Posts Tagged Republican
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)
G.O.P. Split Over Whether to Waste Time Investigating Benghazi or Repealing Obamacare : The New Yorker
MAY 13, 2013
G.O.P. SPLIT OVER WHETHER TO WASTE TIME INVESTIGATING BENGHAZI OR REPEALING OBAMACARE
POSTED BY ANDY BOROWITZ
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—A deep divide has emerged within the Republican Party over whether to waste Congress’s time investigating Benghazi talking points or repealing Obamacare, G.O.P. lawmakers confirmed today.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), sounded the first discordant note at a press briefing this morning, telling reporters, “The time for wasting day after day investigating Benghazi is over. The American people are counting us to waste our time repealing Obamacare yet again.”
Warning that “the American people don’t have an endless appetite for meaningless political theater,” Cantor added, “If we’re going to do something that’s purely symbolic, pointless, and detached from reality, I say it should be repealing Obamacare for the thirtieth or fortieth time.”
Rep. Cantor’s comments drew a strong rebuke from Darrell Issa (R-California), who has spearheaded the investigation into Benghazi: “Quite frankly, we have all the time in the world to blow repealing Obamacare. The moment to waste our time investigating Benghazi is now.” Noting that previous attempts to repeal Obamacare had cost the taxpayers approximately fifty million dollars, Issa said, “I think we’re entitled to spend at least that much, if not more, investigating Benghazi again and again and again.”
But even as the debate raged over whether Obamacare or Benghazi was more worthy of Congress’ wasted time, House Speaker John Boehner offered a third point of view: “Personally, I think the time we’re wasting on Benghazi and Obamacare could be better spent blocking progress on guns and immigration.”
- G.O.P. Split Over Whether to Waste Time Investigating Benghazi or Repealing Obamacare (newyorker.com)
- G.O.P. Split Over Whether To Waste Time Investigating Benghazi Or Repealing Obamacare (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
- Monday Morning Politics: Benghazi Emails; IRS Targeting; Obamacare (wnyc.org)
- The Morning Plum: A reality check on Beltway scandal-mania (washingtonpost.com)
- House Will Vote Again To Repeal Obamacare, Mostly Pointlessly (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Boehner explains why House will waste more time and money on Obamacare repeal (dailykos.com)
- Cantor Brings Obamacare Up For Repeal Vote, Again (hngn.com)
- Republicans’ plan for economic growth and jobs. Video (americanfreedombybarbara.com)
- Wendell Potter: A GOP Idea That’s Part of Obamacare Showing Signs of Working as Planned (accidentvictimsalliance.com)
- House GOP Planning Another Obamacare Repeal Vote (accidentvictimsalliance.com)
By TIMOTHY EGAN
House of Un-Representatives
Timothy Eganon American politics and life, as seen from the West.
Not long ago, the congressman from northeast Texas, Louie Gohmert, was talking about how the trans-Alaska oil pipeline improved the sex lives of certain wild animals — in his mind, the big tube was an industrial-strength aphrodisiac. “When the caribou want to go on a date,” he told a House hearing, “they invite each other to head over to the pipeline.”
Gohmert, consistently on the short list for the most off-plumb member of Congress, has said so many crazy things that this assertion passed with little comment. Last year, he blamed a breakdown of Judeo-Christian values for the gun slaughter at a cinema in Colorado. Last week, he claimed the Muslim Brotherhood had deep influence in the Obama administration, and that the attorney general — the nation’s highest law enforcer — sympathized with terrorists.
You may wonder how he gets away with this. You may also wonder how Gohmert can run virtually unopposed in recent elections. The answer explains why we have an insular, aggressively ignorant House of Representatives that is not at all representative of the public will, let alone the makeup of the country.
Much has been said about how the great gerrymander of the people’s House — part of a brilliant, $30 million Republican action plan at the state level — has now produced a clot of retrograde politicians who are comically out of step with a majority of Americans. It’s not just that they oppose things like immigration reform and simple gun background checks for violent felons, while huge majorities support them.
Alex Wong/Getty ImagesLouie Gohmert at a Tea Party rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012.
