Democrats rip GOP Senator over treaty

December 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Top Democrats blasted their GOP counterparts Wednesday for intentionally delaying consideration of the new nuclear arms treaty with Russia – a top presidential priority in the current lame duck session of Congress.

The Senate is set to begin debate on ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty – known as New START – Wednesday afternoon after passage of the recently negotiated tax deal.


CNN Political Ticker

Huge gap in how Democrats, Republicans define ‘compromise’

December 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

(CNN) – Everyone seems to have an opinion about whether big men should cry, given Speaker-elect John Boehner’s soggy “60 Minutes” on Sunday. Just for the record: fine by me, no big deal, even a good thing.

Now that that’s out of the way, there is one exchange that actually matters way more than a few tears: Boehner’s refusal to let the word “compromise” pass between his lips.


CNN Political Ticker

Because of the way the Commons works, the Liberal Democrats may not face a vote as testing as last Thursday’s again

December 15, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

thetorydiary

DeMint: Democrats are intent on raiding every taxpayer dollar that they can grab

December 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Senator Jim DeMint will force democrats to read all 1,924 pages of legislative omnibus spending bill.

This bill has yet to see a committee hearing until now, nor read by any senator, and it will be voted on Saturday! The cost of the bill: $ 1.089 trillion dollars, loaded with thousands of earmarks.

Liberty Pundits Blog

DeMint: Democrats are intent on raiding every taxpayer dollar that they can grab

December 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Senator Jim DeMint will force democrats to read all 1,924 pages of legislative omnibus spending bill.

This bill has yet to see a committee hearing until now, nor read by any senator, and it will be voted on Saturday! The cost of the bill: $ 1.089 trillion dollars, loaded with thousands of earmarks.

Liberty Pundits Blog

House Democrats push ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ repeal

December 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Washington (CNN) – House Democrats renewed their push Tuesday to overturn the ban on gays and lesbian soldiers serving openly in the U.S. military, introducing legislation repealing the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

The House previously passed a repeal of the ban as part of a larger defense spending authorization bill, but the measure stalled last week in the Senate.


CNN Political Ticker

Democrats Lose Another Lawmaker in Georgia

December 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

The AP reports that yet another Democratic state legislator in Georgia has switched his allegiance to the Republican Party, bringing the total to eight who have changed parties since the November election.
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Have Democrats Forgotten the Election Already?

December 14, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

From Stuart Rothenburg in Roll Call:


On one level, it’s entirely reasonable for liberal Democrats to oppose the [tax cut extension] compromise. Those Democrats have different priorities and values than Republicans, and many of them represent very liberal constituents who also oppose the compromise.

Nobody — nobody — is saying that those House liberals should change their views. If they want to vote against the package that the president negotiated with Congressional Republicans, that’s their right.

But the outrage by House liberals, many of whom were responsible for the party’s legislative agenda and for Congress’ earlier inaction on the tax cuts, is more than a little hard to take.

Congressional Democrats had two years to address the Bush tax cuts. They certainly could have dealt with them one way or the other between late April 2009 and mid-January 2010, when the party had a 60-seat majority in the Senate and a huge majority in the House.

In September, the House ducked a vote on the tax cuts because plenty of Democrats wanted to avoid taking a stand before the elections, especially since they were wisely suspicious of what the Senate would, or would not, do.

Why should these Democrats show some legislative humility? Because the Democratic majority has been rejected by voters, and Democrats ought to behave that way.

All you needed to do to see the self-delusion was to watch Democrats appearing on TV over the weekend. On CNN, Reps. Jim McDermott (Wash.) and Elijah Cummings (Md.) sounded no different than they did before November. The same held for Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

For House Democrats to act as if nothing changed on Nov. 2 is nuts. Totally nuts.

Read the whole thing here. (Subscriber wall)


Big Government

Democrats like tax deal

December 13, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Greg Sargent has some numbers that will give Obama some courage:

First, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that overall, nearly seven in 10 Americans support the deal. But it’s the partisan breakdown of the numbers that’s of particular interest.

It finds that among Democrats, a surprising 68 percent support the package. This is true, even though only 38 percent of Dems in the same poll support the provision of extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich. The provisions that Obama won — including the extension of unemployment benefits — induced another 30 percent of Dems to agree to support the overall deal. This suggests they may buy the idea that the compromise Obama won is a good one.

