Monday, January 27, 2014

White House warns Obama ready to 'bypass' Congress on 2014 agenda - yet 63 percent of Americans lack faith in Obama's ability to make the right decisions ! Meanwhile another round of debt ceiling drama is on tap - spoiler is that the GOP won't let a default happen so how do they think they can ever win this game ?

Put up or shut up for the GOP - If the GOP believes Obama is truly violating the Constitution , then they should start impeachment Proceedings.......

Steve King rips State of the Union executive order

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on Tuesday called President Barack Obama’s plan to sign an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers a “constitutional violation.”
King told CNN’s “New Day” that the news from the White House that Obama will announce during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address that he’s raising the minimum wage for employees under new federal contracts to $10.10 an hour is a clear example of the president going beyond the bounds of the Constitution.

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SOTU 2014: What to expect

“I think it’s a constitutional violation,” King said. “We have a minimum wage. Congress has set it. For the president to simply declare ‘I’m going to change this law that Congress has passed,’ is unconstitutional. He’s outside the bounds of his Article II limitations.”
“This threat that the president is going to run the government with an ink pen and executive orders, we’ve never had a president with that level of audacity and that level of contempt for his own oath of office,” King added.
CNN’s Chris Cuomo then noted that President Bill Clinton “signed a lot more executive orders than President Obama has, but if you want to stay with your line of reasoning, it could be a little bit of a dangerous game.”
“How invested are you in this, representative, because if he really is abusing his constitutional powers, some might say that’s ground for action against the president, maybe even an impeachable offense. Is that what you’re saying?” Cuomo asked.
“You know, I’ve stayed away from that word, although it does come to me on the streets of America consistently,” King replied. “I think instead, this Congress should lay out the violations that the president has had. And there are many.”
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, meanwhile, told CBS on Tuesday that “rather than sit and wait for Congress to take action, we’re going to go ahead and roll out on our own, using the president’s authority.”
“Nobody who works full time and works hard at their job should live in poverty,” he said. “We think $10.10 an hour will allow them to do that.”
The White House will “look to work with Congress where we can,” McDonough said, “but I think as we’ve seen over the last several years now, Congress sometimes is a little slow to action.”
“We’re not going to wait for that, because we believe the American people are looking for concrete, realistic proposals to see the kind of progress and opportunity for everybody,” he said.
King, however, said on CNN that Obama is aware of his limitations under the Constitution and that the president “knows better” — “It’s Congress’s job to pass the laws. He knows that. And we need to take our oath seriously and defend the Constitution,” he said.

Here Are 12 Executive Actions Obama Is Planning This Year

Obama Affordable Care Act Obamacare
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
The White House has released a fact sheet on 12 key executive actions President Barack Obama plans to take this year.
The plans come in three identified areas: "middle class security and opportunity at work," "jobs and economic opportunity," and "schools and education opportunity."
Here are the basics, as outlined by the White House:
•  Raising the Minimum Wage through Executive Order to $10.10 for Federal Contract Workers. The President will also continue to urge Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 across the nation because no one who works full-time should have to raise their family in poverty. 

• Creating “myRA” – A New Starter Savings Account to Help Millions Save for Retirement. The President will take executive action to create a simple, safe and affordable “starter” retirement savings account available through employers to help millions of Americans save for retirement. This savings account would be offered through a familiar Roth IRA account and, like savings bonds, would be backed by the U.S. government.

• Building a 21st Century Workplace for America’s Working Families. The President will host a summit on Working Families to highlight the policies that will ensure America’s global economic competitiveness by supporting working families; showcase companies doing exemplary work in this space; and highlight model laws and policies from cities and states across the country in areas such as discrimination, flexibility and paid leave. 

Jobs & Economic Opportunity

• Launching Four New Manufacturing Institutes in 2014. American manufacturers are adding jobs for the first time in over a decade.  To build on this progress, the President will launch four new institutes through executive action this year. These institutes will build on the four the President has already announced.

•  Government-wide Review of Federal Training Programs to Help Americans Get Skills in Demand for Good Jobs. The President is directing the Vice President to conduct a full review of our federal job-training system to make sure programs are higher performing and driven by the needs of employers which are hiring so that they lead to well-paying jobs. In the coming months, we will help community colleges build partnerships with businesses so that as industries’ skills needs change community colleges can quickly adapt.  

