Highlights of budget and debt limit pact

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-07-2011-05-2008

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President Barack Obama and top congressional leaders have reached an agreement on a plan to pair an increase in the nation’s $14.3 trillion borrowing limit with spending cuts and to create a special committee to recommend bigger savings for a vote later this year. The plan would:

Washington strikes deal on debt ceiling

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-07-2011-05-2008

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July 31: President Obama announces that Democrats and Republicans leaders have reached an agreement to reduce the U.S. deficit and avoid default. Watch his entire remarks.  (Other)Ending a perilous stalemate, President Obama and congressional leaders announced an agreement Sunday night on emergency legislation to avert the nation’s first-ever financial default.

Slideshow: ‘Taking the Hill’: A rare look inside Congress

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-07-2011-05-2008

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With debt talks roiling Washington, D.C., Brian Williams, anchor of NBC's Nightly News, and a team of dozens of journalists are given unprecedented access to Capitol Hill for a day-in-the-life documentary.With debt talks roiling Washington, D.C., Brian Williams, anchor of NBC’s Nightly News, and a team of dozens of journalists are given unprecedented access to Capitol Hill for a day-in-the-life documentary.

‘Really close’ to debt deal as deadline nears (AP)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-07-2011-05-2008

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returns to his office following a vote as the debt crisis continues on Capitol Hill in Washington Sunday, July 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)AP – Racing to avoid a government default, President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders reached urgently for a compromise Sunday to permit vital borrowing by the Treasury in exchange for more than $2 trillion in long-term spending cuts. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the two sides were “really, really close” to a deal after months of partisan fighting.

Reid’s spokesman says deal has been reached on debt ceiling

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-07-2011-05-2008

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Reuters is reporting that Reid hopes to have a vote tonight, but he will only support it if the other Democrats do. That’s leadership for ya!

One other teeny, tiny little snag: How to get to 216 votes in the House. Details, details …

2:40 PM PT: One more snag, courtesy of Boehner:

House Speaker John A. Boehner was attempting to scale back the $350 billion in immediate Pentagon cuts that would be included in the initial $1 trillion in spending cuts. Democrats said Mr. Boehner was also trying to minimize the amount of automatic cuts to defense spending that would occur if a special congressional committee was unable to reach a broader agreement later this year.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, has already agreed to the defense cuts, according to Democratic leadership aides. Democratic lawmakers were urging the White House to stand firm against Mr. Boehner’s demands, they said.


Dem group raises $5M to counter Republican ads (AP)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-07-2011-05-2008

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AP – An outside group founded this spring by two former Obama White House advisers has raked in millions in donations since April, relying in part on top-flight fundraisers and labor unions to counter GOP-leaning ads critical of the president and congressional Democrats.

Senators react to possible deal on debt ceiling

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-07-2011-05-2008

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As details of a possible deal emerge, Democratic senators are starting to weigh in.

Sen. Ben Cardin said he hasn’t yet formed an opinion on the possible deal and needs more “specifics.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is “not pleased”:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told reporters on Sunday that she wasn’t thrilled with the way the negotiations to reach an agreement to raise the debt ceiling were happening, but thinks the final outcome could be good.

“I’m not pleased with having it happen this way,” Feinstein said.

“But you know as they say, sausage-making isn’t pretty. But the sausage we have I think is a very different sausage than when we started,” Feinstein said.

Sen. Carl Levin is frustrated with the president:

[The enforcement mechanism] will not, we are told, apply to beneficiaries. And if it does apply to beneficiaries, if those cuts that would be the result of sequestration, if that applies to beneficiaries, I think the President will lose almost every Democrat….

The hope is sequestration will be avoided. Sequestration is not your goal, Sequestration is the goal which hopefully produce a decent outcome from a joint committee. Whether it will have that effect really will be determined by who’s on that committee, and whether or not the members of the joint committee who are selected will reflect the views of the caucus. If they reflect the views of the Democratic caucus they will insist on revenue being included. […]

[I]n the meantime there’s a hell of a lot of damage done to average people in this country. I don’t know of too many people, I hope, that are willing to have a political advantage at the price, at the expense, of people we represent. I hope not.

