Obama vows to ‘play offense’ against GOP-led Congress

16 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Are Democrats Trolling the Left?.

At the Republican retreat, Senate GOP leaders are apparently working overtime to dial down expectations among Republicans who still hope that the Congressional GOP can put a stop to President Obama’s out-of-control lawlessness. President Obama used a closed-door meeting with Democratic senators Thursday to once again threaten to veto a bill ordering stiffer sanctions against Iran — and, in legacy mode, repeatedly vowed to former colleagues he would remain “on offense” against the GOP Congress on a range of issues.OBAMA ON ‘OFFENSE’ – GOP mantra: It’s Obama’s fault – ERNST TO GIVE GOP SOTU REBUTTAL – Oversight’s portrait war – LEAHY LEADS CUBA CODEL – Republicans stuck on DHS funding OBAMA: ‘I’M GOING TO PLAY OFFENSE’ – POLITICO’s Manu Raju goes inside the Senate Dem retreat in Baltimore and sums up the president’s message: “President Barack Obama made clear Thursday in a closed-door session with Senate Democrats that he’s prepared to veto hostile legislation from the GOP-controlled Congress, including an Iran sanctions package on the front-burner of Capitol Hill.

President Obama’s muscular victories in 2008 and 2012 inflated Democratic egos, giving the party visions of a never-ending string of victories in nationwide presidential races.The next few days could produce early clues to the ultimate resolution of a nagging question for national Republicans: Will the GOP’s congressional wing aid the party’s chances of reclaiming the Oval Office in 2016 — or help end them? The question is: Will rank-and-file Republicans accept defeat in the face of what they appear convinced is something akin to genuine tyranny, if it comes to that? Meeting in Baltimore at a downtown Hilton Hotel across from Camden Yards, Obama defended his decision to use his executive powers to change the nation’s immigration laws and reestablish diplomatic ties with Cuba, according to several people in attendance. Last week, House Democrats unveiled a new plan to cut taxes for middle-class families, paying for it with higher taxes on the rich and a tax on financial transactions.

The Hill reports this morning that Republican leaders in the Senate are telling party members that they will not be able to pass the House GOP package of measures that — in addition to funding the Department of Homeland Security — rolls back Obama’s executive actions shielding millions from deportation and unravels the broader set of enforcement priorities he has put in place. Today, meanwhile, President Barack Obama will officially call for the passage of legislation giving workers the opportunity to earn up to seven paid sick days per year. Meanwhile, as the 2016 campaign lurches to life, the Republican National Committee is in San Diego with an agenda featuring speeches by several prospective presidential candidates, including 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. Obama’s decision to reiterate the threat face-to-face is notable because the proposal enjoys significant support from Democrats, especially one of its lead authors, Sen. The 2,600-mile gap between the two gatherings echoes the symbolic distance that some potential candidates in the emerging GOP presidential campaign field could end up putting between them and their congressional wing.

In pushing lawmakers to stop pursuing sanctions, Obama urged them to avoid making moves for a short-term political gain – when Menendez stood up and said he took “personal offense.” http://goo.gl/77agXS GOP MANTRA: BLAME OBAMA – Jake Sherman and Burgess Everett from Hershey: “They say they want to rewrite the Tax Code. According to people who attended the meeting, Obama addressed the issue during a question-and-answer period and was clearly prepared to deal with the inquiry.

Boehner (R-Ohio) grabbed the speaker’s gavel, House Republicans were a hot ticket inside the Baltimore hotel where the GOP caucus huddled at the start of the year: Future presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry (Tex.) were among the many dignitaries who made appearances. “And this year we’ve got Tony Blair,” Rep. One possibility might be that GOP Senate leaders craft alimited version of the package, one that does somewhat less to roll back Obama’s actions, in hopes of enticing a few more Dems.

Obama “was very firm and so was Menendez but it was not heated or contentious,” said one attendee, granted anonymity to discuss a meeting that Democrats agreed wouldn’t be discussed publicly. If you listened to them at their annual retreat on Thursday, only one person could scuttle everything: President Barack Obama.” “It’s the Obama excuse. The odds that a Republican-controlled House or Senate takes a keen interest in paid sick leave or a tax that primarily effects Wall Street are, presumably, nil.

