Good morning folks,
After trying to claim that the President and his party were feeling no effects of the plethora of scandals that have engulfed them, there’s been a breach in the Democratic security wall.
The Washington Post’s Morning Fix reports that “Libya is shaping up as a real political problem for President Obama, with concern extending well beyond the conservative base. More than half of Americans say his administration is trying to cover up the facts of the attack, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.” Read the poll here.
- 55% say the Obama administration is trying to hide the facts compared to just 33% that say it has been honest.
- Six in 10 independents and nearly three in 10 Democrats say the administration is not being forthright.
But it doesn’t stop there. The poll shows that most Americans think the IRS scandal was “a deliberate effort to harass the groups, rather than a administrative mistake.” More respondents believe that the Obama administration is trying to cover up the facts in the scandal than believe it’s being honest.
According to political analyst Stu Rothenberg, “it is undeniable that recent events have altered, at least for now, the trajectory of the 2014 elections. …The new focus on the Obama administration puts it on the defensive and should boost enthusiasm on the political right throughout this year…. the new political narrative increases the risk for Democratic candidates in red states, where Democrats must win independent and, in many cases, Republican voters to be successful.”
As a result of the sea-change, Rothenberg shifts the following 2014 Senate seats to an even more favorable outlook for Republicans: West Virginia (open), South Dakota (open), Arkansas (Mark Pryor), Louisiana (Mary Landrieu), Alaska (Begich), and North Carolina (Kay Hagan).
That doesn’t take into consideration how this undeniable change in the political atmosphere is affecting first time Red State Democratic candidates considering running like Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, or Michelle Nunn in Georgia, or Nick Preservati in West Virginia. All must be wondering whether they’d be better off running in a cycle and environment in which they could actually win. Right now, it doesn’t exist.
Seize the day,
2014 BATTLEGROUND SONAR
(BATTLEGROUNDS) VIA POLITICO’S HUDDLE: FIRST LOOK: THE NRSC is trying to hang the IRS scandal around the necks of 2014 Democrats: It’s blasting news releases today targeting a dozen senators — most who received campaign money from the IRS union – and asking a series of tough questions. Here’s an example: Does Senator Mary Landrieu think an independent special counsel is needed to investigate the IRS efforts? Why didn’t Mary Landrieu speak out when her Senate Democratic friends and colleagues publicly pressured the IRS to target conservative groups? Will Mary Landrieu return the $23,000 in campaign contributions from IRS union? Does Mary Landrieu believe that President Obama should apologize to citizens and groups that were unfairly targeted? Does Mary Landrieu believe that President Obama and other senior White House staffers were wrong to publicly suggest that conservative groups were breaking the law? Landrieu Release.
(MASSACHUSETTS) Gomez’s goal — sensible centrism
In sum, with five weeks left in this campaign, a ploddingly predictable Markey is relying on the state’s Democratic default dynamic. It’s the higher-energy Gomez who is making this an interesting race — and winning attention and consideration as he does.
- New Gabriel Gomez TV ad attacks Ed Markey for negative ads in Massachusetts U.S. Senate campaign
(MASSACHUSETTS) Ed Markey Falls Short on National Security
Democratic Congressman Ed Markey is feeling the heat over his weak record on national security in the tight race to fill the vacant Senate seat in Massachusetts…Gomez condemned two votes by Markey in the House against resolutions honoring the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 206 of whom lived in Massachusetts. Gomez said Markey’s vote against a 9/11 resolution was “unconscionable.”
(LOUISIANA) Landrieu attacking tea party member for trying to legislate responsibly
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., scolded Tea Party Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, for acting like a “dictator” by demanding that Senate Democrats promise not to raise the debt limit during conference meetings with House Republicans. “We don’t have kings anymore,” Landrieu said in response to Lee on the Senate floor this afternoon. “We don’t have dictators anymore. We don’t have people with special powers . . . not anyone in this chamber is entitled to write the budget exactly the way they want it.”
- Landrieu calls Lee a “dictator” for asking that a simple and honest process be followed.
(ARKANSAS) Pryor Politicizes Oklahoma Tornado Tragedy
Normally politicians are quick to put aside politics when a tragedy strikes, but Sen. Mark Pryor took the opportunity to try score some points. His seemingly tame statement is a thinly-veiled attempt to take a shot as his potential 2014 Republican opponent Congressman Tom Cotton.