Or that, in the aggregate, Democrats got 1.4 million more votes for all House positions in 2012 but Republicans still won control with a cushion of 33 seats.
Or that they won despite having the lowest approval rating in modern polling, around 10 percent in some surveys. Richard Nixon during Watergate and B.P.’s initial handling of a catastrophic oil spill had higher approval ratings.
But just look at how different this Republican House is from the country they are supposed to represent. It’s almost like a parallel government, sitting in for some fantasy nation created in talk-radio land.
As a whole, Congress has never been more diverse, except the House majority. There are 41 black members of the House, but all of them are Democrats. There are 10 Asian-Americans, but all of them are Democrats. There are 34 Latinos, a record — and all but 7 are Democrats. There are 7 openly gay, lesbian or bisexual members, all of them Democrats.
Only 63 percent of the United States population is white. But in the House Republican majority, it’s 96 percent white. Women are 51 percent of the nation, but among the ruling members of the House, they make up just 8 percent. (It’s 30 percent on the Democratic side.)
It’s a stretch, by any means, to call the current House an example of representative democracy. Now let’s look at how the members govern:
To date, seven bills have been enacted. Let’s see, there was the Responsible Helium Administration and Stewardship act — “ensuring the stability of the helium market.” The Violence Against Women Act was renewed, but only after a majority of Republicans voted against it, a rare instance of letting the full House decide on something that the public favors. Just recently, they rushed through a change to help frequent air travelers — i.e., themselves — by fixing a small part of the blunt budget cuts that are the result of their inability to compromise. Meal assistance to the elderly, Head Start for kids and other programs will continue to fall under the knife of sequestration.
On the economy, the Republican majority has been consciously trying to derail a fragile recovery. Their first big salvo was the debt ceiling debacle, which resulted in the lowering of the credit rating for the United States. With sequestration — which President Obama foolishly agreed to, thinking Congress would never go this far — the government has put a wheel-lock on a car that keeps trying to get some traction.
Meanwhile, not a day passes without some member of this ruling majority saying something outrageous. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, for example, has endorsed the far-side-of-the-moon conspiracy theory that the government is buying up all the bullets to keep gun owners from stocking their home arms depots. As for Gohmert, earlier this year he nominated Allen West, a man who isn’t even a member of Congress (he lost in November) to be Speaker of the House. Harvey, the invisible rabbit, was not available.
Gohmert, like others in the House crazy caucus, has benefited from a gerrymandered district. He can do anything short of denouncing Jesus and get re-elected.
The Beltway chorus of the moment blames President Obama for his inability to move his proposals through a dunderheaded Congress. They wonder how Republicans would be treating a silken-tongued charmer like Bill Clinton if he were still in the White House. We already know: not a single Republican voted for Clinton’s tax-raising budget, the one that led to our last federal surplus. Plus, they impeached him; his presidency was saved only in the Senate.
Obama may be doomed to be a reactive president in his second term, with even the most common-sense proposals swatted down because, well — if he’s for it, Republicans will have to be against it. What could be a signature achievement, immigration reform, faces quicksand in the House. But a gerrymander is good for only a decade or so. Eventually, demography and destiny will catch up with a Congress that refuses to do the people’s bidding.
- House of Un-Representatives (opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Louie Gohmert, CPAC Superstar (nationalreview.com)
- Louie Gohmert: Boehner Has Concerns about the Tea Party, So I Have Concerns about Him (nationalreview.com)
- Gohmert accuses Obama regime of impeding Boston investigation (israelmatzav.blogspot.com)
- Tea Party Congressman Louie Gohmert (unclewilliejoe.wordpress.com)
- Rep. Louie Gohmert says administration is full of Muslim Brotherhood members (dailykos.com)
- REP. LOUIE GOHMERT: FBI’s willful blindness enabled Boston terror attack (rare.us)
- Louie’s Latest: Gohmert says radical Muslims are training to ‘act like Hispanics’ to get into the U.S. (chron.com)
- Egan on the House (snohomishobserver.com)
- Louie Gohmert treated like rock star at CPAC, of course (salon.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)
Attorney General Eric Holder has a solid record on voting rights, and he’s criticized Republican state lawmaker’s efforts to restrict the franchise in the past — at one point comparing voter ID laws to an unconstitutional poll tax. At a speech in New York yesterday, Holder added a new line to his previous attacks on voter suppression, suggesting that DOJ will respond with legal action if any Republican state lawmakers move forward with their proposals to rig the Electoral College:
Long lines are unnecessary. Shortened voting periods are unwise and inconsistent with the historic ideal of expanded participation in the process.. Let me be clear again: we will not sit by and allow the slow unraveling of an electoral system that so many sacrificed so much to construct.
