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Economic Push Begins Anew as Obama Returns from Vacation

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle ObamaPresident Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive at the White House with the first family Sunday after a vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. It’s back to work this week for the President who begins a bus tour Thursday to promote his economic message. Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

The Morning Line

A weeklong vacation behind him, President Barack Obama this week intends to get the jump on Congressional foes with a continued economic push two weeks before lawmakers return to Washington to face major fiscal challenges.

The president on Thursday begins a bus tour through upstate New York and Pennsylvania to continue his series of speeches touting his own economic philosophy of investing in infrastructure. And he’s expected to keep up pressure on House and Senate Republicans he says are standing in the way of compromise.

Congress won’t be back in business until Sept. 9, leaving Mr. Obama’s efforts mostly unanswered. But the pressure is building back home, and Republicans face their own challenge amid a steady political drumbeat of using upcoming deadlines on government funding to scale back the president’s health care reform law.

The president criticized that approach put forward by some in the GOP during his weekly address, which focused on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

“They’re actually having a debate between hurting Americans who will no longer be denied affordable care just because they’ve been sick — and harming the economy and millions of Americans in the process,” Mr. Obama said. “And many Republicans are more concerned with how badly this debate will hurt them politically than they are with how badly it’ll hurt the country.”

“A lot of Republicans seem to believe that if they can gum up the works and make this law fail, they’ll somehow be sticking it to me. But they’d just be sticking it to you,” he added.

In the GOP address over the weekend, West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito called on the president and Senate Democrats to take up a proposal passed in the House that would delay the health care law’s individual mandate, which followed the administration’s decision last month to push off the implementation of the employer mandate until 2015.

“Let’s delay this health care law not just for some, but for all Americans. That would only be fair. That would be government working the way it’s supposed to,” Capito said.

For the president, his message mirrored what he told reporters at a press conference before heading to Martha’s Vineyard, and one you can expect him to keep up over the next few weeks.

But Republicans are far from united on how to approach the spending questions, and especially the funding of Obamacare.

The National Journal’s Shane Goldmacher rounded up the competing GOP viewpoints, noting that “infighting has left Republicans battling each other instead of the Democrats over internal political tactics heading into the next fiscal fight.”

On Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul said while he wants to see the health care law defunded, forcing a government shutdown is the wrong idea.

The Heritage Foundation’s political arm is doing a town hall tour of its own, headlined by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Cruz is among a handful of Republicans in the Senate itching for a shutdown fight.

And the Washington Post noted that the GOP is crafting an economic message in Spanish to try to get Latino voters to see their perspective on fiscal matters.

White House aides said Mr. Obama’s vacation — interrupted several times by violent clashes in Egypt — allowed him to decompress ahead of a very busy fall.

On Monday it’s back to work, as the president meets with financial regulators to tout the Wall Street reform law he signed during his first term.

The bus tour, which will focus on higher education, starts Thursday at the University of Buffalo, with four stops total in New York, and finishing up with a speech Friday at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa.

Editor’s note: For the rest of the summer, the Morning Line will only publish once a week, on Mondays. Visit our homepage for news and show segments, and follow @NewsHour for the latest headlines and to join our weekly conversations.


The PBS NewsHour is devoting several conversations and reports to an examination of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

Gwen Ifill began the series with William Jones, a historian and author, who explained that the march was not initially intended to focus on racial equality. It had more radical roots, Jones said, and was more about jobs and economic opportunity than a man with a “dream.”

Watch their discussion here or below:

And tune in Wednesday for the next conversation. Here’s the outline of what’s ahead this month.

In addition, NewsHour Extra crafted resources for teachers looking to do March on Washington lessons in the classroom. Our partners at KPBS in San Diego gave some ink to Rep. John Lewis’ new civil rights comic book as he made the rounds at Comic-Con.

This weekend, the Washington Post’s Zachary Goldfarb looked ahead to what the president might say during his speech marking the march anniversary at the Lincoln Memorial next week.


  • The Washington Post noted Mr. Obama’s “tension between … pragmatism and idealism” as he made a public statement on the turmoil in Egypt Thursday that stopped short of cutting off military aid to the country.

  • The New York Times has an Arizona-based piece on Sen. John McCain’s continued fight to pass immigration reform.

  • Politico’s Manu Raju looks at Sen. Mark Pryor’s re-election campaign in Arkansas, where the lone Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation is attempting to beat back a challenge from freshman GOP Rep. Tom Cotton.