A new Pew poll out today has similar numbers. It finds that 63 percent of Democrats, and 65 percent of self-described liberals, supports the deal.





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Ben Smith’s Blog

Democrats Added Ban On Gitmo Detainee Transfer To Omnibus Spending Bill

December 13, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

The Obama administration has loudly opposed a provision of the omnibus spending bill, passed last week by the House, that would ban the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to U.S. soil, even for trial.

“This provision goes well beyond existing law and would unwisely restrict the ability of the Executive branch to prosecute alleged terrorists in Federal courts or military commissions in the United States,” Attorney General Eric Holder wrote in a letter to Senate leadership, calling the provision “dangerous” and asking that it be stripped before the Senate votes on the bill this week.

“We strongly oppose this provision. Congress should not limit the tools available to the executive branch in bringing terrorists to justice and advancing our national security interests,” White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said just before the bill passed.

So you would think, then, that this was perhaps a provision snuck into the must-pass government funding bill by Republicans intent on derailing Holder’s plan to try self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in civilian criminal court.

You’d be wrong.

According to sources on both sides of the House Appropriations Committee, which had purview over the legislation, the bill was written entirely by the Democratic side. It was revealed to Republicans only hours before the vote. No amendments were allowed on the House floor. No Republicans voted for it.

And, the committee sources said, the White House would have seen the final package — including the transfer ban — and would have had the chance to object.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

Republicans have tried to put similar language in a slew of bills over the past year, and succeeded in doing so via a defense funding bill that passed the House in May but died in the Senate. A similar provision also appeared in last year’s spending bill, which expired in October at the end of the fiscal year.

Although leadership and the White House oppose the provision, it’s had support from some Democrats. In October 2009, for example, 24 Democrats voted for a provision to ban the transfer of Gitmo detainees to the U.S. for prosecution or incarceration. Thirteen of those voted for last week’s bill — which passed by just six votes, 212 to 206.

House Republican leadership, for their part, believes the measure doesn’t go far enough because it doesn’t ban the transfer of detainees to other countries.

“Considering the press reports regarding the recidivism rate of released or transferred detainees, House Republicans are strongly disappointed and will be addressing this issue in the 112th Congress,” said Minority Leader John Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel.

Senate leadership, including a spokesman for the Senate Appropriations Committee, would not say whether the provision will be included in its version of the spending bill. The Senate is expected to vote before Saturday, when the current resolution funding the government expires.







TPMMuckraker

Democrats Resigned to Tax Bill Passage

December 13, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

“After a chilly initial reception from Democrats, the White House appears to have garnered enough bipartisan support to secure the $ 858 billion bill’s safe passage through a turbulent Congress,” Time reports.

The Senate will vote today and Democratic leaders in both houses signaled that their caucuses “were prepared to swallow the accord’s unpalatable provisions to safeguard the middle class and cushion the economy.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “is walking a perilous path in the debate over President Obama’s tax plan, letting angry Democrats vent their frustration while also preserving the plan’s chance of passage,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Washington Post highlights the biggest problem Democrats have with the bill: “One part of the tax deal between President Obama and congressional Republicans stands out because it would make the tax code even more generous to the wealthy than it was during the Bush era: the estate tax.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Quote of the Day: Big Consquences if Democrats Reject Obama’s Tax Deal

December 13, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

Our political Quote of the Day comes from NBC’s Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg who in their indispensible First Reads analysis point out that Democrats could face serious political consquences if they reject President Barack Obama’s tax deal with Republicans:

*** The Democrats’ tax-cut dilemma: On the tax deal, do some Democrats realize that perhaps the biggest danger of not cutting this deal is ceding the economic debate to the GOP for at least one election cycle, if not more? Play it out: Dems decide to fight and get nothing when the tax cuts expire at the end of the year. Then, on Jan. 6, the new GOP-led House “comes to the rescue” and passes legislation to extend the Bush-era tax cuts. So say the economy recovers a bit but not gangbusters. Well, the GOP will criticize Democrats for creating uncertainty at fragile time. Or say the economy recovers gangbusters in 2011-12, the GOP will have an argument to take much of the credit. Bottom line: If Democrats line up and try to kill the compromise, the political price they could pay might be much higher than they fathom as they’ll be on the wrong side of the economic argument — no matter the outcome. At least they can control the process for now.

