Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 17, 2014

Posts in "Politics"

September 10, 2014

Menendez Drafting New Authorization for ISIS War

menendez 172 071514 445x327 Menendez Drafting New Authorization for ISIS War

Menendez wants to get to work on the ISIS issue. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Robert Menendez said Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s new plan to “destroy” ISIS will eventually require congressional authorization, and promised his committee will begin drafting one.

Menendez’s statement came as vulnerable Democrats generally praised the president’s decision to take on ISIS but split over pieces of his strategy — while liberals demanded Congress vote to authorize the war.

Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 11:11 p.m.
Iraq, Politics

August 18, 2014

Obama Dispatches Holder to Ferguson, Cites Progress in Iraq (Video)

492587929 445x296 Obama Dispatches Holder to Ferguson, Cites Progress in Iraq (Video)

Obama sends Holder to Ferguson, reports progress in Iraq. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Updated 7:03 p.m. | President Barack Obama, back in Washington for a day of meetings in the midst of his August vacation, on Monday reported “progress” in the expanded campaign of U.S. airstrikes on Iraqi insurgents near Mosul, and again called for calm in the riot-torn streets of Ferguson, Mo.

He announced that Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Ferguson on Wednesday to talk with local leaders about the riots that have rocked the St. Louis suburb since the Aug. 9 police shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

Asked about the militarization of American law enforcement that some have said is exacerbating clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson, Obama said it may be time to review the use of federal dollars to purchase surplus military vehicles and gear.

“There’s a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement,” he said. “And we don’t want those lines blurred.”

Some civil rights leaders have urged the president to speak out more forcefully on the shooting of Michael Brown, but on Monday, Obama instead called for restraint on the part of both police and protesters. Full story

May 27, 2014

Obama: We Restored ‘Trillions of Dollars of Wealth’

parks012 022713 246x335 Obama: We Restored Trillions of Dollars of Wealth

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama has a new line he’s been trotting out as he talks to Democratic party donors — a claim that “trillions of dollars of wealth” have been restored on his watch.

Turns out, the line is true.

Household wealth has soared by trillions since Obama’s inauguration. And it’s now at an all-time high.

In 2008 alone, the total net worth of households and nonprofit organizations plummeted by more than $10 trillion to $57.2 trillion, according to Federal Reserve data. Since then wealth has soared more than $23 trillion to $80.7 trillion at the end of 2013. (See page 108, Line 42).

That’s $13 trillion above the pre-Obama yearly all-time high of $67.7 trillion at the end of 2007. Net worth now amounts to about $250,000 per U.S. resident.

Nearly $10 trillion of that improvement in net worth came just in 2013.

What Obama doesn’t mention is that federal debt has also soared since he took office. The national debt is now close to $17.5 trillion — up nearly $7 trillion — or $22,000 per U.S. resident — since he took office.

Full story

May 20, 2014

Carney Touts Obama’s Fundraising, Turnout Efforts

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Obama’s focus during the upcoming elections likely will be on fundraising. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney defended the president’s efforts to help his party in the midterms Tuesday after recent reports of grumbling among Democrats and party donors.

“The president is focused on what he can do to help Democrats in this midterm cycle,” Carney said, emphasizing President Barack Obama’s fundraising, his grass-roots network and the technology behind it and work to boost turnout among the party’s most loyal voters.

“Midterms, as all you expert political reporters know, are about turnout, getting the base out. And no one is better at doing that than President Obama, at least in the Democratic Party,” Carney asserted. Full story

May 17, 2014

Obama Goes Populist (Video)

491358061 445x293 Obama Goes Populist (Video)

 (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

With midterm elections just around the corner, President Barack Obama is sharpening his populist rhetoric against the GOP.

In his weekly address, Obama accused Republicans of backing big new tax breaks for millionaires while cutting transportation grants that have created jobs.

He also spotlighted the looming expiration of transportation programs, potentially putting projects on hold.

“If Congress fails to act, nearly 700,000 jobs would be at risk over the next year,” he said. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 9:24 a.m.
Budget, Politics

May 15, 2014

Obama: Senate Needs to Change ‘How a Filibuster Works’

obama051514 445x296 Obama: Senate Needs to Change How a Filibuster Works

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama endorsed more changes to the filibuster rules in the Senate in a speech Wednesday, remarks that will encourage senators who want to deploy the “nuclear option” again.

At a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in New York, Obama said Democrats need to change “how a filibuster works,” without going into specifics.

Some Democrats want to force talking filibusters, requiring senators to be on the floor around the clock if cloture is not invoked. Others want to reduce or eliminate the 60-vote threshold for overcoming a filibuster on legislation, as the Democrats did last year for nominations other than Supreme Court picks. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has recently been considering if he went far enough in changing the rules given the GOP’s procedural retaliation, which has chewed up weeks of floor time.

Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 10:47 a.m.
Politics, Procedure

May 8, 2014

Obama’s 2014 Stump Speech — Victory Lap but Wages Flat

parks012 022713 246x335 Obamas 2014 Stump Speech — Victory Lap but Wages Flat

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama’s stump speech at a Los Angeles fundraiser Wednesday night was one part self-celebratory victory lap, one part a nod to the anxiety of families whose wages have remained flat and one part pure partisan red meat.

Perhaps most striking was the president’s acknowledgement that family incomes have remained stagnant on his watch, as he talked at length about “disquiet around the country” and frustration with a dysfunctional Washington.

“And for families, in particular, even with the recovery, they still have not seen an increase in wages, an increase in incomes. They’re still worried that they’re not going to be able to retire when they plan to retire. They worry about the prospects for their kids, whether they’re going to be able to live out their American Dream the same way that they did.” Full story

May 5, 2014

Another Ugly Poll for Obama

These aren’t the poll results President Barack Obama is looking for. A new USA Today/Pew poll has ugly numbers for the president’s Democratic Party ahead of the midterm elections and even uglier figures for the president. Full story

April 1, 2014

Obama, Democrats Have 7 Million Reasons for a Victory Lap

For a president and congressional Democrats under siege for months last year during the disastrous HealthCare.gov rollout, Tuesday’s news of 7 million exchange sign-ups came as vindication four years in the making.

The White House rolled out the full victory lap regalia — capped by a sunny Rose Garden statement by President Barack Obama on the resuscitation of his signature legislative achievement.

It has been a rocky period for the White House, with few opportunities for celebration. The administration has faced near-daily challenges in implementing the Affordable Care Act, with Obama’s poll ratings underwater, his legislative agenda stalled, the Democratic Senate potentially in play in November and members of his own party scrambling for cover.

But this time, the president wasn’t talking about a distant foreign crisis or a government shutdown. Nor was he apologizing for a broken website or a broken promise.

“This law is doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s working,” the president declared to cheers from assembled supporters, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin of Illinois.

“The debate over repealing this law is over. The Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” Obama said. Full story

March 13, 2014

Obama Considering New Immigration Enforcement Changes (Updated)

Updated 10:18 p.m. | President Barack Obama told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus leadership Thursday evening he’s considering more changes to the enforcement of immigration laws, amid growing unrest among his allies over his deportation record.

“The President emphasized his deep concern about the pain too many families feel from the separation that comes from our broken immigration system,” the White House said in a readout of the meeting. “He told the members that he has asked Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson to do an inventory of the Department’s current practices to see how it can conduct enforcement more humanely within the confines of the law.” Full story

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