  • The Washington Post’s Rosalind Helderman and Carol Leonnig report that attorneys for Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife will meet with federal prosecutors on Monday as investigators consider whether to file charges related to gifts provided to the first couple by a wealthy donor.

  • As he returns to San Diego City Hall following therapy, Democratic Mayor Bob Fillner faces a recall petition.

  • The Republican National Committee voted Friday to exclude CNN and NBC News from hosting 2016 GOP primary debates in response to the networks’ plans to air programs about Hillary Clinton.

  • Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday amid an ongoing spat that the GOP is large enough for both himself and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

  • The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin examined in detail Christie’s re-election campaign strategy and how it is laying the groundwork for a national bid.

  • Hillary Clinton will be giving a series of policy speeches.

  • The New York Times’ Amy Chozick and Nicholas Confessore took a deep dive into the Clinton Foundation and how that might conflict with the former secretary of state’s presidential ambitions.

  • Last week, Newark Mayor Cory Booker secured the Democratic nomination for New Jersey’s special Senate contest, and former Bogota, N.J., Mayor Steve Lonegan won the Republican nod. The general election is Oct. 16.

  • Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. will serve 30 months in prison as part of a plea deal where he admitted he misused campaign funds. His wife will serve one year in prison for a related charge, but will not report to jail until her husband returns home.

  • The partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, whose reports on surveillance programs by the National Security Agency were thanks to leaks from Edward Snowden, was detained and held for nine hours at Heathrow airport in London Sunday.

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., inked a book deal.

  • The famed butter cow of the Iowa State Fair was vandalized with red paint by an animal welfare group “intent on sending a message in support of veganism,” the Associated Press reported.

  • Former Sen. Scott Brown spent his weekend at the Iowa State Fair. While he might be eyeing a 2016 bid, he says he will soon announce if he will run for governor in Massachusetts.

  • Clinton veteran and Democratic operative Mo Elleithee was named the Democratic National Committee’s new communications director.

  • Republican Rep. Dave Camp won’t run for Senate in Michigan. Republicans currently have a single candidate, former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, running to fill retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin’s seat.

  • Dan Balz detailed the already nasty Democratic gubernatorial primary in Illinois.

  • The Associated Press investigates the failures of Washington, D.C.’s fire and EMS department and notes that last Monday, an ambulance intended to be part of the president’s motorcade ran out of gas at the White House because of fuel gauge problems.

  • A federal judge struck down the 64-year-old law that bans demonstrations at the Supreme Court building.

  • Sam Stein penned a long piece for Huffington Post evaluating sequestration cuts.

  • Members of Congress: They’re just like us! Roll Call has a look at what your representatives are doing during the August recess via a Pinterest board.

  • First Lady Michelle Obama is releasing a hip-hop album. She won’t be dropping a beat but will team up with Run DMC, Jordin Sparks and Doug E. Fresh to encourage kids to live a healthier lifestyle.

  • The president Tuesday will honor the 1972 Miami Dolphins, which had the only perfect season in NFL history.

  • Anthony Weiner sat down for an interview with BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith. He didn’t hide how he felt about the New York Times or BuzzFeed’s reputation for posting cat videos.

  • Correspondents checking correspondence. Get it?

  • The latest crop of fellows headed to Harvard’s Institute of Politics: former appointed Sen. William “Mo” Cowan of Massachusetts, former SBA Administrator Karen Mills, journalist Sasha Issenberg, Republican campaign veterans Ana Navarro and Beth Myers and Google’s Ginny Hunt.

  • Washington is on panda pregnancy watch.

NEWSHOUR: #notjustaTVshow

  • Judy’s Notebook this week reflects on the NewsHour’s upcoming historic changes.

  • Mark Shields and David Brooks examined the president’s reaction to Egypt and the voter ID law in North Carolina.

Watch here or below.

  • The NewsHour paid tribute to longtime political columnist Jack Germond after his death last week. Among those weighing in: Dan Balz of the Washington Post and Susan Page of USA Today.

Watch here or below.

  • We fielded a debate on a tough new voter ID law in North Carolina between Rep. G.K. Butterfield and one of the state senators who co-authored the measure.

  • Politics Desk Assistant Jordan Vesey has a primer for why some primary contests matter more than others.

  • NewsHour’s Jason Kane has an amazing story exploring how a drug dealer and a nurse are working together to prevent the spread of HIV in Tanzania.


Politics reporter-producer Katelyn Polantz and desk assistant Mallory Sofastaii contributed to this report.

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