TIME Israel

Obama Says Disagreement With Netanyahu Is Not ‘Permanently Destructive’

U.S. President Obama speaks during an interview with Reuters at the White House in Washington
Kevin Lamarque—Reuters U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during an exclusive interview with Reuters in the Library of the White House in Washington on March 2, 2015.

"This is not a personal issue"

President Barack Obama acknowledged Monday that his administration is in “substantial disagreement” with Israel’s government about how to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons but said its criticism was not “permanently destructive” to the two countries’ relationship.

Obama’s sit-down with Reuters comes ahead of Tuesday’s address to a joint session of Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has vehemently opposed a deal and believes one would still leave the door open for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Iran continues to deny it is working to develop them.

“This is not a personal issue,” he said. “I think that it is important for every country in its relationship with the United States to recognize that the U.S. has a process of making policy.”

The President explained that his administration’s goal is to make sure “there’s at least a year between us seeing [Iran] try to get a nuclear weapon and them actually being able to obtain one” and said Iran should put any nuclear work on hold for a minimum of 10 years as a part of a to-be-reached deal.

Read more at Reuters.

TIME Foreign Policy

Why Bibi and Barack Can’t Get Along

It would be easy but for the deep differences in policy, politics and personality.

The messy relationship between Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama began, appropriately enough, in a janitor’s office at Reagan National Airport in March 2007. U.S. and Israeli diplomats have been cleaning up ever since, as the two men have left a path littered with personal slights and policy differences.

But their confrontation over Netanyahu’s politically tinged speech to Congress Tuesday could end up being their messiest yet, affecting the outcome of U.S.-Iran nuclear talks, the upcoming election in Israel and the future of the Middle East.

Bibi and Barack’s hastily arranged first meeting was, in fact, cordial and respectful, according to those who were there. Obama was returning to Washington from the primary campaign trail. Netanyahu was headed back to Israel where he was the opposition leader in the Knesset. Both knew they might soon be in power, and both recognized it would be work to reconcile their differences.

For starters, they came from very different backgrounds. As TIME wrote in 2010, Netanyahu’s father, Benzion, was among the intellectual leaders of what is known as revisionist Zionism while his older brother became a national hero after leading, and dying in, the 1976 raid on Entebbe.

Obama for his part is the Christian son of an atheist father who had been raised a Muslim. The future president spent formative childhood years in a Jakarta house that had no refrigerator and no flushing toilet, and he still bears on his arm a scar from a playing-field cut perfunctorily stitched up in a Jakarta hospital.

But the real challenge the two have faced is their different policies in the Middle East. Obama came to office reaching out to Iran and pushing for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Netanyahu opposed warming ties with the militantly anti-Israel theocrats in Tehran and refused in early meetings with Obama publicly to embrace the possibility of a Palestinian state.

The two men have endeavored to put a positive face on their differences, and at times it wasn’t hard since they and their countries often had common interests. The two countries have collaborated on anti-Iran measures, and senior officials say the security relationship between the two countries has never been closer.

But as often as not, the combination of personal and policy differences, fueled by distrustful staffers, gave way to friction between the two men. There was the time Israel announced a massive expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem just as Vice President Joe Biden arrived there for talks—a traditional Israeli greeting for peace-process pushing U.S. diplomats that dates back at least to Secretary of State James Baker. Then there was “the Snub” —Obama’s 2010 decision to leave Netanyahu negotiating with aides in the West Wing while he went for dinner with his family.

The outcome of their latest confrontation remains to be seen. Netanyahu faces a tough election this month and the White House’s increasingly public criticism may well show their desire for a change in leadership. Netanyahu’s effort to encourage anti-Obama members of Congress to push new sanctions could help scupper the already tenuous U.S.-Iranian talks.

But even if nothing much comes of their latest confrontation, few imagine the men will ever be inclined to patch up their differences. As Netanyahu’s sometime political nemesis Avram Burg told TIME in 2010, the two men may simply be irreconcilable. “You cannot stitch together the world visions of Obama and Netanyahu,” Burg said. “This is a clash of the psychological infrastructure.”

