Senator Rubio Give His Take


Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said in hindsight there are always lessons to be learned and that applies in the current instance for the GOP as it moves forward from a bruising couple of weeks.


"I never was favor in of shutting government down" or defaulting on the nation's debt, Rubio said.


The senator argued that it was the White House and Democrats who allowed the government to shutdown by not agreeing to fund all parts minus the Affordable Care Act.


Rubio was among the 18 senators who voted against the deal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling, which was brokered by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).


But he is not among the tea party group who supports the primary challange to McConnell in Kentucky.


"I do support Senator McConnell’s re-election," Rubio said, giving McConnell credit for the job he has in both keeping his caucus together and representing Kentucky.


 

Looking For A Way Forward

 While every one seems eager for a deal, one wasn't apparent when two members leading efforts in the Senate, and a House Republican, joined "Fox News Sunday" to discuss prospects going forward. "Things are not moving now," Republican Senator Bob Corker (TN) said bluntly. While he thinks "we will see our way through this," Corker added, that the "last 24 hours have not looked good." "Republicans started off in a place that was an overreach," Corker said, but Democrats are now the ones overreaching. Democrats are "one tic too cute," the senator said. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), one of those working on a bipartisan proposal, said "leadership must lead." He added that he is waiting to see what Senate Democratic leadership comes back with "that they think is fair." The sticking point seems to have shifted now, and Republicans sound intent on standing their ground over sequester cuts.  One of the reasons Senate Democrats gave for rejecting the bipartisan bill spearheaded by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), which Senator Manchin was part of, was that it locked in those cuts. Manchin defended the budget caps in the proposal and argued that any change in- what is now the law of the land -needs to be done through normal procedure, like budget negotiations.   

Secretary Lew, Republicans, Stake out Positions

 

The government is in a partial shutdown and another financial deadline is fast approaching in the debt ceiling, but Congressional Republicans and the White House still seem many miles apart.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that should the US default on its debt payments, "no question, it would cause real problems."

"The consequences are immediate," Lew said.

Lew said it's up to Congress what it decides to do in terms of how long a lift in the debt ceiling should cover but that the "economy would be well served with long term solution."

Lew also reiterated that the president is unwilling to negotiate over reopening the government or in raising the debt limit. 

 

 

Verge of a Shutdown

A resolution to continue funding the federal government is being batted between the two houses of Congress but little progress towards averting a government shutdown is being made. Even though the government is just hours away from running out of funds, however, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) stated with certainty the government "is not going to shut down." The congressman, who is in charge of counting Republican votes in the House, added that, should the Senate reject the House-amended CR, he believes the House will have enough time to look at the issue again and present the Senate with "other options." Asked whether the House will consider a short term CR to give the Hill more time to hammer out an agreement, McCarthy said "if we have to negotiate a little longer, we will." Two members of the Senate, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), one of those leading the charge to force at least delaying funding for the health care act, and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a supporter of the Affordable Health Care Act, gave their take on the ensuing debate.  Kaine said that he is open to ideas that reform the law, but does not believe it should be tied to threat of a government shutdown. "Republicans are doing everything they can to protect Americans from a shutdown, and the harmful effects of Obamacare," Lee said.  

To Fund or Not to Fund: Decision Time in Congress

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is leading the charge to strip funding for the Affordable Care Act from any funding bill passed by Congress in the coming week.  Just as determined to reinsert it though is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Reid may have the upper hand by virtue of the Senate rules. Cruz said the first step in his plan is to ask Reid to allow amendments to be subject to a 60 vote threshold.  But because the Democratic leader wants to use an amendment to add funding for "Obamacare" to the House-passed bill he will likely say no "because he wants to use brute political force," said Cruz. The junior senator from Texas has a backup plan too, one that sounds like an even steeper climb and highly unlikely at this point: convince Senate Republicans to deny colture on the House-passed bill. He admits he does not know how many fellow senators' votes he can count on but warned how he would view a "yes" vote to cloture by charging that "any vote for cloture , is a vote for Obamacare."   Following Senator Cruz on "Fox News Sunday," a perspective at complete odds- Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill (MO), a staunch defender of the president's, charged that Republicans that would threaten a government shutdown over defunding the heath care act are sore losers. "I don’t think in America when we lose elections we throw tantrums and threaten to shut down the government," McCaskill said. Asked how she believes this will turn out when a week from now, when the government is slated to run out of money to run many of its operations, McCaskill said, "I cannot believe they are going to throw a tantrum and throw the American people under the bus." Taking a shot a her colleague from the other side of the aisle, McCaskill added, "This is about running for president with Ted Cruz, this isn’t meaningful statesmanship."   

POTUS Sits Down With Chris Wallace

Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace sat down with President Barack Obama to discuss the crisis in Syria, and get his reaction to a new proposal by the Russians that could chalk a win for diplomacy.


The proposal, raised by the Russians and "welcomed" by the Syrian government, would place the regime's chemical weapons under international control.


"I think we should explore and exhaust all avenues of diplomatic resolution of this," the president said, adding though that he intends to keep the pressure on.


"The question is, can we construct something that allows the international community to have confidence that these terrible weapons will not be used again," the president said.


Asked whether he would delay a vote in Congress, which is currently considering authorizing the use of force, the president said this proposal does not change the calendar, a process he expects will take a couple weeks anyway.


The president cautioned however that he would not allow a timeframe that goes on for months for this deal to be agreed upon and implemented.


"I think that we should be able to get a fairly rapid sense of how serious they are," President Obama said.


 

Will Congress Authorize Use of Force?

