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Thursday, December 4, 2014
706 Days Until Election Day 2016DOJ launches Eric Garner investigation, Obama talks college attendance, and House to hold symbolic immigration vote: It's Thursday, December 4, 2014, I'm Gabe Fleisher for 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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White House Watch
- DOJ Opens Eric Garner Investigation Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday that the Justice Department would open a federal civil rights investigation into the killing of Eric Garner, hours after a local grand jury decided not to return an indictment.
- Garner was choked to death by a police officer in July of this year. Garner was black and unarmed. The officer was white.
- “We have all seen the video of Mr. Garner’s arrest. His death, of course, was a tragedy,” Holder said in announcing the investigation. “All lives must be valued. Mr. Garner’s death is one of several recent incidents across the country that have tested the sense of trust that must exist between law enforcement and the communities they are charged to serve and protect. This is not a New York issue or a Ferguson issue alone. Those who have protested peacefully across our great nation following the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson have made that clear.”
- In his speech, the second time in recent weeks he has taken to the podium to discuss a grand jury not charging a white police officer with the killing of a black man, President Barack Obama also tied Garner’s death to other incidents across the country.
- “It’s incumbent on all of us as Americans …that we recognize that this is an American problem,” Obama said, similar rhetoric to Holder’s. “And it’s my job as president to help solve it.”
- The President’s Schedule At 11:15 AM, President Obama will speak at the second White House College Opportunity Summit, where “ President Obama and the First Lady will join college presidents and other leaders making new commitments to improve degree completion, sustain community collaborations that encourage college-going, train high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, and produce more STEM graduates with diverse backgrounds,” according to the White House.
- This year’s summit “will focus on building sustainable collaborations in communities with strong K-12 and higher education partnerships to encourage college attendance,” White House guidance continues.
- Other speakers at the summit will include Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Policy Council; Education Secretary Arne Duncan; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro; First Lady Michelle Obama; and Vice President Joe Biden.
- At 5 PM, three weeks before Christmas, the Obamas will attend the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on The Ellipse, hosted this year by actor Tom Hanks and actress Rita Wilson (who also happen to be married to each other). The ceremony includes songs and readings, and then, finally, the First Family will flip the switch to turn the lights of the National Christmas Tree on.Capitol Hill News
- House to Hold Symbolic Immigration Vote The U.S. House will vote Thursday on a measure authored by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL), which will overturn President Obama’s sweeping executive action to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
- This is part of a many-pronged Republican response to Obama’s executive order on immigration. A plan supported by House GOP leaders to avert a government shutdown is expected to only fund the Department of Homeland Security on a short-term basis, as a way to stop the agency from putting the executive order into motion.
- In addition, Republican attorneys general from 17 states, led by Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general and state’s governor-elect, filed a joint lawsuit Wednesday to try to block the executive order on legal grounds, as opposed to the fiscal grounds congressional Republicans were taking.
- The House vote today is, however, largely symbolic, since the Senate will not take up the proposal. Republican leaders signal they will, however, revisit the issue come January, when they will control both chambers of Congress.