U.S. backers of the Iran nuclear deal are increasingly confident of enough Democratic support to ensure it survives review by Congress, despite fierce opposition by majority Republicans and a massive lobbying drive. By the time the House of Representatives recessed for the summer last week, no senior Democrat in the chamber had come out formally against the agreement and several central figures, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, were strongly in favor.
The White House confirmed that President Obama would veto any budget legislation that included a Planned Parenthood defund measure, setting the stage for a government shutdown fight if Republicans decide to attach such a provision in a government spending proposal set to be debated this fall. "What we have indicated in the past continues to be true today, that we have routinely opposed the inclusion of ideologically-driven riders in the budget process," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Friday. "And certainly a rider that would on a wholesale basis defund Planned Parenthood, which is the proposal of some Republicans in the House, is certainly something that would draw a presidential veto."
It was a side of President Barack Obama many of the 20 House Democrats who gathered in the White House’s Blue Room Wednesday night hadn’t seen before: engaged, direct, even a little bit personal. Obama dived into his pitch on the Iran nuclear deal, demonstrating his command of the nuances as lawmakers peppered him with questions. But the president who has infamously shied away from hardball politics when it comes to selling his policies also made abundantly clear he’s making an exception to secure what would be the biggest foreign policy triumph of his two terms.
In a poll released Monday, Public Policy Polling finds strong support [pdf] for the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration. PPP's director Tom Jensen writes in the polling memo that the "message is clear: voters think the Iran deal is a good one for the country, they want Congress to move it along, and if anything they'll reward elected officials in the future who throw their support behind the agreement. It's a winner politically."
According to critics of the Iran deal, Obama got played. If he had just waited, they argue, painful economic sanctions would have forced the Iranians to cave completely. And when that happened, the United States could have taken down Iran's nuclear program entirely, instead of just limiting it. This narrative sounds compelling. It's also a total fantasy. The way sanctions actually worked means that the longer the US waited to make a deal, the worse it would have been.
Every congressional session for the past five years, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has introduced legislation to protect LGBT students from harassment and bullying at public schools. Every time, it hasn't so much as received a vote on the Senate floor. But on Tuesday, Franken thinks his long-suffering bill might finally win passage.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said he hopes to wrap up a trade deal with 11 other Pacific Rim nations soon and send it to the U.S. Congress for approval before the end of the year. Lawmakers last week granted the White House authority to close the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other trade deals and speed them through Congress, opening the door to a phase of intense negotiations to finalize the pact.
A growing backlash in Southern states against flying the Confederate battle flag spread to the U.S. Congress on Thursday when Democratic lawmakers aimed to remove the banner from parts of the Capitol, but it quickly ran into opposition in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives. Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi sought House approval of a resolution requiring the removal of state flags containing any portion of the Civil-War era Confederate battle flag from the House side of the U.S. Capitol.
President Barack Obama's bid to boost U.S. economic ties with Asia neared approval on Wednesday, when a six-week congressional battle will culminate in a decisive Senate vote on legislation needed to seal his hallmark Pacific Rim trade deal. After two brushes with failure, some fancy legislative footwork and myriad backroom deals to keep the legislation alive, lawmakers are expected to grant Obama the power to negotiate trade deals and send them on a fast track through Congress.
President Barack Obama's Pacific Rim trade pact moved closer to a final U.S. Congress vote, with lawmakers agreeing on Tuesday to limit debate on legislation that would grant Obama authority to speed trade deals through Congress. A Senate vote on the legislation, known as fast-track negotiating power, was expected on Wednesday. Approval at that stage would send the bill to Obama for review. The debate-limiting motion was approved 60-37.
President Barack Obama and top Republicans in Congress joined forces Wednesday on a quick, bipartisan rescue attempt for the administration's trade agenda, left for dead in the House last week in a revolt carried out by Democrats and backed by organized labor. Officials said the Republican-controlled House would vote Thursday on a stand-alone bill to give Obama the enhanced negotiating authority the administration seeks as part of an effort to complete a 12-nation trade deal with Pacific Rim countries. In addition, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a firm pledge that the Republican-controlled Congress will pass legislation "in a timely manner" providing continued aid to workers who lose their jobs because of imports — a key demand of Democrats.
