Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s opening statement at today’s hearing “The IRS: Targeting Americans for their Political Beliefs.”
The Florida GOP is kicking off a fundrasing campaign to protect incumbent Republican U.S. House members and Republican challengers, with the first fundraising pitches hitting mailboxes this week. The message is clear from the name of the campaign: the “Prevent Pelosi Project.”
“Using Nancy Pelosi as the focal point for what’s wrong in Washington D.C. helped Mark Sanford overcome a lot of setbacks to win his race in South Carolina,” said Florida Republican party chairman Lenny Curry. “Down here in Florida, the chance to prevent Nancy Pelosi from returning to power will be just as successful in most of our 29 congressional districts.”
Curry has tapped Jacksonville businessman and former Ambassador John Rood, chairman of Mitt Romney’s Florida Finance Team in 2012, as the finance chairman of the Prevent Pelosi Project.
Now the story of a dysfunctional Democratic majority that’s costing American jobs, and the one president who had no choice but to make it worse.
It’s Arrested Economic Development.
Obama: Health Care Law “Working Fine”
The New York Times reports, “President Obama said Tuesday that his health care law was ‘working fine,’ and he played down concerns that the law could disrupt coverage or lead to higher premiums for people who already had health insurance. … At a hearing two weeks ago, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that many of his constituents were confused about the new law, and that ‘education and outreach’ efforts by the administration were inadequate. ‘I just see a huge train wreck coming down,’ Mr. Baucus said.”
President Acknowledges Potentially Rocky Rollout Of Health Care Law
The Wall Street Journal reports, “Amid signs of early snags in the federal health law, President Barack Obama on Tuesday acknowledged it could face a rocky rollout this fall but said officials are racing to get the new insurance system ready in time. The main goal of the 2010 law is to bring health-insurance coverage to Americans who lack it, yet two of the measure’s key ways of doing this have hit obstacles. More than half of the states are on track to sit out the law’s Medicaid-expansion goal initially—which means millions of low-income Americans won’t have access to health insurance through Medicaid as the law anticipated. …Meantime, 33 states have opted against running their own insurance exchanges, the websites where the law envisions consumers shopping for health policies and finding out whether they qualify for tax credits to help pay for them starting Oct. 1. While these residents will be able to use a federal exchange to buy policies, the federal government has had limited funding to set up the exchanges on behalf of the states and to provide consumer assistance for people trying to pick among insurance policies.”
GOP Bill Seeks to Prevent Federal Workers From Dodging Obamacare
The Washington Post reports, “A new Republican House proposal would push federal workers off their employer-sponsored health plan and onto the insurance exchanges being established under the Affordable Care Act. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced the bill Friday after talk on the Hill that Democrats were trying to exempt members of Congress and their staffs from a provision in current law that requires them to enroll in the exchanges in 2014. Camp’s measure would extend that policy to all federal workers except active-duty military members and postal workers. ‘If the Obamacare exchanges are good enough for the hardworking Americans and small businesses the law claims to help, then they should be good enough for the president, vice president, Congress and federal employees,’ said Camp spokeswoman Sarah Swinehart. Most employees who would be affected by the proposal are enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.”
“A Presidential Bystander”
Dana Milbank writes in The Washington Post, “It’s never a good sign for a president when he feels compelled to assure the public he still has a pulse. This is the unenviable position President Obama was in Tuesday morning when he held a news conference in the White House briefing room and faced a profusion of questions about the stalled pieces of his legislative program. Asked by ABC News’s Jonathan Karl whether he still had ‘the juice to get the rest of your agenda through,’ Obama paraphrased Mark Twain’s response to a newspaper’s report that he was near death. ‘You know, rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated,’ Obama said. …One hundred days into his second term, Obama has already lost control of the agenda, if he ever had control in the first place. He ricocheted through his news conference, as he has through his presidency recently, between issues and crises not of his choice. …If there was a common theme to the president’s many troubles, it was an uncooperative Congress. …’You seem to suggest that somehow these folks over there have no responsibilities, and that my job is to somehow get them to behave,’ he said. ‘That’s their job. . . . I cannot force Republicans to embrace those common-sense solutions.’ He instead spoke of creating ‘a permission structure’ for Republicans to do what he wants.”
