This town continues to amaze, only in part because of what we're learning in This Town. As for lessons away from Washington, two presidents can get along better the more time zones they are from it. When it comes to health care, Yes, we can, perhaps, but we'll have to wait another year for some of it. In congressional races, whatever rhymes with Grimes spells relief for Democrats. Gabby Giffords is fired up and firing away, but the Senate may be out of earshot. And abroad, a coup may or may not be a coup, but it can feel like déjà vu just the same.
With that in mind, here's a look at the stories the ABC News political unit will be tracking in the week ahead:
The Fourth of July was celebrated early, fireworks and all, in Egypt, with the overthrow of … the country's first ever democratically elected government. It was followed by fresh rounds of violence and utter uncertainty in Cairo and beyond. This is awkward for the United States, which backed the elected Morsi regime until that was no longer a tenable option. President Obama really doesn't want to call what happened in Egypt a "coup," since that could mean less stability in a vital country, and it would also mean the U.S. would have to cut off aid. So the option for now would seem to be not to say much at all; President Obama spent Friday playing golf before heading off to Camp David for the weekend, and Secretary of State John Kerry spent at least part of his week on boats off Nantucket. Neither man had spoken on-camera about the upheaval as of Friday afternoon.
The immigration debate is now squarely in the House of Representatives, with the Senate overwhelmingly passing its version of a comprehensive bill before the congressional break. House leaders will begin to chart their next steps with a special meeting of House Republicans on Wednesday on just the subject of immigration reform. Speaker John Boehner will ultimately face the big choice – whether to support a path to citizenship or not – but until then there are plenty of little questions. Will the bipartisan "gang" in the House break through with something like a similar group did in the Senate? Will there be a Marco Rubio figure who brings conservatives along? One indication of the lack of House urgency, out of a relatively quiet break week of town-hall meetings, came from House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va.: "Getting it right is more important than passing a bill."
|Hurry Up and Wait|
The smooth implementation of Obamacare hit a big, misshapen speed bump with the surprising decision to delay the "employer mandate" part of the law until 2015. The Obama administration's decision was a relief to small-to-medium-size businesses that were facing a new fine in 2014 unless they started offering health coverage to their workers. But it's also a major-size embarrassment for a White House that's insisted all is on track to implement the sweeping new law. The law was passed in 2010, and if four years won't be enough to implement just this small piece of it, how confident can anyone be that the rest of Obamacare will go into place without major issues? The news of this delay is emboldening GOP efforts to push for repeal of the whole thing.
Fresh off – or, more accurately, in the middle of – an immigration fight that's severely tested his ties to conservatives, Sen. Marco Rubio is mulling whether to jump into a hot-button social-issue fight. Rubio, R-Fla., is considering lending his political weight to a major anti-abortion measure that's already passed the House. The measure, which would ban abortions beyond 20 weeks of pregnancy, has no realistic chance of passing the Senate, much less becoming law. But Rubio's involvement would give anti-abortion efforts a boost, building at the federal level on momentum in a wide swath of states. It would also be seen as a signal of how Rubio wants to define himself beyond immigration, as a likely 2016 presidential run takes shape.
Hillary Clinton is on her way to being the first non-candidate in the history of non-campaigns to have fully formed organizations for and against her not-going-to-happen-for-a-while-at-least bid for the presidency. The next step in this parallel and bizarre political universe will come Wednesday in New York City, where Mitt Romney's former campaign manager will be hosting the "Inaugural Stop Hillary 2016 Luncheon" for big-ticket Republican donors. Yes, this is happening. And it's not to be confused with the Stop Hillary PAC, which was formed to oppose the Ready for Hillary PAC, which itself has no formal connection to the actual person named Hillary Clinton, who is not now but may some day be running for president.