Archive for category GOP
Why are Republicans holding yet another futile, time-wasting and taxpayer-money-wasting Obamcare repeal vote next week? House Speaker John Boehner explains.
70 [sic] 17 new members who have not had an opportunity to vote on the president’s health care law,” Boehner said. “Frankly they’ve been asking for an opportunity to vote on it.”
Well, then. By all means. It’s not like it’s costing American taxpayers something like $1.45 million to have that meaningless vote.
Oh, wait. Yes, it is! It’s exactly like it’s costing us $1.45 million for that repeal vote. Last July, when CBS News tallied it up using the CRS figure of $24 million per work week in the House, they figured that the House had spent 80 hours on 33 repeal votes, for a grand total of $48 million. That’s $1.45 million per vote. There have been another three repeal votes since then, for another $4.4 million to the tally.
So, we’re at a grand total of $52.4 million wasted on futile Obamacare repeal votes, just in the House. And that’s being generous to the Republicans, not counting committee time wasted on this, the opportunity cost of delaying other work, etc. It’s probably a lot closer to $55 million.
And if you ask those 70 new GOP members who are insisting on having their turn to cast a meaningless vote on settled law why they want to be in Congress, they’ll tell you it’s to stop big government from wasting taxpayer dollars.
- Boehner explains why House will waste more time and money on Obamacare repeal (dailykos.com)
- G.O.P. Split Over Whether to Waste Time Investigating Benghazi or Repealing Obamacare : The New Yorker (mbcalyn.com)
- Tell Boehner: Enough already with the damned “Repeal Obamacare” votes; The House is about to vote for the THIRTY-SEVENTH time tomorrow on repealing Obamacare. (sunsetdaily.wordpress.com)
- Boehner Says He Cares About Jobs While Republicans Have Wasted 15 Percent Of House Time On Obamacare (youngprogressivevoices.com)
- GOP SPLIT! : Waste Time on Benghazi or Repealing Obamacare (aapd0418.com)
- House GOP to vote on Obamacare repeal – Vol. 37 (cbsnews.com)
- Since 2011, House GOP has spent 15 percent of its time voting to repeal ‘Obamacare’ (thesunnews.typepad.com)
- Obamacare repeal vote-a-palooza resumes Thursday (dailykos.com)
- G.O.P. Split Over Whether to Waste Time Investigating Benghazi or Repealing Obamacare (newyorker.com)
- House GOP pumped to vote to repeal Obamacare – for the 37th time (tv.msnbc.com)
House Republicans spent most of their time over the last three years reminding Americans that Senate Democrats hadn’t passed a budget in two, then three, then four years. It was a regular Republican talking point, a particular favorite of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s. But now that the Senate has returned to regular order by passing a budget, House Republicans are refusing to come to the table to negotiate a long-term spending plan.
Republicans passed their own budget, the plan Ryan authored, in March, and since the proposal differs from the Senate budget, regular order requires the two chambers to come together in conference to iron out their differences in a compromise budget that is then taken back to the full memberships of each house. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has hinted at forming such a conference for more than a week, but Republicans have shown no willingness to join him. This morning, Senate Republicans blocked Reid from creating a conference committee, a move that led Reid to accuse them of turning “a complete 180″:
“,” Reid said.
He noted that Republicans have called for “regular order” for years.
,” Reid said.
The GOP offered numerous excuses for why they wouldn’t approve a conference, including that certain rules need to be worked out. Ryan and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (R), the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, have said they need to agree to “framework” for a deal to make a compromise more likely.
What that “framework” would need to be to get Republicans to agree to conference, however, is clear: a deal that cuts spending but includes no new tax revenue. That has been a consistent GOP demand throughout budget and spending fights over the last three years, a sticking point that has brought the government to the brink of both shutdown and default. It’s also a concession Democrats and President Obama are unwilling to make, given that they have already agreed to nearly $2.5 trillion in spending cuts while receiving little revenue in exchange. Any new deal, in fact, would have to achieve 90 percent of its deficit reduction from tax revenue to balance the overall reductions achieved in the last four years.