Unused Buildings Costing Taxpayers Billions
The Washington Guardian reports, “According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’ chief watchdog agency, the federal government owns more than 100,000 office buildings, warehouses and other structures that aren’t in use. And maintenance and upkeep on those vacant buildings costs an estimated $1.7 billion each year. It’s one type of spending that Ranking Member Gerald Connolly, D-Va., said should come to an end. ‘Every dollar spent on an unnecessary lease is a dollar diverted away from a mission-critical function,’ he said. ‘In this current era of austerity, inefficiencies such as these have real world consequences for the citizens they serve.’”
“The Debt-Limit Grind”
The Hill editorializes, “Policymakers in Washington got some good news recently: They don’t need to have a legislative solution on raising the debt ceiling until after the August recess. The bad news, however, is that the White House and Congress are worlds apart on reaching a fiscal deal before the fall. In recent weeks, The Hill has asked a range of lawmakers how they see the debt ceiling battle playing out. Most of them shrug and say they have no idea. For the moment, both Democrats and Republicans are playing leverage games. President Obama has said he won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling, but a ‘clean’ hike simply can’t pass the Republican-led House. In an effort to take default off the table, GOP lawmakers are pushing legislation that would prioritize the federal government’s payments. But that bill isn’t going to make it through the Democratic-led Senate. At some point, the parties are going to have to dance, and the sooner they do it, the better.”
“GOP plan to tie tax reform to nation’s debt ceiling stirs Democratic tensions”
The Hill reports, “A new GOP effort to pass tax reform by tying it to the next increase in the nation’s debt ceiling could split Democrats on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, the House Democratic point men on taxes and the budget came out against the idea of connecting the two issues, but the Senate’s top tax-writer, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), may go along. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, was adamant that there should be no linkage. ‘The president has been very clear. There is no negotiating over whether or not the United States pays its bills or not,’ Van Hollen said Tuesday.”
“Obama Channels Clinton’s Worst Day in Office, Raises Doubts About Relevancy”
Editorial Director of National Journal Ron Fournier writes, “A president is in trouble when he’s forced to defend his relevancy, as Bill Clinton did 18 years ago, or to quote Mark Twain, as Barack Obama did Tuesday. ‘Rumors of my demise,’ he said at a news conference, ‘may be a little exaggerated at this point.’ Not wrong–just ‘exaggerated.’ Not forever–just ‘at this point.’ Parsing aside, Obama channeled Clinton’s April 18, 1995, news conference by projecting a sense of helplessness–or even haplessness–against forces seemingly out of a president’s control. For Clinton, it was ascendant House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the GOP’s takeover of Congress five months prior, a vote of no-confidence for the first-term Democratic president. ‘The president is relevant here,’ Clinton insisted in the East Room. For Obama, his nemesis is a far-less charismatic and influential House Speaker John Boehner, as well as the intense weight of structural problems that favor Washington gridlock. These include the Senate filibuster, hyper-partisan House districts, polarized media outlets, and a fast-changing electorate that is sorting itself in political tribes. ‘So my question to you,’ ABC reporter Jonathan Karl asked Obama, ‘is do you still have the juice to get the rest of your agenda through Congress?’ Ouch. ‘Well, if you put it that way, Jonathan,’ Obama quipped, ‘maybe I should just pack up and go home. Golly.’ Then he quoted the humorist Twain, who famously denied his death.”
“’Ghost Money And Lots Of It’”
The New York Times editorializes, “The news that the Central Intelligence Agency has been spending lavishly in Afghanistan should come as no surprise. The agency went to work in the country right after Sept. 11, 2001, and has played a dominant covert role hunting down Al Qaeda and the Taliban ever since, while the Pentagon and other agencies have pursued more transparent military and development operations costing many billions of dollars. Even so, details of the agency’s involvement recently reported by Matthew Rosenberg in The Times are eye-popping and infuriating. For more than a decade, the agency — using suitcases, backpacks, even plastic bags — has made monthly cash payments to the offices of President Hamid Karzai amounting to tens of millions of dollars. One Karzai aide called it ‘ghost money’ because ‘it came in secret, and it left in secret,’ although now that it has been reported publicly Mr. Karzai has owned up to it. … What began as payments to Afghan warlords to overthrow the Taliban morphed eventually into a steady stream of cash to buy agency influence at the presidential palace and to cover such off-the-books costs as buying the loyalty of warlords and politicians, many of whom have ties to the drug trade — and even, in some cases, to the Taliban.”
