In a televised interview with Jon Ralston for KNPB in Reno, Hillary Rodham Clinton said she'd vote against the procedural bill on trade that President Obama, her old boss, and congressional Republicans have spent months working to pass.
Clinton's statement Thursday contrasts sharply with her previous support for Obama's trade agenda. After all, as his secretary of state, she helped negotiate the deal in the Pacific that Obama hopes to conclude.
Clinton seems to worry that the struggle in Congress has weakened the bill. With Democrats opposed in the House, the GOP leadership separated the bill into two parts to try to guarantee that their caucus would support the legislation. One piece would give the president broader authority to negotiate a trade deal with foreign countries, and another would protect workers and firms here displaced by global commerce.
With no assurance that the second part of the legislation will pass, Clinton is now formally opposed.
Clinton's comments might be seen as a victory for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders has spent weeks criticizing Clinton for "fence-sitting" on the trade issue, as he told CNN's "State of the Union." A few days ago, Clinton had said she thought Obama should "listen to and work with his allies in Congress, starting with Nancy Pelosi," the House minority leader who had voted against the legislation, but Clinton also implied that Obama could use congressional Democrats' opposition to bargain with other countries for a better deal.
Clinton's campaign has reason to be concerned about Sanders's challenge, Jonathan Easley writes in The Hill. Sanders is polling well in New Hampshire, and Clinton has performed poorly in Iowa in the past. With a strong showing in either of the two early primary states, Sanders could win the attention of the media, donors and voters.
What's in Wonkbook: 1) Massacre in Charleston 2) Opinions, including Mooney, Bruenig and Sirico on the papal encyclical 3) trade returns to the Senate, and more
The suspect in a massacre at a black church in Charleston bought his gun legally. "The alleged gunman, Dylann Roof, 21, of Eastover, S.C., reportedly declared his hatred for black people before opening fire on a Bible study group at the church late Wednesday, federal law enforcement officials said. ... When Roof was arrested, he had a Glock .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun that law enforcement officials said he had obtained in April, either receiving it as a birthday gift or buying it himself with birthday money. The gun was purchased legally, officials said. Witnesses told authorities they never saw the man pull out the gun. Instead, they saw him start shooting, up close, targeting each victim with precision. The man took the time to reload the handgun 'several times,' officials said." Robert Costa, Sari Horwitz and William Wan in The Washington Post.
Obama acknowledges defeat on the issue of gun control. "On Thursday — after yet another mass killing, this time at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church — a weary Obama seemed to concede that a gun-control solution to the problem would likely come well after he leaves office. ... Although he suggested that “it is in our power to do something” about gun violence, Obama added quickly, 'I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now.' It was a frank admission of how constrained Obama is on this issue, 6½ years after taking office confident he could transform the country’s political system." Juliet Eilperin in The Washington Post.
Primary source: President Obama's remarks.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) suggests conservatives move beyond the gun question. "Speaking to an audience of religious conservatives in the wake of a racially charged shooting in South Carolina, Paul delicately suggested that Republicans might want to start focusing on other parts of the Bill of Rights than the Second Amendment. 'Everybody is for the Second Amendment. All 55 candidates running for president are for the Second Amendment—on our side,' Paul told the crowd. 'But the thing is that a lot of young people, that might not be their primary issue.' Leaving room, even rhetorical room, to one's right—particularly on an issue as important to the Republican base as gun rights—is a gamble in the crowded 2016 GOP primary." Emma Roller in National Journal.
COBB: Racist killings and mass shootings are what we Americans have come to expect. "We have, quite likely, found at 110 Calhoun Street, in Charleston, South Carolina, the place where Columbine, Aurora, and Newtown cross with Baltimore, Ferguson, and Sanford. We periodically mourn the deaths of a group of Americans who die at the hands of another armed American. We periodically witness racial injustices that inspire anger in the streets. And sometimes we witness both. This is, quite simply, how we now live." The New Yorker.
COATES: It's time to take down the stars and bars. "The Confederate battle flag—the flag of Dylann Roof—still flies on the Capitol grounds in Columbia. ... The flag that Roof embraced, which many South Carolinians embrace, does not stand in opposition to this act—it endorses it. ... Surely the flag’s defenders will proffer other, muddier, interpretations which allow them the luxury of looking away. In this way they honor their ancestors. Cowardice, too, is heritage. ... Moral cowardice requires choice and action. It demands that its adherents repeatedly look away, that they favor the fanciful over the plain, myth over history, the dream over the real. Here is another choice. Take down the flag." The Atlantic.
PHILIP KLEIN: Conservatives should hate the Confederate flag. "The invocation of 'states rights' among those waving the Confederate flag while fighting for the evils of slavery and segregation has been devastating to the cause of limited government. Not only were the institutions themselves an affront to liberty, but in fighting to defeat the institutions, the federal government claimed more power. And to this day, when any conservative tries to make a principled argument in favor of returning more power to the states, they have to grapple with the fact that for many Americans, such arguments are tainted by their historical association with slavery and segregation." The Washington Examiner.
MOONEY: Pope Francis challenges secular Americans' assumptions about faith and religion. "The Pope’s entire case for caring for 'our common home,' as he puts it, is moral. And the precise moral worldview being articulated — what might be called communitarianism, the idea that we’re all in it together, that 'it takes a village' — deeply challenges an individualistic value system that research suggests is quite prevalent in the U.S. ... At the same time, the document also represents a mega-merger of religious faith and a vastness of carefully researched scientific information — challenging the conflict-focused way that so many Americans have been conditioned to think about the relationship between science and religion." The Washington Post.
