Lawmakers complain Obama too aloof with Congress

Lack of communication between the White House and Congress described as "stunning"
Associated Press
Jul 26, 2014

President Barack Obama's request for billions of dollars to deal with migrant children streaming across the border set off Democrats and Republicans. Lawmakers in both parties complained that the White House — six years in — still doesn't get it when it comes to working with Congress.

Top GOP leaders got no notice of the $3.7 billion emergency request. The administration sent contradictory messages about what it wanted to deal with the border crisis. And as the proposal drew fierce criticism, the White House made few overtures to lawmakers in either party to rally support.

House and Senate lawmakers in both parties plus several senior congressional aides said this past week that the handling of the proposal by Obama and the White House is emblematic of the administration's rocky relationship with Congress: an ad hoc approach that shuns appeals to opponents and doesn't reward allies.

Combined with a divided Congress — GOP-led House and Democratic-controlled Senate — and election-year maneuvering, neither basic nor crisis-driven legislation is getting done.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., described the lack of communication between the White House and Congress as "stunning." He said he first learned many details of Obama's border request from news reports.

Obama is the "only person in America who can sign something into law and help bring members of his party on board for an outcome on a given piece of legislation that requires bipartisan support," McConnell said in an interview. "So it's a mystery, but that's the way they operate."

Several Democratic lawmakers echoed McConnell but spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid alienating the president of their party. They said they were baffled by the White House's tactics in handling the border request. Several Democrats expressed frustration that the president and administration officials weren't more involved in legislative fights.

Obama's hands-off approach was evident in June.

At a private White House meeting Obama held with the top four Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid appealed to the president to intervene in pressing McConnell to allow speedier approval of the president's dozens of ambassadorial nominees.

Obama said it was a matter for Reid and McConnell to work out, an answer that left Democrats flabbergasted, according to participants in the meeting. Finally, more than a week later, Obama called McConnell to urge him to break the logjam and get ambassadors confirmed.

McConnell said the conversation — one of the few he has had with Obama in recent months — was limited to ambassadors.

White House officials rejected the criticism, insisting that they have been regularly consulting with lawmakers.

While frustrated with the administration, Democrats also sympathized. They described Obama's untenable position of trying to work with Republicans unwilling to give him any legislative victories, especially the tea party class of 2010. The White House has argued that even if it tried to cut a deal with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio — as it did in 2011 on entitlements, spending and taxes — there was no assurance Boehner could deliver his rambunctious caucus.

"You've got a core group of the House Republican caucus that has run on a platform of 'no compromise' — if the president's for it, they're against it," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Several Democrats said Obama must contend with GOP animosity, but so did former President Bill Clinton, who was undeterred through two terms.

Obama held a few dinners with Senate Republicans last year, discussing budgets, entitlements and immigration over steak and coconut sorbet. Hopes for keeping a constructive conversation going have faded more than a year after the last dinner and several participants have had little contact with Obama since.

Faced with the arrival of more than 57,000 minors since October, mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, Obama proposed $3.7 billion in emergency spending to deal with the influx. Republicans pressed for changes to a 2008 trafficking victims law that would speed deportations of children from Central America.

For days, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson privately told lawmakers he supported such a change, but the White House never pressed congressional Democrats about following through.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., criticized the White House strategy. "I try never to negotiate against myself, that's all I can tell you," he said.

More recently, the administration reached out to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., with a few suggested changes to the 2008 law. It's doubtful the issue will be resolved before Congress recesses for August.

Congressional frustration with the administration is not limited to the White House.

Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly implored the State Department last month to weigh in on a bipartisan resolution calling on Turkey to return confiscated Christian property before a House panel voted on the measure. The Virginia lawmaker complained the resolution included "gratuitous Turkey-bashing" and wanted State Department officials to help persuade lawmakers to support a toned-down version.

None of his House colleagues heard from department's legislative liaisons.

"The State Department was missing in action," Connolly said in an interview. "They have to professionalize their operation."



The Big Dog's back

A bunch of whining crying right wingnuts.


Yes they are Dog.

Bottom Line

Thanks for the original thought. Every time you say that it just further proves how ridiculous and laughable you are. As always, you bring nothing.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

set off Democrats

in both parties

Several Democratic lawmakers echoed McConnell but spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid alienating the president of their party.

