Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to effect change on the kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.
MORNING MESSAGE: Another Hostage-Taking Threat To Shut Down Government
OurFuture.org’s Dave Johnson: ”The House voted again Thursday night, passing the bill, but Republicans added language intended to embarrass the Obama administration and insult Democrats in an effort to make them vote against it so they can later claim Democrats are responsible for any shutdown. Now the bill must be passed by the Senate, and then any differences between the House and Senate must be resolved before funding runs out September 30, so Republicans feel they have hostage-taking leverage once again. The Senate wants a “clean” bill, with no poison-pill additions like the ones the House added. The House version, with cuts that go even beyond the results of the last hostage-taking, remains very far from what the Senate can pass. So this will come down to the wire. Again. And the public’s faith in government will be further eroded. And the economy will take yet another hit as our government’s paralysis is even more apparent.
House GOP Provokes Shutdown Threat Over Disaster Relief, Clean Energy
House passes government operations bill designed to fail in Senate. NYT: ”House Republican leaders, trying to recover from a humiliating political defeat, made one change in the bill. The new version would offset more of the cost of disaster assistance by rescinding $100 million from an Energy Department program that guaranteed a loan for Solyndra … The new version of the House bill, like the original, would partially offset the cost of disaster assistance by cutting a separate Energy Department loan program that promotes development of energy-efficient cars. This cut infuriates Democrats in the House and the Senate, who say the program is creating thousands of jobs at automakers and auto parts suppliers … The Senate last week approved a bill that includes $6.9 billion of disaster assistance, nearly twice as much as the House bill.”
Senate leaders vow to reject. W. Post: ”Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said late Thursday that the measure could not pass his chamber, with a vote expected sometime Friday. A Senate defeat would leave Congress at a new stand-off. ‘It fails to provide the relief that our fellow Americans need as they struggle to rebuild their lives in the wake of floods, wildfires and hurricanes, and it will be rejected by the Senate,’ Reid said of the bill.”
President Embraces Middle Class, Rallies For Jobs In Cincy
President rallies workers in Cincinnati behind American Jobs Act. NYT: ”…when he urged them, ‘tell Congress to pass this jobs bill right away!’ some in the crowd — construction workers, union members and employees of the concrete company where he spoke — chanted his 2008 slogan, ‘Yes, we can!’”
President turns “class warfare” charge around, declares himself “warrior for the middle class”: ”…the Republicans, when I talked about this earlier in the week, they said, well, this is class warfare. You know what, if asking a billionaire to pay their fair share of taxes, to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare, then you know what, I’m a warrior for the middle class. I’m happy to fight for the middle class. I’m happy to fight for working people. Because the only warfare I’ve seen is the battle against the middle class over the last 10, 15 years.”
NYT’s Paul Krugman charges Republicans with engaging in real class warfare: ”Republicans claim to be deeply worried by budget deficits … Yet they are insisting that the wealthy — who presumably have as much of a stake as everyone else in the nation’s future — should not be called upon to play any role in warding off that existential threat. Well, that amounts to a demand that a small number of very lucky people be exempted from the social contract that applies to everyone else. And that, in case you’re wondering, is what real class warfare looks like.”
Robert Reich calls for Wall Street to push for more spending to create jobs: ”The crack in the Republican Party between its establishment and Tea Party wings is viewed politically as a contest between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. But in reality it’s a brewing fight between economic pragmatists and right-wing ideologues. (Don’t expect Romney to call for more government spending, at least before the Republican nomination.) The Street may not want to Barack Obama reelected, but the Street has an even greater interest in saving its assets and its ass.”
GOP Sen. Rand Paul flies to OH with President, pitches infrastructure idea. Politico: ”Paul said that in the national transportation bill, 10 percent of funds are set aside for things like beautification, and he would like to reprogram that money for emergency work on bridges. ‘He seemed receptive,’ Paul said of Obama. ‘This is something I think I can get Republican support for.’ Paul also said he would like to redirect a fund for bridges that fail to fix bridges before they fail, and that he would like to improve the national system for identifying those bridges most in need of repair.”
GOP Debate Keeps Fact Checkers Busy
W. Post covers false claims on ”ObamaCare,” vaccines and foreign policy.
NYT covers unemployment, Texas jobs, federal worker pay and Social Security.
Super Committee Talks Taxes
Wisp of agreement on corporate tax reform in Super Committee. USA Today: ”At one point, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., agreed with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., who agreed with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, who agreed with Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. … that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction has the mandate and the procedural advantages that give it an opportunity to simplify the corporate tax code, reduce rates and create jobs. That’s where the agreement ended.”
Some GOPers suggest scoring tax cuts as revenue increases to forge deal. W. Post: ”‘Smart tax reform will result in more economic activity. And additional economic activity will generate more revenue — not by raising taxes but by generating economic growth …,’ said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) … Some Democrats appear inclined to listen … Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said he wanted to ‘second powerfully what Senator Portman said about our opportunity here.’ … But ‘dynamic scoring’ is a pair of dirty words among many Democrats, who remember Republican efforts during the George W. Bush administration to use it to estimate the cost of tax cuts.”
Dem Sen. Mark Warner hosts bipartisan dinner to push “Grand Bargain.” NYT: ”Several attendees described the get-together as a pep rally to pressure the 12-member House-Senate panel to ‘go big’ … [Former Reagan budget director David] Stockman made an impassioned plea for new revenues … none of the Republican lawmakers at the dinner raised objections when the business executives said revenues must be raised to reduce projected deficits … Among the participants were … two members of the joint deficit committee, Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, and Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland…”
Senate Clears Trade Aid
Senate passes aid for workers displaced by trade, precursor to enacting trade agreements. CNN: ”The final vote was 70 to 27 on the bill. Approval of the bill, known as Trade Adjustment Assistance, is the first step in a lengthy process to clear pending trade bills with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. That’s because the Obama administration has said it will only send those trade agreements to the Hill for approval after the retraining funding is in place … The measure must now clear the House although its approval in that chamber is not certain.”
House, WH disagree on which measure should go first. Roll Call: ”Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said his chamber would take up the [worker aid] measure after President Barack Obama submits the Colombia, South Korea and Panama trade deals … It’s not clear whether the administration will go ahead with sending the agreements, however, without a guarantee that the trade assistance measure will reach Obama’s desk. The White House has demanded passage of the trade assistance legislation before it sends the agreements to Congress…”
Waivers Prepared For No Child Left Behind
Education Dept. prepares waivers to prevent No Child Left Behind train wreck. W. Post: ”President Obama will excuse states from key parts of No Child Left Behind, the federal education law, if they adopt certain education reforms in exchange for greater flexibility in deciding how to measure school performance … Senior administration officials said waivers will be awarded to states that adopt academic standards that ensure their high school graduates are ready for college or a career, measure school performance not merely by test results but by student improvement over time, and evaluate teachers and principals using a variety of measures, including but not limited to student test scores.”
Short URL: http://aworldofprogress.com/readingroom/?p=1057