Political Highlights July 2011: The Obama Presidency Recap June 28-August 2, 2011 — Obama vs. Congress & the Debt Ceiling Crisis

POLITICAL HIGHLIGHTS

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama holds a news conference
White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 7/15/11

STATS & POLLS

  • Obama’s lead in 2012 presidential election vanishes, poll finds: A new Pew poll finds that 41 percent favor President Obama in the presidential election, while 40 percent favor a generic Republican candidate. Earlier in the year, Mr. Obama had been ahead…. – CS Monitor, 7-30-11
  • Obama Maintains Sub-50% Job Approval in 10th Quarter Too soon to say what 46.8% average approval portends for re-election: President Barack Obama earned a 46.8% average approval rating in his 10th quarter in office ending July 19, essentially unchanged from the 9th quarter and still above his record-low 7th quarter. The president’s latest quarterly average is based on Gallup Daily tracking from April 20 through July 19. Across that time, his three-day rolling average approval ratings have been as high as 53% and as low as 42%, with the most recent readings falling on the lower end of that range.
    Obama is in the company of several former elected presidents who averaged sub-50% approval during their 10th quarters in office. This includes three former presidents who won re-election — Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan — and one, Jimmy Carter, who lost. On the other hand, of the three presidents with exceptionally high average approvals at this stage, George H.W. Bush was ultimately defeated, while Dwight Eisenhower and George W. Bush prevailed…. – Gallop, 7-21-11
  • Voters weighing in with lawmakers over debt issue: President Barack Obama supports a blend of spending cuts and tax increases, a position that has backing of 69 percent of Americans, according to a recent Gallup poll…. – AP, 7-17-11
  • Republican Voters Lack Enthusiasm for Presidential Contenders, Poll Shows: Republican voters are not satisfied with the candidates running for the Republican nomination for president and wish they had more choices, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll…. – NYT, 6-29-11

POLITICAL SPEECHES

  • President Obama’s Statement on Congress Passing the Compromise Debt Ceiling Bill — The Budget Control Act of 2011 WH, 8-2-11
  • Obama text on debt deal with congressional leaders: Text of President Barack Obama’s remarks on the debt-ceiling deal with congressional leaders, as provided by the White House… – WH, 7-31-11
  • President Obama Weekly Address: Compromise on Behalf of the American People WH, 7-30-11
  • Remarks of President Obama After Meeting with African Heads of State WH, 7-29-11
  • Remarks by President Obama on Fuel Efficiency Standards WH, 7-29-11
  • Remarks by President Obama on the Status of Debt Ceiling Negotiations WH, 7-29-11
  • Address by President Obama to the Nation on Debt Ceiling Crisis WH, 7-25-11
  • Remarks by President Obama in Welcoming the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants WH, 7-25-11
  • President Obama Weekly Address: A Bipartisan Approach to Strengthening the Economy WH, 7-23-11
  • Remarks by President Obama on Debt Ceiling Negotiations WH, 7-22-11
  • Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Key of New Zealand WH, 7-22-11
  • Remarks by President Obama at University of Maryland Town Hall on the Debt Ceiling Crisis WH, 7-22-11
  • Remarks by President Obama on the Status of Efforts to Find a Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction WH, 7-19-11
  • Remarks by President Obama Nominating Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau WH, 7-18-11
  • President Obama Weekly Address: Securing Our Fiscal Future WH, 7-16-11
  • Press Conference by President Obama on the Debt Ceiling Negotiations WH, 7-15-11
  • Remarks by President Obama Presenting the Medal of Honor to Sergeant First Class Leroy Arthur Petry WH. 7-12-11
  • Press Conference by President Obama on Debt Ceiling Negotiations WH, 7-11-11
  • President Obama Weekly Address: Working Together to Meet our Fiscal Challenges WH, 7-9-11
  • Remarks by President Obama on the Monthly Jobs Report WH, 7-8-11
  • Remarks by President Obama on the Status of Efforts to Find a Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction WH, 7-7-11
  • Remarks by President Obama in Twitter Town Hall WH, 7-6-11
  • Remarks by President Obama on the Status of Efforts to Find a Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction WH, 7-5-11
  • Remarks by President Obama at White House Independence Day Celebration WH, 7-4-11
  • President Obama Weekly Address: Cutting the Deficit and Creating Jobs WH, 7-2-11
  • President Obama Signs Missouri Emergency Declaration WH, 6-30-11
  • Remarks by the President and Secretary Gates at Armed Services Farewell Tribute in Honor of Secretary Gates WH, 6-30-11
  • President Obama’s News Conference: The following is a transcript of Obama’s news conference in the East Wing, as provided by the White House…. – NYT, 6-30-11
  • Remarks by President Obama on the Critical Role the Manufacturing Sector Plays in the American Economy WH, 6-28-11
  • President Obama Weekly Address: Strengthening America by Investing at Home WH, 6-25-11

QUOTES

“I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the president of the United States. I put revenues on the table in order to come to an agreement to avert us being where we are, but a lot of people in this town can never say yes.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

“The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government.” — President Barack Obama

“I have said repeatedly, including last night and again today, that I will not support any agreement that fails to raise the debt ceiling though the end of 2012. Anything less than that will fail to provide the certainty that the markets – and the world – are looking for, risking an immediate downgrade of America’s credit rating.” — Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, 7-25-11

“I would prefer to have a bipartisan approach to solve this problem. If that is not possible, I and my Republican colleagues in the House are prepared to move on our own.” — House Speaker John Boehner

“I applaud Senator Reid for putting forward an approach to reduce the deficit that protects Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. The major features of Senator Reid’s proposal have already been supported by Republicans in the past months.” — Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader

“I think that marriage should be between a man and woman, but I think that the Republican Party would be well advised to get the heck out of people’s bedrooms and let these things get decided by states.” … The party should avoid “getting involved in people’s sexual lives” and would be “a more successful political party if we stuck to our economic, conservative roots and our idea of a strong, assertive America that is not embarrassed to be the leader of the world.” — Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” 7-18-11.

“Couldn’t be prouder of the women of #USWNT after a hard-fought game…. Congratulations to Japan, Women’s World Cup Champions.” — President Obama on Twitter, 7-18-11

“Let me tell you where real hope lies. It’s not the hopey-changey stuff we heard about in 2008. Real hope comes from realizing how God has blessed our exceptional nation, and then doing something about it.” — Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in a post on her Facebook page titled “The Sugar Daddy Has Run Out of Sugar; Now We Need New Leaders”, 7-11-11

“I’ve got a lot on my plate and I’ve got a lot ahead of me and I’m going to be doing this for the foreseeable future…. foreseeable is a complicated word….. I’m not going to make news on this today.” — Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner on “Meet the Press,” 7-11-11

“Having gotten Bin Laden, we have now identified the key leadership within Al Qaeda. If we can be successful at going after them, I think we can really undermine their ability to do any kind of planning, to be able to conduct any kind of attack on this country. Now is the moment, following what happened with bin Laden, to put maximum pressure on them. If we continue this effort, that we can really cripple Al Qaeda.” — Leon Panetta, the newly confirmed Defense Secretary, 7-11-11

“Leader Cantor can’t handle the truth when it comes to these tax subsidies for big oil, for corporations sending jobs overseas, for giving tax breaks to the wealthiest people in our country while they’re asking seniors to pay more for less, as they abolish Medicare.” — Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House on CNN’s “State of the Union”, 6-27-11

IN FOCUS: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN 2011

President Obama on deficit reduction
Pete Souza, 7/22/11

Debt Ceiling Showdown All Posts; News, Quotes, Speeches, Press Conferences & Analysis on History Musings

Political Highlights Debt Ceiling Showdown August 1-2, 2011: Debt Ceiling Crisis Averted House & Senate Pass Bipartisan Compromise Bill — President Obama Signs Budget Control Act of 2011 into Law — History Musings, 8-2-11

Political Highlights Debt Ceiling Showdown July 25-31, 2011: Finally, a Deal! After Week of Partisan Votes in Congress — President Obama, White House, Republican & Democratic Leaders Agree to Debt Deal — Still Needs to Pass House & Senate Votes — History Musings, 8-1-11

Political Highlights Debt Ceiling Showdown Recap July 18-24, 2011: 2 Plans, 8 Days No Debt Deal in Sight — Will the US Default on August 2, 2011? — History Musings, 7-25-11

Political Debt Ceiling Showdown Recap July 6-18, 2011: Bipartisan Senate Compromise Plan Emerges — Obama Sets New Deadline for Friday July 22, 2011 — History Musings, 7-18-11

Full Text of the Budget Control Act of 2011 — PDF

“It will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy.” — President Barack Obama

“Someone has to say no, I will.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, statement emailed from Iowa Sunday night

