Obama jokingly calls Biden ‘vice president’ on return to White House
Barack Obama visited the White House on Tuesday for his first public event at the executive mansion since he left office. He participated in a celebration of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, as Joe Biden announced changes to the healthcare program that could see as many as 200,000 uninsured Americans become eligible for new coverage.
The visit has many Democrats hoping that Mr Biden can benefit from his former boss’s still-high approval rating among the Democratic base. Mr Biden has lately struggled to raise his poor standing in the polls and there are serious worries that apathy and disappointment among Democratic voters could give an opening to Republicans in this year’s midterm elections. Mr Obama says that to win in the midterms, Democrats have a story to tell, they “just got to tell it.”
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday voted 11-11 on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The result will not stop Ms Jackson’s nomination from proceeding to the Senate floor; she appears to already have the support of 53 senators, with Republicans Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney all breaking ranks to back her.
Homeland security secretary takes a meeting with Republican caucus over border restrictions
Homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday had a meeting with House GOP members of the “border security caucus” but the Republicans were “not satisfied with the answers.”
The Border Security Caucus — after last week’s announcement that the White House would lift all Trump-era Covid restrictions at the border — was fully charged during the meeting.
“It was a rough crowd, and you got to give him a lot of credit for picking the roughest crowd, going in, and listening to them,” Darrell Issa, a California Republican who attended the meeting said.
“Nothing was really resolved, other than he made a promise to give a number of follow-up pieces of information,” he said.
Representative Brian Babin of Texas, the co-chairman of the caucus said of the meeting: “We appreciated his courage to come in, knowing that we were opposed to him 100 per cent. But we were not satisfied with the answers he gave us.”
Maroosha Muzaffar6 April 2022 05:01
Biden to extend Covid student loan freeze until August 31
The US is once again extending its pandemic-era pause on federal student loan repayments, pushing back the restart date until at least 31 August, the Associated Press reports.
This marks the sixth time the deadline to resume payments has been extended, as Joe Biden faces pressure from Congress and inflation worries.
Prior to the extension, the moratorium was set to expire on 1 May, and more than 43 million Americans with a collective $1.6 trillion in government loans were going to be on the hook again for their debt.
Oliver O’ConnellApril 6, 2022, 4:45 a.m.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hits back at Matt Gaetz
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin appeared so incensed by outlandish lines of questioning from Republican congressman Matt Gaetz that he ended up in a shouting match with the Florida representative by the end of Mr Gaetz’s five minute round.
Mr Austin was on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to testify at a House Armed Services Committee hearing regarding the Defense Department’s fiscal year 2023 budget request, but Mr Gaetz had apparently decided to use his time to berate the former US Central Command boss about what he described as US defense failures caused by the Pentagon’s embrace of “wokeness”.
Specifically, Mr Gaetz inquired about a lecture delivered at the US National Defense University by French economist and author Thomas Picketty entitled “Responding to China: The Case For Global Justice and Democratic Socialism”.
Oliver O’Connell6 April 2022 04:00
Kinzinger rails against GOP ‘children’ in Congress
Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois called his colleagues in Congress “children” for focusing more on Disney and culture war issues than the “genocide“ happening in Ukraine at the hands of Russia.
Mr Kinzinger said that the “world order” was being challenged for the first time since World War II, but that his fellow Republicans were acting like “a bunch of children.”
Oliver O’ConnellApril 6, 2022, 3:15 a.m.
Oklahoma state House votes to make abortion illegal
The Oklahoma state House voted overwhelmingly to pass a bill making it a felony to perform an abortion in the state punishable by up to 10 years in jail, in what is possibly the most restrictive anti-abortion bills passed since the US Supreme Court first signaled its willingness to curtail reproductive rights last year.
The legislation, which would punish any Oklahoman who performs an abortion with a lengthy jail sentence and a fine of up to $100,000, passed the state Senate last year before sailing through the state House by a margin of 70-14 on Tuesday.
Oliver O’ConnellApril 6, 2022, 2:30 a.m.
Biden nominating first woman to lead a branch of the US military
She would become the first woman to lead a branch of the US military if she’s confirmed. Admiral Fagan has served as the vice commander since June of last year, becoming the first woman to reach the rank of four-star admiral in the Coast Guard.
Gustaf Kilander reports from Washington, DC.
Oliver O’Connell06 April 2022 01:45
The mood on Capitol Hill
Representative Dan Kildee summed up the mood on Capitol Hill to Politico‘s Sarah Ferris:
Oliver O’Connell06 April 2022 01:15
Capitol Police capture fox that attacked lawmaker
US Capitol police have captured a fox suspected of biting a Congressional lawmaker on the leg.
The police department collared the animal after warning politicians and staffers on Capitol Hill to be on the lookout for “aggressive fox encounters.”
Graeme Massie reports on one of the most unexpected stories to come out of DC today.
Here’s an exclusive look at his suit from Punchbowl News:
Oliver O’Connell6 April 2022 01:00
Obama tells Democrats how to win midterms
Former President Barack Obama had a simple message for Democrats who worry about losing their majority in the 2022 midterm elections:
“We got a story to tell, just got to tell it,” he said in response to NBC News’s Peter Alexander.
The former president received a standing ovation as he returned to the White House for the first time since leaving the Oval Office in 2017 to on hand to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the passage of his signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act, which received the moniker Obamacare in the press.
Eric Garcia reports from Washington, DC.
Oliver O’Connell6 April 2022 00:15
White House says Russia’s financial system is close to default
Justin Vallejo has the latest.
Oliver O’ConnellApril 5, 2022, 11:30 p.m.