Aug. 21, 2014

Steven T. Dennis

Bio:

Steven T. Dennis has been CQ Roll Call¹s White House correspondent since 2011. He also serves as Roll Call¹s Senate leadership editor and edits the WGDB blog. Previously, he worked stints as congressional leadership editor, Senate leadership reporter and a House leadership reporter at Roll Call starting in 2007. He first started covering Congress for CQ as a budget reporter in 2005. Before that, he worked as the State House bureau chief for The Gazette Newspapers in Annapolis, as the Montgomery County government reporter for The Montgomery Gazette, and as a reporter and copy editor at The Herald-Mail in Hagerstown, Md. He first covered Congress while a student at the University of Maryland in 1993 for the College of Journalism's Capital News Service wire.

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Stories by Steven T. Dennis:

Obama Signs VA Overhaul

Aug. 7, 2014

President Barack Obama signed the overhaul of the Department of Veterans Affairs Thursday at Fort Belvoir in Virginia — but not before dinging the Senate for failing to confirm more of his nominees for senior VA jobs.

Several members of Congress received shoutouts from the president: Sens. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and Richard M. Burr, R-N.C., and Reps. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Michael H. Michaud, D-Maine.

Obama called the long wait times "outrageous" and suggested the bill would help newly appointed VA Secretary Robert McDonald get rid of employees who have engaged in misconduct.

President Defends Executive Action Post-GOP Lawsuit

Aug. 6, 2014

President Barack Obama pushed back on the idea that he’s an imperial president Wednesday, saying that while he is considering additional executive orders on immigration and in other areas, he is “bound by the Constitution.”

Boehner: Time for Obama to Reassess Afghanistan Withdrawal Strategy

Aug. 5, 2014

Speaker John A. Boehner says it’s time for President Barack Obama to reassess his strategy for withdrawing from Afghanistan after an attack left a general dead.

Michele Bachmann: 'Handcuff' the 'Lawless President's Hands'

Aug. 2, 2014

Tea party firebrand Michele Bachmann suggested late Friday on the House floor that Congress should put handcuffs on the "lawless president's hands" — a remark that brought a rebuke from the chair and appears to violate House rules.

The Minnesota Republican made the figurative remark while speaking on the floor during debate on legislation ending the president's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program granting deportation relief and work permits to some children brought to the United States illegally by their parents. The legislation also would prohibit President Barack Obama from expanding the program to other illegal immigrants as the president reportedly is considering whether to expand the program to as many as 5 million people.

Bachmann said House passage of the bill would "put a handcuff on one of the president's hands" and said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., should bring the Senate back and pass the bill.

Michele Bachmann: 'Handcuff' the 'Lawless President's Hands' (Video)

Aug. 2, 2014

Tea party firebrand Michele Bachmann suggested late Friday on the House floor that Congress should put handcuffs on the “lawless president’s hands” — a remark that brought a rebuke from the chair and appears to violate House rules.

Senate Passes Funding for Israel's Iron Dome

Aug. 1, 2014

The Senate passed a supplemental spending bill for Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system Friday, after most senators had gone home for the August recess.

Senate Sends Highway Patch to the President, Heads for August Recess

July 31, 2014

Updated 9:25 a.m. | The Senate cleared a $10.8 billion House bill patching the Highway Trust Fund to the president’s desk Thursday in its last legislative vote before heading out of town for the August recess.

Boehner: I Will Not 'Accept Responsibility' for Senate Inaction

July 31, 2014

Speaker John A. Boehner pinned the blame for the child migrant crisis at the Southern border on President Barack Obama Thursday, hours before House GOP leaders ditched their plans to vote on a border supplemental after failing to secure the votes to pass it.

"Where's the president's proposal?" Boehner asked, responding to a question about whether Obama should act unilaterally to address the influx of child migrants. "The president says, give me $3.7 billion, but don't do anything to address the real problem on the border. ... I think that's totatly irresponsible."

House Republicans called an emergency 3 p.m. meeting and said votes are still possible before jetting out of town for the August recess.

Cantor to Resign From Congress (Updated)

July 31, 2014

Updated 8:54 a.m. | Rep. Eric Cantor will resign from Congress effective Aug. 18, he said in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch posted at midnight.

Pelosi: House Floor a 'Mess'

July 31, 2014

As House GOP leaders scrambled to whip votes on a border supplemental bill Thursday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the closing hours before the August recess a "mess" on the House floor.