    • Debt Bill Is Signed, Ending a Fractious Battle: President Obama took a final shot at his Republican opposition for what he called a manufactured, and avoidable, crisis…. – NYT, 8-3-11
    • With Debt Fight Behind Him, Obama Promises Action on Jobs: President Obama will embark on a bus tour of the Midwest to show his commitment to reviving the economy in a region of important electoral battlegrounds…. – NYT, 8-3-11
    • Relief and Dismay Greet Budget Deal Worldwide: Political brinkmanship in Washington has raised fears around the world that the U.S. is in for instability that could have profound consequences globally…. – NYT, 8-2-11
    • Debt Compromise Is Just ‘First Step,’ Obama Says: President Obama said Washington should quickly pivot to job creation efforts and that future deficit reduction should include both spending cuts and new tax revenue…. – NYT, 8-2-11
    • After Protracted Fight, Both Sides Emerge Bruised: A full victory lap was not expected — or, perhaps, deserved — by those on either side of the debate, which has consumed the capital, unnerved the financial markets and infuriated Americans…. – NYT, 8-1-11
    • Congress Must Trim Deficit to Avoid Broader Cuts: The deal would cut into education and Medicare if Congress does not enact legislation by the end of the year…. – NYT, 8-1-11
    • Leaders Agree on Framework of Deal to End Debt Crisis: Congressional leaders of both parties and President Obama had a framework for a deal to present to their caucuses, moving closer to a measure that could pass both chambers…. – NYT, 8-1-11
    • The Fine Print on the Debt Deal: If Democrats read the fine print on the debt deal struck by President Obama and Congressional leaders, they’ll find that it’s a little better than it appears at first glance…. – NYT, 8-1-11
    • In World’s Eyes, Much Damage Is Already Done: The United States may have saved its credit rating, but world leaders say its reputation may have faltered…. – NYT, 8-1-11
    • Leaders Report Accord on Debt Limit Increase: The president and Congressional leaders said they had worked out a framework to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling…. – NYT, 8-1-11
    • Several Steps Remain Before the Debt Ceiling Is Raised: Sunday night’s announcement of a deal to raise the debt ceiling was the crucial moment after months of wrangling. But it’s not over yet…. – NYT, 8-1-11
    • Analysis: Bipartisan deal, bipartisan opposition: The newly struck debt-ceiling compromise between President Barack Obama and the Republican leaders of Congress represents a historic accomplishment of divided government, with all the disappointment that implies for the most ardent partisans inside the two major parties and out…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • It’s a deal: Obama, Congress will avert default: Ending a perilous stalemate, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders announced historic agreement Sunday night on emergency legislation to avert the nation’s first-ever financial default…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • Obama says he, Congress leaders reach deal: President Barack Obama says Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have reached an agreement with him to raise the government’s debt ceiling and avoid a default…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • Debt deal to prevent default in place: The official said House Speaker John Boehner and President Barack Obama spoke by phone Sunday evening. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not yet been announced. Obama was to go on TV at 8:40 pm EDT…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • Debt deal spreads relief, smiles between warriors: The Senate’s top party leaders, Democrat Harry Reid and Republican Mitch McConnell, rushed to the Senate floor Sunday evening to announce that they had struck a tentative agreement with House leaders and President Barack Obama two days before an Aug. 2 deadline…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • Boehner: Budget pact lives up to GOP principles: House Speaker John Boehner says the pact he’s reached with President Barack Obama and other leaders of Congress on lifting the debt limit and taming the budget “isn’t the greatest deal” but lives up to the GOP’s principles on taxes … – AP, 7-31-11
    • Senate leaders embrace debt deal: Both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate are throwing their weight behind a debt-limit agreement sealed with President Barack Obama and top leaders of Congress…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • Reid: Cautiously optimistic on debt limit deal: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he’s cautiously optimistic that President Barack Obama and congressional lawmakers will come to a deal on raising the debt limit. But the Nevada Democrat emphasizes that no agreement has been reached…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • Senate GOP leader: Getting close to a debt deal: McConnell said he had talked to both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday. “I particularly appreciate that we are back talking to the only person in American who can sign something into law, and that’s the president… – AP, 7-31-11
    • Debt-ceiling compromise taking shape: What’s in it?: The details of an emerging debt-ceiling compromise are unconfirmed and could change, but they appear currently to involve parts of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s ‘last choice’ option, as well as a trigger to ensure promised spending cuts take place…. – CS Monitor, 7-31-11
    • Outcry From the Left Precedes Debt Deal: But liberals were already bracing for what they said increasingly looks like a legislative victory for Republicans…. – NYT, 7-31-11
    • Despite Hints of Deal, Debt Limit Crisis Remains Unresolved: Progress in talks between top Congressional Republicans and President Obama stirred optimism that a last-minute deal could be reached to avert a potential federal default…. – NYT, 7-31-11
    • White House: No debt deal yet with Republicans: A top White House official says “we don’t have a deal” between President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress to avoid a crippling default…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • Analysis: Debt mess shows Washington’s awful side: Even if a bitterly divided Congress and President Barack Obama avoid a US debt default by striking a last-second deal, as all sides expect, plenty of damage has been done. People are disgusted. Confidence in the political system is tanking. … – AP, 7-30-11
    • Former President George W. Bush to attend 10th anniversary of Sept 11 in NYC: The ceremony at the World Trade Center site marking the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks will be a solemn but stately event that will include President Barack Obama and a chance for victims’ families to view the names of loved ones… – AP, 7-30-11
    • Obama urges parties to reach deal to avert default: Claiming that the two parties aren’t that far apart, President Barack Obama is urging Democratic and Republican lawmakers to reach a deal quickly to keep the government from defaulting on payments to veterans, Social Security … – AP, 7-30-11
    • Fight over debt tests leadership of Obama, Boehner: The fight over the debt ceiling has turned into a dramatic leadership test for President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, opponents in a divided government who’ve gone from negotiating in secret to facing off in public at a watershed moment for the country and their own political careers…. – AP, 7-30-11
    • Dems, GOP still at loggerheads as clock ticks: “There is very little time” President Barack Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address. He called for an end to political gamesmanship, saying “the time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now. … – AP, 7-30-11
    • US weighing payment priorities if default comes: President Barack Obama warned anew that the credit status and financial credibility of the United States stand in severe jeopardy. “There are plenty of ways out of this mess, but we are almost out of time,” Obama said, noting the Tuesday deadline. … – AP, 7-29-11
    • House approves GOP bill extending debt limit: The 218-210 vote sets up a confrontation with the Democratic-controlled Senate and President Barack Obama, who say the GOP-written measure will die in the Senate…. – AP, 7-29-11
    • Democrats pressure airlines to give back windfall: The industry is also wrangling with the Obama administration and Congress over who should be responsible for handling tax refunds due passengers who bought tickets and paid taxes before the FAA shutdown, but did their traveling during the shutdown. … – AP, 7-29-11

“Will today’s Republicans break away from the shrill voice of the tea party and return to the Republican Party of Ronald Reagan?” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

    • Tea party role in debt bill raises GOP eyebrows: Boehner’s original bill was already imperiled because it would tie the second debt-ceiling increase to huge mandatory spending cuts, which President Barack Obama rejected. The speaker’s allies said the tea partyers’ demands make it all the harder…. – AP, 7-29-11
    • Balanced budget amendment wins plaudits and jeers: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, used it to swing GOP support behind his stalled debt bill as the House continued its epic clash with President Barack Obama and the Democratic-run Senate over federal borrowing and spending…. – AP, 7-29-11
    • US House tries again on bill as default date nears: If Republicans fail to pass the vote Friday, then President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats will have extensive leverage to shape a bill to their liking and practically dare the House to reject it and send the nation into default. … – AP, 7-29-11
    • Struggling with debt, Congress talks defense cuts: In April, President Barack Obama instructed the Pentagon to find $400 billion in defense savings over 12 years and said no decisions on specifics would be made until the Pentagon had completed a review of options for achieving such reductions. … – AP, 7-29-11
    • Debt vote delayed into night as GOP seeks support: As time for a vote slid by, the White House poked fun at Republicans led by Speaker John Boehner, who has become President Barack Obama’s principal antagonist in a contentious era of divided government. And Senate Democrats pledged to scuttle Boehner’s bill…. – AP, 7-29-11

“If the debt limit is not raised before Aug. 2, we believe that Treasury would give priority to debt service payments and could thus postpone a potential debt default for a number of days. Revenues would be more than adequate for some period of time to meet those payments although other outlays would be severely reduced as a result.” — Moody’s

