Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 23, 2014

Posts in "Agenda"

December 3, 2014

‘Looser’ Obama Riffs on Taxes, Trade, Regulations, Immigration, GOP

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From left: Deutsche Bank Chief executive Jacques Brand, President and CEO of Convergys Andrea Ayers, President and CEO of Dell Michael Dell, listen to President Barack Obama at the quarterly meeting of the Business Roundtable. (Getty Images News)

President Barack Obama is starting to open up, six years into the job.

“You get a little looser in your last two years in office,” he told CEOs at a meeting with the Business Roundtable.

Indeed, the remark itself would never have been made public under the old White House policy of kicking out the press for the all-important Q&As the president regularly has with business leaders and donors. Full story

November 5, 2014

Obama Struggles to Read the Public, Congress

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Obama signaled little course correction Wednesday in response to Tuesday’s blowout losses for Democrats. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/File Photo)

For any politician, losing the public — and the message they are sending — is a dangerous thing. And in the wake of one of the worst drubbings for his party in memory, due in large part to his own persistent unpopularity, President Barack Obama didn’t seem to have any answers Wednesday.

At a lengthy news conference after another shellacking, the president avoided using any new word to describe his party’s epic defeat and offered up no plans for substantive change either in his policy approach or his personnel.

He offered no new legislative olive branch to Republicans other than his desire to listen to their ideas.

He doubled down on his plans to thumb his nose at Congress and act on immigration on his own.

He offered no mea culpa to angry Democrats on Capitol Hill, who have fumed ever more openly about a White House they see as overly insular, politically tone-deaf and prone to gaffes. Full story

July 25, 2014

White House Has Doubts House Will Act on Border Crisis

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest pronounced himself a cynic when it comes to chances the House will act to pass an emergency border supplemental before going home for the August recess.

Earnest said Friday that his “cynicism” is due to Speaker John A. Boehner’s comments Thursday that he was still talking about it with his members, suggesting the GOP is still arguing amongst itself about what to do.

“If there are additional proposals that Congress will actually act on, we’re certainly willing to have conversations with them about what they’re willing to do,” Earnest said. “But again, all we’re hearing from the speaker of the House is talk that’s not backed up by any action.” Full story

June 2, 2014

Obama Power Plant Rules Take a Big Swing at Big Coal

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(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama is bypassing Congress to take a big swing at Big Coal — with the EPA announcing a sweeping new cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.

A 30 percent cut in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 is a big number — less than environmental groups want but far more than the president can get via Congress, where climate change skeptics rule the House and the Democratic Senate so far avoiding bringing a climate change bill to the floor during Obama’s presidency.

The Obama power plant rules are the most far-reaching policies in the “pen-and-phone” second-term presidency, with the impact touching every American who turns on a light switch.
Full story

May 5, 2014

‘Zero’ Chance Congress Can Block Obama’s Climate Change Regulations, Podesta Says

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, left, and Podesta, center, are working to push through sweeping climate change regulations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s second term may be sweeping climate change regulations, and he isn’t about to let Congress rein him in.

White House adviser John Podesta, back at the White House podium, said congressional Republicans will not be able to block the president’s climate regulations, despite numerous legislative efforts to do so.

“Those have zero percent chance of working,” Podesta said. “We’re committed. … There are no takers at this end of Pennsylvania Avenue.” Full story

March 1, 2013

Obama’s Lost Leverage

It wasn’t supposed to be like this for the White House and a re-elected president with political capital to spend.

But President Barack Obama is in a position of supplication to Hill Republicans, talking loudly and often about the harm of automatic budget cuts but lacking the leverage to get the GOP to buckle.

Senior administration officials had for months predicted that Republicans would cave on the sequester and agree to more taxes, even after agreeing to $600 billion in tax increases in the New Year’s Eve fiscal-cliff deal.

After all, aides noted, Republicans had caved again and again: on the 2012 payroll tax cut, on tax rate increases for the wealthy and on a debt ceiling extension.

Why not one more GOP rollover? Polls seemed solidly in the president’s favor.

But so far it’s not working out as the West Wing planned. Full story

December 5, 2011

Obama’s Aloof Behavior With GOP Could Hurt Agenda

President Barack Obama’s relationships with Congressional Republicans have withered in recent months, casting doubt on his ability to influence Congress during the election season next year as well as his ability to push an aggressive agenda if he wins a second term.

Though Republicans are in a good position to hold the levers of power in both chambers come 2013, several rank-and-file GOP Senators told Roll Call last week that Obama hasn’t called them at all this year — and several said his standoffish relations have hurt his agenda in a chamber that is pivotal to any White House legislative successes.

Obama did have all Senate Republicans up to the White House for a cattle call earlier this year, and he engaged in extensive discussions with Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on this summer’s debt deal. But direct contacts between the president and lawmakers have slowed to a trickle as he gears up for re-election, Republicans said.

A senior Republican aide said Obama has had just three brief phone calls with Boehner since unveiling his jobs package — and there’s been no real effort to work with the Speaker. Full story

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