Hard pass
June 27, 2018

A Republican immigration bill was defeated in the House by a wide margin Wednesday, despite President Trump's last-minute endorsement.

The so-called "compromise" bill, crafted by House GOP leaders, garnered only 121 votes, with 301 representatives — including 112 Republicans — voting against it, Politico reports. The proposal would have authorized $25 billion for Trump's Mexico border wall, given young immigrant DREAMers a narrow path to citizenship, restricted legal immigration, and barred the federal government from separating migrant families.

Many expected the bill to fail, but some GOP lawmakers thought support from Trump would help. After publicly vacillating on the proposal, the president finally threw his weight behind the measure Wednesday morning, tweeting in all-caps that "HOUSE REPUBLICANS SHOULD PASS THE STRONG BUT FAIR IMMIGRATION BILL." Analysts like HuffPost's Matt Fuller say the overwhelming rejection is an "embarrassment" for both the GOP and Trump himself, pointing out how unusual it is for a bill to be defeated by such a large margin. Summer Meza

December 30, 2016

When the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs at the presidential inauguration next month, one member definitely won't be there. A longtime member of the choir has decided to quit the group rather than participate in the festivities in celebration of President-elect Donald Trump.

Jan Chamberlin said she made her decision to resign from the choir after she "spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony" and "reflected carefully on both sides of the issue." Ultimately, Chamberlin said she realized she could "never look myself in the mirror again with self-respect" if she were to perform. "I only know I could never 'throw roses to Hitler.' And I certainly could never sing for him," Chamberlin said. On Facebook, she urged people to realize that "history is repeating itself; the same tactics are being used by Hitler."

A church spokesman said that participation in the choir and at the inauguration is entirely voluntary. About 215 of the choir's 350 members are expected to perform in Washington, D.C., next month. Becca Stanek

July 22, 2016

Watching Donald Trump's acceptance speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention somehow didn't make it to the top of President Obama's to-do list. During a Friday press conference alongside Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, Obama admitted he didn't turn on the TV to hear what the Republican presidential nominee had to say. "I've got a lot of stuff to do," Obama said, adding that conventions "are pretty long events":

However, Obama said he did "read some of what was said," and in his opinion, some of the things Trump was saying didn't exactly "jive with the facts." "This idea that America is somehow on the verge of collapse, this vision of violence and chaos everywhere, doesn't really jive with the experience of most people," Obama said, citing FBI statistics showing America has actually gotten less violent in the last 30 years. "We're not going to make good decisions based on fears that don't have a basis in fact," Obama said. "And that, I think, is something that I hope all Americans pay attention to." Becca Stanek

May 11, 2016

Even the 2016 presidential candidates' names aren't popular. Unlike presidential candidates of years past, who inspired parents to name their kids after them, The New York Times reports the popularity of the names Hillary, Bernie, and Donald have actually declined, rather than grown. In 2015, there were fewer babies named after the current presidential candidates than in decades before.

The trend of presidential candidate baby-naming was particularly booming 60 years ago, with thousands more babies being callled Franklin, Harry, and Dwight at the start of the Roosevelt, Truman, and Eisenhower administrations. The trend was alive and well when President Barack Obama was running for president. Between 2007 and Obama's inauguration in 2009, more than 100 babies were named Barack. Previously, only about five newborns were given that name yearly.

In comparison, the name Bernie (or Bernard) has only continued to fall in popularity since 1924. The name Donald has also continued its disappearance from birth certificates, with only 690 born last year. As for Hillary Clinton's name, babies named Hillary were rarer last year than in years past. Her name hit peak popularity in 1992, when 2,500 Hillarys were born. Last year, only 136 were given the name. Becca Stanek

October 9, 2015

Seemingly out of options after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) unexpectedly dropped out of the race for House speaker Thursday, Republicans have been loudly urging Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to run, calling him the only potential candidate who would be able to unite the increasingly divided House. Though he politely turned down the offer Thursday, Ryan was forced to double down on his refusal Friday as the pleas for his candidacy reached a fever pitch.

"Chairman Ryan appreciates the support he's getting from his colleagues but is still not running for speaker," a spokesman for Ryan told NBC News Friday. Becca Stanek

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