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Charles Dharapak | AP file photo Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Road to Majority Conference in Washington, June 13, 2013.
News roundup: Sen. Mike Lee says Obama thinks he's a king

Lee: Obama thinks he's a king. Conservation groups sue Forest Service. GOP donors urge immigration reform.

Happy Wednesday. Sen. Mike Lee said Tuesday that the country has seen a dangerous shift in power over the last few years with the Executive Branch taking powers that should be left to Congress. "What we have is an elected president who thinks he's a king," Lee told a group of young Republicans. The comment comes as Lee continues his fight to defund Obamacare even if it means blocking a budget and shutting down the government. [DailyCaller]

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Topping the news: Two conservation groups are suing the U.S. Forest Service over its plans to permit logging within 8,300 acres of the Dixie National Forest. Conservationists argue the area is an important habitat for several sensitive species. [Trib]

-> More than 100 Republican donors, including nine Utahns, have co-signed a letter sent to GOP members of Congress urging dsaction on immigration reform. [DNews] [ABC4] [UtahPolicy]

Tweet of the day: From @daveweigel: "'Quit isn't the way we roll in NYC,' says Weiner, who didn't quit cyber-sexing girls after he said he would. anthonyweiner.com"

Happy birthday: to former Deseret News editor Joe Cannon. And a belated happy birthday to Brian Phillips, communication director for Sen. Mike Lee; Morgan Philpot, a former GOP gubernatorial and congressional candidate; and Dan Nailen, all around cool guy and former Trib reporter. All three had their birthdays on Tuesday.

In other news: The 8th District Judicial Nominating Commission has picked its nominees for three open vacancies - one in the district court and two in the juvenile court. All written comments must be submitted by noon on August 7th. [Trib]

-> Pat Bagley gives his take on Pope Francis's comment that he would not judge priests for their sexual orientation. [Trib]

-> Paul Rolly discusses Sen. Mike Lee's plan to defund Obamacare, his new fundraising campaign that piggybacks on it and his attempt to tamp down the effects of the letter he co-signed in an interview with the Deseret News. [Trib]

-> The SL Co. Council has unanimously approved an audit of its mental health care system after Valley Mental Health announced it was scaling back services due to budget cuts. Up to $50,000 has been allocated for the task and two or three county representatives will also be put forward for board positions. [Trib] [DNews]

-> The nine-member Alternative Energy Interlocal Entity Board, a new government panel working to promote natural gas vehicles, met for the first time Tuesday. The meeting largely concerned administrative issues and only touched briefly on the potential to expand Utah's natural gas fueling network. [Trib]

Nationally: In a speech in Chattanooga, Tenn., President Barack Obama pledged to cut corporate tax rates in exchange for a promise from Republicans to invest in programs to create jobs for the middle class. His "grand bargain" was swiftly rejected by the GOP. [NYTimes] [WaPost]

-> Pfc. Bradley Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy by leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks but was convicted of lesser charges that could still earn him more than a century in prison. [Politico]

-> Proposed cuts to the food stamps program, which Congress is due to review, would drop more than 5 million people from the program, according to a report released Tuesday. [NYTimes]

-> In a talk at Harvard Law School Tuesday, new EPA chief Gina McCarthy promised that climate change would be addressed over the next three years. [WaPost]

-> The Senate has confirmed all five nominations for the National Labor Relations Board. As part of a deal to avert the "nuclear option" threatened by Majority Leader Harry Reid earlier in the month, Democrats agreed to drop two of their original choices and select two new nominations. [ABCNews]

-> Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn't yet decided his position on the plan to defund Obamacare of shutdown the government as put forward by three Republicans including Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. [TheHill]

Where are they?

  • Rep. Jason Chaffetz attends a GOP conference and a Judiciary Committee markup.
  • Rep. Chris Stewart joins the weekly GOP meeting, attends a Committee on Natural Resources markup, talks public power with Nephi Mayor Mark R. Jones, attends a U.S. CyberCom briefing, discusses financial issues with the Bipartisan United Solutions Caucus and discusses Obamacare at a Heritage Foundation event.
  • President Barack Obama is on Capitol Hill to meet with the House and Senate Democratic Caucuses before welcoming the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies to the White House. Later on he joins VP Joe Biden in a meeting with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

-- Thomas Burr and Isobel Markham

Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/i_markham

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