- After Demanding Senate Pass A Budget, GOP Refuses To Enter Budget Negotiations (thinkprogress.org.feedsportal.com)
- Dems try to turn budget fight back against GOP (firstread.nbcnews.com)
- Reid calls for regular budget order (politico.com)
- Republicans Object to Reid’s Call for Budget Negotiating Committee (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Budget Conference on Ice (blogs.wsj.com)
- Why Republicans Suddenly Became Afraid Of Their Own Budget Shadow (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Wonkbook: Reid wants to call Republicans’ budget bluff (eezzbeat.newsvine.com)
- How The GOP Demand For A Democratic Budget Just Backfired Big Time | TPMDC (brite.newsvine.com)
- GOP’s Budget Lies Exposed (boomantribune.com)
- Reid: Action on sequester priority (upi.com)
Back in the winter, Republicans were perfectly happy to let the sequester happen. They hewed to their math-challenged belief that Washington could slash the budget deficit by taking an axe to entitlement programs, preserving or hiking defense spending, lowering tax rates, and foregoing any new revenue. And if the Obama administration refused to go that route, Republicans were fine to let the sequester kick in on March 1 – as mandated by the 2011 deal between the parties.
Monte Wolverton / PoliticalCartoons.com
Granted, the sequester was never supposed to happen – draconian by definition, it was designed to bring everyone to their senses – but Republicans figured it had an upside. Federal spending would be cut 2.5 percent across the board, and, to them, that smelled like victory. Nobody in the real world would really get hurt, they said, and anybody who claimed otherwise was just a scaremonger.
Five weeks later, it’s bye bye mockery. Republicans have awakened to reality. They’re still fine with the sequester in the abstract, of course, but they seem displeased with how it’s starting to bite in their own backyards. Funny how that works.
It should be noted that their whining is quite selective. They’re basically silent about the imperiled or reduced Head Start programs for kids in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Morris County, New Jersey and Cincinnati Ohio; about the special-education cuts and the imperiled rent assistance program in Sacramento, California; about the research funding cuts at the University of Florida and in the Human Genome Project at Missouri’s Washington University; about the Medicare cuts that are already prompting cancer clinics to turn away patients because the clinics can’t shoulder the cost of expensive chemotherapy drugs. (As one cancer clinic executive said, “A lot of us are in disbelief that this is happening.”)
Republicans don’t seem particularly upset about that stuff, but they’re shocked to discover that certain cuts are aimed at their own enclaves. Why, it’s an outrage!
For instance, Texas congressman Steve Stockman is fulminating about possible cuts at NASA (which is situated in his district). NASA has a “legitimate function of government,” he said, because it helps American avoid getting “hit by an asteroid.” And South Dakota senator John Thune is upset that the feds have closed some campgrounds at Wind Cave National Park (which is situated in his state). He says that these campgrounds are “a revenue source,” and he thinks that the Obama administration’s shutdown decision is “politically calculated.”
But Republicans have reserved their finest whine for the spending cuts at rural airports.
The Federal Aviation Administration, which has been ordered to slash $637 million for the rest of the current fiscal year, has announced that it will close 149 air traffic control towers at small airports. The air-traffic controllers who work there can be laid off immediately because they’re private contractors; unionized air-traffic controllers, who work at the bigger airports, can be laid off only after a one-year negotation period. The rural skies will remain safe, says an AP story, because “pilots will be left to coordinate takeoffs and landings among themselves over a shared radio frequency with no help from ground controllers, under procedures that all pilots are trained to carry out.”
A huge share of these rural airports are in red states and red congressional districts. So of course Republicans are asking that the cuts be rescinded, that they receive special treatment. Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann (I’m trying to finish this sentence with a straight face) says that the FAA decision to close a tower in her district “shows a troubling lack of priorities.” Missouri senator Roy Blunt says that the decision to close a rural tower in his state is “interrupting Americans’ lives and air travel.” Florida congressman Dennis says that the “arbitrary” closure of an “important” tower in his district could have a “devastating” impact on the upcoming “Sun n’ Fun,” an annual convention that “serves our children.”
