Just days after his State of the Union address in which he called for Congress to find common ground with him, President Barack Obama sounded less than confident that they could find that common ground.
“I think there are some issues where it’s going to be hard for them to move forward,” Obama said of congressional Republicans, “and I am going to reach out to them and say, ‘Here are my best ideas, I want to hear yours,’ ” Obama told CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper in an interview airing today.
“In no way are my expectations diminished or my ambitions diminished. But what is obviously true is we’ve got a divided government right now,” Obama told Tapper.
The president also discusses whether he can work with Republicans on immigration, whether the Sochi games are safe and legalizing marijuana. Portions of the interview air on “New Day” at 6 a.m. ET and will run in full on “The Lead with Jake Tapper” at 4 p.m. ET.
President Barack Obama has a plan to save the Senate’s tenuous Democratic majority: Sell a populist message, try to make Obamacare work better and raise lots of cash.
And unlike previous years when Senate Democrats were mostly left to fight on their own, the White House is wasting no time coordinating its political and policy agenda with congressional leaders and vulnerable lawmakers.
The 55-member Senate Democratic Caucus will meet with Obama on Wednesday at the White House, the first such session since October.
White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer and legislative director Katie Beirne Fallon have already briefed Senate leadership aides on the outlines of proposals Obama is considering for the Jan. 28 State of the Union address, and they’re expected to do the same with House Democratic leadership aides.
A Republican-controlled Senate and House would be a nightmare for the president, likely reducing him to full lame-duck status as the GOP works to block what’s left of his agenda, including a minimum wage hike and climate change, as official Washington looks ahead to 2016.
ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES
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The Democratic-controlled Senate today voted to invoke the so-called nuclear option out of frustration over Republicans who have been blocking President Barack Obama’s nominees.
The controversial move is a rules change that could make a partisan environment even more divisive because it takes away the right for the Senate’s minority party to filibuster.
Under the old rules it took 60 votes to break a filibuster. The change now allows most filibusters of Obama nominees to be stopped with 51 votes — a simple Senate majority.
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By Burgess Everett
If everything goes as planned, gay rights history will be made on Thursday in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday set up the the final series of votes for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act — which prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity — culminating in a vote final passage on Thursday afternoon if the bill passes a key, 60-vote threshold procedural test in the morning.
Senate passage of ENDA seemed more and more likely Wednesday after the Senate unanimously accepted an amendment by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) protecting religious groups exempted under the legislation from government retaliation. That amendment likely secured the vote of several other Republicans pushing for that language, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).