July 27, 2014

DO TELL: Lawmakers complain Obama too aloof with Congress.

President Barack Obama’s request for billions of dollars to deal with migrant children streaming across the border set off Democrats and Republicans. Lawmakers in both parties complained that the White House – six years in – still doesn’t get it when it comes to working with Congress.

Top GOP leaders got no notice of the $3.7 billion emergency request. The administration sent contradictory messages about what it wanted to deal with the border crisis. And as the proposal drew fierce criticism, the White House made few overtures to lawmakers in either party to rally support.

House and Senate lawmakers in both parties plus several senior congressional aides said this past week that the handling of the proposal by Obama and the White House is emblematic of the administration’s rocky relationship with Congress: an ad hoc approach that shuns appeals to opponents and doesn’t reward allies. . . . Congressional frustration with the administration is not limited to the White House.

Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly implored the State Department last month to weigh in on a bipartisan resolution calling on Turkey to return confiscated Christian property before a House panel voted on the measure. The Virginia lawmaker complained the resolution included “gratuitous Turkey-bashing” and wanted State Department officials to help persuade lawmakers to support a toned-down version.

None of his House colleagues heard from department’s legislative liaisons.

“The State Department was missing in action,” Connolly said in an interview. “They have to professionalize their operation.”

He’s a cold fish who doesn’t care about much of anything outside his own narrow priorities.