• Partnering With Many of America’s Leading CEOs to Help the Long-Term Unemployed.  Later this week, as part of an ongoing effort that the Administration began several months ago, the President will convene a group of CEOs and other leaders around supporting best practices for hiring the long-term unemployed.

• Expanding Apprenticeships by Mobilizing Business, Community Colleges and Labor. This year the President will mobilize business leaders, community colleges, Mayors and Governors, and labor leaders to increase the number of innovative apprenticeships in America. 

• Increasing Fuel Efficiency for Trucks. The President will propose new incentives for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that run on alternative fuels like natural gas and the infrastructure needed to deploy them, and the Administration will set new fuel efficiency standards for heavy duty vehicles.

• Partnering with States, Cities and Tribes to Move to Energy Efficiency and Cleaner Power.The President has directed his Administration to work to cut carbon pollution through clean energy and energy efficiency.

Schools & Education Opportunity

• Connecting 20 Million Students in 15,000 Schools to the Best Technology to Enrich K-12 Education. The FCC is making a major down-payment on the President’s ConnectED goal of connecting 99% of students to next-generation broadband and wireless technology within five years. In the coming weeks the President will announce new philanthropic partnerships – including by companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint and Verizon.

• Redesigning High Schools to Teach the Real-World Skills That Kids Need. This year, the Administration will announce the winners of a $100 million competition supporting redesigned high schools that give high school students access to real-world education and skills.

• Increasing College Opportunity and Graduation. Building on the success of the President and First Lady’s College Opportunity Summit, in the coming months the President is asking colleges and universities, nonprofits and businesses to work with him on ways to improve students’ access to and completion of higher education.

Obama Will Raise The Minimum Wage For Federal Contractors

Barack Obama smile
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Ahead of his fifth State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday night, President Barack Obama will issue an executive order to raise the minimum wage for new federal contract workers, according to multiple reports.
The executive order will ensure that all federal workers employed under future government contracts do not make less than $10.10 an hour, according to the reports.
The executive order partially addresses an issue on the top of Obama's agenda — and it signals, as the White House has said, that he is willing to go around Congress when he feels it is necessary. 
The idea had been championed and pushed by progressive Democrats in Congress.
"Too many Americans work full-time for federal contractors and live in poverty,” Rep. Keith Ellison, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement last week. "The federal government should not lead a race to the bottom by funding jobs that pay poverty wages. We need President Obama to lead the race to the top and sign an executive order today to raise the pay of two million working Americans."
Leading up to the State of the Union address, the White House has promised that Obama plans to get things done himself if Congress won't work with him — through executive action, or, as he and his advisers like to put it, through a "pen and a phone."

What Constitution? Obama To Emphasize Intention To Use Unilateral Presidential Authority

Tyler Durden's picture

While the stats of the union remain unremarkable at best, it would appear that despite the rancor in Washington, President Obama will get his way "whatever it takes." As the WSJ reports, the State of the Union address Tuesday night will emphasize his intention to use unilateral presidential authority — bypassing Congress when necessary — to an extent not seen in his previous State of the Union speeches. "We need to show the American people that we can get something done," Dan Pfeiffer, a senior White House adviser, told CNN; it seems no matter how totalitarian and unconstitutional it would appear to be.

President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night will seek to shift the public's souring view of his leadership, a challenge the White House sees as critical to shaping the nation's policy direction over the next three years.

Mr. Obama will emphasize his intention to use unilateral presidential authority—bypassing Congress when necessary—to an extent not seen in his previous State of the Union speeches, White House officials said.


Mr. Obama will stress that he intends to take unilateral action on a host of other issues: infrastructure development, job training, climate change and education. Administration officials hinted broadly at the assertive new direction Sunday.

"We need to show the American people that we can get something done," Dan Pfeiffer, a senior White House adviser, told CNN as part of a round of interviews previewing the speech.

The more aggressive, executive-led approach marks a recalibration by the White House after seeing how congressional Republicans responded in 2013 to the president's re-election, a senior administration official said. Several key White House initiatives stalled in Congress last year, including an immigration revamp, an increase in the minimum wage, gun-control legislation and economic proposals.


