Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to effect change on kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.
MORNING MESSAGE: Why The GOP Aims To Sink The Economy
OurFuture.org’s Terrance Heath: ”If our economy was the RMS Titanic, Republicans would be like an ambitious first mate, so eager to seize power from the captain that he steers the ship of state into an iceberg, thinking he’ll take over when the captain goes down with the ship … it’s not until you look at a list of what Republicans would rather see come to pass that you get a look at how deep this goes … Kevin Drum posted just such a list … You just cut the IRS and all the accountants at Treasury, which means that the actual revenue you have to spend is $0 … The nation’s nuclear arsenal is no longer being watched or maintained … The doors of federal prisons have been thrown open, because none of the guards will work without being paid…”
Uncertain Outcome For Boehner Bill Today
“Don’t Destroy The American Dream” rally today 12 noon at the U.S. Capitol east side steps.
14 undecided right-wing congresspeople will determine outcome. The Hill:“Thirty-nine House Republicans embraced [a] pledge, which vows to oppose any bill that raises the debt ceiling unless it calls for major cuts, spending caps and a balanced budget amendment. Nineteen of those 39 have said they will oppose, or will likely oppose, Boehner’s bill. Only six of them have publicly committed to backing the bill, or are leaning toward supporting it. Then there are 14 others who have not said how they will vote … If every Democrat votes against the Boehner legislation, Republican leaders need to minimize defections to 23 in order to pass it [and] there are now 22 Republicans who are planning to vote no, or are leaning no on the bill.”
Conservatives push for economically illiterate balanced budget amendment as part of deal for Boehner bill. Politico: ”[Rep. Mike] Pence and a dozen [made] a new request designed to win their support for the Boehner plan — GOP leaders must hold a vote on a ‘clean’ balanced-budget amendment similar to that passed by the chamber in 1995 … Pence’s position is in contrast to earlier positions of the conservative Republican Study Committee [which] has pushed a [different] balanced-budget amendment that requires a supermajority to raise taxes.”
Sen. John McCain rips “Tea Party hobbits” for pushing balanced budget amendment. CNN quotes: ”What is really amazing is that some (Senate) members are believing that we can pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution in this body with its present representation … That is worse than foolish … That is deceiving many of our constituents. To hold out and say we won’t agree to raising the debt limit until we pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, it’s unfair, it’s bizarre … And maybe some people who have only been in this body for six or seven months or so really believe that. Others know better.”
Vote seen as vote of confidence in Speaker. The Hill: ”Some are even speculating that Boehner’s Speakership is on the line.”
VP Biden and Sen. Min. Leader McConnell renew talks as Senate majority rejects Boehner bill. Politico: ”Fifty-three senators, 51 Democrats and two independents, signed a letter to Boehner on Wednesday vowing to oppose the House bill … ‘We heard that in your caucus you said the Senate will support your bill. We are writing to tell you that we will not support it and give you the reasons why,’ the 53 senators wrote…”
TNR’s Norman Ornstein argues Boehner may suffer regardless of today’s vote outcome: ”If Boehner wins the vote, it will be by the barest of margins, not exactly providing momentum for his position. If he loses, it increases the chances of a compromise that takes a few elements from his plan and many from Harry Reid’s. But a much weaker Boehner, having lost a big one in the House, will need even more Democrats than Republicans to push it through.”
Dems Get Behind Reid Plan
Dems backing Reid plan as “lesser evil” after bad reaction to President’s move on retirement security. The Hill: ”Reid’s measure would cut trillions in spending without increasing any taxes on business or the wealthy [but] many Democrats have latched on to the Reid plan precisely because it leaves Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid alone …”
House Dems push debt limit increase without conditions. Roll Call: ”A clean debt limit vote is just one alternative that was discussed at the Democrats’ Caucus meeting Wednesday. Clyburn floated the idea that President Barack Obama should invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling if Congress fails to do so. Obama has dismissed that approach…”
Legal experts disagree whether President is bound by debt ceiling. McClatchy: ”Stephen Griffin, a constitutional law professor who taught a spring course on the amendment at Tulane University, notes that other sections of the Constitution place responsibility for spending — and borrowing — squarely on Congress, not the president … However, Neil H. Buchanan, an economist and law professor at George Washington University, suggests that Obama may have no other choice if Congress fails to reach a deal lifting the debt ceiling … ‘If Congress has enacted laws that create public obligations, then those obligations must be met,’ he wrote.”
“Small Businesses Demand Debt Deal Address Corporate Tax Dodging” reports HuffPost.
Treasury to announce soon what bills it would not be able to pay without debt limit increase. NYT: ”Officials have said repeatedly that Treasury does not have the legal authority to pay bills based on political, moral or economic considerations. It cannot, for instance, set aside invoices from weapons companies to preserve money for children’s programs. The implication is that the government will need to pay bills in the order that they come due.”
FAA partial shutdown continues. NYT: ”The agency stresses that it has enough money to keep airports open and planes safely in the air. But it cannot work on long-term projects. It has furloughed 4,000 employees, stopped work on construction projects employing thousands more and halted research on next-generation air traffic control systems … The federal government is losing about $30 million a day from the loss of the ticket tax … the House inserted language that would end subsidized service to small airports in Nevada and Montana, states represented by high-ranking Democratic senators … A more recent disagreement is an ideological debate over how to administer union elections.”
Labor Dept. moves to strengthen regulation of private retirement plans. WSJ: ”Under proposed rules, the agency would apply what is known as the fiduciary-duty standard among a wider pool of brokers and financial advisers who provide investment advice for a fee to retirement plans and IRA holders … The department’s main concern is that current rules make it easy for various financial participants to give advice that may hurt the investor but generates high fees for the middleman … At securities firms, though, the pending rules are seen as another threat to profits.”
Supreme Court formally asked to review President Obama’s health reform law. NYT: ”…raising the possibility that the justices could rule on the matter by next summer, just months before the presidential election … The Supreme Court is particularly apt to hear cases on which the lower courts are divided, but there is for now only a single decision from a federal appeals court. It also quite often hears cases in which a federal law has been struck down as unconstitutional, but here the law was upheld.”
“Republicans Seek Big Cuts in Environmental Rules” reports NYT: ”…Republicans in the House of Representatives are loading up an appropriations bill with 39 ways — and counting — to significantly curtail environmental regulation. One would prevent the Bureau of Land Management from designating new wilderness areas for preservation. Another would severely restrict the Department of Interior’s ability to police mountaintop-removal mining. And then there is the call to allow new uranium prospecting near Grand Canyon National Park. There is little chance that all the 39 proposals identified by Democrats will be approved by the Senate…”
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