The debate in the economics community over the Trans-Pacific Partnership continues. In Monday’s Washington Post, Lawrence Summers, who promoted a series of free-trade agreements during the nineteen-nineties, when he worked in senior posts at the Treasury Department, said, “The repudiation of the T.P.P. would neuter the U.S. presidency for the next 19 months.” Summers also provided a series of reasons to be skeptical of the treaty, however, writing, “A reflexive presumption in favor of free trade should not be used to justify further agreements. Concerns that trade agreements may be a means to circumvent traditional procedures for taking up issues ranging from immigration to financial regulation must be taken seriously.
The House of Representatives just voted down a crucial piece of President Obama's trade agenda in a 302-126 vote. The vote is bad news for the Trans Pacific-Partnership, the controversial trade deal Obama is currently negotiating. The House rejected a bill that would have extended funding for trade adjustment assistance programs, which help workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign competition find new work. The program is traditionally supported by Democrats, but Democrats voted no because they knew passing it would advance the TPP, which most Democrats opposed.
The House of Representatives on Friday delivered a blow to President Barack Obama's signature goal of strengthening ties with Asia but could try again as soon as Tuesday to reverse defeat of a measure central to a Pacific Rim trade pact. In a dramatic vote, Obama's own Democrats, as well as Republicans, rejected a program to give aid to workers who lose their jobs as a result of U.S. trade deals with other countries. The measure was soundly defeated in a 302-126 vote.
It looks like some Republicans are getting ready to take another hostage in their efforts to destroy President Barack Obama’s health care law. They’re just waiting to see if the Supreme Court will hand them the gun. For weeks now, the debate about how to respond to a court ruling in King v. Burwell, the case challenging a key component of the Affordable Care Act, has taken place indirectly -- through speeches, newspaper columns, and media interviews. But with the court likely to issue a decision by the end of June, tension has been building. On Wednesday, it led to a confrontation when Rep.
The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to restore key authorities of the PATRIOT Act that expired two days ago — and dealt Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a staggering defeat in the process. The 67-32 vote in favor of the USA Freedom Act came over the forceful opposition of McConnell and much of his leadership team, who failed to persuade enough GOP senators to make what they argued were critical changes to the bill. The measure, which passed the House last month, now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature and ends an impasse over national security that’s divided Republicans for weeks.
The Senate passed the USA Freedom Act without any amendments, on a vote of 67-32, and sent the bill to Barack Obama to sign into law. The bill will end the mass collection of Americans’ phone records by the NSA, restore some expired powers to security agencies, place record storage in private companies’ hands, create a public-interest advocate for the secret Fisa court that oversees surveillance programs, and require the court to notify Congress when it reinterprets law.
Three key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire first thing Monday. One of those provisions, Section 215, which the White House uses to scoop up Americans' call records in bulk, has been incredibly controversial both legally and politically. We went over the basics of all this in a separate post earlier this month, but wanted to check in on what's happened since then as the expiration date — and the Senate's rush to resolve this issue — get closer. Here are three questions that will help you understand where everything stands:
Last week, in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, former Clinton and Bush administration counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke pointed out something extraordinary. “Congress has been asked by the President months ago now to make a decision, to vote on the use of force against ISIS. And they’ve refused to do it. It’s incredible.” It is incredible. On the campaign trail, Republican presidential candidates endlessly slam Obama’s lack of a strategy against ISIS. And yet given the opportunity to help craft such a strategy, and back it up with an authorization for war, Republican leaders in Congress refuse. It’s a perfect illustration of the absurdity of GOP foreign policy today.
U.S. Republicans have had to watch from the sidelines as the Obama White House has taken political credit for America's unexpected energy boom and tumbling gas prices. Now it has left their presidential candidates scrambling for a way to reclaim leadership on an issue the party once seemed to own. Their apparent answer: calling time on a 40-year-old federal ban on crude oil exports and using the newfound energy bounty to strategic advantage.