State of the Union 2014
President Obama will deliver his sixth State of the Union address tonight at 6:00 p.m. PST, in an attempt to once again rally the nation around his second term agenda, and break through Washington’s partisan gridlock.
But given the political climate, and the upcoming elections, Obama faces an uphill battle, no matter how lofty his rhetoric may be.
We’ll be posting intermittent updates here, but you can watch Obama’s speech, and keep tabs on the nation’s reactions, on Politics Now.
Or, for the historically minded, take a stroll through the most important moments of previous State of the Union addresses.
Calling for a “year of action,” President Obama asked for Democrats and Republicans to work together to aid an improving economy and continue gains made on energy reform.
But if not, Obama has pledged to employ executive actions to push as much of his agenda through as he can.
Obama hopes to capitalize on the division to push other populist elements of what he has labeled his economic inequality agenda. He plans to push Congress to expand unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless and tout new commitments from chief executives of corporations who’d agreed not discriminate against applicants because of extended stretches out of work.
The president intends to speed up implementation of the ConnectEd program, his plan to connect all schools to the digital universe. Aides did not detail how the government would pay for this.
Obama also will create a new “starter savings account” to help people who don’t have 401(k) plans or pensions to save for retirement. An economic advisor said this would involve a new U.S. Treasury product eventually available for purchase on the private market.
Other initiatives would require approval from Congress, if they’re to take effect.
Photos: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Getty Images, Los Angeles Times, Charles Dharapak / Los Angeles Times
2013: Yet another crazy year in politics
We’ve broken down some of the highlights (and low points) of the year’s political events here, without a selfie scandal in sight.
Photos: Alex Wong, Joe Raedle, Win McNamee / Getty Images, Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press
What do Sonny Bono, Maine lobstermen and the temperance movement have in common with President Lincoln and World War II veterans?
They all have memorials or monuments established in their honor in the nation’s capitol, as uncovered by reporter Richard Simon, who recently went through an exploration of some of D.C.’s more obscure monuments.
Photos: Richard Simon / Los Angeles Times
Shots fired near U.S. Capitol after car chase
Gunshots were fired near the U.S. Capitol after police chased a vehicle that attracted police attention on Pennsylvania Ave. outside the White House. Law enforcement officials have confirmed that the suspected driver was fired upon by police after speeding toward the Capitol. One police officer has been injured, though their exact condition is unknown.
The Capitol had been placed on lockdown, but officials soon lifted it, with the House returning to the debate over the government shutdown just moments ago.
Photos: Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images
Brace yourselves for a government shutdown (maybe)
At the strike of midnight the government, well, a lot of the government at least, will shut down. Many essential services, from national security to Social Security and food stamps, will continue - but hundreds of thousands of federal employees could be left in the lurch, with their retroactive paychecks possibly depending on the same legislative approval that took them away in the first place.
There are multiple angles to this, from the divisions within the GOP driving for provisions limiting the implementation of Obamacare, Obama’s disapproval of the opposition to a Democratic Party looking to come out with a victory, and a funded government.
But really, the whole thing remains a mess as the clock continues ticking, but stay tuned to Politics Now for the latest as the possible shutdown looms ahead.
UPDATE: The game of political ping pong continues, with the House voting once again to send a bill funding the government, but with delays to Obamacare, to the Senate. The Senate, in turn, stripped the bill of those delays and sent it back down to the House. And the shutdown deadline is now just a few hours away.
UPDATE 2: Yep, the government will be shutting down after House Republicans and Senate Democrats were unable to reach a deal tonight. Click here for an early look at what may happen in the coming days, and read the Office of Management and Budget’s order for government agencies to begin their shutdown plans.
UPDATE 3: And now it’s officially official - the U.S. government will shut down for the first time in 17 years.
Photos: Saul Loeb, Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images, Olivier Douliery / Abaca Press/MCT, Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA
Letter sent to Obama tests positive for ricin
A law enforcement official has confirmed to the Times that a suspicious letter sent to President Obama tested positive for the deadly poison ricin. Ricin had been found just yesterday in another letter intended for Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
Whether there is any connection between the two, or if there’s any connection between the bombing attack at the Boston Marathon Monday and the series of poisoned letters in Washington, D.C., is yet unknown.
