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February 8, 2016

Posts in "Josh Earnest"

February 2, 2016

Ryan, McConnell Find Little ‘Common Ground’ at White House


Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walk to the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Nov. 3. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walk to the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch in the Capitol on Nov. 3. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama’s private meetings with congressional Republican leaders appeared to do very little to  break the legislative impasse that largely has defined his tenure.

Descriptions of the meeting from both ends of Pennsylvania Ave. were clinical at best. Notably missing were usual Washington declarations that a high-level meeting was “productive” or “constructive.” Asked about that omission, an aide to Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., called the speaker’s time on Tuesday with Obama “cordial.”

And, in a fitting bit of symbolism, Ryan departed the White House for yet another House attempt to derail Obamacare. The chamber, however, failed to override a veto of a bill to repeal it.
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February 1, 2016

Obama, Ryan to Lunch Tuesday at White House


President Barack Obama shakes hands with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as he arrives to deliver his final State of the Union address. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama shakes hands with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as he arrives to deliver his final State of the Union address. (Photo by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The White House expects President Barack Obama and the Republican House and Senate leaders on Tuesday to discuss issues ranging from taxes to criminal justice to national security.

Obama is scheduled to meet privately with Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Later, he and Ryan will have a one-on-one lunch meeting. It will be Obama’s first private meeting with Ryan since the 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee became speaker in late October. Full story

January 28, 2016

Bernie’s Big Day in D.C.


Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a media gaggle in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 26. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a media gaggle in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 26. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had a big, but mixed day in Washington Wednesday, meeting one-on-one with President Barack Obama at the White House, but also getting blasted by another key Democrat, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who criticized the presidential hopeful’s health care plan as unrealistic.

Just days before the crucial Iowa caucuses, Sanders also got a chance to reversee a previous stand on gun legislation, as Democrats on Capitol Hill pushed to roll back a 2005 law that protects firearms manufacturers from liability when their guns are used to commit crimes. Full story

January 19, 2016

Was There Ever an Obama-Ryan Honeymoon?


UNITED STATES - JANUARY 12: President Barack Obama shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as he arrives to deliver his final State of the Union address to a Joint Session of Congress in Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Ryan greets Obama as he arrives to deliver his final State of the Union address while Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. looks on. It was one of Ryan’s few smiles of the evening. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama repeatedly had to raise his voice to be heard over cheering Democratic lawmakers during his State of the Union address on Jan. 12. But Speaker Paul D. Ryan sat motionless, his face frozen in a polite — but unimpressed — expression.

Obama used part of his likely final address to a joint session of Congress to extol policy whims long pushed by Democrats like pre-kindergarten “for all” children and a government-led effort to “to make college affordable for every American.” He also called it a “basic fact” that the U.S. “has the strongest, most durable economy in the world,” saying the country is “in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history.”

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January 12, 2016

SOTU: Obama Tries to Reassure Anxious Public


WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 12:  U.S. President Barack Obama works at his desk in the Oval Office at the White House January 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. President Obama will give his 7th and the final State of the Union address tonight at the Capitol.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Obama works at his desk in the Oval Office on Tuesday as he prepares to give his 7th and the final State of the Union address. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama will take an optimistic message about the future of America to Capitol Hill on Tuesday evening, using his final State of the Union to reassure a distressed public and challenge a restive Congress.

Obama hopes to use his final address to lawmakers to strike a stark contrast with what the White House has described as “gloom and doom” talk from the Republican presidential candidates about the trajectory of the country. He and his top aides are previewing the prime time speech as a break from tradition, saying Obama will speak in broad terms rather than lay out a sweeping legislative agenda. Full story

January 8, 2016

Obamacare Bill Vetoed With No ‘Pomp and Circumstance’


WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 6: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the country from the Oval Office on December 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. President Obama is addressing the terrorism threat to the United States and the recent attack in San Bernardino, California. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

(Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

With little public fanfare, President Barack Obama on Friday vetoed a Republican-crafted measure designed to repeal his signature health care overhaul. But Republican leaders are signaling their repeal push is far from over.

In a statement, Obama said the health care overhaul “is working,” slamming the bill because it would “reverse the significant progress we have made in improving health care in America.” Full story

January 5, 2016

Obama Makes Gun Control a 2016 Issue


UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 10: Andy Parker, whose daughter Alison, a reporter for WDBJ-TV reporter, was killed on air last month, speaks during a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol to demand that Congress take action on gun control legislation as Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va., looks on, September 10, 2015. The event, titled #Whateverittakes Day of Action, was hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and featured speeches by political leaders and families of gun violence victims. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Andy Parker, whose daughter Alison, was killed on-air in the WDBJ-TV shooting last year, speaks at a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol in September to demand that Congress take action on gun control legislation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Obama administration is poised to make buying guns an election-year issue, essentially inviting Republicans to a high-stakes courtroom brawl.

The White House unveiled a snapshot of the steps it is taking to tighten federal gun laws under his executive powers ahead of remarks President Barack Obama will deliver just before noon on Tuesday from the East Room. But even before Obama announces the controversial actions, congressional Republicans and the party’s 2016 presidential candidates are livid.

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December 23, 2015

Obama and the Mythical Arab Ground Force


Iraqi pro-government forces stand next to armored vehicles as they take position in al-Aramil area, south of the Anbar province's capital Ramadi, during military operations on December 22, 2015. Iraqi security forces advanced into the centre of the city for a final push aimed at retaking the city they lost to the Islamic State jihadist group in May 2015.   AFP PHOTO / STR / AFP / -        (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

Pro-Iraqi government forces wait next to armored vehicles on Tuesday in the al-Aramil area before pushing into Anbar province’s capital Ramadi. (AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama and Republicans agree on at least one foreign policy issue, calling for Arab countries to do more against the Islamic State. But there are reasons aplenty to see holes in what is a key part of their strategies for defeating the violent extremist group.

Despite a new Saudi Arabian-led coalition to fight ISIS, the U.S. has gotten little in return from bipartisan calls for its friends in the Middle East to help raise an Arab ground force. And some experts and lawmakers doubt that will dramatically change, further giving the 2016 election the look of a national security referendum. Full story

December 18, 2015

Obama Poised to Tighten Gun Laws After Holidays


WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 6: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the country from the Oval Office on December 6, 2015 in Washington, DC. President Obama is addressing the terrorism threat to the United States and the recent attack in San Bernardino, California. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

Congressional Republicans and Obama are at a standoff over access to guns. . (Saul Loeb/Pool/Getty Images File Photo)

Senior congressional aides and sources in the gun-control community expect the White House to use its executive powers to tighten federal gun laws shortly after President Barack Obama returns from a Hawaiian vacation in early January.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday he anticipates a legal review to continue through the holidays.

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December 16, 2015

On Omnibus, Obama Let Lawmakers Duke It Out


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 16 - Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., speaks with Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., after discussing funding in omnibus legislation for new the possible relocation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation to Prince George's County, Md., during a news conference on Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, December 16, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

On the Senate side, reporters rushed to Mikulski, shown here on Wednesday with her fellow Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, for updates on the budget and taxes talks. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

White House officials stayed in the background as lawmakers hammered out sweeping spending and tax bills, allowing Democratic leaders to duke it out with their Republicans cohorts.

House and Senate leadership aides described the White House’s role as minimal, saying President Barack Obama was never seriously engaged in the high-stakes talks. And some of his top aides were kept in the loop by Democratic leaders, but it was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who did the heavy lifting.

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