Sen. Dick Durbin:

“There are active negotiations and we are being presented with ideas that are being floated and asked for reaction. There’s a good exchange going on between the negotiators and the leaders,” Durbin, D-Illinois, said as he explained his newfound optimism. “Negotiators will call Harry and say, all right, here’s an idea, what’s your reaction?” […]

“At the end of the day, the president has given Harry and Nancy his assurance that nothing will be agreed to until they agree with it,” Durbin said. “Although McConnell and Boehner may be directly involved, in the end we’re going to be party to the final decision.”

Durbin said that the Senate Democrats’ primary goal has been to extend the debt ceiling through February 2013, and that the negotiations are hung up over what happens if a select joint committee on deficit reduction does not come up with a solution.

“We’re not using the debt ceiling as the trigger. That what was this whole debate this last week has been about. We will not let the debt ceiling be the trigger,” Durbin said. “What we have been debating is when the joint committee reports, which we’re hoping will be before the end of the year, that if there is no agreement on their work product, what will happen. That has been the whole conversation — the so-called triggering. What’s hanging over the head of the committee if they don’t agree and what’s hanging over Congress if we don’t agree with their findings.”

Meanwhile, on the crazy side of the aisle:

Senate Republican conservatives say they do not plan to delay a bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling, giving Congress a chance to make the Aug. 2 deadline set by President Obama.

If any member of the Senate withholds his or her consent to speed up the chamber’s floor procedures, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could not pass legislation to raise the debt limit before Wednesday, according to a Senate aide.


Cain dominates Denver straw poll; Perry second (Politico)

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-07-2011-05-2008

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Politico – The former pizza executive takes almost half the vote at the Western Conservative Summit presidential ballot.

Niceness aside, Huntsman finds fault with rivals

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-07-2011-05-2008

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Republican presidential candidate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman speaks during a lecture series Leading Voices in Politics and Policy at Dartmouth College on July 26. A diplomat to the core, Jon Huntsman is well known as a likable guy, but recently he’s found subtle ways to fault his rivals.

Rep. Raul M. Grijalva calls on Americans to reject debt ceiling deal

Posted by admin | Posted in Politics | Posted on 31-07-2011-05-2008

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Rep. Raul M. Grijalva

Co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Rep. Raul M. Grijalva released a statement today opposing the reported tentative agreement on the debt ceiling:

This deal trades peoples’ livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it. Progressives have been organizing for months to oppose any scheme that cuts Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, and it now seems clear that even these bedrock pillars of the American success story are on the chopping block. Even if this deal were not as bad as it is, this would be enough for me to fight against its passage.

This deal does not even attempt to strike a balance between more cuts for the working people of America and a fairer contribution from millionaires and corporations. The very wealthy will continue to receive taxpayer handouts, and corporations will keep their expensive federal giveaways. Meanwhile, millions of families unfairly lose more in this deal than they have already lost. I will not be a part of it.

Republicans have succeeded in imposing their vision of a country without real economic hope. Their message has no public appeal, and Democrats have had every opportunity to stand firm in the face of their irrational demands. Progressives have been rallying support for the successful government programs that have meant health and economic security to generations of our people. Today we, and everyone we have worked to speak for and fight for, were thrown under the bus. We have made our bottom line clear for months: a final deal must strike a balance between cuts and revenue, and must not put all the burden on the working people of this country. This deal fails those tests and many more.

The Democratic Party, no less than the Republican Party, is at a very serious crossroads at this moment. For decades Democrats have stood for a capable, meaningful government – a government that works for the people, not just the powerful, and that represents everyone fairly and equally. This deal weakens the Democratic Party as badly as it weakens the country. We have given much and received nothing in return. The lesson today is that Republicans can hold their breath long enough to get what they want. While I believe the country will not reward them for this in the long run, the damage has already been done.

A clean debt ceiling vote was the obvious way out of this, and many House Democrats have been saying so. Had that vote failed, the president should have exercised his Fourteenth Amendment responsibilities and ended this manufactured crisis.

This deal is a cure as bad as the disease. I reject it, and the American people reject it. The only thing left to do now is repair the damage as soon as possible.