“Democrats ask: What debt crisis?”
POLITICO reports, “Call them the debt crisis dissenters. The two parties are miles apart on how to cut the deficit and national debt: Republicans want to slash spending even more. Democrats want to raise revenue. And then there are the other Democrats — the ones who reject the entire premise of the current high-stakes fiscal fight. There’s no short-term deficit problem, they say, and there isn’t even an urgent debt crisis that requires immediate attention. This group could make it even harder for President Barack Obama to strike a grand bargain because they increasingly see no immediate need for either new spending cuts or significantly more revenue, both of which they say could further slow the economy.”
“The Democrats Have Lost On Sequestration”
The Washington Post reports, “That’s the simple reality of Friday’s vote to ease the pain for the Federal Aviation Administration. By assenting to it, Democrats have agreed to sequestration for the foreseeable future. Recall the Democrats’ original theory of the case: Sequestration was supposed to be so threatening that Republicans would agree to a budget deal that included tax increases rather than permit it to happen. That theory was wrong. The follow-up theory was that the actual pain caused by sequestration would be so great that it would, in a matter of months, push the two sides to agree to a deal. Democrats just proved that theory wrong, too. In effect, what Democrats said Friday was that in any case where the political pain caused by sequestration becomes unbearable, they will agree to cancel that particular piece of the bill while leaving the rest of the law untouched. The result is that sequestration is no longer particularly politically threatening, but it’s even more unbalanced: Cuts to programs used by the politically powerful will be addressed, but cuts to programs that affects the politically powerless will persist. It’s worth saying this clearly: The pain of sequestration will be concentrated on those who lack political power.”
Sequester: Another Agency Able to Make Smarter Cuts, Avoid Furloughs
Bloomberg reports, “The automatic federal spending cuts known as sequestration won’t force the State Department to furlough any employees this year. The State Department is notifying its staff today that new projections show ‘furloughs are not required’ during the year that ends Sept. 30 ‘due to cost-cutting measures implemented early in the fiscal year and a reduction in the sequester cut’ identified by the Office of Management and Budget, the department said today in response to an inquiry.”
FAA Flexibility Shows Administration’s Push For Tax Increases Has Failed
The Hill reports, “Opponents of sequestration are losing hope that the across-the-board cuts to federal spending will be reversed this year. The defense industry, health and education advocates and federal worker unions say that the ‘piecemeal’ approach that Congress adopted this week to ease furloughs at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not bode well for their cause. ‘All of this is rearranging the deck chairs. I’m not overly hopeful,’ said Joel Packer of the Committee for Education Funding. ‘We are really putting our concentration on fiscal 2014 and beyond.’ … Conservatives said Obama’s decision to accept the FAA fix — which transfers money from airport improvements to pay for air traffic controllers — shows his attempt to pressure Republicans into accepting tax increases has failed.”
“Experts: Debt-ceiling increase might not be needed until October”
The Hill reports, “Congress could have until as late as mid-October to haggle over raising the debt limit, according to new expert analysis. The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), which has been closely tracking the flow of the nation’s finances as policymakers prepare to spar over its $16.4 trillion borrowing cap, now believes the government could avoid a default on its obligations as late as mid-October once its borrowing cap is reinstated in May. In January, the BPC said it believed Washington would have to hike the limit to avoid default most likely in August, but there was a ‘realistic chance’ it could be later. Now, with fresh information about the nation’s fiscal picture, the BPC believes the deadline for a debt-limit deal will be roughly a month later, and possibly more. … They caution, however, that there is still ‘substantial uncertainty’ in the debt-limit timeline. The BPC believes the debt-limit deadline could come anytime between mid-August and mid-October.”