Demographics had seriously shifted in recent years, thanks in no small part to influxes of Latino voters, Asian residents, and other swaths of non-whites. More broadly, though, the question would become: How far do GOP leaders really want to take this, and do they really want to risk a sustained confrontation that could saddle them with blame for compromising funding for Homeland Security? Members of both parties agree that Iran should suffer stronger sanctions for its continued work to develop its nuclear program and see passage of the sanctions bill as an early opportunity for both parties to demonstrate bipartisan cooperation in the new Congress. And it could become a mainstay in Washington for the next two years, as the GOP looks for someone to blame for the lack of action in D.C. and divert attention from the deep divides in their own ranks.

To the Republicans, the man at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue is simply too hard-headed, too ideological and too out of touch to recognize what the country is crying for … ‘The challenge is getting the president to work with us,’ said Sen. The travesty of the 2014 election was that, while electing Republicans almost across the board, voters endorsed economic policies, such as increasing the minimum wage, that are much more closely associated with the Democrats.

In some ways, it’s a return to form: Relations between congressional Republicans and their party’s presidential candidates have often veered into frosty territory, with competing priorities occasionally offering unexpected challenges for the GOP’s White House hopefuls. But add that onto the 242 electoral votes Democratic candidates won in the six presidential races from 1992 to 2012, and they’re in the White House, with what seems like an all-but-assured win every four years. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) quips that he’ll take his young children to the “asparagus museum”: http://goo.gl/0AUKoo MAKE ‘EM SQUEAL, JONI – Freshman Sen. The Des Moines Register notes that it’s a role that’s “proved challenging” for other Republicans: “Ernst’s speech will provide the GOP’s counterpoint to the agenda outlined by the Democratic president in his annual speech to Congress, held Tuesday night.

Despite Nevada’s unusually influential organized labor movement, conservative-leaning suburbanites in the Las Vegas area and the state’s massive northern sector gave Nevada a strong Republican tilt. And in 2012, Republican presidential candidates, catering to the tea party movement that had helped fuel the GOP victories in the 2010 midterms and that rattled cages on Capitol Hill, shifted rightward, ultimately leaving Romney damaged by self-inflicted wounds as he moved from the primaries to the general election. But the numbers are rather different among Republicans: 57 percent oppose the underlying policy; 79 percent say Obama exceeded his authority; and 70 percent say Congress should stop him.

If you look at what the president and Democrats proposed, it would have made a significant dent in some of the big areas of concern around the country. He didn’t use the meeting to share any specific plans for his State of the Union address next Tuesday and only broadly discussed the nation’s improving economy and the ongoing debate over immigration with Republicans. The new Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, in particular may have to rein in some senators running for president from tying up chamber business to help further their ambitions. Republicans say they are determined to avoid those ghosts of presidential elections past, including the challenges posed by those 2016 hopefuls looking to make a permanent journey down Pennsylvania Avenue.

But I do believe that if you just look at the math on the economy and this problem of wage stagnation, which as I said dates way back, if you’re going to really address it on a large scale you do need to implement policies like the ones I’m suggesting. This is yet another way in which this week’s votes suggest that GOP priorities are heavily driven by a desire to re-prioritize the removal of low-level offenders with jobs and longtime ties to communities. * LOOKS LIKE SCOTT WALKER IS RUNNING: CNN reports on a speech that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker gave last night in which he left little doubt that he’s going to run for president.

Party hard-liners included provisions blocking President Obama’s recent action to shield millions of illegal immigrants from the threat of deportation. Walker kept hinting that older Republican politicians (read: Mitt Romney; Jeb Bush ) and Washington politicians (read: Senators who are mulling a run) won’t have as good a chance as a young GOP Governor: “For us going forward, if we are going to be up against particularly, Hillary Clinton, we got to offer a new fresh approach, and ideally it comes from the states.” * OBAMA TO SENATE DEMS: BACK OFF ON IRAN! There’s also the fact that, as Talking Points Memo’s Sahil Kapur noted, the big Republican victories last year have left fewer “centrist” Democrats in Congress, “reducing the new minority party to a more ideologically cohesive unit” that feels willing to propose more liberal ideas. The New York Times reports that Obama and Senator Robert Menendez had a sharp exchange in private over the latter’s determination to get the Senate to vote to impose new sanctions on Iran, at exactly the moment when the administration is trying to negotiate a deal curbing that country’s nuclear program. Despite the flurry of presidential campaign activity over the past few weeks, Congress is still poised to dominate the stage in the first few months of the year.

