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Friday, January 25, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Senate Filibuster Deal Falls Short of Expectations - still in place is the non-talking filuster and the need for 60 votes to end debate and move forward to a full vote on the Senate floor.

Nonetheless, President Obama praised senators for taking action to reduce obstruction and said he's hopeful it will "pave the way for the Senate to take meaningful action in the days and weeks ahead."

Obama thanked congressional leaders for changing Senate rules in an effort to consider consensus district court judicial nominations on a more regular basis.
"After being approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, my judicial nominees have waited more than three times longer to receive confirmation votes than those of my predecessor, even though the overwhelming majority of my nominees have been confirmed with little, if any, dissent," he said. "These months of unnecessary delay have threatened our judiciary.
"Today’s reforms are a positive step towards a fairer and more efficient system of considering district court nominees, and I urge the Senate to treat all of my judicial nominees in the same spirit." has more here.


GOP Seeks Changes in Electoral College - Republicans in Virginia and a handful of other battleground states are pushing for far-reaching changes to the electoral college in an attempt to counter recent success by Democrats.

In the vast majority of states, the presidential candidate who wins receives all of that state’s electoral votes. The proposed changes would instead apportion electoral votes by congressional district, a setup far more favorable to Republicans. Under such a system in Virginia, for instance, President Obama would have claimed four of the state’s 13 electoral votes in the 2012 election, rather than all of them.

Other states considering similar changes include Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, which share a common dynamic with Virginia: They went for Obama in the past two elections but are controlled by Republicans at the state level. The Washington Post has more here.

Interestingly, Democrats nomination process for their presidential candidate, in part, includes delegates from each state determined by overall vote and by congressional district.


Appeals Court Rules Against Obama Recess Appointments - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Friday that President Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board earlier this year were unconstitutional because the Senate was technically never out of session for the holidays, but in "pro-forma" session.

The AP reports GOP lawmakers used the tactic specifically to prevent Obama from using his recess power to fill vacancies in an agency they claimed was too pro-union.The Obama administration is expected to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Obama appointed two Democrats, union lawyer Richard Griffin and Labor Department official Sharon Block, and a Republican, NLRB lawyer Terence Flynn, to the board in early January. has more here.


McDonough, New White House Chief of Staff - President Obama will name deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough, as his new White House chief of staff Friday, officials said.

McDonouh, 43, has spent the past two years as the No. 2 official in the National Security Council, helping guide some of the administration’s most high-profile decisions, including the military drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the response to earthquakes in Haiti and Japan and the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last September.

The president also intends to announce a slew of other moves including naming Rob Nabors, currently the White House director of legislative affairs, to deputy chief of staff for policy. Tony Blinken, a foreign policy adviser to Vice President Biden, will replace McDonough at the NSC.

Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, will be promoted to senior adviser to the president, as Obama’s longtime adviser, David Plouffe, prepares to leave the administration. Pfeiffer’s deputy, Jennifer Palmieri, will replace him as communications director.  The Washington Post has more here.


Jindal, "GOP Needs To Stop Being The Stupid Party" - Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal warned fellow Republicans they "must stop being the stupid party" during a fiery and sharp critique Thursday night at the Republican National Committee's Winter Meeting.

In the address, Jindal outlined at least seven steps that he believes Republicans need to take in order to remain competitive. In a scathing takedown, he accuses the party of "looking backwards" and having an obsession with "identity politics."

"We must reject the notion that demography is destiny, the pathetic and simplistic notion that skin pigmentation dictates voter behavior," Jindal said. has more here.
Senator Saxby Chambliss To Retire - The two-term Republican senator from Georgia, told his staff Friday morning that he would not seek a third term, according to the report. The move comes as other Republicans had appeared increasingly likely to challenge him in a primary, and will likely trigger a flood of Republican interest in running for the seat. has more here.
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