If the two move separately, Republicans and the White House will have to convince Senate Democrats to back fast-track on the promise that TAA will move forward at a later time. The president spoke with a group of Senate Democrats on Wednesday at the White House, and talks continued in the Senate on Thursday on a way to give the president trade promotion authority, also known as fast-track.
Obama himself, who's been unusually personally engaged on a bill that could amount to the biggest achievement of his second term, paid a surprise visit to the annual congressional baseball game Thursday night for some 11th hour persuading. Obama arrived as Democratic and Republican lawmakers faced off at Nationals Park and was greeted with chants of "TPA! TPA!" from the GOP side — the acronym for the Trade Promotion Authority fast track bill. He brought beer and visited with lawmakers on both sides. Earlier, in a closed meeting in the Capitol, top White House officials implored Democrats not to deny Obama the trade authority. Such a vote, they said, would block needed trade expansion for the nation and sink a major priority of the Democratic president.It really happened---I was there to see it:
One amendment would extend the timeframe for transferring data collection responsibilities from the NSA to the phone companies, allowing 12 months for that handover rather than six, as the House bill stipulates. Another would force phone companies to give Congress six months' advance notice if they change the procedures they use to collect and retain data. A third would allow the Director of National Intelligence to sign off on any procedural changes by the phone companies before they go into effect. "The House's bill is not holy writ. It's not something we have to accept in its entirety without any changes...and I think where the policy debae should go would be toe embrace these amendments," explained Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, during a floor speech on Tuesday. "We sure need to know that the new system would actually work. Doesn't that just make sense?"
He may be the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, but he still irons his own shirts, washes his own dishes, and yes…cuts his own grass. But a well-kept yard requires well-kept tools, so in the video, Speaker Boehner preps his push mower for the springtime.Flawlessly executed "man of the people" spot? NAY. Soon after the video was released, the internet noticed something...horrifying. Behold:
The bill, which has been worked on for over six months, does not authorize any sort of federal response to domestic BDS initiatives, but rather would use free trade negotiations to discourage foreign and international institutions from supporting initiatives to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel. The bill’s sponsors have their eyes on the ongoing negotiations to create a free trade agreement between the US and EU – an agreement that proponents say will be the largest free trade deal in history....
Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Senator Susan Collins (R., Maine) argued during a Senate GOP lunch that if Democrats filibuster the Department of Homeland Security funding bill — which blocks implementation of Obama’s 2012 deferred action program and his November 2014 “adult amnesty” — Republicans should respond by blocking only the 2014 orders. The thinking, according to a GOP senator who was in the lunch, is that Senate Democrats will have a harder time staying unified for a filibuster if Republicans have a narrower focus. “What I have said for months now is the central focus of Republicans should be stopping President Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty,” Cruz tells National Review Online when asked to confirm the details of his case. “That’s what Republican candidates promised the voters in November and that’s the promise we need to fulfill.”That's...new. And huge. Back in January, Senator Cruz released a glowing statement, praising the House bill and its amnesty defunding provisions, saying that it was up to the Senate "to take up the House bill, preserving those key provisions, and send it to the President..." What happened?
As Politico reports, at least 12 House Democrats are skipping the speaker vote to attend former New York governor Mario Cuomo's (D) funeral. That increases the threshold for pushing Boehner to a second ballot to at least 35, making him even safer. That 35 number, we would emphasize, is a minimum. Boehner needs a majority, so if some members don't vote, Boehner's threshold for winning will be lower than the usual 218 votes — as it was in 2013, when it was 214 votes. So if some of these Boehner opponents vote for nobody — as Labrador and Mulvaney did in 2013 — that hurts Boehner less.We'll be providing live updates and reactions to the vote, so stay tuned! You can watch a live stream of the House session here, via C-SPAN. UPDATES The live stream is up!
“Washington is broken in part because our party’s leadership has strayed from its own principles of free market, limited government, constitutional conservatism,” new Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia wrote Sunday on the conservative website Breitbart.com. “While I like Speaker Boehner personally, he will not have my support for speaker,” added Brat, who shocked the GOP establishment by toppling then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary last year. Brat had once said he would back Boehner. “I want us to have [a] leader who is willing to stand up for conservative, religious principles I believe in,” North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones told a home-state newspaper Saturday, citing Florida Rep. Daniel Webster as a potential alternative. So far, Boehner’s two announced challengers are Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert and Florida Rep. Ted Yoho — both long-shot candidates at best. Gohmert said he would fight “amnesty tooth and nail,” while Yoho said Boehner is part of the “status quo.”Big words from a small group of fighters, but it doesn't look like their efforts have drawn enough support from those who we expect to support Boehner. Here's what the vote breakdown looks like right now, courtesy of WaPo: The anti-Boehner coalition needs 29 votes to force a second ballot; they currently have 10.
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