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February 6, 2016

Posts in "Democrats"

March 10, 2015

Lott-Daschle Reform Bars Bill-Blocking Actions | Procedural Politics

House Republicans painted themselves and the Senate into a corner by making Department of Homeland Security funding after Feb. 27 contingent on rolling back President Barack Obama’s unilateral immigration actions. Surely, they were fantasizing a corner with a hidden trap door and safe room.

Instead, a more realistic escape route appeared out of nowhere — a rope ladder thrown down by a federal district court judge in Texas who stayed the president’s 2014 immigration action pending disposition of legal challenges to it by 26 states. Since judicial appeals from the dueling orders could take months, the judge’s injunction freed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to propose a compromise: a clean DHS funding bill in return for separate consideration of a bill rescinding the president’s 2014 immigration order.

Full story

March 3, 2015

Watch: Benjamin Netanyahu Addresses Congress

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on security threats posed by “radical Islam” and Iran. Congress will reconvene at 10:45 a.m. for Netanyahu’s speech. Full story

February 24, 2015

Keystone Process Tells Tale of Two Houses | Procedural Politics

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Boehner signs the Keystone bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Do you remember Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California promising last fall to return the new Congress to the regular order? The initial test came on the first major bill in the well of both houses, the Keystone XL Pipeline Act. Whereas the Senate produced a veritable gusher of amendments with all hands at the wellhead, the House reverted to a narrowly-constricted flow tube controlled by a few valve masters.

Identical House and Senate pipeline bills were introduced on the opening day of the new Congress by two North Dakota Republicans, Rep. Kevin Cramer and Sen. John Hoeven. Both measures were placed on a fast track to the floor the first week of the session. But that’s where the similarities ended. Full story

June 13, 2014

Unemployment Extension Cause Has Invisible Lobby | K Street Files

Unemployment extension advocates aren't as visible as other campaigns. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Unemployment extension lobbyists aren’t as visible — even though 3 million are affected. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Walk through the Capitol South Metro station and you’ll pass SoftBank ads that festoon the walls — but you won’t see a campaign for the 3 million people hoping Congress will pass an unemployment insurance extension.

Business groups and most big-money lobbies that typically place such advertising to influence the people working in the Capitol either oppose extending jobless benefits, or they won’t take a position.

That leaves the unemployment extension lobbying mostly to people who are out of work themselves, along with an unusual collection of Washington allies: unions, religious organizations, anti-poverty and mental health groups. Full story

May 7, 2014

Opinion Duel: CQ Roll Call Moderates Debate on Keystone XL (Video)


CQ Roll Call is excited to offer the first installment of a new video series, “Opinion Duel,” created by The Purple Network. Roll Call has partnered with National Review and The Nation to bring you in-depth discussions of top political issues with more discussion than a short cable news segment. Representing the left, right, and center, each Opinion Duel program will feature an intelligent debate on key legislative issues between The Nation on the left, National Review on the right, and CQ Roll Call editors playing the important role of moderator.

In this first installment of the Opinion Duel, Roll Call’s Editor-in-Chief Christina Bellantoni moderated a discussion with Charles C. W. Cooke, from National Review and The Nation‘s Zoë Carpenter. Carpenter and Cooke discussed the interests surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline and whether President Obama has been active on the climate change agenda. Bellantoni lead the discussion with questions that allowed Cooke and Carpenter to offer differing sides of the political spectrum concerning the Keystone XL pipeline and the administration’s current delay of any resolution to the hot-button issue.

The Purple Network is a partnership which strives to deliver content from all sides of the ideological divide to inform the whole spectrum of politically engaged thought leaders.

Watch the engaging discussion below:

April 2, 2014

Will McCutcheon Ruling Boost Political Parties?

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Priebus voiced his excitement on the ruling Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus could hardly contain his glee during a conference call with reporters shortly after the Supreme Court ruled to strike the aggregate limit on campaign contributions.

“We are excited about the outcome of this case,” exulted Priebus, noting that the RNC bankrolled the constitutional challenge brought by businessman Shaun McCutcheon from beginning to end. In McCutcheon v. FEC, the court ruled 5-4 to overturn the overall limit on what an individual may donate collectively to parties, candidates and PACs in one election cycle, which was capped at $123,200 total.

The ruling “allows us to go to our donors and say: Look instead of being able to give to only nine Senate candidates, you can now give to the 14 that are most in play,” Priebus told reporters. “And you can give to the Senate committee, the congressional committee and the RNC, and you can max out to all three.”

Priebus wasn’t the only party official rejoicing in the wake of the high court’s Wednesday ruling. One Democratic campaign committee operative confided that he was “happy as a pig in shit.” While advocates of campaign finance limits on and off Capitol Hill assailed the ruling as an invitation to corruption and campaign finance abuses, party officials welcomed the decision. Full story

January 29, 2014

The State of the Union in 3 Minutes (Video)

From focusing on the minimum wage to celebrating the Olympics to addressing the partisan divide in Congress, Roll Call condenses President Barack Obama’s fifth State of the Union address into 190 seconds.

Read Roll Call’s full coverage of Obama’s speech here.

January 27, 2014

Key Moments From Obama’s State of the Union Addresses (Video)

Watch Roll Call’s key moments from President Barack Obama’s five State of the Union addresses, including criticism of the Supreme Court, hammering Wall Street banks and pushing for immigration and gun reform.

December 23, 2013

The Best (or Worst) of Congress in 2013 (Video)

The first session of the 113th Congress — the least productive in modern times — will be remembered for what it did, and did not, accomplish.