"The Republicans do not have time to raise the minimum wage, but they have time to sue the president of the United States. They do not have money to feed the children, help the American people, but they want a blank check to sue the president," Pelosi said at her Thursday news conference. "They've lost moral standing in what's happening on the border, and they have no standing in suing the president."

Earlier, chaos reigned as the House GOP leaders’ carefully crafted gambit to win conservative votes fell apart before calling a 3 p.m. meeting to discuss emergency funding to address the child migrant crisis.

White House Excoriates Republican Deportation Demands

July 31, 2014

The White House torched House Republicans’ plan to vote to block President Barack Obama from granting deportation relief to any new people in the country illegally.

Unemployment Extension: Still Dead

July 31, 2014

Long-term unemployed people still wondering if Congress will act on an unemployment extension restoring benefits for millions before going home for the August recess are going to be disappointed again.

House Leaders Postpone Border Supplemental, Delay Recess, Blame Obama (Updated) (Video)

July 31, 2014

Updated 4:52 p.m. | House GOP leaders ditched their plans to vote on a border supplemental Thursday after failing to secure the votes to pass it — but plan to try again Friday before jetting out of town for the August recess.

Dysfunctional Congress Sprints to Chaotic Finish

July 29, 2014

A Congress known for its dysfunction and acrimony may be on the verge of a rare triple combo — passing major bills addressing the border crisis, the Veterans Affairs scandal and the Highway Trust Fund in one week. But if it happens, it’s going to be like the rest of the 113th: ugly.

Pelosi: GOP Border Bill 'Unjust and Inhumane'

July 29, 2014

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi blistered the GOP’s border bill as “unjust and inhumane” in a statement Tuesday.

Reid: House Border Funding Bill an Opportunity to Conference on Immigration Overhaul

July 29, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday that if House Republicans pass a proposed $659 million emergency funding bill to address the child migrant crisis at the Southern border, it could serve as a chance to go to a conference committee on the Senate's 2013 immigration overhaul legislation.

"Well, if they pass that, maybe it's an opening for us to have a conference on our comprehensive immigration reform," Reid said at his weekly news conference. "They're finally sending us something on immigration, maybe we can do that."

Speaker John A. Boehner blasted Reid's comments, saying the majority leader "is making a deceitful and cynical attempt to derail the House’s common-sense solution.”

Robert McDonald Confirmed as VA Secretary

July 29, 2014

The Senate confirmed former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald as the new secretary of Veterans Affairs on Tuesday, with a $17 billion deal to slash VA wait times expected to pass later this week.

Earnest Slams House Border Bill as Insufficient, Unworkable

July 29, 2014

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest slammed the House GOP’s $659 million border crisis package Tuesday as too skimpy to address the crisis and containing partisan provisions that could prove unworkable, although he stopped short of a veto threat.

Boehner Blasts Reid, Won't Allow 'Immigration Reform' on Border Bill

July 29, 2014

Speaker John A. Boehner vowed the House would not allow the Senate to add any “comprehensive immigration reform bill or anything like it, including the DREAM Act” to the House’s $659 million border bill Tuesday.

Boehner: Impeachment Talk a White House 'Scam' (Updated)

July 29, 2014

Updated 1:56 p.m. | An agitated Speaker John A. Boehner charged the White House with concocting impeachment talk for political gain Tuesday.

White House Defies Issa, Ignores Subpoena Again

July 25, 2014

Top White House political adviser David Simas refused again Friday to honor a congressional subpoena, prompting Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to vote to rebuke the administration.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 19-14 to reject the White House’s claim that Simas has absolute immunity from a subpoena from Congress.

White House Has Doubts House Will Act on Border Crisis

July 25, 2014

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest pronounced himself a cynic when it comes to chances the House will act to pass an emergency border supplemental before going home for the August recess.

Boehner Aide on Pfeiffer Impeachment Talk: 'Political Games' (Updated)

July 25, 2014

Updated 3:53 p.m. | A spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner is dismissing Friday comments from senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer about the White House taking the threat of impeachment “very seriously.”

Simas Ignores Subpoena Again as White House Defies Issa (Updated) (Video)

July 25, 2014

Updated 12:27 p.m. | Top White House political adviser David Simas refused again Friday to honor a congressional subpoena, prompting Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to vote to rebuke the administration.

Issa Offers White House a Deal on Simas

July 24, 2014

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa is offering to allow top White House political adviser David Simas to testify via deposition instead of in a congressional hearing.

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