American Morning

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January 26th, 2011
10:08 AM ET

Rep. Steny Hoyer: President Obama's plan to veto earmarks 'unfortunate'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - While the president's State of the Union address was filled with applause lines that brought many fellow Democrats to their feet, one part in particular rankled some key members of his party: "If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it."

The line brought applause from some lawmakers, including his former competitor for the White House, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona.

But House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer told CNN's American Morning, Wednesday, the threat was "unfortunate."

The Constitution gives Congress the authority to appropriate funds, said Hoyer, D-Maryland. "I frankly wasn't very taken with the president's thought. Clearly, if there is an additional spending initiative by the Congress that is not appropriate, the president ought to veto it. On the other other hand, if it is an appropriate expenditure - in a community, in a state, in the nation - then I think the president ought to sign that. I thought simply a blanket statement that because Congress adds an item of spending to the appropriation bills that he would, therefore, veto it, I think that was unfortunate and a proposition with which I do not agree."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, made similar remarks Tuesday when word surfaced that the president would call for an earmark ban. "I think this is an issue that any president would like to have, that takes power away from the legislative branch of government," Reid told reporters. "I think it's the wrong thing to do. I don't think it's helpful. It's a lot of pretty talk, but it only gives the president more power. He's got enough power already."

Filed under: Politics • President Barack Obama
January 26th, 2011
09:48 AM ET

Rep. Cantor: President put forth ideas 'Republicans can work with him on'

"So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president."

-President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 25, 2011

President Obama proposed a five year spending freeze on domestic spending in his State of the Union speech last night. It represents nearly a half trillion deficit reduction which the president admitted will be "painful" but many Republicans are saying the reform is too little too late. Representative Paul Ryan, delivering the GOP response to the State of the Union, said that the "president and the Democratic leadership have shown, by their actions, that they believe government needs to increase its size and its reach, its price tag and its power." But with the situation growing more dire, the parties will be expected to figure out a solution.

Representative Eric Cantor, R, Virgina, is the majority leader of the Republicans in the House and tells T.J. Holmes that he thinks he and the president have similar goals, "I think that like the president, I'm a results-driven kind of guy. I want to see something done" and that debt reduction may not be the only thing they agree on.

Filed under: Debt • GOP • President Barack Obama
January 26th, 2011
08:28 AM ET

Rep. Van Hollen: 'We have to act now' for fiscal stability

"We will move forward together, or not at all -– for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.

At stake right now is not who wins the next election -– after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It’s whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but the light to the world."

-President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 25, 2011

President Barack Obama's message last night was simple, "We need to win the future." Delivering his State of the Union address, President Obama challenged the country to encourage innovation, refocus on education, rebuild infrastructure and reduce the amount of national debt. Focusing on the debt the president proposed to "freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years" to "reduce the deficit by more that $400 billion over the next decade."

The promises will mean a busy year in for Representative Chris Van Hollen who is the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee and will have to work with Republicans to reduce our debt. Van Hollen tells American Morning's Kiran Chetry, "coming together doesn't mean we agree on everything. But it does mean that we all have to give a little as we try and tackle these common challenges.

Filed under: Debt • Politics • President Barack Obama
January 25th, 2011
12:11 PM ET

WH Adviser Jarrett: State of the Union will focus on 'America winning'

President Barack Obama is expected to focus on job creation and economic growth in his State of the Union address tonight. White House adviser Valerie Jarrett says that while the president hopes to embrace the renewed spirit of civility in Washington DC he strikes a cautious tone, "Sitting together is one thing. Working together and moving our country forward on behalf of the citizens of our country is what the president's first priority is."

Jarrett gives a brief preview of the speech tonight and weighs in on whether the President would welcome Rahm Emanuel back to the White House.

Filed under: Democrats • Politics • President Barack Obama
January 24th, 2011
08:15 AM ET

Avlon: 'It will take some political courage to reach across the aisle'

President Barack Obama's State of the Union address is tomorrow night and there is growing support behind Senator Mark Udall's proposal for Democrats and Republicans to sit together as opposed to abiding by party lines. More than 50 congress members have already claimed their "state dates" but the question is, will one-time seating arrangements turn into long-lasting bipartisanship?

CNN Contributor John Avlon says that although sitting together is a great symbolic gesture towards unity it is going to take genuine "political courage" to reach across the aisle on some of the issues facing congress ahead. He explains to Kiran Chetry on American Morning.

Filed under: Capitol Hill • Economy • GOP • John Avlon • President Barack Obama
January 20th, 2011
08:59 AM ET

Rep. Judy Chu: State dinner for President Jintao showed 'respect'

"The food was divine, the setting was beautiful, the entertainment was magical. It was incredible."

The guest list was enviable, the menu was mouth-watering and according to Representative Judy Chu, D, California, last night's state dinner in Washington D.C. was "spectacular." The state dinner marked the visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Washington D.C. The guest list ranged from former presidents in Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter to Hollywood celebrities such as Jackie Chan and Barbra Streisand.

Chu tells American Morning's T.J. Holmes that Chinese president Hu Jintao was looking for respect in visiting the United States this week and was shown a "great deal of respect" in last night's dinner.

Filed under: China • President Barack Obama
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