Now that the government has opened and the threat of default is off the table, some are wondering what the first shutdown in 17 years was for. A majority of Americans are fed up with Washington — and its leaders. In the shutdown’s aftermath, those leaders are being neatly sorted into two groups: winners and losers.
For President Obama, however, no one won or lost, and there wasn’t any economic rationale for the shutdown, either. “At a moment when our economic recovery demands more jobs, more momentum, we’ve got yet another self-inflicted crisis that set our economy back,” he said in a speech from the State Dining Room on Thursday morning. “And for what?”
But there are villains. “Had one side not decided to pursue a strategy of brinksmanship, each side could have gotten together and figured out how do we shape a budget that provides certainty to businesses and people who rely on government, provides certainty to investors and our economy, and we’d be growing faster right now,” Obama said.
That side is House Republicans, and the president is worried they will continue to block legislation for the rest of the year. He pointed to an immigration bill passed by the Senate earlier this year that is awaiting a House vote:
The majority of Americans think this is the right thing to do. And it’s sitting there waiting for the House to pass it. Now, if the House has ideas on how to improve the Senate bill, let’s hear them. Let’s start the negotiations. But let’s not leave this problem to keep festering for another year or two years or three years. This can and should get done by the end of this year.
And a Senate-approved $500 billion farm bill that has been repeatedly delayed by House Republicans:
Again, the Senate’s already passed a solid bipartisan bill. It’s got support from Democrats and Republicans. It’s sitting in the House waiting for passage. If House Republicans have ideas that they think would improve the farm bill, let’s see them. Let’s negotiate. What are we waiting for? Let’s get this done.
The president’s remarks suggest that Americans haven’t seen the last of Republican-led blocks to legislation in 2013. But Obama wants the House GOP to know it’s on thin ice with the White House. And he’s not alone: A majority of Americans blame Republicans for the shutdown, and the party’s popularity has hit a record low. Moving forward, getting a head start on negotiations — and maybe even budging on some these issues — may not be a bad idea for the Grand Old Party.
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In a release Tuesday afternoon, the White House announced that President Obama has commuted and/or reduced the sentences of another 111 convicted criminals, mostly convicted of drug possession or trafficking. About 35 were serving life sentences.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said Monday he'd now be willing to hold a hearing on Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland in a lame-duck session of Congress. While he said he wouldn't push for it, he said if "Hillary Clinton wins the White House, and a majority of senators convinced him to do so," he would soften his previous opposition.
We can call this the anti-Sherman-esque statement: If reelected, Marco Rubio ... might serve his whole term. Or he might not. The senator, who initially said he wouldn't run for a second term this year, now tells CNN that if reelected, he wouldn't necessarily serve all six years. “No one can make that commitment because you don’t know what the future is gonna hold in your life, personally or politically,” he said, before adding that he's prepared to make his Senate seat the last political office he ever holds.
Since Rodrigo Duterte took over as president of the Philippines in June, he has made a serious of controversial statements and launched a war on drugs that has led to nearly 2000 deaths. He called the US ambassador to the Philippines, Philip Goldberg, "a gay son of a bitch." Next week, President Obama will meet with President Duterte at the East Asia Summit in Laos, where he " will raise concerns about some of the recent statements from the president of the Philippines," according to White House Deputy National Security advisor Ben Rhodes.
The Convention of States Project, which seeks to force a constitutional convention under Article V of the Constitution, will hold a "dry run" in Colonial Williamsburg starting Sept. 21. "Several states have already followed the process in Article V to endorse the convention." Thirty-four are required to call an actual convention. "The dry run in Williamsburg is meant to show how one would work and focus on the changes and potential constitutional amendments that would be proposed."