In response to this whining, I will simply invoke Mr. Pink, the film character in Reservoir Dogs played by Steve Buscemi, who rubbed his fingers together and said, “You see this? This is the world’s smallest violin, playing just for you.”
Yo, Republicans: You wanted across-the-board spending cuts? Fine, you’ve got them. It’s not just kids and cancer patients and 47 percenters who get hurt. Welcome to your own back yard.
- Sequester Cuts: Not In My Backyard! (athomesense.com)
- The Sequester Takes Effect On Norwood Airport (wbur.org)
- FAA may eliminate contract weather observer stations at Yeager, other airports (wvgazette.com)
- Republicans can’t stop whining about the sequester they caused (dailykos.com)
- About those air traffic control towers being forced to close because of sequester… (bluegrasspundit.com)
- Montana Airport Sues To Prevent Closure Of Air Traffic Control Tower (kmvt.com)
- Republican sequester causing airport tower closings! (americanliberaltimes.com)
- Sequester Tantrums Reveal Yet Again That Republicans Are Developmentally Stunted (politicususa.com)
- FAA delays closure of air traffic control towers (foxnews.com)
- Texas Deals With Air Traffic Sequester Cuts Like A Boss (personalliberty.com)
TEA PARTY AND THE RIGHT
The Sequester as a Tea Party Plot
Sequestration grew out of a strategy hatched soon after they took over the House in 2011.
Photo Credit: Rena Schild / Shutterstock.com
March 1, 2013
Imagine a plot to undermine the government of the United States, to destroy much of its capacity to do the public’s business, and to sow distrust among the population.
Imagine further that the plotters infiltrate Congress and state governments, reshape their districts to give them disproportionate influence in Washington, and use the media to spread big lies about the government.
Finally, imagine they not only paralyze the government but are on the verge of dismantling pieces of it.
Far-fetched? Perhaps. But take a look at what’s been happening in Washington and many state capitals since Tea Party fanatics gained effective control of the Republican Party, and you’d be forgiven if you see parallels.
Tea Party Republicans are crowing about the “sequestration” cuts beginning today (Friday). “This will be the first significant tea party victory in that we got what we set out to do in changing Washington,” says Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Kan.), a Tea Partier who was first elected in 2010.
Sequestration is only the start. What they set out to do was not simply change Washington but eviscerate the U.S. government — “drown it in the bathtub,” in the words of their guru Grover Norquist – slashing Social Security and Medicare, ending worker protections we’ve had since the 1930s, eroding civil rights and voting rights, terminating programs that have helped the poor for generations, and making it impossible for the government to invest in our future.
Sequestration grew out of a strategy hatched soon after they took over the House in 2011, to achieve their goals by holding hostage the full faith and credit of the United States – notwithstanding the Constitution’s instruction that the public debt of the United States “not be questioned.”
To avoid default on the public debt, the White House and House Republicans agreed to harsh and arbitrary “sequestered” spending cuts if they couldn’t come up with a more reasonable deal in the interim. But the Tea Partiers had no intention of agreeing to anything more reasonable. They knew the only way to dismember the federal government was through large spending cuts without tax increases.
Nor do they seem to mind the higher unemployment their strategy will almost certainly bring about. Sequestration combined with January’s fiscal cliff deal is expected to slow economic growth by 1.5 percentage points this year – dangerous for an economy now crawling at about 2 percent. It will be even worse if the Tea Partiers refuse to extend the government’s spending authority, which expires March 27.
A conspiracy theorist might think they welcome more joblessness because they want Americans to be even more fearful and angry. Tea Partiers use fear and anger in their war against the government – blaming the anemic recovery on government deficits and the government’s size, and selling a poisonous snake-oil of austerity economics and trickle-down economics as the remedy.
