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As issues loom in D.C., Obama heads west to raise cash

With Congress home for the Thanksgiving recess, President Obama has the political spotlight largely to himself for the next three days.

He's spending the next two on the West Coast with Democratic Party fundraisers and a few policy remarks. Behind the agenda, though, lurk major issues back in Washington, including the looming end-of-November deadline the president gave his team for fixing, and a nuclear deal with Iran that has angered allies including Israel and many members of Congress. 

Mr. Obama raised money for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in Seattle Sunday night at two separate events. The first event for the DNC raised $20,000 per person attending and $32,000 per couple and be held at the home of Sonya and Tom Campion, co-founder of the clothing chain Zumiez. The second event, for the DCCC, was at the home of former Microsoft Executive Jon Shirley. Attendees had to pay $16,200 per person or $32,400 per couple to attend.

Some of the money that Mr. Obama helps raise over the next several days will likely go to incumbents who have struggled to defend the Affordable Care Act in the wake of its rocky rollout.

Though most Americans will be turning their attention to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Mr. Obama will hold an immigration policy event at a Chinese recreation center in San Francisco to press House Republicans to pass some type of reform. Though he has identified immigration reform as a top priority for the rest of the year, the House has a scant eight legislative days on its calendar and has scheduled no floor time for the bills that have already been passed out of committee. Top Republicans including Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., have said there is no time to address the issue this year.

However, McCarthy said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday that he still expects the House will reform the immigration system, but not in one comprehensive bill as the Senate did in June. "It's going to happen in a step-by-step method," he said, "The president came out and supported that the other day, saying the role that the Republicans want to do, and Republicans have passed a number of bills outside of committees. So we are in movement. We have a broken process, the immigration system, it is broken, it needs to be fixed."

McCarthy was referring to Mr. Obama's comments at the Wall Street Journal's annual CEO Council last week, where he said he would be open to reforming the system through a series of individual pieces of legislation, even though he has long pushed the House to take up the Senate's comprehensive bill.

"They want to chop that thing up into five pieces, as long as all five pieces get done, I don't care what it looks like as long as it's actually delivering on those core values that we talk about," Mr. Obama said. It's not clear, though, if there is enough support for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally, which Mr. Obama has said must be a part of reform.

The president will also travel to Los Angeles for more fundraisers and a speech about the economy at the DreamWorks Animation studio in Glendale, Calif. Wednesday, he will return to Washington for Thanksgiving festivities including the annual presidential turkey pardon and a service event for the first family.

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