Review Category : Poltics

Obama’s Free Community College Idea May Be Hard Sell

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — Free community college for all. Conversation-starter? Definitely. Political possibility? Not any time soon.

President Obama unveiled the idea in a video posted to Facebook on Thursday night. But administration officials provided no price tag, no legislation, and little evidence of Republican support on Capitol Hill.

But the White House says that’s beside the point at this stage.

The president hopes “to start a conversation,” Obama domestic policy adviser Cecilia Munoz told reporters.

She couldn’t estimate the cost for the proposal, though back of the envelope calculations suggest it would cost tens of billions of dollars a year. The Republican Congress would need to pass legislation to fund it. State governments would need to each act as well.

The administration likens the dream to its universal pre-K proposal from State of the Union two years ago; that one has languished on the Hill but does have some bipartisan support.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner reacted to the community college proposal with skepticism. “With no details or information on the cost, this seems more like a talking point than a plan,” Cory Fritz said in a statement.

Still, the notion of free community college is tantalizing to many. Democrats envision a system akin to free the nation’s public high school system which is funded jointly by state and federal governments.

Broadly, the White House sketches it out this way:

  • Two years free community college for students who attend at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and remain enrolled.
  • Community colleges would have to allow students to transfer to four-year schools and/or train in high-demand occupational areas.
  • Federal funding would pay for 3/4th; states would pay 1/4th.
  • The White House projects up to 9 million students could benefit if every state participates. Average savings $3800 in tuition per year.
  • “What I’d like to do is see the first two years of community college free for everybody who’s willing to work for it,” Obama says in the Facebook video. “That’s something we can accomplish and it’s something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anybody around the world.”
  • There’s also the issue of capacity. The nation currently only has 1,100 community colleges. Some states that have individually dabbled in subsidized or free community college programs have seen their systems overwhelmed.
  • As for the politics of it — White House points to red state Tennessee and Gov. Bill Haslam who pioneered a statewide program that provides free community college tuition for two years, signed into law last year. Some 57,000 students — or 90 percent of the state’s high school graduating class — applied, signaling high demand.
  • Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will visit Knoxville, Tenn., on Friday to pitch the proposal as part of a presidential tour to preview the State of the Union.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Obama’s Free Community College Idea May Be Hard Sell

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — Free community college for all. Conversation-starter? Definitely. Political possibility? Not any time soon.

President Obama unveiled the idea in a video posted to Facebook on Thursday night. But administration officials provided no price tag, no legislation, and little evidence of Republican support on Capitol Hill.

But the White House says that’s beside the point at this stage.

The president hopes “to start a conversation,” Obama domestic policy adviser Cecilia Munoz told reporters.

She couldn’t estimate the cost for the proposal, though back of the envelope calculations suggest it would cost tens of billions of dollars a year. The Republican Congress would need to pass legislation to fund it. State governments would need to each act as well.

The administration likens the dream to its universal pre-K proposal from State of the Union two years ago; that one has languished on the Hill but does have some bipartisan support.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner reacted to the community college proposal with skepticism. “With no details or information on the cost, this seems more like a talking point than a plan,” Cory Fritz said in a statement.

Still, the notion of free community college is tantalizing to many. Democrats envision a system akin to free the nation’s public high school system which is funded jointly by state and federal governments.

Broadly, the White House sketches it out this way:

  • Two years free community college for students who attend at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and remain enrolled.
  • Community colleges would have to allow students to transfer to four-year schools and/or train in high-demand occupational areas.
  • Federal funding would pay for 3/4th; states would pay 1/4th.
  • The White House projects up to 9 million students could benefit if every state participates. Average savings $3800 in tuition per year.
  • “What I’d like to do is see the first two years of community college free for everybody who’s willing to work for it,” Obama says in the Facebook video. “That’s something we can accomplish and it’s something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anybody around the world.”
  • There’s also the issue of capacity. The nation currently only has 1,100 community colleges. Some states that have individually dabbled in subsidized or free community college programs have seen their systems overwhelmed.
  • As for the politics of it — White House points to red state Tennessee and Gov. Bill Haslam who pioneered a statewide program that provides free community college tuition for two years, signed into law last year. Some 57,000 students — or 90 percent of the state’s high school graduating class — applied, signaling high demand.
  • Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will visit Knoxville, Tenn., on Friday to pitch the proposal as part of a presidential tour to preview the State of the Union.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

House Passes Latest Bill to Weaken Health Care Law

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The Republican-controlled House is wasting no time in its efforts to gut the Affordable Care Act. It passed the “The Save American Workers Act” Thursday.

