On Tuesday, Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden, met with 19 members of Congress to try and figure out areas of potential agreement.
By Arit John|January 15, 2015 at 05:49 AM
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(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.