  • Bank officials discuss debt impasse with Treasury: Executives from the country’s biggest banks met with U.S. Treasury officials Friday to discuss how debt auctions will be handled if Congress fails to raise the borrowing limit before Tuesday’s deadline…. – AP, 7-29-11
  • Charting the American Debt Crisis: America has a long history of raising the debt limit to accommodate spending. A look at some of the issues in the debate over the nation’s debt…. – CS Monitor, 7-29-11
  • Obama says multiple ways out of debt ceiling mess: President Barack Obama says there are multiple ways to resolve the debt ceiling mess, but it has to be bipartisan and it has to happen fast. The president urged Democrats and Republicans in the Senate Friday to come together on a plan … – AP, 7-29-11
  • US malaise, debt stalemate shake allies globally: He supports US efforts to control its debt, but criticized Obama’s Republican opponents for opposing tax increases as too risky. A debt default “would mean that the USA is no longer seens as a reliable economic power — fatal for the global economy, … – AP, 7-29-11
  • Economy slowed sharply in first half of year: The weaker data will also add pressure to already-tense negotiations between President Barack Obama and lawmakers over increasing the debt limit. Any deal will likely include deep cuts in government spending. That could slow growth further in the short run…. – AP, 7-29-11
  • Surveying the Electoral Damage of the Debt Debate: There aren’t any winners here, but you can argue that Republicans have sustained more damage…. – NYT, 7-28-11
  • Q. and A. on the U.S. Debt Ceiling: A crash course in all things debt ceiling. — NYT, 7-28-11
  • US House to vote on raising borrowing cap: The US House votes Thursday on a plan to avert an American default, but conservatives in the Republican-dominated lower chamber, Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama were all lined up against the measure. … – AP, 7-28-11
  • Boehner’s big bid on debt undone from right, left: But as he twice approached a $4 trillion deficit-reduction deal with President Barack Obama that would have rocked both parties’ bases, Boehner was reeled back in by his caucus’ conservative wing…. – AP, 7-28-11
  • Why John Boehner is determined to pass his doomed debt-ceiling bill: House Speaker John Boehner’s debt-ceiling plan won’t pass the Senate. Yet he is making huge efforts to ensure it passes the House – including delaying a vote Thursday – because his leadership is at stake…. – CS Monitor, 7-28-11
  • President on Sidelines in Critical Battle Over Debt Ceiling: Having already deployed the heavy weapons from the presidential arsenal, President Obama is left largely a spectator at one of the most critical moments of his presidency…. – NYT, 7-28-11
  • In Both Houses, Fortifying Support for Rival Plans: House Republicans and Senate Democrats gained support within party ranks for their separate plans to resolve a debt crisis, but the momentum seemed to be pushing both sides further from a compromise…. – NYT, 7-28-11
  • Vote on Boehner Plan Delayed Amid Opposition: House Republican leaders said they planned to delay a scheduled vote on a plan to temporarily raise the debt ceiling, as passage seemed in growing doubt…. – NYT, 7-27-11
  • Tea partyers rally for cuts, Boehner OK for now AP, 7-27-11
  • Democrats say Obama should invoke 14th Amendment: House Democrats said Wednesday that President Barack Obama should invoke a little-known constitutional provision to prevent the nation from going into default if Congress fails to come up with a plan to raise the debt ceiling…. – AP, 7-27-11
  • Conservative leader takes fight to his own party: When President Barack Obama complains about House Republicans unwilling to compromise on a deficit reduction package, he’s talking about Rep. Jim Jordan, a former wrestling champion from Ohio who is becoming a driving force…. – AP, 7-27-11
  • Tea party fires warning shots at both parties in Congress (video): Tea Party Patriots leader Mark Meckler issues a blunt warning to Congress: His group is “going to be dramatically engaged in the primaries – on both sides of the aisle,” in 2012….- CS Monitor, 7-27-11
  • Phones on the Hill Ringing Off the Hook: The public appears to be responding to President Obama’s request that they call Congress about the debt ceiling impasse…. – NYT, 7-26-11
  • Boehner delays vote on his debt-ceiling measure: Meanwhile, public head-butting between Democratic President Barack Obama and the Republicans showed no sign of easing. The White House declared Obama would veto the Boehner bill, even if it somehow got through the House and the Democratic-controlled Senate…. – AP, 7-26-11
  • White House Threatens Veto of Boehner Bill: The White House stopped just short of saying the president would veto the debt ceiling legislation proposed by the House Speaker, John A. Boehner…. – NYT, 7-26-11
  • Dueling debt-ceiling plans: Can either pass Congress?: House Republicans and Senate Democrats introduced their plans to resolve the debt-ceiling impasse before Aug. 2. But bipartisan hopes appear thin…. – CS Monitor, 7-26-11
  • Perry: Obama debt ceiling speech was condescending: Potential Republican presidential candidateRick Perry says he thought President Barack Obama’s speech on the debt ceiling debate was condescending, saying he heard the president tell Americans they “just wouldn’t understand” the issue…. – AP, 7-26-11
  • Vets groups discuss debt talks at White House: Obama has said he can’t guarantee Social Security checks and payments to veterans and the disabled will go out on schedule in the absence of a deal. Leaders from the veterans services organizations who attended the meeting said White House officials…. – AP, 7-26-11
  • Rival plans ensnarl Congress over debt ceiling: President Barack Obama made a last ditch call for compromise, but House Speaker John Boehner said negotiations with the White House had been futile. “We can’t allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington’s political warfare” … – AP, 7-26-11
  • Stagecraft of the Obama-Boehner Debt Debate: Two speeches on Monday night capped a remarkable series of dueling theatrical performances by the nation’s two most powerful politicians…. – NYT, 7-26-11
  • Showdown Nears on Debt as Obama Warns of ‘Crisis’: President Obama urged “a balanced approach” that would include higher tax revenues as well as cuts. Speaker John A. Boehner accused Mr. Obama of asking for “a blank check.”… – NYT, 7-26-11
  • House speaker says Obama won’t get ‘blank check’: House Speaker John Boehner says President Barack Obama wants a blank check from Congress to raise the debt ceiling, but that he’s not going to get one. Boehner says the solution to the debt crisis isn’t complicated. … – AP, 7-25-11
  • WH: Reid plan to solve debt crisis “reasonable”: Reid’s plan does not include any new tax revenue, as President Barack Obama has demanded. But unlike the GOP plan, it would extend the debt ceiling into 2013 — an Obama ultimatum. Carney said all the cuts proposed by Reid had already been agreed to…. – AP, 7-25-11
  • Top Senate Democrat faults GOP extremists on debt: At a news conference, the Nevada Democrat said Republicans are more interested in trying to embarrass President Barack Obama than in doing what’s right for the country. He says the GOP is being led by the “radical right wing”… – AP, 7-25-11
  • Obama fundraisers postponed amid debt limit talks: President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign has canceled or postponed a series of fundraisers as negotiations continue over the nation’s debt limit. Obama postponed fundraisers in California and Washington state in recent weeks…. – AP, 7-25-11
  • Schumer: Reid plan could end political stalemate: Schumer also says he believes no accord can be reached without the approval of President Barack Obama, Reid, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Schumer says he believes the Reid … – AP, 7-25-11
  • Clinton confident about resolution to debt crisis: Officials traveling with Clinton said she would impress on Dai the importance the Obama administration attaches to resolving the standoff over the debt by an Aug. 2 deadline to avoid an unprecedented default. World financial markets are warily watching … – AP, 7-25-11
  • LEGAL MEMO Using 14th Amendment to Raise the Debt Ceiling: A Civil War-era provision in the 14th Amendment makes for an interesting discussion on whether President Obama could use it to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling…. – NYT, 7-25-11
  • Boehner and Reid Prepare Rival Debt Plans: House Speaker John A. Boehner and Senator Harry Reid were preparing separate backup plans to raise the debt ceiling after leaders were unable to end a standoff over the budget…. – NYT, 7-25-11
  • Lawmakers Renew Push for Deal on Cutting Deficit: Hoping to reassure markets, Congressional leaders raced to reach a new deficit-reduction deal that Speaker John A. Boehner said could cut $3 trillion to $4 trillion…. – NYT, 7-24-11
  • Daley: Any deal must extend debt limit into 2013: President Barack Obama’s chief of staff says the president will veto any last-minute debt package from Congress unless it extends the nation’s borrowing limit into 2013. Top aide Bill Daley spoke as leading lawmakers scramble … – AP, 7-24-11
  • Geithner: Officials seeking debt deal by afternoon: He says President Barack Obama still demands that any agreement extend beyond the 2012 elections. Geithner, who keeps the nation’s financial books, says it’s “unthinkable” that there would be a time when the US couldn’t pay its bills. … – AP, 7-24-11
  • Debt crisis: Deal sought to head off stock plunge: President Barack Obama met Saturday with Republican and Democratic leaders — but only briefly— the day after House Speaker John Boehner abruptly broke off his own once-promising compromise talks with the White House…. – AP, 7-23-11
  • Reagan looms over debt debate inspiring both sides: Ronald Reagan might as well be sitting in on the troubled debt talks, so frequently is his memory invoked by both sides. But for vastly different reasons.
    Conservative Republicans praise the 40th president’s steely advocacy for smaller government and lower taxes.
    President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies praise Reagan because, they say, he was the sublime compromiser, willing to work with Democrats such as House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill of Massachusetts to forge landmark tax and Social Security deals and willing to raise the federal debt ceiling so the government could keep borrowing to pay its bills…. – AP, 7-23-11
  • New debt-limit talks: no sign of a breakthrough: A grim-faced President Barack Obama convened fresh talks Saturday with congressional leaders aimed at averting a national financial default in just 10 days, shortly after the latest comments from both sides suggested no breakthrough … – AP, 7-23-11
  • No end in sight as Obama restarts debt talks: President Barack Obama and congressional leaders are scrambling to find a way forward on a debt deal after House Speaker John Boehner threw negotiations into crisis by walking out on them with less than two weeks left to avert a potentially catastrophic default…. – AP, 7-23-11
  • Obama allows for possibility of US default: President Barack Obama for the first time has allowed for the possibility that the U.S. may default on its financial obligations. At a hastily arranged White House appearance on Friday, Obama said: “If we default, then we’re going to have to make adjustments.” Minutes later Obama said: “We will not default. I am confident of that.”… – AP, 7-23-11
  • What Obama said in his 30-minute primal scream at the GOP: President Obama, clearly angry, let loose on House Republicans in what was, for him, an extraordinary fit of pique Friday night after talks with Speaker John Boehner broke down…. – CS Monitor, 7-23-11
  • Debt Ceiling Talks Collapse as Boehner Walks Out: The epic clash between the White House and Congressional Republicans came just a week before the government hits its borrowing ceiling, and set off sharp accusations from both sides…. – NYT, 7-23-11
  • Boehner confident government won’t default: House Speaker John Boehner says he’s confident congressional leaders will be able to come together to avoid a government default following the collapse on budget talks with President Barack Obama…. – AP, 7-23-11
  • Obama and Boehner Close In on Deal to Cut Debt Nearly $3 Trillion: Officials said that President Obama and the House speaker, John A. Boehner, were closing in on a package calling for as much as $3 trillion in savings…. – NYT, 7-22-11
  • Fed, Treasury officials met to discuss US default: The officials offered no specifics on contingency plans. The Treasury says the US will default if the nation’s $14.3 trillion borrowing limit is not increased by Aug. 2. President Barack Obama and Republican lawmakers have been at an impasse for weeks…. – AP, 7-22-11
  • Amid debt talks, House budget plan faces Senate: President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner searched once more for an ambitious $4 trillion grand bargain, but officials said wide differences remained. Less than two weeks from an Aug. 2 deadline that could precipitate a first-ever…. – AP, 7-22-11
  • Five Debt Questions in a Swirl of Uncertainty: Five questions that remain unanswered as the debt crisis moves into its final two weeks…. – NYT, 7-22-11
  • Push Intensifies for Larger Deal on Debt Impasse: As compromises took shape on both sides, President Obama and Congressional leaders sought to resurrect a sweeping agreement on a plan to cut the deficit and raise the debt ceiling…. – NYT, 7-21-11
  • Obama: Time to do ‘something big and meaningful’: President Barack Obama insists the negotiations to raise the nation’s debt limit gives him and Congress “the opportunity to do something big and meaningful” to reduce the government’s long-term deficits…. – AP, 7-22-11
  • President’s debt offer risky but could be win-win: Political orthodoxy has been turned on its head ever since President Barack Obama stepped up his call for a bipartisan “grand bargain” to raise the national debt ceiling and avert a default on US obligations. The deal would include $4 trillion in deficit cuts…. – AP, 7-21-11
  • Progress scarce as debt limit impasse continues: President Barack Obama met with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the White House for 90 minutes on Wednesday, but neither side would comment afterward. The session came a day after the House passed legislation that would increase the government’s debt limit…. – AP, 7-21-11
  • Bipartisan tax plan trims mortgage deduction: A new bipartisan plan to reduce government borrowing would target some of the most cherished tax breaks enjoyed by millions of families — those promoting health insurance, home ownership, charitable giving and retirement savings — in exchange for lowering overall tax rates for everyone. The details and impact of the plan, released this week by the bipartisan “Gang of Six” senators, emerged as President Barack Obama called congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday to determine, in separate meetings, their bottom line for extending the nation’s debt limit while also cutting spending at the greatest amount possible. The role of additional tax revenue remained a sticking point…. – AP, 7-20-11
  • ‘Cut cap and balance’ debt measure passes House: With the House tally cast, attention is returning to efforts in the Senate to provide President Barack Obama authority to impose an increase in the debt limit without approval by Congress and on a new Senate “Gang of Six” proposal to cut the deficit…. – AP, 7-20-11
  • Senators Push Deficit-Reduction Plan: A group of senators made a new push to win backing for an ambitious deficit-reduction proposal that includes new revenues and deep spending cuts…. – NYT, 7-20-11
  • ‘Gang of Six’ revives hope for big deal in stalled debt-ceiling talks: President Obama’s hopes for a ‘grand bargain’ both to raise the debt ceiling and rein in the deficit got a boost Tuesday when the Senate’s ‘Gang of Six’ proposed $3.7 trillion in deficit reductions…. – CS Monitor, 7-19-11
  • How ‘Gang of Six’ Revived Idea of Grand Debt Deal: Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, a member of the so-called Gang of Six, talks about how the group may have revived the idea of a grand deal to address the nation’s debt…. – NYT, 7-20-11
  • House bill requires spending cuts, balanced budget: Over the decade, that would mean about $6 trillion less spending than President Barack Obama proposed in his most recent budget. Congress would decide details. If a cap was exceeded, spending would automatically be cut, exempting Social Security…. – AP, 7-19-11
  • House to vote on tea party-backed debt plan: The cut, cap and balance measure — and the veto threat issued Monday — sparked the latest in predictable tit-for-tat exchanges between combatants of Capitol Hill and in the White House, even as it was revealed that President Barack Obama hosted House … – AP, 7-19-11
  • ‘Cut, cap, and balance’ vs. ‘gang of six’ plan: Which for House GOP?: ?’Cut, cap, and balance’ legislation, which lays out a GOP plan to eliminate the US budget deficit, is set for a House vote late Tuesday. A symbolic move, the vote is nonetheless vital to Republicans. Here’s why…. – CS Monitor, 7-19-11
  • Cut, cap, and balance: What does it mean? The highlights: Cut, cap and balance is a Republican-written bill the House plans to consider Tuesday…. – CS Monitor, 7-19-11
