Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 4, 2015

October 2, 2015

Obama Says Syria Critics Offering ‘Half-Baked’ ‘Mumbo-Jumbo’

“Half-baked” and “mumbo jumbo” aren’t your usual presidential words used to discuss foreign policy, but a clearly frustrated President Barack Obama lashed out Friday at critics who have sharply criticized his restrained approach to the war in Syria.

“When I hear people offering up half-baked ideas, as if they are solutions, or trying to downplay the challenges involved in the situation, what I’d like to see people ask is, specifically, precisely, what exactly would you do and how would you fund it and how would you sustain it? And typically, what you get is a bunch of mumbo jumbo.”
Full story

Obama Warns on Budget, Wants Deal With Congressional Leaders

Obama, in a Sept. 23 event with the pope. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Obama, in a Sept. 23 event with the pope. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama warned Friday he will not sign another “short-sighted” spending bill, but said he still sees a path to quickly completing a bipartisan budget deal that would increase spending.

“I will not sign another short-sided spending bill like the one Congress sent me this week,” Obama told reporters Friday at the White House. “We purchased ourselves 10 additional weeks, we need to use them effectively.” Full story

Senate Economist Warns Debt Limit Fight Could Raise Interest Rates

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned the debt limit must be raised by Nov. 5. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew has warned the debt limit must be raised by Nov. 5. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The White House push for a debt limit hike got some ammunition Friday from the chief economist for the Senate Budget Committee, who warned failure to increase the limit soon could cause interest rates to rise on newly issued federal debt.

In a budget bulletin, economist William Beach, who formerly worked at the Heritage Foundation, warns the nation risks higher borrowing costs if it even gets close to exhausting the extraordinary measures used to avoid hitting the debt limit, now pegged by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew as occurring on or about Nov. 5, about a month earlier than expected. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 2:42 p.m.
Budget, Debt Limit

Arne Duncan Stepping Down, John B. King Jr. to Be Named Replacement (Updated) (Video)

Arne Duncan is leaving the administration. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Arne Duncan is leaving the administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:28 p.m. | A White House official confirmed that Education Secretary Arne Duncan intends to step down in December, with President Barack Obama planning to replace him with his deputy, John B. King Jr.

That will leave Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack as the only original member of the president’s Cabinet still serving. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 11:26 a.m.

October 1, 2015

Debt Limit Coming a Month Earlier Than Expected (Updated)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:56 p.m. | The Treasury Department said Thursday it would reach the debt limit a bit earlier than was expected by many on Capitol Hill.

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew told Congress in a new letter that thanks in part to lower-than-expected quarterly tax receipts, the extraordinary measures to forestall breaching the debt limit, combined with the new revenues, will run their course just a week after the resignation of Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, takes effect.

Full story

September 30, 2015

Earnest: Obama Will Veto Defense Authorization (Video)

Earnest said Obama will veto the NDAA. ( screenshot)

Earnest said Obama will veto the NDAA. ( screenshot)

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday the president will veto the defense authorization conference report because of the use of war savings to increase spending. Full story

September 28, 2015

Obama’s Global Warming, Syria Push at United Nations Skips Congress

At the United Nations Monday, President Barack Obama touted what are probably the two biggest items left on his to-do list before leaving office — a global warming agreement later this year in Paris and a settlement to the Syria conflict. Congress barely got a mention.

The Paris accord, like the Iran deal before it, will be strictly an executive agreement, given that Obama wouldn’t have the votes to pass anything in either chamber. Prospects seem to have improved for getting a deal after last week’s agreement with China, which has announced plans to implement a cap-and-trade scheme and push for a global accord in France. Congress, if it gets a chance to weigh in at all, will be via an effort to disapprove Obama’s carbon regulations. Full story

September 25, 2015

The Boehner-Obama Relationship: Big Dreams Unfulfilled (Video)

(File Photo/Mandel Ngan /Pool)

(File Photo/Mandel Ngan /Pool)

Speaker John A. Boehner’s legacy falls short of what he hoped when he took the gavel from Nancy Pelosi, at a time when talk of grand bargains abounded and a host of long-festering issues seemed ripe for action.

The Ohio Republican’s biggest legislative accomplishment came with President Barack Obama’s signing the 2011 budget agreement spurred by Boehner’s demand for trillions in spending cuts in return for a debt limit increase. That set the stage for a decade of fiscal restraint and the first real cuts in government spending in years despite having a liberal president in the Oval Office. Full story

Obama Praises Boehner, Hopes Republicans Learn Lesson (Video)

Obama called Boehner upon hearing the news of his resignation. ( screenshot)

Obama called Boehner upon hearing the news of his resignation. ( screenshot)

President Barack Obama praised Speaker John A. Boehner as a patriot Friday and said he hoped his successor realizes they shouldn’t shut down the government or risk a financial crisis.

“I just heard the news as I was coming out of the meeting here, so it took me by surprise and I took the time prior to this press conference to call John directly and talk to him,” Obama said of Boehner’s resignation announcement. “John Boehner is a good man. He is a patriot, he cares deeply about the House, an institution in which he’s served for a long time. He cares about his constituents and he cares about America. Full story

September 24, 2015

Pope Francis Speech to Congress Transcript

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

On a historic Thursday on the Hill, Pope Francis addressed a joint meeting of Congress, calling on the legislative body to act on immigration, climate and the economy.

Below is the CQ Roll Call transcript of the speech in its entirety. Full story

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