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Friday, February 27, 2015
620 Days Until Election Day 2016It's Friday, February 27, 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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Capitol Hill News
- DHS Shutdown Clock Ticks as House, Senate Try Different Endgames Funding for the Department of Homeland Security runs out at 11:59:59 PM Eastern Time tonight, and both house of Congress are (finally) trying to work on a solution. But they’re working towards different ones.
- The Senate will vote today on passage of a “clean” appropriations bill, which provides funding for DHS trough the fiscal year and has no “strings attached”. Afterwards, the chamber will vote on a bill to “prohibit funds from being used to carry out certain Executive actions related to immigration”. Basically, this second bill blocks Obama’s executive order on immigration, as the first bill originally did. It was taken out of the first bill to please Democrats, but the chamber will still vote on blocking the actions to please conservative Republicans. The vote on the second bill requires 60 “yeas”.
- This is all sounds fine: the Senate will pass a “clean” DHS funding bill everyone will agree to, and then they can send it to the House, where it can pass quickly, President Obama can sign it, and the DHS won’t shut down.
- Except the House has different plans. The lower chamber will reject the “clean” funding bill when it is sent from the Senate, and vote on a motion to go to conference on the bill (this motion would set up a process where conferees from both parties and chambers meet to hash out their differences on a bill).
- However, the conference process takes weeks or even months, so that doesn’t really help the pressing problem. For that reason, the House will also vote today on a mini-continuing resolution that funds the DHS until March 19, less than a month away.
- The House will than send the three-week, stopgap “kick the can” measure to the Senate, where it will likely be quickly approved by voice vote or unanimous consent, and sent to President Obama’s desk for his signature before the end of the day.
- In the end, the Department of Homeland Security will be able to continue operations – but Congress has just set another deadline for themselves, so don’t be surprised if they’re having the same exact debate three weeks from now.
White House Watch
- The President’s Schedule At 11:05, President Obama will meet with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.
- The two Presidents will discuss a range of issues, chief among them the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, and the United States response to the disease (which, as President Obama, announced last week, is a plan to reach zero cases of Ebola in West Africa).
- At 12:45 PM, the President will sit down for lunch with mentees in the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which aims to improve the lives of boys and young men of color.
- Obama recently sat down with one of the mentees, 18-year-old Noah McQueen, for a StoryCorps interview that will air later Friday morning on NPR’s “Morning Edition”. Obama and McQueen discussed their relationship with their fathers, among other things.
- The lunch and interview come at the one-year anniversary of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative.
- Finally, at 5:35 PM, President Obama will head to the Justice Department headquarters to commemorate the tenure of Attorney General Eric Holder and speak at his portrait unveiling ceremony.
- Holder, whose successor Loretta Lynch is expected to be confirmed by the Senate soon “plans to push, during his final weeks in office, a lower standard of proof for civil-rights offenses, saying in an exit interview with POLITICO that such a change would make the federal government "a better backstop" against discrimination in cases like Ferguson and Trayvon Martin,” according to Politico.
- The Best of CPAC For the past two days (with two days still left to go) potential GOP presidential candidates have flocked to the Conservative Political Action Conference in an attempt to impress the conservative activists gathered. Here’s the best of CPAC so far:
- Bobby Jindal vs. a second Democrat Party: “We don’t need a second Democratic party, we don’t need to be liberal, we don’t need to be cheaper liberal Democrats, we need to be principled conservative Republicans.”
- Ted Cruz vs. moderates: “We all know that in a campaign, every candidate comes up and tells you, ‘I’m the most conservative guy that’s ever lived,’ that’s just what they say. I’m pretty confident you haven’t seen any speakers come up yet to say, ‘I’m a squishy moderate who stands for nothing.’ … Every one of them will say, ‘You betcha, hoo diddly, I’m as conservative as all get-out.’”
- Chris Christie vs. Jeb Bush: When asked about Bush, Christie said, “If the elites in Washington who make backroom deals decide who the president is going to be, [Bush] is the front-runner.”
- Rand Paul vs. Jeb Bush: When asked about Bush, Paul said, “We think there will be a lot of friendly faces for us. There's definitely a place for moderates, but it may not be the same level of enthusiasm for moderates at this conference.”
- And Scott Walker vs. ISIS/Wisconsin union protestors: “If I can take on 100,000 protesters,” referring to his fight against union protestors in his state, “I can do the same across the world,” referring to ISIS.
- You may have noticed the one common theme running through most of these quotes (which I set up as ____ vs. _____): each candidate is trying to hit the others as moderates, and promote themselves as conservatives.
- CPAC, the group they were speaking to, is as conservative as it gets, and many are viewing this as the first primary of sorts for GOP presidential candidates to test their message with the important far-right bloc of their party.
- Senate Snowball Fight Often times, senators fight like children (which may be an insult to children) but a new low may have been reached yesterday, when Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) threw a snowball at the Senate presiding officer.
- Inhofe did this to prove a point over climate change. “We keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmed year on record, [but] I ask the Chair, you know what this is?” he said as he pulled out a snowball. “It’s a snowball…so here, Mr. President, catch this.
- The Oklahoman then threw the snowball towards the presiding officer of the Senate, then Sen. Bill Cassidy (who as a Louisianan might not have known what it was). The underhand toss was caught by a Senate page.
- You can watch the whole thing on C-SPAN’s YouTube channel here.
- The two things I learned from this is climate change is apparently not real (as evidenced by Jim Inhofe’s snowball) and that C-SPAN has a YouTube channel, which is pretty awesome.