According to the latest survey from Quinnipiac University, 51 percent of voters believe gridlock is mainly a result of the congressional GOP's determination to block any of Obama's initiatives. A mere 35 percent blamed gridlock on Obama's lack of "personal skills to convince leaders of Congress to work together." TPM.com has more here.
The 216 to 208 vote was a victory for a Republican caucus that has struggled to pass the most basic of legislation, but it also set up weeks of acrimony and uncertainty as House and Senate leaders must reconcile two vastly different visions for providing subsidies to farmers and feeding the hungry. The Washington Post has more here.
The procedural maneuver sets up a showdown with Republicans next week over the Senate’s filibuster rule. Reid and other Democratic leaders urged colleagues in a private meeting earlier in the day to support changing the rule if Republicans blocked the nominees.
Reid set votes to end debate and to proceed to a final votes on several nominees, including Richard Cordray, who is President Obama’s pick to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Obama's picks for the National Labor Relations Board.
Republicans say the nominees to the labor board — Sharon Block, Richard Griffin Jr. and Mark Gaston Pearce — should be rejected because Obama violated the Constitution by recess-appointing them while Congress was holding pro forma sessions. Republicans point to a D.C. Circuit Court ruling that the appointments were invalid.
He also set up votes to end debate on Gina McCarthy’s nomination to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Tom Perez’s nomination to head the Labor Department and Fred Hochberg’s nomination to serve as president of the Export-Import Bank. TheHill.com has more here.
Snowden Meeting With Human Rights Officials Today - Former intelligence agency contractor Edward Snowden said U.S. officials have been waging a campaign to prevent him from taking up offers of asylum, he said in a letter sent to a Human Rights Watch official and posted on Facebook.
In the letter, he said he had invited human rights groups to meet on Friday at Sheremetyevo Aiport, where he has been in limbo since he flew to Moscow on June 23, to discuss "next steps forward in my situation".
In a separate email to Reuters, Snowden confirmed that the meeting with human rights groups would go ahead but said it would be closed to the press. He said he planned to speak to the media later. Reuters.com has more here.
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