Read next: Netanyahu Speech Becomes Applause Line for 2016 Republicans

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Foreign Policy

Netanyahu Overshadows His Own Speech

A partisan debate over the terms of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the U.S. threatened to overshadow his message, as he arrived Sunday in the U.S. two days before an address to the Congress about the dangers of President Barack Obama’s recent moves to cut a deal with Iran over its nuclear program.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released Sunday found that 48% of registered voters said Republicans in Congress should not have invited Netanyahu without first checking with Obama, with just 30% of Americans supporting the move. President Obama has refused to meet the Israeli leader, citing the proximity of the visit on Israel’s elections. Obama’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice, cast the speech last week as “destructive to the fabric of U.S.-Israeli ties.”

At the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference in Washington, D.C., Sunday, the mood was uneasy, as the controversy overshadowed the conference and thrust the bipartisan organization into the uncomfortable position of lobbying lawmakers to attend a speech, as opposed to its key legislative priority: calling on Congress to play a role in reviewing the Iran agreement. “Frankly all of us should be concerned that care so deeply about the bipartisan support for the U.S.-Israel relationship,” AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr said Sunday. “We have spent active hours lobbying for members of the House and Senate to attend this speech.”

In the lead-up to the speech, dueling ads from left and right focused on the speech and who would attend. An incendiary ad from a group founded by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and linked to Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson drew condemnation from all corners for accusing Rice of turning a blind eye to genocide. The ad compared Rice’s role in shaping a withdrawn U.S. policy during the 1994 Rwanda genocide, which Rice herself has since criticized, with her position on Netanyahu’s visit. “Ms. Rice may be blind to the issue of genocide,” the ad reads, under a picture of the National Security Adviser superimposed on the image of human skulls. The text goes on to suggest she has been more gracious in her dealings with Iran’s government than Israel’s. “She should treat our ally with at least as much diplomatic courtesy as she does the committed enemy of both our nations.”

Obama Administration officials were quick to condemn the move. “This ad is being widely met with the revulsion that it deserves,” a senior U.S. Administration official said. “Frankly, the ad says more about those who supported it than it says about Susan Rice.”

Netanyahu has a long track record of using addresses to Congress for his domestic political purposes. “I am leaving for Washington on a fateful, even historic, mission. I feel that I am the emissary of all Israelis, even those who disagree with me, of the entire Jewish People,” Netanyahu told reporters before departing. His coalition faces a close election on March 17.

In the U.S., the visit has turned into a political weapon. “The really only conflict here is between the White House and Israel,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner Sunday on CBS’s Face the Nation.

At AIPAC, Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland, sought to challenge that message. “The circumstances surrounding the invitation were not what they should have been,” he said. “We all understand that. But don’t lose focus. The bad guy is Iran.”

In Israel as well, the terms of the visit had become a point of political debate. “Netanyahu’s speech is diverting the question to be on whether he should speak or not in Congress rather than the security issue with Iran, and we think this is wrong,” said Israeli opposition Knesset member Erel Margalit. “We saw a poll that had the American public divided over whether Netanyahu should speak or not, instead of having 90% against the threshold nuclear state of Iran, which would have united everyone.”

To pre-empt claims that the White House has not sufficiently supported Israel, the National Security Council forwarded Democratic allies—and later posted online—a pocket card highlighting the U.S.-Israel relationship under Obama casting the President as a “strong defender” of Israel. “Under President Obama’s leadership, American engagement with Israel has grown and strengthened to an unprecedented degree,” it reads. The handout did not include any mention of Iran.

“The Administration doesn’t want to talk about the Iran deal — so instead of hearing about sanctions relief and sunset clauses, we’ve had weeks of high-school-level melodrama about speech protocol and a bad guy named Bibi,” said Noah Pollak, the executive director of the hawkish Emergency Committee for Israel. “The Administration has temporarily distracted from the Iran talks, but it’s also turned the Netanyahu speech into the Super Bowl of foreign policy. In the end it may turn out that Obama only drew more attention to what a bad deal he’s trying to cut with Iran.”

