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November 21, 2014

November 20, 2014

Obama to Republicans: Don’t Shut Down the Government Again (Video)

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(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama’s forceful, emotional speech announcing his immigration executive action had a not-so-subtle message to Republicans: Don’t try and stop me.

“To those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: pass a bill,” he said. “I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution. And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary.

“Meanwhile, don’t let a disagreement over a single issue be a deal-breaker on every issue. That’s not how our democracy works, and Congress shouldn’t shut down our government again just because we disagree on this.”

Full story

Obama Speech Excerpts — Says ‘Real Amnesty’ is Doing Nothing (Video)

The White House has released speech excerpts President Barack Obama plans to deliver on his executive action on immigration:

“That’s the real amnesty – leaving this broken system the way it is.  Mass amnesty would be unfair.  Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character.  What I’m describing is accountability – a commonsense, middle ground approach:  If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.  If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported.  If you plan to enter the U.S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.

The actions I’m taking are not only lawful, they’re the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican President and every Democratic President for the past half century.  And to those Members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer:  Pass a bill.” Full story

Obama Would Veto Any Bill Undoing Immigration Executive Action (Updated) (Video)

immigration 237 082814 445x300 Obama Would Veto Any Bill Undoing Immigration Executive Action (Updated) (Video)

Immigration reform protesters hold up signs in front of the White House on Aug. 29. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 6:52 p.m. | President Barack Obama would veto any legislation hatched by Republicans to undo his immigration executive action granting relief to millions, according to a senior administration official.

The official left no doubt that the White House is prepared for a shutdown standoff if Republicans attach a rider to the upcoming spending bill needed to keep the government open past Dec. 11.

In a background briefing ahead of the president’s primetime speech Thursday, four senior administration officials detailed the president’s sweeping new executive actions — the winners and the losers — and the legal basis for them.

Ultimately, the president decided to act this week after consulting with Democratic leaders, concluding that Republicans would react the same way whether he acted now or later, so “Why wait,” said one official. Full story

Obama’s Own Words on Immigration Are Republicans’ Best Ammo

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Republicans are using Obama’s arguments against executive action on immigration against him. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images File Photo)

President Barack Obama spoke so many times against taking broad executive action to end deportations that he’s left Republicans with an arsenal of ammo to use against him.

Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell, the incoming Senate majority leader, vowed “action” will be taken against the president by the new Congress, after excoriating the president for doing what he said he couldn’t.

McConnell, quoting Obama, said: “‘Democracy is hard,’ he said during a commencement speech in Miami three years ago. ‘But it’s right. [And] changing our laws means doing the hard work of changing minds and changing votes, one by one.’”

“As someone who well understands just how difficult the work of changing minds and votes can be, I couldn’t agree more with the president’s statement,” McConnell continued. Full story

November 19, 2014

Obama Will Announce Immigration Action in Primetime (Video)

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After rallying at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters, immigration reform protesters march to the White House on Aug. 28, where about 130 were arrested on the sidewalk. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In a video posted to Facebook, President Barack Obama said he will announce his immigration executive actions Thursday night and speak again in Las Vegas on Friday at Del Sol High School.

Obama says in the video he will lay out what he can do with his “lawful authority” as president while still working with Congress on an immigration overhaul.

Speaker John A. Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel, however, said taking action on his own would “ruin” chances of getting anything done. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 1:20 p.m.

‘Emperor Obama’ Warned Against Immigration Executive ‘Amnesty’

USA OBAMA SPEECH WAS55 58F3C6F9900544F4B760440B85D3A850 445x268 Emperor Obama Warned Against Immigration Executive Amnesty

Obama is expected to announce his immigration overhaul Friday. (Reuters File Photo)

With the White House appearing near to announcing a broad executive amnesty in the coming days, a spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, warned of blowback.

“If ‘Emperor Obama’ ignores the American people and announces an amnesty plan that he himself has said over and over again exceeds his Constitutional authority, he will cement his legacy of lawlessness and ruin the chances for Congressional action on this issue — and many others,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

Steel has also noted the numerous times that President Barack Obama has said he doesn’t have the authority to stop deportations on his own without Congress. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 11:20 a.m.

November 17, 2014

Obama Full Speed Ahead on EPA Climate Regulations; Your Move, McConnell

podesta014 060314 445x301 Obama Full Speed Ahead on EPA Climate Regulations; Your Move, McConnell

Podesta, right, is dismissing Republican efforts to roll back Obama’s climate agenda including EPA climate regulations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s administration is dismissing incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s vow to target the EPA’s efforts to cap carbon emissions and what he calls the “War on Coal.”