Congress Exempt from Obamacare?
The Wall Street Journal editorializes, “The Politico website broke the story Thursday morning that Congressional leaders were in hush-hush talks to exempt themselves and their staff from the wonders of ObamaCare. The story succeeded in blowing up the talks, but there’s a bigger story here about Congressional intentions that is worth telling. House Speaker John Boehner quickly took to Twitter after the Politico story appeared, saying that he’s not ‘sneaking any language into bills to solve’ a problem for Democrats. He added that full repeal of the law is ‘the solution to this & other ObamaCare nightmares.’ We’re told that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer initiated the discussions. Mr. Reid now says he’s not trying to exempt anyone from the law. Mr. Hoyer’s spokesman says only that the Maryland Democrat wants the law to be ‘workable for everyone.’”
“Editorial: Driving toward bankruptcy”
The Washington Times editorializes, “There aren’t many winners in the current economic climate. Most companies are struggling against the burdens of higher taxes, red tape and uncertainty, and there’s no opportunity to expand and prosper. Some companies, however, have found a shortcut through deep political connections to the Obama administration. This became apparent last week at a hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee examining the collapse of Fisker Automotive. The Energy Department gave hundreds of millions of dollars to this maker of electric luxury automobiles designed to appeal to liberals who can pay $100,000 for a car. Fisker was backed by the investment firm Kleiner Perkins (where Al Gore is a partner) and actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who scouts for left-wing causes.”
Stimulus-Funded EPA Project Violated Mandate to Purchase U.S.-Made Products
The Washington Guardian reports, “While helping to clean up America, the Environmental Protection Agency didn’t always buy American. Investigators for the EPA inspector general found foreign-made steel pipes in a stimulus-funded project in President Obama’s home state of Illinois that violated federal regulations, and now they want taxpayers’ money back. But the agency is resisting demanding a refund. … Money handed out under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the stimulus, comes with a provision requiring projects to purchase U.S.-made items, another step designed to help bolster the economy.”
Senate GOP Grills Labor Department on Labor Union Payments
Fox News reports, “Senate Republicans say the Labor Department appears to be spending millions in taxpayer dollars to establish labor unions and promote collective bargaining in foreign countries and are asking top Obama administration officials for a full audit. The request was sent by Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the leading Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, and Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, the top Republican on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. ‘At a time when our federal budget is deteriorating rapidly … it is troubling to us that the department appears to be spending millions of dollars of taxpayer funds to establish labor unions and promote collective bargaining in foreign countries,’ they said in a letter to acting Labor Secretary Seth Harris. The purported activities were conducted by the agency’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs.”
Republicans Divided on Internet Sales Tax
The New York Times reports, “Legislation that would force Internet retailers to collect sales taxes from their customers has put antitax and small-government activists like Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and the Heritage Foundation in an unusual position: they’re losing. For years, conservative Republican lawmakers have been influenced heavily by the antitax activists in Washington, who have dictated outcomes and become the arbiters of what is and is not a tax increase. But on the question of Internet taxation, their voices have begun to be drowned out by the pleas of struggling retailers back home who complain that their online competitors enjoy an unfair price advantage. … The Heritage Foundation and its more overt political arm, Heritage Action, have made no such equivocations. It is making a yes vote a black mark for a lawmaker on Heritage’s conservative scorecard, urging its members to call their representatives and senators, ‘pretty much everything we can,’ said Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action. Many Republicans have just shrugged. Supporters of the bill include Tea Party conservatives like Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, and Republican leaders like Senator John Thune of South Dakota.”
