Wake Up To Politics - February 4, 2015
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Wednesday, February 4, 2015
643 Days Until Election Day 2016It's Wednesday, February 4, 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
- Senate Democrats Filibuster DHS Bill Senate Democrats blocked a bill Tuesday to fund the Department of Homeland Security that also rolls back President Obama’s executive action to defer deportations for some illegal immigrants.
- The last spending bill funded all the cabinet departments through September, except for DHS, which was only funded through February 27 to punish President Obama for his executive action. Now, as funding for the departments set to run out in just over two weeks, House Republicans have passed a bill to fund DHS until September as well, while still cutting off money necessary to put Obama’s action into effect.
- In the Senate, however, the measure was filibuster by Democrats in a 48-51 vote, where 60 “yea” votes were required for the bill to advance. All 46 Democrats voted against the bill, as well as Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), who represents a growing Hispanic population, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), so he could bring the bill up for another vote under a procedural rule. The remaining 51 Republicans voted for the legislation. This was the first Democratic filibuster since August 2006, during the party’s last stint in the minority.
- What’s next for the immigration debate? McConnell will force several more votes on the legislation, believing Democrats will eventually cave after voting again and again to block funding to the key department. Conservative firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) suggested blocking the “confirmations of every nominee executive and judicial, other than vital national security positions, unless or until the president rescinds his unconstitutional amnesty,” highlighting Loretta Lynch’s nomination for attorney general as a one to block until Democrats surrender in remarks to Politico. Although McConnell and his deputies in the Senate leadership haven’t publicly sided with Cruz, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has, further showing the split between House and Senate Republicans, and moderates and conservatives. “It’s time for Sen. Cruz…and Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats to stand with the American people and to block the president’s actions,” Boehner said.
- Meanwhile, the funding clock keeps ticking, as Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warns of “terrible disruption” in the department, with many employees set to be furloughed, if funding runs out, but also across America, at airports, customs offices, and border crossings.
- House Votes (Surprise!) to Repeal Obamacare The U.S. House voted once again Tuesday to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the President’s signature health care law known as “Obamacare”.
- While this is something the chamber has done 50+ times before, it was different Tuesday in two ways:
- 1) Not all Republicans were united. For the first time in either house of Congress, three Republicans voted against an Obamacare repeal bill. The vote Tuesday was 239-186, with Republican Reps. John Katko (NY), Bruce Poliquin (ME), and Robert Dold (IL) voting against, all in swing districts and facing tough contests in 2016.
- 2) House Republicans hope to offer their own plan. The three dissenters all oppose Obamacare, but voted against the repeal because there was no alternative plan. Now, Republicans are working towards an alternative to Obamacare to be unveiled in the next six months.
- Senate: Status Update No votes in the Senate today as both parties join together for the first bipartisan Senate lunch since April 2013. The idea came from Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and John Thune (R-SD), who both serve as the No.3 leaders of their caucuses.
- All 100 senators were invited, and most will attend. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), along with Thune and Schumer, will deliver opening remarks, and both majority leader Mitch McConnell and minority leader Harry Reid will speak as well. Then, the floor will be turned over to both veteran and freshman senators, with an “overview of the Senate” being provided by three senior senators, and then a “new members perspective” planned by freshmen.
- On the committee side: even as senators avoid a food fight at their bipartisan lunch, the spirit won’t last all day. Defense Secretary nominee Ash Carter faces the Senate Armed Services committee for his confirmation hearing today. Although Senate Republicans respect Carter, he is expected to face tough questioning today, mostly aimed at President Obama. White House Watch
- The President’s Schedule At 10:55 AM, President Obama meets with “DREAMers” who received differed action on deportation because of his executive action congressional Republicans are attempting to dismantle. This is the second day Obama has met with Americans his actions have helped, as Congress voted to repeal or defund the actions. “DREAMers” refer to undocumented immigrations brought to the United States when they were very young.
- At 3:30 PM, Obama sits down with Muslim-American leaders in the Roosevelt Room.
- At 5:30 PM, the President will host a reception for the 71 new members of Congress.
- 2016 Travel Watch: Jeb Bush in Detroit Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), a likely candidate for President in 2016, will deliver a campaign-style speech today at the Detroit Economic Club.
- The location of the speech is calculated; Bush placed it in Detroit, just out of bankruptcy, as opposed to key early primary states Iowa or New Hampshire, to project a message on income inequality and economic opportunity. In addition, “Bush is also signaling that he wants to ‘create growth for everybody,’ as [an] adviser put it, by making his address in a heavily black city that has few Republican voters. Politically speaking, it is an indication that his message and schedule will have more in common with a general election campaign than a primary race,” according to the New York Times.