An immigration overhaul, gun control and health care mixed with “calves the size of cantaloupes,” “Alice in Wonderland” and cocaine. Together, it is the best and worst of the year that was, wrapped into one.

September 9, 2013

Hate Congress? Blame the (Sharply Divided) Voters

An increasingly popular talking point for Democrats is that Republicans are responsible for the bickering, dysfunction and looming budget crises on Capitol Hill.

On its Web page, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee declares: “This Republican Congress is broken — too focused on obstruction and scoring points against President Obama.”

Some experts sound a similar refrain, heaping blame on Congress and particularly on the GOP for budget showdowns, stalled legislation and a public approval rating stuck in the teens.

Full story

May 16, 2013

Hillary’s Foreign Policy Record Isn’t Much to Crow About

Unless the Benghazi scandal consumes her, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is virtually a shoo-in for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination if she wants it. And she’s outpolling her GOP rivals.

The question is: why?

It can’t be because she was a great secretary of State. She did travel more miles (956,733) to more countries (112) than any of her predecessors. She handled herself on public occasions with poise and dignity, speaking almost always in measured tones.

But what did she accomplish? Other than speaking forcefully for the rights of women — who are probably now more endangered than ever in the Muslim world — it’s hard to name a single foreign policy breakthrough that the Obama administration or its chief diplomat has achieved.

Palestinians and Israelis haven’t even been brought to the negotiating table, let alone moved toward peace. Russia and China are at least as hostile toward the United States as they were in 2008, and more assertive. Iran is closer to having a nuclear weapon. North Korea is more belligerent. Iraq is becoming an Iranian ally.

The “Arab Spring” is replacing pro-Western despots with anti-Western despots. We are about to abandon Afghanistan to the Taliban. And in Syria, either the brutal Assad regime will survive, an ally of Iran and Hezbollah, or the resistance, now dominated by Sunni jihadists, will win.

And then there is Benghazi, Libya. Gregory Hicks, the former No. 2 man in the Libyan embassy, testified that he called Clinton at 2 a.m. to report that the U.S. consulate was under terrorist attack and that his “jaw dropped” when Obama, Clinton and U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice said that a video caused the riot. Now, he said, he’s been demoted for talking.

In 2016, Clinton will certainly be able to claim that she has more foreign policy experience than any of her Democratic or Republican rivals. But she won’t be able to say she achieved much of anything.

March 26, 2013

GOP Needs to Say ‘Yes’ More (Part II)

In part 1 of this post, I argued that the biggest question facing the GOP is what should it be for? Republicans have been relegated to the role of Scrooge while Democrats have been playing Santa when it comes to taxes and economic growth.

So, can the GOP find a way to play Santa again? It’s hard to do on the tax side because Obama has kept rates low for everybody but the top 1 percent and the GOP, fighting fiercely for the 1 percent, only magnifies its Scroogish image.

Actually, some bright conservative writers have proposed good ideas recently. Rich Lowry of National Review, writing in Politico last week, suggested that, in the politically entrepreneurial spirit of Kemp, the party come up with 10 ideas for promoting work in America, advancing welfare reform, replacing (not just obliterating) “Obamacare” and making college affordable.

AEI’s Ramesh Ponnuru, in The New York Times, suggested reducing payroll taxes on ordinary workers, expanding the child care tax credit and lowering health care costs by altering the tax break for health insurance by letting people pocket the money they save buying cheaper plans. Full story

March 25, 2013

GOP Must Transform From Scrooge to Santa (Part I)

George W. Bush played Santa on two fronts, cutting taxes and increasing spending. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

George W. Bush played Santa on two fronts, cutting taxes and increasing spending. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Among the Republican Party’s many problems, perhaps the biggest is: what should it be for? Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush correctly pegged the issue in his Conservative Political Action Conference speech — “stop being the anti-everything party” — but didn’t have much to offer as an alternative.

The party has confronted this problem before and met it. It was encapsulated in 1976 by the brilliant, erratic journalist-activist Jude Wanniski in an essay, “Taxes and a Two-Santa Theory,” published in the long-defunct Dow Jones newspaper, National Observer, but available here thanks to historian-economist Bruce Bartlett.

Wanniski argued that Republicans had embraced the role of Scrooge while Democrats had the pleasure (and political benefit) of playing Santa Claus, using government to dispense goodies and redistribute income. Republicans, fixated on balanced budgets, either constantly just said “no” or, in those days, insisted on raising taxes to pay for the Democrats’ spending. In a battle between Santa Claus and Scrooge, Santa wins, he wrote. Full story

March 10, 2013

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

It’s four years, two months and millions of rancorous words too late, but could President Barack Obama’s outreach to congressional Republicans be the start of something big?

By big, of course, I mean serious efforts to reach a grand bargain on the national debt — followed, maybe, by further bargains on immigration and steps needed to get the economy working for people besides big bankers and investors in the stock market. Full story

State of American Politics: A Pessimist’s Lament

Longtime readers of my CQ Roll Call column, Pennsylvania Avenue, probably won’t be surprised by what follows — a lament about the state of politics in America from my moderate/centrist perspective. It’s adapted from a speech I gave in January at the Hillsboro Club in Florida. Welcome to the blog!

As any of you who ever watched “The McLaughlin Group” or Fox News will understand, I’m not only glad to be here, but to be anywhere where I can finish a sentence without getting interrupted.  Or shouted at, in the case of McLaughlin. Little did I know when I started on that show at its launch in 1982 that I was present at the beginning of the end of civil discourse in America … if not the beginning of the end of Western civilization.

By comparison, Fox News was mentally healthy — and, of course, fair and balanced. Full story

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