Obama’s Social Security Pledge At Risk
The Associated Press reports, “As the population gets older, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are eating up more and more of the federal budget, squeezing the ability of the government to pay for other programs. Today, the three massive benefit programs account for 44 percent of federal spending. Left unchanged, they will account for more than 60 percent in 25 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Unless Congress acts, the trust fund that supports Social Security is projected to run out of money in 2033. At that point, the retirement and disability program would collect only enough in payroll taxes to pay about 75 percent of benefits. … In 2008, Obama said he wanted to strengthen Social Security by increasing payroll taxes on workers who make more than $250,000 a year in wages. He also laid down this marker, in a Sept. 6, 2008, speech to AARP: ‘John McCain’s campaign has suggested that the best answer for the growing pressures on Social Security might be to cut cost-of-living adjustments or raise the retirement age. Let me be clear: I will not do either.’ … Obama has already offered to break part of his 2008 pledge on Social Security. Twice in negotiations with GOP leaders, he agreed to adopt a new measure of inflation that would result in smaller cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, for Social Security recipients. Both deals fell apart. But now Obama has put forward the idea in his own proposed federal budget. If adopted, it would gradually trim benefit increases in Social Security, Medicare and other programs while raising taxes.”
“Army: Thanks But No Tanks”
POLITICO reports, “Built to dominate the enemy in combat, the Army’s hulking Abrams tank is proving equally hard to beat in a budget battle. Lawmakers from both parties have devoted nearly half a billion dollars in taxpayer money over the past two years to build improved versions of the 70-ton Abrams. But senior Army officials have said repeatedly, ‘No thanks.’ It’s the inverse of the federal budget world these days, in which automatic spending cuts are leaving sought-after pet programs struggling or unpaid altogether. Republicans and Democrats for years have fought so bitterly that lawmaking in Washington ground to a near-halt. Yet in the case of the Abrams tank, there’s a bipartisan push to spend an extra $436 million on a weapon the experts explicitly say is not needed.”
Based on the reaction to President Obama’s proposal to change the way Social Security cost-of-living adjustments are estimated and transition to Chained CPI, you’d think it was putting it on a path towards insolvency! The truth is, the change is a long-overdue, common sense reform that is a step in the right direction, but falls well short of preserving the program and reducing our long-term debt. It seems like Washington is dividing itself into two groups of people: those who support Chained CPI and those who aren’t serious about the debt.
PRESIDENT OBAMA PROPOSES SWITCH TO CHAINED CPI IN NEW BUDGET
Switch to Chained CPI Would Save $230 Billion Over 10 Years. “Under the president’s budget, the government would shift in 2015 from the standard Consumer Price Index — used to compute cost-of-living increases for Social Security and other benefits and to set income-tax brackets — to what is called a ‘chained C.P.I.’ The new formulation would slow the increase in benefits and raise income tax revenues by putting some taxpayers into higher brackets sooner, for total savings of $230 billion over 10 years.” (Jackie Calmes, “Obama Budget Opens Rift For Democrats On Social Benefits,” New York Times, 4/10/13)
ONE GROUP OF PEOPLE: CHAINED CPI MORE ACCURATE, SUPERIOR METRIC
Most Economists Feel Current Version of CPI Overstates Inflation. “Currently, cost-of-living adjustments are determined by a version of the Consumer Price Index, the CPI-W, that is believed by most economists to overstate inflation by failing to take into account the way consumers respond to price increases in one good by shifting to lower-priced substitutes.” (W.W. Houston, “Chained, Chained, Chained,” The Economist, 4/5/13)
Chained CPI Is A “Widely Believed Superior Metric of Inflation” (W.W. Houston, “Chained, Chained, Chained,” The Economist, 4/5/13)
