Politics, government and public life for Southern California

California lawmakers unmoved by President Obama's Capitol Hill diplomacy

left to right: Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and Rep. John Campbell (R-Irvine).

President Obama continued his diplomatic offensive on Capitol Hill today, meeting with House Democrats. Earlier this week he met with House and Senate Republicans, as well as Democratic Senators. Some members of the California delegation have mixed reactions to the President’s mission.

President Obama spent Wednesday afternoon with House Republicans, like John Campbell of Irvine. Campbell describes the conversation as "certainly respectful," but he says no differences were bridged. The president took questions on everything from immigration to the Keystone pipeline to the impasse over the budget. Campbell says Mr. Obama didn't offer anything new "and I don't think we really offered anything new." 

The president should have had an easier time Thursday, preaching to the choir of fellow Democrats in the House. But Long Beach Democrat Alan Lowenthal says "he told the choir, 'hey, we're going to compromise.'" Congressman Lowenthal says the President told Democrats to be open to entitlement reform – like raising the age for Medicare and changing the inflation calculation for Social Security benefits – if Republicans agree to close tax loopholes.

Can the President’s visit can break the logjam in Congress? "All you can do is hope," says Lowenthal. Campbell says it hasn't changed a thing.

The visits to Capitol Hill may be good practice for the President’s diplomatic mission next week to the Middle East.

 

 

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein's assault weapons ban advances, still faces hurdles (poll)

Democratic Lawmakers Introduce Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 Legislation

Alex Wong/Getty Images

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) speaks next to a display of assault weapons during a January news conference on Capitol Hill. Feinstein bill to ban assault weapons has passed a key Senate committee.

An assault weapons ban proposed by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein cleared a key Senate committee Thursday, but the measure still has a tough road before becoming law.

The vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee was 10-8, along party lines (Democrats voted in favor; Republicans opposed). The bill would ban the sale, transfer, importation and manufacture of more than 150 military assault weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

Sen. Feinstein says the high powered weapons are being used by "grievance killers, the mentally unstable and others to kill significant numbers of people in our malls, our theaters, our workplaces and our schools." She says it's time "we step up and address this scourge once and for all.”

RELATED: See more than 500 comments on the senator's proposed assault weapons ban

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Maven's Morning Coffee: LAPD to upgrade 911 system, county courthouses to close, Howard Berman joins lobbying firm

lafd ambulance

Photo by KristaLAPrincess via Flickr Creative Commons

The LAFD fire chief tells the Los Angeles Times he plans to upgrade the city's 911 dispatch system so it can communicate with other fire departments.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Thursday, March 14, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

The Los Angeles Fire Department will upgrade its 911 system to work with other fire agencies, reports the Los Angeles Times. "In an interview with The Times editorial board, (fire Chief Brian) Cummings said he would like to see a seamless network that connects dispatch systems across municipal borders," according to the newspaper.

A Los Angeles Times editorial knocks the Wendy Greuel campaign for trying to paint her mayoral opponent, Eric Garcetti, as anti-union. "Only in Los Angeles would a liberal Democrat who has campaigned time and again with strong labor support stand accused of being this city's version of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican who earned labor's undying enmity for ending collective bargaining rights in his state," according to the piece.

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Angelenos storm Capitol Hill for annual LA Chamber lobbying trip

Denita Willoughby, who works for the Southern California Gas Company, is part of the L.A. Chamber’s education team. She talked to members of Congress about teacher grants, after-school programs, and funding for students with disabilities.

Wednesday is the third and final day of meetings in Washington for more than 150 business and political leaders from Los Angeles. Sequestration overshadowed this year’s agenda for Access LA — the annual D.C. lobbying trip sponsored by the L.A. Chamber of Commerce.

The group had meetings with White House staffers, cabinet secretaries, both of California’s U.S. Senators, and several members of Congress to talk about everything from immigration to modernizing LAX.

Denita Willoughby of the Southern California Gas Company has made several Access LA trips to D.C. She's part of the Chamber’s education team, talking to members of Congress about teacher grants, after-school programs, and funding for students with disabilities.

Willoughby describes the meetings as "frustrating because we’ve been talking about these issues for more than a few years now and there’s been little progress made." But she sees some movement, with members identifying parts of bills where there is some agreement. "We will eventually get there," she says. "I don’t know if it’s necessarily this year on some of these items, but I don’t think you give up."

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Maven's Morning Coffee: consultants recap election, Democratic Party endorses for LA City Council, jury still out in Bell case

Los Angeles City Hall

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Consultants for the leading mayoral candidates took to Loyola Marymount University last night to recap the March 5 primary.

Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Maven's Morning Coffee -- a listing of the important headlines, news conferences, public meetings and announcements you need to know to fuel up and tackle your day.

The Maven's Morning Coffee is also available as a daily email. Click here to subscribe.

Today is Wednesday , March 13, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:

Headlines

The political consultants for the mayoral candidates gathered at Loyola Marymount University last night to debrief the March 5 primary. What advice would Harvey Englander have given Jan Perry?  "Run for city controller," LAObserved reports.

The L.A. County Democratic Party declined to endorse in the mayor's race, according to KPCC. "Our members were genuinely split between the two candidates. It’s a race where you have two very strong Democrats running against each other," said chairman Eric Bauman. Other endorsements went to Gil Cedillo in CD 1, state Sen. Curren Price in CD9 and John Choi in CD13.

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