TIME White House

Here Are the 8 Bills Obama Has Threatened to Veto

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama in the White House in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 16, 2015. Carolyn Kaster—AP

President Obama’s veto threats may end up being more like empty threats.

Though he’s only vetoed two bills so far in office — far fewer than most other presidents — Obama has told the newly Republican-controlled Congress that he will veto more if they send him the wrong bills.

Obama made four veto threats in his State of the Union address alone on stiffer Iran sanctions, the Affordable Care Act, Wall Street oversight and immigration.

“If a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, I will veto it,” he said.

But just because the President threatens a veto, that doesn’t mean he will. Nearly all of the bills he’s warned Congress about probably won’t make it out of the Senate anyway.

Here’s a look at the eight veto threats Obama has made so far.

Keystone XL Pipeline Act

What it would do: Approve construction of an oil pipeline between Canada and the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Where it stands now: The Senate is currently working out the final amendments to the bill, and it should go to a final passage vote before the end of January. It almost passed the Senate last year but lost by one vote.

Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015

What it would do: Establish tougher requirements for writing federal regulations.

Where it stands now: It passed the House and has some chance of passing in the Senate with the new Republican majority and support from moderate Democrats.

Save American Workers Act of 2015

What it would do: Increase the number of hours a week an employee has to work in order to get employer-provided health insurance, from 30 to 40.

Where it stands now: It passed the House, but there’s a scramble to line up the 60 necessary votes to pass the Senate (which would have to include six Democrats).

No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

What it would do: Ban taxpayer funding for abortion.

Where it stands now: The act already passed the House, though it will be far less likely to pass the Senate because of the scarcity of pro-life Democrats.

Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act

What it would do: Weaken almost a dozen provisions in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul.

Where it stands now: It passed the House, but likely won’t pass the Senate. However, Republicans could muscle portions of it into law by attaching them to critical spending bills.

Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act

What it would do: Require a decision on natural gas pipeline project applications within 12 months.

Where it stands now: The act has passed the House. While some House Democrats voted for the bill, it will likely stall in the Senate.

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act

What it would do: Overturn Obama’s 2014 executive action on immigration, which shielded millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Where it stands now: The bill in this form passed the House, but almost certainly won’t pass the Senate with the amendments about Obama’s executive action. However, some form of this bill needs to be passed by the end of February.

Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

What it would do: Ban most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Where it stands now: The bill got pulled from the House this week amid concerns from female GOP lawmakers that it would weaken the party’s appeal among women and millennial voters. It will be amended and possibly brought up again later.

 

TIME 2016 Election

5 Things You Need to Know About Antonio Villaraigosa

Team Maria Presents A Benefit For Best Buddies
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attends the Team Maria benefit for Best Buddies at Montage Beverly Hills in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Aug. 18, 2013. Amanda Edwards—WireImage/Getty Images

Speculation is heating up that former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa might run for an open Senate seat in California.

So far, Democratic Attorney General Kamala Harris is the only candidate who has officially announced a bid for the seat that Sen. Barbara Boxer will vacate in 2016. But Villaraigosa, also a Democrat, has been actively exploring a run, taking meetings and seeking advice from people such as his successor, current L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.

If Villaraigosa ran, it would set up a major fight between two Democrats in one of the biggest, most expensive blue states in the country — a prospect that many national Democrats hope to avoid. With other top contenders — billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom — also opting out, it could be the difference between a cakewalk for Harris or a real dogfight.

Here are five things you need to know about Villaraigosa:

1. His last name is a combination of his and his ex-wife’s. He was born Antonio Villar, and her name was Corina Raigosa. They joined their last names to create Villaraigosa.

2. Villaraigosa first ran for mayor in 2001 and lost. Two years later he won a seat on the city council and finally won the mayor’s office in 2005.

3. He has failed the bar exam four times (and never ended up passing).

4. He developed a benign tumor on his spine when he was a teenager that causes him recurring pain and has required two surgeries.

5. He has four kids.

 

TIME celebrity

Watch Will Ferrell Throw a Basketball at a Cheerleader’s Face

It's pretty brutal

Will Ferrell took an epic half-court shot during Wednesday’s Los Angeles Lakers vs. New Orleans Pelicans game—straight into a cheerleader’s face.

But don’t worry, it was for a movie. Ferrell was filming for his upcoming role in Daddy’s Home. He stars alongside Mark Wahlberg for the movie coming out later this year.

After the shot, Ferrell was faux-ejected from the stadium:

Read next: Watch Kevin Hart Teach Will Ferrell How to Survive Prison in the New Get Hard Trailer

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Television

Watch the New Trailer for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

The new trailer for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is here, and it looks like the show will be worth the wait.

Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s new comedy stars Ellie Kempner as a girl who has just escaped from a cult after 15 years and begins her life anew in New York City. The show will begin streaming on Netflix beginning on March 6 and has already been renewed for a second season, E! Online reports.

“We found the inspiration for this series in Ellie Kemper’s shining all-American face,” Fey and Carlock said in a joint statement.

Watch Kempner’s shining face above, and start counting down the days until March 6.

 

TIME 2016 Election

Most New Jersey Voters Don’t Think Chris Christie Should Be President

Chris Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hands at the St. John's Church soup kitchen on Nov. 26, 2014, in Newark, N.J. Julio Cortez—AP

It's very hard to win the presidency if you lose your home state

As Chris Christie gears up for a potential 2016 bid, it looks like he’ll have trouble even wrangling his own state.

In a new Quinnipiac poll, nearly 3 in 5 registered voters in New Jersey do not think their Republican governor would make a good president, according to Reuters.