Marco Rubio of Florida surprised viewers by stopping in the middle of his speech to reach for a bottle of water.” http://goo.gl/eVs4BZ –Another congressional freshman is delivering the other official Republican response: Florida Rep. I feel like I’m getting trolled by the Democrats at the moment, seeing them come out forcefully in favor of these ideas when they won’t actually become law.

Chamber of Commerce on its political activity. “That will do more for the Republican Party than anything else, because it will start to reconnect trust with the American people.” However, Rep. But perhaps attitudes on these issues are shifting; the next time Democrats are actually in power, we’ll get to see how committed they really are to their new found progressiveness. Steve King (R-Iowa), a leading social conservative from the first-in-the-nation caucus state, comes from a still-sizable wing pushing a more aggressive tack.

The alternative is that the current legal patchwork — in which SCOTUS has essentially charted the way for lower courts to continue striking down bans, but without declaring that national right — will remain for the time being. * GOP GOVERNOR BUCKS NRA, DOESN’T IMMEDIATELY IMPLODE ON SPOT: A fascinating story out of Michigan: According to CNN, Governor Rick Snyder has vetoed a bill, pushed hard by the NRA, that would have overhauled Michigan’s concealed permit applications in a way that would have allowed people who faced restraining orders as a result of domestic violence or stalking allegations to obtain guns, as long as their orders didn’t specifically restrict their access to firearms. One of the Utah Republican’s first acts since taking over the Oversight panel gavel: removing portraits of Issa and other past chairmen from the walls of the Oversight Committee hearing room … A Chaffetz aide said it’s much ado about nothing. He also predicted that the House will help push its own agenda on that issue — and others — as presidential candidates begin their nascent campaigns. “The voice of the House needs to be weighing in on the direction for the country,” King said Wednesday before boarding the bus for Hershey. “These presidential candidates, they don’t know what their agenda is yet. In response, Snyder made the freedom-hating argument that “exposing domestic abuse victims to additional violence or intimidation” is too great a risk to take.

They have their ideas, but the platform will be hammered out on the campaign trail.” In times past, the needs of the congressional wing have sometimes clashed with those of the presidential nominee. Capitol. ‘The first thing that strikes me is that we would have never known about this had it not been for the FISA program and our ability to collect information on people who pose an imminent threat,’ Boehner said. Cruz said he rejected the argument by some Republicans that the party needed to demonstrate that it could govern. “There are some people in this town who will intone in gravelly voices, ‘We need to get things done,’” Mr. Boehner’s comment painted a different picture from what the criminal complaint against Christopher Lee Cornell, a 20-year-old man from Cincinnati, revealed about how law enforcement came to apprehend Cornell.” http://goo.gl/jFGKda –The House Sergeant-at-Arms sent an email to House staff yesterday on the foiled terror plot against the Capitol, stressing that law enforcement was “diligent from the onset.” The message continued: “The public, and in particular the Congressional community, was never in danger during the investigation.

Cruz said, lowering his voice. “Oddly enough, the people saying that, it doesn’t really matter what those things are.” The disagreement among Republicans is really over what “showing they can govern” means. That allowed Clinton and congressional Republicans both to claim a victory but left Dole fuming on the sidelines that the deal had been cut so close to the election. For Cruz, it appears to mean making it a top priority to do whatever it takes to block Obama’s destructive lawlessness, regardless of the political consequences for the party.

