Jeff Mason, Reuters, 10/19/13, Analysis: Despite budget win, Obama has weak hand with Congress , health.yahoo.net/news/s/nm/analysis-despite-budget-win-obama-has-weak-hand-with-congress
Democrats believe, however, that Obama's bargaining hand may be strengthened by the thrashing Republicans took in opinion polls over their handling of the shutdown.
"This shutdown re-emphasized the overwhelming public demand for compromise and negotiation. And that may open up a window," said Ben LaBolt, Obama's 2012 campaign spokesman and a former White House aide.
"There's no doubt that some Republican members (of Congress) are going to oppose policies just because the president's for it. But the hand of those members was significantly weakened."
If he does have an upper hand, Obama is likely to apply it to immigration reform. The White House had hoped to have a bill concluded by the end of the summer. A Senate version passed with bipartisan support earlier this year but has languished in the Republican-controlled House.
"It will be hard to move anything forward, unless the Republicans find the political pain of obstructionism too much to bear," said Doug Hattaway, a Democratic strategist and an adviser to Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.
"That may be the case with immigration - they'll face pressure from business and Latinos to advance immigration reform," he said.
The plan reverses these dynamics—sparks an inter-branch fight derailing the agenda
Douglas Kriner, Assistant Profess of Political Science at Boston University, 2010, After the Rubicon: Congress, Presidents, and the Politics of Waging War, p. 67-69
Raising or Lowering Political Costs by Affecting Presidential Political Capital
Shaping both real and anticipated public opinion are two important ways in which Congress can raise or lower the political costs of a military action for the president. However, focusing exclusively on opinion dynamics threatens to obscure the much broader political consequences of domestic reaction—particularly congressional opposition—to presidential foreign policies. At least since Richard Neustadt's seminal work Presidential Power, presidency scholars have warned that costly political battles in one policy arena frequently have significant ramifications for presidential power in other realms. Indeed, two of Neustadt's three "cases of command"—Truman's seizure of the steel mills and firing of General Douglas MacArthur—explicitly discussed the broader political consequences of stiff domestic resistance to presidential assertions of commander-in-chief powers. In both cases, Truman emerged victorious in the case at hand—yet, Neustadt argues, each victory cost Truman dearly in terms of his future power prospects and leeway in other policy areas, many of which were more important to the president than achieving unconditional victory over North Korea."
While congressional support leaves the president's reserve of political capital intact, congressional criticism saps energy from other initiatives on the home front by forcing the president to expend energy and effort defending his international agenda. Political capital spent shoring up support for a president's foreign policies is capital that is unavailable for his future policy initiatives. Moreover, any weakening in the president's political clout may have immediate ramifications for his reelection prospects, as well as indirect consequences for congressional races." Indeed, Democratic efforts to tie congressional Republican incumbents to President George W. Bush and his war policies paid immediate political dividends in the 2006 midterms, particularly in states, districts, and counties that had suffered the highest casualty rates in the Iraq War.6°
In addition to boding ill for the president's perceived political capital and reputation, such partisan losses in Congress only further imperil his programmatic agenda, both international and domestic. Scholars have long noted that President Lyndon Johnson's dream of a Great Society also perished in the rice paddies of Vietnam. Lacking both the requisite funds in a war-depleted treasury and the political capital needed to sustain his legislative vision, Johnson gradually let his domestic goals slip away as he hunkered down in an effort first to win and then to end the Vietnam War. In the same way, many of President Bush's highest second-term domestic priorities, such as Social Security and immigration reform, failed perhaps in large part because the administration had to expend so much energy and effort waging a rear-guard action against congressional critics of the war in Iraq.
When making their cost-benefit calculations, presidents surely consider these wider political costs of congressional opposition to their military policies. If congressional opposition in the military arena stands to derail other elements of his agenda, all else being equal, the president will be more likely to judge the benefits of military action insufficient to its costs than if Congress stood behind him in the international arena
(Antoine, “Bipartisan immigration proposal acknowledges agriculture's needs” January 28, 2013, Imperial Valley Press)
Bipartisan immigration proposal acknowledges agriculture's needs
The bipartisan proposal unveiled Monday paves the way to legalization of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants with a program described as “tough but fair.”
