Obama, GOP seek to sway lawmakers on war resolution

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Atkins: Battling over president’s legacy.

President Barack Obama is expected to highlight a resurgence in the U.S. economy during his annual State of the Union address to Congress late Tuesday. WASHINGTON — Republicans running Congress have promised to use every weapon in their arsenal to try to repeal President Obama’s health care law, but a potentially divisive debate is looming between Tea Party forces and GOP pragmatists on how far to go.Last year’s midterm elections, in which Democrats suffered bruising defeats and the GOP won full control of Congress, may have been the best thing that ever happened to him. He has already taken his message to the public, previewing his administration’s plans to boost American manufacturing and access to higher education. “In December, our businesses created 240,000 new jobs.

The Obama administration and House Speaker John Boehner and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell have pledged to work together to pass a congressional resolution giving the president the authority to prosecute the five-month-old bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Yet some observers see Obama’s address proposals – including heightened taxes on the richest Americans, paid sick leave, efforts to increase home ownership, and free community college – as being ‘too little, too late’ in the face of steep conservative opposition. Some members are questioning whether to use the congressional budget process to derail the 2010 law or reserve that parliamentary maneuver for more traditional purposes such as cutting spending or overhauling the tax code. It did not leave Obama as a beaten, feckless lame duck destined to spend his last two years in office vainly fighting Republicans bent on dismantling Obamacare and blocking any other White House legislative effort. Once again, the president will propose soaking the rich with higher estate, capital gains and bank taxes, while adding to entitlements for the working poor and middle class — new tax credits, higher child care allowance and more college tuition assistance.

But they will probably face some strong headwinds from members of both parties who believe that previous resolutions — passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 — have been abused. Instead, after years of capitulating to the gridlock that has become the new normal in Washington, Obama took a different approach: Instead of taking his agenda to Capitol Hill where it would fall on deaf ears, he would instead take it directly to the American people.

As with other ideas about immigration, community college, broadband Internet and mortgages, the president is trying to set the issue table for 2016 and prove that he’s no lame duck. It is the only filibuster-proof option available to Republicans, who control the Senate with 54 seats but must still muster 60 votes to pass other legislation when Democrats threaten to use open-ended debate to block a bill. Since the recovery began, GDP growth has averaged a mere 2.3 percent a year — that’s about half what Ronald Reagan accomplished climbing out of a recession of comparable depth. Gross and his wife will be among the more than 20 other guests to sit with first lady Michelle Obama, Jill Biden and presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett when the president gives his annual address at the U.S. A recent Pew Research Center poll said that, for the first time in five years, Americans rank defending the US against terrorism as a top concern, putting it at the same level as strengthening the economy.

The plan will include raising the capital gains tax for families with income more than $500,000 per year to 28 percent from the current rate of 23.8 percent. Under Senate rules, if a health care repeal measure is treated as a budget bill, senators may limit debate to 20 hours, thus averting a filibuster by the minority party. A reconciliation measure can advance only after the House and Senate have agreed upon a measure called a budget resolution, which sets broad parameters for spending, revenues, and curbs to benefit programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. PHILADELPHIA — A day after three people died in a series of pileups on icy interstates in the Philadelphia area, officials are warning motorists to drive carefully because of a new threat of black ice. The dollar is quite strong against other currencies, limiting exports and boosting job-killing imports, because China’s growth is faltering, Japan remains in neutral and Europe is on the edge of collapse under the weight of statism — the very kind Obama and Clinton want to impose on Americans.

Crews were out all night treating major thoroughfares, but the combination of near freezing temperatures and wet surfaces meant icy patches could still form, especially on untreated secondary roads and side streets. College education: Obama will discuss a plan to provide students with two years of community college education free of charge, if states participate in the program. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, told a Heritage Foundation gathering of conservatives last week that Republicans should ‘‘use every procedural tool available, including reconciliation, to repeal Obamacare with 51 votes in the Senate.’’ That’s a view shared by conservative groups such as the Senate Conservatives Fund and Heritage Action, and prominent voices on the right including Erick Erickson, publisher of the Redstate.com conservative blog. ‘‘It’s time to stop pussy-footing around. . . .

A number of accidents were reported overnight around the region and speed limits on the Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross and Walt Whitman bridges were reduced to 35 mph. The White House has cited both the congressional authorization approved in the days after the 9/11 attacks to go after the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, as well as the separate vote in late 2002 authorizing US military force to overthrow Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. His agenda is resoundingly populist, focused on jobs, wages and a tax reform plan that would give breaks to working-class families and boost child care tax credits while increasing fees on Wall Street banks and closing loopholes that allow folks like Mitt Romney to save millions by overstuffing IRA accounts, which were designed to help middle-class Americans afford retirement, not shield millionaires. On top of higher minimum wages and mandated business-financed health benefits, he wants employers to pay for mandatory sick leave and six weeks of paid parental leave.

