Act's path to citizenship for immigrant children. Read more
- Facing a House that is thoroughly unimpressed with the immigration bill just passed by the Senate, members of the "Gang of Eight" are looking to an outside-in strategy to pressure lawmakers into action, National Journal's Rebecca Kaplan reports. Read more
SOME EGYPTIANS REJECT MORSI OUSTER ON DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLE. A number of Egyptians are quietly showing support for deposed President Mohamed Morsi, decrying the military's ouster of the leader as having "usurped the democratic process," The Wall Street Journal reports. "These people wanted democracy and felt that if they didn't like the president's performance, they would vote him out," a political science professor observed. "They are an important constituency but it's difficult to say which way they are going to go." Tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters also gathered in front of Cairo University on Thursday to demand Morsi's reinstatement. Read more
- Lawmakers will soon vote on legislation that will allow U.S. aid to continue to Egypt even if the Obama administration decides the toppling of Morsi on July 3 was a military coup, Reuters reports. Read more
SENATE ON PATH TO 'NUCLEAR' WAR; REID CLAIMS HE HAS VOTES FOR FILIBUSTER REFORM. Another round of brinkmanship—unusually hostile even by Washington standards—over political appointments is under way in the Senate, with Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., once again putting his finger squarely on the button of the "nuclear option" viewed with horror by Republicans, National Journal's Michael Catalini reports. Reid set the Senate on a path Thursday toward changing Senate rules so that only a simple majority is needed to clear executive nominations. Before its formal session on Tuesday, the Senate will gather at 6 p.m. Monday for a rare, informal meeting in the Old Senate Chamber to hash out differences on rules and confirmation procedures. Reid also plans votes next week on seven executive branch nominees, Roll Callreports. Read more
SPECIAL ISSUE: WOMEN IN WASHINGTON. This week's National Journal features Jill Lawrence's cover story that explains how women in Congress, making up only one-fifth of the body, have acquired power by getting things done. Exemplifying that influential spirit, NJ also identified 25 women under 35 who are making their mark in Congress, think tanks, lobby shops, federal agencies, and other venues.
- National Journal's Stephanie Stamm provides an infographic on the distribution of women in the federal workforce.
SNOWDEN SURFACES AT AIRPORT, REQUESTS ASYLUM IN RUSSIA. Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden appeared Friday at the Moscow airport and reportedly is asking Russia to grant him temporary asylum in exchange for a promise to stop sharing U.S. secrets, Reuters reports. "A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise," the fugitive reportedly said during his meeting with a small group of human rights activists, adding: "I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. … That is the power to change people's fates." A Russian lawmaker present at the meeting said Snowden is seeking asylum there. Other participants said he wants to move to Latin America. Read more
- Aviation experts say Snowden's best bet for flying to another country for asylum would be on a commercial plane rather than a private or government jet, Reuters reports. Read more
CBO NUMBERS AT ISSUE IN STALLED STUDENT LOAN DEAL. Senators working on legislation seeking a permanent fix to the federal student-loan program are facing blowback from Republicans not wanting the measure to add to the deficit, Roll Call reports. A Congressional Budget Office review of the latest bipartisan bill calculated a cost of $22 billion over the next decade, a price some Republicans are indicating is too big to pay. Congressional Democrats remain between a rock and a hard place on the issue: They don't like the White House's plan but can't agree on their own permanent solution. Read more
SYRIAN REBELS LAMENT DELAYED WEAPONS SHIPMENTS AFTER DEATH OF COMMANDER. Free Syrian Army commander Kamal Hamami was killed at a checkpoint in northwestern Syria by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a merged group of Iraqi and Syrian al-Qaida branches, the Associated Press reports. The FSA joined the unified rebel command known as the Supreme Military Council in December in an effort by rebel leaders to secure military assistance from the West, assistance that is being delayed by some U.S. lawmakers. Read more
- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., at odds over Reid's threat to use the "nuclear option" to alter the chamber's filibuster rules, will appear on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.
- Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Peter King, R-N.Y., and Mike Kelly, R-Pa., will discuss immigration reform on CBS' Face the Nation, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the situations in Syria and Egypt.
- Reps. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Steve Israel, D-N.Y., will discuss immigration reform on FNC's Fox News Sunday, and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, will weigh in on former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
- CNN's State of the Union will feature an interview with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who announced this week that he will not seek an unprecedented fourth term in 2014.
"Davey Johnson is a manager of the National Mets—this team we're so happy to have here in Washington"—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., talking baseball Thursday on the Senate floor (The Hill)
THE END OF SUMMER? The erosion of beaches in the tony enclaves of Malibu and Nantucket has wealthy residents scrambling to protect their waterfront properties, but their efforts have drawn the ire of others, William D. Cohan and Vanessa Grigoriadis report in Vanity Fair. Owners of summer homes in Nantucket are contending not just with Mother Nature, but also with year-round residents and a conservation commission that they accuse of "fomenting class warfare" on the island. In Malibu, decades of tension between private homeowners and public beachgoers have engendered little sympathy for those now battling erosion. While the wealthy residents are willing to spend millions to combat the effects of erosion, scientists advocate "managed retreat," a more laissez-faire approach that concedes the futility of efforts such as "beach nourishment," which involves trucking in sand to replace that which was lost. Read more
Media Matters finds that the guests on Sunday morning political shows are overwhelmingly white, male and conservative. In the first six months of 2013, white men made up between 58 and 66 percent of guests on ABC's This Week, CBS' Face the Nation, NBC's Meet the Press, FNC's Fox News Sunday, and CNN's State of the Union. The study also includes gender and racial breakdowns of solo interview subjects, journalists, and panelists. See it here
BuzzFeed offers a gallery of photos in which President Obama has "copied" his predecessors, from heading a soccer ball (Richard Nixon) to sharing a fist-bump (George H.W. Bush) and "the three-way peace handshake" (Jimmy Carter). See it here
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