We will keep you informed of any important developments that may arise.” –At that same presser, Boehner also declined to say whether he agrees that humans contribute to climate change. Congressional Republicans knew the action would hurt Dole but believed that sending Clinton another bill that would draw a veto could cost them their majority in the House. Some Republicans believe Congress and their presidential candidates can operate in separate universes. “We get sidetracked with worrying about things like that, when we should be worrying about legislating,” said Mulvaney, a staunch conservative with ties to Romney and Sen.

John McCain (R-Ariz.), a two-time candidate who won his party’s 2008 nomination, said the primary in particular plays out away form Washington. “They go to Iowa, they go to New Hampshire and they go to South Carolina,” he said of the candidates, “and they really have no connection between what goes on here, because they’re not here to vote, they’re not here to influence anything that’s going on.” McCain acknowledged that an irresponsible GOP majority in Congress could cause headaches but said he has confidence in Boehner and McConnell. “I think I have some fear, but when both leaders say we’re not going to shut down the government — and that’s the only thing I think that could be damaging — then I believe them,” he said. Republicans see another reason the congressional agenda may dovetail with the interests of the party’s presidential nominee: the overlap between states with potential key Senate races and states where the presidential competition is likely to be most intense. We want to explore opportunities for greater cooperation, and to encourage Cuban officials to address issues of real concern to the American people and to their representatives in Congress.” –On the trip: Leahy, as well as Democratic Sens. Obama’s 2012 win in Colorado — his second straight — was supposed to symbolize the ascendancy of a new Democratic-friendly coalition, with single women and Latino voters at its core.

In fact, an exit poll “showed Obama carrying Latinos 75 percent to 23 percent — a big increase over 2008, and a big enough vote to account for all of his popular vote margin in the state,” writes The 2014 Almanac of American Politics. Get inspired: http://www.abbott.com/get-inspired/relentless-innovation.html ** THANK GOODNESS IT’S FRIDAY, JAN. 16, 2015 and welcome to The Huddle, where we’ll be taking a break Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Latino vote, too, came up short of what Democratic strategists aimed for. “Latino activists spent months in Colorado organizing voters on behalf of Democratic Senator Mark Udall, a strong supporter of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, against Republican Cory Gardner, who had voted to defund the president’s program protecting DREAMers,” reports MSNBC. But he added that pointing to that goal while trying to satisfy the conservative base of the party could cause conflict. “I think the leaders understand what the demands of winning a national election are,” he said. “And in McConnell’s case, because he has a number of incumbents who are up in blue states, there is another impetus to look a little more temperate and not to feed the base as much. We’ll be back at it Tuesday with my buddy Burgess Everett, so please send your tips, suggestions, comments, complaints, and corrections to beverett@politico.com and skim@politico.com and please follow along on Twitter at @burgessev and @seungminkim. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the ranking member on the Budget Committee, will hold a news conference on priorities for the budget at 10:30 a.m. in Senate Studio.

Virginia was such a high priority for Democrats that Obama made his final 2008 campaign appearance in the far southwest corner of the state, just hours before polls opened. Rivard has been Kildee’s communications director for two years, and has previously worked for the Justice Department, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former Michigan Gov. Charles Yi, staff director and chief counsel for the Senate Banking Committee under former chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), is now the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp’s general counsel. –Hundreds, including a slew of current and former House chiefs of staff, gathered last night for drinks and appetizers at the Rayburn meeting room to welcome the 57 new chiefs for the 114th Congress. And the eventual Democratic White House nominee will likely have to spend crucial resources on those three states — states that party mandarins once thought they had locked-up.

Andre Carson (D-Ind.) has gotten ever since Carson, a Muslim, was appointed to the House Intel: Crowley “wrote to Republican and Democratic lawmakers Thursday expressing his disgust at the slurs that online commenters are levying against Carson because of his Islamic faith. ‘It has … come to my attention that there have been a shocking amount of comments made in conservative publications and on social media to the effect that Rep. Some lawmakers have even suggested the House prioritize which bills it passes to make it appear the chambers are more in sync.” –“McConnell (R-Ky.) and Boehner appeared on stage together here Thursday morning at a rare joint legislative retreat being held at the Hershey Lodge hotel. TODAY’S TRIVIA – Shelby has today’s question, and it’s a two-parter: How many Supreme Court nominations have been explicitly rejected by a vote?

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