  • Legislative Magic Trick May Prove Debt Ceiling Remedy: The idea would allow Republicans to accede to an increase in the government’s debt limit without actually voting for it or giving in to President Obama’s demand for tax increases as part of any deal…. – NYT, 7-19-11
  • All Hail the Gang of Six (or Seven): Finally, some not-dispiriting news from Washington. Who put forward the proposal that could help stave off economic catastrophe? A bipartisan group of seven senators called the Gang of Six…. – NYT, 7-19-11
  • In Debt Crisis, a Legislative Trick Up the Sleeve: Legislative sleight of hand may be the only way to avoid financial crisis, with Republicans and Democrats still deeply divided over how to shrink budget deficit and national debt; idea being floated would allow Republicans to accede to an increase in government’s debt limit without actually voting for it or giving in to Pres Obama’s demand for tax increases as part of any deal…. – NYT, 7-19-11
  • Coburn proposes $9 trillion deficit cut measure: Coburn was a member of President Barack Obama’s fiscal commission and voted for its plan to cut the budget by about $4 trillion over a decade. He recently dropped out of the closely watched “Gang of Six” senators seeking a bipartisan agreement to rein … – AP, 7-18-11
  • Obama threatens to veto ‘cut, cap and balance’: The Obama administration says President Barack Obama would veto the “cut, cap and balance” plan proposed by tea party-backed House Republicans if it lands on his desk…. – AP, 7-18-11
  • Senate to meet every day until debt hike passes: The leader of the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the chamber will meet every day — including weekends — until Congress sends President Barack Obama legislation to make sure the government doesn’t default on its obligations…. – AP, 7-18-11
  • Tea party takes its turn in debt battle: After the House exercise and a failed Senate vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, Plan B appears to be to have the Senate vote to give President Barack Obama sweeping power to order increases in the debt limit totaling $2.5 trillion … – AP, 7-18-11
  • Debt talks and little else on Washington’s agenda: And the debt debate has hamstrung President Barack Obama’s ability to hit the road to campaign and raise money for his re-election bid. The frenetic pace of Washington often means what is news one day can fade to the background the next. … – AP, 7-18-11
  • Boehner and Cantor Meet Again With Obama: The two top House Republicans met privately with President Obama on Sunday as the House prepared to vote on a deficit-cutting measure strongly opposed by the White House…. – NYT, 7-18-11
  • Public Gives Obama the Edge on Debt Talks: While Americans are closely divided over whether the debt ceiling should be raised, the public gives President Obama higher marks than Congressional Republicans for his handling of the negotiations…. – NYT, 7-18-11
  • Amending Social Security: how to’s surface during national debt talks: Obama put Social Security on the table as part of his bid to resolve the national debt crisis. Democrats in Congress oppose any cut in benefits. But politicians know reforms must come, eventually, to keep Social Security solvent…. – CS Monitor, 7-18-11
  • Both Sides Confident on Debt Talks Despite Impasse: Lawmakers continued to squabble over the details of competing proposals and offered little evidence that a deal was at hand…. – NYT, 7-18-11
  • Beyond the Beltway, Budget Talks Inspire Pessimism and Yawns: A quick, informal selection of voices from across the country this weekend found cynicism about the state of negotiations in Washington and resignation about the partisan jousting…. – NYT, 7-18-11
  • Budget chief says Obama still hopes for grand deal: White House budget director Jack Lew says President Barack Obama thinks there is still time “to get something big done” on a grand deal that would increase the nation’s borrowing authority while reducing long-term deficits. … – AP, 7-17-11
  • In Stalemate, Budget Talks Shift Focus to a Fallback: Congressional leaders are negotiating a fallback plan as President Obama and House Republicans intensified their efforts to win over public opinion…. – NYT, 7-16-11
  • Behind Battle Over Debt, a War Over Government: Intense exchanges over the debt limit have made it clear that it is not so much a budget negotiation as a broader clash between the two parties over the size and role of government…. – NYT, 7-15-11
  • ‘Decision Time’ on Budget, Obama Tells Congressional Leaders: President Obama threw deadlocked budget talks back to Congress as Standard & Poor’s warned that it might downgrade the U.S.’s credit rating…. – NYT, 7-15-11
  • Obama says 80 percent of public backs his debt ceiling option. Really?: Obama said Friday that 80 percent of Americans back a combination of spending cuts and new tax revenue to whittle the US deficit and end the debt ceiling crisis. Not according to polls…. – CS Monitor, 7-15-11
  • A Debt Ceiling Cheat Sheet: 8 Possible Plans: There are more than a half-dozen proposals floating around that might deal with the debt ceiling…. – NYT, 7-15-11
  • Cantor emerges as player and a pain in debt talks: “Eric, don’t call my bluff,” President Barack Obama warned late Wednesday after a dramatic back-and-forth with the Virginia Republican that made some in Cantor’s party wince. “Enough is enough.” Not for Cantor, second-in-command to Speaker John Boehner … – AP, 7-14-11
  • What Happened Between Cantor and Obama?: A look at competing versions of what happened between President Obama and Representative Eric Cantor on Wednesday night…. – NYT, 7-14-11
  • GOP adds constitutional amendment to budget fight: Right in the middle of their brawl with President Barack Obama over extending the debt ceiling and hacking trillions from projected deficits, GOP leaders are forcing House and Senate debates next week over similar amendments requiring the budget…. – AP, 7-14-11
  • Bernanke Warns of ‘Calamity’ if Debt Deal Is Not Reached: Across Washington, officials were weighed down with a sense that they were hurtling toward a crisis, and the pressure was particularly intense on Republican leaders…. – NYT, 7-14-11
  • McConnell Says Obama Should Be Allowed to Raise Debt Limit: Pessimism spread about the prospects of a debt-limit deal, prompting the Senate Republican leader to give a “last-choice option.”… – NYT, 7-13-11
  • Obama ends talks brusquely: President Barack Obama has ended a nearly two hour debt-limit negotiation brusquely, declaring: “Enough is enough” as he rejected Republican demands that he accept a short-term extension of the government’s borrowing authority. … – AP, 7-13-11
  • Stubborn Presence in Congressional Debt Wrangling: Deep Distrust: Congressional Republicans seem to be spoiling for a fight, calculating that the economic turmoil caused by a federal default might give them the chance to right the nation’s fiscal ship…. – NYT, 7-13-11
  • Parties Can’t Agree on the Consequences of Default: The fact that the parties can’t agree on what happens if they don’t raise the debt ceiling is significant…. – NYT, 7-13-11
  • Moody’s warns it may downgrade US credit rating: Moody’s had warned in June that it would take this step if President Barack Obama and Republican lawmakers failed to make progress on an agreement by mid-July. The other credit ratings agencies, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch, have said they may make … – AP, 7-13-11
  • Budget Talks Beginning to Take On a Testy Air: President Obama challenged lawmakers to reconsider supporting a long-term fiscal deal…. – NYT, 7-12-11
  • In Debt Ceiling Fight, Obama Has the Edge: It’s possible for voters to rebuke Mr. Obama and trust his opposition even less. And in fact, polling shows that is exactly what is going on…. – NYT, 7-12-11
  • Debt ceiling deal: Boehner’s no-new-taxes pledge calms jittery conservatives: Conservative groups had been worried that House Speaker John Boehner would agree to some tax increases in a deal to trim deficits and raise the debt ceiling…. – Cs Monitor, 7-12-11
  • In Debt Talks, Obama Calls for ‘Biggest Deal Possible’: President Obama has been casting himself as a pragmatic centrist as negotiators try to reach a deal on the budget…. – NYT, 7-12-11
  • Big deal on federal deficit not dead yet, Obama says: In a White House press conference, President Obama rejected Republican suggestions that the deficit talks be scaled back to aim for $2.5 trillion in spending reductions…. – CS Monitor, 7-11-11
  • Obama Leans on G.O.P. for a Deal on Debt Ceiling: President Obama met with Congressional leaders to try to revive chances for a $4 trillion deal to avert a default on the national debt, a day after Speaker John A. Boehner appeared to dash hopes for any far-reaching agreement…. – NYT, 7-11-11
  • Speaker: House won’t back deal with tax hike: Speaker John Boehner says he agrees with President Barack Obama that the nation’s borrowing limit must be raised to avoid a government default but insists that House Republicans won’t back any deal with tax increases. … – \ AP, 7-11-11
  • John Boehner’s Budget Vision Crashes Into Divided Congress: Speaker John A. Boehner’s ambitions for a budget deal quickly crashed into a divided, highly partisan Congress…. – NYT, 7-11-11
  • US debt talks: ‘trust gap’ between negotiators, rank and file in Congress: Details of the US debt and deficit talks have been mostly secret, fueling concerns on both sides of the aisle that their leaders will compromise party values or give away too much…. – CS Monitor, 7-11-11
  • Changing Tone, Obama Pressures Both Parties on Budget Deal: President Obama holds his second news conference in less than two weeks, just hours before he meets with Congressional leaders on raising the nation’s debt ceiling…. – NYT, 7-11-11
  • White House meeting ends with little progress: The rare Sunday evening White House meeting between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders has ended with many plans but little progress on averting the first ever US debt default…. – AP, 7-10-11
  • Obama: We ‘need to’ get a debt deal in 10 days: President Barack Obama says he and Congress “need to” agree on a budget deal in 10 days in order to meet an Aug. 2 deadline to increase the nation’s debt ceiling and avoid a potentially calamitous government default. … – AP, 7-10-11
  • White House meeting ends with little progress: The rare Sunday evening White House meeting between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders has ended with many plans but little progress on averting the first ever US debt default…. – AP, 7-10-11
  • Obama staff chief: President wants $4T debt deal: White House chief of staff William Daley says President Barack Obama isn’t walking away from a $4 trillion debt-reduction plan that Republicans and even some Democrats don’t like. Daley says Obama will press congressional leaders at a White House meeting…. – AP, 7-10-11
  • Presidential Candidates Warn About Debt Deal: As Republican leaders negotiate over the federal debt limit, the candidates are campaigning against an outcome that involves compromise…. – NYT, 7-10-11
  • McConnell says ‘a big deal’ is off the table: Mitch McConnell of Kentucky points to tax increases that are part of the $4 trillion deficit-reduction package backed by President Barack Obama. McConnell tells “Fox News Sunday” that raising taxes is bad idea given the weak economy. … – AP, 7-10-11
  • Ahead of new debt talks, Boehner nixes grand plan: President Barack Obama and congressional leaders were regrouping after House Republicans abandoned efforts for a deficit reduction package of $4 trillion over 10 years. The potential deal had unnerved lawmakers in both parties. … – AP, 7-10-11
  • Boehner Scales Back Deficit Talks, Citing Tax Increases: In a major reversal, House Speaker John A. Boehner said he would pull back from joint efforts with President Obama on a $4 trillion plan and instead push for a smaller package…. – NYT, 7-10-11
  • Boehner pulls out of ‘big deal’ on debt: Speaker John Boehner is pulling out of negotiations for a large-scale deficit reduction plan…. – Politico, 7-9-11
  • Jobs Report Reinforces Parties’ Views in Deficit Talks: President Obama appeared largely alone in seeing the bad employment news as a call to boldness…. – NYT, 7-9-11
  • Republicans: Weak US job report means no tax hikes: With the Obama administration and Congress looking for a compromise to end their standoff over government debt, House Republican leaders used the latest jobs reports to drive home their position on taxes. “The situation that we face is pretty urgent.”… – AP, 7-8-11
  • Debt ceiling: Why Sunday could be make-or-break day for ‘grand bargain’: President Obama is pushing for a comprehensive deal to raise the debt ceiling and trim long-term deficits. But any big deal will require arm-twisting in Congress, and time is running out…. – CS Monitor, 7-8-11
  • Still ‘Far Apart’ on Debt, 2 Sides Will Seek Broader Cuts: G.O.P. leaders and President Obama emerged from talks with a consensus to aim for the biggest possible deal — one resulting in up to $4 trillion in savings…. – NYT, 7-8-11
  • Democrats Oppose Talk of Cuts to Social Security: They are not willing to back President Obama, who is said to be considering large savings from the use of a different measure of inflation for the annual cost-of-living adjustment…. – NYT, 7-8-11
  • Pelosi: Dems oppose Social Security, Medicare cuts: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made the remark to reporters Thursday after returning to the Capitol from President Barack Obama’s budget talks with congressional leaders…. – AP, 7-7-11
  • Obama: White House deficit meeting constructive: President Barack Obama says lawmakers of both parties agree on the importance of raising the debt limit by Aug. 2 and he will reconvene them Sunday to get down to the hard bargaining that’s necessary to get a deal done. … – AP, 7-7-11
  • Boehner says tax reform part ‘under discussion’: House Speaker John Boehner says proposals to reform the tax code are “under discussion” as part of budget talks with President Barack Obama, but he promises that any such proposals won’t “raise taxes on the American people.”… – AP, 7-7-11
  • Obama Wants to Strike Broader Deal on Cutting Deficit: President Obama, who will meet with the bipartisan leadership of Congress on Thursday, wants to move well beyond the $2 trillion in savings sought earlier…. – NYT, 7-7-11
  • Lawmakers visit White House for budget talks: President Barack Obama is pressing Democrats to support a higher deficit reduction proposal that could win Republican support for new tax revenue while reducing costs for major benefit programs such as Medicare and Social Security…. – AP, 7-7-11
  • White House Paints Doomsday Default Scenario: The Obama administration is aggressively pushing the message that failure to raise the nation’s debt ceiling would have disastrous consequences for average Americans…. – NYT, 7-7-11
  • Obama Summons G.O.P. and Democratic Leaders for Deficit Reduction Talks: The president stepped up pressure on Congressional Republicans, pledging to put popular entitlement programs like Medicare on the table in return for acquiescence to some higher taxes…. – NYT, 7-6-11
  • Medicare and Medicaid Could Lose Billions in Budget Talks: A proposal to cut tens of billions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid in negotiations to reduce the federal budget deficit worries lobbyists for hospitals, nursing homes and older Americans…. – NYT, 7-5-11
  • Obama Seeks to Reopen Budget Talks: President Obama invited Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders to meet with him in the White House on Thursday, saying that “greater progress is in sight” on a deal to raise the nation’s debt limit and reduce the deficit…. – NYT, 7-5-11
  • GOP intensifies push for a balanced budget amendment. Why now?: Republicans in Congress want a vote on a balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution by mid-July. It would precede any vote to raise the national debt limit…. – CS Monitor, 6-30-11
  • Obama Shows Emotion, With Political Consequences: Will President Obama’s pointed remarks about his Republican adversaries help jump-start stalled debt negotiations or push the two sides further apart?… – NYT, 6-30-11
  • In Deficit Plan, Taxes Must Rise, President Warns: Saying a deal would not be possible without painful steps on both sides, President Obama pressured Republicans to accept higher taxes to pare down the deficit…. – NYT, 6-30-11
  • Obama: Republican Leaders Must Bend on Taxes: President Obama says the budget cannot be balanced with spending cuts alone, and that he expects a compromise to include some tax increases…. – NYT, 6-29-11
  • Debt Talks Divide White House and Republicans: President Obama met with Congressional leaders in the hope of helping them reach a deal on a debt limit…. – NYT, 6-28-11
  • Could Obama Just Ignore the Debt Ceiling?: Could the Obama administration just spend the money it owes anyway?… – NYT, 6-28-11
  • Congressional Week Ahead: Obama Enters Budget Talks: President Obama will meet Senate leaders to try to rescue stalled budget talks…. – NYT, 6-27-11
  • On Debt Talks, Now It’s Obama and Boehner: The collapse of debt limit talks suggests that direct negotiations between President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner are likely to come sooner rather than later…. – NYT, 6-24-11

