February 18, 2013
Quick: Name one thing mainstream Republicans and Democrats agree on when it comes to energy policy. Other than that both sides would like it to be cheaper, you're probably drawing a blank. That's why there was something a little quixotic in President Obama's call last week, during his State of the Union address, urging Congress to get together and pursue "a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change. " It's pretty far-fetched to imagine congressional Republicans pursuing a costly new program, market based or not, positing the solution to a climate problem many believe don't exist.
February 17, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The White House scrambled Sunday to keep congressional negotiations over immigration reform on track, reassuring senators it did not leak details of a draft bill being written by the administration. White House aides were caught by surprise when details from a draft of an administration bill were published Saturday, and quickly contacted the eight Republican and Democratic senators who have been working behind the scenes to hammer out a compromise bill. Obama's aides stressed in the phone calls that the president is pleased with the progress in Congress and said the administration had not leaked the details to nudge the process along, according to a White House official who asked not to be named describing private conversations.
February 13, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama's State of the Union speech demonstrated a rule for governing in politically divided times: Insert yourself the least where the chance of success is best. Obama devoted nearly nine minutes at the top of his speech to a meticulous description of his bargaining position for the next round of budget confrontations with congressional Republicans. He detailed at length his proposals for replacing the automatic spending reductions that are scheduled to take effect next month, using the word "I" five times as he did so. By contrast, Obama spent just two minutes on the subject he has called the administration's top legislative priority: immigration reform.
January 30, 2013 |
Can Republicans find a way out of the political dead end they marched into during the 2012 campaign? Can President Obama make his second term more productive than the final gridlocked years of his first? Can Democrats and Republicans in Congress relearn the forgotten art of compromise after years of angry polarization? The answers may depend on how the new bipartisan plan for immigration reform fares in Congress. The initial signs are promising. The senators leading the effort are among the chamber's most practiced negotiators, Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.)
January 29, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to confirm Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) as secretary of State, filling a crucial national security spot in President Obama's second-term Cabinet. Kerry, who ran for president as the Democratic nominee in 2004, will replace Hillary Rodham Clinton, who steps down as America's top diplomat Friday. After the 94-3 vote, Kerry submitted a letter of resignation, effective Friday, to give up the Senate seat he has held since 1985. He will take the oath of office in a private ceremony.
January 28, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Declaring that the politics of immigration “have been turned upside down,” a bipartisan group of senators Monday outlined common principles for comprehensive immigration reform and expressed optimism that legislation granting legal status to most of the country's 11 million illegal immigrants could be realized by this summer. One day before President Obama launches a campaign-style push for his vision of immigration reform, representatives of the so-called Group of Eight senators acknowledged previous false starts on the issue, and obstacles that probably lie ahead - particularly in determining how to increase the flow of legal immigration.
January 28, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - As they announced their framework for comprehensive immigration reform, leading senators from both parties declared Monday that the politics of the long-stalled debate had shifted after Republican candidates failed to win significant support from the growing Latino electorate in November. But many conservatives made clear they rejected that contention. They remain deeply skeptical of any plan that would create a way for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country to become citizens.
January 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - A bipartisan group of senators has agreed on a plan to grant legal status to most of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., which could form the basis for a far-reaching overhaul of immigration laws this year. The Senate blueprint, drafted during weeks of closed-door meetings by leading senators from each party, will probably set parameters for a contentious legislative battle over the next several months. The eight senators involved intend to release their proposal publicly Monday.
January 2, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - In the last-minute dealmaking to stop the nation from tumbling over the so-called fiscal cliff, Congress and the White House decided not to spare most people from a hike in Social Security payroll taxes. But they did find room for billions in special tax breaks for rum makers, racetrack owners, railroads - and Hollywood studios. Riding along on the compromise bill were dozens of provisions that renewed existing tax breaks. All told, the business tax breaks will cost more than $63 billion next year, according to an analysis by Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation.
November 27, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Even as Republicans in the House and Senate begin efforts to pass narrow immigration bills in the lame-duck session, closed-door negotiations have begun over how to accomplish a much broader package of immigration reforms next year. Three Republican senators introduced an alternative to the Dream Act on Tuesday that would give legal status to young immigrants brought to the U.S. unlawfully as children. Later this week, the House is expected to vote on a bill that would increase the number of visas for technology jobs, while reducing other legal immigration.