ON THE TWITTERS
@djrothkopf - Chuck Todd on Morning Joe re: Obama and Holder:”They are trying to criminalize journalism.” If GOP were doing it,all hell would break loose.
(WESH ORLANDO) Orlando man killed by FBI had ties to Boston Marathon bombing suspect, NBC News confirms
An FBI agent shot and killed a man overnight in Orlando who had ties to one of the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, NBC News has confirmed. According to NBC News, a special agent was interviewing the suspect regarding his connections to bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and other extremists. The suspect, who was not immediately identified by officials, was originally cooperative, but he was shot after attacking the agent, NBC News reported.
(WASHINGTON POST) With more clarity, White House adds to confusion on IRS
There are still many unknowns about internal White House transactions over the past three weeks. No one has said just how explicit Ruemmler was with McDonough or others about the nature of what she was told. Did she play down the implications of the report to the point that others did not regard it as a potential problem? Maybe it didn’t seem worrisome enough to tell the president. And, had he been told, would he have responded more quickly when the news broke, rather than waiting three days to express his disapproval?
(FOX NEWS) Poll: Obama ratings dip, voters say government ‘out of control’
After a week of revelations about government spying on reporters and the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservatives, most voters feel “like the federal government has gotten out of control and is threatening the basic civil liberties of Americans.” At the same time, a new Fox News poll finds disapproval of President Obama’s job performance is above 50 percent for the first time in a year, his honesty rating is at a new low and half of voters already think he’s a lame-duck. More than two-thirds of voters — 68 percent — feel the government is out of control and threatening their civil liberties. Nearly half of Democrats (47 percent), as well as large numbers of independents (76 percent) and Republicans (87 percent) feel Uncle Sam is taking liberties with their liberties. Those who identify with the Tea Party movement, one of the groups targeted by the IRS, are among those most likely to say things are out of control and civil liberties are being threatened: 92 percent of Tea Partiers feel that way.
(JONAH GOLDBERG) Obama’s ‘Idiot’ Defense
But, suddenly, when the administration finds itself ensnared by errors of its own making, the curtain is drawn back on the cult of expertise and the fantasy of statist redemption. Early on in the IRS scandal, before the agency’s initial lies were exposed, David Axelrod defended the administration on the grounds that the “government is so vast” the president “can’t know” what’s going on “underneath” him. Of course, it was Obama who once said, “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors.” That is, when things are going relatively well. When scandal hits the fan, he goes from the “government is us” to talking of his own agencies the way a czar might dismiss an injustice in some Siberian backwater. The hubris of omnicompetence gives way to “lighten up, we’re idiots.”
(POLITICO) FIRST LOOK: THE NRSC is trying to hang the IRS scandal around the necks of 2014 Democrats.
It’s blasting news releases today targeting a dozen senators — most who received campaign money from the IRS union – and asking a series of tough questions. Here’s an example:
Does Senator Mary Landrieu think an independent special counsel is needed to investigate the IRS efforts?
Why didn’t Mary Landrieu speak out when her Senate Democratic friends and colleagues publicly pressured the IRS to target conservative groups?
Will Mary Landrieu return the $23,000 in campaign contributions from IRS union?
Does Mary Landrieu believe that President Obama should apologize to citizens and groups that were unfairly targeted?
Does Mary Landrieu believe that President Obama and other senior White House staffers were wrong to publicly suggest that conservative groups were breaking the law? http://bit.ly/10kL0hF
From “Extremely Problematic” to “Train Wreck” – Democrats on Defense
Washington, D.C. - Last night during the South Carolina 1st Congressional District debate, Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch joined the chorus of Democrats who are running for office and running from ObamaCare.
As BuzzFeed notes Colbert Busch “was troubled by [ObamaCare's] cost and the burden it could put on employers”: “Obamacare is extremely problematic, it is expensive, it is a $500 billion cost than we originally anticipated, it’s cutting into Medicare benefits and it’s having companies lay off their employees because they are worried about the cost of it. That is extremely problematic, it needs an enormous fix,” she said during a debate Monday night.
Colbert Busch’s concerns echo fellow Democrats’ disdain for the health care overhaul including Democrat Senator Max Baucus, the architect of ObamaCare, who recently called it a “train wreck” as well as Democrat Senator Jay Rockefeller who said the Affordable Care Act is “beyond comprehension.”