THE HEADLINES….

President Barack Obama holds a Twitter Town Hall in the East Room of the White H
White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/6/11
    • Carmakers Back Strict New Rules for Gas Mileage: A hike in government fuel rules to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 is being meekly accepted by the car industry…. – NYT, 7-29-11
    • Obama to speak about vehicle fuel economy: President Barack Obama will speak Friday about the government’s fuel efficiency goals for model years 2017-2025 cars and light-duty trucks. The president will appear at the Convention Center in downtown Washington. … – AP, 7-29-11

“One of my concerns, like the concerns of other husbands and wives, was, ‘Was my spouse OK? Was Laura OK? And my second concern was, ‘Were our girls OK?’”… “I didn’t feel any great sense of happiness or jubilation. I felt a sense of closure. And I felt a sense of gratitude that justice had been done.” — Former President George W. Bush

    • Bush details 9/11 memories for documentary: Former President George W. Bush says Sept. 11 will be marked on calendars like Pearl Harbor Day — a day never forgotten by the people who lived through it. Bush offers recollections of the 2001 terrorist attacks in an extensive interview that serves as the centerpiece for a National Geographic Channel documentary. “George W. Bush: The 9/11 Interview” will debut on Aug. 28…. – AP, 7-29-11
    • Gov’t: Health tab to hit $4.6 trillion in 2020: The analysis found that President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul would only be a modest contributor to growing costs, even though an additional 30 million people who would be otherwise uninsured stand to gain coverage…. – AP, 7-28-11
    • Voter frustration grows as debt deadline looms: And after President Barack Obama urged people to contact their representatives and senators, they did — by the thousands — through phone calls, emails and picket lines…. – AP, 7-28-11
    • Obama to announce fuel economy standards on Friday: President Barack Obama plans to announce new fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks for the model years 2017 through 2025 at an event Friday in Washington. … – AP, 7-27-11
    • Negotiators Nearing Deal on Mileage for Vehicles: The goal of the White House was 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025, but it may settle for 54.5 m.p.g…. – NYT, 7-27-11
    • First lady lauds McDonald’s on Happy Meal changes: Michelle Obama says McDonald’s decision to add apples to its Happy Meals is a positive step toward solving childhood obesity. The first lady is heading a nationwide effort to reverse childhood obesity rates…. – AP, 7-26-11
    • Obama bemoans Congress’s inaction on immigration reform, too: It’s not all about the debt ceiling. In a speech to the Latino community – a key voter bloc for 2012 – Obama on Monday blamed Republicans for blocking immigration reform at the federal level…. – CS Monitor, 7-25-11
    • Obama fetes World Series champion SF Giants: President Barack Obama is hailing the World Series champion San Francisco Giants as baseball’s “characters with character.” He welcomed the team to the White House on Monday to celebrate the Giants’ 4-games-to-1 triumph over the Texas … – AP, 7-25-11
    • Administration launches new push on global crime: The Obama administration announced a broadside of harsh new sanctions against four far-flung criminal cartels on Monday, part of what it said is a coordinated strategy to fight international underworld factions that could harm US … – AP, 7-25-11
    • Obama renews pledge on immigration reform: President Barack Obama is asking Hispanic activists to build a movement outside Washington to push for overhauling immigration, saying he can’t do it by himself and Republicans aren’t playing along…. – AP, 7-25-11
    • Obama visitors: Hispanic leaders, baseball champs: Immigration issues are expected to be the top of the agenda when President Barack Obama addresses a major Hispanic civil rights organization on Monday. The National Council of La Raza is holding its annual conference in Washington. … – AP, 7-25-11
    • Obama mourns ‘soldier-statesman’ Shalikashvili: President Barack Obama says the United States has lost a “genuine soldier-statesman” with the death of Army Gen. John Shalikashvili. Shalikashvili was the first foreign-born chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Obama said Shalikashvili’s “extraordinary life represented the promise of America and the limitless possibilities that are open to those who choose to serve it.”… – AP, 7-23-11
    • Obama Ends ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy: The certification means that in 60 days, gays, lesbians and bisexuals will be able to openly serve in the military…. – NYT, 7-23-11
    • Obama extends condolences to Norway over bombing: President Barack Obama said Friday that a lethal bomb blast in Norway’s capital of Oslo is a reminder that the world has a stake in stopping acts of terrorism. The president also extended his condolences to Norway’s people…. – AP, 7-22-11
    • Republicans clear way for worker aid, trade bills: The Obama administration supports the trade deals but says they must be linked to extension of expired sections of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program. The Republican senators said in a letter to President Barack Obama that they can assure passage … – AP, 7-22-11
    • Obama ends gays in military ban: President Barack Obama has formally repealed the ban on gays serving openly in the US military. Administration officials say Obama on Friday signed a certification ending the 17-year-old “don’t ask don’t tell” policy…. – AP, 7-22-11
    • First lady helping build NC home for homeless vets: A crew working on a boarding house for homeless women veterans got a hand Thursday from first lady Michelle Obama during filming of an episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”… – AP, 7-21-11

“Everybody in this country is prepared to accept some form of compromise. But it cannot be balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society. We were assured today the president does not intend to let that happen and we are very pleased with that.” — NAACP President Benjamin Jealous