"He says, 'Oh well, it's hard to get Congress to do anything.' Well, yeah, welcome to the real world. It's hard to convince people to get legislation through. It takes consensus," said Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.). "But that's what he needs to be doing is building consensus and not taking his pen and creating law."

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said in an interview that Mr. Obama's speech wouldn't present "a grandiose agenda. It's going to be a very practical agenda aimed at middle-class people."

One big agenda item is apparently a "pledge" to hire more by US companies...
He also is expected to announce that some of the nation's largest employers, have signed a White House pledge agreeing not to discriminate against the long-term unemployed when making hiring decisions, according to a draft of the policy and interviews with several people familiar with the matter.
But the corporate hiring pledge also shows the limits of executive power. Under the nonbinding agreement, companies won't be obligated to hire the long-term unemployed, and it is unclear how the administration will monitor progress.
More lip-service, more class-warfare, more totalitarianism... just what we need for 'growth'... It does make one wonder if the surge in t-bill yields around the debt-ceiling dates are indicative of some reaction by the Republicans to this aggression ?

Tyler Durden's picture

March T-Bills "Panic-Selling" As Debt-Ceiling Fears Reignite

With all eyes focused on China (shadow bank liquidity fears), Emerging Market currencies, and US equities; something very concerning has been going on in short-dated Treasury Bills. The ultra-short-term remain bid (near zero yield) as the saftey crush demand bids for them but move out one month - across the dreaded late-February debt-ceiling debacle maginot line - and suddenly yields are exploding! The March 16th yields have screamed from 1bps to 12.75bps in the last 2 days - now above the October debt ceiling levels..

Pfeiffer, McConnell forecast battle over debt ceiling

In back-to-back interviews Sunday, White House Senior Adviser Dan Pfeiffer and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell took opposite positions on what Congress should do as the nation approaches the upcoming debt ceiling.
An issue that played a role in the government shutdown in October, Pfeiffer said on "Fox News Sunday" that President Barack Obama will maintain the same position when the debt ceiling is reached in upcoming weeks as he did then, which is he will not allow anything to be attached to raising the debt ceiling.
“Our position is the same as it was in October and the same as it’s been for more than a year, which is the American people shouldn't have to pay the Republican Congress a ransom for doing their most basic function, which is paying the bills," Pfeiffer said. "They have passed what is essentially a debt limit free of ideological riders the last two times. They should do it again and spare the country the drama and economic damage of repeating the movie no one wants to see from October.”
Pfeiffer did not directly address host Chris Wallace's question as to whether that means Obama will veto anything but a clean increase of the nation's borrowing limit, calling out McConnell in the process.
“Nothing has changed in our position. I hope Republicans follow the lead of your next guest, Sen. McConnell, who said right afterwards that they would not go down this path again.”
Appearing in his own Fox nterview after Pfeiffer's, the Kentucky senator called the president "irresponsible" and "unreasonable" for his position, saying Republicans would want to get something attached to the borrowing limit increase.
"Some of the most significant legislation passed in the last 50 years have been in conjunction with the debt ceiling," McConnell said. "I think for the president to ask for a clean debt ceiling when we have a debt the size of our economy is irresponsible. So we ought to discuss adding something to his request to raise the debt ceiling that does something about the debt or produces at least something positive for our country.”
McConnell emphasized that it was Republicans who were consistent with history, not the president.                                                
“Any president's request to raise the debt ceiling, whether this one or previous presidents, is a good opportunity to try to do something about the debt," McConnell said. "I think the president is taking an unreasonable position to suggest that we ought to treat his request to raise the debt ceiling like some kind of motherhood resolution that everybody just says ‘aye’ and we don't do anything when we have this stagnant economy and this massive debt created under his administration.”
But McConnell did stand by past statements that he and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) would not allow a default, saying those two things are not inconsistent.
“We need not have a default -- we're never going to default. The speaker and I have made that clear," McConnell said. "We've never done that. But it's irresponsible not to use the discussion, the request of the president to raise the debt ceiling to try to accomplish something for the country.”

