October 16, 2014

New report documents potential Latino voting power in midterms -- but low turnout issues as well


A record 25 million Latinos are eligible to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, and if history is a guide they will also cast a record number of votes, according to a new report.

But if history holds true as well, Latinos will leave far more votes on the table than they cast, due to participation rates that significantly lag those of whites or African-Americans.

The nonpartisan Pew Research Center examined Latino voters and their potential impact on the 2014 midterm elections, finding that they have a small share of the potential vote in most of the high-profile races that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate.

The report, released Thursday, also detailed how the eligible Latino voting population has grown with each midterm election cycle: In 2002, for example, there were about 14.5 million Latino U.S. citizens who were adults and therefore eligible to participate in elections; that will be 25.2 million this year.

But not all eligible voters are registered to do so, Pew pointed out, and not all registered voters actually vote. During the 2010 midterm elections, a record 6.6 million Latinos voted, and their turnout rate was 31.2 percent – below whites (48.6 percent) and African-Americans (44 percent).

“More than twice as many Hispanics – 14.7 million – could have voted but did not,” the report said of the 2010 midterm elections. Pew’s analysis was based on U.S. Census Bureau data and Pew Research Center surveys. The full report can be accessed here.

Continue reading "New report documents potential Latino voting power in midterms -- but low turnout issues as well"

October 14, 2013

McClatchy launches new political blog

We've moved!

Planet Washington is now Washington Watch.

You can find our new and improved blog all about politics in the nation's capital here. And here's the new RSS feed

Don't forget to bookmark the links.

October 01, 2013

White House to hold health care blitz

President Obama will deliver remarks from the Rose Garden at 12:25 p.m. today -- some 12 hours after a government shutdown went into effect. The remarks will follow Obama's meeting in the Oval Office with Americans the White House says will benefit from today's opening of health insurance marketplaces.

The White House plans a full court press today on the president's health care law as the health insurance marketplaces open for business.

In addition to Obama's remarks, an interview with Vice President Joe Biden will air on more than 450 college radio stations in key states and markets acros the country, explaining what the White House says are the law's benefits. First Lady Michelle Obama will have an editorial in Yahoo!Shine, billed as "the leading women's lifestyle website with more than 30 million visitors per month.

 White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and HHS officials will do interviews with African-American radio shows, including  the Tom Joyner Morning Show, the Al Sharpton Show, the Yolanda Adams Morning Show, Sway on Sirius HM, the Russ Parr Morning Show, Rickey Smiley Morning Show, and the Joe Madison Show, among others.

September 30, 2013

Obama nominates former Romney advisor to post

President Barack Obama today nominated Lanhee Chen, policy director for the Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, as a member of the Social Security Advisory Board.

The White House notes that Chen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, lecturer in public policy at Stanford University and lecturer in law at Stanford Law School, was policy director for the Romney-Ryan campaign, as well as Romney's chief policy adviser and a senior strategist on the campaign. Chen also served as domestic policy director of Romney's campaign in 2008.

President Obama accuses GOP of looking to refight election

With a government shutdown looking more likely by the hour, President Barack Obama on Monday warned that it would "throw a wrench into the gears" of a fragile economy.

"A shutdown will have a very real economic impact on real people, right away," Obama said, noting the federal government is the largest employer in the nation and that while paychecks may be stopped for some workers, bills won't. "Past shutdowns have disrupted the economy significantly. This one will too."

"The idea of putting the American people's hard-earned progress at risk is the height of irresponsibility, and it doesn't have to happen," he said, calling on the House to pass a clean bill.

"One faction, of one party, in one House of Congress, in one branch of government doesn't get to shut down the entire government just to re-fight the results of an election," he said. "Keeping the people's government open is not a concession to me."

Continue reading "President Obama accuses GOP of looking to refight election"

Senate tables House budget plan

The Senate voted 54-to-46 along party lines Monday to table – or basically kill – the House of Representatives’ measure that ties funding to keep the federal government open to delaying implementation of the Affordable Care Act for one year.

