Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 22, 2014

Posts by Steven Dennis

216 Posts

December 19, 2014

Obama Rattles Veto Pen but Hopes for Productive Congress

President Barack Obama said Friday he hopes to work with the new Republican Congress on tax changes, rebuilding roads and bridges and trade, but warned he’s prepared to use his veto pen — something he hasn’t done since 2010.

And after signing the “cromnibus” including the repeal of an anti-bailout provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street overhaul, Obama says he won’t do that again — nor will he sign provisions that cost people health insurance. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 3:16 p.m.
Veto Threats

December 18, 2014

#TBT: What Barack Obama Looked Like 10 Years Ago

Digging through our photo archives, we found pictures of Barack Obama from Jan. 5, 2005, holding court as he moved into his temporary Senate digs as a newly minted senator nearly a decade ago.

dw050103011 445x289 #TBT: What Barack Obama Looked Like 10 Years Ago

(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 11:55 a.m.

December 17, 2014

White House Releases Cuba Deal Fact Sheet

The White House has released a fact sheet on President Barack Obama’s sweeping new deal to open up Cuba, which has sharply split Congress.

Here it is:

Fact Sheet: Charting a New Course on Cuba

Today, the United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people. We are separated by 90 miles of water, but brought together through the relationships between the two million Cubans and Americans of Cuban descent that live in the United States, and the 11 million Cubans who share similar hopes for a more positive future for Cuba. Full story

Obama’s Cuba Deal Splits Congress

gross presser005 120412 445x301 Obamas Cuba Deal Splits Congress

Alan Gross’ wife, Judy, spoke at a news conference in 2012 in the Capitol calling for Cuba to release her husband. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s deal with Cuba, which he will announce at noon, drew praise and sharp criticism on Capitol Hill as the details started to leak out.

Lawmakers cheered the news that Alan Gross had been released from Cuban custody, as the American aid worker headed home — but the deal also prompted sharp complaints.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., the outgoing chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, torched the deal. Full story

By Steven Dennis and Niels Lesniewski Posted at 10:49 a.m.

December 15, 2014

New Governing Coalition Emerges

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McConnell and Reid teamed up to pass the cromnibus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the wake of the “cromnibus,” a new governing coalition may have emerged in Washington.

For the first time in eight years, it doesn’t necessarily include Nancy Pelosi.

It does include Steny H. Hoyer.

The coalition doesn’t seem to need Sens. Ted Cruz, Elizabeth Warren or Jeff Sessions.

But it does need the more moderate wing of Democrats personified by Hoyer, the minority whip, who helped pass the compromise forged by Speaker John A. Boehner, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with appropriators Harold Rogers and Barbara A. Mikulski, among others.

Most importantly, the new governing coalition includes President Barack Obama.

The hard right and the hard left ended up out in the cold last week — free to raise their fists and their profiles and make a ruckus, but ultimately powerless to stop the cromnibus.

The deal represents a return — at least for a week — to the fabled establishment Washington dealmaking of yore, warts and all, like it or loathe it. It’s a return that could put the “do nothing” label back on the congressional shelf — with Republicans and the president eyeing deals next year on trade and taxes, in addition to keeping the government open for business after four years of serial shutdown and default dramas. Full story

December 11, 2014

Obama Opposes D.C. Marijuana Rider, But Will Sign Bill

President Barack Obama opposes a rider on the “cromnibus” prohibiting the District of Columbia from implementing a voter referendum legalizing marijuana but will sign the bill anyway.

That’s according to Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who said the president doesn’t believe Congress should assert its authority to undo the will of the District’s voters.

He didn’t appear to say the word “marijuana,” but was asked about the rider by a reporter.

You can read the full Statement of Administrative Policy backing the cromnibus at this link.

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

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By Steven Dennis Posted at 2:09 p.m.

Obama Backs Cromnibus

President Barack Obama would sign the $1.1 trillion “cromnibus,” with the White House urging Democrats to help put the bill over the top with passage of the bill in doubt later this afternoon.

The rule for the bill passed narrowly 214-212 earlier Thursday.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced the president’s support Thursday afternoon, saying the 1,600-page bill represented a compromise and included items the president did not support on campaign finance and regulating banks involvement in derivatives. Full story

December 10, 2014

White House Thinks GOP Will Blink on Immigration Action

sotu tw010 012814 445x292 White House Thinks GOP Will Blink on Immigration Action

Obama is betting the GOP is bluffing on defunding border security. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The White House sounds ready to call the GOP’s bluff on President Barack Obama’s immigration action.

GOP leaders are suggesting the real fight will happen next year, when the Homeland Security funding in the “cromnibus” — what makes it a cromnibus and not just a plain old omnibus — expires in February. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 2:22 p.m.

December 9, 2014

Obama: Back Immigration Action Because of Christmas, Bible

President Barack Obama implied Tuesday that the Christmas spirit should have people backing his executive action on immigration.

During his immigration question-and-answer session in Tennessee, a member of the clergy wished him a “joyful and blessed Christmas.”

Obama thanked him.

“I appreciate that, Father. It’s worth considering the Good Book when you’re thinking about immigration. This Christmas season there’s a whole story about a young, soon-to-be-mother and her husband of modest means looking for a place to house themselves for the night, and there’s no room at the inn.

“And as I said the day that I announced these executive actions, we were once strangers too. And part of what my faith teaches me is to look upon the stranger as part of myself. And during this Christmas season, that’s a good place to start.

“So thank you for your generous comment. But if we’re serious about the Christmas season, now is a good time to reflect on those who are strangers in our midst, and remember what it was like to be a stranger.”

The 114th: CQ Roll Call’s Guide to the New Congress

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.

Obama’s Message on CIA Torture Report: Move On

feinstein 029 120914 445x292 Obamas Message on CIA Torture Report: Move On

Sen. Dianne Feinstein leaves the Senate floor after speaking about the CIA torture report  released Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama really doesn’t want to dwell on the torture report or the tortuous process his administration put congressional investigators through over the course of his presidency to get to this point.

Obama issued a statement this morning when the report came out, but spent much of the statement extolling the intelligence community. The statement was so vague his spokesman Josh Earnest later was asked if the president stands by his earlier “we tortured some folks” statement. (Earnest said yes.)

Obama himself didn’t take questions from the press, and his spokespeople — on the record or on background — punted on many of the most important questions. Full story

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