But the Democrats’ other dilemma is as a party. The party has often been pulled by tensions between its liberal/progressive wing (choose the word that you like to use since “progressive” came into favor after conservatives turned “liberal” into a word that liberals ran away from even though conservatives do not run away from “conservative.”) and more centrist or even conservative elements, even in the 20th century. There have always been some in the party absolutely convinced that the vast majority of Americans are liberal even though polls show no such thing. In fact, polls suggest that the bulk of Americans would like to see governmnent work better and parties try to reach solutions so problems are if not solved then eased. And there is a “center” in America that may shift right or left but seldom as left as the party’s left wing has desired — or thought.

The smart money would be on the Dems being wise enough to pass it. And one commentator, talking on a program carried on XM Radio, noted that there is an undercurrent in Congress right now that for all of the talk of defiance the measure will pass: Democrats will go along with it. They can’t be so short sighted to fall into the trap outlined by Chuck Todd & Co. outline above. (Or could they?)


The Moderate Voice

The Democrats And Their Second Stimulus

December 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

SANDERSBrendanSmialowski:Getty

In what appears to be an almost epic attempt at political suicide, some Democrats appear so exercized by the very idea that the very rich should continue to enjoy the tax rates of the Bush era that they are willing to push their president, and their own political prospects, over the cliff.

I made my case pretty clear soon after the deal was struck. It was staggering to me how many tangible concessions Obama was able to get for one symbolic give. The GOP got to protect the very rich to the tune of $ 120 billion for two years. In return, Obama got the $ 360 billion tax cut for the middle class he wanted, plus $ 450 billion on extended unemployment benefits, the pay-roll tax cut and EITC and college tuition funding. In the process, he got the GOP to endorse a huge fiscal stimulus for Obama as he runs for re-election – a stimulus that could, according to Morgan Stanley, push economic growth to as much as 4 percent next year. That might be an overshoot – but it's surely salient that no one thinks the package won't boost growth at all.

Charles Krauthammer gets it:

Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 – and House Democrats don't have a clue that he did.

Bill Clinton gets it. The markets get it. The only question is: why doesn't the House move swiftly to pass this as-good-as-it-will-get deal, and then move forward on START, DADT and the DREAM Act? A week is a long time in politics. Two weeks – which the Democrats could give themselves if they want – could turn a coup into a year-end triumph for the president and this party.

It could also lead to a spectacular black eye for the GOP establishment. Does anyone believe that the Tea Party campaigned so hard in order to have the Congress pass a second stimulus – as pricey as the first, and borrowed entirely from the Chinese? Think what happens after the deal is passed, and the truth of it sinks in with the base. The GOP civil war will begin in earnest – especially if Obama outflanks the GOP on long-term debt reduction in the SOTU.

Memo to the Dems: what on earth are you waiting for? Pass the deal. ASAP.

(Photo: U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill on December 7, 2010 in Washington, DC. The Obama administration is pushing for Congress to extend Bush-era tax cuts in a compromise with Republicans. By Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images.)





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Republican dominance creates hurdle for Broward Democrats

December 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 

With reputations as Florida’s two big Democratic bastions, Broward and Palm Beach counties could now be forced to scramble like never before to get what their leaders and residents want in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.

Lawmakers and lobbyists agree that voters’ decisions to increase Republican ranks at the state and national levels – and the addition of tea party backed candidates on a mission to corral government into submission – makes action on any local agenda especially difficult.

“I believe that we will be hurt,” said state Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood. “It’s going to be difficult.”

Clarence McKee, a Republican lobbyist and communications consultant, said it will be a challenge for Broward and Palm Beach counties to get attention for their priorities. “I don’t think [they are] high on the totem pole,” he said. “It was hard enough lobbying for Broward issues before the election. It’ll be even harder now.”


South Florida congressional delegation faces challenges working together

For elected officials from both Broward and Palm Beach counties, McKee said the challenge now is that “politically, they need help from the people they don’t like.” Elected Republicans know Broward and Palm Beach County residents give most of their votes to Democrats. He said there wouldn’t be overt retaliation, but elected officials know where their support came from.




Broward Politics

Democrats clash over tax cuts

December 12, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comments Off 




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