|Farm Bill, Palin, Immigration: 5 Stories You'll Care About in Politics|
|By RICK KLEIN (@rickklein)||Jul 12, 2013, 6:48 PM|
New York is running out of disgraced politicians to run for city office, but we hear there are a few left in New Jersey. Being a Clinton is a good way to make a living, though being governor of Virginia may be a better one. In our next nuclear showdown, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell should just swap talking points in advance and save each other the effort. Pink sneakers do not stop anti-abortion legislation, it turns out. And a surplus is a surplus, but that doesn't make America safe from sharks. What will next week bring? Here's a look at some of the storylines your ABC News political unit is tracking in the week ahead:
Now what, Mr. Speaker? The House has made clear its next move on immigration will be not to do what the Senate just did, bipartisan vote or not. But does that mean some small immigration measures pass, even if that results in nothing at all getting done? House leaders are sending conflicting signals about their openness to a path to legalization as part of any immigration bill, and that remains the single biggest issue to most advocates of comprehensive reform. President Obama won't be hitting the road for immigration reform, primarily because nobody on either side really wants him to. As for what the House will do, votes on delaying the mandates under the Obama health care law -- for businesses and individuals -- will be brought forward in the week to come, with immigration waiting somewhere off the calendar.
They're eyeball-to-eyeball in the Senate, and this time it's Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with his finger over the nuclear button. The full Senate will convene for an unusual private meeting in the ceremonial Old Senate Chamber Monday evening to try to find a path through the latest standoff over delayed votes on presidential appointments. Barring an agreement, Reid, D-Nev., is threatening to detonate a change to Senate rules that would allow cabinet-level and other presidential appointees (though not judges) to be confirmed by a simple majority vote, not the current de facto threshold of 60 votes. Republicans are threatening to call Reid the worst Senate leader in history if he does it. They're also vaguely warning that they might change more Senate rules if/when they retake control back of the upper chamber. If this all sounds familiar, that's because it was Republicans on the precipice of doing what Reid is now talking about, back in the way-back days of 2005.
House Republicans solved one political problem by creating another one. The farm bill approved by the House on a party-line vote was stripped of provisions related to food stamps, the first time in four decades the two huge nutrition issues uniting rural and urban interests were divorced by Congress. That turned out to be the only option left to the majority party, after an embarrassing defeat on the House floor on a sweeping bill. Food stamps aren't in immediate jeopardy of being trimmed, but the concern among Democrats is that they will be on the chopping block soon now that their fate isn't tied to agriculture subsidies. The current farm bill, meanwhile, expires at the end of September. With the Senate having approved a much different measure, which includes food stamps, order some takeout to observe new entries in the annals of congressional dysfunction.
Sarah Palin's acknowledgement that she's considering a run for Senate in Alaska was met with, by Palin standards, a collective yawn, driven by the fact that few actually believe she's interested in the job. That's never the position that Palin -- who spends much of her time in Arizona and almost none of her time in Washington -- wants to be in. She closed out the week sparring with Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, mostly via Facebook postings. Both nationally and in Alaska, Democrats are practically daring the former Alaska governor into getting into the race against Begich. Whether or not the Senate is in her future, Palin is also talking publicly about the possibility of going against the political flow by supporting third-party candidates -- moves that would mostly likely carry the benefit or her being noticed.
The next meeting of members of the Presidents Club will take place Monday at the White House, with President Obama hosting former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush to honor the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award. The awards, which highlight volunteer service, were inspired by President Bush 41. Don't expect much in the way of politics from the ailing ex-president, though he did meet with former Rep. Gabby Giffords during her swing through New England to push gun control last week. Obama is making a habit of appearing with presidents named Bush: His trip to Africa included an unusual joint appearance with former President George W. Bush, in Tanzania.