  • Black leaders discuss job, budget cuts with Obama: NAACP president Benjamin Jealous and National Urban League president Marc Morial said they left the Oval Office feeling assured Obama understands deep budget cuts to safety net programs such as Social Security or Medicaid would be counterproductive to the country and poorer communities…. – AP, 7-21-11
  • Delays in financial rules could dominate hearing: President Barack Obama named former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the agency. Republicans have threatened to block his confirmation. Nearly all Republican lawmakers voted against the financial legislation last year…. – AP, 7-20-11
  • Obama delays final work on trade pacts: President Barack Obama is putting off sending final legislation on three key free trade agreements to Capitol Hill until September because of the protracted talks over raising the nation’s debt limit…. – AP, 7-20-11
  • Obama says election assessment of his leadership: President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he’ll be re-elected for a second term if voters feel like he’s been on their side, working as hard as he can and getting things done. “If they don’t,” the president said, “then I’ll lose.”… – AP, 7-20-11
  • Consumer-finance watchdog agency launches Thursday: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will begin this week to enforce dozens of rules that Congress lumped together as part of last year’s overhaul of financial regulations. It will help ensure that credit card holders have a clear understanding of the plastic in their wallets, borrowers are protected from unfair lending and military families have a dedicated financial watchdog…. – AP, 7-20-11
  • Obama to Back Repeal of Law Restricting Marriage: President Obama will endorse a bill to repeal the law that limits marriage to a man and a woman…. – NYT, 7-20-11
  • Obama and G.O.P. Plot Way to Win in a Down Economy: With the economy struggling, the Obama campaign is looking at past campaigns for clues on how to avoid losing…. – NYT, 7-20-11
  • Former defense chief Robert Gates has book deal: The 67-year-old Gates stepped down July 1 after serving as defense secretary for four-and-a-half years, first under Republican George W. Bush and then under Democrat Barack Obama. He presided over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…. – AP, 7-19-11
  • Treasury prices rise on hopes of debt solution: Treasury prices rose Tuesday after President Obama backed a bipartisan plan to settle the debt ceiling issue. The government will be unable to meet its financial obligations unless Congress raises the nation’s debt ceiling before August 2… – AP, 7-19-11
  • WH backs bill overturning Defense of Marriage Act: Dianne Feinstein that would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. President Barack Obama had already announced that he views the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional. He also had ordered the Justice Department to stop defending it in court…. – AP, 7-19-11
  • Top Republicans press Obama on detention policy: The Obama administration lacks a coherent policy for handling terror suspects captured outside of Afghanistan, the Republican leaders of five House of Representatives committees told President Barack Obama Tuesday. … – AP, 7-19-11
  • Space shuttle leaves space station for last time: President Barack Obama described it last week as “a capture-the-flag moment here for commercial spaceflight.” Obama wants private companies taking over Earth-to-orbit operations so NASA can concentrate on sending astronauts beyond. … – AP, 7-19-11
  • Fixing glitch in Obama’s health law saves $13B: Memo to President Barack Obama and the debt negotiators: You can save $13 billion by fixing a glitch in the new health care law. That amount may pale in comparison to the “big deal” the president’s looking for, but negotiators have … – AP, 7-18-11
  • Cordray Picked to Head Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: In picking Richard Cordray, President Obama passed over Elizabeth Warren, who drew strong opposition from Republicans…. – NYT, 7-18-11
  • Obama appoints Cordray to lead consumer agency: President Barack Obama moved Monday to get a new consumer protection bureau up and running, introducing a former Ohio attorney general as director, in an apparent acknowledgment that the woman who masterminded the agency couldn’t win … – AP, 7-18-11
  • Last space shuttle crew bids historic goodbye: President Barack Obama nixed the moon in favor of an asteroid and Mars. The target launch dates: 2025 for an asteroid and the mid-2030s for the red planet. Earlier Monday, the astronauts removed a huge storage bin from the station and placed it back … – AP, 7-18-11
  • Nelson Mandela celebrates 93rd birthday: Mandela also received birthday wishes from South African leaders including President Jacob Zuma and from US President Barack Obama. In a statement sent Sunday, Obama called Mandela “a beacon for the global community, and for all who work for democracy…. – AP, 7-17-11
  • First family attends church service: President Barack Obama took his family to worship services on Sunday, walking out of the White House and to a nearby church often frequented by presidents. Accompanied by his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia, Obama walked through Lafayette Square to attend the 10:30 morning service at the historic St. John’s Church…. – AP, 7-17-11
  • In tweet, Obama cheers on US women at World Cup: President Barack Obama is cheering on the US women’s soccer team as it competes in the Women’s World Cup final against Japan Sunday night…. Even President Barack Obama was a fan, taking to Twitter himself on Sunday morning to wish the team well. “Sorry I can’t be there to see you play, but I’ll be cheering you on from here. Let’s go. — BO.”… – AP, 7-17-11
  • Obama picks ex-Ohio AG to lead consumer agency: President Barack Obama intends to nominate former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to lead a new consumer financial protection bureau that was a central feature of a law that overhauled banking regulations. … – AP, 7-17-11
  • Obama tells astronauts he’s proud of them: President Barack Obama says he’s personally proud of the crew aboard the final flight of NASA’s space shuttle program and the “amazing feats” they are accomplishing in space. He says the end of the program after 30 years will help … – AP, 7-15-11
  • Debt ceiling: financial world warns Washington to hurry up: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke warns of a ‘self-inflicted’ wound, and Wall Street firms see dire consequences, if stalemate over how to raise the US debt ceiling persists…. – CS Monitor, 7-15-11
  • Betty Ford to be buried next to husband in Mich.: On Tuesday, a service at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, Calif., was attended by 800 people, including former President George W. Bush and first lady Michelle Obama. At least 300 mourners paid their respects Wednesday… – AP, 7-14-11
  • Lobbyists Rush to Defend Tax Rule on Inventory and Profits: The White House is seeking to redefine what is owed on goods sold, while lobbyists from companies of all sizes are swarming around Congress to kill the proposal…. – NYT, 7-13-11
  • Leroy Arthur Petry Given Medal of Honor: President Obama awarded Sgt. First Class Leroy Arthur Petry the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan…. – NYT, 7-13-11
  • Ben Bernanke: High unemployment rate to persist, even as economy revives: Ben Bernanke said on Capitol Hill Wednesday, the pace of the US economy ‘will pick up in coming quarters.’ But the unemployment rate will decline slowly, he said, citing ‘headwinds.’… – CS Monitor, 7-13-11
  • Obama Administration Rolls Out Standards for Health Insurance Marketplaces: The Obama administration unveiled standards for insurance exchanges that will give individuals, families and small businesses “purchasing power” in their health care coverage…. – AP, 7-12-11
  • 9/11 victims’ names to be read, memorial opened: President Barack Obama is to attend the ceremony, which also marks the opening of the national Sept. 11 memorial to relatives of the victims on Sept. 11, and to the public the next day…. – AP, 7-12-11
  • Lowering Economic Expectations: The administration has been mocked for what proved to be overly optimistic projections for the economy. It seems to have learned its lesson, and then some…. – NYT, 7-12-11
  • Obama creates group for Alaska energy development: President Obama on Tuesday signed an executive order creating an interagency working group to coordinate energy development in Alaska, a move hailed by lawmakers who want to see drilling in Arctic outer continental shelf waters … – AP, 7-12-11
  • Deal struck to protect imperiled plants, animals: The Obama administration on Tuesday struck a new deal with wildlife advocates that would require the Interior Department to consider greater protections for hundreds of imperiled animals and plants. The agreement was filed in US District Court … – AP, 7-12-11
  • Current and former first ladies gather for funeral: Michelle Obama and three former first ladies were among dignitaries heading to Palm Desert to pay tribute to Betty Ford at a funeral focusing on her twin passions: politics and her world famous Betty Ford Center for substance abuse and alcohol … – AP, 7-12-11
  • NORAD intercepts small plane near Camp David: Two F-15 fighter jets have intercepted a small aircraft near Camp David in Maryland, where President Barack Obama is spending part of the weekend. The North American Aerospace Defense Command says the civilian aircraft was out….. – AP, 7-9-11
  • Obama taking a breather at Camp David: After a tense week of wrestling with the nation’s deficit, President Barack Obama will head for Camp David on Saturday. Obama will overnight at the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains. But it’s back to work on the deficit … – AP, 7-9-11
  • Obama wants Boeing, workers resolve conflict: President Barack Obama is calling once again for Boeing Co. and its workers to resolve their differences without “wasting a lot of time in court.” Obama was asked about the National Labor Relations Board’s lawsuit against the aerospace … – AP, 7-8-11
  • Former first lady Betty Ford dies at 93: In a statement Friday, President Barack Obama said the Betty Ford Center would honor Mrs. Ford’s legacy “by giving countless Americans a new lease on life.” “As our nation’s First Lady, she was a powerful advocate for women’s health and women’s rights … – AP, 7-8-11
  • Flat jobs data signal weakest recovery in decades: Even if President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans agree to raise the borrowing limit, the deal will likely require deep cuts in government spending and possibly tax increases. Combined, those steps could slow the economy further. … – AP, 7-8-11
  • Obama heralds launch of final space shuttle: With the launch of Atlantis on NASA’s final space shuttle mission, President Barack Obama says a proud country watched as “America reached for the heavens once more.” Obama congratulated the Atlantis astronauts and space workers…. – AP, 7-8-11
  • Obama: Uncertainty over debt limit impacts hiring: President Barack Obama called on Congress Friday to end uncertainty over their debt standoff and pass a litany of administration-backed proposals, including a payroll tax cut extension and three free trade agreements. … – AP, 7-8-11
  • Weak hiring casts doubts on strength of rebound: For President Barack Obama, the sputtering job market represents a threat 16 months before his re-election bid. “Our economy as a whole just isn’t producing nearly enough jobs for everybody who is looking,” Obama acknowledged in a speech in the White House…. – AP, 7-8-11
  • Unemployment rose to 9.2 percent as hiring stalls: The economy is the top concern among voters and will feature prominently in President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election next year. Stocks plunged after the report was released. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 132 points in the first hour of trading…. – AP, 7-8-11
  • Shuttle lifts off for last time; ‘Light this fire’: President Barack Obama canceled the back-to-the-moon program in favor of trips to an asteroid and Mars. But NASA has yet to work out the details of how it intends to get there, and has not even settled on a spacecraft design. … – AP, 7-8-11
  • Corporate Jet Industry to Fight to Keep Tax Breaks: Proposals to end the tax breaks for corporate jet ownership is less about dollars and cents than it is about political imagery and a bit of class warfare…. – NYT, 7-8-11
  • Administration to propose steps on gun safety: Anti-gun groups have been disappointed to see no action so far from President Barack Obama, who supported tough gun control measures earlier in his career but fell largely silent upon becoming president…. – AP, 7-8-11
  • Gov’t eases foreclosure rules for unemployed: The Obama administration is making it easier for out-of-work homeowners to stay in their homes, as it tries to revamp its troubled foreclosure-prevention program. Starting Aug. 1, the Federal Housing Administration will extend…. – AP, 7-7-11
  • Gov’t eases foreclosure rules for unemployed: The Obama administration is making it easier for out-of-work homeowners to stay in their homes, as it tries to revamp its troubled foreclosure-prevention program. Starting Aug. 1, the Federal Housing Administration will extend…. – AP, 7-7-11
  • White House Changes Policy on Condolence Letters for Military Suicides: The White House will begin sending letters of condolence to families of military personnel who commit suicide in combat zones…. – NYT, 7-6-11
  • Obama to send condolence letters on troop suicides: President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he’s decided to reverse a long-standing policy of not sending condolence letters to the families of service members who commit suicide while in a combat zone…. – AP, 7-6-11
  • Journalists Cull Questions for Obama’s ‘Twitter Town Hall’: Journalists from across the country are helping generate questions for President Obama’s “Twitter Town Hall.”… – NYT, 7-6-11
  • For Obama, Brevity Is Not the Soul of Twitter: The questions are brief, but not the answers, in President Obama’s social-media town hall…. – NYT, 7-6-11
  • Turning Obama’s answers into 140 characters: President Barack Obama’s spoken answers at Wednesday’s Twitter town hall far exceeded the social media service’s 140-character limit for messages…. – AP, 7-6-11
  • Obama Averaged 2,099 Characters in His Twitter Answers: On average, Mr. Obama took 2,099 characters to answer his questions, or about the equivalent of 15 Twitter messages…. – NYT, 7-5-11
  • As Warren Builds a Consumer Agency, the Top Job Remains Empty: Opposition to naming Elizabeth Warren as chief of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been blunted by concerns that President Obama has yet to name anyone for the post…. – NYT, 7-5-11
  • Fox News Political Account on Twitter Is Hacked: Alarming messages concerning President Obama remained online for 10 hours, prompting Secret Service concern…. – NYT, 7-5-11
  • Obama thanks troops at July 4 party on South Lawn: Telling US troops that “America is proud of all of you,” President Barack Obama marked the Fourth of July holiday by hosting a barbecue and concert for military members and families on the South Lawn of the White House. … – AP, 7-4-11
  • Malia Obama becomes a teenager on Fourth of July: Malia Obama, the eldest of President Barack Obama’s two daughters, turned 13 on the Fourth of July. As usual, she was sharing her parents with hundreds of others on her special day. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama invited hundreds of troops…. – AP, 7-4-11
  • New Mileage Rules Debated by Carmakers and White House: The administration wants new American cars and trucks to average as much as 56.2 miles per gallon by 2025, roughly double the current level…. – NYT, 7-4-11
  • Obama Nominates Counterterrorism Center Director: President Obama’s choice for his next counterterrorism chief is Matthew Olsen, a former prosecutor with extensive experience in intelligence matters, the White House announced Friday…. – AP, 7-2-11
  • Thomas Curry to Head Currency Comptroller’s Office: Thomas J. Curry will be nominated to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a banking regulator whose acting chief has been criticized by Democrats as obstructing reforms…. – NYT, 7-1-11
  • Timothy F. Geithner Remaining Treasury Secretary for Now: Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said Thursday that he planned to stay in his job “for the foreseeable future.”… – NYT, 7-1-11
  • Obama Awards Gates a Surprise Medal: Departing Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates is given the Medal of Freedom at a Pentagon ceremony…. – NYT, 6-30-11
  • Obama Moving Toward ‘Greater Equality’ on Gay Marriage: President Obama made comments just short of endorsing the notion that gay people have the right to marry…. – NYT, 6-30-11
  • Obama to Host ‘Twitter Town Hall’: President Obama will answer questions about jobs and the economy during a Twitter Town Hall next week…. – NYT, 6-30-11
  • Debt Talks Divide White House and Republicans: President Obama met with Congressional leaders in the hope of helping them reach a deal on a debt limit…. – NYT, 6-28-11
  • Obama to Hold News Conference Wednesday: The president is expected to take questions on Afghanistan, Libya and the budget…. – NYT, 6-28-11
  • Obama Announces Technology Initiative: The new partnership between the government, industries and leading universities is intended to speed the movement of technology advances to commercial users…. – NYT, 6-25-11

