Posts Tagged ‘wolffe

31
Aug
11

‘an unprecedented diss’

House Speaker John Boehner says he wants President Obama to talk to Congress not Wednesday evening next week, but on Thursday.

Boehner wrote the President a letter this afternoon, giving this explanation:

“As your spokesperson today said, there are considerations about the Congressional calendar that must be made prior to scheduling such an extraordinary event. As you know, the House of Representatives and Senate are each required to adopt a Concurrent Resolution to allow for a Joint Session of Congress to receive the President. And as the Majority Leader announced more than a month ago, the House will not be in session until Wednesday, September 7, with votes at 6:30 that evening. With the significant amount of time – typically more than three hours – that is required to allow for a security sweep of the House Chamber before receiving a President, it is my recommendation that your address be held on the following evening, when we can ensure there will be no parliamentary or logistical impediments that might detract from your remarks. As such, on behalf of the bipartisan leadership and membership of both the House and Senate, I respectfully invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday, September 8, 2011 in the House Chamber, at a time that works best for your schedule.”

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Steve Benen: ….. This only helps capture the larger farce: the parties are so far apart, they can’t even agree on when to schedule a speech. It’s not exactly a good sign.

I haven’t the foggiest idea what happens next, and/or whether Boehner is just trying to throw his weight around a bit. Will the White House say, “Thanks for the recommendation, but we want Wednesday”? And then what?

And if Obama accepts Thursday, will Boehner change his mind again and say, “You know what? Let’s make it Friday”?

For that matter, has there ever been an instance in which a president requested a joint session and the Speaker of the House replied, “Pick a different day”?

More here

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TPM: For the first time in history, a U.S. House Speaker has publicly rebuffed – or at least moved to rebuff – a request from the President of the United States to address a joint session of Congress.

The unexpected request, and unprecedented diss, have touched off a round of public partisan sniping….

The White House confirms to TPM that it gave Congressional leadership the heads up before announcing its request publicly and no objections were raised at the time. Republicans say they never signed off, and were never asked to sign off.

….The offices of both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi confirm that Boehner did not ask them to sign off on the delay.

“The childish behavior coming out of the Speaker’s office today is truly historic,” said another senior Dem aide. “It is unprecedented to reject the date that a President wants to address a Joint Session of the Congress. People die and state funerals are held with less fuss, so the logistics excuse by the Speaker’s office is laughable. Yes, consultation always occurs, but the President always gets the date he wants.”

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14
Jul
11

lawrence

16
Nov
10

rebel with a cause

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior staff, react in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, as the House passes the health care reform bill, March 21, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

NPR: Richard Wolffe (in his new book Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House) writes that Obama was holding back tears when he finally signed the health care bill. He says that it helps answer an important question: why Obama stubbornly insisted on moving forward with the health care overhaul when others advised against it.

“This was clearly a decision that his own chief of staff didn’t agree with, and there were other senior advisers who thought this was insane, lunatic, to risk the presidency on it,” Wolffe says. “And it comes down to the memory of his mother.

“So, his mother passed away because of cancer. Her experience in her final days and months was about struggling with insurance companies over … the question of pre-existing conditions. And if you listen to the president, what does he talk about most?” Wolffe says. “It’s about insurance companies quibbling with patients about pre-existing conditions.

“And he tears up — it’s strange that people didn’t kind of notice it — in all of the hullabaloo around the signing in the East Room, he can barely keep it together. And that’s very, very rare — to see a president, especially this president, who is struggling, fighting with himself, to hold back the tears.”

Although the health care overhaul may have hurt Democrats at the polls, it wouldn’t have been Obama’s style not to go for it, Wolffe says.




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