Democratic pollster Mark Mellman reinforced the internal uneasiness among Democrats over ObamaCare: “We already know that, left to its own devices, this doesn’t end up in a good place,” said Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster. “Anyone who thinks this issue is done is fooling themselves.”
“Few issues are as personal and as tangible as health care,” said NRSC Communications Director Brad Dayspring. “As costs continue to increase, ObamaCare’s taxes, mandates, and red tape will shock millions of Americans as the painful parts of the law are implemented over the next year. President Obama can rest easy after 2012, but voters will remember that every incumbent Senate Democrat has their fingerprints all over this train wreck. They’re not alone. Members of Congress interested in being promoted to the Senate like Bruce Braley and Gary Peters have a $1 Trillion weight holding them down, and that’s ObamaCare.”
ObamaCare has gone from being an “abstract” discussion to a real life pain for families and businesses which has Democrats who supported this costly agenda like Bruce Braley, Mark Pryor, Mark Begich, Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, Jeanne Shaheen, John Barrow, Mark Udall, Gary Peters, Al Franken, Mark Warner, Tom Udall, Dick Durbin and Jeff Merkley in a tailspin. Vulnerable Democrats will be forced to face voters just as ObamaCare’s tax hikes, mandates, fees, penalties, and red tape bureaucracy take shape over the next eight months.
Should the federal government even TRY to balance its budget? It’s a very simple idea, one that most Americans happen to share. Democrats? Nyet.
Last night the Senate voted on a simple amendment to try to balance the Murray budget in 10 years. There were no caveats on how to do it, meaning Senators voted to accept or reject the simple concept of balancing the federal budget within 10 years. One Democrat supported it. One. That’s all they got?
Politico reported earlier this week that a recent poll “showed that 45 percent of Democratic voters think ‘balancing … the federal budget would significantly increase economic growth and create millions of American jobs.’ A sky-high 61 percent of independents and 76 percent of Republicans agree.” Amazingly, 1% of the Senate Democrat caucus supports balancing the budget. Talk about outside the mainstream. Included in the 99% who refuse to even TRY to balance the budget? Mary Landrieu, Kay Hagan, Mark Pryor, Mark Begich, Max Baucus, and Tim Johnson.
Over the next 24 hours, the Vote-o-Rama and final passage will weigh on 2014 Democrats. As David Hawkings writes in Roll Call, “…the pressure will be especially intense on the staffers advising the senators whose one false step could hobble their chances for re-election next year. Five are Democrats who have committed to running again in states that voted for Mitt Romney: Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas.”
Hawkings concludes, “The political class will spend much of the next two weeks’ recess poring over results from Friday’s vote-a-rama…plumbing for the best examples of senators stepping unwittingly into the frame of a future attack ad.” Whistle… Whistle.
From Brad Dayspring Communications Director of the NRSC
A message from Brad Dayspring of the NRSC:
From our friends at Merriam-Webster: “Budget: …the amount of money that is available for, required for, or assigned to a particular purpose.”
After 1400 days, Senate Democrats are finally putting the finishing touches on their budget. Maybe now they’ll have a clearer idea that they’ve wasted too much money, leaving too little behind for our nation’s top priorities.
The Republican solution? Spend more wisely and modernizing the way we tax and fund the government by employing more people, creating more taxpayers, generating more revenue, and growing the economy. The Democratic solution? Have Washington tax current taxpayers even more, while spending even more than it does now. Or, more simply, “when in a hole keep digging.”
As the Wall Street Journal notes this morning, “The federal fisc is still a shambles—despite the tax increase on millionaires and billionaires that Mr. Obama said would solve everything and despite the modest sequester spending cuts he says are too painful to abide.”
Instead of offering a solution that attempts to fix the problem, according to reports “the first budget from Senate Democrats in four years includes nearly $1 trillion in new taxes but would not balance the budget.” Or, as Wolf Blitzer summed it up, “Deficit Spending For As Far As The Eye Can See.”
The panel on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today made the point that it is a budget designed by Chuck Schumer and Patty Murray to get 51 Democratic votes, not 55. Joe Scarborough put it more bluntly, “Kay Hagan cannot vote for a trillion dollar tax increase and go back to North Carolina.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. The only question remaining is which 5 Democrats are in such rough shape politically that Senator Schumer will let them buck leadership and vote no on this flea-ridden dog.