With virtually no Democratic support, the bill changes a provision in the health care law that calls upon employers to offer people who work a minimum of 30 hours a week medical insurance or face a penalty.

The GOP legislation moves the threshold for offering insurance up to 40 hours a week, which lawmakers claim protects workers in the 30-hour-to-39-hour realm from having their hours cut by employers who don’t want to offer insurance to them.

Yet, Democrats point to a report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that say “The Save American Workers Act” would actually compel employers to shift more of their staff out of 40 hour-work weeks.

The CBO estimates that one million people would lose their employer-backed health plans, essentially forcing them to sign up for what Republicans call “Obamacare.” Meanwhile, the CBO says that another half-million people would lose their insurance altogether.

With Republicans now in charge of the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated he would like to pass similar legislation.

However, the roadblock is President Obama, who has vowed to veto any attempt at weakening or repealing his signature health care bill.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley ‘Very Seriously’ Looking at 2016 Presidential Bid

Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images(CHICAGO) — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a possible Democratic presidential candidate, said Thursday night at the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago he is “very seriously considering running in 2016.”

“I am very seriously thinking about it, is what I would say,” O’Malley said. “I’ve been very encouraged as I travel around the country by a number of people who repeat again and again and again their desire for getting things done again as a country and also for new leadership to get those things done.”

O’Malley added that “right now” his “primary responsibility is to move my family back to Baltimore,” which he said he will do in the next two weeks when his term ends.

O’Malley didn’t mention the person who could be his most prominent rival, Hillary Clinton, but before he took the stage, former Obama strategist David Axelrod said Clinton needs to “think like an insurgent” if she runs. Axelrod, who serves as the director of the Institute of Politics, also described Clinton as not a “very good candidate” in 2007, but said she became better when she was the underdog later in the campaign.

At the event, billed as a discussion on “progressive politics in a post-Obama world,” O’Malley said he thinks the “driving issue” of the 2016 campaign will be the “question of how we make our economy work again for all of us.”

“We’ve come a long way to restoring that economy, but not yet to a point where our wages are actually rising again, where people feel if they are working harder they are able to get further ahead and that’s what I hear again and again across the country,” he said.

O’Malley briefly discussed the midterm elections where Republicans won congressional and gubernatorial seats across the country. Even in his blue state of Maryland, O’Malley’s lieutenant governor Anthony Brown lost to Republican Larry Hogan.

The moderator asked him if that loss could hurt his future political aspirations. He answered that he would “let others determine whether” his “prospects were hurt,” but said, “I can tell you my feelings were hurt.”

“We had done a lot of really good things in Maryland and in the end you did not hear much about it during the campaign,” O’Malley said of Brown’s run. “I was not on the ballot.”

Without mentioning Brown by name, O’Malley stressed that many of his progressive causes he championed during his time in office were ignored by Brown on the trail, saying, “You never heard about those things.”

Axelrod asked O’Malley about the “very real” global security challenge in light of the Paris terror attacks earlier this week.

O’Malley expressed his condolences, saying “our hearts go out to the people of Paris, France who are suffering,” but added, “I wish it weren’t so, but we are going to be going through probably 100 years of figuring out how to deal with this new type of warfare, asymmetrical warfare, global terrorism and extremism.”

O’Malley said “the most important assets” this country “brings to this challenge are the power of our principles and as we exercise our military, our diplomatic, our economic might in response to these threats it’s very important we strive always to exercise those powers in ways that are consistent with our principles and our belief in the dignity of every individual.”

Without specifically mentioning last year’s torture report, O’Malley cautioned that it is important that “we don’t throw overboard certain norms in human behavior, humane treatment of prisoners and the like that actually make us a beacon of hope and light throughout this world of ours.”

Axelrod, who moderated part of the event, also asked O’Malley for his “general sense of what America’s role is in the world today and what it will be tomorrow.” O’Malley answered that after much thought and consultation with national security and diplomatic experts that we have to “move beyond what very often were quick military reactions to the threats around our globe, to a new and more consistent and intelligent way to being consistently engaged all around the world.”

“We are not an island nation,” he added in a line we are likely to hear again if he does hit the 2016 campaign trail. “It is only at our own peril that we disengage from the rest of the world.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley ‘Very Seriously’ Looking at 2016 Presidential Bid

Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post via Getty Images(CHICAGO) — Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a possible Democratic presidential candidate, said Thursday night at the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago he is “very seriously considering running in 2016.”