They likewise use the disruption and paralysis they’ve sown in Washington to persuade Americans government is necessarily dysfunctional, and politics inherently bad. Their continuing showdowns and standoffs are, in this sense, part of the plot.
What is the President’s response? He still wants a so-called “grand bargain” of “balanced” spending cuts (including cuts in the projected growth of Social Security and Medicare) combined with tax increases on the wealthy. So far, though, he has agreed to a gross imbalance — $1.5 trillion in cuts to Republicans’ $600 billion in tax increases on the rich.
The President apparently believes Republicans are serious about deficit reduction, when in fact the Tea Partiers now running the GOP are serious only about dismembering the government.
And he seems to accept that the budget deficit is the largest economic problem facing the nation, when in reality the largest problem is continuing high unemployment (some 20 million Americans unemployed or under-employed), declining real wages, and widening inequality. Deficit reduction now or in the near-term will only make these worse.
Besides, the deficit is now down to about 5 percent of GDP – where it was when Bill Clinton took office. It is projected to mushroom in later years mainly because healthcare costs are expected to rise faster than the economy is expected to grow, and the American population is aging. These trends have little or nothing to do with government programs. In fact, Medicare is far more efficient than private health insurance.
I suggest the President forget about a “grand bargain.” In fact, he should stop talking about the budget deficit and start talking about jobs and wages, and widening inequality – as he did in the campaign. And he should give up all hope of making a deal with the Tea Partiers who now run the Republican Party.
Instead, the President should let the public see the Tea Partiers for who they are — a small, radical minority intent on dismantling the government of the United States. As long as they are allowed to dictate the terms of public debate they will continue to hold the rest of us hostage to their extremism.
- Robert Reich: The Sequester and the Tea Party Plot (huffingtonpost.com)
- The Sequester and the Tea Party Plot (readersupportednews.org)
- The Sequester and the Tea Party Plot (obrag.org)
- The Tea Party Plot (robertreich.org)
- The Sequester And The Tea Party Plot – OpEd (eurasiareview.com)
- Robert Reich: None Dare Call it Treason (politicalcrazyness.tumblr.com)
- The Sequester as a Tea Party Plot (alternet.org)
- The Sequester And The Tea Party Plot – OpEd (albanytribune.com)
- Sequestration, Tea Party conspiracy? (salon.com)
- The sequester and the Tea Party Plot (blogs.berkeley.edu)
The GOP Plan to Flush Your State’s Economy Down the Toilet
The new “red-state model” seeks to turn your state into Mississippi.
February 11, 2013
The GOP has plans for a comeback. But it may cost you a lot. The idea is to capitalize on recent Republican state takeovers to conduct an austerity experiment known as the new “red-state model” and prove that faulty policies can be turned into gold.
There will be smoke. There will be mirrors. And there will be a lot of ordinary people suffering needlessly in the wake of this ideological train wreck.
We already have a red-state model, and it’s called Mississippi. Or Texas. Or any number of states characterized by low public investment, worker abuse, environmental degradation, educational backwardness, high rates of unwanted pregnancy, poor health, and so on.
Now the GOP is determined to bring that horrible model to the rest of America.
In Kansas, the Wall Street Journal reports that Governor Sam Brownback is aiming to up his profile “by turning Kansas into what he calls Exhibit A for how sharp cuts in taxes and government spending can generate jobs, wean residents off public aid and spur economic growth.” In remarks quoted in the same article, Brownback announced that “My focus is to create a red-state model that allows the Republican ticket to say, ‘See, we’ve got a different way, and it works.’ “
Brownback’s economic inspiration is Reagan-era supply-side economist Arthur Laffer and the folks at Americans for Prosperity, the conservative outfit backed by the deep coffers of the Koch brothers.
This new austerity talk focused on “fiscal innovations” is emboldening Republicans in other states that have been gerrymandered into submission to the GOP, including Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, and alas, my home state of North Carolina.