Seize the day,
Senate Democrats Are Divided On President Obama’s Cliff Proposal, Vote Would Highlight Deep Fractures Within Their Party
Divisions On Tax Rates: Dem Says $250,000 Limit Is ‘Unacceptable’
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “Sen. Schumer Expresses Reservations About President Obama’s Tax Plan … Schumer said the $250,000 limit is unacceptable since it will hit the metropolitan area disproportionately because of the high cost of living here. ‘$250,000 makes you really rich in Mississippi but it doesn’t make you rich at all in New York and there ought to be some kind of scale based on the cost of living on how much you pay,’ Schumer said.” (“Sen. Schumer Expresses Reservations About President Obama’s Tax Plan,” CBS New York, 9/19/11)
SEN. KAY HAGAN (D-NC) & SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): “…North Carolina’s Kay Hagan and Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, say they aren’t ready to commit to President Barack Obama’s proposals for boosting tax revenue. Instead, Hagan isn’t ruling out support for extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for top earners. Landrieu said she opposes eliminating tax breaks for oil companies.” (“Red-State Senate Democrats May Be Hard To Corral On Cliff,” Bloomberg, 11/19/12)
SEN. BILL NELSON (D-FL): “Sen. Bill Nelson’s (D-FL) ‘favored’ position ‘is to permanently extend the Bush-era tax cuts for those making less than’ $1M, ‘according to his office.’” (“Numbers Game: SEN Candidates Not In Agreement On Obama Tax Proposal,” National Journal, 7/10/12)
SEN. JIM WEBB (D-VA): “Retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) is holding fast to his position that tax rates should not be raised on any income brackets… ‘We shouldn’t raise [rates] on ordinary income.’” (“Senate Dems Balk At Ending Bush-Era Tax Rates On Wealthy Without A Deficit Deal,” The Hill, 6/19/12)
SEN. BEN NELSON (D-NE): “My druthers is to extend the tax cuts for everybody…” (“Senate Dems Balk At Ending Bush-Era Tax Rates On Wealthy Without A Deficit Deal,” The Hill, 6/19/12)
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (ID-CT): “Count Sen. Joe Lieberman as a ‘no’ on President Barack Obama’s tax plan.” (“Joe Lieberman To Oppose Obama Tax Plan,” Politico, 7/11/12)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): “‘I don’t begrudge anybody and I’m not going to raise taxes, I’m going to collect what taxes are owed to this country,’ he said.” (“Manchin Meets With Dem Leaders,” Parkersburg News And Sentinel [WV], 10/10/12)
Forty Current Senate Dems Voted To Extend All Tax Rates In 2010
40 Current Senate Democrats Voted To Extend Current Tax Rates In 2010: Akaka (D-HI), Baucus (D-MT), Begich (D-AK), Bennet (D-CO), Boxer (D-CA), Brown (D-OH), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Carper (D-DE), Casey (D-PA), Conrad (D-ND), Coons (D-DE), Durbin (D-IL), Feinstein (D-CA), Franken (D-MN), Inouye (D-HI), Johnson (D-SD), Kerry (D-MA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Kohl (D-WI), Landrieu (D-LA), Lieberman (ID-CT), Manchin (D-WV), McCaskill (D-MO), Menendez (D-NJ), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Nelson (D-FL), Nelson (D-NE), Pryor (D-AR), Reed (D-RI), Reid (D-NV), Rockefeller (D-WV), Schumer (D-NY), Shaheen (D-NH), Stabenow (D-MI), Tester (D-MT), Warner (D-VA), Webb (D-VA), Whitehouse (D-RI). (H.R. 4853, Roll Call Vote #276, Motion Agreed To 81-19: R 36-5, D 44-13, I 1-1, 12/15/10)