There are two versions of the GOP’s election rigging plans, both of which Republicans want to enact exclusively in blue states. One version would allocate electoral votes in several targeted blue states by Congressional district, rather than to the winner of the state as a whole. The other version, which is currently being pushed by Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R), would allocate electoral votes proportionally — so that Mitt Romney would have won a significant chunk of Pennsylvania’s electoral voters even though President Obama carried the state. As with the congressional districts plan, Pileggi’s election-rigging plan would give away electoral votes to Republicans in his blue state, while still keeping all red state electors in GOP hands:
Holder’s suggestion that he would bring the full weight of the Department of Justice down upon any state that tried to steal the White House is certainly welcome, although it alone will not be enough to stop these election-rigging plans. Ultimately, the Justice Department’s ability to protect voting rights depends on a Supreme Court that is not openly hostile to the franchise — and the Roberts Court’s contempt for voting rights pervades their decisions. If the GOP election-rigging plans are to be defeated, it will require citizens in states like Pennsylvania raising their voice in outrage at this blatant attempt to steal American democracy.
- AG Holder: ‘We Will Not Sit By’ While Republicans Rig The Electoral College (thinkprogress.org)
- Democrats Hold Near Lock on Electoral College (politicalwire.com)
- Holder criticizes some states over electoral college maneuvers, calls some prison sentences too long (dailykos.com)
- Michigan GOP backs electoral college rigging scheme (tv.msnbc.com)
- That zombie Republican electoral college rigging scam — it lives! (washingtonmonthly.com)
- 13 GOP Pennsylvania Senators Introduce New Plan To Rig The Electoral College For Republicans (thinkprogress.org)
- The Republcan Pennsylvania Plan To Rig The Electoral College (alan.com)
- Electoral-vote scheme still simmering in Pennsylvania (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- Ed Rendell on election rigging in Pennsylvania: “A really big deal” (democrats.org)
- GOP leader revisits Electoral College plan (triblive.com)
Still Far Apart on Budget, Obama and House G.O.P. Meet
Published: March 13, 2013
WASHINGTON – President Obama headed back to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to win over his loudest critics in Congress: the restless and resistant House Republican majority.
After his session Tuesday with Senate Democrats, the president was to spend an hour with Speaker John A. Boehner and the 231 other House Republicans, who have regularly tangled with the White House and Senate Democrats over tax and spending policy. The fight is being renewed this week as House Republicans unveiled their budget, calling for a repeal of the new health care law and a major overhaul of Medicare.
Senate Democrats prepared to release their own plan on Wednesday, which would raise new revenues through tax increases and call for new public investment.
As some Republicans left the meeting early, they were not exactly sounding optimistic about a grand compromise.
“Well, he doesn’t want to balance the budget in 10 years, and he wants tax increases and he wants new spending,” said Representative Darrell Issa of California. “But other than that we’re close.”
Mr. Obama spoke for about 25 minutes, before taking questions. Representative Howard P. McKeon, Republican of California, said that military spending did not come up, though he wished it had, and that the president talked about tax reform and said balancing the budget within 10 years was not his top priority.
Other issues that came up, attendees said, included immigration, guns, Israel and the Keystone XL pipeline. Republicans said they left the meeting with the impression that the president was nearing a decision on the pipeline.
A topic on which the group seemed able to reach at least a modicum of compromise was entitlement reform. “He said he’s willing to look at them, without any specifics, if we’re willing to give him what he wants,” said Representative John Carter, Republican of Texas.
White House officials described the meeting as a good one that provided the president a face-to-face opportunity to call on Republicans to compromise on the budget and other issues.
