December 26, 2013
Always next year The current Congress finished its first year as the least productive and possibly least popular in history. Nowhere were the costs clearer than in lawmakers' failure to reform our broken, inhumane immigration system ("From hope to anger on immigration reform," Dec. 15). But while gridlock reigned in Washington, the movement for immigration reform grew stronger here in Pennsylvania and across the country. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants took days off work and put themselves at risk to fight for an end to cruel deportations that remove parents from children, for equal protection under labor laws, and for reform that promotes family unity and provides a pathway to citizenship.
September 11, 2013 |
It was only a matter of time before our polarized politics threatened to destroy a president's authority and call into question our country's ability to act in the world. Will Congress let that happen? To raise this is not to denigrate those, left and right, who deeply believe that the United States should temper its international military role. Nor is it to claim that President Obama's proposed strikes on Syria in response to Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons constitute some sort of "slam dunk" policy that should win automatic assent.
August 24, 2013
It isn't easy to be a moderate Republican these days. Witness the blowback Sens. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and John McCain (R., Ariz.) faced after they pushed for immigration reform. On other issues, they have gone out of their way to appease the GOP's tea-party element. Given this environment, it should be comforting to Pennsylvanians that their junior senator isn't afraid to reach across the aisle to the benefit of all Americans. For example, while Sen. Pat Toomey thinks the Affordable Care Act would be best repealed, he is working with Democrats to amend it instead.
July 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama's hardest sell in his renewed push to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may be members of his own party - moderate Senate Democrats facing tough re-election bids next year in the strongly Republican South. Obama has stepped up the pressure to shutter the naval facility, driven in part by his revised counterterrorism strategy and the four-month-old stain of the government's force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners on hunger strikes to prevent them from starving to death.
June 28, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The dramatic Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage is forcing Republican leaders to cope, in bright daylight, with something they would rather handle discreetly: the careful balance between placating their conservative base and reaching out to centrist voters crucial in presidential elections. Top GOP leaders showed notable restraint this week, while conservative activists fulminated against the court's decision, which requires the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage.
May 25, 2013 |
The Internal Revenue Service official responsible for the office that targeted certain organizations seeking tax-exempt status was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday, making her the second senior official to be disciplined in the scandal. Lois Lerner is the director of the IRS tax-exempt organizations division and was the first agency official to publicly acknowledge that employees inappropriately targeted certain conservative-leaning organizations. The IRS did not immediately return requests for comment Thursday evening.
May 10, 2013 |
LET'S FACE FACTS, the judges on "American Idol" do less actual judging than the "judges" at Philadelphia Traffic Court. Their purpose is to cheerlead and create drama and give viewers some name recognition to latch on to while they learn the names of the new batch of karaoke singers. Judging chemistry is hard to duplicate, and "American Idol" has been floundering around since the original trio of Simon Cowell , Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson , mixing in Kara DioGuardi , Ellen DeGeneres , Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler before adding this year's newbies.
May 9, 2013
An agreement with Russia to renew efforts to negotiate peace in Syria bolsters President Obama's argument that now is not the time for a U.S. military role in the conflict. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced Tuesday in Moscow that an international summit would be held as early as this month to revive a plan that would effectively end Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's rule. The announcement blunts the hawks' harsh criticism of Obama for backing away from his hasty declaration eight months ago that any use of chemical weapons by Assad would cross a "red line," leading to "enormous consequences.
April 30, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons could be a greater threat after that nation's president leaves power and could end up targeting Americans at home, lawmakers warned Sunday as they considered a U.S. response that stops short of sending military forces there. U.S. officials last week declared that the Syrian government probably had used chemical weapons twice in March, newly provocative acts in the two-year civil war that has killed more than 70,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands more.
April 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration said Thursday that the Syrian government had likely used chemical weapons on a small scale against its own people, but it stopped short of threatening military action against President Bashar al-Assad. In a letter to lawmakers, the White House said U.S. intelligence agencies "assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin. " Despite the caveats, the disclosure puts President Obama under new pressure to respond because it is the first time that the United States has joined other countries in suggesting that the Assad government is likely to have deployed chemical weapons over the course of the two-year-old Syrian civil war. A senior administration official acknowledged that any use of chemical weapons in Syria would cross the "red line" declared by Obama many times in recent months in warnings to Assad.