Did Congress Grow a Backbone?

From Yahoo/AP:


Defiant congressional Republicans attacked President Barack Obama’s agenda from all sides Tuesday, ignoring veto threats and pushing bills to uproot his policies on immigration and Wall Street, force approval of energy pipeline legislation he opposes and make him justify any new federal rules before he makes them.

Obama invited his antagonists to the White House for their first face-to-face meeting since the new Republican-controlled Congress convened. But their show of cordiality for the cameras did little to mask the partisan hostilities between Capitol Hill and the White House.

“The key now is for us to work as a team,” said Obama, who has issued five veto threats with the new Congress not yet two weeks old. He cited taxes, trade and cyber-security as areas for potential cooperation, and also told lawmakers he would work with them to come up with a proposal to authorize military force against the Islamic State group.

Back at the Capitol, the Senate debated legislation to force the administration to allow construction of the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline. And the House passed a regulatory reform bill that the White House says would impose “unprecedented and unnecessary” requirements on agencies trying to write rules. It would require more justifications and notice.

That was to be followed by votes Wednesday on two other bills: One would alter a key section of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul in a way that would help banks, and the other would block Obama’s executive actions on immigration, including removal of protections for immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as children. The Keystone bill passed the House last week and is expected to clear the Senate next week and head to Obama’s desk.

Obama has threatened to veto all four pieces of legislation. Far from cowed, with the Senate in GOP hands for the first time in eight years Republican lawmakers are ready to make him do it.

“I’m a member of Congress; I’m not a potted plant. I don’t take my orders from the White House,” said Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., after Republicans met behind closed doors to discuss their strategy. “There’s a new sheriff in the Senate, and so he’s not going to have a compliant majority leader in the Senate who’s going to bottle up and bury everything.”

In contrast to the president’s tone of cooperation, White House press secretary Josh Earnest chided Republican lawmakers, saying the GOP’s approach to the opening days of the new Congress raises questions “about how serious they are about trying to work with the president.”

“In the first five days that they’ve been in session, they’ve advanced five pieces of legislation all the way to the Rules Committee that they already know this president strongly opposes,” he said.

Republicans had no plans to stop there.

Citing the terrorist attacks in Paris, Republican senators on Tuesday proposed restrictions on Obama’s ability to transfer terror suspects out of the federal prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the remainder of his term — making it more difficult for Obama to fulfill his goal of closing the facility.

President Barack, joined by House Minority Leader Nancy …

A dirty look for your buddy, John? Color me surprised.

Now is not the time to be emptying Guantanamo,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire told reporters.

The contentious politics of divided government were on stark display as the House moved forward on a series of bills that face an uncertain future, at best, in the Senate — where the GOP remains six vote shorts of the 60-vote majority needed to advance most issues — and certain rejection by Obama.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said his bill on regulations would take aim at the “endlessly escalating, excessive federal regulatory costs” under the Obama administration. The White House objected that it would “create needless confusion and delay.” The legislation passed 250 to 175.

The bill on Wall Street reforms — which would give U.S. banks an additional two years to ensure that their holdings of certain risky securities don’t put them afoul of a new banking rule — was no sure bet to pass the Senate.

And on immigration, even some Republican senators were skeptical of the approach being taken in the House, where Republicans were using a $39.7 billion spending bill, which would keep the Homeland Security Department running past February, as the vehicle to overturn Obama’s executive actions.

One amendment to be voted on Wednesday would undo steps Obama announced in November to allow deportation reprieves and work permits to 4 million immigrants in the country illegally. Another would nullify his 2012 action to allow more than 600,000 immigrants brought illegally to the country as children to stay and work here legally.

“Our response shouldn’t be on the funding bill,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and some House Republicans acknowledged that the Senate was likely to reject their approach, perhaps forcing them in the end to pass a Homeland Security funding bill stripped of controversial language on immigration.

“One way or another we have to get DHS funding,” said Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y. “Hopefully sane minds will prevail, we can make some compromises and get it done.”


I had my hopes up for a minute there, then King just had to say that word – compromise. It’s extremely aggravating to see them so ready to compromise when they haven’t lost yet.

obama penThey come out strong, ignoring the veto threats and moving forward on legislation that’s been needed for months, only to utter that word in the next breath. It’s like they’ve got the ball on the 5-yard-line and just hand it to the other team instead of running it in for the score.

Remember the good old days when Republican president Ronald Reagan had to work with Democrat Speaker Tip O’Neill? They used a tit-for-tat process in their deal making, whereas today it seems to be all about personal agendas instead of what’s good for the country.

I still have a very small ray of hope that the GOP will force O to use that veto over and over, so the country can see who the real obstructionist is. Get your pen ready Barry.


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4 Responses to Did Congress Grow a Backbone?

  1. Clyde says:

    King has turned out to be an asshat. Boehner’s look wasn’t hostile, it looked more like man lust to me. I’m not too worried. This GOPe led Congress has NOT suddenly “found it’s spine”. To me, it’s more like “damage control”. The RINO’s KNOW they are deep doo-doo with 2016 looming. Good post, Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      King is one of those wishy-washy guys that I don’t trust. One minute he’s on our side and the next he’s ready to hand them the keys to the castle.

      Damage control or spine – either way, so long as they take on the battle and stop letting O run roughshod over them.

  2. Rich B says:

    “The key now is for us to work as a team,” said Omama.

    I damn near spit up when I read that one. The only team Omama has any experience was the Choom Gang back in his wasted (pun intended) youth in Hawaii. And everything he comes up with has a not so hidden agenda.

    And since we have no super-majority in the Senate, there won’t be any veto over-rides unless the dems wake up and realize what happened two months ago will happen to the next batch of progressive Senators (redundancy check) who come up for re-election in 2016. We’re gonna have to clean house (and Senate) once again. They (Senate dems) will be forced to take a stand on many critical issues now Harry Reid is kaput.

    And with Boehner being the weepy little baby he is he sure as hell won’t stand up to Omama. Maybe that bartender who wanted to murder Boehner wasn’t as crazy as the news is making him out to be. I don’t want to see Boehner murdered, but an early retirement due to poison related injuries might be a blessing in disguise. Nothing really serious mind you, just something to get him and his damp hankies and kleenex out of politics.

    But it will be great and revealing to see these bills hit Omama’s desk and get vetoed. Now that Harry Reid is busy giving himself hernias trying to work out and McConnell is the Majority leader, at least the bills won’t go somewhere to die in the various Senate committees. IOW, Omama hasn’t got dirty Harry to hide behind anymore.

    Even when Omama had both houses he dragged his ass on many issues. So go ahead King Putt and pull your veto pen. Let’s get it on the record as to where you really stand. You’ve stalled and lied about the Keystone pipeline and a shitload of other issues for four or five years so now it’s time to shit or get off the pot.

    And – when we actually DO get some conservatives and not just repubs in charge of both Houses, this country will turn around in a New York minute providing Omama and the activist federal Judges leave what’s left of our Constitution intact. Be wary – for the next two years gutting the Second Amendment will be the progressives top priority. If that happens the show’s over one way or another.

    • Kathy says:

      Great comments, Rich, you hit quite a few nails with a big hammer today.

      You could have knocked me over with a feather earlier today when I read Boehner’s statement after they voted to overturn O’s executive action on amnesty. I won’t say he’s grown a backbone, but something bit him in the butt and gave him a little shot of spunk.