Republications have been eyeing the Tar Heel state with interest due to its recent swing status in presidential elections. The state was also the target of a gerrymandering strategy that worked out wonderfully for the Republicans, but not so well for democracy. Sam Wang, the founder of the Princeton Election Consortium, wrote recently in the New York Times about how Republican redistricting thwarted Democratic voters:
“Although gerrymandering is usually thought of as a bipartisan offense, the rather asymmetrical results may surprise you….I have developed approaches to detect such shenanigans by looking only at election returns. To see how the sleuthing works, start with the naïve standard that the party that wins more than half the votes should get at least half the seats. In November, five states failed to clear even this low bar: Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. … In North Carolina, where the two-party House vote was 51 percent Democratic, 49 percent Republican, the average simulated delegation was seven Democrats and six Republicans. The actual outcome? Four Democrats, nine Republicans — a split that occurred in less than 1 percent of simulations. If districts were drawn fairly, this lopsided discrepancy would hardly ever occur.”
The lesson of North Carolina tells you that the GOP red-state model is based, first and foremost, on efforts to flagrantly disregard the will of the people. NC’s discount-store mogul Art Pope, a longtime GOP donor and champion of free-market fundamentalism, has been appointed state budget director by the new Republican governor, Pat McCrory. In an incredible display of money buying political influence, Pope has gone well beyond his donor-counterparts in other states. Instead of just funding the politicians he wants, he has gone for direct rule by occupying government himself. Tax repeal is the centerpiece of his announced plans, but his hatred of public investment means he has much more than that in store for one of the most progressive states in the South. Pope is said to be more powerful than the governor, giving rise to the term “Pope administration” to describe the new political reality.
GOP pols are vying to out-do each other in extreme red-state programming. NC state senator Bob Rucho is pushing a plan to eliminate the state’s income taxes altogether. Such plans go hand-in-hand with calls for increasing the sales tax. Because low-income people pay a higher proportion of their income in sales taxes, abolishing income taxes and raising sales taxes shoves tax burdens onto them. Obviously, the Republicans will not give up on their passionate desire to cut taxes on the wealthy and stick it to the poor and the middle class.
Pope’s ideological opposition to public investment is ringing alarm bells. North Carolina, a state where progressives have fought conservative forces tooth and nail to achieve an enviable university system and a reputation for high-tech and research, is now in danger of being thrown into a period of regressive darkness. University of North Carolina sociologist Andrew Perrin put it this way: “Public investment is part of what has set North Carolina apart from our neighbors in the South.”
But Pope is hell-bent on turning North Carolina into Mississippi.
The GOP economic plans not only subvert common sense and the lessons of history (being played out right now in places like the U.K., where austerity has failed dramatically), they also flip a giant middle finger at the American voter. Unable to win support at the national level for their foolhardy economic programs, Republicans have turned their attention to state-level action because that’s where gerrymandering really works wonders.
Red-state model proponents claim that their maneuvers will spark economic growth. But that was basically what George W. Bush had in mind when he supported a similar program for cutting taxes on the rich. That didn’t work out so well, and increased the very deficits Republicans decry.
But here’s the really scary part. Slashing taxes, squeezing workers and throwing out environmental protections can indeed lure businesses to states where they won’t have to pay their fair share and can get away with all sorts of abuse. If a state like North Carolina promotes such policies, businesses from nearby states like Virginia may indeed move their operations down the road. Unless you believe in the “Confidence Fairy,” as Paul Krugman calls the naïve GOP faith that making everybody poorer is the way to become rich, then you know that what results is simply trade diversion, not genuine growth. In other words, one state’s gain is another state’s loss. The result is a headlong race-to-the-bottom whereby the states losing business will be pressured to slash their taxes and burden their workers and ordinary citizens, too. Nobody wins in that game — except the 1 percent.
The blue-state model, evident in high-income states like Massachusetts, has long been associated with high levels of state investments in education, transportation and other public goods. And guess what? It’s also associated with economic strength. The red-state model, on the other hand, is linked to backwardness, second-rate educational systems and economic weakness.
What the GOP wants to do is create an image-problem for blue states where taxes have been raised to balance budgets and continue vital services and jobs by crying “Look, Ma! No taxes!” in the states where they’ve taken control.