It also addresses the concerns of the agricultural industry, whose labor pool by some estimates is composed of some 50 to 70 percent unauthorized workers.
“Agricultural workers who commit to the long-term stability of our nation’s agricultural industries will be treated differently than the rest of the undocumented population because of the role they play in ensuring that Americans have safe and secure agricultural products to sell and consume,” states the proposal.
Total farmworkers in Imperial County fluctuated between 8,000 and 11,000 in 2012, according to data from the Employment Development Department.
“There’s definitely recognition that agriculture will be taken care of,” said Steve Scaroni, a Heber farmer who has lobbied Washington extensively on immigration reform.
The proposal is based on four broad principles: a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, reform of the system to capitalize on characteristics that strengthen the economy, the creation of an effective employment verification system and improving the immigration process for future workers.
The principles are broad and many details need to be worked out.
“The principles acknowledge that the situation in agriculture is distinct and requires different treatment,” said Craig Regelbrugge, chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration Reform, a group that represents the landscape and nursery industry.
Access to a legal and stable work force is vital, Regelbrugge said, as is a workable program that eliminates or reduces hurdles for a future work force.
“We would like to see the agriculture legalization program attractive so there are incentives for them to work in the sector,” Regelbrugge noted.
The proposals also acknowledge that the United States immigration system is broken, and address criticism that not enough is being done to enforce existing immigration laws. To that end, Monday’s proposals are contingent on secure borders.
But, the acknowledgement of the agriculture sector’s needs allows for some optimism.
“As long as the labor supply solutions are there, we can support the enforcement solutions,” Regelbrugge said.
(Richard, a US Senator from Indiana, is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a member and former chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “calls for a new green revolution to combat global warming and reduce world instability,” pg online @ http://www.unep.org/OurPlanet/imgversn/143/lugar.html)
In a world confronted by global terrorism, turmoil in the Middle East, burgeoning nuclear threats and other crises, it is easy to lose sight of the long-range challenges. But we do so at our peril. One of the most daunting of them is meeting the world’s need for food and energy in this century. At stake is not only preventing starvation and saving the environment, but also world peace and security. History tells us that states may go to war over access to resources, and that poverty and famine have often bred fanaticism and terrorism. Working to feed the world will minimize factors that contribute to global instability and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. With the world population expected to grow from 6 billion people today to 9 billion by mid-century, the demand for affordable food will increase well beyond current international production levels. People in rapidly developing nations will have the means greatly to improve their standard of living and caloric intake. Inevitably, that means eating more meat. This will raise demand for feed grain at the same time that the growing world population will need vastly more basic food to eat. Complicating a solution to this problem is a dynamic that must be better understood in the West: developing countries often use limited arable land to expand cities to house their growing populations. As good land disappears, people destroy timber resources and even rainforests as they try to create more arable land to feed themselves. The long-term environmental consequences could be disastrous for the entire globe. Productivity revolution To meet the expected demand for food over the next 50 years, we in the United States will have to grow roughly three times more food on the land we have. That’s a tall order. My farm in Marion County, Indiana, for example, yields on average 8.3 to 8.6 tonnes of corn per hectare – typical for a farm in central Indiana. To triple our production by 2050, we will have to produce an annual average of 25 tonnes per hectare. Can we possibly boost output that much? Well, it’s been done before. Advances in the use of fertilizer and water, improved machinery and better tilling techniques combined to generate a threefold increase in yields since 1935 – on our farm back then, my dad produced 2.8 to 3 tonnes per hectare. Much US agriculture has seen similar increases. But of course there is no guarantee that we can achieve those results again. Given the urgency of expanding food production to meet world demand, we must invest much more in scientific research and target that money toward projects that promise to have significant national and global impact. For the United States, that will mean a major shift in the way we conduct and fund agricultural science. Fundamental research will generate the innovations that will be necessary to feed the world. The United States can take a leading position in a productivity revolution. And our success at increasing food production may play a decisive humanitarian role in the survival of billions of people and the health of our planet.