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Friday, December 12, 2014
697 Days Until Election Day 2016It's Friday, December 12, 2014, I'm Gabe Fleisher for this Spending Deadline Edition of Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
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Capitol Hill News
- Shutdown Averted After lobbying from congressional leaders both sides, President Barack Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden, the “CRomnibus” spending bill passed the U.S. House Thursday.
- The $1.1 trillion package was passed 219-206, with 67 Republicans and 139 Democrats voting “no”. 218 constitutes a majority, meaning the bill was two votes away from failure.
- Republican “no” votes stemmed from anger over President Obama’s executive order on immigration, which they had hoped to be explicitly blocked in the spending bill. Even the compromise of short-term funding for the Department of Homeland Security to try to stop the order from going into effect (DHS is funded only until February, the stop-gap “CR” component, while the rest of the government is funded until September, like a true “omnibus” bill).
- But Democrats are the ones who nearly shut down the government Thursday night. Led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, in clear defiance of the White House and many of her deputies, many Democrats ignored calls from President Obama to vote “no” on the spending package.
- Most Democrats cited one or both of two policy rides when explaining their opposition: one rolling back Wall Street regulations from the Dodd-Frank law; the other changing campaign finance rules to increase how much a donor can give to the party committees (the latter proposal is also opposed by many tea party activists – whose groups will not receive additional donations from the measure, as it only changes the rules for Democratic and Republican committees).
- To avert a shutdown, the House and Senate both passed two-day CR’s last night after the House CRomnibus vote, just hours before the 11:59 PM Thursday deadline. Both chambers of Congress approved the CR by unanimous consent, extending government operations at their current spending levels through Saturday, to give the Senate enough time to pass the full spending bill. Once the CRomnibus is passed by the Senate, President Barack Obama has signaled that he will sign it. Obama also signed the CR last night, although the Senate and Obama apparently couldn’t have just passed and signed the CRomnibus last night – not enough suspense in that.
- And there was certainly suspense last night: House Approporiations Committee chairman Hal Rogers, a key author of the bill, was asked when he knew the CRomnibus would pass, he answered, “About half way through the vote.” That’s why I love politics.
- So, all in all…48 hours after it was unveiled, lawmakers voted on a 1,603-paged bill they probably had never read (although…full disclosure: if my Social Studies teacher said, “Read all 1,603 pages of a pretty boring book. You have two days: go!”, I probably wouldn’t do it). In a win for both the White House and Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team, the CRomnibus triumphed, despite the best efforts of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her Senate champion Elizabeth Warren – although just barely.
- ---LINK: More on what’s in the spending bill from the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/12/09/whats-in-the-spending-bill-we-skim-it-so-you-dont-have-to/?hpid=z4
- ---LINK: For my English teacher – haikus in the spending bill: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/12/11/the-13-best-haiku-poems-in-the-cromnibus-spending-bill/
- ---LINK: For Mr. Wagner – Every House Democrat already voted this week for a bill that would do much worse damage to Dodd-Frank and Wall Street from the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/05/business/deal-to-extend-us-terrorism-insurance-hinges-on-dodd-frank-changes.html
- ---LINK: Cromnibus cute factor from Roll Call: http://hoh.rollcall.com/tim-griffins-son-proves-old-adage-vote-early-vote-often/
- Hill Staffers Walk Out with “Hands Up” Congressional staffers of color (members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association, the Congressional Black Associates, and the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association) walked out of their jobs at 3:30 PM Thursday, protesting the grand jury decisions in the death of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Both are unarmed black men who were killed by white police officers; grand juries opted not to indict both officers.
- A few congressmen participated, chanting “hands up, don’t shoot”.
- ---LINK: For more on the Hill demonstration from Politico: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/hill-staffers-walk-out-michael-brown-eric-garner-113512.html?ml=tl_6
- Senate Foreign Affairs Cmte Approves ISIS AUMF The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a military campaign against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) Thursday, in a 10-8 party-line vote.
- All 10 Democrats on the committee voted for the resolution, proposed by President Barack Obama, to authorize a war on ISIS, and all 8 Republicans voted against.
- This was a symbolic vote, as neither the Senate nor the House will take up the resolution before January, when Republicans take control of both chambers (including at the committee level).White House Watch
- The President’s Schedule At 11:45 AM, President Obama will sit down with Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdalaziz Al Saud, the Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia.
- At 1:45 PM, Obama will meet with both his national security and public health staffs for an update on the government response to Ebola.
White House Watch
Just because it's history, doesn't mean there's no news
- 18th Century Time Capsule Found at Massachusetts State House The oldest unopened time capsule in the nation was found Thursday. Inside were coins dating back to 1652, an engraved Paul Revere plate, newspapers from the era, a Commonwealth seal, and page from the Massachusetts Colony Records.
- The time capsule, found beneath the Massachusetts State House, was buried in 1795 by then-Governor Samuel Adams, known from his revolutionary days as leader of the Sons of Liberty.
- ---LINK: For History teachers – more from ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/US/oldest-time-capsule-us-unearthed-massachusetts-state-house/story?id=27539479