They’ll soon be able to say, “Look, Ma! No economy.”
- The GOP Plan to Flush Your State’s Economy Down the Toilet (alternet.org)
- The GOP Plan to Flush Your State’s Economy Down the Toilet (dailyqueernews.wordpress.com)
- Brownback’s duplicity on Medicaid expansion (voices.kansascity.com)
- Kansas legislature split over Brownback’s tax proposals (cjonline.com)
- Gov. Brownback makes pitch for austerity to freshmen lawmakers (kansas.com)
- OUR VIEW: Biggest battle for Brownback? Judicial branch (morningsun.net)
- Kansas fiscal work hitting key phase (kansascity.com)
- Brownback seeks changes in selection of judges (sfgate.com)
- Brownback: Keep full sales tax, cut income taxes further (kansascity.com)
- Brownback to answer legislative questions in State of the State address (kansas.com)
Mosbacher: I’m Furious at My Own Party
Jan 8, 2013 4:45 AM EST
RNC Finance Committee co-chair Georgette Mosbacher tells Michelle Cottle that she’s “mad as hell” about what Republicans have done to themselves.
Best not to ask GOP fundraising legend Georgette Mosbacher about the state of her beloved party unless you want an earful. The co-chair of the RNC’s Finance Committee (and CEO of Borghese cosmetics), Mosbacher is “mad as hell” about the myriad ways the “brand has been tarnished”: the sorry state of the presidential primary process, the ongoing alienation of Latino voters, the “outrageous” Senate candidates that the party ran this cycle, the epic failure of the fiscal-cliff negotiations, and, most recently, the House’s dithering over disaster aid for the victims of superstorm Sandy.
“I’m angry!” fumes Mosbacher. “I’m angry about the stupid mistakes that were self-inflicted.” It’s this last part she finds the most enraging. Though she believes the party has “unfairly” been defined by its recent mistakes, she is very clear about where the ultimate blame lies: “We did it to ourselves.”
Mosbacher is, of course, not alone in her ire. Postelection, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a hastily assembled group of Republican leaders laboring to figure out where the party went wrong last cycle and how to get it back on track. So far, however, Mosbacher is unimpressed by their efforts.
“I have not seen an honest postmortem assessment yet,” she told me. “I have not seen anything that gives me any comfort right now.”
This is an unfortunate development for the GOP, because, as Mosbacher explained it to me this weekend: “I’m not writing any checks, and I’m not asking anyone else to write any checks until I hear something that makes sense to me.”
The root problem, as she sees it: the sorry state of the party’s leadership in Washington.
Take the implosion of certain Senate candidates, she says. “One or two bad apples—excuse the cliché—really can spoil the whole thing. But it’s incumbent on our leadership to know who those are. Don’t tell me these people didn’t know who they were before they spewed their nonsense.” Mosbacher grows increasingly agitated. “How did they get this far? Where was the leadership to stop that?”
OK. So the party’s finance co-chair is disgusted to the point where she’s threatening to shut off the money spigot. That’s the bad news. Now for the worse news: she is not alone.
As Mosbacher tells it, many of her fellow mega-donors are vowing to sit on their wallets until something changes. “Since the election, there have been a lot of gatherings, a lot of meetings among those who are active in raising money,” she says. “There’s been one every week. There are a lot of us who are saying, ‘Just wait a minute.’”
Mosbacher adds, “The question is, ‘Are we united in drying that up?’ From the people I’ve talked to, the answer is, ‘Yeah.’”
Earlier this month, New York Republican Rep. Peter King caused a stir when, incensed by the House leadership’s refusal to vote on Sandy relief, he publicly called on area voters not to donate to his own party. “The Republicans have no problem finding New York when they’re out raising millions of dollars,” raged King. “I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds.”
“I’m not writing any checks, and I’m not asking anyone else to write any checks until I hear something that makes sense to me.”