The White House Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, said it's "too early to come to any conclusion," about whether the administration will get enough votes in Congress to go ahead with the use of force against the Assad regime in Syria. McDonough, who has been in the lead on the effort to convince Congress, said it isn't a question about intelligence, but rather what the U.S. will do to answer such a heinous attack. The "question for Congress is 'are there consequences for a dictator who would use those weapons to gas hundreds of children to death," McDonough said. Although the "no" votes seem to have quickly become insurmountable, in the House especially, McDonough suggested the coming week, when the members return to Washington, is when decisions will truly begin to be made.  Members of Congress, who have been home for the Summer recess, have been inundated with feedback from constituents who are war weary and are pressuring their members to vote against the resolution. McDonough said that is an "absolutely understandable sentiment," but reiterated that the president's plan calls for a limited, targeted effort. In his Friday press conference, the president seemed reluctant to answer whether he would go ahead with military action if Congress voted against such action. McDonough, pressed for a straightforward answer said, "If Congress wants consequences, they're going to have to vote for it."  Perhaps the staunchest opponent of the president's plan is Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). Paul sits on the Foreign Relations Committee and voted against authorizing use of force this week. On "Fox News Sunday," he expressed concern about siding with the opposition as well as the strategy laid out so far by the White House. The "most difficult thing is if we go in on side of the rebels, we will be going in on the side of al Qaeda," Paul said, referring to numerous reports of extremist elements infiltrating the rebels' ranks. Of the battle plan as it has been proposed Paul said that while "whoever ordered that (chemical attack) deserves death,"the attack plan would not hold Bashir al-Assad accountable. "The attack plan is not to target Assad," or aimed at regime change, Paul said. Furthermore, Paul added that he thinks there is a chance Assad will be "more emboldened if we do attack him."  

The President's Syria Decision Debated

Events in Syria, and US policy towards them, dominated "Fox News Sunday."


A cabinet secretary, three influential members of Congress, a four-star general and a former senator joined the program to weigh in.


 



Secretary of State John Kerry, who laid out a powerful idictment against the Assad regime Friday, defended the administration's decision to put on hold military action against Syria until Congress weighs in.


Kerry argued that the case for action will only grow stronger as more evidence comes to light.


The case for action “is powerful today and will be as powerful each day” that goes on, Kerry said.


In a new development, Kerry revealed that samples from the suburbs surrounding Damscus have tested positive for signatures of sarin.


If Assad is tempted to take this pause as an opporunity to launch further chemical attacks against the Syrian people, Kerry had a warning for the regime:


"If the Assad regime were to be foolish enough to attack yet again and to do something in the meantime, of course the president of the United States knows he has the power to do this, and I assume the president would move very, very rapidly."


The House of Representatives is not scheduled to return until September 9 and the delay in decision has caused the Syrian regime and its allies to claim victory over the U.S.


Asked whether delay has handed Iran and Syria at least a temporary victory, Kerry said “that is in the hands of the Congress of the United States.”



Representative Pete King (R-NY) was harsh and immediate in his criticism of the president's announcement Saturday.


On Sunday, King argued that the president has "absolute constitutional and statutory power" to take action, doubling down on his statement the day before that the president is "abdicating his responsibility as commander-in-chief."


King argued that the president should call Congress back into session immediately to take up the issue of authorizing force.


Asked whether the House majority could get such a measure passed, though, King said "it would probably be a no vote" today, adding that there is a growing isolationist movement in the party that he thinks is "very dangerous."


Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), who has been opposed to military intervention in Syria from the beginning, voiced his doubts about passage in the Senate as well.


Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) defended the administration's decision.


"The president made the right decision," Reed said.


He argued that this pause will give time for the administration to also build international support.


 


 


 


 


 

Congress Responds to Reports of Syria Chemical Attack

Amid reports of a chemical gas attack by the Syrian government, Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn. said that though it is good to be cautious, “it’s very evident that the regime has acted in this way.”  The top ranking Republican on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee believes that “the amount of social media that’s coming out of Syria indicates this is not something where opposition forces have contrived something.”  New York Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, agreed with the Senator and said that the U.S. “cannot afford to sit back and wait.”  According to Engel, “I think we can act. I think we should act. I think we should act for humanitarian purposes. And I think we should act because it’s in our national interests to act.”  Senator Corker says he is looking for President Obama to seek Congressional authorization to “respond in a surgical way.”  Congressman Engel, however, says he believes Congress should be involved but “perhaps not initially.”  He sees cruise missile strikes as a potential U.S. response.  He added the U.S. cannot wait for the United Nations.

Oklahoma Officials Respond to Christopher Lane Murder

Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin (R) discussed the horrific killing of 22-year old Christopher Lane, an Australian college student in the U.S. on a baseball scholarship.  According to police, Lane was picked at random by three teens and shot in the back while out for a jog - because the teens said they were “bored.”  Despite racist tweets allegedly posted by one of the teens charged with the murder, Hicks says he is not treating this as a hate crime, saying “there’s nothing inside the files, and the audio, and the reports we’ve been given, that would lead us to believe that Christopher Lane was killed simply because of his nationality, or because of his race.”  Hicks described the suspects as “thugs” saying that “some of the information that we have indicates that they ran loose at an apartment complex here, and really had no parental supervision.”  

Governor Fallin said that the murder has “shaken our state down to the core.”  Asked whether President Obama should speak out on this case the way he did Trayvon Martin, Governor Fallin said “it would be a nice gesture for him to do that, and especially since the country of Australia has expressed their sentiments as to the murder itself.”  

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