White House: Immigration reform would boost Utah economy $272m. McCain unsure between Clinton and Paul in 2016. Trib editor tries to calm Glenn Beck supporters.
Happy Thursday and welcome to August. Wanting to keep pressure on the House to pass immigration reform, the White House released a new state-by-state report today saying the Senate bill or something significantly similar to it would be a big economic boon.
The report, relying heavily on liberal think tanks and outside groups, comes out just as the House is preparing to leave on its traditional August recess, where many members, including Utah's representatives, will appear in town hall meetings where the issue is sure to be a hot topic.
The White House report includes a couple interesting numbers on Utah:
Topping the news: In an interview with The New Republic, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said that if it came down to a choice between Hillary Clinton and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, for the presidency he's unsure who he would choose. [NewRepublic] [Politico]
-> The Tribune's deputy editor, Tim Fitzpatrick, tries to explain the difference between op-eds and news articles as Glenn Beck's followers continue their tirade against the paper for publishing an opinion piece that attacked the conservative commentator. [Trib]
-> Congress has finalized a deal on student loan interest rates, tying them to market rates after a long battle that included missing a deadline and scaring tens of thousands of students still attending school. [Trib] National coverage: [Politico] [NYTimes]
-> Key Utah lawmakers are looking at changing a state law that allows prosecutors to use administrative subpoenas to gather an individual's Internet information in certain cases. [Trib]
Tweet of the day: From @pourmecoffee: "Monica Lewinsky is at the top of Drudge and the Backstreet Boys are releasing a new album. Who turned the Hot Tub Time Machine to 1998?!"
Happy birthday: to Jennifer Fox Young.
In other news: To make up for pollution violations at its Salt Lake City refinery, Chevron has agreed to pay a hefty fine and buy four new natural-gas school buses for the Jordan School District. [Trib]
-> Both of Utah's senators are undecided on how they will vote on the federal shield law for journalists that is up before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. [Trib]
-> During a Senate hearing on the NSA's phone surveillance program on Wednesday lawmakers questioned intelligence officials on the need for such a broad collection of data and suggested that more targeted data gathering, focusing on individual suspects, would be more effective. [Trib] National coverage: [NYTimes]
-> Sen. Mike Lee says that criticism from his fellow Republicans over halting funding for Obamacare or shutting down the government is "divisive" but nothing compared to what Americans will say if the GOP do something. [Politico]
-> UTA riders are unhappy with high fares, a reduced bus service and big executive salaries and bonuses, but are enthusiastic about the expansion of the rail network. This is the feedback the UTA board heard from representatives of key rider groups Wednesday as part of a retreat to help the agency choose its future priorities. [Trib]
-> The UTA's board chairman has defended the decision of authority officials to jet off to Switzerland to study mountain transportation systems the day after telling legislators their future plans would require a 66 percent tax increase. The trip was, he said, worth the time and money. [Trib]
-> Sen. Orrin Hatch suggests that Detroit's bankruptcy shows the need for moving away from defined pension plans in favor of annual annuities. [CNN]
-> The outdoor recreation industry lauded Gov. Gary Herbert for kicking off his statewide outdoor recreation plan by creating a new spot - director of the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation - in his Office of Economic Development. [Trib]
-> The Sutherland Institute has put together a helpful citizens' guide to municipal election candidates. [UtahCitizenNetwork]
-> The Utah Legislature's panel investigating AG John Swallow is set to name its outside counsel by Aug. 9. [UtahPolicy]
-> Bryan Schott says big money in Utah politics is here to stay even if the caucus-convention system is changed. [UtahPolicy]
-> Yesterday's Trib Talk addressed Utah's "ag-gag" law, with a group of activists debating the constitutionality of the law with an official from Utah's Farm Bureau. [Trib]
-> Left-leaning advocacy group Alliance for a Better Utah wants to know the criteria House Speaker Becky Lockhart used to choose the committee who will investigate AG John Swallow. [DNews]
-> A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows that Republican voters believe their party needs to reconsider its position on certain issues and address some major problems. [DNews]
Nationally: The Obama administration released previously classified documents pertaining to the NSA phone surveillance program, including a FISA court order requiring a Verizon subsidiary to hand over three months worth of customer phone logs. [NYTimes] [WaPost]
-> President Barack Obama visited Capitol Hill Wednesday morning to talk strategy with House and Senate Democrats in preparation for the fall congressional debates on the budget, federal debt and immigration reform. [WaPost]
-> Liberal fundraisers are outdoing the Republicans in the first half of this year. The Democratic group House Majority PAC has raised $3 million, while the two PACs supporting House GOP members have raised less than $1 million between them. [Politico]
Where are they?
-- Thomas Burr and Isobel Markham