Harry Reid appealed to the president

an answer that left Democrats flabbergasted

While frustrated with the administration, Democrats

Several Democrats said Obama must contend with GOP animosity

but the White House never pressed congressional Democrats about following through

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., criticized the White House strategy

Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly implored

= = = = =

Yeah, buncha right wingnuts right there, eh? Oh and the citation? THIS ENTIRE FREAKING ARTICLE. Right here. Right above this road apple of a statement you made.

You were saying, Big Dog? Do you even bother to read the articles or do you just burp out the first knee-jerk, partisan response you can?

The Big Dog's back

So if a couple of Dinos say something it goes for the whole party?

Blackberry Phale

Obama = Miserable Failure.


Hi Darwin's choice !


There are some people who are not worth wasting words on. There are a few posters on here who really DO fit the definition of "hater" (although I dislike that word). A real man doesn't hide behind his computer screen and throw rocks at everyone and slobber out first grade name calling. Who does that? Big Dog needs to get out and travel and meet some actual, real people. Some time out in the fresh air might do him some good. Also reading ... does wonders to expand the vocabulary.


could you please post once where you don't say right wingnuts :)

The Big Dog's back

Until there are no longer right wingnuts, no.


Re: "Until there are no longer right wingnuts,"

Get those camps and gas chambers ready, eh lil' Nazi?


Pooh, I was going to surprise you with a bottle of your FAVORITE whiskey but they were out of Kessler's. I figured there had to be more in the back so I asked the clerk and she told me that some old fat bald white guy in a mini skirt driving a broken down Buick bought them out. Thanks for spoiling my surprise!


Re: "I,"

What a load of nonsense.


Contango isn't fat but he is tall and bald and he looks late-60's or early 70's..

The Big Dog's back



" Get those camps and gas chambers ready, eh lil' Nazi? "

"What a load of nonsense."

Blackberry Phale

Why did Obama fail? The typical answer from the left is one of racism or bigotry.

That's all you have.


Obama does not have the time,He has too much campaigning to do. When it starts cutting into his campaign donations from the useful idiots who still worship him he might try to overstep congress to ram through a dictate that will harm more Americans than it helps. It is his M.O.


Obama isn't campaigning, he can't be President after 2016. He's fundraising to support the war on repubs because the repubs are raising lots of money to support the war on the dems. We should stop warring and see if we can solve some of the simple problem, then comprise on the bigger issues.


Well when you have one Representative Dum. Ann Kuster who doesn't know anything about Benghazi, another Dum that thinks Guam will tip if you put more marines on it. Another Dum from La. that thinks The Constitution is outdated because it is 400 year old and Bozo thinks there are 57 states and lies every time he talks, God help us !

Dr. Information

Can we favorite peoples posts on here, this one is a classic. Love it.






Well I guess there are more Americans that think.he is s pretty good president cause he was voted in for his second term .And is still there as today Before you condem him for a mess that was handed to him by your President . Not to mention he might just have saved thousands of lives when he signed an order to
bring all americans back to the homeland . So before you all condem him take a good look at his record and if you can or could do better lets see your name on the ballet next election. And if you decide to run let me know so I can run for the border cause you can not run a country from behind a key board or on a blob

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Gene, I understand your points (and I can't thank you enough for keeping it civil!!!), however there are many things he has/not done that are of his own volition. While he won against a Republican, he may as well have been running against a wet blanket. Look at the popular vote to see that while he won, he lost voters between his first and second terms.

There are some of us behind keyboards and blogs who don't hate him as a human being. Rather, we expect a higher standard than what he has delivered. Constant fundraising, edicts, threats to veto legislation that hasn't even passed the House, false promises and/or lies, adjustments of laws on the fly, and more are the reason why we dislike his job performance as President. In fact, he hasn't had above a 50% approval rating since after his first year or two in office. Just yesterday:

President of the United States of America is not a job you simply show up to and mean well, asking that to be the basis upon which you are judged. I would argue, gene, that if you are a fan of his you can do more for him by asking more of him. If you voted for him, don't make excuses for him. Hold him to the high standard you presumably did when/if you made your mark by his name, especially if you disliked his predecessor and wanted better.

Thank you for what you posted here. I, for one, appreciate it.

The Big Dog's back

So you and sam sit in on all the cabinet meetings zero zone?

Blackberry Phale

Someone must have accidentally rolled over the rock and let dog crawl out again.


Re: "let dog crawl out again,"

He's still recuperating from his open heart surgery - they didn't find one.

Blackberry Phale



Also, the dope can't remember what his deductible was.

"By the way, The Big Dog is Back!" (7/3/14)