Today in the Morning Line:
- Just two of the 18 items President Obama asked Congress to work on in his 2014 State of the Union became law
- Expecting little congressional action, the White House has taken to executive action and calling on the states to act.
Not many of Obama’s priorities are likely to get through Congress: State of the Union speeches get a lot of attention. A prime-time address by the President of the United States to a joint session of Congress is pretty impressive stuff. Lots of policies and priorities are laid out, but how much can and will actually get done, especially with a divided Congress? Answer: Not much. Recent history provides a pretty good roadmap. In last year’s State of the Union, when Democrats controlled the Senate and Republicans had a smaller majority in the House, President Obama laid out 18 specific action items he wanted Congress to take up, but just two of those — on job re-training and increasing funding for research — got through Congress and became law, according to a NewsHour analysis. (And funding for research only kept with inflation, not representing much of an increase.)
Here’s a list of the priorities and the (lack of) congressional action taken (in order of when Obama mentioned them in his speech):
NewsHour’s Ashira Morris contributed research.
Taking executive action: To address some of the priority areas the president mentioned in last year’s State of the Union that Congress did not take up, the president acted on his own, raising the ire of the right. Seeing the success of state initiatives on things like the minimum wage, which Congress hasn’t raised for nearly six years, the president has been encouraging states to move on more of his priorities. Among the items mentioned in his 2014 State of the Union that he wound up taking executive action on:
- carbon caps
- minimum wage (for federal contractors)
- personal finance (MyRA)
- student loans
- establishing public-private partnership on expanding public pre-school
- protecting some federal lands
Daily Presidential Trivia:
On this day in 1937, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to be inaugurated on January 20. Which amendment to the Constitution established January 20 as the start and end of every presidential term? Be the first to tweet us the correct answer using #PoliticsTrivia and you’ll get a Morning Line shout-out. Congratulations to William C Rives (@MrWmCR) for guessing Monday’s trivia: Which president held the first live news conference? The answer: John F. Kennedy.
- Mitt Romney leads former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush among GOP voters in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Tuesday.
- State of the Movement: Bush is in Washington today to court prominent lobbyists and backers.
- As a board member of the Miami company InnoVida, Bush was more involved, despite its financial shakiness, than previously thought. That’s according to previously unreported court documents obtained by the Washington Post.
- The UK is talking about Bobby Jindal’s speech decrying so called “no-go” zones where he says only Muslims are welcome.
- GOP Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are expected to speak at the winter meeting of Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a network of conservative groups assembled by the Koch brothers, in California this weekend.
- Cruz is calling up staff from his political operation and eyeing new hires for a presidential bid that could launch before the spring, the Washington Examiner reports.
- On his last day in office after 14 years, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he’d make a decision about running within five months.
- Rick Santorum gives a Myrtle Beach preview of what he’ll be like on the campaign trail.
- Chris Christie is headed to Northern Virginia today for a luncheon with tech industry donors.
- Hillary Clinton continues to lie low, but her team is busy developing a plan to avoid the mistakes of her failed 2008 presidential run.
- The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank bemoans the “empty politics” of 2016 and what he fears will be a rerun presidential election.
- Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth is considering a challenge to Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk in 2016.
- After watching Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s State of the State, Jon Ralston writes, “Sandoval’s speech might as well have been a declaration that he has no interest in being a United States senator.” That should be good news for Harry Reid.
- Minority Leader Harry Reid will be back at work today, but isn’t well enough to stay for State of the Union.
- The Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in a case that could unravel state laws around the U.S. regarding judicial candidates soliciting donations.
- Who’s behind the words President Obama will speak tonight? Speechwriter Cody Keenan — whom the president calls Hemingway — spent many isolated hours and a few single malt scotches crafting the address.
- Congressional Republicans are hoping the seldom-used Congressional Review Act can help them attack federal regulations they don’t like.
- Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson will be the highest-ranking U.S. diplomat to visit Cuba since the Carter Administration when she arrives for two days of talks this week. NewsHour’s Margaret Warner spoke to Jacobson last month about her priorities.
- Alabama marked MLK Jr. Day with more focus on King, and none of the usual mention of Robert E. Lee or Jefferson Davis, notes Birmingham News and AL.com writer Charles Dean.
- In Nevada, the immigration reform debate has consequences beyond the political. Facing a mixed bag of law and executive action, many live with the fear that their families will be divided by deportation. Gwen Ifill reported from Las Vegas on the personal stakes at the heart of the political fight.
- Keep an eye on the Rundown blog for breaking news throughout the day, our home page for show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest.
Hillary Clinton laser-focusing on the needs of hurting, hard-working Americans by holing up in her Chappaqua mansion. http://t.co/l8KZGxc0rG
— Glenn Thrush (@GlennThrush) January 20, 2015
— Jack Bohrer (@JRBoh) January 20, 2015
Reid sustained broken bones, concussion, eye injury exercising. His drs don’t want him to stay til 11 pm on his 1st day back at work
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 20, 2015
Jon Stewart just made Mike Huckabee look ridiculous. Mike Huckabee helped.
— Jack Hunter (@jackhunter74) January 20, 2015
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