King’s outburst—closely followed by a similar declaration of war by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—prompted a flurry of news reports about how much the GOP relies on New York funders. (State Republicans gave in the neighborhood of $378 million during the 2012 cycle, putting it No. 2 behind only California.) A scant hour after Christie’s denunciation, House leadership reversed course and scheduled an aid vote.
As far as Mosbacher is concerned, however, the damage was done. While “stupid,” the leadership’s fumble of the Sandy vote “was just that moment in time,” she says. “It only reinforced how angry we are about what they’re doing.”
If anything, says Mosbacher, the episode drove home the impact that New York—which she refers to variously as “the motherlode” and “the golden goose”—can have. “You know how loud we were. Let’s face it, it didn’t take long to turn that one around. It showed that the golden goose does have some pull.”
Now, she says, it’s time to tackle “the bigger issues,” subjects on which she and her fellow donors expect to be heard by party leaders before they hand out any more golden eggs.
“There’s one thing they understand,” she says with the confidence of a woman who has played at the highest level of the game for many years. “They understand money. Politics is about money. Make no mistake. They’re going to have to listen.”
And not merely listen. Mosbacher warns, “They may listen and not act. But that will be risky.”
- Another GOP insider discovers today’s Republican Party sucks (dailykos.com)
- The Road Less Travelled and a tale of the Middle Path (skydancingblog.com)
- Sylvia (arnoldzwicky.wordpress.com)
- Run Wild Missoula offers advanced training class for spring marathoners (missoulian.com)
- Mosbach (confuzzledom.wordpress.com)
- Tea Party pores over setting term limits for Texas politicians (reporternews.com)
- website work (mingissiyeva.com)
- Democrats overtook GOP in 2012 party affiliation: Poll. (greatriversofhope.wordpress.com)
- Why things might not be as bad as they look for Republicans – in 3 charts (washingtonpost.com)
- The Three Wise M’s: Marburg, Mannheim, Mosbach. – Marburg, Germany (travelpod.com)
After an eleventh-hour deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, Republicans are already looking forward to the next manufactured crisis: the debt ceiling fight. Though raising the debt ceiling was considered a routine order of business in the past, radical Republicans took the nation to the brink of credit default for the first time in history, refusing to raise the debt ceiling if Democrats did not agree to devastating spending cuts.
The US hit its debt limit again on New Year’s Eve 2012, and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) seems ready to gamble with US credit again. As the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore reports, the Speaker may try to avoid a sustainable deal over the debt ceiling, instead increasing the limit little by little. This would result in another debt ceiling fight every month:
I ask Mr. Boehner if he will take the debt-ceiling talks to the brink—risking a government shutdown and debt downgrade from the credit agencies—given that it didn’t work in 2011 and President Obama has said he won’t bargain on the matter.
He says that Republicans won’t back down from the so-called Boehner rule: that every dollar of raising the debt ceiling will require one dollar of spending cuts over the next 10 years.
Most Americans want to avoid another debt ceiling fight like the 2011 debacle, which led to an unprecedented downgrade of US credit, an all-time low approval rating for Congress, and cost taxpayers $18.9 billion. But Boehner is taking his cues from anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, who floated the idea of a monthly debt ceiling increase as a way to extort more spending cuts from Democrats. Norquist’s strict pledge to never raise taxes, which most Republicans have signed, was the main cause of the crisis in 2011. Other Republicans seem eager to replicate the experience, including newcomer Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who encouraged his colleagues to aim for another government shutdown.
If Boehner takes Norquist’s advice and institutes a regular debt ceiling battle, he may fulfill his own warning in 2011, when he predicted a global “financial disaster” if the US did not raise the debt ceiling.
