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Congressional Republicans consider using short-term funding bill to pressure Obama

15 Nov

obama cg 1

President Obama meets with congressional leaders at the White House on Nov. 7.

By Robert Costa November 14 at 9:53 PM

Congressional Republicans said Friday that they might create a series of showdowns over funding the government to try to force President Obama to back down on his expected plans to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.

Instead of passing a spending bill in the coming days that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, Republicans are considering a short-term measure that would expire early next year, according to more than a dozen top lawmakers and their aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

When Congress reconvenes in the new year, Republicans would then pass other short-term bills, each designed to create a forum to push back against the president and, possibly, gain concessions. Republicans also are planning to file a lawsuit against the president over his use of executive authority, according to the lawmakers and aides.

The efforts are seen by Republicans as ways to pressure Obama to relent and pull back his expected executive orders to change immigration policy, which are likely to include protecting millions from being deported.

Asked whether the threat of budget conflicts would have any effect on the president’s thinking, the White House referred to comments Obama made on immigration Friday in Burma, where he said Congress has had ample time to act on immigration reform.

President Obama, speaking at a news conference in Burma on Friday, said he would take action to reform U.S. immigration policy before the end of the year. (Reuters)

Obama said he stands by his statement that if Congress failed to act, “I would use all the lawful authority that I possess to try to make the system work better. And that’s going to happen. That’s going to happen before the end of the year.”

Republican leaders also see a short-term funding measure as a way to placate conservatives within their ranks, who have urged an aggressive response against what they see as an unconstitutional overreach by the president.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who has been a longtime critic of the House GOP leaders, encouraged them to pursue the short-term spending bills for as long as possible until the president changes course.


“We cannot allow this to be implemented,” King said. “I would like to do the minimum necessary and follow the Constitution. I would not take a shutdown off the table.”

King said House conservatives spent Friday “gathering together and having little meetings.” He expressed optimism that he could nudge them in his direction, much as he did over the summer when he worked with the leadership to rewrite a GOP bill on border policy at the eleventh hour.

King also told reporters that his staff is in contact with advisers to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to present a united front to leaders in both chambers. Sessions, the incoming chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, has been leading the Senate bloc that has backed using the budget and other procedural means to dissent.

A succession of short-term spending bills would be a reversal from what House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and future Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have said they planned to do.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Thursday that House Republicans will fight President Obama if he goes through with signing an executive order on immigration, saying his actions are “the wrong way to govern.” (AP)

Over the course of meetings in recent days — including a Thursday lunch over cold cuts in Boehner’s Capitol suite — House leaders have been unenthusiastic about the idea of a short-term spending plan and have not given up on a budget that runs through the end of the fiscal year in September.

But if Obama takes action on immigration and the politics surrounding that issue erupt, House leaders and their associates have begun to conclude that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to rally their caucus behind a long-term bill, given that conservatives see the budget process as their best leverage with the president.

pelosi, obama, reid

Determined not to shut down the government again, Republican leaders think short-term measures could be the best way to address both the ire within their caucus and their desire to show the American people they can govern.

When asked about the possibility of a short-term spending bill becoming the party line if the president acts, Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.), the House Appropriations Committee chairman, said he would be “disappointed.” His office said he continues to meet with members, arguing about the necessity of passing long-term appropriation packages.

“At this point, we are talking with members and developing options in case President Obama takes unilateral executive action — action he himself has long argued exceeds his constitutional authority,” said Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman.

On the Senate side, Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell, said that “legislation is still under development.”

By promising not to shut down the government, the GOP may be undercutting the strategy behind the use of short-term bills. The main leverage behind such maneuvers is the possibility of a shutdown. Removing that possibility could give Democrats little incentive to make a deal.

Boehner’s lieutenants inside the House said Friday that they worried that a spending confrontation could end up dividing Republican ranks, even if it wins initial applause.

If you don’t pass a long-term budget, “the question remains, ‘What’s the backup plan?’ ” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said. “If you can come up with a backup plan with some semblance of making any sense, that’s fine. But you take a big risk of being in a [short-term budget situation], which is what the Obama administration wants.”

Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a leading advocate of the president using executive power to protect illegal immigrants, said Friday that regardless of what the Republicans are crafting as their rebuttal, he expects the president to follow through and ignore the calls from Republicans to stand down.

“We know it’s going to be before the end of the year,” he said. “It appears as if all the recommendations have been made. . . . They’re on his desk.”

Gutierrez added: “It is a question I have been told, by the best and highest sources, simply of scheduling.”

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Robert Costa is a national political reporter at The Washington Post.

Mark Caserta: Governing outside the people’s will is tyranny

13 Nov

It’s as though the election never happened…


Nov. 13, 2014 @ 12:24 AM

Voters who care about our country used last Tuesday’s midterm elections to send a clear message to our elected representatives: Do your job or we’ll replace you.