“I am very seriously thinking about it, is what I would say,” O’Malley said. “I’ve been very encouraged as I travel around the country by a number of people who repeat again and again and again their desire for getting things done again as a country and also for new leadership to get those things done.”

O’Malley added that “right now” his “primary responsibility is to move my family back to Baltimore,” which he said he will do in the next two weeks when his term ends.

O’Malley didn’t mention the person who could be his most prominent rival, Hillary Clinton, but before he took the stage, former Obama strategist David Axelrod said Clinton needs to “think like an insurgent” if she runs. Axelrod, who serves as the director of the Institute of Politics, also described Clinton as not a “very good candidate” in 2007, but said she became better when she was the underdog later in the campaign.

At the event, billed as a discussion on “progressive politics in a post-Obama world,” O’Malley said he thinks the “driving issue” of the 2016 campaign will be the “question of how we make our economy work again for all of us.”

“We’ve come a long way to restoring that economy, but not yet to a point where our wages are actually rising again, where people feel if they are working harder they are able to get further ahead and that’s what I hear again and again across the country,” he said.

O’Malley briefly discussed the midterm elections where Republicans won congressional and gubernatorial seats across the country. Even in his blue state of Maryland, O’Malley’s lieutenant governor Anthony Brown lost to Republican Larry Hogan.

The moderator asked him if that loss could hurt his future political aspirations. He answered that he would “let others determine whether” his “prospects were hurt,” but said, “I can tell you my feelings were hurt.”

“We had done a lot of really good things in Maryland and in the end you did not hear much about it during the campaign,” O’Malley said of Brown’s run. “I was not on the ballot.”

Without mentioning Brown by name, O’Malley stressed that many of his progressive causes he championed during his time in office were ignored by Brown on the trail, saying, “You never heard about those things.”

Axelrod asked O’Malley about the “very real” global security challenge in light of the Paris terror attacks earlier this week.

O’Malley expressed his condolences, saying “our hearts go out to the people of Paris, France who are suffering,” but added, “I wish it weren’t so, but we are going to be going through probably 100 years of figuring out how to deal with this new type of warfare, asymmetrical warfare, global terrorism and extremism.”

O’Malley said “the most important assets” this country “brings to this challenge are the power of our principles and as we exercise our military, our diplomatic, our economic might in response to these threats it’s very important we strive always to exercise those powers in ways that are consistent with our principles and our belief in the dignity of every individual.”

Without specifically mentioning last year’s torture report, O’Malley cautioned that it is important that “we don’t throw overboard certain norms in human behavior, humane treatment of prisoners and the like that actually make us a beacon of hope and light throughout this world of ours.”

Axelrod, who moderated part of the event, also asked O’Malley for his “general sense of what America’s role is in the world today and what it will be tomorrow.” O’Malley answered that after much thought and consultation with national security and diplomatic experts that we have to “move beyond what very often were quick military reactions to the threats around our globe, to a new and more consistent and intelligent way to being consistently engaged all around the world.”

“We are not an island nation,” he added in a line we are likely to hear again if he does hit the 2016 campaign trail. “It is only at our own peril that we disengage from the rest of the world.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Attorney General Eric Holder to Travel to Paris at Request of French Government

Photo by Angelo Merendino/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Attorney General Eric Holder will travel to Paris on Sunday to take part in an International Ministerial meeting following Wednesday’s fatal shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the meeting was convened by the French Minister of Interior. Among the topics of discussion will be “addressing terrorist threats, foreign fighters and countering violent extremism.”

Holder’s trip comes at the request of the French government, but also shows the U.S.’ support for France in the aftermath of the shooting that left 12 dead and 11 more injured.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

President Obama Calls for Two Years of Free Community College

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — A video posted to Facebook by the White House on Thursday night floats the idea of free community college for “everybody who’s willing to work for it.”

In the video, President Obama, who is in the midst of a series of trips around the country previewing ideas that he will highlight in his Jan. 20 State of the Union Address, said he would “like to…see the first two years of community college free for everybody who’s willing to work for it.” Specifically, the commander-in-chief calls the plan “something we can accomplish” and “something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anybody around the world.”

The idea, called “America’s College Promise,” proposes three-quarters of the funding would be covered by the federal government, and states would pay for the remaining 25 percent. Students would have to attend at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA or better and remain enrolled.

