114th House Democrats

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  • Georgia congressman John Lewis deployed a strategy from his days as a civil rights activist and the viral nature of social media to stage a dramatic sit-in Wednesday on the House floor with his fellow Democrats to force a vote on gun control.
  • Democrats will launch an aggressive push on gun control this week, starting with a procedural move aimed at forcing the House to vote on legislation to stop individuals on a government no-fly list from buying weapons. California Rep. Mike Thompson will introduce a discharge petition Monday that Democrats hope can gather enough support to compel Republican leaders to schedule a gun control vote in response to a series of deadly shootings nationwide, including in San Bernardino, Calif. last week.
  • 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.