- Freshman lawmakers preview debt ceiling battle (mbcalyn.com)
- Boehner’s Plan is Reckless and Irresponsible (boomantribune.com)
- “This Is On Congress”: The Debt Ceiling Isn’t President Obama’s Problem, It’ The GOP’s Problem (mbcalyn.com)
- Beohner Blinks in Debt Ceiling Fight (politicalwire.com)
- Boehner Wants To Fight About The Debt Ceiling Every Month (thinkprogress.org)
- Boehner: debt limit ‘not the ultimate leverage’ (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Boehner backing off debt limit threat: ‘Not the ultimate leverage’ (dailykos.com)
- Republicans Backing Off Debt Ceiling Fight (alan.com)
- John Boehner: Congress ‘Never Going To Give Up’ Debt Ceiling Powers (VIDEO) (huffingtonpost.com)
- Boehner Blinks in Debt Ceiling Fight (politicalwire.com)
Republican Senator Calls For Repeat Of 1995 Government Shutdown: ‘If We Hold Strong We Can Do That Again’ | ThinkProgress
By Scott Keyes on Jan 7, 2013 at 10:43 am
Tea Party-aligned Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), within days of being sworn in, is already calling for a government shutdown unless Congress agrees to massive budget cuts.
During an appearance on Mark Levin’s radio show Friday, Cruz waxed poetic about the last time Republicans successfully shut down the government in 1995, arguing that a shutdown leads to better economic policies. “Because Republicans stood strong in 1995, we saw year after year of balanced budgets,” Cruz said. He went on to call for a repeat as Republicans hold the nation’s fiscal solvency hostage in the debt ceiling fight next month. “If we hold strong we can do that again,” the Texas Senator declared:
CRUZ: What would happen if the debt ceiling isn’t raised is it would be a partial government shutdown. We’ve seen this before, we saw this in 1995, when Republicans in the House shut down the government. What happened was it was a partial shutdown, there was some political cost to be paid but at the end of the day, because Republicans stood strong in 1995, we saw year after year of balanced budgets and some of the most fiscally-responsible policies Congress has produced in the modern-era. If we hold strong we can do that again. It just comes down to Republicans. Are we willing to stand strong and face the wrath of the mainstream media criticizing us and the president saying nasty things about us?
Listen to it:
Were Cruz and his Republican allies to succeed in shutting down the government, the effects would be felt widely. Over 800,000 federal workers would likely be furloughed, Social Security processing could be delayed, newly-eligible Medicare patients wouldn’t be able to obtain benefits, police and public safety officials could be cut, and veterans’ services would be impacted.
In addition, a debt ceiling negotiation itself is costly; last time Republicans held it hostage in 2011, the debacle cost taxpayers $19 billion.
The larger problem, however, is that by not raising the debt ceiling, Congress risks defaulting on the United States’ credit. If Cruz and his allies block a debt ceiling increase, the Treasury won’t be able to pay all its bills. As Matthew Yglesias notes, “The result won’t be a ‘shutdown’ of government functions; it’ll be a deadbeat federal government. Some people won’t get money they’re legally entitled to.” That’s why House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) warned in 2011 that not raising the debt ceiling would cause “financial disaster” for the entire “worldwide economy.”
In his first week in Congress, Cruz is already earning a reputation as an unwavering firebrand. As he explained on Fox News Sunday this past weekend, “I don’t think what Washington needs is more compromise.”
- Republican Senator Calls For Repeat Of 1995 Government Shutdown: ‘If We Hold Strong We Can Do That Again’ (thinkprogress.org)
- No Surprise! Republicans Are Already Foolishly Promoting Government Shutdown (newsone.com)
- GOP increasingly ready for government shutdown (washingtontimes.com)
- The Mother of All Government Shutdowns (talkingpointsmemo.com)
- One-on-One with Senator Ted Cruz (kudlowsmoneypolitics.blogspot.com)
- How Obama Can Prevent Another Debt Ceiling Crisis (theatlantic.com)
- ‘Temporary, Partial Government Shutdown’: The New Frank Luntz Debt Ceiling Lie (crooksandliars.com)
- Cruz: Government Shutdown Is on the Table (nationalreview.com)
- The GOP Is Already Threatening A Government Shutdown To Win Spending Cuts (forbes.com)
- The 5 Top Republicans Open to Shutting the Government to Get Their Way. (greatriversofhope.wordpress.com)