Republican senators are growing impatient with the White House’s slow pace in filling out the administration and are pushing President Trump to speed the nomination process, concerned that the dearth of Cabinet deputies could hamper the executive branch’s ability to function.
The Senate has taken longer to confirm Trump’s nominees than it has those of past presidents, but Trump also has been slower than his predecessors to make nominations.
After seven years of campaign promises to repeal and replace Obamacare — a call that yielded Republicans the House, Senate and ultimately the White House — and after dozens of votes in Congress to undo President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, Speaker Paul Ryan conceded Friday that it would remain in place “for the foreseeable future.”
His remarks came after the House GOP failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act Friday, lacking enough party support to pass their measure and canceling a vote just minutes before it was scheduled to take place.
Sen. Ted Cruz’s unyielding opposition to the Affordable Care Act and his willingness to publicly take the fight to fellow Republicans helped cause a brief government shutdown four years ago. But now, with a Republican in the White House and repeal legislation working its way through Congress, the Texas Republican is keeping a low profile, putting his head down and working back rooms to influence the legislation.
The war against ISIS began with airstrikes a year ago this week and lawmakers have spent significant time in the last 12 months debating the strategy and, in many cases, criticizing the way the Obama administration is conducting the fight. But one thing members of Congress have yet to do is have a vote – or even a substantive debate – over authorizing the military campaign.
Instead, President Obama has relied on past authorizations for the use of military force (AUMFs) against al-Qaeda in 2001 and in Iraq in 2002 as the legal justification for the current campaign against the terrorist organization operating mostly in Iraq and Syria. Despite the White House’s insistence, lawmakers are split on whether they agree. Some believe the president is operating within a legitimate legal framework. Others don’t.
Ernest Moniz, nuclear physicist and former MIT professor heading the Department of Energy, landed a role above his typical job description in February when he became a key negotiator of the historic nuclear agreement with Iran.
Now, the White House has dispatched Moniz a little closer to home: he’s been spending his days on Capitol Hill, using his scientific expertise to press lawmakers to support the agreement he played a crucial role in negotiating.
One of the enduring, and some ways endearing, jokes in the nation’s capital is that the most dangerous place in Washington is between Chuck Schumer and a television camera. Not this month. Since President Obama announced the nuclear deal with Iran, the usually gregarious New York Democrat has mostly avoided talking about the agreement other than to say he plans to study it carefully, and his critical support or opposition has been difficult to pin down.
When the agreement was initially announced last week, Schumer released a short statement with no hints as to which way he might be leaning, only saying he intended to “go through this agreement with a fine-tooth comb, speak with administration officials, and hear from experts on all sides.” He pointed to his support for legislation that gave Congress a say in the agreement, and added that the deal “is not a decision to be made lightly.”