WBEZ | Congressman Danny Davis http://www.wbez.org/tags/congressman-danny-davis Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Obama: Nation stronger, GOP should back his plans http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-nation-stronger-gop-should-back-his-plans-105494 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS7007_AP222216659109%281%29-scr.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="First lady Michelle Obama is applauded before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. Front row, from left are, Nathaniel Pendleton, Cleopatra Cowley-Pendleton, Mrs. Obama, Menchu Sanchez and Jill Biden. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)" /></div><p>Uncompromising and politically emboldened, President Barack Obama urged a deeply divided Congress Tuesday night to embrace his plans to use government money to create jobs and strengthen the nation&#39;s middle class. He declared Republican ideas for reducing the deficit &quot;even worse&quot; than the unpalatable deals Washington had to stomach during his first term.</p><p>&quot;We have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the state&nbsp;of our&nbsp;union&nbsp;is strong,&quot; Obama said in an hour-long address &mdash; the first since his re-election &mdash; to a joint session of Congress and a television audience of millions.</p><p>Obama broke little new ground on two agenda items he has pushed vigorously since his victory in November, both of which have been closely watched in the Chicago area: overhauling the nation&#39;s fractured immigration laws and enacting tougher gun control measures in the wake of the horrific massacre of school children in Newtown, Conn. Yet he pressed for urgency on both, calling on Congress to send him an immigration bill &quot;in the next few months&quot; and insisting lawmakers hold votes on his gun proposals.</p><p>&quot;Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress,&quot; he said. &quot;If you want to vote no, that&#39;s your choice.&quot;</p><p>Numerous lawmakers in attendance wore green lapel ribbons in memory of those killed in the December shootings in Connecticut. Among those watching in the House gallery: the parents of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, shot and killed late last month in a park just a mile from the president&#39;s home in Chicago&#39;s Kenwood neighborhood, as well as other victims of gun violence.</p><p>Illinois U.S. Rep. Danny Davis said that Pendleton&rsquo;s parents, who were guests of the Obamas at Tuesday&rsquo;s address, served as living examples of the pain that gun violence inflicts on American families.</p><p>&ldquo;We are the poster child,&rdquo; said U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, D-Chicago. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think it sheds a light on Chicago that is negative. I think it sheds a light that he recognizes the problems and needs of the city.&rdquo;</p><p>Davis said he&rsquo;s confident new gun control measures will come up for a vote in his Republican-controlled chamber, as Obama urged lawmakers. But Illinois U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Channahon, seemed less confident.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we need to have conversations, but not put everybody&rsquo;s expectations at a certain level,&rdquo; Kinzinger said, adding that he wanted to take a comprehensive look at the causes of gun violence rather than focusing on new gun ownership restrictions.</p><p>With unemployment persistently high and consumer confidence falling, Obama spent a good measure of his address on the economy, which remains a vulnerability for the president and could disrupt his plans for pursuing a broader agenda, including immigration overhaul, stricter gun laws and climate change legislation.</p><p>Still, fresh off a convincing re-election win, Obama made clear in his remarks that he was determined to press his political advantage against a divided, defensive and worried Republican Party. Numerous times he urged Congress to act quickly on his priorities &mdash; but vowed to act on some issues on his own if they do not.</p><p>Obama also announced new steps to reduce the U.S. military footprint abroad, with 34,000 American troops withdrawing from Afghanistan within a year. And he had a sharp rebuke for North Korea, which launched a nuclear test just hours before his remarks, saying, &quot;Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further.&quot;</p><p>In specific proposals for shoring up the economy in his second term, an assertive Obama called for increased federal spending to fix the nation&#39;s roads and bridges, the first increase in the minimum wage in six years and expansion of early education to every American 4-year-old. Seeking to appeal for support from Republicans, he promised that none of his proposals would increase the deficit &quot;by a single dime&quot; although he didn&#39;t explain how he would pay for his programs or how much they would cost.</p><p>In the Republican response to Obama&#39;s address, rising GOP star Marco Rubio of Florida came right back at the president, saying his solution &quot;to virtually every problem we face is for Washington to tax more, borrow more and spend more.&quot;</p><p>Sen. Rubio said presidents of both parties have recognized that the free enterprise system brings middle-class prosperity.</p><p>&quot;But President Obama?&quot; Rubio said. &quot;He believes it&#39;s the cause of our problems.&quot;</p><p>Still, throughout the House chamber there were symbolic displays of bipartisanship. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., arrived early and sat with Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., just returned in January nearly a year after suffering a debilitating stroke. As a captain in the National Guard, Duckworth lost both her legs while serving in Iraq in 2004.</p><p>A few aisles away, the top two tax writers in Congress, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., sat together.</p><p>But as a sign that divisions still remain, three of the most conservative Supreme Court justices skipped Obama&#39;s speech. Six of the nine attended. Missing were Justices Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito.