(Bloomberg Politics) — When the 114th Congress began last week, President Obama said he was confident he and the Republican controlled body would disagree.
 
"I'm also confident that there are enormous areas of potential agreement that would deliver for the American people," Obama added.
 
On Tuesday, Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden, met with 19 members of Congress to try and figure out (and possibly create) some of those areas of potential agreement. Obama and Republicans agreed on trade, the need for a cybersecurity bill, and a resolution to authorize the fight against the Islamic State.
 
But those brief glimmers of hope for bipartisanship have been dwarfed by veto threats, the defiant passage of bills despite said threats, and a general unwillingness to compromise on both sides. In fact, the list of disagreements between the Republican-controlled Congress and the president would appear to be much longer than the one that includes the "enormous areas" of ideological harmony.
 
House Republicans voted Wednesday on a bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security, but not Obama's executive immigration order. This is a symbolic measure—if it gets past the Senate, it will be vetoed—and Speaker John Boehner has acknowledged that.
 
"Our goal here is to fund the Department of Homeland Security," Boehner said, according to The New York Times. "And our second goal is to stop the president's executive overreach."
 
Like immigration, Keystone is another long-running political headache carried over into the new Congress. The Senate voted Monday to advance the bill approving of construction of the pipeline, and is scheduled to debate it next week. Obama has promised to veto the legislation. 

Senate Democrats, meanwhile, have proposed attaching an amendment to the bill that would force Republicans to admit whether they think man made climate change is a real thing. The "sense of Congress" amendment, introduced by Bernie Sanders, reads that climate change is real, caused by humans, causing damage, and needs to be fought with new energy sources. 

The House has passed three bills limiting Obamacare in the new Congress, including a controversial attempt to change the law's 30-hour work week to a 40-hour work week. Obama has promised to veto the bill if it makes it through the Senate.

Under the health care law's employer mandate, companies with 50 employees or more must provide insurance who work 30 hours or more. Republicans argue that the 30-hour limit is pushing employers to cut hours on part time workers, while Democrats argue that raising the bar to 40 hours a week would expose more workers to cuts. 

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.