Chained CPI Could Be ‘Good Compromise’ That ‘Might Work.’ “A change to the way inflation is measured could help President Obama and Republicans cut a debt-reduction deal this summer. It’s not the biggest way to cut deficits. But it might be a good compromise because it would reduce projected spending, which Republicans are pushing for. And it would also raise revenue, which Democrats want.” (Jeanne Sahadi, “The Geeky Debt Fix That Might Work,” CNN Money, 4/5/13)
Chained CPI “Reasonable Component” To Put Budget On Sustainable Course. “Because many economists believe the official CPI is upwardly biased and regard the chained CPI as a more accurate measure of inflation, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has long supported switching to the chained CPI for adjusting federal benefits and taxes — if it is accompanied by several necessary adjustments to prevent significant hardship… The policy clearly amounts to a reduction in future Social Security benefits, which many find objectionable. However, we believe that the chained CPI is a reasonable component of a comprehensive package to put the budget on a sustainable course…” (Kathy Ruffing, Paul N. Van de Water and Robert Greenstein, “Chained CPI Can Be Part Of A Balanced Deficit-Reduction Package, Under Certain Conditions,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2/22/12)
Making The Switch Wouldn’t Be That Big Of A Change
ORSZAG: Impact Of Chained CPI Not As Great As Many Assume. “What neither side seems to have noticed, however, is that the difference between the chained CPI and the standard CPI has been diminishing. That means the impact of switching indexes may not be as great as many assume. The change may still be a good idea, but it probably won’t matter as much as expected. …It may lead some people to ask why policy makers should bother — though I would still support making the shift.” (Peter Orszag, “Chained CPI’s Diminishing Returns for U.S. Budget,” Bloomberg, 4/7/13)
THE OTHER GROUP: NOT SERIOUS ABOUT THE DEBT
Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) Opposes Switch To Chained CPI. “During an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said Obama was ‘trying to balance this budget on the backs of seniors’ with the plan, which would change the way Social Security cost-of-living adjustments are calculated.” (Jonathan Allen, “Greg Walden Breaks With Party On ‘Chained CPI’,” POLITICO, 4/10/13)
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): “If they vote to cut Social Security, they may not be returning to Washington. …While I am extremely disappointed, because I think it is exactly the wrong thing to do, I’m not surprised.” (“Liberal Groups, Lawmakers Balk at Entitlement Cuts in Obama Budget, 2nd Term Overtures to GOP,” Washington Post, 4/9/13)
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA): “Rep. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat running for the Senate, issued a statement saying he opposes the budget “because it would cut benefits to seniors on Social Security and makes other significant cuts to other key low-income programs that are vital to Massachusetts residents like low-income heating assistance.” (David Espo, “Obama Budget Gives Everyone Something To Dislike,” Associated Press, 4/11/13)
National Organization For Women And AFL-CIO “Disheartened” By Chained CPI. “But liberal Democrats, fresh off fighting to get Obama re-elected last year, say they’re disheartened that Obama isn’t sticking up for what they say are core Democratic principles. Many of the groups, including the AFL-CIO and the National Organization for Women, endorsed Obama last year.” (“Liberal Groups, Lawmakers Balk at Entitlement Cuts in Obama Budget, 2nd Term Overtures to GOP,” Washington Post, 4/9/13)
AFL-CIO: ‘Chained’ CPI: Two Million Times ‘No!’ “The ‘Chained’ CPI is a benefit cut to a program that does not contribute to the deficit. Do not barter it away in the name of deficit reduction. Stand strongly against all cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.” (Mike Hall, “’Chained’ CPI: Two Million Times ‘No!’,” AFL-CIO, 4/9/13)
AARP: Chained CPI Is Wrong For Social Security. “Adopting a Chained CPI is an imbalanced approach for Social Security. This proposal deals with a long concern about the ability of Social Security to pay benefits in the future by cutting benefits now. There is no corresponding effort to better protect benefits. Instead, Social Security benefits would decrease under a Chained CPI by a growing amount each year that will mean seniors fall further and further behind the cost of living.” (David Certner, “Why the Chained CPI is Wrong for Social Security,” AARP Blog, 4/11/13)
New Obama Budget: ‘It’s Basically United Washington. In Opposition.’