ELIZABETH STOKER BRUENIG: Neither party is ready to hear what the pope has to say on abortion and capitalism. "As governor of Florida, [Jeb] Bush was also a reliable anti-abortion advocate. The same is true of [former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.)]. Both have linked their pro-life politics to their faith. These politicians appear to have no principled objection to religious reasoning governing aspects of political action; the objection that church and state should scarcely mingle only arises when religion becomes inconvenient to capital, as in the case of Francis's entire papacy. ... Though individuals and organizations within the Church might pursue specific political goals, their ethos must be wholly synchronized around the valuation of human life. ... The logic of his treatment is firmly rooted in the Church's conventional theology." The New Republic.
Francis won't acknowledge that free markets can help the poor, argues the Rev. Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute. "Much of the discussion in this encyclical and many of its underlying assumptions are imprudent. There is a decided bias against free markets, and suggestions that poverty is the result of a globalized economy... Yet capitalism has spurred the greatest reduction in global poverty in world history: The number of people living on $1.25 a day fell to 375 million in 2013 from 811 million in 1991, according to the International Labor Office. This is only one statistic among reams of evidence that vindicate capitalism. ... People, particularly the most vulnerable, are the pope’s first concern. The proper goal should be to find sustainable systems in which a flourishing and growing population can live better. ... The solution here—one which did not get enough elaboration in the encyclical—is a path for economic progress." The Wall Street Journal.
Primary source: The encyclical, Laudato Si'.
BEUTLER: Republicans lose politically, no matter how the Supreme Court rules on Obamacare. "The problems Republicans will encounter if they win King—eliminating billions of dollars worth of insurance subsidies—are fairly clear and have been detailed at length. But it is also quite conceivable that the whole effort will boomerang on the GOP even if the government wins in King, and the federal subsidies survive for those states using federally facilitated exchanges. A number of persuasive legal arguments point to a victory for the government. But one of the most likely paths begins with the Court concluding that the Affordable Care Act statute is ambiguous—that both parties’ readings of the law are plausible—and that deference should go to the government. ... It’s difficult to fathom that any Republican president would turn off the subsidies quite as abruptly as the challengers want the Court to do. But if the government wins in this way—on what's known as the second step of the Chevron deference standard—it will create a new conservative litmus test for Republican presidential candidates. If elected, will you shut down the subsidies?" The New Republic.
APPELBAUM & BARRO: Keep Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill. "I’m all in favor of honoring a woman, but it’s obvious the government should instead remove Andrew Jackson from the $20. Mr. Hamilton was one of the best economic policy makers in American history; Mr. Jackson, in addition to being a terrible person, was one of the worst. Hamilton pushed for the creation of a national currency; Jackson hated paper money. ... He even abolished the second central bank. But I’m more surprised that he remains on the bill despite his policy of Indian removal, which was an atrocity and which he pursued in defiance of the Supreme Court." The New York Times.
Senate Democrats mount a filibuster of a routine defense-appropriations bill. "Democrats blocked the fiscal 2016 defense spending bill in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, part of a campaign to force Republicans to start budget negotiations by refusing to allow any appropriations measure to advance to a final vote. ... Senate Democrats and Republicans are fighting over how to deal with so-called 'sequestration' spending caps, especially a Republican-led plan to use $38 billion in special war contingency funds to let the Department of Defense sidestep the mandatory restrictions put in place under the 2011 Budget Control Act. Republicans say defense is so important at a time of international conflict that the Pentagon should not have to wait for Congress to reach a budget deal." Patricia Zengerle and Alex Wilts for Reuters.
Trade returns to the Senate. "The House provided a small glimpse at victory Thursday, passing one of the four trade bills, Trade Promotion Authority, which allows Congress to approve the so-called 'fast-track' deal without amendments, acknowledging that any changes could destroy the 12-nation agreement. That legislation now heads to the Senate, where around a dozen Democrats will be needed to send the bill to the president's desk. A procedural vote is expected Tuesday. For now, Senate Democrats are staying mum on how they'll vote. Fourteen of their members voted in May to proceed with TPA when it was still attached to the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill, which would provide assistance to workers hurt the trade agreement. ... Democrats in the Senate must now decide whether they can take the Republican leaders at their word. ... Many conservatives in the House have no interest in passing TAA, particularly once TPA has made it to Obama's desk. And despite his assurances, it's unclear whether Boehner will have the votes to pass it without them." Sarah Mimms in National Journal.
Sanders will discuss immigration in Las Vegas Friday. "Running as a presidential hopeful in 2016, Bernie Sanders has touted his support for immigration reform and the need to find a solution to a problem that has long vexed Washington. But in 2007, Sanders was part of the charge from the left to kill an immigration overhaul bill. Back then, the Vermont independent warned that the immigration bill — a product from then-Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — would drive down wages for lower-income workers, an argument that’s been used by hard-liner reform opponents. ... For all his rhetoric in 2007, Sanders didn’t oppose a pathway to citizenship or efforts to boost border security. That chapter in Sanders’ immigration record reflects less on his support for the issue and more on his alliance to labor — and key unions also opposed the 2007 legislation." Seung Min Kim at Politico.