chief-of-staff

Was There Ever an Obama-Ryan Honeymoon?

Ryan greets Obama as he arrives to deliver his final State of the Union address while Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. looks on. It was one of Ryan's few smiles of the evening. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Barack Obama repeatedly had to raise his voice to be heard over cheering Democratic lawmakers during his State of the Union address on Jan. 12. But Speaker Paul D. Ryan sat motionless, his face frozen in a polite — but unimpressed — expression.  

Obama used part of his likely final address to a joint session of Congress to extol policy whims long pushed by Democrats like pre-kindergarten “for all” children and a government-led effort to “to make college affordable for every American.” He also called it a “basic fact” that the U.S. “has the strongest, most durable economy in the world,” saying the country is “in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history.”  

On Omnibus, Obama Let Lawmakers Duke It Out

On the Senate side, reporters rushed to Mikulski, shown here on Wednesday with her fellow Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, for updates on the budget and taxes talks. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

White House officials stayed in the background as lawmakers hammered out sweeping spending and tax bills, allowing Democratic leaders to duke it out with their Republicans cohorts.  

House and Senate leadership aides described the White House’s role as minimal, saying President Barack Obama was never seriously engaged in the high-stakes talks. And some of his top aides were kept in the loop by Democratic leaders, but it was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who did the heavy lifting.  

Democrats Want More From Obama on Islamic State

Durbin, right, said the president should have been more forceful. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats on both sides of the Capitol want President Barack Obama to get tougher on the Islamic State, in both words and deeds.  

House Democrats on Thursday expressed frustration with the White House over its messaging on a GOP-crafted bill the chamber passed Thursday, 289-137, that would tighten screening processes for individuals coming from Iraq and Syria. And on the Senate side, some in Obama’s party want a more muscular response to last Friday’s attacks in Paris.  

Clinton's 'Debt Free By 2013' Pledge

Clinton and then-Deputy Chief of Staff John D. Podesta share a laugh in 2000 during the announcement of the budget. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio's trip to 1999  presents an opportunity to showcase a picture in the CQ Roll Call archives of Bill Clinton's final budget blueprint, one forecasting massive surpluses and paying off all of the debt owned by the public by 2013 .  

Credit-card-financed wars, tax cuts, a Medicare prescription drug benefit, assorted spending and a couple of recessions later and the debt now tops $18.1 trillion. Action will be needed soon or else the government won't be able to pay all of its bills because the nation is at the statutory debt limit.  

'Constructive Dialogue' Continues Over CIA Torture Report, White House Says

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Don't expect the release of a Senate report on acts of torture committed by the CIA to become an uncomfortable election year October surprise.  

Asked Tuesday what was taking time to reach an agreement on redactions with the Senate Intelligence Committee, the White House responded with a statement from National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan that pointed to deliberative discussions, but no time element for their conclusion.