Divisions On Death Tax: Dem Says ‘There Is No Way, No Way’
“…a notable handful of Democratic colleagues, parts ways with the White House on one increasingly thorny issue: the president’s call to raise the estate tax…” (“Plan To Raise Estate Tax Divides Democrats,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/1/12)
· “…Senate Democrats feel ‘very, very strongly’ that the rate should remain at 35%” (“Plan To Raise Estate Tax Divides Democrats,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/1/12)
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): “‘This particular tax is inherently unfair,’ Ms. Landrieu said, adding that she would oppose any year-end deficit-reduction package that raises the estate tax. ‘That’s a make-or-break for me.’” (“Plan To Raise Estate Tax Divides Democrats,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/1/12)
SEN. MARK PRYOR (D-AR): “I really don’t think we should change the estate tax.” (“Plan To Raise Estate Tax Divides Democrats,” The Wall Street Journal, 12/1/12)
SEN. KAY HAGAN (D-NC): “Sen. Kay Hagan spoke to the North Carolina Farm Bureau meeting in Greensboro. … ‘I understand the issue with the estate tax. I know that it affects you tremendously,’ Hagan told the crowd. ‘I am definitely concerned about this and there is no way, no way we can let that estate tax revert back to $1 million…’”
(“Hagan Gets Her Wish On The Estate Tax,” Greensboro News And Record [NC], 12/6/10)
SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MT): “…Baucus is working to preserve a reduction in estate taxes that exempts the first $5 million of an estate’s value for individuals and taxes the remainder at 35 percent…” (“Baucus Pushes For Rural Priorities In Face Of ‘Fiscal Cliff,’” Great Falls Tribune [MT], 11/25/11)
· “A spokesman for Baucus – the Senate’s top tax law writer – said he will seek as much estate tax ‘relief’ as he can get.” (“Obama Estate Tax Push Undercut By Discord Among Democrats,” Huffington Post, 11/30/12)
Divisions On Energy Tax: Dem Calls Them ‘A Non-Starter’
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): ‘not going to fly’ “‘That offset is not going to fly, and he should know that,’ said Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu from the energy-producing Louisiana, referring to Obama’s elimination of oil and gas subsidies.” (“Hill Dems Pick Apart Obama Jobs Plan,” Politico, 9/14/11)
SEN. MARK BEGICH (D-AK): ‘a non-starter’ “The president’s call for eliminating incentives for oil and gas production is a non-starter and could hurt Alaska’s energy industry.” (Sen. Begich, Newsletter, 2/10/11)
FEBRUARY: Sens. Begich, Bingaman, Conrad, Landrieu, Ben Nelson, Pryor, and Webb voted against the Levin amendment. (S.Amdt.28 To S.223, CQ Vote #7; Amendment Rejected 44-54: R 0-48; D 42-7; I 1-0, Begich, Bingaman, Conrad, Landrieu, Ben Nelson, Pryor, & Webb Voted Nay, 2/2/11)
· “Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) offered another amendment to repeal the  provision but paid for it by issuing new taxes on oil…” (“Senate Repeals Part Of Health Care Law,” Politico, 2/2/11)
MAY: Sens. Begich, Landrieu, and Ben Nelson voted against the S.940: “A bill to reduce the Federal budget deficit by closing big oil tax loopholes, and for other purposes.” (S.940, Motion To Proceed Rejected 52-48: R 2-45; D 48-3; I 2-0, 5/17/11)
Will Dem Senators Support A Death Tax Hike Despite Acknowledging It Would ‘Hurt Family Farmers’ And Promising ‘There Is No Way’ They’d Do It?
