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28 Jul 2011 23:23


Politics: An update on the debt ceiling shenanigans

  • boehner’s bill falls short: After a chaotic day of vote-whipping, vote-delaying, and vote-switching, John Boehner has decided to postpone the vote on his debt ceiling bill. Despite multiple assurances that it would be brought to a vote before tomorrow, at the end of the day, Boehner didn’t have enough votes to ensure the bill’s passage (and he wasn’t going to embarrass himself by introducing a bill that was sure to fail). In an unusual alignment, conservative Tea Partiers and House Democrats all pledged to vote against the bill, albiet for different reasons. While the legislation has virtually no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate, Boehner’s ability to shepherd it through the House is seen by many as the first real test of his leadership abilities. If he doesn’t eventually pass it, there’s a good chance he’ll (eventually) be deposed as Speaker. But it’s not over yet–sources say Republicans plan to tweak the bill a bit, and re-introduce it tomorrow.  source

27 Jul 2011 23:52


Politics: McCain invokes “Lord of the Rings” in debt ceiling tirade

  • The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.
  • John McCain • Ripping the Republican Party on the Senate floor. He later derided House Republicans’ approach to the debt-ceiling discussions as “the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell into GOP Senate nominees.” source

25 Jul 2011 22:02


Politics: Obama speech light on policy, heavy on politics

  • We were planning on live-blogging the President’s primetime speech on the debt ceiling, but there wasn’t much to live-blog about. He didn’t support or reject any new policies, or endorse a specific strategy for raising the debt limit. Rather, the President doubled-down on the importance of avoiding default, reinforced hard distinctions between him and House Republicans, and make slight adjustments to his political positioning. He warned, in his most explicit language yet, of the consequences default would have for average Americans. He came out hard for progressive taxation, hammering the Republicans for refusing to consider raising taxes on the rich, and explicitly asked constituents to call their representatives in Congress and voice support for the White House’s “balanced.” In general, as was the case in his press conference last Friday, the President ended up sounding a whole lot more partisan than normal, but didn’t deliver any game-changers. source

15 Jul 2011 14:52


U.S.: Obama puts Medicare means-testing on the table for debt limit compromise

  • Medicare Means-testing on the way? President Obama is eying this common Republican policy idea as a means to a big debt limit deal. As the White House was careful to point out, for the benefit of a liberal base dim on imposing costs on low-income recipients, the Affordable Care Act has already resulted in slightly higher premiums for couples earning over $170,000, or singles earning $85,000 — his ideal would be to raise these further, to “modestly higher premiums.” The question is, would it work? The GOP has been abandoning their own policy proposals when Obama gives them a thumbs up since the health care debate; modest as this is, and we don’t see why that would change. source

13 Jul 2011 19:50


Politics: Mitch McConnell talks motivation behind debt limit proposal

  • Look, he owns the economy. He’s been in office for three years. We refuse to let us entice us into co-ownership of a bad economy.
  • Senator Mitch McConnell • Basically validating our suspicions about his proposed debt limit fail-safe, where the job of raising the limit would be transferred from congress to President Obama. He also subtly acknowledges the core weakness the Republicans have had in the debt limit debate all along; they’ve pushed so hard to convince portions of their base that they’d be willing not to raise it, the public at large can see plainly which party even made such an economically horrifying idea possible. As such, the GOP is in a tough spot, knowing they have to raise the limit (because they’re not truly ignorant to what it would do to the economy, as shown by McConnell’s own words), but also knowing they’ve stoked elements of their base against the idea for months. We seriously doubt they can placate that base with the new plan. source

12 Jul 2011 18:51


Politics: Rundown of Mitch McConnell’s proposed debt limit failsafe

  • Mitch McConnell knows what he wants. That’s a very critical thing to remember when examining his new debt limit proposal, which would essentially transfer the power to raise the limit from the congress to President Obama. This may seem innocuous, but is a very political decision; forcing Obama to be the sole person taking an affirmative action to raise the limit, then giving congress a vote of “disapproval” that he’d likely have to veto feeds into the narrative of fiscal irresponsibility the GOP craves. The plan would also force Obama to re-up the limit three separate times before the 2012 election, which is theoretically a big political price to pay. Add in that the increase has to be paired with at least an equivalent amount of spending cuts, and what you see is less the grand compromise than what the GOP has wanted all along — spending cuts and no new revenues.

