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May 29, 2015

Posts in "Barack Obama"

May 27, 2015

Patriot Act Renewal Has Lawmakers on Both Sides on Edge

Amash, R-Mich., heads to the House floor for votes on Thursday, April 23, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc.

Amash was in the Capitol Tuesday, “keeping an eye on the House.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With most lawmakers out of town and controversial Patriot Act provisions set to expire in just days, national security hawks in the House and Senate hope Congress can magically pull an agreement out of a hat.

That possibility — a quick and dirty patch, cobbled together and quietly passed during recess, despite earlier assurances from House leaders that wouldn’t happen — had some skeptics on the other side of the issue concerned enough to stick close to the Capitol this week.

Full story

May 21, 2015

Could Conservatives Push TPA Over the Finish Line?

As the House inches closer to a vote on the long-awaited Trade Promotion Authority bill, conservatives who have traditionally been hard-liners in their opposition to deals with the White House are taking a softer approach.

While many on the right are still hedging their position on the TPA, there appears to be some conservative support for the trade process legislation. And with congressional Democrats increasingly taking a firmer line against the TPA, which would give expedited consideration to the Trans-Pacific Partnership under negotiation with 11 other countries, conservatives could be the key to getting the TPA over the finish line.

Full story

May 19, 2015

Boehner: Obama Should Start Over on War Authority Request (Video)

 Boehner, R-Ohio, conducts his weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center, May 14, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner steps up criticism of Obama as ISIL takes Ramadi. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker John A. Boehner, escalating his criticism of the administration’s handling of the war against the Islamic State terror group, said Tuesday the president should scrap his Authorization for Use of Military Force proposal and submit something different to Congress.

“The president, frankly, should withdraw the [AUMF] and start over,” Boehner said at a news conference. “We don’t have a strategy. … For over two years I’ve been calling on the president to develop an overarching strategy to deal with the terrorist threat. We don’t have one, and the fact is the threat is growing faster than what we and our allies can do to stop it.”

Full story

May 18, 2015

McCarthy: No Plans in House to Budge on NSA Curbs

McCarthy, R-Calif., listens as other House GOP leaders speak to reporters following the House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McCarthy (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has a message for Senate Republicans: If they want to extend expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, they aren’t going to do any better than the so-called USA Freedom Act.

The California Republican wouldn’t say whether there was a contingency plan if the Senate doesn’t heed that advice. Full story

Democrats: Don’t Cut Medicare to Fund Trade Deal

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 10: Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., reads from his new book "My Country 'Tis of Thee," during a conversation at the Center for American Progress. The books touches on issues from his Muslim faith and family to the future of the country. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Ellison and Grijalva want changes to the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats successfully blocked debate on Trade Promotion Authority in their chamber until they were promised a vote on Trade Adjustment Assistance.

A similar gambit faces longer odds in the House, but Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairmen Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona and Keith Ellison of Minnesota began Monday an effort to rally support among Democrats to force changes to the pending TAA legislation.

Full story

May 14, 2015

Pro-Immigration Provision Stripped From Defense Bill

Brooks' amendment prevailed Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Brooks’ amendment prevailed Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A bipartisan coalition came close Thursday to protecting immigration-related language in the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act — but not close enough.

A 221-202 vote on an amendment, offered by Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., stripped a provision in the underlying bill encouraging the Pentagon to study options for enlisting undocumented immigrants into the military in exchange for a pathway to legal status.

All 182 Democrats voted “no,” joined by 20 Republicans. Full story

May 6, 2015

Conservatives Set for Immigration Fight on Defense Bill

Gallego, D-Ariz., gestures to other freshman members as they arrive early on the House steps for the House Democratic Caucus media event "to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Pr

Gallego’s amendment supporting the rights of undocumented immigrants to serve in the military has been targeted by House conservatives. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Last week, the House Armed Services Committee voted 33-30 for an amendment to the fiscal 2016 National Defense Authorization Act that would encourage the Pentagon to affirm undocumented immigrants should be permitted to serve in the military.

This week, more than two dozen conservative House Republicans are threatening to derail the must-pass legislation unless that language is removed. Full story

May 1, 2015

House Rejects Marijuana-for-Veterans Amendment — Barely

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Blumenauer’s amendment failed, narrowly. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In about as close a vote as you can get, the House rejected an amendment Thursday that would have allowed veterans to seek medical marijuana through the Veterans Affairs health system.