Aides said Mr. Obama was blunt about what has been called his “charm offensive” with Republicans, telling the House Republicans that there is a need to build trust between the two parties.
But he also told lawmakers that he believed there was an opportunity for the White House and Congress to reach agreement on some big, contentious issues, including taxes, immigration and gun control.
White House officials said the president made no new offers on taxes and spending. Instead, he repeated his push for a “grand bargain” that would include tax increases and more spending cuts.
At one point during the meeting, a member of the White House staff interrupted and handed the president a note informing him that a new pope had been chosen. Someone shouted out, “Does this mean White House tours are open?” To which the president responded, “Vatican tours are.”
Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, sounded cautiously optimistic.
The president, he said, “did himself some good.” Mr. Ryan, walking out of the meeting, then joked that the real question he wanted answered was who the new pope was.
The competing budgets and the Republican refusal to entertain additional tax revenues seemed to raise new questions in the president’s mind about whether a broad budget deal was achievable, even before his talk with the House Republicans.
“Ultimately, it may be that the differences are just too wide,” the president said in an interview with ABC that was broadcast Wednesday morning. “It may be that ideologically, if their position is, ‘We can’t do any revenue,’ or, ‘We can only do revenue if we gut Medicare or gut Social Security or gut Medicaid,’ if that’s the position, then we’re probably not going to be able to get a deal.”
In the interview, Mr. Obama also disputed an assertion that has become dogma among House Republicans: that the country faces a debt crisis and must balance its budget. The new House plan sets out to balance the budget within 10 years.
But Mr. Obama played down the idea that the federal debt was crippling the nation.
“We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt,” Mr. Obama said. He also said that failure to get a big deal would not send the economy into a tailspin.
“That won’t – that won’t create a crisis,” he said on ABC. “It just means that we will have missed an opportunity. I think that opportunity is there and I’m going to – make sure that they know that I’m prepared to – work with them.”
Republican lawmakers quickly disputed the president’s contention that the debt did not represent a crisis, as budget hearings got under way in both houses of Congress.
Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, took to the Senate floor on Wednesday to say he was “shocked” at the president’s words.
Across the Rotunda in the House, Representative Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, a Republican member of the House Budget Committee, said that if Democrats would not agree to bring the budget into balance, there could be no deal.
“The problem is we have no one to compromise with,” Mr. Duffy said. “If they won’t give us a proposal to balance it, there’s no room for negotiation.”
In a sign of just how different Democratic and Republican priorities are on the budget, House Republicans on Tuesday, led by Mr. Ryan, released their spending plan for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1. But it would balance the budget primarily by wiping out some of Mr. Obama’s biggest legislative achievements, like his hard-fought victory to require that all Americans have health insurance.
At the same time, Senate Democrats were preparing to lay out their budget on Wednesday, a plan that rejects the Republican vision for greater austerity and includes $100 billion in new stimulus spending.
- Obama Begins Meetings With Lawmakers (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Hagel Prevails in Senate After Bruising Bout With G.O.P. – NYTimes.com (coralvillecourier.typepad.com)
- Paul “PX 90″ Ryan’s Budget Plan Unveiled: It Looks Very Familiar!!! (theobamacrat.com)
- Analysis: ‘Grand bargain’ a tough sell in Congress (news.yahoo.com)
- BETTER LATE THAN … Senate Dems Release First Budget in Four Years (foxnews.com)
- As budget battles resume, Republicans hope Obama ‘sincere’ in compromise efforts (givemeliberty01.com)
- Obama to meet with House GOP (politico.com)
- Two sides still far apart in budget proposals – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)
- On Capitol Hill, budget vs. budget (theneteconomy.wordpress.com)
- Republicans hope Obama ‘sincere’ in compromise efforts (godgutsandoldglory.wordpress.com)
It’s going to be a long slog
By Ruth Marcus,
“We have to get right in our minds that the bully pulpit will always probably get better press than we will,” the House Budget Committee chairman and the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee told me Wednesday evening in an interview. “That cannot deter us. . . .The sequester will happen, and that will be occurring all along until the president is willing to do an agreement that deals with the entitlement problem and the debt crisis.”
