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One rocky Donald Trump week tends to breed another... and another
Analyst: ‘If the election were held tomorrow, President Trump would lose — badly’

President Donald Trump speaks to the media prior to departing on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

After another rocky week for Donald Trump, former officials and experts see a president likely to become even more bold and unpredictable as his path to reelection appears to grow more difficult.

From a tumbling approval rating and worries among voters about his economic stewardship to his firing of another national security adviser to remarks at a 9/11 commemoration ceremony at the Pentagon that raised eyebrows to a special election in a Republican stronghold that was closer than expected, the president’s brash style was on full display.

List to replace fired national security adviser John Bolton grows to 15
Trump says he makes ‘all the decisions’ so senior advisers ‘don’t have to work’

President Donald Trump walks from the South Lawn to Marine One on his way to Joint Base Andrews in July 2018. He took the executive helicopter to a GOP retreat in Baltimore on Thursday evening. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There are now 15 candidates to replace John Bolton as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, but the president says it will not be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

There was talk around Washington that the former Kansas GOP congressman — rumored to be eyeing a Senate run in his home state next year — might do both jobs after increasingly becoming Trump’s go-to counselor on foreign affairs and national security. But the president put an end to such speculation Thursday evening.

Draft stopgap would protect Ukraine aid, deny wall flexibility
Draft CR doesn’t grant administration request to use CBP funds to build sections of southern border wall outside of Rio Grande Valley Sector

North Carolina Highway 12 leading onto Hatteras Island is covered with sand after Hurricane Dorian hit the area on Sept. 6. The draft stopgap spending bill being circulated by Democrats would accommodate a White House request to speed up disaster relief spending for Dorian cleanup as other tropical disturbances still threaten. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The measure would also accommodate a White House request to allow an increased rate of disaster relief spending as cleanup from Hurricane Dorian continues and other tropical disturbances still threaten

House Democrats are circulating a draft stopgap spending bill to fund government agencies beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year that would prevent the White House from blocking military assistance to Ukraine and money for a variety of foreign aid-related programs.

Senate appropriations process continues to devolve
Labor-HHS-Education and State-Foreign Operations spending bills mired in abortion dispute

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., has seen the Senate’s appropriations process begin to fray this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate appropriators have abandoned plans to mark up two spending bills Thursday that have become mired in a partisan dispute over abortion policy.

The Appropriations Committee announced it will postpone consideration of its fiscal 2020 Labor-HHS-Education bill and its State-Foreign Operations bill. As of Wednesday evening, the panel still planned to take up its Defense and Energy-Water bills at a full committee markup, along with a measure that would divvy up total discretionary spending among the 12 subcommittees.

Trump attacks new poll showing his approval rating tumbling
Washington Post-ABC survey shows a 6-point drop over a summer of self-inflicted wounds, trade war

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at the White House before departing on Monday for a campaign rally in North Carolina. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On a day when voters in a reliably red North Carolina congressional district head to the polls in a closer-than-expected House race, President Donald Trump lashed out at a poll that showed his approval rating tumbling.

As he waited to see if voters in the Tar Heel State’s competitive 9th Congressional District will send a Democrat to Washington for the first time since 1963, he took umbrage at a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. That survey put his approval rating at 38 percent — down from 44 percent in June — along with a 56 percent disapproval rating.

With Congress back, Trump tells staff he doesn’t want another shutdown
Hill envoy details to-do list, which could face obstacles, including from White House

President Donald Trump has told his staff to avoid a government shutdown, but several obstacles remain to getting spending deals, as well as other legislative priorities. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House has an ambitious autumn and winter legislative agenda that includes avoiding another government shutdown and winning approval of a sweeping trade pact — but a key official says legislation aimed at preventing mass shootings is not certain to move this year.

Both chambers returned Monday from a rather bloody August recess in which more than 40 people died during mass shootings in four states. Members of both parties say they want to move some kind of bill aimed at curbing gun violence amid polling that shows large majorities of Republican and Democratic voters want Washington to act. But no plan that could pass the House and Senate — and get President Donald Trump’s signature — has emerged.

Retiring lawmakers will face tough market on K Street
‘K Street is not hungering for former members,’ senator-turned-lobbyist Norm Coleman says

In most cases, it’s congressional staff members who K Street really clamors for. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

K Street recruiters are poring over the list of 21, and counting, lawmakers planning to exit Congress, but the lobbying sector may offer a shrinking supply of big-money gigs heading into the 2020 elections. 

As more House members and senators consider making their escape from Capitol Hill, the realities of the K Street economy and the well-worn revolving door will be among their considerations, say insiders at lobbying firms and downtown headhunters.

Democrats need rural voters to put Iowa in play in 2020
Party hopes to build on midterm gains, but hasn’t settled on the right approach

John Olsen from Des Moines, Iowa, wears a vest with presidential buttons as he listens to former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Aug. 8. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

GREENFIELD, Iowa — The sunlight sparkled on Greenfield Lake on a hot Sunday in August as the Democrats passed around a paper bowl, tossing in a few dollars they had in their pockets.

It was a scene that could easily have taken place in a church earlier that day, when parishioners offer donations as baskets are passed through the pews.

August is ‘quirky’: Trump’s top economic adviser brushes off disappointing jobs report
Data offers Americans ‘little comfort,’ Pelosi says, warning of president's ‘reckless agenda’

President Donald Trump speaks while flanked by Director of the National Economic Council Lawrence Kudlow during an event for American workers in the State Dining Room of the White House in October. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Lawrence Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, shrugged off a disappointing jobs report by saying August “is always a quirky month.”

Nonfarm payrolls added 130,000 jobs last month, about 20,000 less than most Wall Street estimates — a figure made further concerning because it was boosted by 25,000 temporary government hires in anticipation of the 2020 census. What’s more, total construction activity for July was $1.29 trillion, down 2.7 percent compared with July 2018, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Friday. The decline was led by a 6.6 percent drop in residential construction.

White House pushes ban on Chinese-made buses, rail cars
Advocate for ban says state-backed Chinese companies can underbid domestic competition and drive them out of business

A MARC commuter train leaves a station in Brunswick, Md. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House wants China to stay out of the U.S. mass transit business, whether it’s bus transit or passenger rail.

In a statement of policy before the House and Senate get together in a conference committee to work out their differences in a wide-ranging Pentagon policy bill, the White House said it supports a Senate provision that would bar federal transit funds from being used to buy transit vehicles manufactured by state-owned or state-controlled enterprises, including those from China.