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March 27, 2015

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March 20, 2015

Netanyahu Call Failed to Satisfy Obama

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama’s call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday failed to end Obama’s concerns about Netanyahu’s pre-election disavowal of a two-state solution to the conflict with Palestinians.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said again on Friday the White House is reconsidering how it acts in the United Nations and elsewhere in light of Netanyahu’s pre-election comments, and Earnest wasn’t about to grant a mulligan after Netanyahu said in a round of interviews Thursday that he actually does want a two-state solution.

Asked why not just take Netanyahu at his (latest) word, Earnest quipped, “Well, I guess the question is which one? … He was quite clear that he did not envision a scenario where a two — a Palestinian state would be established while he was the prime minister of Israel.”

Earnest also shrugged off Speaker John A. Boehner’s planned trip to Israel.

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

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By Steven Dennis Posted at 2:11 p.m.
Uncategorized

February 19, 2015

Jen Psaki Back to White House

Psaki outside her office in 2011, when she was the senior vice president and managing director of Global Strategy Group. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Psaki outside her office in 2011, when she was the senior vice president and managing director of Global Strategy Group. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jen Psaki’s heading back to the West Wing.

Replacing Jennifer Palmieri, who is reportedly heading to the nascent Hillary Clinton campaign, the current State Department spokeswoman is no stranger to President Barack Obama, the White House press corps or Capitol Hill. Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 12:06 p.m.
Uncategorized

January 27, 2015

Score One for Norquist, GOP on 529 College Savings Accounts

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Norquist got what he wanted Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Somewhere, Grover Norquist is happily tweeting over his latest victory.

The anti-tax president of Americans for Tax Reform had been waging war on President Barack Obama’s latest plan to tax 529 college savings accounts as part of his larger proposal to restructure and increase college aid. Full story

January 20, 2015

Obama’s State of the Union Speech Text as Prepared for Delivery

The White House has released the 2015 State of the Union speech text as prepared for delivery, exceeding 6,700 words.

Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 8:56 p.m.
Uncategorized

January 13, 2015

Obama Pushes for Deals on Cybersecurity, Trade, Taxes (Updated)

Updated 1:22 p.m. | President Barack Obama kicked off his meeting with congressional leaders this morning missing an injured Harry Reid, who is under doctor’s orders to stay at home as he recovers from his injuries.

With the press pool ushered into the room for brief remarks, Obama said he was looking for areas of agreement, including cybersecurity, trade, taxes and “streamlining government,” per the pool report.

Obama also joked that one area of bipartisan agreement was the college football playoff system and congratulated Ohio State for its victory. Obama has long backed having a playoff system.

“Some of these folks, I haven’t seen, so I had an opportunity to wish them a happy new year. To the speaker, I just wanted to point out, I said there are going to be some things that we agree on. Having a college football playoff is clearly something we can agree on. I’m all for it. … I think it turned out pretty well, particularly for Ohio. I congratulate the Ohio State Buckeyes for their outstanding victory and commend Oregon as well for building a great team.”

Obama also touted the improving economy, per the pool report.

“We’re in a position to make sure that 2015 is an even stronger year, and relative to our competitors, we are holding much better cards. The key now is for us to work as a team to build on this progress.”

He cited the Sony hack and the hacking of Central Command’s Twitter account as reasons to do a cybersecurity bill.

“I’ve got a state of the Union next week, one of the things we’re going to be talking about is cybersecurity. With the Sony attack that took place, with the Twitter account that was hacked by Islamist jihadist sympathizers yesterday, it just goes to show much more work we need to do both public and private sector to strengthen our cyber security,” he said.

Obama says he’s spoken to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on cybersecurity and “I think we agreed that this is an area where we can work hard together, get some legislation done and make sure that we are much more effective in protecting the American people from these kinds of cyberattacks.”

Boehner’s office released a readout after the meeting saying that topics discussed included Boehner’s backing of an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL and new cybersecurity measures. Boehner urged Obama to send an AUMF to Congress and pledged to work to get it through.

Boehner touted the Keystone XL pipeline and urged Obama to sign it, and also talked about working with the president on trade and overhauling the tax code.

And Boehner talked about the Homeland Security appropriations bill.

“The speaker reminded the president that he himself had stated publicly many times in the past that he did not have the power to rewrite immigration law through executive action,” the readout said.

Boehner told Obama the House had passed cyber bills but they hadn’t gone anywhere in the Senate. He said Republicans are prepared to address the issue.

 

Reid has not returned to the Senate since an exercising accident in his home that broke a number of bones and damaged one eye.

“On doctor’s orders, Senator Reid will not be attending today’s meeting with President Obama,” a spokesperson from his office said. “He continues to work from home and looks forward to returning to the Senate floor soon.”

Eighteen lawmakers attended the bipartisan meeting, include the top leaders in both parties and both chambers.

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

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By Steven Dennis Posted at 11:39 a.m.
Uncategorized

January 6, 2015

White House Promises to Veto GOP’s Keystone Legislation

McConnell, R-Ky.,speaks to reporters following the Senate Republicans' policy lunch in the Capitol on Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McConnell and the Republicans are sending a Keystone bill to the president despite a veto threat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The new GOP-led Congress is moving quickly to put a bill expediting the Keystone XL Pipeline on President Barack Obama’s desk, despite a new veto threat from the White House.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest, in his daily briefing Tuesday, said the president has no plans to sign the legislation. Full story

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.

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

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

Full story

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

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.
Uncategorized

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

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December 5, 2014

Ashton Carter Has Tall Order at Defense (Video)

Ashton Carter is set to be the next secretary of Defense. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ashton Carter is set to be the next secretary of Defense. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Ashton Carter will be nominated by President Barack Obama this morning and will almost certainly be confirmed by the Senate. But he will face a very full plate on a job with only two years to do it.

Among the many missions Carter will have to embark on:

* Managing a White House that has churned through previous defense secretaries. Full story

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