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The Daily Fray

Obama and Congress Are Not Getting Along Right Now

June 24, 2011

The tension between Congressional Republicans and the White House is manifesting itself on multiple fronts on Friday. House Republicans will vote on a resolution to limit what the American military can do in the Libyan intervention--and many Democrats are likely to join them, despite a last-minute appeal from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday, Politico's Jonathan Allen reports. "The president has not developed strong relationships with members of Congress that would allow members to even look at the politics of this," Rep. Maxine Waters told Allen.

Meanwhile, negotiations over raising the debt ceiling--which many experts say absolutely has to be done--are falling apart, as Minority Leader Eric Cantor quit talks led by Vice President Joe Biden Thursday. Sen. Jim DeMint said raising the debt limit would be "the most toxic vote" for Republicans, one that would "set [the party] back many years."

Starting at 12:30 p.m., the House will begin voting on two resolutions--one, modeled on a Senate proposal put forward by John Kerry and John McCain, would prohibit ground troops in Libya but otherwise authorize the war. That one will likely fail, Allen reports. The second would bar American bomb strikes, whether by drones or piloted aircraft. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "has no intention of letting the bill become law," Allen writes, but "the White House is worried about the political fallout of losing a vote on the House floor." An anonymous Democratic aide explained, "They don't want to be embarrassed." But that's exactly what Republicans are predicting.

As for the stalled debt limit talks, The Hill's Molly K. Hooper reports that Republicans had planned for Cantor to bail for weeks. The Republican Study Committee, a conservative group of lawmakers, "wants Obama to publicly float a solution to the current debt-ceiling quandary," Hooper writes. "That way Republicans will know Democrats cannot back out at the last minute by saying the final deal was not acceptable to Obama," according to the RSC's budget chair, Rep. Scott Garrett.

But DeMint doesn't want to see a deal at all. "I can tell you if you look at the polls, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, they do not think we should increase the debt limit," he said. As ABC News' Jonathan Karl and Sunlen Miller report, "DeMint is not just talking political analysis here. He has a significant fundraising base and has shown a willingness to use his campaign money to support or oppose fellow Republicans."

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