President Barack Obama spoke Wednesday in Texas about the immigration crisis, urging Congress to approve his request for $3.7 billion in emergency spending.
"The problem here is not a major disagreement around the actions that could be helpful in dealing with the problem. The challenge ... is Congress prepared to act to put the resources in place to get this done?" Obama asked during a stop in Dallas.
"Are folks more interested in politics or are they more interested in solving the problem?"
They shook hands and then boarded Obama's helicopter for Dallas, where they met with faith leaders and local officials to discuss options for responding to the influx of young immigrants illegally entering the country.
When asked by a reporter to address those who say he should visit the border to witness the immigration crisis firsthand, the President said he wasn't interested in photo ops.
"There's nothing that is taking place down there that I am not intimately aware of and briefed on. This isn't theater. This is a problem," he said.
Discussions aren't enough for GOP critics or even some of Obama's fellow Democrats.
"This is a real crisis and the President needs to treat it as such and I think traveling from Dallas to the border is a 500-mile trip," Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas told CNN. "That's not far to go on Air Force One."
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a possible GOP presidential nominee in 2016, called the situation similar to the much-disparaged federal response to Hurricane Katrina by the Bush administration.
"For him to go to Texas and spend two days shaking down donors and never even getting near the border mess he helped create would be like flying into New Orleans in the highest waters of Katrina to eat Creole cooking, but never getting near the Ninth Ward, the Superdome, or the Convention Center where thousands languished in squalor," Huckabee said.
Perry seized on a similar theme, saying the immigration crisis is no different than another natural disaster - Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
"The American people expect to see their President when there is a disaster," he told CNN's Kate Bolduan in an interview that aired Thursday. "He showed up at Sandy. Why not Texas?"
Politicians are united in disagreement about Iraq. What is our responsibility in the crisis? Weigh in on our "New Day" Facebook page.
Up to 100 U.S. special forces - probably Green Berets, Army Rangers and Navy SEALs - would go to Iraq to advise its military and collect intelligence under a Pentagon plan offered to President Barack Obama, according to several U.S. officials.
An announcement on the plan could come Thursday, though the officials made clear that Obama will decide whether to accept it and when to announce it.
Obama is under pressure to help the embattled Iraqi government stave off a lightning advance toward Baghdad by Sunni fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
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ouse Democrats remained undecided Friday on whether they would join a select committee created by majority Republicans to investigate the Benghazi terror attack.
Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, said his side was waiting for a response from Republicans on what he called "due process," which translates to Democrats getting some say in committee proceedings regarding subpoenas and questioning of witnesses.
He indicated a final decision was unlikely on Friday, though the House Democratic caucus met to discuss the issue.
Options under consideration include participating as a minority bloc, which Republicans have proposed; having a lone member take part to register disapproval but maintain a presence, or rejecting the entire process as a partisan witch hunt.
"We are trying to find a way to make this work but the Republicans have shown no inclination to make it work," Rep. Steve Israel of New York told reporters outside the meeting. "If this is going to be a true bipartisan inquiry we will participate. If it is engineered to be a Republican campaign strategy, it is much harder for us to participate."
The September 2012 armed assault on the U.S. diplomatic compound in eastern Libya killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Republicans have complained since that the Obama administration failed to properly secure the compound, neglected to send military assets to try to save the besieged Americans and then tried to cover up exactly what happened.
The administration and Democrats counter that multiple investigations have found security deficiencies, but not the kind of wrongdoing alleged by Republicans.
For Republicans, the issue presents an opportunity to attack then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the overwhelming favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016 if she decides to run.
Clinton is polling well so far against all likely GOP challengers, and the emotional Benghazi issue offers Republicans a chance to exploit one of her few potential vulnerabilities.
A nearly party line vote of 232-186 on Thursday established the panel despite investigations by multiple House committees that have reviewed documents, interviewed witnesses and held numerous hearings.
GOP plans call for seven Republicans and five Democrats on the committee, which would have subpoena powers. Boehner already appointed South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor, to lead the effort.
Seven Democrats backed the formation of the committee. Most face tough reelection bids in "red" districts.
Democrats argued that creation of a special panel was a political ploy to keep the controversy in play during a midterm election year.
"If there is not equal representation of Democrats and Republicans, and that this is not a fair process, then not participating in a sham select committee after 13 investigations, 50 briefings, 25,000 pages of documents, for what is essentially a political ploy is something that should be considered," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chairman, told CNN on Friday.
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Republicans call it a government cover-up similar to what forced Richard Nixon to resign. Democrats call it a right-wing conspiracy theory.
The fallout from the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans continues more than 19 months later, with further details this week that raised questions about how the Obama administration responded to the violence less than two months before the President's re-election.
Few issues reveal the hyper-partisan politics of Washington more than the ongoing debate over an issue now known simply as Benghazi.
On Friday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa announced that he has subpoenaed Secretary of State John Kerry to testify at a May 21 hearing on the issue.
A day earlier, House Speaker John Boehner accused the administration of defying a previous subpoena by failing to turn over newly disclosed documents, while Issa, a California Republican, said the transgression was "in violation of any reasonable transparency or historic precedent at least since Richard Milhous Nixon."
At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney shot back that Republicans continued trying to reap political benefit with what he called conspiracy theories about a Benghazi cover-up.
"What we have seen since hours after the attack, beginning with a statement by the Republican nominee for president, is an attempt by Republicans to politicize a tragedy, and that continues today," Carney told reporters, later adding that "what hasn't changed has been the effort by Republicans to ... claim a conspiracy when they haven't been able to find one."
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