TIME Congress

House Democrats Save DHS From Shutdown, Republicans From Themselves

With just hours to go before a midnight deadline, Congress passed a one-week extension to fund the Department of Homeland Security and prevent sending 30,000 government employees home on furlough.

The vote ended a tumultuous day in the House as Republican Speaker John Boehner and his aides lost control of their right flank, failing to deliver a three-week funding measure for the department and relying instead on Democrats to pass the one-week measure to avoid a DHS shutdown.

Boehner had hoped the three-week extension would buy his conference time to figure out how to protest immigration measures put forward by President Obama last year, without shutting down DHS. But his fellow Republicans turned on the bill and it failed by a handful of votes late in the afternoon.

The Senate, led by newly elected Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, then calmly passed a one-week extension of funding for the department and sent that bill back across the Capitol to the House. After House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi spoke with Obama, House Democrats opted to vote with Boehner and the Republican leadership rather than allow funding for the department to fail.

The one-week extension in funding for DHS meant that McConnell could technically uphold his promise that there would be no government shutdowns under his leadership. But House conservatives effectively ended McConnell’s other major promise as leader: that the party would no longer be “scary.”

On the Senate side of the Capitol, the House disarray brought scorn from Democrats and Republicans alike. “Hopefully we’re gonna end the attaching of bullshit to essential items of the government,” Illinois GOP Sen. Mark Kirk, who’s up for reelection in 2016, told TPM. “In the long-run, if you are blessed with the majority, you’re blessed with the power to govern. If you’re gonna govern, you have to act responsibly.”

The DHS fight originated in November, when Obama announced he would unilaterally, temporarily defer deportations for up to five million immigrants who came to the country illegally. While Republicans in Congress were furious at what they called the “unconstitutional” action, they were faced with few good options to effectively negate Obama’s executive actions.

Their best option emerged last week, when a federal judge in Texas ordered Obama to stop his action through an injunction. Still, some of the top legal experts in the country say the president’s actions are lawful. Some Republicans applauded the three-week plan put forward by Boehner Thursday night, saying that it gave time to highlight the ruling.

“America should have an opportunity to understand why we object to the president’s action [and] why a federal judge found that the president didn’t have the authority,” said California GOP Rep. Darrell Issa. “So the Speaker has offered a very reasoned way to create space in which to have that debate with the Senate.”

Other Republicans believe that the party should have just passed what the Democrats wanted, a so-called “clean” bill that would not have added immigration riders. “We’ve got him into an arena that is honestly better than the Capitol,” says Oklahoma GOP Rep. Tom Cole. “We can’t achieve a complete victory in Congress. We don’t have the Senate. The President does have a veto. But in the courts we actually could achieve it. … I actually would argue this is actually a little bit of a sideshow,” he added. “I think the decisive arena is the court.”

The backlash among conservatives caught Boehner and his aides by surprise. Republican Rep. Walter Jones reached into his pocket for a copy of the Constitution when asked Thursday night why he wouldn’t support the plan. “How can I support money going to a president who violated the Constitution,” he said. “We cave in all the time up here,” he added, referring to previous spending fights. In a closed-door meeting, Jones noted “strong feelings” on both sides of the conference. On one side he said were “those of us who feel so passionately about the Constitution.” On the other, he said, were “those from other parts of the United States that are more concerned about the terrorist attacks.”

The passage of the one-week bill represented the second time since December that Congress has punted on DHS funding and left Republicans with the question of how they can viably protest the president’s immigration actions without shutting down the agency.

That’s a challenge Boehner will now face in just one week — two weeks earlier than he had hoped.

TIME Television

Kal Penn Explains How Battle Creek Differs From All Those Other Police Shows

Kal Penn 'Battle Creek'
Mathieu Young—Sony Television Kal Penn stars as Detective Fontanelle White on the CBS drama Battle Creek.

The actor talks to TIME about his new show, co-created by Breaking Bad mastermind Vince Gilligan, and the future of Harold & Kumar

He spent a few years on House, but now Kal Penn — otherwise known as Kumar from the Harold & Kumar series — is trading the lab coat for a detective’s badge in Battle Creek, a new police drama from Breaking Bad mastermind Vince Gilligan and House creator David Shore that premieres this Sunday on CBS.

