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Monday, January 28, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Immigration Reform Takes Front Stage - Today, a bipartisan group of Senators will announce their bipartisan approach to comprehensive immigration reform and tomorrow, President Obama will put forward his plan.

The Senators working on the deal are Sens. Robert Menedez (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Michael Bennett (D-CO), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The Republicans are Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

According to documents obtained by The Associated Press, the senators will call for accomplishing four goals:

—Creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already here, contingent upon securing the border and better tracking of people here on visas.

—Reforming the legal immigration system, including awarding green cards to immigrants who obtain advanced degrees in science, math, technology or engineering from an American university.

—Creating an effective employment verification system to ensure that employers do not hire illegal immigrants.

—Allowing more low-skill workers into the country and allowing employers to hire immigrants if they can demonstrate they couldn't recruit a U.S. citizen; and establishing an agricultural worker program.

You can read more here.

As always, the devil is in the details, or in this case, the lack of details.  The proposal is an outline with no details.  The most difficult area to reach an agreement will be a pathway to citizenship.


Obama, Biden To Meet With Police Chiefs - Obama and Biden are scheduled to hold the private talks in the Roosevelt Room with representatives from the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association and Major County Sheriffs Association, according to CNN, which first reported the meeting. Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will join the president.

In attendance will be the police chiefs of Aurora, Colo.; Oak Creek, Wis.; and Newtown, Conn., all towns that have experienced mass shootings in the past year.

This meeting comes as Obama has signed numerous executive actions to tighten existing laws and is pressing lawmakers to pass bans on the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips and to institute universal background checks on all firearm purchasers. has more here.


Hillary Clinton To Give TV Interviews This Week - Clinton spokesperson Phillipe Reines told POLITICO that Sec. Clinton was "sitting with all five US networks before leaving office on Friday."

Those five networks are Fox News, CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS, which has already aired its interview with Sec. Clinton and President Obama.

Fox News's Greta Van Susteren has landed her network's interview, which will air Tuesday night -- a rare get for Fox, which is not the preferred outlet for the Obama administration. But Van Susteren has given Clinton a fairer hearing than many of her colleagues, defending the secretary when others questioned the legitimacy of her recent illness. will have more details as they become available here.


Organizing for Action (OFA) Receives Obama Campaign Database - President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign has turned over its most valuable asset — a massive computer database containing personal data on millions of American voters — to a new advocacy group created to advance the White House agenda on issues ranging from gun control to immigration reform.

Organizing For Action (OFA), the advocacy group set up in recent weeks by the president’s top political aides, has already acquired access to the database under a leasing agreement with the Obama campaign, Katie Hogan, a former Obama campaign aide who is now serving as spokeswoman for the lobbying group, told NBC News. The information will be used to unleash an “army of the door knockers” to back the president’s legislative agenda as well as raise money for “issue ads” – particularly in crucial congressional districts, she said.   NBC News has more here.


Senate To Vote on Sandy Aid Bill - The Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on more than $50 billion in aid to Northeastern states battered by October's Superstorm Sandy, four weeks after a delay that sparked bipartisan fury.

The Senate approved a $60 billion aid package for the hard-hit region in late December. But House Speaker John Boehner scrapped a vote on the bill before the clock ran out on the last Congress on January 1, leading to howls of outrage from residents and officials in New York and New Jersey. has more here.


Five Days of Protests in Egypt - Large protests in the Suez Canal city of Port Said and fresh clashes in Cairo on Monday marked a fifth day of widening unrest in Egypt, a day after President Mohamed Morsi declared a state of emergency and a curfew in three major cities as escalating violence in the streets threatened his government and Egypt’s democracy.

The NY Times has a good read here.


Russian Prime Minister Medvedev Says Al-Assad's Days Are Numbered - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's odds of holding power "are slipping away" as the nearly 2-year-old revolt against his rule grinds on, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says.

In an interview that aired Sunday on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Medvedev distanced Moscow from its longtime Middle East client. But he repeated Russia's longtime insistence that outside powers shouldn't be picking Syria's leaders.  You can read more on the interview here.


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