Stop me if you've heard this one before. The House Republican leadership proposes a bill. Conservatives in the GOP caucus revolt. The Republican leadership make the bill far more conservative to woo their support, costing Democratic votes. Conservatives reject the bill anyway, forcing the leadership to pull the bill from the floor to avoid a humiliating defeat.
It's a movie that must be getting pretty old for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who was forced to do just that on Thursday after his team failed to whip enough Republican votes to pass a $695 million bill to deal with an ongoing border crisis caused by an influx of tens of thousands of Latin American children. Boehner's price tag had initially been $1.5 billion, which caused some sticker shock in his caucus. (President Obama has asked for $3.7 billion to aid the children and provide federal agencies with additional support.)
This time around, Boehner also faced a familiar bete noire: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who reportedly encouraged hard-right Republicans to vote against the bill.
The latest turn of events means the issue will likely not be resolved before Congress starts a five-week recess tomorrow. In case you need reminding, Congress' approval ratings continue to hover at all-time lows. Ryu Spaeth
On Sunday, an Israeli airstrike reportedly killed four suspected militants who approached the Israel-Syria border with an explosive device.
— HuffPost UK (@HuffPostUK) April 26, 2015
In a statement, the army said that as the group began to come closer to Israeli forces, an Israeli aircraft was launched and fired, killing all four. The incident took place east of Majdal Shams, a Druze village on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights, and the army has raised its alert level along the northern border of Israel, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Reports emerged on Saturday that airstrikes attributed to Israel hit army and Hezbollah targets in Syria earlier in the week, but Israel's army did not comment. On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said, without directly mentioning the strikes, that the country "will not allow the transfer of advanced weapons to terror organizations, first and foremost Hezbollah." He said Iran was arming Hezbollah, and Israel would "not allow Iran and Hezbollah to build terror infrastructure on our border with Syria. ... We can put our hands on anyone threatening Israel's citizens." Catherine Garcia
In what would be a sharp reversal of policy, the U.S may no longer threaten to prosecute families who seek to pay ransoms to foreign hostage-takers, according to ABC News. "There will be absolutely zero chance of any family member of an American held hostage overseas ever facing jail themselves, or even the threat of prosecution, for trying to free their loved ones," one senior official familiar with the internal policy review told ABC. The administration faced criticism last year after the family of James Foley — an American journalist held hostage and executed by ISIS — claimed the administration repeatedly threatened them over their attempts to negotiate directly for Foley's release. Jon Terbush
Former President George W. Bush on Saturday said his brother, Jeb, faces a unique hurdle in the presidential horse race: his own name.
While fielding questions at a closed-door meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Bush "acknowledged being a liability to his brother's candidacy," according to The New York Times, which spoke to attendees as they left the event.
"He basically said being a Bush is a challenge," Norm Coleman, a former senator and current RJC board member, told the Times.
The head of the Clinton Foundation on Sunday acknowledged that the global charity "made mistakes" in how it disclosed and handled donations.
Responding to recent criticism of the foundation that threatened its reputation and Hilary Clinton's nascent presidential campaign, acting CEO Maura Pally said the foundation would commit to greater transparency and limit donations from foreign governments. Moreover, she acknowledged clerical errors in the organization's tax forms, but insisted the overall revenue figures were correct.
"So yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don't happen in the future," Pally wrote in a statement posted to the foundation's website. Jon Terbush
A New Jersey judge has ruled that a mother who brought her daughter to a concert by the pop artist Pink is not guilty of poor parenting, as NJ.com notes.
The mother's decision "did not subject the child to any unreasonable risk of harm, or compromise [her] health, safety or welfare," Superior Court Judge Lawrence R. Jones wrote. Rather, it was "self-evident that all which happened here is that a young girl went to her first rock concert with her mother and had a really great time."
The case arose as part of a custody dispute in which the girl's father alleged child abuse after his ex-wife exposed their daughter to Pink's "lyrical profanities" and "sexually suggestive themes and dance performances." Judge Jones rejected that claim, citing Elvis, the Beatles, and rock music's history of baffling and outraging parents.
The court takes further judicial notice that historically, rock music has often involved socially controversial lyrics and themes, as well as what some people have at various times considered to be suggestive songs and performances. It is a matter of common knowledge that back in the 1950's and 60's, when rock music (then more commonly called rock and roll), was still in its relative infancy, millions of teens and pre-teens embraced this then-new style of music as not only exciting, but groundbreaking.
Many parents, however, did not welcome rock music with similar open arms. Instead, there was a significant degree of parental and social resistance and pushback by members of prior generations. [PDF]
One can only wonder how the judge would have ruled had the case involved not a Pink concert, but rather the Gathering of the Juggalos. Jon Terbush
Constrained by decorum, President Obama at times appears unable to express the full heft of his emotions when dealing with difficult situations. Enter Keegan-Michael Key who, when playing Obama's fictional "anger translator," Luther, on the comedy Key & Peele, serves as the mouthpiece to the president's true thoughts and emotions.
At the White House Correspondents' Dinner on Saturday, Obama brought Key out to play that very role. Yet as Obama turned to obstreperous climate change deniers, he soon overtook Key as the voice of rage, prompting the comedian to leap in and save Obama from going too far.
"Instead of doing something about it [climate change] we've got elected officials throwing snowballs in the Senate," Obama said, his voice rising. "It is crazy."
"What about our kids? What kind of stupid, shortsighted, irresponsible bull—" he continued before Key cut him off. —Jon Terbush
Saturday Night Live's Cecily Strong spared no one in Washington with her routine at Saturday's White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, but her most poignant barbs focused on race relations in America.
"Your hair is so white now it can talk back to the police," Strong said of President Obama.
Earlier, Strong earned mostly hushed grumbling when she combined into one punchline recent police shootings of unarmed black men and reports of Secret Service incompetence. Calling for applause for Secret Service agents in attendance, Strong called them, "the only law enforcement agency that will get in trouble if a black man gets shot."
You can watch Strong's full routine below. —Jon Terbush