The House passed legislation Wednesday night to raise the nation’s borrowing limit and reopen the federal government, ending the weeks-long showdown that centered on House Republican attempts to undo President Obama’s health care law.
The deal was brokered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., two lawmakers with a notoriously antagonistic relationship. Their legislation, which passed the House on a vote of 285-144, cleared the Senate hours earlier on a vote of 81-18. It then went to the White House, where Obama quickly signed the bill.
House Republican leadership, which brought the Senate-negotiated bill to the House floor only after a multitude of other options had been exhausted, saw a surprising level of GOP support for the measure. When the votes were tallied, 87 Republicans voted in favor of the proposal — a much higher level of support than the estimates offered by lawmakers and aides throughout the day.
Meanwhile, there was not a single Democratic defection among the 198 Democrats who voted.
In addition to Speaker John Boehner, who cast a rare floor vote, the entire Republican leadership was expected to support the bill. But there was one defection: Republican Policy Chairman James Lankford of Oklahoma voted no.
There was a greater divide among House committee chairmen. Several committee chiefs, including Reps. Dave Camp, Darrell Issa, and Mike Rogers, voted in favor, while others, such as Reps. Paul Ryan, Pete Sessions, and Bob Goodlatte, voted against.
Ryan’s vote against the plan is particularly noteworthy, considering he will meet Thursday morning with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to begin hashing out the details of a bicameral conference committee that was promised by the legislation. This group will have until Dec. 15 to negotiate the nation’s long-term budgetary issues.
Shortly after the vote, Boehner announced the House Republicans who will join Ryan on the conference committee: Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, vice chairman of the Budget Committee; and Reps. Tom Cole of Oklahoma and Diane Black of Tennessee. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named three conferees: Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, ranking member on the Budget Committee; and Reps. James Clyburn of South Carolina and Nita Lowey of New York.
When the vote concluded, Lankford, the one leadership member who voted against the bill, approached a group of conservatives in their usual hangout spot in the center of the House chamber. Surrounded by the lower chamber’s leading antagonists, all of whom had voted no, Lankford broke into a grin as he appeared to make a joke.
All the members laughed.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."