Senate Dem Estate Tax Plan ‘Troublesome For Farmers’
FARM BUREAU: “Estate taxes are especially troublesome for farmers and ranchers. [The Reid Proposal] fails to provide any estate tax relief which would allow a $1 million per person exemption and 55 percent top rate to be reinstated on Jan. 1, 2013. A $1 million exemption is not high enough to protect a typical farm or ranch able to support a family from estate taxes…” (Letter To U.S. Senators, American Farm Bureau Federation, 7/24/12)
Dem Vow To Farmers: ‘There Is No Way, No Way’
NORTH CAROLINA FARMERS: “…would have a devastating impact on farms and ranches in North Carolina and the Nation. This reversion… has the great potential to eliminate a generation of aspiring farmers from continuing the family farming operation.” (Letter To Sen. Hagan, North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, 7/24/12)
· SEN. KAY HAGAN (D-NC): “Sen. Kay Hagan spoke to the North Carolina Farm Bureau meeting in Greensboro. … ‘I understand the issue with the estate tax. I know that it affects you tremendously,’ Hagan told the crowd. ‘I am definitely concerned about this and there is no way, no way we can let that estate tax revert back to $1 million (starting) next year.’” (“Hagan Gets Her Wish On The Estate Tax,” Greensboro News And Record, 12/6/10)
MISSOURI FARMERS: “…exemption is not high enough to protect a typical farm or ranch from estate taxes considering land values and the cost of machinery, equipment and farm buildings. Two years ago we shared with you the stories of two Missouri farm families—one frustrated with estate planning because of ever-changing laws and another struggling to pay inheritance taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. We are certain there are more families just like them…” (Letter To Sen. McCaskill, Missouri Farm Bureau Federation, 7/24/12)
· SEN. CLAIRE McCASKILL (D-MO): “Estate tax issue draws local input … McCaskill said today in a written statement. ‘I support extending the current exemption so that we don’t hurt family farmers.’” (“Estate Tax Issue Draws Local Input,” Columbia Daily Tribune, 6/7/06)
PENNSYLVANIA FARMERS: “This not only can cripple a farm operation, but also hurts the rural communities and businesses that agriculture supports. Estate taxes hit family-owned farm operations especially hard because of the illiquid nature of farm and ranch business property.” (Letter, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, 7/24/12)
· SEN. BOB CASEY (D-PA): “…on the estate tax: If we set the general estate tax exemption level at $3.5 million for an individual, 7 million for a couple, maybe even carve out a $5 million exemption for family farms and businesses, you could get a savings just on that alone of $300 billion over 10 years.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 9/3/06)
· “Democrat Bob Casey, who is running for a second term in U.S. Senate for Pennsylvania, says he hasn’t decided whether to go along with President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders on a plan to allow tax rates to rise…” (“Casey Doesn’t Embrace Obama’s Plan On Tax Rates,” The Associated Press, 7/20/12)
FLORIDA FARMERS: “This will have a devastating impact on Florida farms and ranches … the Estate Tax would often result in farms being closed, land being sold and businesses being lost.” (Letter, Florida Farm Bureau Federation, 7/24/12)
· SEN. BILL NELSON (D-FL): “…with regard to the inheritance tax, I have always been in favor of eliminating this tax. I voted for a significant reduction in 1981 and for a modification in 1986. To me the inheritance tax represents a double tax. People have paid taxes as they have accumulated their assets during their lives. And I think we ought to pass that on to their families and to their loved ones without most of it being eaten up by the government.” (“Differences Wide As Candidates Take Stands; Bill Nelson,” The Ledger [Lakeland, FL], 11/3/00)
· “Senate Democratic leaders are worried about potential defections within their caucus on taxes. … Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).” (“Reid Rejects GOP Request To Vote On Obama’s Tax Plan,” The Hill, 7/11/12)
‘Senate Democratic Leaders’ Are ‘Risking A Government Shutdown’ Despite Calling Such A Move ‘Insanity,’ ‘Extreme,’ & ‘Too Risky To Even Entertain’
Dems ‘Holding The Government Hostage’
“The partisan standoff over the tax break prompted Senate Democratic leaders to stall the 2012 $1 trillion spending bill — risking a government shutdown Friday and the expiration of jobless benefits for millions of unemployed.” (“Tax Battle Risks Gov’t Shutdown,” The New York Post, 12/14/11)
“The White House and Senate Democrats are delaying action on the omnibus spending package … holding the government hostage until they get what they want.” (“Democrats Open Party To Flak With Payroll Tax Gambit,” Roll Call, 12/14/11)
FLASHBACK: Dems Called Shutdown ‘An Unmitigated Disaster,’ ‘A Tragic Mistake’
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “One thing we can’t do is take extreme steps like shutting down the government…” (Sen. Reid, Press Conference, 2/3/11)