THE HEADLINES….

FEC rules that John Edwards presidential campaign must repay $2 million in matching funds: The Federal Election Commission says former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards’ 2008 presidential campaign should repay the U.S. Treasury $2.3 million.
The commission on Thursday decided to order the repayment. Federal auditors said all but about $200,000 of the total came from federal matching funds the Edwards campaign received. The campaign got nearly $13 million in matching funds. Edwards dropped out of the race Jan. 30, 2008.

“It’s not at all unusual for a campaign to have a discrepancy. It’s just a math problem, and that’s how the math turned out.” — Commissioner Ellen Weintraub

  • FEC: John Edwards must pay back $2.3 million in campaign funds: John Edwards’ 2008 presidential campaign must repay $2.3 million in federal campaign funds, the Federal Election Commission ruled Thursday.
    The funds had been paid to Edwards’ campaign committee by the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, which matches funds privately raised by a campaign. An FEC audit found that the Edwards campaign received more than it should have because of accounting errors.
    Such audits are required as part of the matching funds program, and it is not uncommon for campaign committees to be required to pay back some portion of the funds that were received.
    The FEC proceeding was not related to the criminal case. According to the agency’s records, Edwards’ presidential campaign had $2.6 million in cash at the end of June…. – LAT, 7-21-11

INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

    • Obama: Crackdown in Syria is ‘horrifying’: President Barack Obama is stepping up his criticism of Syria’s crackdown on protesters, charging that the Syrian president is “completely incapable and unwilling” to respond to what Obama calls the legitimate grievances of the Syrian people…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • US commanders concerned about Ramadan fighting: Mullen’s comments for the first time laid out a deadline for Allen to structure the planned withdrawal of 10000 US troops by the end of the year, as announced by President Barack Obama. “The next month will be very telling,” said Mullen…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • Libya and Syria offering US no easy answers: Five months after President Barack Obama told him to leave Libya, Moammar Gadhafi is pressing on against NATO-backed rebel forces, flaunting his remaining power in the face of Western nations fearful of combatting him with greater force. And four months after Obama offered Syria’s leader an ultimatum to lead reform or leave, Bashar Assad’s crackdown on dissent rages on…. – AP, 7-30-11
    • Ouattara: no knowledge of massacre: Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara, in Washington for a White House meeting with President Barack Obama and the presidents of Benin, Guinea, and Niger, said it would take time for his country to heal after years of violence… – AP, 7-30-11
    • US review finds Iraq deadlier now than a year ago: “Iraq remains an extraordinarily dangerous place to work,” Bowen concluded in his 172-page quarterly report to Congress and the Obama administration on progress — and setbacks — in Iraq. “It is less safe, in my judgment, than 12 months ago. … – AP, 7-30-11
    • Obama: East Africa famine needs world to respond: President Barack Obama said Friday that the developing famine in eastern Africa hasn’t gotten enough attention from the US and needs an international response in which Africa must be a partner…. – AP, 7-29-11
    • Rapper teams up with State Dept. for China concert: In a statement, the department said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with will.i.am on Friday to discuss the Obama administration’s “100000 Strong Initiative,” which seeks to significantly increase the number and diversity of American students in China…. – AP, 7-29-11

“These discussions are designed to explore the willingness of North Korea to take concrete and irreversible steps toward de-nuclearization. We reiterated that the path is open to North Korea for the resumption of talks to improve relations with the United States and greater regional stability if North Korea demonstrates through its actions that it supports the resumption of the six-party process as a committed and constructive partner.” — U.S. Ambassador to Korea Stephen Bosworth