TIME caught up with the actor and former White House employee to talk about what he learned from real-life cops, traveling with Obama and the future of Harold & Kumar.

TIME: There are plenty of cop shows on TV. What makes Battle Creek different?
Kal Penn: It’s a good question, because that was the first thing I was looking for when I was reading the script. It’s very funny, and that’s rare of the long format. I’ve only had the chance to work on either a straight drama or a straight comedy, but I was particularly excited about the humor that’s in this story.

I’d say it’s less procedural than House. We’re outside of the precinct quite a bit, and you get to see some of the bizarre scenarios that cops find themselves in. The writers have done a really good job of walking the line between things that are bizarre and funny and solving murders. The murders are serious — we’re not making fun of dead people.

With Breaking Bad mastermind Vince Gilligan serving as a co-creator, I bet there are some unusual murder cases.
One takes place at the annual Cereal Festival, which is a real thing in Battle Creek, Michigan. What could go wrong when everyone’s celebrating breakfast?

Someone gets drowned in a giant cereal bowl?
That would probably happen on a Comedy Central version of our show. In reality, a couple years ago there was an actual shooting.

You rode around with real Battle Creek, Mich., cops to prepare for this role. What did you learn?
I had the chance to see the things that make better television — so raiding houses or pulling people over — and also the more banal aspects of police work: what happens when you’re sitting in your office for five hours doing paperwork, how you get a warrant through the process of probable cause.

Sounds thrilling.
This is going to sound hokey, and I really don’t mean to sound like I’m sugar-coating it, but the most surprising thing to me was the way in which officers were treating their suspects with respects. With the national narrative that’s happening police-wise, that’s not often something you get to see. Their approach is very different from the big cities I grew up in, where things probably look more like Cops than Battle Creek.

Your upcoming National Geographic show, The Big Picture, is all about maps and data. That sounds like a hard topic to make a TV show about.
The things you see on TV are generally focused on the NSA doing something nefarious. But in reality, we all click yes on our iTunes user agreement, or if you download Google Maps or check in somewhere on Facebook, these companies collect all that data. What do they do with it? This looks at the human interest stories behind that.

So what did you find?
One example: In Florida there was an uptick of STDs in a particular community that then reflected the largest uptick of sexual activity in America. It just so happened that it was taking place at a senior citizens community in Florida.

That is surprising.
They’ve grown up after sex education, they’re not worried about getting pregnant and many of them are newly single. So they’re all having incredibly sex apparently, but they don’t know about STDs. It’s not going down there and going, “Oh my God, look at all these old people having sex!” It’s saying, “This is a really fascinating scenario, let’s see how the data reflects what’s actually happening.”

You recently accompanied President Obama on a trip to India. Did you get to hang with Obama?
I was much more an observer than anything! It was really fascinating to see the work that goes on in a trip like that: a nuclear deal, an environmental deal, the dorky side of things.

But you worked in the White House for two years. You’re telling me you’re not fist-bump buddies?
I imagine once his next two years are over, he’ll have a lot more time for that. He’s exactly what you see on TV, that gregarious side, the ability to shake off things that shouldn’t weigh you down. The fist bumps are definitely part of that.

How’s Air Force One?
I’ve been going to India since I was kid, and the president’s plane definitely beats sitting in a middle seat with a next pillow.

Is that Harold & Kumar cartoon ever going to see the light of day?
Animation apparently takes a long time! We’re working on a pilot for Adult Swim. It’s almost done. I just saw a couple of clips last week. I think we’re finding out in the next two months whether Adult Swim is going to turn it into a series. John and I just shot something last week — we’re all very good friends outside of the workplace and have been now for 10-plus years. We just fall right back into it. I always say playing Kumar is probably the coolest character I’ll have the chance to play, so anytime I have a chance to revisit that, I’m happy. We all have a soft spot for these guys. Mostly because when we shot the first movie, we had no idea if anybody would like it. It totally tanked at the box office — I think it got pulled before the second weekend. And then fans discovered it on DVD and gifted each other, so we really feel it was such a fan-driven franchise. There are good vibes around it, and we’re very grateful. Hopefully it turns into something.

