Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 5:58 pm
There's a word you're going to be hearing a lot as Congress tries to pass a budget this year: reconciliation. It's a procedural fast-track lawmakers get to use after they approve a budget. Republicans are hoping to repeal the Affordable Care Act â€” or, at least parts of it â€” through reconciliation, but they're not likely to win that game.
Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 1:39 pm
House Speaker John Boehner plans to travel to Israel at the end of the month, close on the heels of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election and the Israeli leader's controversial address to Congress.
Although there are no details on who he might meet in Israel, Boehner "looks forward to visiting the country, discussing our shared priorities for peace and security in the region, and further strengthening the bond between the United States and Israel," his spokesman, Kevin Smith, said in a statement.
Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 10:21 am
When it comes to the food stamps â€” or SNAP benefits as they're now called â€” there are few areas where Republicans and Democrats agree. But getting some of the 46 million people now receiving SNAP into the work force is one of them.
Last year Congress approved $200 million for states to test the best way to move people into jobs. And today, the Obama administration is announcing grants to 10 states to do just that.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the demonstration projects should help able-bodied recipients take advantage of an improving economy.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, famous for her legal pen, has now written a short essay for a different occasion: Passover.
The essay highlights the key roles played by five women in the Exodus story: Moses' mother and sister; the midwives who defied Pharaoh's decree to kill the Israelite baby boys; and Pharaoh's own daughter, who defied her father to pluck the baby Moses out of the Nile.
As members of the press corps poured into the Oval Office in the White House to get pictures of Obama and Prince Charles, Obama whispered to Charles, "I think it's fair to say that the American people are quite fond of the royal family."
He went on: "They like them much better than they like their own politicians."
Prince Charles, laughing, gave the only polite answer he could in return: "I don't believe that."
Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 12:02 pm
President Obama wants to shrink the federal government's carbon footprint.
With hundreds of thousands of buildings and vehicles, the government is the nation's single biggest energy consumer. The president signed an executive order Thursday directing agencies to get more of their power from clean energy sources.
"We're going to cut the federal government's greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent from 2008 levels within the next ten years," Obama said, after touring a rooftop array of solar panels at the Department of Energy.
Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 2:44 pm
President Obama signed an executive order at the White House on Thursday directing the federal government to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by 40 percent from 2008 levels within the next decade and to increase its use of renewable energy sources to 30 percent of total consumption.
Australia has near 100 percent turnout in its elections. How do the Aussies do it? They, like 25 other countries, require people to vote.
President Obama wondered aloud Wednesday whether it was time for the United States to consider a similar move.
"In Australia and some other countries, there's mandatory voting," Obama said at an economic event in Cleveland. "It would be transformative if everybody voted â€” that would counteract money more than anything."
Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 8:55 am
Vice President Joe Biden has been more visible than almost any of his 46 predecessors in the nation's No. 2 office. He's had more access to the Oval Office and more input on policy than all but a handful.
But there is one VP duty Biden has never fulfilled, because he's never had a chance: He has never broken a tie in the Senate, which is a salient VP responsibility embedded in the Constitution. In these past six years and two months, there hasn't been a Senate tie to break.
Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 1:29 pm
While the 2016 presidential hopefuls are hitting the road in places like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the race is also taking off on social media.
Let's start with Twitter: With nearly 3 million Twitter followers, Hillary Clinton is way ahead of the other potential candidates:
Clinton only started tweeting in June 2013, and she tweets sparingly â€” though she seems to be ramping up this week. It's a calculated mix of her opinions on political news, photos from her travels and work to empower women and girls as well as family photos.
Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 4:05 pm
Barack Obama let down his graying presidential hair a little bit on Wednesday. He also joked about coloring it.
Speaking to the City Club of Cleveland, Obama seemed to be in a reflective mood. During the question-and-answer period, he was asked by a seventh-grader what advice he would give to himself now, if he could go back to his first day in office.
Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 5:39 pm
One of the nation's savviest politicians is in an unexpected fight.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Obama's former White House chief of staff, is in an unprecedented runoff election next month.
The challenger, Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, contends that Emanuel favors the rich and powerful over working-class Chicagoans. But Emanuel is firing back, attacking Garcia for having no plan to deal with the city's deep financial problems.
Originally published on Thu March 19, 2015 4:00 pm
Attorney General Eric Holder joked Wednesday that given nearly six months of Senate delays in confirming his successor at the Justice Department, "it's almost as if the Republicans in Congress have discovered a new fondness for me."
"I'm feeling love there that I haven't felt for some time. And where was all this affection the last six years?" the attorney general asked, to laughter, in brief remarks at the Center for American Progress in Washington.
Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 3:38 pm
The Presbyterian Church (USA), which includes more than 4,000 ministers and 1.8 million members of their congregations, approved new language Tuesday that allows its churches to perform same-sex marriages.
In a statement, the Covenant Network of Presbyterians said the change would become effective June 21.