Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 3, 2015

Posts in "Agenda"

February 23, 2015

Warren Joining Obama for Retirement Security Push

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Perez says the retirement security announcement is part of Obama’s longtime focus on consumer financial protections. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama will be making a public push to strengthen the regulation of financial advisers who provide advice about saving for retirement.

The two Senate Democrats with perhaps the most star power, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, will join the president for the rollout of the proposal at an event hosted by the AARP. Monday’s event also will feature Richard Cordray of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that Warren advocated for creating, along with Rep. John Delaney, D-Md.

Full story

February 19, 2015

White House Makes Economic Pitch

The latest economic report from the White House is part victory lap, part pitch for enacting what President Barack Obama calls his “middle-class” agenda — including new trade deals with Europe and Asia and the president’s budget.

At a briefing for reporters Wednesday, ahead of Thursday’s release of the Economic Report of the President, chief economic adviser Jason Furman ticked off the statistics that have buoyed White House spirits of late — improving economic growth, the best job performance since 1999 last year and lower gas prices.

But there are several troubling caveats, Furman acknowledged.

The percentage of men in prime working age who have dropped out of the labor force has grown substantially in recent decades and is higher than many competitors. More troubling, the income of middle-class families has been largely flat, although there are recent signs of modest improvement. Median family incomes remain stuck at mid-1990s levels.

“This is the big picture challenge that we’re trying to overcome as an economy,” Furman said. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 6 a.m.
Agenda, Budget

February 11, 2015

Congress Gets to Dust Off Its War Voting Powers

Sen. Tim Kaine, left, and House Intelligence ranking member Adam B. Schiff want to debate a war authorization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Tim Kaine, left, and House Intelligence ranking member Adam B. Schiff want to debate a war authorization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For the first time this decade, Congress is set to have a full-fledged war debate. The White House wants pure kabuki with no practical effect; lawmakers, most of whom have never voted to send men and women into harm’s way, will have to choose whether to go along.

President Barack Obama is intent on doing what he wants either way — as he already has in his undeclared war on the Islamic State terror group for months, with Congress on the sidelines. Full story

January 21, 2015

#SOTU Pumps Up Democrats, Post-‘Shellacking II’

Obama delivers his State of the Union address in the in the Capitol's House chamber, January 20, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Obama’s defiant address has Democrats fired up. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

“Barack Obama’s Back.” That was the three-word verdict from Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., after Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

It sums up, perhaps, a sense among Democrats that the newly confident, revitalized president that they’ve seen in recent weeks should have been the president on the campaign trail before the midterm elections.

“He seems to be relaxed and free,” Takano said. Full story

December 3, 2014

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

From left: Deutsche Bank Chief executive Jacques Brand, President and CEO of Convergys Andrea Ayers, President and CEO of Dell Michael Dell (3L), listen to U.S. President Barack Obama at the quarterly meeting of the Business Roundtable. (Getty Images News)

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

(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/File Photo)

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

Obama power plant rules coal regulations

(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

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (left) and Podesta, center. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

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

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