Overall, 57 percent of the registered voters polled said they did not think Christie would make a good president, including nearly a third of registered Republicans, 78 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of independents.

In a hypothetical race between Christie and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 52 percent of the poll respondents said they would vote for Clinton, a Democrat, including 11 percent of registered Republicans.

[Reuters]

TIME movies

New Writers Picked for Star Trek 3

"Star Trek Into Darkness" Stage Greeting
Chris Pine attends the "Star Trek Into Darkness" stage greeting at Toho Cinemas Roppongi on August 13, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan. Jun Sato—WireImage

New writers required after departure of Roberto Orci

Star Trek 3 has found new writers and a new director.

Doug Jung, the co-creator of the television series Dark Blue, and Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty in the Star Trek franchise, will co-write the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Justin Lin will direct.

The new team needed to come on board after Roberto Orci, who was writing and supposed to direct the film, left the project. This film will be the third in the Star Trek movie franchise, following the successes of 2009’s Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness.

The movie is still set to be released in July 2016.

[THR]

TIME Drugs

Drone Carrying Meth Crashes Near Mexico Border

A drone loaded with packages containing methamphetamine lies on the ground after it crashed into a supermarket parking lot in the city of Tijuana on Jan. 20, 2015.
A drone loaded with packages containing methamphetamine lies on the ground after it crashed into a supermarket parking lot in the Mexican city of Tijuana on Jan. 20, 2015 AP

The craft was carrying six pounds of drugs

A drone loaded with methamphetamine crashed in a Mexican parking lot near the California border on Tuesday.

The craft was carrying close to 6 pounds of meth, and officials say it may have crashed because it was overloaded, according to the LA Times. It fell in the parking lot of a supermarket in Zona Rio, near the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Drones that are used to carry drugs over the border are called “blind mules,” says the Tijuana Public Safety Secretariat. This recent incident is under investigation.

[LA Times]

TIME State of the Union 2015

Here’s Where Obama Went Off-Script to Troll Republicans

The State of the Union is carefully scripted, prepared and tweaked for months in advance to make sure the President uses the exact right words for every topic.

But tonight, President Obama couldn’t resist a quick off-book jab at the Republicans cheering on his exit from office.

“I have no more campaigns to run,” Obama says at one point, which prompted laughs and applause from the Republican lawmakers in the audience. Breaking into a sly smile, Obama then added, “I know because I won both of them.”

His unscripted joke elicited some of the loudest cheers of the evening and was the “most social moment” of the speech, according to statistics compiled by Facebook.

TIME State of the Union 2015

Obama Made History By Using This Word in the State of the Union

There were over 6,000 words in President Obama’s State of the Union address, but he made history Tuesday night when he used just one of them: transgender.

In a section of the speech in which he noted that Americans “respect human dignity,” Obama included the word along with lesbians, gays and bisexuals:

“That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.”

People immediately took to Twitter to note that Obama was the first President ever to use this word his State of the Union. His mention of transgender people in the widely-watched annual address comes at the end of a year that raised unprecedented awareness, leading TIME’s Katy Steinmetz to wonder if American culture has arrived at the “transgender tipping point.”

Obama’s use of the words “lesbian” and “bisexual” were also firsts.

This is not the first time Obama has made history with the words in a major speech. He was the first president to address gay rights during an inauguration during his second inaugural address and the first to support same-sex marriage.

Read next: Here’s the Full Text of President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME State of the Union 2015

Why 3 Supreme Court Justices Didn’t Attend the State of the Union

The wording in the Constitution is simple and straightforward: the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union.” There’s nothing in there about the Supreme Court justices and, accordingly, there’s nothing simple and straightforward about their attendance.

This year, six justices were in attendance, while three of the most conservative members of the court, Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, were noticeably absent. In the modern era, custom has held that the justices would show up in their official robes and sit impassively. But in recent years, they’ve become more resistant to the tradition.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s absence is no surprise. It was the 19th State of the Union in a row that he’s skipped since he considers the speech a “childish spectacle.”

Justice Clarence Thomas’s empty seat was also unsurprising. In 2012, Thomas said he doesn’t attend the annual event because “it has become so partisan and it’s very uncomfortable for a judge to sit there.”

Thomas’s remark gets to the heart of why the State of the Union has become a painful event for the justices: the address has become a “political pep rally,” according to Chief Justice John Roberts (who still attends nonetheless), as the justices are forced to sit calmly while the President and members of government around them cheer and crow about the politics of the moment.

For years, attendance among the justices has been declining: From 1965 through 1980, the attendance rate was 84 percent. Over the next two decades, the number dropped to 53 percent. Since 2000, the rate has fallen to 32 percent, according to a study by Todd Peppers of Roanoke College and Michael Giles of Emory University.

This tension between the speech and the highest court in the land came to a head in 2010, when President Obama directly criticized a conservative Supreme Court decision.

“With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that, I believe, will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections,” he said of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which allowed corporations to donate to political candidates. Justice Samuel Alito then shook his head and whispered, “not true.”

This was a clear breaking point in the years of simmering discontent between the justices and the annual speech. After the 2010 State of the Union, Alito said the speeches have become too awkward and that the justices have to sit there “like the proverbial potted plant”and he hasn’t been to a State of the Union since.

Justice Stephen Breyer, a liberal, is the only justice that attends every year (in fact, three times in recent history he has been the only justice in attendance), but his defense was hardly inspiring: “People attend if they wish to attend. I do wish to attend, so I go,” he said in 2005.

Tonight there probably won’t be any public controversy between between the President and the justices in the vein of 2010’s “not true.” But the grim faces of the six in attendance speak volumes.

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