Top House progressives are demanding a sit down meeting with President Obama to underscore their opposition to any Social Security benefits cuts as part of a Grand Bargain — a sign that the left has no intention of allowing any cuts to go forward without a major fight.
The demand is being made in a letter that is set to be mailed to the President tomorrow, and was sent my way by a source. It is signed by Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva, along with Dem Reps. Jan Schakowsky, John Conyers, and Donna Edwards, and Senator Bernie Sanders. It says:
We write to request a meeting with you to discuss the inclusion of chained CPI in your recent budget proposal.
We appreciate your ongoing efforts to negotiated with Congressional Republicans in a serious, thoughtful manner, despite their unwillingness to consider a balanced approach. We also appreciate the many positive proposals in your budget, including much-needed additional revenue and the call for universal preschool. However, at a time when many Americans are struggling, cutting Social Security benefits would take money directly out of the pockets of American seniors and slow our economic recovery…
The nation is evenly split between President Obama and congressional Republicans over whom it trusts to handle the issue of gun control, while most continue to support stricter gun-control measures of the kind backed by Democrats, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
On gun control, Obama is trusted by 42 percent of Americans, compared with 41 percent who trust Republicans. Demonstrating a continued divide, those in gun-owning households trust Republicans over Obama by more than two to one (56 percent to 26 percent), while those in non-gun-owning households are nearly a mirror image (58 percent trust Obama; 26 percent trust Republicans).
With just a few days left to convince Congress to avert the so-called sequester spending cuts, President Obama today travels to a part of the country where the cuts could hit the hardest: Virginia’s shipyards.
Mr. Obama is visiting Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, Virginia. If the sequester goes into effect, it could have a direct and clear impact on Virginia’s shipbuilding industry — the Navy would cancel the maintenance of 11 ships in Norfolk, according to the White House, and it would delay and defer other projects in the state. Furthermore, cuts that impact Newport News Shipbuilding could reverberate across the country, since the company has a supplier base in all 50 states.
The sequester will cut around $85 billion in federal spending this year and around $1.1 trillion more over the next 10 years. The White House said Mr. Obama’s trip today is an opportunity to highlight the “devastating impact” the sequester will have “if Congressional Republicans fail to compromise to avert the sequester by March 1st.”
Republicans have, for the most part, agreed with the White House that the indiscriminate nature of the sequester cuts will damage the economy.
President Obama will sit for interviews with eight local reporters on Wednesday, as he continues to ratchet up his pressure on lawmakers to take action to prevent automatic spending cuts from taking effect on March 1.
“The president will take the case directly to the American people in markets across the country about how their leaders in Congress must act to protect our nation from a self-inflicted wound that would hurt our recovery and the middle class,” the White House said in a statement.
Picking up where he left off Tuesday with a brief speech delivered with first responders joining him on stage, Obama “will make clear that the only reason that these devastating cuts would hit is if congressional Republicans choose to protect loopholes that benefit the wealthy and big corporations rather than compromise to reduce the deficit in balanced way and protect American families.”
The White House sees the interviews as an effective way to reach people across the country who don’t pay much attention to national news but who do keep up with what’s happening in their hometowns. It’s a strategy the White House used throughout the presidential campaign and also employed in December as Obama rallied Americans to support him and to push Republicans to act as the fiscal cliff loomed.
More: Obama to Sit for 8 Local Interviews on Sequester
Here is the meat from his speech yesterday:
Watch for a major fight in Congress over taxpayer subsidies for religious and other private schools.
In his Republican response to the State of the Union this week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) touted “school choice,” a euphemism for vouchers.
“We need to give all parents, especially the parents of children with special needs, the opportunity to send their children to the school of their choice,” Rubio said.
The next day, the Florida senator rolled out his “Educational Opportunities Act,” a neo-voucher bill that lets corporations and individuals donate money to “scholarship granting organizations” that pay for tuition at private schools. The donors get a dollar-for-dollar tax credit - for corporations up to $100,000 and for individuals up to $4,500 - and private schools, most of them religious, get a windfall of new money.
Call it a Rubio Goldberg Machine that takes tax dollars, spins them around and puts them into the collection plates of various religious schools that are then free to use the cash to indoctrinate and discriminate.
It’s more than a little ironic that Rubio, who spent a lot of time in his speech talking about the federal debt problem, told The Miami Herald that he doesn’t know how much his scheme will cost.
The newspaper said Rubio’s private school slush fund reflects his close ties with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Bush has relentlessly pushed private school subsidies in the Sunshine State for years, and the Herald said some of his former associates helped Rubio concoct his plan.
The senator’s neo-voucher campaign is likely to have a companion effort in the U.S. House of Representatives. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) has announced plans to put forward a “school choice” scheme, and it’s certain to have the enthusiastic backing of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Boehner is positively obsessed with taxpayer subsidies for religious and other private schools. He used all his political clout - and backroom political wheeling and dealing - to keep in place a federally funded voucher program in the District of Columbia that underwrites tuition at Roman Catholic, fundamentalist Protestant and Muslim schools.
“If congressional Republicans refuse to pay America’s bills on time, Social Security checks and veterans’ benefits will be delayed. We might not be able to pay our troops, or honor our contracts with small business owners. Food inspectors, air traffic controllers, specialists who track down loose nuclear material wouldn’t get their paychecks,” he said.
Obama reminded Republicans that he won the November election partly on his approach to fiscal issues.
The debt limit is one of a trio of deadlines looming around the end of February, including automatic deep spending cuts that were temporarily put off in the “fiscal cliff” deal, and the end of a stopgap government funding measure.
A number of Republicans have said they would be willing to allow a U.S. debt default or a government shutdown to force the Obama administration to accept deeper spending cuts than the White House would like.