TIME 2016 Election

RNC Chair Turns ‘3 A.M.’ Attack on Clinton

Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, participates on a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National at National Harbor, Md.
Ron Sachs—CNP/AdMedia/Corbis Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, participates on a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National at National Harbor, Md., March 8, 2014.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus turned one of Hillary Clinton’s signature attack lines against her Friday, previewing a GOP theme in advance of the 2016 election.

Addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference, Priebus criticized Clinton for allowing her foundation to accept money from foreign governments while she was service as Secretary of State.

“Taking money from countries like Algeria and Oman while she was Secretary of State,” Priebus said. “Which makes you wonder: How will those donations affect her answer to that 3 a.m. phone call?”

“I can hear it now: ‘Don’t worry, sultan, just send 10 million to the Foundation, and it’ll all work out,'” he added.

The 3 a.m. attack is a reference to one of Clinton’s most biting hits on then-Senator Barack Obama, questioning the first-termer’s ability to handle complicated foreign policy questions.

Tying Clinton to the Obama administration’s foreign policy record is a central component of the GOP’s strategy to take her on. Priebus’ attack is likely just the tip of the iceberg.

TIME Immigration

Dependent Spouses of Highly Skilled Immigrant Workers to Get Work Permits

The immigration reform will take effect at the end of May

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced a major immigration reform on Tuesday, allowing spouses of individuals on the H-1B visa (known as H-4 dependent spouses) to apply for work permits.

The new rules were announced by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Leon Rodriguez and will take effect on May 26 this year, according to a government release.

“Allowing the spouses of these visa holders to legally work in the United States makes perfect sense,” Rodriguez said, adding that the move would incentivize highly skilled workers and their families to stay in the country long enough to acquire green cards.

The reforms, announced as part of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, were met with relief in countries like India, which sends a large number of workers into the U.S. tech industry while their spouses are unable to legally work.

“I miss my job, I miss my financial independence,” said software engineer Swapnil Gupta, who moved to the U.S. in 2011 with her husband, according to Reuters.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to what I love doing,” she added, calling the new regulations a “great relief.”

Read next: Why Congress Is Feuding With Obama Over the Homeland Security Budget

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Cuba

Cuban President Raúl Castro Honors Spies Jailed in U.S. as National Heroes

Raul Castro, Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino,  Antonio Guerrero
Ramon Espinosa—AP Cuba's President Raul Castro and Gerardo Hernandez salute, as fellow agents Ramon Labanino, background, second from right, and Antonio Guerrero applaud during a medal ceremony, in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015

The awards come despite thawing relations between Washington and Havana

Cuban President Raúl Castro awarded medals to five men on Tuesday, calling them national heroes for their espionage work in the U.S.

“The Cuban Five,” as they were nicknamed, had attempted to infiltrate Cuban exile groups within the U.S. but were arrested and imprisoned in 1998, Reuters reports.

All were sentenced to lengthy prison terms, but three were released from U.S. custody on Dec. 17 when President Barack Obama announced a shift in Washington’s relationship with Havana. (The remaining pair had already returned to their homeland.)

In exchange for the final three spies, the Cuban government released a Cuban prisoner convicted 20 years ago of spying on his home country for the U.S.

The prisoner exchange was one element of a dramatic recent shift in U.S.-Cuba relations. Both countries have announced that they will restore diplomatic relations after decades of hostility and sanctions.

The Cuban Five were presented to a group of Cuban government officials, military officers and dignitaries at the Cuban parliament. Castro led the ceremony, but his brother, former President Fidel Castro, was not seen. Fidel, 88, has not appeared publicly in over a year.

Gerardo Hernandez, 49, was the leader of the arrested spies. “The honor that we receive today also demands that we rise to the challenges facing the revolution,” he said.