- REID: “The recovery right now is fragile; a shutdown would make it really bad.” (Sen. Reid, Press Conference, 3/29/11)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “Because make no mistake about it — if you start playing with shutting the government down, the same credit markets that abhorred default get very nervous. And we don’t know the consequences of what would happen. It’s too risky to even entertain.” (Sen. Schumer, Press Conference, 2/3/11)
- SCHUMER: “Simply put, there is no reason for a government shutdown–absolutely no reason at all.” (Sen. Schumer, Congressional Record, S.2255, 4/7/11)
- SCHUMER: “As the negotiations enter the homestretch, here is how we should define success: First and foremost, a government shutdown should be avoided.” (Sen. Schumer, Congressional Record, S.2035, 3/31/11)
- SCHUMER: “When we let the hard left dominate, we will lose too because most Americans are somewhere in the middle. This idea of shutting the government down… I guarantee you it will backfire on the perpetrators…” (Sen. Schumer, Congressional Record, S.2256, 4/7/11)
- SCHUMER: “It would be a tragic mistake to force a government shutdown, but doubly tragic if the shutdown were on issues not related to spending.” (Sen. Dem Leaders, Press Conference, 4/7/11)
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): “It’s worth reflecting for a moment what a shutdown means to this economy, and I hope we don’t reach that point.” (Sen. Dem Leaders, Press Conference, 4/7/11)
- DURBIN: “…if we are destined to see this government shut down tomorrow night at midnight, it is a sad commentary – one that most American voters will resent and be disappointed with, and understandably so.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.2261, 4/7/11)
- DURBIN: “If it does, it is an unmitigated disaster. There is no winner.” (Sen. Durbin, Congressional Record, S.2222, 4/7/11)
SEN. KAY HAGAN (D-NC): “Mr. President, I rise today to urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join together to prevent an irresponsible government shutdown. The American people did not elect us to shut down the government.” (Sen. Hagan, Congressional Record, S.2124, 4/5/11)
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D-MN): “This is not the time to shut the government down… there are things in this that I don’t like, but I am willing to swallow and do it.” (Sen. Franken, Congressional Record, S.2260-1, 4/7/11)
SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D-MO): “It’s insanity that we would hurt our economy by shutting down the federal government tonight. We are in a fragile recovery and these — are real jobs.” (Sen. McCaskill, CNN, 4/8/11)
SEN. BOB CASEY (D-PA): “… any shutdown would injure or at least slow down the recovery that we’re in the midst of right now… Any shutdown will inhibit our ability to make sure that we keep our word, keep our promise to those who fought our wars and have served our country.” (Sen. Dem Leaders, Press Conference, 2/3/11)
SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D-MD): “I am against a government shutdown. Shutting down the government breaks faith with Federal employees, jeopardizes our economic recovery, threatens the viability of small- and medium-sized businesses that do business with the Federal Government and even threatens the safety of our families and our economy.” (Sen. Mikulski, Congressional Record, S.2149, 4/6/11)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA): “I can’t believe it, here we are 12 hours from the United States government shutting down causing enormous dislocation, enormous hurt to people… going to be astronomically hurtful to the United States.” (Sen. Feinstein, Press Conference, 4/8/11)
SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): “[The American people] would say: We hired you to do a job. Work it out. We are doing our jobs–or we are looking for jobs–we don’t have time to solve these problems. You were hired to do this job. Work it out. Come to an agreement. Don’t come home and tell us you are shutting the government down.” (Sen. Bennet, Congressional Record, S.2125, 4/5/11)
SEN. BEN CARDIN (D-MD): “I must tell you that my constituents are angry about this, and I join them in saying this should never happen. There is no reason why we should have a government shutdown.” (Sen. Cardin, Congressional Record, S.2245, 4/7/11)
SEN. MARK UDALL (D-CO): “I have no doubt a government shutdown at this time would create a counterproductive effect on our economic recovery.” (Sen. Udall, Congressional Record, S.2244, 4/7/11)
SEN. JACK REED (D-RI): “We are on the verge of a possible government shutdown, which is extraordinarily regrettable.” (Sen. Reed, Congressional Record, S.2252, 4/7/11)
SEN. KENT CONRAD (D-ND): “You know, it would be unconscionable not to have an agreement to avert a shutdown and the economic damage that would cause to this fragile recovery?” (Sen. Conrad, CNN, 4/8/11)
