FROM Martin Kady
Spending Bill Comes Down to the Wire The House is scheduled to vote at this hour on the trillion-dollar omnibus spending bill designed to keep the government from shutting down at midnight tonight. As often happens, “must pass” legislation has been crammed with controversial provisions. If the measure passes the Republican-controlled House, it'll go to the Senate, where Democrats are still in the majority. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts says she'll vote “no” because the bill relaxes the tough financial restrictions enacted under the Dodd-Frank bill. Martin Kady, Managing Editor of Politico , has an update.
The President, Congress and the 'Red Line' in Syria Republican John Boehner and Democrat Nancy Pelosi left the White House today supporting President Obama's plan to punish Syria's use of chemical weapons. But both the parties they lead are sharply divided. So why has the President asked Congress to debate a decision he says he's already made? Without more international backing, does he need time to plead his case to the American people? What if Congress says "no?" What's at stake for American security and international sanctions against weapons of mass destruction?
Congress Takes Up Gun Control and Immigration Reform Gun control is on the move in the Senate, and two-thirds of Americans support a "path to citizenship" for undocumented workers. Last night, President Obama dined at the White House with leading Republicans. Can he get them to support him on those issues and his budget compromise?
Cabinet Nominee Hagel Gets a Grilling Republicans John McCain and Chuck Hagel might have been friends when Hagel was in the Senate, but you wouldn't have known it today at his confirmation hearing . Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma said Hagel supports retreat from America's global leadership and shrinking the military, which Inhofe said "will not make America safer." Even Democrats, including Michigan's Carl Levin, were concerned about where Hagel stands on Israel. We hear what was said about Iran, Israel and cuts in the Pentagon budget, and assess Hagel's chances of confirmation.
Jim DeMint To Leave Senate to Run Heritage Foundation The US Senate was stunned today by the sudden resignation of Republican Jim DeMint, an arch conservative from South Carolina with four more years left on hit term.
House Votes on GOP Budget Bill Congress today took up the so-called " budget reconciliation bill ," with the Republican majority advocating cuts in social programs and forestalling cuts in defense programs. Martin Kady is Congressional Bureau Chief for Politico .
House Republicans Say No Deal on Payroll Tax Cut Tonight, the Republican-dominated House is expected to reject the Senate’s hard-won compromise on a 2-month tax-cut and unemployment extension. That could mean a 1000-dollar average tax increase for 160 million Americans on the first of the year. Democrats, from Capitol Hill to the White House, are outraged—claiming that House Speaker John Boehner can’t control his Tea-Party members. But Boehner this morning took a hard line…
Super Committee on the Brink of Failure The special bi-partisan Congressional committee assigned to reach a sweeping deficit agreement appears to have utterly failed. The Super Committee foundered on the same issue Congress could not resolve during debt ceiling negotiations this summer: new taxes. With a recent poll showing a nine percent approval for Congress, both sides hope the other one takes the blame. Martin Kady is Congressional Editor for Politico .
Washington Hammering Out Duel Debt Ceiling Plans As the markets and the public look on nervously, the clock continues to tick toward the August 2 deadline as negotiations continue over raising the federal debt ceiling. As leaders from both parties develop separate plans, one of the contested issues is the length of any extension. President Obama and the Democrats want to put the issue to rest until after the 2012 election, while the Republicans want to keep the government on a shorter leash.
Hammering Out Dueling Debt Ceiling Plans Just over a week before the August 2 deadline, Washington seems no closer to a deal to raise the debt ceiling. After Speaker of the House Boehner walked out of negotiations with President Barack Obama Friday, talks went on all weekend between and within the parties. Now the Speaker is working on a GOP plan while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid works on a Democratic alternative. Today, global markets are down amid concerns about the lack of a deal. Directors of the International Monetary Fund have weighed in , citing the urgency of a deal that includes entitlement reforms, additional savings in healthcare, as well as revenue increases, and advising against fast cuts which could impact consumer spending.
House Votes against and for Obama on Libya Seventy Democrats gave President Obama a stunning rebuke today, joining almost all the Republicans in defeating a measure to authorize the US mission in Libya. But a second measure to cut off funding failed. Martin Kady, congressional editor at Politico , has more on today's votes.
Charlie Rangel Walks Out of His Ethics Hearing There was high personal drama today on Capitol Hill when New York's Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel walked out of a long-anticipated Ethics Committee hearing called to give him a chance to defend himself on various changes. Martin Kady is Congressional Bureau Chief for Politico.com .
Midterm Elections and Congressional Paralysis A few weeks before the November elections, beleaguered Democrats have been struggling to find an issue to put Republicans on the defensive. During Friday’s lengthy news conference President Obama struck a populist note. With about 14 working days until the elections, we look at the prospects for the Bush tax cuts, the President’s new economic agenda and the pressures of partisan politics. President Obama's September 10 news conference Congressman Boehner's September 12 appearance on Face the Nation
Long-time Senator Robert Byrd Dies Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia was elected to the US Senate in 1959, just after Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the Union. He served for 51 years, longer than any other member. In failing health for the past few years, Byrd died last night at the age of 92. As a long-time chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, he steered billions of dollars to the State of West Virginia. But four years ago he agreed with CNN that being the King of Pork was a badge of honor. Martin Kady is congressional bureau chief for Politico.com .
Partisans Get Busy with Administration's Response to Terror In the aftermath of the Christmas Day bombing attempt, the Obama Administration tried to reassure Americans that air travel was safe. But on Sunday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano made herself a political target by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time in affirming that the system worked. Yesterday, she was singing a different tune . That 180-degree turn has been fodder for political finger-pointing, as Politico 's Martin Kady notes.
Gun Control Advocates Win a Close Senate Vote Gun control advocates won a rare victory today in the US Senate, but not by much. An amendment to the defense spending bill failed on a vote of 58 to 39, just two votes short of the 60 it needed. The issue was permits to carry concealed weapons. Martin Kady is Deputy Congressional Editor for Politico.com .
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?