Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
July 6, 2015

July 2, 2015

Obama Launches Preemptive Strike on Scott Walker, 2016 GOP Field

Obama made his case for a worker's rights agenda and against the 2016 GOP field. (Screenshot)

Obama made his case for a worker’s rights agenda and against the 2016 GOP field. (Screenshot)

President Barack Obama touted his push for a host of benefits for workers in Gov. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin — while lampooning the rest of the 2016 GOP field.

With Walker one of the frontrunners for the Republican nomination, Obama took direct aim at his policies. Although Walker greeted Obama at the airport, Obama tore into his attacks on union rights and his cuts for education.

He said neighboring Minnesota had raised the minimum wage, implemented all-day kindergarten and made it easier to go to college while raising taxes on the top two percent. Obama said the results are that Minnesota has a lower unemployment rate and $9,000 higher median income than its neighbor.

Obama said all of the Republicans running — he joked that he’s lost track of how many and suggested they could start their own Hunger Games (video) — all have the same governing agenda of giving breaks to the rich while everyone else is on their own. That’s the same policies, Obama said, that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

He even joked that the Republicans were like having a crazy Uncle Harry — somebody you love but “you don’t want to put in charge.”

And he said that the fight is also about values.

“Being an American is not about taking as much as you can from your neighbor before they take as much as they can from you,” he said. “We are not a bunch of individuals out here on our own. We are a community, we are family. We are all in this together.”

Obama also name-checked the various pieces of his worker rights agenda. That includes his push for a higher minimum wage, new overtime rules, free community college, and paid sick leave. And he also argued that his trade agenda would also boost jobs for workers.

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July 1, 2015

Jumpers Beware: White House Fence Is a Lot Spikier

Contract workers install security spikes atop the fence in front of the White House along Pennsylyvania Avenue in Washington on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. The temprary spikes are to help deter fence jumpers at the White House until a more permanent solution can be installed. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)Contract workers install security spikes atop the fence in front of the White House along Pennsylyvania Avenue in Washington on Wednesday, July 1, 2015. The temprary spikes are to help deter fence jumpers at the White House until a more permanent solution can be installed. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Workers install security spikes atop the White House fence Wednesday. The temporary spikes are to help deter fence jumpers until a more permanent solution can be installed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the nation on a high terror alert three days before the July 4 holiday weekend, security is being tightened just about everywhere — including at the two symbolic buildings at opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

On Wednesday, workers were installing nasty-looking extra rows of sharp metal spikes atop the fence at the White House, where the Secret Service has had a problem in recent months with jumpers. Full story

What a Good White House Pool Report Looks Like

“This is fun,” Caitlyn and Chloe Robinson told veteran White House reporter George E. Condon Jr., as relayed in Condon’s pool report on Wednesday, the first day tourists were able to take pictures (and selfies!) during a tour of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Condon, a National Journal scribe, former bureau chief for Copley and one-time president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, knows how to be a pooler with panache. Some excerpts from his missive: Full story

Defying Boehner, Obama to Open Cuba Embassy (Updated)

Obama announced he's normalizing relations with Cuba and reopening the embassy in Havana. (Screenshot)

Obama announced he’s normalizing relations with Cuba and reopening the embassy in Havana. (Screenshot)

Updated 1:41 p.m. | Defying Speaker John A. Boehner, President Barack Obama announced plans Wednesday to normalize relations with Cuba and reopen the U.S. embassy in Havana. Full story

Obama Makes Op-Ed Push to Revive Export-Import Bank

The Export-Import Bank charter has lapsed. (Screenshot)

The Export-Import Bank charter has lapsed. (Screenshot)

As the charter for the Export-Import Bank was lapsing, President Barack Obama penned opinion pieces in a number of newspapers across the country asking readers to pressure their lawmakers to bring it back.

“Your members of Congress are home this week. So if you’re a small business owner – or an employee of a large business that depends on financing to sell in new markets and create new jobs – tell your senators to quit treating your business like it’s expendable. Tell your representative to stop the delays,” Obama writes in the version published in Wednesday’s Birmingham News. “It’s time for Congress to do its job, and keep America’s exports growing.”

Full story

June 29, 2015

Let Puerto Rico Go Bankrupt? Maybe.

Pierluisi wants Congress to authorize Chapter 9 bankruptcy for Puerto Rico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pierluisi wants Congress to authorize Chapter 9 bankruptcy for Puerto Rico. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Let Puerto Rico Go Bankrupt. That’s something Puerto Rico’s voice in Congress supports, as does Jeb Bush, and now, maybe, the White House.

President Barack Obama, whose campaign mercilessly ripped Mitt Romney for his “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” column, appears open to bankruptcy for Puerto Rico.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday Congress should “take a look at” granting Puerto Rico the ability to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

That’s the same chapter of the bankruptcy code used by Detroit, ironically. Full story

June 26, 2015

Obama Sings ‘Amazing Grace’ After Sweeping Call for Action

On perhaps the most remarkable day of his presidency, Barack Obama touched a crowd of thousands in Charleston, S.C., leading them in singing ‘Amazing Grace’ after issuing a stirring call to action as he eulogized state Sen. Clementa Pinckney and the others slain a week ago.

It was a moment that’s hard to imagine any other president pulling off: Addressing thousands from a historically black congregation after an act of unspeakable racial violence and speaking in the rhythms of a preacher — with organ accompaniment and frequent interruptions from the faithful. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 5:22 p.m.
Race

Transcript: Obama Delivers Eulogy for Clementa Pinckney

Here’s the full CQ Roll Call transcript of President Barack Obama’s Eulogy for State Senator Clementa Pinckney in Charleston, S.C.: Full story

Obama Transcript: Statement on Same-Sex Marriage Supreme Court Ruling

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama on Friday addressed the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 11:48 a.m.
SCOTUS

Same-Sex Marriage Supreme Court Decision Caps Historic Week for Obama (Updated) (Video)

Marriage equality advocates demonstrate outside the Supreme Court Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Marriage equality advocates demonstrate outside the Supreme Court Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:51 a.m. | Same-sex marriage will now be legal throughout the United States — putting another monumental exclamation point to President Barack Obama’s presidency.

This is arguably the high point of Obama’s entire tenure in office, with the Supreme Court justices he put on the court joining the rest of the liberal wing of the court and Anthony M. Kennedy in a 5-4 decision requiring states to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 10:24 a.m.
Politics, SCOTUS

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