</p><p>Jobs and growth dominated Obama&#39;s address. Many elements of his economic blueprint were repacked proposals from his first term that failed to gain traction on Capitol Hill.</p><p>Standing in Obama&#39;s way now is a Congress that remains nearly as divided as it was during the final years of his first term, when Washington lurched from one crisis to another.</p><p>The president implored lawmakers to break through partisan logjams, asserting that &quot;the greatest nation on Earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Americans don&#39;t expect government to solve every problem,&quot; he said. &quot;They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can.&quot;</p><p>Yet Obama offered few signs of being willing to compromise himself, instead doubling down on his calls to create jobs by spending more government money and insisting that lawmakers pay down the deficit through a combination of targeted spending cuts and tax increases. But he offered few specifics on what he wanted to see cut, focusing instead on the need to protect programs that help the middle class, elderly and poor.</p><p>He did reiterate his willingness to tackle entitlement changes, particularly on Medicare, though he has ruled out increasing the eligibility age for the popular benefit program for seniors.</p><p>Republicans are ardently opposed to Obama&#39;s calls for legislating more tax revenue to reduce the deficit and offset broad the automatic spending cuts &mdash; known as the sequester &mdash; that are to take effect March 1. The president accused GOP lawmakers of shifting the cuts from defense to programs that would help the middle class and elderly, as well as those supporting education and job training.</p><p>&quot;That idea is even worse,&quot; he said.</p><p>On the economy, Obama called for raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 by 2015. The minimum wage has been stagnant since 2007, and administration officials said the increase would strengthen purchasing power. The president also wants Congress to approve automatic increases in the wage to keep pace with inflation.</p><p>Looking for common ground anywhere he could find it, Obama framed his proposal to boost the minimum wage by pointing out that even his GOP presidential rival liked the idea. He said, &quot;Here&#39;s an idea that Gov. Romney and I actually agreed on last year: Let&#39;s tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on.&quot;</p><p>Obama also renewed his calls for infrastructure spending, investments he sought repeatedly during his first term with little support from Republicans. He pressed lawmakers to approve a $50 billion &quot;fix it first&quot; program that would address the most urgent infrastructure needs.</p><p>Education also figures in Obama&#39;s plans to boost American competitiveness in the global economy. Under his proposal, the federal government would help&nbsp;states&nbsp;provide pre-school for all 4-year-olds. Officials did not provide a cost for the pre-school programs but said the government would provide financial incentives to help&nbsp;states.</p><p>Among the other initiatives Obama is proposing:</p><p>&mdash; A $1 billion plan to create 15 &quot;manufacturing institutes&quot; that would bring together businesses, universities and the government. If Congress opposes the initiative, Obama plans to use his presidential powers to create three institutes on his own.</p><p>&mdash; Creation of an &quot;energy security trust&quot; that would use revenue from federal oil and gas leases to support development of clean energy technologies such as biofuels and natural gas</p><p>&mdash; Doubling of renewable energy in the U.S. from wind, solar and geothermal sources by 2020.</p><p>&mdash; Launching negotiations on a free trade agreement between the U.S. and European&nbsp;Union</p><p>Obama also called on Congress to tackle the threat of climate change, another issue that eluded him in his first term. The president pledged to work with lawmakers to seek bipartisan solutions but said if Capitol Hill doesn&#39;t act, he&#39;ll order his Cabinet to seek steps he can take using his presidential powers.</p><p>Taking a swipe at those who question the threat of global warming, Obama said, &quot;We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some&nbsp;states&nbsp;have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science - and act before it&#39;s too late.&quot;</p><p>Tackling voters&#39; rights issues, Obama announced the creation of a commission that will seek to make it easier and faster for people to cast ballots on Election Day. He used as an example the story of 102-year-old Desiline Victor, a Florida woman who waited in line to vote for several hours during the November election. Victor attended Tuesday&#39;s speech as a guest of the first lady and was applauded heartily by the lawmakers.</p><p>Obama also called on Congress to pass legislation giving the government more power to combat the rapidly growing threat of cyberattacks. And, as a down payment on that, the president announced that he has signed an executive order to fight electronic espionage through the development of voluntary standards to protect networks and computer systems that run critical infrastructure.</p><p><em>&mdash; WBEZ reporter Alex Keefe contributed to this report&nbsp;</em></p></p> Tue, 12 Feb 2013 23:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-nation-stronger-gop-should-back-his-plans-105494 House to vote on Cut, Cap and Balance bill; future of the debt ceiling http://www.wbez.org/story/house-vote-cut-cap-and-balance-bill-future-debt-ceiling-89374 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-19/debt ceiling_ap_Pablo Martinez Monsivais.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Debates over raising the debt ceiling continue in Washington today.&nbsp;The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the Republican-backed "<a href="http://www.cutcapandbalanceact.com">Cut, Cap and Balance Act</a>" Tuesday evening, which allows for the debt ceiling to be raised to $2.4 trillion, but would require spending cuts and a new balanced budget.