Poll: 63% Don’t Have Confidence in Obama to Make Right Decisions

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January 27, 2014
obamasad3On the eve of President Obama’s State of the Union Address, a new poll fromWashington Post-ABC News shows that fully 63 percent of Americans have either little or no confidence Obama will make the right decisions. The public is evenly split on whether Obama is honest and trustworthy, with 49 percent of Americans answering in the affirmative, and 48 percent answering negatively.
bare majority of Americans, 52 percent, feel Obama does not understand the problems of people like them – a shocking downward turn for Obama on an important likeability issue on which he dominated in 2012. A majority of Americans. 51 percent, also believe Obama is not a strong leader. His disapproval rating stands currently at 50 percent, with 41 percent disapproving strongly – only 23 percent support him strongly. 50 percent of Americans have an unfavorable impression of the president.

White House warns Obama ready to 'bypass' Congress on 2014 agenda

• Confrontational state of the union address expected 
• Senator Rand Paul: 'It sounds vaguely like a threat'

obama boehner state of the union 2013
The year since President Obama's 2013 state of the union address has been marked by record legislative inaction. Photograph: Charles Dharapak/AP
White House officials are setting the scene for a confrontational state of the union address on Tuesday night, claiming that President Barack Obama is preparing to “bypass” Congress with executive action on divisive issues such as economic inequality.
However, in a flurry of last-minute appearances, advisers also hinted at a growing sense within the administration that the president's chances of securing more ambitious legislative reform before November's midterm elections may already have passed.
In an interview on Sunday and in an email to supporters on Saturday Dan Pfeiffer, Obama's senior adviser for strategy and communications, struck a defiant tone. “We need to show the American people that we can get something done; either through Congress or on our own,” Pfeiffer told CNN. “The president is not going to tell the American people he will wait for Congress.”
The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, spoke of a need to “bypass Congress where necessary”, telling ABC the State of the union would herald a “year of action” after the frustrations of 2013. Last year was the least productive in the history of Congress, including in October a 17-day government shutdown prompted by right-wing Republicans in an attempt to defund and defeat Obama's signature healthcare reform.
Yet Pfeiffer compared the executive actions Obama intends to outline on Tuesday with recent White House initiatives such as hosting a college opportunity summit or declaring economic “promise zones”, which critics have dismissed as largely cosmetic.
Key policy objectives, such as increasing the national minimum wage or lowering the cost of access to higher education, are almost impossible to achieve without bipartisan legislation. Republicans view the mounting State of the Union rhetoric as largely about political jockeying, ahead of the midterm elections.
“It sounds vaguely like a threat and it's certainly a kind of arrogance,” said Senator Rand Paul, who is increasingly seen as a contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, in an interview on CNN.
Appearing on ABC on Sunday morning, a former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, Rick Santorum, called Obama “vindictive” and said his plan for greater use of executive action was “non-constructive”.
Those close to the Oval Office say they expect Obama to draw in his state of the union address on the success of local economic initiatives, as an example of what can be done to boost social mobility without the need for national legislation.
The mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, who visited the White House for the second time in a month on Thursday, told reporters he expected the address to champion initiatives in urban areas that Obama believes can be extended elsewhere.
“You'll hear in the state of the union him address a number of specifics about cities, the focus on cities,” said Nutter. “You are going to hear about on-the-ground activities; what's going on across the United States of America; why cities work, how they work.”
Nutter said he also expected the president to be unapologetic about the role of the national government in tackling poverty. “I think you will hear in the state of the union example after example of how federal support is working on the ground across the country,” he said.
Pfeiffer's email to supporters, which was sent on Saturday, suggested that much of Obama's speech will be about cajoling and supporting, rather than directing.
“The president will use his executive authority, both his pen and his phone, to work with anyone to get things done,” he wrote, “whether they be leaders in business, education, Congress, states, or local communities who want to get things done on behalf of the American people.

“Last week, President Obama kicked off this effort when he named five new promise zones – areas across the country where we will partner with local communities and businesses to create jobs and expand opportunity. We'll do this by increasing access to education and quality, affordable housing, and by improving public safety. These are the kinds of efforts that take the challenges we face head on."