Washington (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was cautious Tuesday about whether the House can muster the votes to pass an immigration bill before the upcoming midterm elections.
"We'll have to see," the Maryland Democrat said at his weekly meeting with reporters. "We'll have to see what the Senate can do."
Because the last major effort to overhaul immigration in 2007 fell apart in the Senate and there are currently so many other bills passed by the House that still await Senate action, Hoyer said there's an agreement among leaders to see what kind of legislation can pass in the Senate before the House tackles the controversial issue. So, the leading Democrat said, it's up to the Senate to take the lead on crafting a new proposal.
While Hoyer said there is agreement on the need for stronger enforcement at the borders, he conceded that there is division within Democratic ranks about how to deal with undocumented immigrants already in the county. Hoyer said he supports a comprehensive bill that includes stronger enforcement measures for border security, penalties for those in the country illegally, and a path toward citizenship.
The House Majority Leader also criticized current federal enforcement efforts at the border, telling reporters he agrees with those in Arizona who pushed for a new law to crack down on the flow of illegal immigrants into the state.
"In part, of course, what the people of Arizona are saying is that the feds haven't done their job. I think they're right: the feds haven't done their job," he said.
But the Maryland Democrat criticized the new state law's enforcement mechanism.
Fort Madison, Iowa (CNN) - President Barack Obama took his renewable energy push to the heartland Tuesday, trumpeting the merits of wind power during a visit to the state that launched him on the road to the White House a little over two years ago.
Obama's visit to the Siemens wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Fort Madison, Iowa, was the latest stop in his "White House to Main Street" tour - part of the president's pitch to middle-class workers hurt by the economic downturn.
"Lately, we've been able to report some welcome news after a hard two years. Our economy is finally growing again," Obama told workers at the plant.
But "times are still tough for middle-class Americans, who had been swimming against the current for years before the economic tidal wave hit."
Obama traveled to Iowa Tuesday, but the campaign for 2012 has yet to begin, the White House said. (Getty Images)
Ottumwa, Iowa (CNN) - President Obama may be focusing on the 2010 midterm elections, but the White House says don't look for any 2012 campaigning - yet.
On the way to Iowa for Obama's third visit to the state since taking office, White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton was asked if the president is getting an early start on the 2012 reelection campaign in Iowa.
"God, I hope it's not," Burton told the traveling press aboard Air Force One.
At an event in Ft. Madison, Iowa, the president himself was asked, "Why Iowa today?"
His response? "I love Iowa!"
(CNN) - Two new polls suggest that Sen. Bob Bennett's fighting for his political life.
As the incumbent Utah Republican battles for re-election this year, he needs to win at least 40 percent of the vote of the 3,500 delegates attending the state GOP convention on May 18, to advance to a June primary.
But a new Salt Lake Tribune survey of 400 of those Republican delegates, released Tuesday, indicates that only 16 percent of them are supporting the three-term senator, putting Bennett in third place.
Washington (CNN) – As a deadline loomed, the Departments of Defense and Justice Tuesday offered partial cooperation to Congressional requests and subpoenas to get more information for the investigation of the Fort Hood shooting that left 13 people dead last November.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has been investigating the Fort Hood shootings since a week after the incident. Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and the committee's top Republican, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, sought a number of documents and witnesses as part of their investigation but were "stonewalled" with "foot-dragging" by the Obama administration, Lieberman said earlier this month.
On April 19, Lieberman and Collins issued subpoenas to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Attorney General Eric Holder, demanding that they provide the materials the committee wanted by Monday, or respond by Tuesday explaining why they would not grant the request.
"The purpose of the Committee's investigation of the Fort Hood attack is to answer questions that are critical to our government's ability to counter homegrown terrorism," Lieberman and Collins wrote in a letter accompanying the subpoenas.
Miami, Florida (CNN) – Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said Tuesday he will make a final decision about his political future by Thursday.
The governor is considering whether to abandon the Republican Senate primary, in which he trails Marco Rubio by more than 20 points, to seek the office as an independent.
Candidates for office must file their paperwork by noon on Friday. Rubio signed his qualifying papers as a Republican on Tuesday.
Crist revealed the deadline while speaking to reporters in the state capital of Tallahassee, according to The Palm Beach Post.
"I'd like to go ahead and get that concluded then look forward to the last day of session," Crist said, according to the paper.
Miami, Florida (CNN) - Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio, an influential Hispanic voice in the Republican Party, warned Tuesday that Arizona's tough new immigration law could have "unintended consequences," but said the legislation is the product of a "law enforcement crisis" going on in the state.
The law, enacted last week by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, requires police to question people suspected of being in the country illegally. Critics of the law argue that it will lead to racial profiling of Hispanics and civil rights violations.
Rubio discussed the bill for the first time after a campaign event in West Miami, where he signed official papers to run as a Republican.
"That's not really something Americans are comfortable with, the notion of a police state," Rubio said of the Arizona bill. "But I don't want to underestimate the level of frustration from a law enforcement aspect that exists in Arizona. You have serious violence crossing the border, and they're fed up. Particularly with federal inaction."
He did not say outright whether he opposes or supports the bill.
But Rubio said that "over time people will grow uncomfortable" with the idea of police officers stopping an individual based simply on a suspicion that he or she is in the country illegally. The Arizona measure, he said, is one reason he believes immigration "needs to be a federal issue and not a state one."
(CNN) - Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley Tuesday officially kicked off his bid for re-election. His challenger is former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich, the man he knocked out of office four years ago.
O'Malley, a Democrat, began his three-day swing across the state with an event in Baltimore, where he served as mayor for two-terms before beating Ehrlich in the 2006 gubernatorial contest.
In his speech, which according to a prepared text focused on job creation and on the tough economy facing the state, O'Malley said "because of the tough decisions made, Maryland has fared better than most, but we still have more work ahead of us."
(CNN) – Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, Democratic chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Permanent Investigations, did not censor himself Tuesday as he repeatedly quoted from an e-mail in which a Goldman Sach's executive referred to a mortgage deal as "shi**y."
Thomas Montag, Goldman's former head of sales and trading, described a series of mortgage-backed investments the investment bank was selling to clients as "one shi**y deal" in the email to colleagues.
Levin repeatedly quoted the curse word - close to a dozen times - when questioning Daniel Sparks, former head of Goldman's mortgage department, who allegedly urged his group to make the deals. Levin's line of questioning was carried live by CNBC.
The committee is examining Goldman's role in the financial crisis last year and allegations it sold mortgage-backed securities to clients that the firm later bet against.