In it, but not of it. TPM DC

House Speaker John Boehner's invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before Congress on Iran is an unprecedented rebuke of President Barack Obama as he and Congress are preparing for a battle over Iran sanctions, experts told TPM.

The move came the day after Obama threatened in his State of the Union address to veto legislation putting new sanctions on Iran. He warned that new sanctions by Congress would disrupt the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) acknowledged the week before that ending negotiations "is very much an intended consequence" of a new sanctions bill that has been put forward with some Democratic support.

Although the US and Israel maintain a "special relationship," the discord between the Obama administration and Netanyahu's government has been well documented. Netanyahu welcomed 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in a visit Israel in the midst of the campaign. And anonymous Obama administration officials have been quoted calling the Israeli prime minster "a chickenshit."

Read More →

A routine anti-abortion messaging bill is causing consternation among House Republicans as some GOP women rebel against rape-related language.

As a result, House Republicans are discussing ways to tweak the legislation, which bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the bill's author Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) told TPM.

"My heart is open if we can find some way to make it better," Franks said in an interview just off the House floor on Wednesday. "But at this point I don't know what that is. There seems to be no consensus as to how we could make it better."

Read More →

House Republicans intend to vote this week on legislation to ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a move to lay down their marker in the 114th Congress on a controversy that has roiled the nation for decades.

In an unusual move, some Republican women are rebelling against language that requires women to report a sexual assault to authorities in order to legally terminate a pregnancy resulting from rape.

Tuesday on the House floor, Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) and Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) asked to remove their names as cosponsors of the bill.

Read More →

Sen. Marco Rubio told reporters on Wednesday he doesn’t plan to run for president and reelection to the Senate at the same time in 2016.

If he seeks the presidency, the Florida Republican said, “I won’t be able to run for reelect.”

“If I decide that I want to be president of the United States then that’s what I’m going to run for,” he said at a Washington breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “I think if you want to be president, that’s what you want to be and that’s what you run for, what you focus on.”

Read More →

Wisconsin's Republican-led legislature is pushing through a constitutional amendment that in-state observers say is a thinly veiled attack on the current liberal Wisconsin Supreme Court chief justice.

The amendment, which cleared the Senate on party lines Tuesday, would change how the court's chief justice is chosen. The position would no longer be the most senior judge on the court -- which is currently Shirley Abrahamson, a liberal -- and instead the chief justice would be elected by the other members of the court.

Four conservatives and three liberals, including Abrahamson, are sitting at the bench now. That leaves little doubt that, if the amendment were to be adopted, Abrahamson would be ousted.

Read More →

Republicans were irked by President Barack Obama's caustic reminder in his State of the Union speech that he defeated them twice.

"I've run my last campaign," Obama said toward the end of the nationally televised address. Republicans in the chamber applauded derisively, which prompted the president to ad-lib a zinger which wasn't in his prepared remarks: "I know because I won both of them."

Democrats erupted with applause.

Read More →

President Barack Obama ended his State of the Union address Tuesday with a call for "a better politics." Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) followed with the formal Republican response and looked for "a little cooperation from the president" with the new Republican Congress.

But with their actual words, the stark differences between the executive and legislative branches remain crystal clear.

With memories of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's water-grab and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's famously flat response still fresh, Ernst was crisp and clean, with nothing at all for the Internet cling to. She began with her personal story, a farm girl who worked at Hardee's and became an Army officer and U.S. senator.

Read More →

Barack Obama wants to mainline progressivism into the bloodstream of America the way Ronald Reagan ushered in a generation of conservatism.

That's the lofty goal of the president's penultimate State of the Union address on Tuesday night, as his senior aides tell it. He's stymied for the remainder of his presidency by a Republican Congress wedded to a Reaganesque mentality, but the White House views the recent spate of positive economic news as an opportunity for Obama to aggressively make the "long-term" case for embracing government as an agent to help the middle class.

Read More →

LiveWire