The clash over sanctions against Iran between President Obama and members of Congress--including Democrats--has complicated the idea that the president has more leeway on foreign affairs issues than domestic matters.
The Supreme Court Monday heard oral arguments on a case that could determine the way presidents can use recess appointments to fill positions that normally require Senate approval. The case (.pdf), National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, challenges the constitutionality of President Obama's three recess appointments in 2012 to the federal labor relations board, appointments the D.C. Court of Appeals decision in 2013 said were unconstitutional.
The Senate confirmed Jeh Johnson to be the new homeland security secretary Dec. 16 by a 78-16 vote. It also moved a step closer to confirming Alejandro Mayorkas as deputy secretary of DHS, with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filing a cloture motion to proceed with his nomination.
A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency bulk telephony data program likely violates the Fourth Amendment, characterizing a court case key to the program's legal underpinnings as irrelevant in an era of ubiquitous telecommunication. Official reaction to the ruling has been terse.
The Senate voted to end debate on the two year budget deal Tuesday, which paves the way for the legislation's passage. The bill (H.J. Res. 59), which sets discretionary spending topline for the current fiscal year at $1.012 trillion and fiscal 2015 at $1.014 trillion, was advanced in a 67-33 vote. Twelve Senate Republicans joined all 55 Democrats and Independents in voting for to end debate.
President Barack Obama's pick head the Internal Revenue Service, pledged to restore trust in the agency after allegations of political bias, urge Congress to provide more funding for operations and improve declining employee morale. John Koskinen, a former Freddie Mac chairman, told the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday he'd talk to front-line employees to figure out how to make the agency run better.
Americans believe that the United States isn't the global superpower it used to be, a Dec. 3 Pew survey says. For the first time innearly 40 years of surveys, a majority says the United States plays a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago.
Federal contractor executives got a raise Wednesday when the Office of Federal Procurement Policy announced increased the pay cap by $190,000. Pryor to the bump, allowable costs for contractor executives were set at $763,029. That number hadn't changed since 2011. But OFPP says it's not happy about the raise and it was forced into it.
Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker vowed Thursday to work to expand American exports and get more government data into the hands of entrepreneurs, in a speech outlining the department's priorities.
The nominee to fill the vacancy atop the Homeland Security Department said his immediate priority as secretary would be to help fill other key positions throughout the department.