John T. Bennett

White House Slams GOP Over Miners’ Benefits, Flint Aid in CR
Obama spokesman says partial shutdown ‘would be a shame’

The Obama administration on Thursday harshly criticized Republican congressional leaders for not adequately addressing expiring health and pension benefits for coal miners, as well as aid for Flint, Michigan, and its beleaguered water system, and would not rule out a partial government shutdown over the issues.

With funding for federal programs and agencies due to expire Friday at midnight, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest wouldn’t say if President Barack Obama would sign a five-month continuing resolution that easily passed the House Thursday afternoon. “It would be a shame to shut the whole thing down just a couple weeks before Christmas,” Earnest said.

Biden: Democrats Must Show More ‘Respect’ to Working-Class Whites
VP rejects notion that racism helped elect Donald Trump

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said the Democratic Party is not “showing enough respect” to white working-class men while rejecting the notion that racism prompted that bloc of voters to help elect Donald Trump.

Trump Denies Air Force One Threat Is Retaliation for Boeing CEO’s Comments
Budget expert says president-elect's $4-billion estimate right on the money

President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to keep the existing Air Force One fleet flying into next decade unless Boeing reduces costs on replacement jets, and denied his broadside came after reading critical comments from the company’s CEO.

Trump set off a firestorm Tuesday morning when he — seemingly out of nowhere — tweeted that the cost of the replacement program would hit $4 billion. The social media post ended with two ominous words for Boeing: “Cancel order!”

Pence Signals Busy First 100 Days, Including More Military Spending
Vice President-elect to fellow Republicans: ‘Buckle up, the vacation’s over’

Trump administration officials envision a busy first 100 days, when they hope to repeal the 2010 health care law, overhaul Medicaid, and send Congress a bill that would boost military spending, said Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

He laid out the ambitious agenda on Wednesday evening, but in keeping with a main theme of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign, he did not provide key details about the size and shape of the incoming administration’s policy proposals. The early Trump agenda Pence described is as bold and conservative as it is vague.

Obama Sends Messages to Trump on Terrorism, Drone Strategies
POTUS to PEOTUS: Citizens can ‘criticize our president without retribution’

President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended his approach to fighting the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in a speech that appeared to feature several tips for his successor, Donald Trump.

Obama used what was likely his final national security address to press for continuing his policy of avoiding resource-draining U.S. ground operations in the Middle East. He argued the use of armed drones, elite warriors and local troops has decimated al-Qaeda and has begun to substantially weaken the Islamic State. Trump has suggested some major changes to Obama’s strategy, including working with Russia, tightening Muslims’ access to the U.S., and teaming with any country that promises to fight “radical Islam.”

Declaring U.S. 'Open for Business,' Trump Warns Tax Penalty for Offshoring
President-elect says firms should be ‘forewarned’ before making ‘expensive mistake’

Donald Trump on Sunday morning tweeted that he intends to slash business taxes and regulations, but the early rising president-elect again warned companies that move all or parts of their operations offshore will face “retribution or consequence.”

In a series of tweets that kicked off at 6:41 a.m., Trump said he will impose “a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35% for these companies.” He followed that advising companies to be “forewarned” before moving operations offshore, saying such a move would amount to an “expensive mistake!”

White House Watch: Obama Presidency in Wind Down Mode as Trump’s Cabinet Plans Take Shape

White House reporter John T. Bennett discusses President Barack Obama’s upcoming trip to Florida — find out what he’s planning there. And while the president-elect continues to fill out his Cabinet, national security and other policy experts look for signs of a Donald Trump’s foreign policy plans....
Feisty Trump Says Democrats Are Ready to Stop ‘Endless Gridlock’
President-elect lets nationalistic side show in remarkable Ohio rally

Congressional Democrats are ready to work with the president-elect to break Washington’s era of gridlock, Donald Trump said Thursday evening during a bombastic rally in Ohio.

Trump Threatens US Firms with ‘Consequences’ of Moving Abroad
President-elect suggests carrot-and-stick approach to big business

President-elect Donald Trump threatened U.S. companies with “consequences” if they try to move all or parts of their businesses to other countries while proposing to slash tax rates for those that stay home.

Trump on Thursday described what amounts to a carrot-and-stick strategy, saying his administration will treat American firms well, later adding that there will be a reckoning if firms cross him.

Democratic Sen. Heitkamp to Talk Cabinet Post With Trump
President-elect could be eyeing her for Agriculture or Energy jobs

By John T. Bennett and Bridget Bowman CQ Roll Call

President-elect Donald Trump is considering adding North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp to his Cabinet and will meet with her on Friday in New York.

