Newspaper article International New York Times

Obama Has Full September Plate ; Iran Deal Vote Plus Visits by Pope and XI Spell End to Quiet Vacation Period

Newspaper article International New York Times

Obama Has Full September Plate ; Iran Deal Vote Plus Visits by Pope and XI Spell End to Quiet Vacation Period

Article excerpt

President Obama faces a daunting list of tasks after returning to Washington on Sunday from two weeks of vacation on Martha's Vineyard.

Like April for accountants or December for flying reindeer, September in recent years has become an especially challenging month for presidents and congressional leaders.

But even by modern standards, President Obama faces a daunting list of tasks after returning to Washington on Sunday from a relatively quiet two-week vacation on Martha's Vineyard -- with legislative deadlines and visits from world leaders already penciled into his September schedule.

On the domestic front, Congress will have to pass funding legislation by the end of September to avoid shutting down the government for the second time in two years. With only 15 legislative days on the Senate calendar for the month, a brewing fight over whether to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and a raft of senators running for president, it could be difficult to pass even a short-term funding measure despite vows by senior Republican legislators that they will not support a shutdown.

And there are other pieces of must- and should-pass legislation, including extending authority for highway and infrastructure spending, reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank and dealing with various expiring tax provisions. Cybersecurity legislation and a movement to scale back tough federal criminal sentencing laws will also require time and attention.

"Republicans in Congress have their work cut out for them," said Jennifer Friedman, a White House spokeswoman.

Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said that work would be a lot easier if Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats were not so obstructionist.

"We have a lot to do, but we have plans to do it," Mr. Stewart said. "The president, on the other hand, will have a very difficult September because he's trying to do things despite bipartisan opposition against him, such as on the Iran deal."

Indeed, one of the most anticipated legislative battles of the year will be over whether Congress can override an expected presidential veto and reject the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the United States and five other countries.

The deadline for the first vote is Sept. 14, and if both the House and Senate reject the deal with anything close to veto-proof majorities, the Iran drama could consume much of September and even the first week of October.

While Mr. Obama has aggressively defended the Iran deal, and has gone on the offensive to woo lawmakers, he will face myriad distractions during the month.

He will have to put on a tuxedo and a wary smile for a rare state dinner and summit meeting with President Xi Jinping of China. Besides climate change, the two men are likely to discuss the hacking of United States government personnel records, in which Chinese operatives are suspected; China's growing military assertiveness in the South China Sea; a worrisome increase in Chinese government repression; allegations that covert Chinese agents are harassing expatriates in the United States; and renewed claims of currency manipulation by China. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.