PHOENIX – Katelyn Conrad, a 21-year-old Arizona State University student, died Saturday after falling while rappelling with a group of climbers from the school, a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said on Sunday. But both sides agree on a lot, including that the U.S. tax code is too complex and needs streamlining; that numerous tax breaks could be consolidated; and that the tax system could do more to encourage work, help college students and retirees, and reduce penalties on married couples. Pragmatic voices in the GOP, however, say the certainty of an Obama veto effectively means that Republicans would be wasting the opportunity given them under special budget rules. ‘‘I’d like to get tax reform done.

As Obama heads into the final stretch of his presidency, Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of politically-liberal magazine The American Prospect, wrote the plan is just not bold enough at this particular stage of Obama’s term, especially with this Congress waiting to knock it down. “By contrast, the original G.I. Conrad unresponsive on Saturday morning after she fell about 125 feet in the Coon Bluff Recreation Area near Saguaro Lake in the Tonto National Forest, spokesman Chris Hegstrom said. With a Republican-controlled Congress, the president’s proposals to create manufacturing hubs, expand broadband access and offer free tuition will likely run into opposition, particularly if the programs require lawmakers to sign off on more spending. And I think that’s something that could actually get enacted,’’ said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, chairman of the Senate Commerce committee. But perhaps that is what Obama is banking on: being a man of action in a land of inaction, and hoping Americans approve of that message in 2016 and beyond.

The number of young people — and especially young men — starting small businesses has fallen dramatically — and that means fewer jobs over the next generation for everyone. LOS ANGELES — Gregory Plitt, the fitness model and reality TV star who died Saturday, was recording video for his website, trying to get action shots when he tripped and was struck by an oncoming train, friends said. Why not propose something that would make a major difference in the lives of millions of moderate income Americans and dare the Republicans to oppose it?” Paid leave: A $2 billion proposal with almost no chance of getting congressional approval would encourage US states to establish paid family and medical leave programs. LOS ANGELES – Two female Southern California teachers had sex with male high school students during an overnight beach camping trip that one of the teachers orchestrated, authorities say. Several legal scholars and lawmakers have said that both previous resolutions should either be repealed or at minimum modified to reflect new realities.

The United States is one of only three countries in the world that does not offer a monetary supplement to new mothers on maternity leave from their jobs, according to the United Nations. Hiking capital gains taxes will directly discourage older successful investors, who also bring a wealth of practical management experience and advice for getting young ventures off the ground. The view of some pragmatists is that reconciliation should be used to get a result that might get signed into law or as leverage to make Obama more uncomfortable than he would be in vetoing an Obamacare repeal measure. At minimum, Schiff and others believe the authorization needs an expiration date so that the overall authority for the so-called war on terrorism gets revisited. Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah have a similar proposal to help parents that instead centers on the child tax credit: They would augment the current credit of $1,000 with an additional $2,500 credit, and their credit would all be refundable (those without any tax liability would get a check from the government).

The TPP, for example, is a widely-contested deal between the US and 11 other nations adjacent to the Pacific Rim, and has been negotiated by representatives for those countries in largely in secret. The president calls it fair because it only falls on 1 percent of the population, and will paint Republicans who resist as defending the rich to the detriment of struggling Americans. Obama’s suggested tax credit for second earners in a household — up to $500 for married couples when both spouses are employed, which would help overcome the hesitancy of lower-earning spouses to work — also echoes Mr. It would seem one out of six men unemployed, subsisting on government benefits and burdening relatives is not too high a price to elect another Democratic president. Cybersecurity and Internet access: In the wake of the hack into Sony’s corporate systems, Obama will propose a plan, likely popular among both political parties, to increase cooperation between public and private entities to thwart cybersecurity threats.

They include bills to authorize the Keystone XL gas pipeline, impose more economic sanctions on Iran, and tie funding of the Department of Homeland Security to a rollback of Obama’s executive actions on immigration. A proposal to expand government-run broadband internet access, however, will find opponents worried about its cost and regulatory ramifications, as states currently legislate most guidelines over local Internet access. GOP leaders, who had looked to tax policy as a possible area for compromise with the president, are now signaling that they will do what they can to block his proposals.

In the past, they would have proposed government spending cuts, yet all the easy trims (and even some tough ones) have been made, and the declining deficit has put them in a tough spot on this issue.

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