‘Budget Does Not Balance’
“Unlike the House Republican budget, Obama’s budget would not balance…” (“Obama To Unveil $1.058T Budget,” The Hill, 4/10/13)
· ‘the budget does not balance over its 10-year horizon’ “…the non-binding blueprint already has done something that the president himself has only rarely accomplished since taking office: It’s basically united Washington. In opposition. … Both sides agree the budget does not balance over its 10-year horizon.” (“Obama Budget Dead On Arrival—But May Get Second Life,” Yahoo! News, 4/10/13)
‘Relies… On Raising Taxes’
“Top aides to the president argued … that raising new revenues is non-negotiable.” (“On Left And Right, Obama’s Budget Anticipated As A Dud,” USA Today, 4/10/13)
“The Obama budget also relies, in part, on raising taxes…” (“On Left And Right, Obama’s Budget Anticipated As A Dud,” USA Today, 4/10/13)
· “To raise $580 billion in revenue, the budget limits the value of tax deductions and other tax benefits for the top 2 percent of families to 28 percent of taxable income. … the budget proposed selectively closing some ‘egregious’ loopholes such as for corporate jet purchases, for oil and gas companies and for carried interest, to raise revenue.” (“Obama To Unveil $1.058T Budget,” The Hill, 4/10/13)
‘Wish List For New Spending,’ ‘Stimulus’
“The budget contains several new ‘investments’ in new spending… stimulus…” (“Obama To Unveil $1.058T Budget,” The Hill, 4/10/13)
· “The budget will also lay out more details of Obama’s wish list for new spending…” (“On Left And Right, Obama’s Budget Anticipated As A Dud,” USA Today, 4/10/13)
Senate Republicans have adopted a “majority mentality” going into the 2014 elections, their best hope in years to take control of the chamber–and likely their last chance for a while.
With an election map favoring the GOP and a need for six pick-ups to replace Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Republicans have begun an aggressive fundraising and candidate recruitment campaign to boost their chances and maybe even scare off some potential Democratic challengers.
It’s a wise move, says analyst Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. Kondik, considered one of the best in the nation, said that if the Republicans can build momentum early, it could create a national wave for the Republicans….
…The GOP has several targets for building that wave: West Virginia, Arkansas and South Dakota. In West Virginia, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito isn’t expected to have a primary challenge and the Democrats aren’t sufficiently strong yet to defend the seat held by retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller. In Arkansas, Sen. Mark Pryor is a top GOP target. And in South Dakota, the seat being vacated by Democrat Sen. Tim Johnson now leans Republican…
…Powering the effort is the NRSC’s “majority mentality,” which has the organization pushing in nearly every race. While in some years the GOP has put most its eggs in obvious pick-up states, the NRSC is expanding its portfolio to build momentum and create a few backup states in case something happens in elections that now look like easy wins.
It will require a big change in Republican campaign political culture. Sen. Jerry Moran, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, for example, has hired an aggressive team, many members of “Team Cantor,” who helped House Majority Leader Eric Cantor win GOP control of the chamber in 2010….
…”Chairman Moran’s goal is simple – to win back majority so that the Senate functions again,” said Dayspring. “Winning the majority is extremely tough work, but we’re prepared for the challenge.”
Mike Flynn/Breitbart.com lede: Monday morning, more than 60 leaders of conservative and grass roots organizations sent a letter to RNC Chair Reince Priebus, urging him to consider Rules changes that would reverse a power-grab by the national party at the convention in Tampa. In August, the RNC adopted a number of rules changes that stripped state parties of their control of convention delegate, among other changes. The rules changes further centralized control over the nominating process for the Presidency. They would give DC greater control over picking the GOP nominee.
Many of the changes to the RNC rules adopted in Tampa may seem innocuous, but their effect would shorten the presidential primary and strengthen the position of any front-runner at the beginning of the contest. They would eliminate the proportional allocation of delegates in early primaries and limit the candidates whose names could be offered at the convention for the nomination. It would also allow stripping state-elected convention delegates of their voting rights.
The letter reads in part:
Conservatism and the Reagan coalition that created the modern Republican Party represents the fusion of economic conservatives, social conservatives, and national security conservatives. Rather than allowing political consultants and other elite minorities to shed our principles in the name of political expediency, we must reaffirm our commitment to these timeless American principles and the work that it will take to again make them relevant to a majority of our citizens.
The signers of the letter cover the breadth of the conservative and grass roots base of the party. They seek to reverse the recently adopted rules at the upcoming Spring meeting of the RNC, to ensure that all voices in the party have a role in selecting its Presidential candidate.
Republican congressman Don Young says he ‘meant no disrespect’ when he made a ‘wetbacks’ reference in a radio interview.