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Wednesday, February 11, 2015
636 Days Until Election Day 2016It's Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 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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Headline: Gay Marriage Standoff in Alabama
- A standoff issue is emerging between federal and state courts in Alabama over the issue of same-sex marriage.
- Last month, U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade struck down the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, but put her ruling on hold until Monday. This allowed for an appeal to be brought, but Monday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order rejecting the state’s application to stay Granade’s decision.
- The Supreme Court’s refusal of a stay cleared the way for Alabama to become the first state In the Deep South to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
- Until Roy Moore got involved. The chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court, Moore called for officials to ignore the federal ruling, and continue refusing to issue licenses.
- Moore set up an awkward situation, with some probate judges (the local county officials who grant marriage licenses) falling on the side of the federal courts, and others standing with Moore and the state court.
- As a result, 20 Alabama counties are issuing marriage licenses to all couples now. This situation is unlikely to last long, as Granade is intervening with a Thursday hearing to clarify if her ruling applied to the probate judge in the location of the lawsuit and hearing, Mobile County. Applications for licenses from same-sex couples in Mobile were soundly rejected Monday, as they were in some – but not all – parts of the state.Capitol Hill News
- Senate: Status Update There are no votes currently scheduled in the Senate today, but funding the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) remains at the forefront.
- Neither chamber nor neither party wants to take the lead on the issue, which has implications for the immigration debate as well.
- Senate Republican leaders Tuesday said they had exhausted their options, having brought a bill to the Senate floor three times, only to have Democrats reject a motion to begin debate on the bill or hold amendment votes. Democrats oppose the GOP bill to fund the agency because it also defunds President Obama’s immigration executive order.
- Because Senate Republicans can’t even start the amendment process on the bill, they say it is time for House Republicans to do something. The lower chamber, however, points out that they have already passed something and the Senate must act now.
- Neither chamber will take action, but the clock keeps ticking: Just 16 days remain before the DHS runs out of funding, and Congress has just 8 scheduled work days before then, with both chambers set to recess the whole week of Presidents Day.
- House: Status Update The House, meanwhile, will vote on two bills today. The chamber will vote on the Senate bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which is expected to pass the House, meaning it will be sent to President Obama’s desk. A Keystone bill has already passed the lower chamber, but the House must vote today to approve changes made during the Senate amendment process, including a statement that climate change is real. Now, all eyes turn to Obama, to see if he follows through with a threat to veto the bill now that it has finally reached his desk.
- Also today, the House will vote to award a Congressional Gold Medal to participants of the Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or Selma to Montgomery marches for voting rights in 1965.
White House Watch
- The President’s Schedule At 11:35 AM, President Obama will meet with six of the eight American Ebola survivors, who will attend the President’s speech on the disease later.
- At 12:30 PM, the President and Vice President will meet for lunch in the Private Dining Room.
- At 1:20 PM, Obama will speak in the South Court Auditorium about the progress the United States has made in the response to Ebola in West Africa, and the next steps. During his speech, Obama will be joined by the Ebola survivors he met with earlier, as well as soldiers, civilians, health care workers, and philanthropists who have contributed to the Ebola response.
- In his remarks, he will announce that by April 30, all but 100 of the 3,000 U.S. troops that had been deployed to fight the disease will return home. In the announcement, President Obama will essentially proclaim success in the effort to quell Ebola in West Africa, a victory not everyone believes has been won yet.
- Finally, at 5:25 PM, the President will meet with outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in the Oval Office. The nominee to replace Hagel, Ash Carter, is popular in the Senate, and was approved 36-0 by the Armed Services Committee, meaning he now goes to the Senate floor, where he is expected to be confirmed.
- LINKS: The White House Wars The most anticipated document in Washington today is an AUMF to authorize the United States to fight the Islamic State group.
- The Obama Administration has told lawmakers that they plan to submit a request for authorization, possibly as early as today. Here’s what that authorization would look like, from the New York Times: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/02/11/us/obama-to-seek-war-power-bill-from-congress-to-fight-isis.html?emc=edit_tnt_20150210&nlid=1811197&tntemail0=y&_r=0&referrer=
- The White House is also weighing its strategy in Afghanistan, considering slowing the withdrawal of troops from the country. More, from the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/white-house-weighs-adjusting-afghan-exit-plan-to-keep-more-troops-in-2015/2015/02/10/9cb0b73a-b156-11e4-827f-93f454140e2b_story.html
- Jon Stewart Leaving the Daily Show Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” announced Tuesday he would be stepping down at the end of this year, after 17 years at the helm of the show, a parody of network news.
- Watch Stewart announce his retirement from “The Daily Show”: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimdalrympleii/jon-stewart-is-leaving-the-daily-show?bftw&utm_term=4ldqpfp#.vqxlpOR5Lw
- Brian Williams Suspended After admitting to lying about an experience he had while in Iraq, Brian Williams was suspended for six months without pay as anchor of NBC’s “Nightly News”.
- This makes it unlikely Williams will return to the show, a quick downfall from his spot as one of America’s most trusted, watched, and influential newsmen.