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D-CA): “Please, we do not have to shut down this government. What a waste. What a ridiculous waste.” (Sen. Boxer, Congressional Record, S.2327, 4/8/11)
In 2009 Democrats Warned That A Similar Surtax Would ‘Negatively Affect Small Businesses,’ Said It Would Be ‘A Very Tough Sell’ In The Senate
DEMS: Tax Hikes Will ‘Stifle The Recovery’
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (ID-CT): “I wouldn’t do anything to raise taxes in the foreseeable future because that’ll stifle the recovery.” (Sean Hannity Radio Show, 9/20/11)
SEN. BEN NELSON (D-NE): “No, no, no. … This is a time to be cutting. The cutting stops when the taxes increase.” “Sen. Ben Nelson (D), who faces a tough election in conservative Nebraska, said he would vote against a motion to begin floor debate on Obama’s bill. ‘No, no, no,’ Nelson said, when asked if he would roll the dice by allowing the bill to come to the Senate floor in hopes of amending it. ‘With the current offsets that are essentially tax increases? No. ‘This is a time to be cutting. The cutting stops when the taxes increase,’ he said.” (“Senate Democrats Buck Obama On Jobs By Changing ‘Pay-Fors,’” The Hill, 10/4/11)
SEN. KENT CONRAD (D-ND): “The general rule of thumb is that you do not raise taxes or cut spending during an economic downturn. That would be counterproductive.” (“Democrats Unlikely To Repeal Tax Cuts For The Rich,” McClatchy, 9/1/10)
SEN. KAY HAGAN (D-NC): “…said she would prefer raising new revenues through comprehensive tax reform instead of zeroing in immediately on specific tax increases. ‘I think we’ve got to have comprehensive tax reform.’” (“Senate Democrats Buck Obama On Jobs By Changing ‘Pay-Fors,’” The Hill, 10/4/11)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): “I wouldn’t raise any taxes.” (“Another Democrat Says Extend All Bush Tax Cuts,” Fox News, 9/15/10)
SEN. JIM WEBB (D-VA): “‘Terrible,’ Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) told POLITICO when asked about the president’s ideas for how to pay for the $450 billion price tag. ‘We shouldn’t increase taxes on ordinary income. … There are other ways to get there.’” (“Hill Dems Pick Apart Obama Jobs Plan,” Politico, 9/14/11)
DEMS: Surtax ‘Will Negatively Affect Small Businesses… Discourage Entrepreneurial Activity And Job Growth’
’09 LETTER FROM 22 DEMOCRATS: “Especially in a recession, we need to make sure not to kill the goose that will lay the golden eggs of our recovery. By concentrating the cost of health care reform in one area, and in one that will negatively affect small businesses, we are concerned that this will discourage entrepreneurial activity and job growth.” (Rep. Polis And Freshman House Democrats, Letter To Speaker Pelosi, 7/16/09)
- “This proposed surcharge will also have a direct negative impact on manufacturers, another industry essential for our recovery. As manufacturers are capital intensive businesses, their taxable income is often higher… Manufacturing machinery can cost over $1 million and many owners have to save for years to expand and buy new equipment. Yet those profits saved each year would be hit by this proposed surcharge, which could lead to reduced investment.” (Rep. Polis And Freshman House Democrats, Letter To Speaker Pelosi, 7/16/09)
- “… a surcharge would tax income above $1 million at a new rate of 45 percent. Combined with state taxes, many successful small businesses — the very kind of business that should lead in creating new jobs and help us emerge from this recession — will be taxed at over 50 percent.” (Rep. Polis And Freshman House Democrats, Letter To Speaker Pelosi, 7/16/09)
Senate Dems Called ’09 Surtax ‘A Very Tough Sell’
SEN. RON WYDEN (D-OR): “Not heard much support.” “Still, the idea has been criticized by some Democrats. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said Tuesday that he has ‘not heard much support’ from his colleagues.” (“House Dems’ Health Bill Would Tax Rich,” USA Today, 7/15/09)
SEN. BEN NELSON (D-NE): “Tax is a four-letter word.” “‘Tax is a four-letter word’ with voters, said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). Even families not ranking in the top 1 percent of earners ‘hope they’re going to be there someday,’ he said. ‘So they don’t necessarily think it’s fair.’” (“Health-Care Plan Would Add Surtax On Wealthy,” The Washington Post, 7/15/09)
- “Senator Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, said he’s ‘not hearing a lot’ of support for a surtax on wealthy Americans. People in his state don’t like the so-called millionaire’s tax ‘because they are looking someday to get there themselves,’ Nelson said. ‘It’s the American way.’” (“House Health Plan Seeks 5.4 Percent Millionaire Tax,” Bloomberg, 7/14/09)
SEN. KENT CONRAD (D-ND): “A very tough sell.” “… Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who is promoting a tax on the most generous 1 percent of private plans, conceded yesterday that such a proposal is ‘a very tough sell.’” (“Health-Care Plan Would Add Surtax On Wealthy,” The Washington Post, 7/15/09)