Obama noted similar programs already in place in both Chicago and the state of Tennessee.

The president’s domestic policy adviser Cecilia Munoz told reporters on Thursday that Obama hopes “to start a conversation,” even if the idea has not been written in legislative form and does not, as of Thursday, have bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.

The White House projects that up to nine million students could benefit from the hypothetical program if every state participates.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday night that “with no details or information on the cost, this seems more like a talking point than a plan.”

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Barack Obama Signs Condolence Book at French Embassy in Washington

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Following a trip to Arizona, President Obama returned to Washington, D.C. on Thursday and stopped at the French Embassy to sign a condolence book in the wake of Wednesday’s attack at French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Obama entered the lobby area and signed the condolence book with a painting of the Battle of Yorktown around him. After he signed the book, the president stood and looked downward for a personal moment of silence.

In his inscription, Obama wrote that “on behalf of all Americans, I extend our deepest sympathy and solidarity to the people of France following the terrible terrorist attack in Paris. As allies across the centuries, we stand united with our French brothers to ensure that justice is done and our way of life is defended. We go forward together knowing that terror is no match for freedom and ideals we stand for — ideals that light the world.”

“Vive la France,” his inscription concluded.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Sen. Barbara Boxer Picks a Unique Way to Announce She Won’t Seek Re-Election

US Senate(WASHINGTON) — Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, announced on Thursday that she would not seek a fifth term in the Senate.

How she announced that after 22 years in the Senate she won’t seek re-election was truly unique — via rhyme.

“The Senate is the place where I’ve always made my case for families, for the planet, and the human race. More than 20 years in a job I love, thanks to California and the Lord above. So although I won’t be working for my Senate space and I won’t be running in the next tough race, as long as there are issues and challenges and strife, I will never retire, cause that’s the meaning of my life.”

A longtime supporter of the environment, gun control, and abortion rights, Boxer says partisan gridlock wasn’t a factor in her decision – nor was her age.

“Here’s the thing: Some people are old at 40 and some people are young at 80. It depends on the person. For me, I feel as young as I did when I got elected,” Boxer, 74, said in a video starring her eldest grandson, whom she appointed to “sit in” for the reporters who have been hounding her on Capitol Hill.

Though the veteran California Democrat said she would not be running for re-election in 2016, she hinted that her work would go on: “I am never going to retire.”

Boxer’s announcement caught even prominent Democrats by surprise, like House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, also from California, who seemed startled.

“What?” she exclaimed. “It’s funny, she called me and said she wanted to talk to me personally. I thought maybe she wanted to have dinner tonight or something. Oh my.”

“She’s really a great leader for our country – small in size but a giant in terms of her contribution to the country,” Pelosi added. “I wish the best for her in that regard personally. Officially, I think it’s a big loss for the country. But she knows her timetable.”

Boxer’s announcement precedes what will likely be an all-out brawl in the Golden State, which hasn’t had an open Senate seat in over two decades. (Dianne Feinstein, California’s senior senator, has been in office since 1992.) The 2016 contest promises to be the greatest test to date of California’s jungle primary, a system the state adopted in 2010 that mandates the top two candidates – no matter what party they support – face off in the general election.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →

Sen. McCain: Paris Attacks Were ‘Well-Orchestrated’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Three Republican senators expressed concern Thursday about the coordination involved in the terrorist attacks in Paris this week, saying that the shootings should reinforce that the war on terror still exists.

“This was obviously a very well-orchestrated attack, not just an individual that is able to blow himself up,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told reporters Thursday. “When you look at that video you know that these are — it was a pretty professional operation. It requires some training.”

“We need to learn more about what ties these individuals have, whether it’s to Al Qaeda or some other group,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said. “The bottom line is that the war on terror continues and for those who believe that somehow that war is over, I think if they have any doubts yet, yesterday should have dispelled them.”

Rubio added that Wednesday’s attacks are “a sign of more things to come throughout Europe and potentially other countries in the West.”

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, warned that the ability of individuals to be radicalized online or by traveling to countries like Yemen, Iraq and Syria has heightened the threat posed to the U.S. and other countries like never before.

“In all my time of studying homeland security issues and the terrorist threat, I can’t think of a time where the threat level is more dangerous,” Collins said.

The three senators made their comments outside a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing Thursday. The briefing focused on North Korea and the Sony hacking, not on the Paris shooting.

Follow @ABCNewsRadio
Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather Read More →