Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 1, 2014

August 30, 2014

Obama Approves New Strikes in Iraq

President Barack Obama may not have a strategy yet for striking ISIS in Syria, but he’s widening his campaign against the Islamic State terror group in Iraq.

The United States launched airstrikes against the group — which the administration calls ISIL — and new humanitarian airdrops to the besieged town of Amirli, which has held out for two months against the terror group. But the administration is careful to say that its latest mission will be limited — as Obama already faces calls from members of both parties for congressional authorization of any sustained military campaign.

Here’s the statement from the Pentagon: Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 10:22 p.m.
Iraq

August 28, 2014

Obama on ISIS: ‘We Don’t Have a Strategy’ (Updated) (Video)

492587929 445x296 Obama on ISIS: We Dont Have a Strategy (Updated) (Video)

Obama said he hasn’t finalized a strategy for dealing with the jihadi insurgents who control parts of Syria and Iraq. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/File Photo)

Updated 6:26 p.m. | President Barack Obama said Thursday it’s premature to go to Congress to authorize a strategy to defeat ISIS — because he doesn’t have one yet.

“We don’t have a strategy yet,” Obama told reporters after being asked about striking ISIS in Syria, saying he didn’t want to “put the cart before the horse.”

The line — sure to be repeated often by his critics — came as Republicans have been repeatedly demanding a strategy to defeat ISIS.

Obama said he’s asked the military for options to take on ISIS, but a decision to expand strikes into Syria isn’t imminent and he suggested it would not happen before Congress returns from recess.

He said there was a role for Congress to play once that strategy is in place. But he said that he didn’t wait for Congress before launching airstrikes in Iraq because he had a responsibility to protect the American people and could not wait. He said that he has consulted with Congress on his actions to date and that feedback has been positive. Full story

Russian Stock Market Up Despite Jay Carney ‘Short’ Talk

492586773 445x296 Russian Stock Market Up Despite Jay Carney Short Talk

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

It’s been more than five months since CQ Roll Call asked Jay Carney about the stock market in Russia — and he talked about shorting it. You’d have lost a bundle if you followed that advice.

“I wouldn’t, if I were you, invest in Russian equities right now — unless you’re going short,” Carney responded to the question posed at his March 18 daily press briefing.

But despite incremental sanctions and new reports of Russian incursions into Ukraine, the Russian stock market is still up substantially since CQ Roll Call asked the question. Full story

Obama to Meet With National Security Council

Facing decisions on crises in Syria, Iraq and Ukraine, President Barack Obama will meet with his National Security Council this afternoon at the White House in the Situation Room.

The White House announced the 4 p.m. meeting — with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. joining by telephone — early Thursday. The meeting comes as the president is considering whether to expand airstrikes against the Islamic State group into Syria, as well as Iraq, and faces a decision on how to respond to reports of Russian military incursions in Ukraine. Full story

August 27, 2014

White House: Government Shutdown Threat Won’t Change Our Immigration Plans (Video)

gop members001 0611142 445x297 White House: Government Shutdown Threat Wont Change Our Immigration Plans (Video)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll File Photo)

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest warned Republicans against trying to defund the president’s coming executive actions granting deportation relief to illegal immigrants.

“We would hope that Republicans wouldn’t do the same thing again,” Earnest said Wednesday, referring to last year’s failed effort to defund Obamacare.

The threat articulated by some congressional Republicans in recent days won’t affect the president’s thinking, Earnest said.

“The president has determined to take the kinds of common sense steps that are required to address the worst problems of our broken immigration system. Nothing the president does is a replacement for the kind of robust solution that passive bipartisan support through the United States Senate, but the president is determined to act where House Republicans won’t, and there is strong support for that all across the country. … So, again, it would be a real shame if Republicans were to engage in an effort to shut down the government over a common sense solution like that. But they’ve done it before. Hopefully they won’t do it again.”

The administration has reportedly been considering granting deportation relief and work permits to as many as 5 million people here illegally. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 3:49 p.m.
Immigration

August 22, 2014

White House: Obama Had Constitutional Power for Bergdahl Swap (Video)

USA OBAMA SPEECH WAS55 58F3C6F9900544F4B760440B85D3A850 445x268 White House: Obama Had Constitutional Power for Bergdahl Swap (Video)

The president’s responsibility to act trumps congressional oversight on spending, the White House said Friday.

