BETSY DEVOS AND DAN FOREST PITCH FEDERAL PRIVATE SCHOOL PROGRAM: DeVos made her presentation at a meeting co-chaired by Forest and attended by school-choice advocates. Forest, a Republican, praised the program as a way to customize educational opportunities like his family did when they homeschooled their four children. “Every parent should have the opportunity to select the best educational opportunity for their student, whatever it may be,” Forest said. The program, which DeVos first announced in February, faces an uphill battle in the Democratic-controlled Congress. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate Education Committee, has called the plan “dead on arrival” and a case of DeVos “pushing an anti-public school agenda,” the Associated Press reported.
TRUMP PUTS ON HATE-FILLED EXTRAVAGANZA IN GREENVILLE: At times, the crowd was fired up as the president touted his successes and criticized the Russia investigation. While talking about economy, Trump referenced the "witch hunt" investigation into Russian meddling into the 2016 election. He then repeated what a person in the crowd said about it, saying "bull----." Trump also brought up the four Democrat women he referenced in a weekend tweet that led to the U.S. House on Tuesday passing a measure condemning his actions. He referenced Ilhan Omar, one of the four, and the crowd chanted "Send Her Back." "Tonight I have a suggestion for the hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down," Trump said. "They never have anything good to say. That's why I say, 'Hey if you don't like it, let 'em leave, let 'em leave.'" On Twitter, Omar responded by quoting from Maya Angelou's poem "Still I Rise."
IMMIGRANT STAYING IN CHAPEL HILL CHURCH FINED OVER $300,000 BY ICE: In April 2018, ICE ordered Rosa Ortez Cruz to turn herself in for deportation at a government office in Charlotte. Instead, the Honduran asylum-seeker sought refuge in a Chapel Hill church. Now, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement wants to fine her $314,007 for failing to show up — or up to $799 for each day she has failed to do so. In a letter sent to her and her lawyers through certified mail and provided to the Observer, ICE enforcement program manager Lisa Hoescht charged that Ortez Cruz had “willfully failed or refused” to present herself for deportation and “connived or conspired” to prevent her removal from the U.S. In at least five states across the country, the Associated Press reported, similar notices have been sent to immigrants hiding out from deportation in churches — a practice known as taking sanctuary. As in schools and hospitals, the agency generally does not arrest people inside houses of worship.
HESITANT U.S. HOUSE STALLS IMPEACHMENT EFFORT BY TEXAS DEMOCRAT: Democrats leaned against the resolution by Texas Rep. Al Green by about a 3-2 margin as the chamber killed the measure 332-95. The vote showed that so far, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been successful in her effort to prevent a Democratic stampede toward impeachment before additional evidence is developed that could win over a public that has so far been skeptical about ousting Trump. Even so, the numbers also showed that the number of Democrats open to impeachment remains substantial. About two dozen more conversions would split the party’s caucus in half over an issue that could potentially dominate next year’s presidential and congressional campaigns. “There’s a lot of grief, from a lot of different quarters,” Green, speaking to reporters after the vote, said of the reaction he’s received from colleagues. “But sometimes you just have to take a stand.” Every voting Republican favored derailing Green’s measure. Recent polling has shown solid majorities oppose impeachment. Even if the Democratic-run House would vote to impeach Trump, the equivalent of filing formal charges, a trial by the Republican-led Senate would all but certainly acquit him, keeping him in office.
RAND PAUL THROWS THE BRAKES ON 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS BILL: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) spoke out on the Senate floor Wednesday after Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) proposed that the bill be approved by unanimous consent. Under Senate rules, an objection from a single senator can block a measure offered via unanimous consent. Paul said he objected because any program that would last decades “should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable. We need, at the very least, to have this debate,” he said, adding that he would offer an amendment on the cost of the bill when it reaches the Senate floor. “I am deeply disappointed that my colleague has just objected,” Gillibrand said. “Enough of the political games. Our 9/11 first responders and our entire nation are watching to see if this body actually cares. Do we care about the men and women who answer the call of duty?” The head of the Fraternal Order of Police, Chuck Canterbury, called Paul’s objection to the legislation “disgraceful.”