But sadly, while President Obama made it clear to Americans that “every single one” of his policies were on the ballot, he refuses to acknowledge the people’s mandate and veer from his ultra-liberal course.

Apparently, only Barack Hussein Obama can issue mandates.


Just days following the Republican “wave” election which resulted in the shellacking of Democrats not only in Congress, but in state and local elections as well, leaders from both parties met at the White House to discuss the next two years. But optimism was scarce, beginning with the issue of immigration.

“Unfortunately the president’s promise to unilaterally go around Congress ignores the message voters sent on Election Day,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said after the meeting. “It is my sincere hope that he will reverse course and work with us not around us to secure the border and achieve real reforms to our immigration system.”

This display of executive arrogance speaks volumes about Obama’s commitment to the American people. During his presidency, he’s been willing to say just about anything to propagate his progressive ideology, so it isn’t surprising he’s unwilling to hearken to the people’s voice.

The real question now is does the GOP have the wherewithal to return our government to some semblance of order. Republicans failed to heed a similar message sent by voters in the 2010 midterms, so allow me to lend clarity to the message sent last Tuesday.

Unlike liberals, whose progressive ideology rests on a sliding scale of interpretation, conservatives will not budge on the fundamental rule of law. While we expect bipartisan negotiation on the course to achieving prosperity and protection for our nation, we demand it to be navigated via the provisions of the Constitution.

Social policy aside, the GOP must stand firm on sealing our borders from individuals who would harm our nation; balancing the federal budget and reducing the debt; including fossil fuels in an “all of the above” energy strategy; and repairing the elements of Obamacare hurting our nation’s economy and jobs.


The Separation of Powers devised by the framers of the Constitution was intended to prevent any branch of government from having too much power. Barack Obama intends to bypass our system of checks and balances on issues affecting the health and welfare of Americans. Governing outside the will of the people is nothing short of tyrannical rule.

The dynamics in Washington may have changed, but the principles of our Republic have not.

The GOP-controlled Senate and House of Representatives must once again begin the wheels of democracy turning.

And should we win the struggle, Nov. 4 will no longer be known only as “election day” but as the day the nation declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night!” Democracy will live on! Our Republic will survive! We will forever celebrate it as our Independence Day!

(The final declaration, of course, is an adapted version of President Thomas Whitmore’s Speech from the movie “Independence Day”.)


Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

Mark Caserta: Senate shift in power may not be enough

6 Nov

obama climate 2

Nov. 05, 2014 @ 11:24 PM

The shift in the balance of power in the U.S. Senate affirms the disdain most Americans have for the policies of Barack Obama.

Unfortunately, Congressional balance of power could mean very little during the remaining two years of this administration. Obama’s intended reliance on his executive powers and his bully pulpit highlight his shortcomings in working with Congress.

Liberals blame a gridlocked Congress for Obama’s failures but conveniently forget that Democrats controlled Congress during the first two years of Obama’s presidency. Since then, his incapacity to reach across party lines and create any semblance of bipartisanship is the true reason for our congressional cul-de-sac.

Such an impasse never occurred under Bill Clinton, who faced a GOP majority during the bulk of his presidency, or Ronald Reagan, the “great communicator” who consistently placed people above big government. The inability to muster even the slightest “Clintonesque” or “Reaganesque” presidential leadership qualities has essentially rendered Obama a lame duck president.

But then there’s the executive order.

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Just two weeks before delivering his 2014 State of the Union address, Obama doubled down on his commitment to fundamentally change America with or without the elected voice of the people.

“We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need. I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone.” Obama said during a White House cabinet meeting. “And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward.”

Now it’s true other presidents have leveraged the “grant of executive power” provided in Article II of the Constitution, some more than Obama. But it isn’t the “quantity”; it’s the ultra-progressive “quality” of his actions that concern most Americans.

Attempting to minimize Senate seat losses, Obama postponed decisions on a host of contentious issues related to ObamaCare, immigration and the environment until after the midterm elections. But a tyrannical storm is brewing.

The administration announced that health-insurance premium rates on the ObamaCare exchange won’t be available until Nov. 15, when the website begins its 2015 enrollment. How politically convenient! It’s noteworthy that last year’s enrollment began on Oct. 1, making this year’s timetable clearly an intentional delay.

In June, Obama vowed “to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress,” but has taken no executive action on immigration before the midterms. The White House reportedly is preparing to provide amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants in late November.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release new power-plant restrictions that will cost the industry some $366 billion, but the rules won’t be finalized until later this year.

If Barack Obama’s policies are so popular, why was he compelled to hide them from the American people prior to such an important election?

Nevertheless, after the bureaucratic smoke clears, only a two-thirds vote by Congress or a Supreme Court declaration of unconstitutionality can overturn a presidential executive order.

So fasten your seat belts, America. It’s going to be a rough ride.

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Mark Caserta is a conservative blogger, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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