Obama’s unexpected news conference could have been a pre-emptive strike aimed at influencing strategy sessions among Republican lawmakers scheduled for later this week.
The Treasury Department warned on Monday that the United States will run out of ways to prevent a default in mid-February or early March if the $16.4 trillion ceiling on borrowing is not raised.
NOT A “DEADBEAT NATION”
Obama said he would agree to talk about steps to trim the U.S. budget deficit, but made clear he wants to keep that discussion separate from the debt ceiling increase.
“The issue here is whether or not America pays its bills,” he said. “We are not a deadbeat nation. And so there’s a very simple solution to this: Congress authorizes us to pay our bills.”
He held to his position that deficit reduction should include measures to raise revenue and not come from spending cuts alone.
Welcome, Know-Nothings: The new Congress is a bunch of ignoramuses when it comes to foreign policy. That’s probably a good thing
The 113th Congress has just been sworn in, and it’s a safe bet that it will be no more engaged with foreign policy, and no more competent to serve as a useful check on the Obama administration, than was its predecessor. This is mostly a prerogative of the opposition, and congressional Republicans have paid remarkably little attention to President Barack Obama’s conduct of foreign affairs. Last month, they roused themselves to block confirmation of a United Nations treaty on the rights of the disabled, which apparently posed a grave threat to the nation’s sovereignty. In recent weeks, of course, the GOP has lashed itself into a fury over the September 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, laboring to gin up a tragic mishap into a full-fledged scandal. But on Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, China, and the war on terror — not much. Really, it’s been a blessing.
It has not always been so, of course. While foreign policy, unlike domestic policy, does not normally depend on legislation or congressional authorization, thus giving far greater latitude to the executive branch, presidents have often had to face stiff resistance from Congress. President Lyndon Johnson provoked a storm of opposition on Capitol Hill when he escalated the Vietnam War; William Fulbright, a fellow Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), impaneled a series of hearings that showcased devastating critiques of Johnson’s conduct of the war. Politicians on both sides of the aisle believed that Johnson had hoodwinked them into supporting the Gulf of Tonkin resolution enabling the escalation; many of them vowed never again to automatically defer to the president’s authority to conduct foreign policy.
In the mid-1970s, Democratic Senator Frank Church conducted spectacular hearings into the CIA’s history of assassinations. Republicans fought President Jimmy Carter every step of the way on his human rights policy and support for left-leaning regimes in Latin America. When Ronald Reagan reversed Carter’s policies in order to back anti-Communist insurgents, a Democratic-controlled Congress passed the Boland Amendment banning military aid to the Nicaraguan Contras. It was this prohibition that Reagan tried to evade with the elaborate subterfuge known as Iran-Contra — which was itself fully exposed to the public in the Senate’s weeks-long Iran-Contra hearings that made Oliver North a household name. Had President Richard Nixon’s impeachment not been fresh in everyone’s minds, Democrats might well have moved to impeach Reagan over the lies required to conduct a secret foreign policy.
President Barack Obama on Monday will nominate Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, two potentially controversial picks for his second-term national security team.
Hagel, even before being nominated, has faced tough criticism from congressional Republicans who say the former GOP senator is anti-Israel and soft on Iran. And Brennan, a 25-year CIA veteran, withdrew from consideration for the spy agency’s top job in 2008 amid questions about his connection to enhanced interrogation techniques during the George W. Bush administration.
Administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say Obama will announce both nominations at a White House event Monday afternoon.
About an hour ago I get this link. LWC gives me this heads up about Erick the Redstate going all in Tea Party and rebuffing the senior GOP leadership. I read the link, got suspicious at a lack of attribution or links and shortly used Google to track down the source. Yes, it’s a TP manifesto of sorts.
These people are destroying the conservative brand. I’m conservative. Not social-con or theo-con. I just choose to live my personal life conservative financially and boring straight monogamous. What that means to me in the larger sense is legislative compromise with the other party is part of responsible governance. As is loyal opposition. As is a certain adherence and loyalty to reality. Science. Facts.
This is about the GOP civil war. The war for it’s heart. For it’s future. Or it’s demise like the whigs.
If you like, hit the link and read it all. Ponder if you will, a post GOP nation.
Over the next couple of years, Barack Obama wants to raise the national debt to $18.9 trillion or so.
John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the congressional Republicans want to raise the national debt to $18.4 trillion or so.
This is not about the compromise. This is not about the fiscal cliff. This is not even about removing Amash, Huelskamp, Schweikert, and Jones. This is about beginning again anew — a process that cannot happen when the faces of the Republican leadership have been in Washington since 1986 expanding government while preaching the need for limiting it.
Democrats and Republicans are duking it out in Washington over a deal to avert the slew of spending cuts and tax increases—the so-called “fiscal cliff” you’ve heard so much about—that will take start to effect on January 1. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have argued that “everything should be on the table” in negotiations toward a deal that trims the nation’s debt and avoids the “cliff.” Yet notably absent from the debate over what to cut and what to spare in a deal are the tens of billions of dollars in subsidies, tax breaks, and other perks for the hugely profitable oil industry.
That silence begs the question: Will Big Oil’s subsidies go untouched in the fight over a “fiscal cliff” deal?
In news stories and public remarks by leading Democrats and Republicans, there’s been scant discussion of oil subsidies as a potential source of revenue. The proposals floated by the White House and by congressional Republicans have not delved into enough detail to know whether subsidies would be included in their proposed changes. And multiple aides to Senate Democrats say that, while they believe the subsidies are on the table, there hasn’t been much of a push behind the scenes to include them in a fiscal cliff deal.