To listen to Ryan is to understand that the country should brace for a months-long slog, from sequester to continuing resolution to, yes, another debt-ceiling showdown sometime this summer.
Really, I ask, the debt ceiling, again? I thought Republicans were determined to avoid replaying that losing hand. “Not this time,” Ryan said, before the words were even out of my mouth.
“The debt problem is getting worse,” he said. “We’re not leaving this session of Congress until we have a down payment on the problem.”
That stance might not be so worrisome — indeed, it might be welcome, because the debt problem is real and curbing entitlement spending essential — were it not for the insistence of Ryan and fellow Republicans that the down payment be composed entirely of spending cuts.
That’s no surprise, but one insight that emerges from talking to Ryan is the degree to which his zeal for tax reform drives the refusal to consider new revenue. The general Republican allergy to taxes and the party’s specific unwillingness to swallow another increase, on top of the rate rise agreed to as part of the fiscal-cliff deal, is part of what drives the current no-new-taxes attitude, but only part. There is some method to this anti-tax madness.
In making the cliff deal, White House officials had bet that dangling the lure of tax reform before Republicans would lead them to cough up hundreds of billions more in additional revenue.
In fact, as Ryan explains it, exactly the opposite may be true. The extra revenue provided by the cliff deal provided the cushion needed to accomplish tax reform — a higher base from which to start trimming loopholes and lowering rates.
At the same time, however, only so much pruning is politically palatable. So closing enough loopholes to produce additional revenue — on top of what is needed to pay for the rate-trimming — is difficult. “Been there, done that,” Ryan says of new tax revenue.
I disagree, vehemently, with Ryan’s assessment of the proper mix of tax revenue and spending cuts to deal with the debt. Much more than the $700 billion or so raised in the fiscal cliff deal is needed to get the debt under control without imposing damaging cuts.
But I think he makes two legitimate, interconnected points. First, where’s the president’s budget? “I’ve never seen such staggering disrespect for the budgeting process,” Ryan said.
The budget was due, by law, the first Monday in February; now, it probably won’t be out until sometime in March.
The White House says that the delay is due to fiscal-cliff wrangling and the cumbersome process of updating discretionary spending numbers once the deal was struck. But the document ought to have been out by now — not because failing to have the president’s budget delays action on Capitol Hill but because the public is owed an overview of the president’s blueprint for governing.
Second, and related, how precisely does the president propose to rein in entitlement spending? The White House points to its offer from the last negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner and says that remains on the table. It cites earlier budget proposals on Medicare and puts it all together in a blog post that confirmed its willingness to change the formula for calculating Social Security cost-of-living increases. But, really, a blog post? What about a plan that the president himself explains, and sells, to the country?
“He never gives the public an honest account of what he’s willing to do on entitlements,” Ryan said of the president. “Trimming a statistic,” he sniffed of the proposed Social Security tweak, “is not entitlement reform.”
Ryan didn’t expect to be reliving what he describes as budget “Groundhog Day.” At this point in a Mitt Romney administration, Ryan imagined, he would be maneuvering to pass the grand debt-reduction plan.
“Mitt and I were going to bring to Congress a plan to fix this this year and we were going to launch a charm offensive with Senate Democrats to work with them to do it,” Ryan said.
So much for charm offensive. This is going to be trench warfare.
- It’s going to be a long slog on the federal fiscal crisis: Ruth Marcus (oregonlive.com)
- Ryan: We’ll See If Obama Uses the Sequester Flexibility We Plan to Give Him (cnsnews.com)
- The details Paul Ryan doesn’t want you to know (maddowblog.msnbc.com)
- How we got to the sequester’s doorstep: Ruth Marcus (oregonlive.com)
- “GOP Reversion To Form”: When Did “Tax Reform” Become A Tax Hike? (bell-book-candle.com)
- My Message to the White House & Senate Democrats Tomorrow: Do Your Job & Pass a Bill (speaker.gov)
- Charles Krauthammer – Republicans mustn’t wimp-out on Sequester (mypoliticalmusings.wordpress.com)
- ABC confronts Paul Ryan for praising sequester before using it to slam Obama (rawstory.com)
- How Republicans see the sequester (washingtonpost.com)
- What happened when I asked Paul Ryan why he hates taxes (washingtonpost.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)
Congressman, Florida’s 26th District
No to Sequestration: It’s Time to End ‘Government by Crisis’
Posted: 02/28/2013 5:47 pm
I came of age in a Republican household during the Reagan years. My dad, Joe Sr., was a small business owner who served as a committee man for the local party. My mom, Carmen, like most Cuban exiles of her generation, voted Republican down the ticket. When the family would gather around the dinner table and discuss current affairs, my brothers and I wouldn’t always agree with our parents’ politics, but we were taught from an early age to respect other people’s views and keep an open mind because nobody has all the right answers.
