Republicans cannot find a Speaker of the House for one reason: they are reaping what they have sown. The base of the party has been promised for over forty years that the social issues Republicans candidates have supported will become federal policy if they are elected—and yet here we stand with abortion legal, immigration run amok, and gay marriage recognized by the Supreme Court. And then there is the oath for smaller government and lower taxes. The voters who bought into all of the Republican promises are simply fed up. They feel like there has been a massive bait and switch campaign sponsored by their own party’s leaders for almost half a century now. Thus, we have the current crisis in the House and the persistent threat of government shutdown.
Republicans in the House of Representatives are locked in a long, grinding civil war. The rebels will never win power, but the establishment can't fully annihilate them either. The rebels have organized themselves into the House Freedom Caucus, a group that successfully pressured Speaker John Boehner to give up his gavel. But the group doesn't have the numbers to elevate one of its own to a top position when Republicans choose new leaders on October 8.
Blasting hard-line conservatives as "false prophets," U.S. House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday said Congress will avoid a government shutdown this week and he will push through as much unfinished legislation as possible before leaving at the end of October. Speaking on CBS' Face the Nation two days after his surprise resignation, he said the House this week would pass a Senate-authored government funding bill that does not meet conservatives' demands to cut off money for Planned Parenthood.
Embattled Speaker John Boehner, who rose from bartender's son to the most powerful man in Congress, will resign at the end of October, ending a tumultuous five-year tenure atop the House of Representatives. Boehner, 65, planned to leave Congress at the end of 2014, one of his aides said Friday morning, but returned because of the unexpected defeat of Eric Cantor.
Standing before a rapt Congress, Pope Francis issued a ringing call to action on behalf of immigrants Thursday, urging lawmakers to embrace "the stranger in our midst" as he became the first pontiff in history to address a joint meeting at the U.S. Capitol. Referencing the migration crisis in Europe as well as the United States' own struggle with immigration from Latin America, Francis summoned lawmakers "to respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal."
I've been predicting since July that the irreconcilable differences between Democrats and Republicans on several key issues — only some of which have anything to do with the budget — are much more likely than not to lead to the federal government shutting down when the next fiscal year begins at midnight, Sept. 30. My most recent projection is that there is now a 75 percent chance of a shutdown. As an almost 40-year veteran of the federal budget wars and one of the few people who has served on the staffs of both the House and Senate budget committees, I’ve reached this lofty number by reading the budget tea leaves that others seem almost desperate to discount, disregard or ignore.
The House on Friday voted 241-to-187 to strip Planned Parenthood of some $500 million in federal family planning funds for a year. The move is intended to keep the public eye on allegations of illegal behavior by Planned Parenthood staffers but remove the possibility of a government shutdown by conservatives bent on defunding the organization.
The last time Republicans shut down the federal government, they were furious that uninsured Americans were being offered access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance. Now, just two years later, there are rumblings about another shutdown, and this time the impetus is even more baffling: Far-right lawmakers in Congress want to stop federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, where the money is used to subsidize contraception and other reproductive health care needs.
It’s hard to imagine why anybody would want to be the Speaker of the House—which is perhaps the primary reason John Boehner has survived this long. But now his tenure may be coming to an end. Rumors are swirling that Boehner’s speakership is in danger, and my sources corroborate this. If Boehner makes even a minor misstep in the next few weeks, he will likely face a challenge—and sources indicate it would be a very close vote. In fact, right now I’d put the odds at about 50-50 that he goes down. That’s because the real goal of House conservatives right now isn’t to defund Planned Parenthood or shut down the government—their goal is to get rid of Boehner.
Senate Democrats voted to uphold the hard-fought nuclear accord with Iran on Thursday, overcoming ferocious GOP opposition and delivering President Barack Obama a legacy-making victory on his top foreign policy priority. A disapproval resolution for the agreement fell two votes short of the 60 needed to move forward as most Democratic and independent senators banded together against it. Although House Republicans continued to pursue eleventh-hour strategies to derail the international accord and Senate Republicans promised a re-vote, Thursday's outcome all but guaranteed that the disapproval legislation would not reach Obama's desk.
Debate on the Iran nuclear deal morphed into full-blown political spectacle Wednesday as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz held a rally to denounce it, Hillary Rodham Clinton gave a speech to praise it and congressional Republicans turned on each other angrily as they grasped for a last-ditch play to stop it. The maneuvering and speechifying did little to change the reality: Barring unlikely success of an eleventh-hour gambit by the House, the international accord aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions will move ahead. Even if Congress succeeds in passing legislation aimed at undermining it by next week's deadline, President Barack Obama would veto such a measure and minority Democrats command enough votes to sustain him.
Congress is back with a daunting must-do list, but its first order of business was the Iran nuclear deal. Senate Democrats successfully filibustered a disapproval resolution on Thursday that was meant to kill the deal. The vote was 58-42 —Senate Republicans and other opponents needed 60 to pass.
All summer long, the question in the congressional debate over the Iran deal has been whether opponents could muster a veto-proof majority to block the agreement from taking effect. Now it looks like President Obama might not have to use his veto pen at all.
Three Democratic senators announced Tuesday they will vote in support of the nuclear deal with Iran, appearing to pave the way for a filibuster of Republican-led attempts to disapprove of the controversial agreement. Pro-deal statements from Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) means 41 senators are now publicly backing the deal, enough to keep a disapproval resolution from emerging from the Senate and making its way to President Obama's desk, thus forcing a veto.
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, said on Sunday he would support the nuclear deal with Iran, moving President Barack Obama a step closer to having sufficient backing to ensure the deal stands. "I believe the agreement, titled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is the best available strategy to block Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," Merkley wrote in a statement published on Medium.com.
WITHIN three weeks, on September 17th, Congress will have had its chance to vote on the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by America with five other world powers. With Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, such is the extent of partisan polarisation on the issue, a vote against the agreement is certain. That will count for little, however. Republican opponents of the deal have always known that their only chance of blocking it and preventing Barack Obama from suspending nuclear-related sanctions was to gain a two-thirds majority to override the inevitable presidential veto. That is now looking unlikely.
Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), an influential member of Democratic leadership, endorsed the Iran nuclear deal Tuesday in a lengthy statement that voiced some doubts of the plan's efficacy but gave a strong overall backing for the outline. Murray became the 29th Democrat in the Senate to back the plan, with only two Democrats declared in opposition, putting the White House on the cusp of ensuring President Obama can fully implement the pact lifting sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear development.
Want to bomb Iran? Then support the nuclear deal. That’s the provocative argument coming from Obama administration officials and other backers of the deal as they promote it before a crucial vote in Congress next month.
Democratic U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a co-author of the bill allowing Congress to review the nuclear deal with Iran, said on Tuesday he would support the nuclear agreement. The agreement announced on July 14 between world powers and Tehran "is a dramatic improvement over the status quo in improving global security," Kaine said in a Senate speech announcing he would back it.
Republicans are back at their five-year fight, preparing this week to vote to yank tens of millions of federal dollars from enemy No. 1 – Planned Parenthood. But the abortion-defunding fight wasn’t always waged this way. In fact, Republicans used to have a more ambitious line of attack, one that aimed to take on all providers of the procedure. But since 2011, they’ve shifted strategy. Instead of focusing on a hazy notion of abortion providers, they created a clear enemy in Planned Parenthood.