</p><p>But Republican Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh said that though he is supportive of the bill, he fears it won't be passed once it gets to the Democratically led Senate.</p><p>"Instead of being obsessed on this August 2nd date, which the administration is trying to do -- they're lying and they're fear mongering -- we need to make sure we do this right, and if we're going to raise the debt ceiling, we need real structural reform, to make sure that we don't get here again," said Walsh.</p><p>"My fear is, too many politicians up here -- mostly Democrats but too many Republicans -- don’t understand what a unique moment in time we have here. We have an absolute debt crisis, and we have an opportunity to pass real historic change that will make sure we don’t get here again," Walsh added.</p><p>Walsh's colleague, Illinois Democrat Danny Davis, however, said he would not vote for the Cut, Cap and Balance bill. "I will not support anything that is not a balanced approach to meeting the economic needs of our country based upon the debt ceiling, based upon the budget, and based upon where we find money that it is rational to pursue and get," he said.</p><p>Additionally, Davis is worried about the future of programs for those in his state, including Medicaid and Medicare, if the debt ceiling is not raised. "There are individuals who will need Medicare, who will need medical services, and will not be able to get them, and they will go to the graveyard sooner," he said. "They will go and see the undertaker."</p><p>As for Republican Mitch McConnell's plan to raise the debt ceiling, Walsh said he is "vehemently against it. It goes against everything we stand for. It basically allows the president to raise the debt ceiling and then Congress is allowed to voice their disapproval of it. What is that? That’s abdicating our responsibility....I understand why McConnell put it forward; he’s frustrated because he’s dealing with the President, who just doesn’t get it. But still, it’s Congress' job to lead."</p><p>President Obama has promised to veto the Cut, Cap and Balance Act if it lands on his desk. But he said at a news conference today that there could be a path to a deal on deficit cuts, through a plan put together by the "Gang of Six" senators from both parties, including Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin.</p></p> Tue, 19 Jul 2011 21:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/house-vote-cut-cap-and-balance-bill-future-debt-ceiling-89374 Davis, Meeks support Braun as top African-American candidate http://www.wbez.org/story/carol-moseley-braun/davis-meeks-support-braun-top-african-american-candidate <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/scaled cmb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun said race wasn't an issue in Congressman Danny Davis' decision to pull out of the race for Chicago Mayor.</p> <div>Braun is now the leading African-American candidate on the ballot for February's election.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Davis said his decision reflects the needs of his constituents.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Many people in the African-American community felt that they could not support three people,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Then they felt that they could not support two people, but they wanted to support one person. Now they&rsquo;ve got the opportunity to clearly support one person.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Braun acknowledged Davis's support at a press conference Monday. State Senator James Meeks was the other leading African American candidate until he dropped out of the race last month. He has also thrown his support behind Braun.&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 03 Jan 2011 19:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/carol-moseley-braun/davis-meeks-support-braun-top-african-american-candidate Danny Davis vows to reform City Hall http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-mayoral-election/danny-davis-vows-reform-city-hall <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Davis1.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>U.S. Congressman Danny Davis has pledged to reform key areas of city government if elected mayor of Chicago.</p> <div>Davis said he wants to see tax increment finance (TIF) money used for long term community development in struggling neighborhoods, rather than to benefit developers. Davis also said he would not use TIF money to fund Chicago Public Schools, one idea that has been proposed to help close the schools' $1 billion budget shortfall.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Davis, a former Chicago Alderman and Cook County commissioner, questioned what he called &ldquo;overnight deal making&rdquo; by the current administration, such as the bulldozing of Meigs Field and the leasing of the city&rsquo;s parking meters. He says the city&rsquo;s current contracting practices have resulted in &ldquo;scandal after scandal,&rdquo; and lack representation, especially for minority and women businesses.</div><div><br />Davis also pledged to invoke an existing city ordinance to stop paying legal fees for former Chicago police lieutenant Jon Burge, and would support a fair settlement for plaintiffs in the four remaining Burge torture cases.</div><p>When asked about whether he was concerned about the possibility of splitting the African-American vote with mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun, Davis said, &quot;In some instances we would be vying for the same voters and trying to get the same voter types to support us, so there is some concern.&quot;</p> <div>State Senator James Meeks (D-IL) stepped out of the mayor's race last week, citing concerns about dividing African-American votes.&nbsp;&nbsp;On&nbsp;Sunday, <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/politics&amp;id=7865231">Meeks repeated his calls for the African-American community in&nbsp;Chicago to unite behind one candidate</a>.&nbsp;&nbsp; The prospect of a runoff election without a black candidate would be &quot;the worst thing we could possibly do for our city&quot;, said Meeks. &nbsp;&nbsp;</div></p> Mon, 27 Dec 2010 20:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-mayoral-election/danny-davis-vows-reform-city-hall