This is a valuable lesson that has stuck with me, but it is one that many of my colleagues in Washington either never learned or have perhaps forgotten. The refusal of some in the Tea Party controlled Congress to compromise, learn from members of the other party, listen to reason, and put ideology and partisan politics aside has resulted in a government that is too often dysfunctional, reckless and irresponsible. From the debt ceiling, to the fiscal cliff and now the sequester, what we have is a Congress that governs and responds only to self-inflicted crises.
The consequences of sequestration are dire for Florida. Here are a few of the many examples of what they look like:
· Parents in neighborhoods like Kendall and Perrine will experience dramatic cuts in funding for Head Start and Early Head Start resulting in 2,700 fewer children in Florida from having access to those programs.
· Students at schools like FIU, FKCC and MDC will see cuts in work-study programs that help them pay for college.
· Florida will lose approximately $54.5 million in funding for primary and secondary education.
· Local hospitals that we all depend on will experience a loss of $368 million from cuts, potentially limiting first responders’ capabilities to respond to heart attacks, strokes and other critical medical issues.
· Longer lines at Miami International Airport with as many as 31,000 civilian Department of Defense employees being furloughed throughout our state.
These aren’t just numbers on a page. The sequester will impact the lives of millions of real people, such as our neighbors, grandparents, teachers, friends, and loved ones. The cuts that will go into effect if Congress does nothing are avoidable. There is a solution and a better way, but it’s going to require hard work and a willingness to compromise — two things that unfortunately are anathema to some in Washington. Consider the following: Despite these looming disastrous cuts, Congress was only in session for six of the 31 calendar days in January (about one day a week). Imagine how your boss would react if you only showed up to work one day a week. You probably wouldn’t have that job for too long.
This is unacceptable to me and I know it is unacceptable to many of my colleagues from both parties. Just a few weeks ago, I joined a bipartisan coalition of over 20 members — Republicans and Democrats, alike — who are committed to avoiding the sequestration by working in a bipartisan manner and compromising. For Democrats, this means we are open to spending cuts so long as seniors can retire with dignity, receive the benefits they have paid for and have access to affordable, quality health care. For Republicans, this means they are willing to look at revenue increases so long as Democrats meet them half-way.
This framework is similar to how most people go about their lives. When you and your coworkers disagree, you don’t stop showing up to work and take your company to the brink of disaster. Rather, you simply gather around a table, discuss your differences and find solutions. Not everyone will get what they want, but progress isn’t held hostage at the expense of ideological purity. It’s ironic that many of the same politicians who decry government for not operating more like the private sector have adopted a ‘my way or the highway’ approach to governing that would leave them fired, bankrupt or both in corporate America.
I hope my colleagues find it within themselves to compromise and learn how the rest of America works when people disagree and yet want to move forward. My family’s dinner table is a great place to start.
- Frankel, Murphy say Congress should stay in session until budget deal reached (postonpolitics.com)
- What Obama Isn’t Telling You About Sequestration – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Sequestration Looms Large For Florida (miami.cbslocal.com)
- Sequestration: Top 4 States With Largest Losses (theepochtimes.com)
- Sequestration will leave Pentagon cash-strapped but operational (stripes.com)
- What Sequestration Really Tells Us About Our Government (evergreeninstitute.wordpress.com)
- White House, Republicans dig in ahead of budget talks – Reuters (reuters.com)
- Obamacare/Sequestration Double Whammy For GOP (youviewed.com)
- Will A Government Shutdown Threat Determine The Winner Of The Sequestration Fight? (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
- WaPo/Pew sequestration poll question oddly missing an option (hotair.com)
Making Sense, by Michael Reagan
America’s got some serious problems to solve.