The action was the first volley Monday in what could be a high-stakes political ping pong match between the two chambers as the federal government faces a shutdown at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday if Congress fails to act.

The next move belongs to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. House Republicans were meeting behind closed-doors following the Senate Vote about what they intend to do in the coming hours.

Prior to the Senate voted, Senate Republicans floated the idea of a passing one-week continuing resolution to prevent government-salaried workers from being furloughed and to keep government
agencies and services open.

 “Despite the Democrats’ refusal to work with the House to solve the problem, Republicans are working to protect the troops, prevent a shutdown and find solutions to the difficulties caused by Senate Democrats’ delay,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Democrats appeared cool to the one-week idea Monday afternoon.

“You negotiate on this, they will up the ante on the debt-ceiling on the full-time CR,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “You cannot negotiate when you take hostages and extort. We’re happy to negotiate. There’s a budget. They can talk about spending for (Obamacare) in the budget.
You don’t do it this way.”

 Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., offered McConnell faint praise over the one-week funding idea.

 “I’m absolutely willing to give Sen. McConnell some credit for at least not being (Texas Republican Sen.) Ted Cruz,” she said.

Hagan lauds Justice Dept. for N.C. voter lawsuit

Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democratic lawmaker in red state North Carolina, praised the Justice Department's decision Monday to sue over her state's new voter laws.

The federal lawsuit seeks to prevent North Carolina from implementing four provisions of the new voter law, particularly a stringent photo identication measure. 

“Now is not the time to be putting up barriers to the right to vote, and I applaud the Justice Department’s decision to challenge the new voter access restrictions in North Carolina that would, among other things, cut off a week of early voting and end same day registration,” said Hagan. “Restricting access to this basic right is simply not in sync with our North Carolina values, and it goes against our state’s proud tradition of eliminating barriers to participation in the democratic process.”




In case of a shutdown, Obama would retain a quarter of his staff

Just like everyone else in federal govenment, the White House is preparing for a shutdown.

In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, the White House indicates 436 employees at the executive office of the president will remain on the job while 1,265 employees will be furoughed.

Those that remain include 15 at the executive residence, 12 at the vice president's office, 42 at national security and 118 at the Office of Management and Budget.

See the full list by agency here.

Boehner: "The House has done its work"

A defiant House Speaker John Boehner insisted Monday morning the House "has done its work" on the budget, and urged the Senate to go along.

That's unlikely to happen. The House voted Sunday to delay Obamacare for a year and repeal the 2.3 percent medical device tax. The Democratic-led Senate is expected to reject those provisions later Monday.

"The House has done its work," Boehner said Monday in a House floor speech. "We passed a bill on Saturday night (actually early Sunday), sent it to the United States Senate - that would delay ObamaCare for one year, and would eliminate permanently the medical device tax that is costing us tens of thousands of jobs that are being shipped overseas.

“Senate decided not to work yesterday.  Well my goodness, if there’s such an emergency, where are they?  It's time for the Senate to listen to the American people just like the House has listened to the American people and to pass a one-year delay of ObamaCare and a permanent repeal of the medical device tax.”

Republicans would get most blame for shutdown--but Obama would get plenty

Republicans would get more of the blame for a government shutdown, according to a new CNN/ORC poll released Monday.

The survey, conducted Friday through Sunday, found 46 percent would blame Republicans while 36 percent would blame President Barack Obama. Thirteen percent blame both sides. Unless Congress and Obama agree on a spending plan by midnight, parts of the government will begn shutting down.

The House of Representatives, run by Republicans, passed Sunday a plan to keep the government open, but the Democratic-led Senate is expected to reject it later Monday.

Obama gets some of the blame--people were split on whether he's acted like a responsible leader or a "spoiled child" during the budget debate. But 69 percent thought Republicans have acted like spoiled children.

The House budget bill delays implementation of the 2010 health care law--but 60 percent said it was more important to avoid a shutdown than change the health care law at the moment.


"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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