White House Trolls Trump on Carrier Jobs Deal
Obama spokesman: Do it ‘804 more times’

The White House first applauded Donald Trump’s deal to keep around 1,000 manufacturing jobs in Indiana, then challenged him to do it 800 more times to match President Barack Obama’s “high standard.”

Trump’s team announced he and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Indiana’s governor, will appear in Indiana Thursday to formally announce Carrier will keep those jobs at an air conditioning plant rather than move them to Mexico. His aides are eager to make sure the president-elect and Pence get credit for cutting the deal.

Secretary of State List Trimmed to Four as Trump Nears Decision
Would be final Cabinet-level pick this week, aides say

President-elect Donald Trump has narrowed his short list for secretary of State to four, and could pick his top diplomat this week, aides said Wednesday.

Many experts consider the post the most important of any incoming president’s Cabinet selections. Trump aides are quick to tell reporters the incoming commander in chief is eager to select the best person for the job rather than doing so quickly.

Trump to Sever Business Ties, But Conflicts Possible if Kids Run Firm
President-elect floats ban of immigrants, students from Somalia

Updated 10:16 a.m.

President-elect Donald Trump plans to step away from his business holdings while in office, but conflicts of interests are still possible if his children both run the company and advise him.

Trump Wants Stiff Penalties for Burning American Flag
President-elect starts fight with history against him

President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested on social media that burning the American flag should be a criminal offense, reigniting a First Amendment fight that’s already played out in Congress and before the Supreme Court.

In a tweet sent at 6:55 a.m., the incoming 45th chief executive suggested that a constitutional amendment or law punishing those who burn Old Glory could be wedged into an agenda already crowded with an envisioned  infrastructure plan, tax code changes, an immigration overhaul and the repeal of the 2010 health care law.

White House to Trump: Scrapping Cuba Deal Not an Easy Task
President-elect tweets he’ll ‘terminate deal’ unless Cuban government acts

Powerful U.S. corporations led by its leading commercial airlines will make it difficult — maybe impossible — for President-elect Donald Trump to nix President Barack Obama’s Cuba outreach, the White House warned Monday.

Commercial carriers soon will operate 110 daily flights between the United States and Cuba and have a lot to lose financially if Trump carries through on a threat issued Monday via his Twitter account. “If Cuba is unwilling to make a better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole, I will terminate deal,” Trump wrote.

Obama Shortens Sentences of 79 More for Low-Level Drug Offenses
Criminal justice overhaul unlikely while he's in office

President Barack Obama on Tuesday commuted the sentences of 79 more individuals who he determined were serving “harsh” sentences under “outdated” laws.

The adjustments are the latest of more than 1,000 that Obama has issued during his presidency, mostly for low-level drug offenses. The president has commuted select criminal sentences and granted clemencies at a rapid pace, aiming to make a statement about the need for a comprehensive criminal justice overhaul, although prospects for such legislation are highly unlikely during his remaining time.

In Recent Remarks, Obama Crafts How-To Manual for Trump
Biden has offered to advise Mike Pence after Jan. 20

As President Barack Obama traveled to Greece, Germany and Peru last week, he left a trail of words for Donald Trump that amounts to a how-to manual for the presidency.

Obama has offered to break decades of precedent and provide the president-elect with more face time than departing presidents customarily give. Even Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., has gotten in on the act, telling the man who will replace him, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, he will be “available” to act as a “senior staff for him.” Biden signaled his successor is looking for guidance, saying of Pence: “I think he’ll listen.”

White House Watch: An Era of Republican Spending Ahead?
 

White House correspondent John T. Bennett discusses Obama’s week in Europe, and the upcoming Trump administration’s emerging agenda items. White House Watch will take a break for the Thanksgiving holiday and return the week of Nov. 28. ...
Democratic Rep. Ami Bera Holds On in California’s 7th District
Race called 10 days after Election Day

California Rep. Ami Bera has won a third term representing the state’s 7th District, defeating Republican opponent Scott Jones. 

Ten days after Election Day, The Associated Press called the race Friday after updated election results showed Bera extending his lead over Jones by more than 2 percentage points. 

Trump Picks Controversial Fired General Flynn for National Security Adviser
Rep. Adam Schiff says Flynn’s statements ‘feed jihadi propaganda’

National security advisers typically work in the shadows, but President-elect Donald Trump’s reported pick for the key job is more of a flame-thrower who has labeled the Muslim religion “sick” and called for Hillary Clinton to be thrown in prison.

Multiple news organizations reported Thursday evening that the incoming president has formally offered the job to Michael Flynn, the retired three-star Army general. Dismissed from the Pentagon’s top intelligence post in late 2014 for what his superiors called a too-contentious style, Flynn is also highly regarded in military and intelligence circles.