Our Obama Economy is still stuck in a ditch by the side of the road.
Rick McKee / Augusta Chronicle
Our campaigner in chief is running around the country pushing for higher taxes and no spending cuts and crying, “The federal sky will fall!” if Congress doesn’t stop the puny 10 percent sequester from happening.
In Washington the incompetents and cowards in Congress can’t get our fiscal house in order, and they’re too stupid or self-serving to realize they are wrecking the greatest economic machine humans have ever created.
We have a budget to balance and an immigration problem. We’re spending trillions we don’t have and promising tens of trillions more in benefits our grandchildren can never repay.
And what are many of my fellow Republicans and conservatives in Washington — and the media — doing while America is being towed down the road to Greece?
They’re thrashing around in the political weeds, wasting their breath complaining about petty political things that may boost the ratings of talk shows but are otherwise meaningless.
For example, one of the outrages of the week involves the White House being accused of selling access to President Obama in exchange for $500,000 donations to his latest pet advocacy group.
Are these Republican and conservative friends of mine kidding? Were they born yesterday?
The parties in power in Washington have been selling access to their powers and privileges forever.
That’s why libertarians want to keep the federal government as small, weak and limited as possible, so that when Washington politicians are bought off, they can do as little harm to the country as possible.
Another example this week of Republicans making a partisan mountain out of a molehill is their attack on former Obama press mouthpiece Robert Gibbs for not telling reporters what he knew about the administration’s secret drone program.
Conservatives looking for dirt on Obama and liberal commentators like Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart went to town over Gibbs’ silence.
But it was just another petty complaint du jour. The White House doesn’t tell reporters everything it’s doing or planning. It never did, whether it was the date for D-Day, our U-2 flights over the USSR or the raid to kill Osama.
My father invaded Grenada and didn’t tell Congress in advance. He even forgot to tip off his buddy Margaret Thatcher, whose airspace had to be crossed by our warplanes.
The most ridiculous complaint of the week made by people on our side of the political fence was their reaction to Michelle Obama’s appearance on the Oscars broadcast Sunday night.
They acted like it was an impeachable offense. But the first lady handing out a best-picture award at an Oscar ceremony is not something Republicans should waste a second of their time on.
It’s not new and not a Democrat thing. On Jan. 20, 1985, Ronald Reagan — who, if I recall, was a Republican — performed the opening coin toss for the Super Bowl game via television from the White House.
The first lady’s appearance at the Oscars was something my father and my mother — his first wife, Academy Award-winning actress Jane Wyman — would have applauded, not booed.
It’s time for Republicans and conservatives to get serious. The country is burning down like ancient Rome, but we’re wasting our time and energy attacking Democrats for petty or nonexistent crimes that do nothing but hike TV ratings and give partisan bloggers fresh ammunition to shoot in the air.
It’s time for us to start fighting about the things that really matter. It’s time to come out of the weeds and start concentrating on the stuff that matters to the guy with no job or the business owner with high taxes, not the stupid stuff like Michelle Obama’s “Oscar Moment.”
- Michael Reagan: Mr. Obama Arrogance Isn’t the Answer (conservativeread.com)
- Michael Reagan cites air traffic controller strike: ‘Let the sequester happen’ (twitchy.com)
- Michael Reagan: Relax, my father’s childhood homes are safe from Obama’s library (twitchy.com)
- Michael Reagan: If It Was a GOP President the Headlines Would Be “Republicans Vote to Raise Your Taxes” (Video) (thegatewaypundit.com)
- Michael Reagan to keynote county GOP Lincoln Day dinner (sj-r.com)
- Michael Reagan: Waiting for the Sequel (conservativeread.com)
- Michael Reagan: Republicans need leader to follow (naplesnews.com)
- Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – ” Waiting for the Sequel (mbcalyn.com)
- Ronald Reagan by Michael Schaller (collectedmiscellany.com)
- Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – ” Junk Laws (mbcalyn.com)