We’ll have more updates as the story develops here.
UPDATE: Capitol Police have reopened three Senate buildings closed after three suspicious packages were found on the premises. The packages have since been removed, and there’s no word yet on whether there’s any connection between these packages and those sent to Obama and Wicker.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, speaking to the press earlier today, referred all questions on the ongoing investigation into the packages to the FBI.
UPDATE 2: The FBI has confirmed that there’s no indication of any connection between the Boston attack and the ricin letters.
Photo: Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images
The Obama team’s love of memes continues.
test reblogged from politico
No Deal: Following a meeting between President Obama and top congressional leaders, it looks like there’s next to no chance a so-called “sequestration” deal will be reached.
With both sides refusing to budge on how to avoid $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, it looks like the broad across-the-board cutbacks that were constructed to be so horrendous that no one would let them happen, will happen.
House Speaker Boehner:
"Let’s make it clear the president got his tax hike on January 1. The discussion about revenue, in my view, is over. It’s about taking on the spending problem in Washington."
“It’s unnecessary at a time when too many Americans are looking for work. It’s inexcusable.”
Read more on the failed Hail Mary meeting here.
Photo: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press
"There’s always something we can do."
Civil rights legend Rosa Parks was honored earlier today with her own statue in the U.S. Capitol. Revealed in a ceremony led by President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, the statue is the first of an African-American woman to be housed in the Capitol.
From Obama’s remarks:
Like the bus driver, but also like the passengers on the bus, we see the way things are — children hungry in a land of plenty, entire neighborhoods ravaged by violence, families hobbled by job loss or illness — and we make excuses for inaction, and we say to ourselves, that’s not my responsibility, there’s nothing I can do.
Rosa Parks tell us there’s always something we can do.
Photos: Charles Dharapak / Associated Press, Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images, Oliver Douliery / EPA.
Valentine’s Day in D.C.: Some in the nation’s capitol may be puckering up, like Speaker Boehner when asked this morning what he gave to his wife for Valentine’s Day, but it’s still not all chocolates and roses in the District.
- President Obama is taking his preschool expansion on the road
- Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel will face a filibuster from Senate Republicans.
- Obama’s minimum wage hike has already run into staunch opposition.
(Photo via Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Islanders move love and money to their own credit union: Fed up with corporate indifference, a green haven in Puget Sound, Wash., finds a novel way to snub big banks.
It would be hard to imagine a place further removed from the brash intensity of Occupy Wall Street. This secluded island of fir forests and rolling lavender fields — home to 23 organic farms, a tofu factory and a monastery that markets its own gourmet coffee — has always been a counterculture retreat for those who bike to the sound of different drummers.
Yet a continent away — a whole world away, really — from New York, this small island of 11,000 residents has become one of the darlings of the Move your Money campaign, an Occupy effort to hit corporate banking where it hurts: the ledgers.
Photo: Community activist Bill Moyer helped lure a branch of the Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union to Vashon Island, Wash., and now sits on the board. It has been a hit with islanders fed up with impersonal corporate banks. Credit: Kim Murphy / Los Angeles Times
Soldier held in Afghan killings was from troubled U.S. base: Dozens of recent cases of killings, suicides and assaults have been linked to combat troops from sprawling Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state.
The largest military base on the West Coast, with more than 60,000 military and civilian personnel, Lewis-McChord is one of the main infantry engines for Iraq and Afghanistan. Lately, the base has earned a reputation for a series of horrific crimes emanating from there, including those by a “kill team” of Stryker brigade soldiers accused of killing Afghan civilians for sport, a father accused of waterboarding his child and a soldier accused of dousing his wife’s legs with lighter fluid and setting her on fire.
Photo: A TV in a barber shop near Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state shows Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, a spokesman for the mission in Afghanistan, after a soldier from the base was accused of shooting 16 Afghan civilians to death. Credit: Ted S. Warren / Associated Press