Some context to keep in mind:

  • The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.
  • Mitch McConnell, speaking to the National Journal back in October • Offering a key thought on his mindset. Now, to be sure, it’ll be good news if the debt limit is raised, even in an otherwise frustrating context. However, it’s good to keep this in mind the next time you think Mitch McConnell is actually working in a bipartisan fashion. We take him at his word on this. source

11 Jul 2011 16:41


Politics: President Obama on debt limit: time to “eat our peas”

  • It’s not going to get easier, it’s going to get harder. So, we might as well do it now. Pull off the band-aid. Eat our peas. Now is the time to do it. If not now, when? … I’m prepared to do it. I’m prepared to take on significant heat from my party to get something done. And I expect the other side should be willing to do the same thing, if they mean what they say that this is important.
  • President Obama • Speaking on the debt limit negotiations. The postures from both sides should seem pretty familiar, as it’s nothing that new for the Democratic/Republican dynamic under the Obama administration. Namely, rigid ideology from the GOP has forced a combination of increasingly desperate overtures and condemnations from the White House. That a compromise needs to be reached isn’t in question — despite talk about invoking the 14th Amendment to raise the limit himself, that strikes us as the sort of thing he’d avoid doing at all costs. Rather, his inclination is towards bipartisanship, which is a noble enough endeavor. Frankly, though, the GOP’s negotiating in this matter has been in starkly bad faith, for just the reason the President details; he’s been willing to offer up cherished Democratic programs to be cut. The GOP, on the other hand, has made it clear they won’t consider any tax revenue increases. Why can’t you Democrats just embrace Republican orthodoxy? That’s a compromise, right? We hope this gets done soon, and fairly. source

30 Jun 2011 19:00


Politics: Timothy Geithner: Don’t believe the hype, I’m not leavin’ guys!

  • I live for this work. It’s the only thing I’ve ever done. I believe in it. I’m going to be doing it for the forseeable future.
  • Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner • Denying the speculation about his possible departure from his post. By the way, has anyone figured out a way to see into next week? We’re not sure if we believe him. That said, he did claim that personal issues were weighing on his mind right now: “I have a family, and my son’s going back to New York to finish high school,” he said. “I’m going to be commuting for a while.” Hope he learns to love Amtrak. source

30 Jun 2011 18:05


Politics: Report: Geithner may resign following debt limit deal

  • Timothy Geithner’s last rodeo? It’s reported that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner may walk away from his post once a deal is reached to raise the U.S. debt limit. Geithner has served in that position since 2009. (Photo by Moritz Hager, courtesy World Economics Forum) source

23 Jun 2011 17:13


U.S.: Eric Cantor, Jon Kyl leave negotiations on debt limit vote

  • Each side came into these talks with certain orders, and as it stands the Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases. … Given this impasse, I will not be participating in today’s meeting and I believe it is time for the President to speak clearly and resolve the tax issue.
  • Rep. Eric Cantor • Speaking on negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on raising the U.S. debt limit. Cantor, as well as Senator Jon Kyl, have abandoned the negotiations over tax raises the Democrats insist on pairing with the spending cuts the GOP is thirsting for. Speaker Boehner says that talks could continue if tax raises are off the table, which is obvious — if the Democrats abandon what they want out of this deal, it could get done, but that’s more caving than compromise. Cantor says they did find areas of compromise, though: “I believe that we have identified trillions in spending cuts, and to date, we have established a blueprint that could institute the fiscal reforms needed to start getting our fiscal house in order,” he notes. source