[Reuters]

TIME politics

Veterans Affairs Secretary Apologizes for Misstating Military Record

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2015, file photo, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing on the Department of Veterans Affairs budget. McDonald apologized Monday, Feb. 23, 2015, for misstating that he served in the military's special forces
Manuel Balce Ceneta—AP Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald testifies on Capitol Hill on Feb. 11, 2015

While conversing with a homeless man, McDonald falsely claimed that he served in the special forces

(WASHINGTON) — Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald apologized Monday for misstating that he served in the military’s special forces.

McDonald made the erroneous claim while speaking to a homeless veteran during a segment that aired last month on “CBS Evening News.”

In a statement released Monday by the VA, McDonald said: “While I was in Los Angeles, engaging a homeless individual to determine his veteran status, I asked the man where he had served in the military. He responded that he had served in special forces. I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement.”

The VA website says McDonald is an Army veteran who served with the 82nd Airborne Division. The Huffington Post website, which first reported on McDonald’s mistake, noted Monday that the 82nd is not considered part of special forces.

McDonald said he remains committed “to the ongoing effort to reform VA.”

The White House issued a statement Monday saying, “We take him at his word and expect that this will not impact the important work he’s doing to promote the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans.”

President Barack Obama chose the former Procter & Gamble CEO to take over the scandal-plagued VA last year, and McDonald took office last July. The questions about McDonald’s service come as TV newsmen Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly have had their claims about covering foreign wars called into question.

TIME Oscars

These Four Policy Issues Got Our Attention at the Oscars

Hollywood is never shy about sharing its thoughts on politics, especially on Oscar night. But after the acceptance speeches fade, what happens next? Here’s a look at the status of several issues raised at the Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night.

Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood,” on Equal Pay

The issue: The Pew Research Center estimates that women earn 84 percent of what men earn, though the gender pay gap has narrowed since the 1980s. This is the rare issue that also affects Hollywood. The 10 highest-paid actors were paid $419 million in 2013 while their female counterparts earned $226 million, barely half as much.

What Arquette said: “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

The outlook: Legislation introduced last year would have made it illegal for companies to retaliate against employees who share how much they make, a key step in ensuring men and women are paid equally. It failed to pass the Senate and is dead in the current Republican Congress. Some states, such as Vermont, are tackling the issue, however.

Common and John Legend, “Selma,” on Racial Justice in the U.S.

The issue: Racial disparities persist decades after the events depicted in Selma. In their acceptance speech, singers John Legend and Common highlighted two: the high rate of incarceration among black men and changes in voting rights laws, such as requirements that voters show government ID at polling stations.

What Legend said: “We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now, the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today then were under slavery in 1850.”

The outlook: Protests over how police have handled black male suspects have given the cause momentum. The Eric Garner case helped inspire New York City officials to begin to rethink their approach to policing. Activists on the left and right are coming together to push for reforms to the criminal justice system, though voting rights legislation isn’t going anywhere in Congress.

Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, “Birdman,” on Immigration Reform

The issue: Immigration reform has been a hot button political issue for years. Millions of undocumented immigrants live in the U.S. and there’s widespread disagreement about how they should be addressed.

What Iñarritu said: “I want to dedicate this award for my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico. I pray that we can build the government that we deserve. And the ones living in this country who are part of the latest generation of immigrants in this country, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones who come before and built this incredible nation.”

The outlook: Immigration reform is a thorny issue, and legislators in Washington repeatedly have had trouble finding common ground. President Obama took action on his own, taking executive actions providing temporary legal status to millions of immigrants. Still, those actions remain contested in court and Congress isn’t likely to do much on this issue.

Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry, “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” on Veteran Suicide

The issue: Twenty-two veterans commit suicide everyday — a rate that more than double the rate in the general population. While the Veterans Affairs Department provides mental health services, mental health experts say many the veteran culture makes many hesitant to take advantage of the resources.

What Kent said: “This immense and incredible honor goes to the veterans and their families who are brave enough to ask for help.” What Perry said: “I want to dedicate this to my son Evan Perry, we lost him to suicide, we should talk about suicide out loud.”

The outlook: President Obama recently signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which creates an outreach system for veterans suffering from mental health issues and provides financial incentives to encourage psychiatric doctors to treat veterans. The law is a good start, but activists working to stem suicide say the issue requires more attention.

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