The amendment, offered by Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer, was rejected 210-213. Full story

Immigration Fight Could Return to House This Month

immigration news

Denham will try again to include in this year’s defense bill a pathway to legal status for undocumented immigrants who serve in the armed forces. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy opened his Friday memo to House members regarding May’s legislative agenda by quoting Steve Jobs and praising Republicans for the victories they’ve overseen in the first 100 days of the 114th Congress.

But GOP success stories may be overshadowed later this month when Republicans again face one of the most politically dangerous and unforgiving issues for the party: immigration. Full story

Trade Deal on Hold While Obama Woos Democrats (Video)

Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., run into each other in the green room in between their weekly news conferences in the Capitol Visitor Center's Studio A, July 10, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Boehner, left, and Pelosi don’t have a trade deal yet, but President Obama is actively lobbying Democrats to sign on. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s been a week since Speaker John A. Boehner warned the stalled Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal backed by President Barack Obama needed help from the White House. On Thursday there were indications the president is stepping up his efforts.

Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi each used much of their weekly news conferences Thursday to temper expectations for the prospects of the trade deal. But a group of about 30 Democrats who met later in the day with Obama were more optimistic.

Full story

April 30, 2015

One Down, 11 to Go: GOP’s Uncertain Appropriations Season

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., is interviewed by CQ Roll Call in his Capitol office, November 12, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rogers acknowledges passing all 12 GOP spending bills will be tough. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democratic leaders succeeded in holding back all but 19 of their members on the first appropriations vote of the season without even formally whipping against the Republican bill.

It’s a sign the Democratic caucus is putting a plan in motion to try to stymie GOP appropriations bills one by one, until Republicans reach a breaking point and agree to reconsider the current sequester-level spending caps. Full story

April 29, 2015

House GOP Postpones Votes on VA Spending Bill

Mulvaney, R-S.C., conducts a bicameral news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center to urge passage of the Homeland Security Department funding bill, February 12, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

South Carolina Republican Mulvaney teamed Wednesday with Maryland Democrat Van Hollen to derail, for now, the veterans spending bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans have been boasting about their early start to appropriations season, but consideration of the very first spending bill — considered the least controversial of all 12 annual measures — hit a snag Wednesday night.

GOP leaders had intended to hold evening votes on a slew of amendments and on final passage of the fiscal 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill, but ultimately opted to postpone that vote series at the very last minute. Full story

House Democrats Threaten to Sink House GOP Spending Bills

ocratic Caucus chairman Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., speaks during the House Democrats' news conference on poverty and the House Republicans' budget on Tuesday, March 19, 2013. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Copyright © Roll Call Group

Becerra and other Democrats may defect on the Department of Veterans Affairs spending bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Democrats voted unanimously last year for the appropriations bill to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs and related programs; this year, there could be considerable defections.

Reps. Xavier Becerra of California and Joseph Crowley of New York, the chairman and vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus respectively, told reporters Wednesday morning they would not be complicit in passing the fiscal 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill this week — a bill they contend would ultimately decimate veterans services.

Full story

April 28, 2015

Long Odds for Congressional Action on Policing

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28:  (L-R) Congressman Elijah Cummings cries while greeting Maryland Governor Larry Hogan the morning after citywide riots following the funeral of Freddie Gray, on April 28, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Cummings sheds a tear while greeting Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in Baltimore the morning after citywide riots followed the funeral of Freddie Gray. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

It’s the fourth high-profile episode in less than a year in which police have been involved in the death of a black man under questionable circumstances — this time in Baltimore, a short drive north of Washington, D.C.

But neither the proximity of Monday’s riots over the April 19 death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray nor the usual outpouring of “it’s time to do something” rhetoric are likely to inspire House lawmakers to tackle any number of existing legislative proposals aimed at addressing growing nationwide concerns about aggressive police tactics. Full story

McCarthy Defends First 100 Days, Previews What’s Ahead

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McCarthy defended the House GOP’s first 100 days of the 114th Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the second reporters’ briefing of his majority leader career, California Republican Kevin McCarthy offered a strong defense of the House GOP’s record in the first 100 days of the 114th Congress.

Appropriations bills are coming to the floor as early as they have since 1974, he said, with the first two up for consideration this week; and committees are passing bills at a higher rate than in the past three Congresses. Full story

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