The White House said Friday that constitutional authorities of the commander in chief trumped possible funding illegality in the transfer of five Taliban members in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

“The president has the constitutional responsibility to protect the lives of Americans abroad, and specifically to protect U.S. service members,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters in Edgartown, Mass., “It’s important for everyone here to understand that the GAO report expressly does not address the lawfulness of the administration’s actions as a matter of constitutional law.”

Full story

August 18, 2014

Obama Dispatches Holder to Ferguson, Cites Progress in Iraq (Video)

492587929 445x296 Obama Dispatches Holder to Ferguson, Cites Progress in Iraq (Video)

Obama sends Holder to Ferguson, reports progress in Iraq. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Updated 7:03 p.m. | President Barack Obama, back in Washington for a day of meetings in the midst of his August vacation, on Monday reported “progress” in the expanded campaign of U.S. airstrikes on Iraqi insurgents near Mosul, and again called for calm in the riot-torn streets of Ferguson, Mo.

He announced that Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Ferguson on Wednesday to talk with local leaders about the riots that have rocked the St. Louis suburb since the Aug. 9 police shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Asked about the militarization of American law enforcement that some have said is exacerbating clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Obama said it may be time to review the use of federal dollars to purchase surplus military vehicles and gear.

“There’s a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement,” he said. “And we don’t want those lines blurred.”

Some civil rights leaders have urged the president to speak out more forcefully on the shooting of Michael Brown, but on Monday, Obama instead called for restraint on the part of both police and protesters. Full story

August 15, 2014

Energy Secretary Calls Industry Criticism of Natural Gas Export Overhaul ‘B.S.’

470474235 revised 445x298 Energy Secretary Calls Industry Criticism of Natural Gas Export Overhaul B.S.

Moniz dismissed industry complaints that DOE has moved too slowly on export applications as “B.S.” (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz in a one-on-one interview Friday with CQ Roll Call signaled that any further changes to how his agency processes natural gas export applications will have to come from Congress, as the Energy Department tries to end a controversy over how the United States ships gas to nations that are not trading partners.

In addition, Moniz dismissed industry complaints that DOE has moved too slowly on export applications as “B.S.,” noting the department can’t take final action until a separate Federal Energy Regulatory Commission review is completed. Some U.S. energy companies eager to expand new overseas markets say the Obama administration is dragging its feet.

Moniz said that lawmakers will have to be the ones to make any more decisions about gas exports now that his agency has laid out its final rules on an overhaul. “Not from the administration, I don’t expect any changes to the process,” Moniz told CQ Roll Call. “Let’s see if Congress acts.” Full story

August 14, 2014

Obama Calls for Calm, Healing in Ferguson (Video)

ferguson081414 445x296 Obama Calls for Calm, Healing in Ferguson (Video)

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama called for calm in Ferguson, Mo., on Thursday, and said the FBI and Department of Justice are both launching independent investigations into the police shooting of an unarmed teenager.

Speaking from a press conference near Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, Obama said DOJ officials are also talking with local authorities about how they can maintain public safety without obstructing peaceful protests. Conflicts and clashes between police and protesters have escalated in the days following the death of Michael Brown.

“There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There’s also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protestors,” Obama said. Full story

August 7, 2014

Obama Authorizes Airstrikes Against ISIL in Iraq

President Barack Obama has authorized airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq to protect U.S. personnel in Erbil and to shield about 40,000 people trapped on Sinjar Mountain from genocide.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has been on the march and has traveled close to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of Iraq.

“Today, America is coming to help,” Obama said.

“The United States of America cannot turn a blind eye” to the prospect of genocide on Sinjar Mountain, he said. “We must act and act now.”

But he insisted that combat troops will not be returning to the battlefield.

Obama said that he consulted with Congress on his actions and will continue to do so.

Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 9:57 p.m.
Iraq

Sign In

Forgot password?

Or

Subscribe

Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...