A not entirely new development in the sequester blame game reemerged this weekend in the form of Bob Woodward putting a damper on the Democrats’ Speaker Boehner sequestration powerpoint, trump card. This not wholly unexpected wrinkle shifts the sequester’s inception back on the White House.
In what has to be one of the most ridiculous examples of Republican, post-election desperation questions about Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel’s association with Hezbollah and Hamas are proven false, based on a joke by a New York Daily News reporter. Similar to past Republican gullibilities as belief in a Planned Parenthood abortion factory and Mitch McConnell’s latest flub, believing an Onion-esque article about Guantanamo detainees given veterans’ benefits, Senate Republicans have once again fallen for fake information.
Senate Democrats will soon release a bill to counter massive cuts from the looming sequestration. In short the bill will institute a minimum tax rate for millionaires and eliminate some tax subsidies, specifically those subsidizing crop insurance for large farms, a program the CBO says will cost upwards of $90 billion over the next decade.
From the New York Times
WASHINGTON — The Congressional Research Service has withdrawn an economic report that found no correlation between top tax rates and economic growth, a central tenet of conservative economic theory, after Senate Republicans raised concerns about the paper’s findings and wording.
The decision, made in late September against the advice of the agency’s economic team leadership, drew almost no notice at the time. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, cited the study a week and a half after it was withdrawn in a speech on tax policy at the National Press Club.
It appears this ban on outside money, which has and does influence many local races, in the Massachusetts’ Senate campaign is causing regrets within the state Republican Party solely because they are unable to attack Warren on the Native American heritage claims. Their regrets lie in their inability to dominate the conversation with largely unimportant attacks rather than substantive debate of the pertinent issues. This speaks volumes about the state of political campaigns these days and why so many voters are so very frustrated with the overall process.
The health care reform debate continues even after the Supreme Court ruled on its constitutionality. Republicans have stood firm on their vow to “Repeal & Replace” yet their problems begin when asked about the replace portion of that promise. Both Mitt Romney and Republican leadership have touted “common sense“, step-by-step reforms. They promise to implement interstate commerce of insurance, keep insurers from denying coverage, allow young people on their parents’ insurance, implement industry cost-saving measures. The interesting part of these common sense reforms is that they are already in the Affordable Care Act.
This past week witnessed the long anticipated, commencement and culmination of the Supreme Court hearings on the Affordable Health Care Act’s constitutionality. Each of the three days brought endless speculative predictions as to how the justices will vote and how their decisions will impact the law, the health care system, the President and his reelection.
This past week witnessed the announcement of moderate Republican Senator Olympia Snowe that she will not seek a fourth term, citing the “atmosphere of polarization” in Congress. A fellow senator and bipartisan legislation co-sponsor, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, stated her decision shows she has lost hope. This is evident in her Washington Post op-edwhere she lectured her hardline colleagues on how the Senate of today is acting against the Founding Fathers’ vision of the Senate as an institution of wisdom. Her proclamation follows similar decisions by conservative Democratic, Senator Ben Nelson, centrist Democrat senators Jim Webb, Kent Conrad and Jeff Bingaman and Independent Senator Joe Lieberman.
Because of Medicare’s size and growth, the health-care program has taken center stage on the campaign trail and in Capitol Hill discussions about the federal budget deficit. Medicare covers almost one in six Americans and comprises about 15 percent of the federal budget, but it is often misunderstood. Let’s take a few minutes to separate fact from fiction.
President Obama riled Republicans this past Wednesday with his “recess” appointments of four long-blocked agency nominations. The most hair raising for the GOP was the President’s appointment of Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency congressional Republicans have opposed since its inception. The President’s actions drew further anger due to questions as to whether the Senate was technically in recess. Were these appointments a response to consistent blockage of the confirmation process? What is behind the ardent GOP opposition to the CFPB and other agency appointees?