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New Congress, Same Democrat Strategy

- January 6, 2015

With The Start Of A New Congress, Democrats Are Resorting To A Familiar Tactic: Obstruction

Senate Democrats Are "Girding For A Procedural Battle" And "Preparing Amendments" To Divide The Senate. "Instead, it's the new Democratic minority that is girding for procedural battle, preparing amendments aimed at creating divisions within the GOP and putting potentially vulnerable Republicans in tough spots in 2016." (Darren Goode and Burgess Everett, "Keystone Bill Will Flip The Script For Dems And GOP," Politico, 1/5/15)

  • In The Senate, "Reid And His Leadership Team Will Likely Insist On Amendment Votes To Nearly Every Piece Of Legislation, Like Keystone." "Democrats too are still mulling their place in the new Washington. Now in the minority in both chambers, their last line of legislative defense is in the Senate, where the GOP will look to pick off a handful of Democratic votes on any given piece of legislation to break the 60-vote thresholds of filibusters. Reid and his leadership team will likely insist on amendment votes to nearly every piece of legislation, like Keystone, part of a long-running amendment feud that led to the demise of several bipartisan bills last year." (Jake Sherman and Burgess Everett, "GOP Leaders Staring At Cliffs," Politico, 1/4/15)

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) "Says Flatly" That Senate Democrats Will Not Let Keystone Move Forward. "Sen. Chuck Schumer says flatly the project won't move forward -- at least in its current form. 'We will have enough votes to sustain a presidential veto,' the New York Democrat told CBS's 'Face the Nation' on Sunday." (Eric Bradner, "Senate Eyes Keystone Fight," CNN, 1/4/15)

  • Schumer Has Vowed Democrats Will "Sustain The President's Veto." "Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said Democrats have enough votes to support the president if he vetoes a bill to begin construction on the Keystone XL pipeline. 'I think there will be enough Democratic votes to sustain the president's veto,' said Schumer, the number three Senate Democrat, on 'Face the Nation' Sunday." (Rebecca Kaplan, "Sen. Schumer Lays Out Battle Over Keystone Pipeline," CBS News, 1/4/15)

Senate Democrat Leadership Has "Pushed Back" Against Changes To Even Controversial ObamaCare Provisions, Like The Medical Device Tax. "Repealing ObamaCare's controversial medical device tax will be a top priority for the new GOP-controlled Congress, as Republicans and industry groups look to take their biggest legislative bite yet out of the president's signature healthcare law. … And some in Congress have pushed back against the repeal effort. Outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) defended the tax in a battle over tax cuts last year, calling it an important source of revenue for ObamaCare. 'I'm not going to cry any big tears over the device folks,' Reid told reporters in May, adding that the device tax industry is 'doing extremely well with ObamaCare.'" (Sarah Ferris, "Medical Device Tax In GOP Crosshairs," The Hill, 1/6/14)

House Democrats "Are Vowing To Fight" Attempts To Secure A New Trade Deal. "House Democrats from the nation's manufacturing heartland are vowing to fight President Obama's push for a major trade deal in the Asia Pacific, saying the pact will harm U.S. jobs and charging that the administration has not been transparent with Congress in its negotiations." (David Nakamura, "House Democrats Vow To Block Obama On Asia Trade Pact," The Washington Post , 12/8/14)

  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) Has Also Promised "A Fight" In The Senate Over Possible Trade Deals. "For business-oriented Republicans, the first step will be an effort to pass what is known in legislative shorthand as 'fast track' authority. That would mean that once the Obama administration completes negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, Congress would have the power only to approve it or reject it, not change it with amendments. Brown vows a fight. In a statement, he said: 'The numbers don't lie. Since we have passed NAFTA and CAFTA, we've seen our trade deficit explode, leaving Ohio jobs and Ohio manufacturers in the crosshairs.'" (Jack Torry, "President Obama's Push For Trade Deal Angers Fellow Democrats," The Columbus Dispatch , 1/5/15)
  • "Reid Has Said He Too Opposed Fast Track, Which Has Also Met With Resistance From Labor Unions, Part Of The Democratic Base." (Niels Lesniewski and Humberto Sanchez, "Keystone Debate To Test Waters Of New Senate ," Roll Call, 1/6/15)

And Obama Is No Different - His Strategy For The New Congress Is To Step Up His Vetoes

Obama Has Already Vowed To Veto More Legislation From Congress. "Bracing to do business with a Congress run solely by Republicans, President Barack Obama is serving notice he has no qualms about vetoing legislation he dislikes. This would be a significant change in style for Obama, come January when the new Congress will be seated with the GOP not only in command in the House but also the Senate as well. He's wielded the veto pen through his first nearly six years very sparingly. Since taking office in 2009, Obama has only vetoed legislation twice, both in fairly minor circumstances." (Josh Lederman, "Obama Warns GOP He Plans To Use Veto Pen In 2015," The Associated Press, 12/29/14)

Obama, In December: "Now I Suspect There Are Going To Be Some Times Where I've Got To Pull That [Veto] Pen Out." OBAMA: "There are going to be some areas where we disagree and, you know, I haven't used the veto pen very often since I've been in office, partly because legislation that I objected to was typically blocked in the Senate even after the House took over - Republicans took over the House. Now I suspect there are going to be some times where I've got to pull that pen out." (President Barack Obama, Interview With NPR's Steve Inskeep, 12/29/14)


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