White House Struggles with Independent Congress Congress reconvenes following the July Fourth holiday. Renee Montagne talks to Cokie Roberts about the difficulty the White House is having with its agenda on Capitol Hill.
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White House Struggles with Independent Congress

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White House Struggles with Independent Congress

White House Struggles with Independent Congress

White House Struggles with Independent Congress

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Congress reconvenes following the July Fourth holiday. Renee Montagne talks to Cokie Roberts about the difficulty the White House is having with its agenda on Capitol Hill.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Joining me now for some analysis is NPR's Cokie Roberts. Good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: National security issues have dominated this Congress, and over the weekend there were more signs of tension between lawmakers and the president over intelligence.

ROBERTS: Here's Congressman Hoekstra.

PETER HOEKSTRA: We can't be briefed on every little thing that they are doing, but in this case there was at least one major - what I consider significant activity that we had not been briefed on, that we have now been briefed on. And I want to set the standard there that it is not optional for this president or any president or people in the executive community not to keep the Intelligence Committee fully informed of what they are doing.

ROBERTS: Congressman Hoekstra spoke on Fox News Sunday and he said the administration might have broken the law by not briefing the Intelligence Committee. It's significant because he is a supporter of the president. What you're seeing here, Renee, is just no blank checks for the administration and Congress anymore.

MONTAGNE: Well, domestic issues are also dividing Republicans. Last week, both the House and the Senate held hearings on immigration. Have the two houses come any closer to resolution on that issue?

ROBERTS: There is, speaking of that civil rights of the '60s, voting rights - the landmark legislation - coming back up in the House of Representatives for extension this week, and there again, a big fight inside the Republican Party on how to handle that piece of legislation and what kind of signal they want to send on whether they are the party of discrimination on that issue as well.

MONTAGNE: Well, just briefly, the Democrats divisions include, especially, Iraq. Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman got caught in the crossfire

ROBERTS: And remains caught in that crossfire. He is in a very tough primary battle against an unseasoned political businessman, Ned Lamont, and Democrats in Connecticut furious with the president on the war, furious with Lieberman for backing the president on the war, and putting the Senator in a very precarious position. So much so, he has said that if he loses the Democratic primary, he will run as an Independent because he thinks he can beat the Republican in Connecticut. But then that has other Democrats backing away from him, saying they'll back whoever is the Democratic winner. It's a tough position for him to be in.

MONTAGNE: Cokie, thanks very much. NPR News Analyst Cokie Roberts.

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