“I don’t believe they can stop us,” White House counselor John Podesta said when asked about the Kentucky Republican’s plans on a conference call announcing another climate report Monday.

McConnell made fighting the EPA climate regulations a key part of his successful re-election bid, and vowed on election night that his supporters’ voices on the issue will be heard in Washington.

But so far the White House has, if anything, accelerated its efforts. Podesta said the EPA would be hard at work finalizing its key rule cutting carbon emissions for existing power plants in the coming months — something that is expected to shutter a number of coal plants by 2030. The president also committed to emissions reductions in an agreement with China’s leaders on his Asia trip, and the administration is looking to take other executive actions to align grant and other programs to fight climate change and mitigate its effects. Full story

November 12, 2014

White House: Obama Hasn’t Decided on Immigration Specifics

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Protesters demanded executive action on immigration from Obama at the White House in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

While Fox News has obtained documents purporting to show a possible 10-point plan for executive action on immigration by President Barack Obama, the White House says the president hasn’t made a final decision on specifics yet.

“The President has not made a decision regarding the specific measures he will take to fix our broken immigration system,” a White House official said in an email. “In fact, he has not yet received final recommendations from the Department of Homeland Security. As the President has said previously, he is committed to taking action before the end of the year.” Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 10:18 p.m.

November 10, 2014

Report: U.S. Wealth Grows By $31.5 Trillion During Obama Presidency

492329565 445x296 Report: U.S. Wealth Grows By $31.5 Trillion During Obama Presidency

(Andrew Burton/Getty Images File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s tenure hasn’t done much for the Democratic Party given the shellacking at the polls last week, but it’s coincided with a huge surge in wealth.

According to Credit Suisse’s annual report on wealth, the net worth of United States households has soared $31.5 trillion since the 2008 economic collapse to $83.7 trillion.

The average net worth for the United States is $348,000 per adult, according to the report — a new all-time high.

There are now 14 million millionaires in the United States out of 35 million worldwide.

But the median net worth is just $53,000 per adult, suggesting most people aren’t seeing the benefits in their own pocketbooks. Full story

November 8, 2014

Immigration Threatens Loretta Lynch’s Confirmation

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Lee and Cruz want to delay the Lynch nomination until next year — when Republicans would have the power to scuttle her nomination if Obama goes ahead with his plans for an immigration amnesty plan. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Top Republicans want Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be attorney general delayed until they are in charge of the Senate — and they are insisting she divulge whether she supports the president’s plan to act without Congress on a major immigration amnesty.

Soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky issued a Friday statement saying her nomination should be considered “in the new Congress,” and on Saturday, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah also pushed for a delay. 

Cruz and Lee issued a joint statement highlighting their demand Lynch divulge her thoughts on whether an executive amnesty would be constitutional.

“President [Barack] Obama’s Attorney General nominee deserves fair and full consideration of the United States Senate, which is precisely why she should not be confirmed in the lame duck session of Congress by senators who just lost their seats and are no longer accountable to the voters. The Attorney General is the President’s chief law enforcement officer. As such, the nominee must demonstrate full and complete commitment to the law. Loretta Lynch deserves the opportunity to demonstrate those qualities, beginning with a statement whether or not she believes the President’s executive amnesty plans are constitutional and legal.”

It’s not a surprise an immigration executive order in the lame duck might cause problems for Obama’s attorney general pick. We highlighted the immigration issue as the No. 1 item in our “10 Questions for Eric Holder’s Replacement as Attorney General” post.

It’s also unclear yet how many Republicans would actually vote to block Lynch over the issue. A number of Republicans face potentially difficult re-election bids in 2016 in blue states. And the party would be blocking the first female black attorney general over immigration when party leaders have professed a desire to do more to appeal to African-Americans, women and Hispanics.

There is a way for Democrats, meanwhile, to avoid the potential for Republicans to nix Lynch in a frenzy of retribution for Obama’s promised immigration action.

They would need to confirm her during the lame duck.

Under the nuclear option, Democrats effectively changed Senate rules last year prohibiting a minority of senators from blocking nominations except for Supreme Court picks.

But slamming through an attorney general pick in the lame duck, alongside Obama’s controversial immigration amnesty that would potentially allow millions of immigrants here illegally to stay and obtain work permits, would set the stage for an extremely contentious final two years of Obama’s presidency.

Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and other Republicans have already warned Obama that acting on immigration would poison the well on immigration and hurt their ability to work with the president on other issues as well.

Obama, in turn, has told them that they’ve had their chance to act and he’s done waiting.


Confirmation Gauntlet Expected for Loretta Lynch

Immigration Showdown: Defiant Obama Tells GOP He Will Act

White House Dismisses David Krone’s Criticism

Roll Call Results Map: Results and District Profiles for Every Seat

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