  • Talks between US, NKorea end: Two days of exploratory talks between the U.S. and North Korea ended Friday with North Korea’s envoy describing them as “constructive and businesslike” and expressing hope for continued talks. Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, emerging from the meeting with U.S. Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, the Obama administration’s top envoy on North Korean affairs, characterized the talks as positive…. – AP, 7-29-11
  • Mullen: Surge in Afghan violence expected: Under President Barack Obama’s plan, 10000 US troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of the year, and another 23000 by the end of next summer. Asked about the withdrawal process for this year, Mullen said the details have not yet been worked out. … – AP, 7-29-11
  • Former Intel Chief: Stop Drone Strikes: Strikes, which have more than tripled year-to-year under the Obama administration, are done with tacit Pakistani assent, though publicly, Pakistani officials decry the hits. That tension has grown worse after the US unilateral raid into Pakistan May 2 … – AP, 7-29-11
  • US, NKorea wrap up first day of talks in New York: Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, the Obama administration’s top envoy on North Korean affairs, and North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan remained silent after meeting behind closed doors at the US Mission to the United Nations… – AP, 7-28-11
  • US to weigh North Korea’s seriousness at talks: The Obama administration is restarting diplomacy with North Korea after a three-year halt, but officials said Wednesday that the nuclear-armed nation must show that it is prepared to give up its atomic weapons if it wants better … – AP, 7-27-11
  • U.S. Imposes Sanctions on 4 International Criminal Groups: President Obama signed the order freezing assets and barring members of the groups from entering the United States…. – AP, 7-26-11
  • House bill targets aid to Pakistan: House Republicans on Tuesday unveiled a foreign aid bill that would restrict President Barack Obama’s authority on providing US taxpayer dollars to Pakistan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority while cutting money for international aid…. – AP, 7-26-11
  • US: bin Laden death ups terror risk for Americans: The Obama administration says Osama bin Laden’s death has raised the risk of anti-American violence worldwide. The State Department said in a global travel warning Tuesday that Americans should take precaution and maintain vigilance … – AP, 7-26-11
  • Obama pays respects at Norway ambassador residence: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden extended their condolences in person Tuesday over the massacre in Oslo during an unannounced trip to the Norwegian ambassador’s residence in Washington…. – AP, 7-26-11
  • U.S. Falls Short of Moral High Ground on Syria: Though the United States claims space on the “right side of history,” it and its allies are doing little to transform the outrage of Syrian citizens into effective curbs against Bashar al-Assad and his suppliers…. – NYT, 7-19-11
  • Dalai Lama wanted ‘to show an old friend’s face’: The Dalai Lama is defending his weekend visit with President Barack Obama, saying he was gratified “to show an old friend’s face.” The Chinese government slammed the administration for the meeting Obama had with the Tibetan spiritual … – AP, 7-18-11
  • US officials met with Gadhafi govt.: US officials met face-to-face with representatives of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime last weekend to underscore the Obama administration’s commitment to seeing the longtime Libyan leader leave power, two US officials said. … – AP, 7-18-11
  • China slams Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama: China on Sunday slammed President Barack Obama’s meeting with the Dalai Lama as an act that has “grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs” and damaged Chinese-American relations. The strident statement from China’s Foreign Ministry … – AP, 7-17-11
  • Dalai Lama and Obama Meet to Talk About Tibet: Despite objections from China, President Obama met privately with the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, at the White House on Saturday…. – NYT, 7-17-11
  • Obama meets with Dalai Lama; Chinese complain: President Barack Obama held a White House meeting Saturday with the Dalai Lama, a fellow Nobel Peace laureate, hours after China called on the US to rescind an invitation that could sour relations with Beijing. … – AP, 7-16-11
  • Obama, Russia’s Lavrov meet at White House: President Barack Obama discussed a broad set of issues with Russia’s foreign minister Wednesday, including the next steps in Libya, Iran and the prospects for political change in Syria and Yemen…. – AP, 7-13-11
  • US begins drawdown of troops from Afghanistan: US President Barack Obama announced last month that he would pull 10000 of the extra troops out in 2011 and the remaining 23000 by the summer of 2012. Three hundred soldiers will take over from the 650 departing troops who oversaw security in Parwan…. – AP, 7-13-11
  • Obama offers condolences to Afghan president: President Barack Obama has expressed condolences to Afghan President Hamid Karzai about his brother’s murder. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama telephoned the Afghan president Wednesday morning…. – AP, 7-13-11
  • 23 US senators press Pentagon chief on suspect: Senators pressed the Obama administration Wednesday on why a suspected Somali terrorist will be tried in a civilian court in New York and not the US facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba….. – AP, 7-13-11
  • White House, in Shift, Turns Against Syria Leader: After weeks of urging democratic reforms and an end to brutal crackdowns, the Obama administration said President Bashar al-Assad has lost the legitimacy to rule…. – NYT, 7-13-11
  • US condemns murder of Karzai’s brother: Carney says the Obama administration’s prayers and sympathies are with the Karzai family. The younger Karzai was the head of the Kandahar provincial council. Kandahar’s governor identified the assassin as a person close to Karzai…. – AP, 7-12-11
  • Afghanistan war vet given highest honor: It was a sobering moment toward the end of a moving ceremony at the White House Tuesday, as President Barack Obama awarded the nation’s highest military honor to Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry for his brave actions to protect his comrades…. – AP, 7-12-11
  • US says Assad failed to prove himself legitimate: The United States said Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar Assad has failed to prove himself a worthy leader nearly two months after being challenged by President Barack Obama to guide his country toward a democratic transition…. – AP, 7-12-11
  • Clinton: Diplomacy key to job creation in US: American diplomacy abroad is critical to creating jobs and improving economic conditions at home, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday, urging Congress not to slash the Obama administration’s foreign policy budget. … – AP, 7-12-11
  • US protests Syria embassy attack: The Obama administration has criticized Assad’s government for its violent crackdown on peaceful protests against his 11-year rule. Clashes between protesters and Assad’s supporters have resulted in the deaths of 1600, in addition to 350 members…. – AP, 7-11-11
  • Syrian protesters attack US embassy: A US official said the Obama administration will formally protest the attack and may seek compensation for damage caused when a mob breached the wall of the compound before being dispersed by Marine guards…. – AP, 7-11-11
  • U.S. Is Deferring Millions in Pakistani Military Aid: The cancellation of hundreds of millions in aid is meant to chasten Pakistan for expelling American trainers and press its army to fight militants more effectively…. – NYT, 7-10-11
  • Tough line: US suspends military aid to Pakistan: The Obama administration’s decision to suspend $800 million in aid to the Pakistan’s military signals a tougher US line with a critical but sometimes unreliable partner in the fight against terrorism…. – AP, 7-10-11
  • Panetta: US within reach of defeating al-Qaida: John R. Allen, a central topic was expected to be President Barack Obama’s decision on June 22 to withdraw 10000 US troops from Afghanistan this year and 23000 more by September 2012. The drawdown is to begin this month, but not all details have been …. – AP, 7-9-11
  • US push for Middle East peace talks foundering: The Obama administration’s furious efforts to relaunch stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks this summer are going nowhere, and a looming UN confrontation could further set back prospects for a negotiated settlement any time soon. … – AP, 7-9-11
  • US recognizes new nation of South Sudan: President Barack Obama said in a statement that, “This historic achievement is a tribute, above all, to the generations of southern Sudanese who struggled for this day.” South Sudan became independent after civil wars that spanned more than 50 years. … – AP, 7-9-11
  • US sends message to Syria, Congress with diplomacy: The Obama administration sent two distinct messages by dispatching the US ambassador to Syria to meet anti-regime protesters in a besieged city. To Syrian President Bashar Assad: Reform now. To critics in the US of its engagement…. – AP, 7-8-11
  • US, Britain hit Iran with more travel restrictions: The Obama administration has imposed travel bans on more than 50 senior Iranian officials accused of participating in human rights abuses and political repression. The State Department announced on Friday that it, along with Britain. … – AP, 7-8-11
  • House rejects effort to prohibit funds for Libya: Sending a muddled message in the constitutional challenge to President Barack Obama, House Republicans and Democrats signaled their frustration with American participation in a stalemated civil war but also showed their unwillingness to end…. – AP, 7-7-11
  • Senators Voice Worries on Planned Withdrawal in Afghanistan: Senators John McCain, Joseph I. Lieberman and Lindsey Graham said the president’s planned withdrawal of 33,000 troops by September 2012 could hamper efforts to defeat the Taliban…. – NYT, 7-4-11
  • Robert Gates’ last day at Pentagon: three reasons he’ll be missed: Defense Secretary Robert Gates steps down from his Pentagon post Thursday after 4-1/2 years on the job. If he feels any twinge of wistfulness, it won’t last long…. – CS Monitor, 6-30-11
  • Hurdle Cleared for Trade Agreements with 3 Countries: A vote will take place on free trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama…. – NYT, 6-29-11
  • State Department Lawyer Says Libya Venture Is Legal: The legal adviser to the State Department said the administration might have been better served by consulting with Congress on Libya…. – NYT, 6-29-11
  • Obama shifts from consensus to instincts on key calls: The Obama administration’s top national security officials were gathered around the polished wooden table of the White House Situation Room to hear Army Gen. David H. Petraeus argue for a slow drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan…. – LAT, 6-27-11
  • A New Push for Talks With the Taliban — Diplomatic Memo: President Obama’s Afghan strategy relies heavily on talks with the Taliban, and a significant policy shift…. – NYT, 6-26-11
  • House Spurns Obama on Libya, but Does Not Cut Funds: The House dealt a symbolic blow to President Obama by rejecting a bill to authorize the operations in Libya, but also turned back a measure that would have cut financing for the effort…. – NYT, 6-25-11
  • Petraeus Says Afghan Pullout Is Beyond What He Advised: The general said that the withdrawal plan increased the risk that the military would not meet all its goals, but that he fully accepted it…. – NYT, 6-24-11

112TH CONGRESS

    • House panel approves $47.2 billion in foreign aid: The amount is a cut of $3.9 billion from current levels and $3.1 billion below President Barack Obama’s request. “We are facing a global recession unlike anything in recent memory,” said Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, chairwoman of the subcommittee. … – AP, 7-27-11
    • Senate confirms Locke as ambassador to China: It is also the top foreign holder of US debt. Locke was approved by voice vote and replaces Jon Huntsman, who resigned in April to explore a Republican presidential run against President Barack Obama next year…. – AP, 7-27-11
    • Race to Replace Weiner in House May Turn on Israel Policy: The September election, in which Democratic Assemblyman David I. Weprin is seeking to replace former Representative Anthony D. Weiner, is a potential referendum on President Obama’s proposals…. – NYT, 7-27-11
    • Tea party fires warning shots at both parties in Congress (video): Tea Party Patriots leader Mark Meckler issues a blunt warning to Congress: His group is “going to be dramatically engaged in the primaries – on both sides of the aisle,” in 2012….- CS Monitor, 7-27-11
    • Hispanic Congressman Is Arrested in Deportation Protest: Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, a Democrat from Illinois, said he decided to participate in the protest after President Obama rejected his proposals to suspend deportations of some college students and make it easier for illegal immigrants married to American citizens to remain in the United States…. – NYT, 7-27-11
    • Senate confirms Mueller for new term as FBI head: The Senate extended the term of FBI Director Robert Mueller for up to two years Wednesday, a day after President Barack Obama signed legislation making an exception to the 10-year limit for an FBI chief to serve. The vote was 100-0. … – AP, 7-27-11
    • House votes to speed decision on oil pipeline: The House voted Tuesday to speed up a decision by the Obama administration on a contentious plan to send oil from western Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. By a 279-147 vote, lawmakers endorsed a Nov. 1 deadline for the State Department … – AP, 7-26-11

“The well-being of my children must come before anything else. With great sadness, I therefore intend to resign effective upon the resolution of the debt-ceiling crisis. This is the right decision for my family, the institution of the House and my colleagues…. It has been the greatest privilege of my life to be a United States congressman. Rare is the nation in which an immigrant child can become a national political figure. I thank God and my parents for the privilege of being an American.” — Rep. David Wu

  • In wake of sex allegation, congressman will resign: Democratic Rep. David Wu of Oregon announced Tuesday that he will resign amid the political fallout from an 18-year-old woman’s allegations of an unwanted sexual encounter with him.
    Wu had already said that he would not seek re-election, but he had come under increasing pressure to step down. Shortly after the allegations broke, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi requested a House Ethics Committee investigation of his conduct…. – AP, 7-26-11
  • Arkansas Democratic US Rep. Ross won’t run again: Ross is a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He’s also known as a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of centrist Democrats with a fiscally conservative message. He opposed President Barack Obama’s health overhaul plan. … – AP, 7-25-11
  • Senate Acts to Keep Mueller as Director of F.B.I.: The Senate set in motion a process on Thursday to extend the tenure of Robert S. Mueller as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for about two years…. – NYT, 7-22-11
  • FAA shutdown would cost govt $200 million a week: Democrats and union officials say the change puts airline and railroad elections under the same democratic rules required for unionizing all other companies. The White House warned in March that President Barack Obama might veto the bill…. – AP, 7-21-11
  • House tries to shackle new consumer agency: Republican sponsors of the bill say they are simply trying to promote transparency and accountability in the agency that was created a year ago as part of President Barack Obama’s overhaul of the rules governing financial markets…. – AP, 7-21-11
  • US House panel backs ban on abortion funds: A House panel on Thursday endorsed a ban on giving US money to international groups that perform abortions or provide abortion information, a fresh effort to reverse Obama administration policy…. – AP, 7-21-11
  • West, Wasserman Schultz use each other as foils: Meet Washington’s new odd couple: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, fiery chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, and Tea Party hero and political newcomer Rep. Allen West.
    Their long-simmering feud turned them into the poster children for inside-the-Beltway partisanship almost overnight this week after West fired off an angry, widely circulated email to Wasserman Schultz for criticizing his stance on Medicare during a spending debate.
    West called her “vile, unprofessional and despicable” and told her to “shut the heck up.”… – AP, 7-21-11
  • GOP lawmaker unleashes email tirade at colleague: A Republican congressman from Florida turned to email on Tuesday to call a Democratic colleague from the state “vile, despicable and cowardly” after she called into question his stance on Medicare during the debate over a spending cap and balanced budget bill before the House. Rep. Allen West, a first-term Republican from south Florida, wasn’t shy about his online outburst. He sent his peppery email to numerous lawmakers as well as his target, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
    The subject line of the email: “Unprofessional and Inappropriate Sophomoric Behavior from Wasserman Schultz.”
    The e-mail said: “Look, Debbie, I understand that after I departed the House floor you directed your floor speech comments directly towards me. Let me make myself perfectly clear, you want a personal fight, I am happy to oblige. You are the most vile, unprofessional and despicable member of the US House of Representatives. If you have something to say to me, stop being a coward and say it to my face, otherwise, shut the heck up.”
    In her remarks on the House floor, Wasserman Schultz said: “The gentleman from Florida, who represents thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, as do I, is supportive of this plan that would increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries. Unbelievable from a member from south Florida.”… – AP, 7-19-11
  • Rep. Maxine Waters seeks dismissal of ethics case: Waters has repeatedly said she did nothing improper and had no role in the Obama administration’s decision to bail out Boston-based OneUnited Bank. The congresswoman’s husband, Sidney Williams, owns stock in the bank, and his investment was in danger … – AP, 7-19-11
  • House GOP freshmen face political pressure of debt: The Tea Party Express on Tuesday made it clear they better stay in line, threatening GOP primary challenges to Republicans who support Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s alternative plan to give President Barack Obama the power to order an … – AP, 7-19-11
  • Speculation mounts that Warren may run for Senate: President Barack Obama’s decision not to pick Elizabeth Warren to head a new consumer protection agency is pumping up speculation that Warren might challenge Republican Sen. Scott Brown, a top Democratic target in 2012. … – AP, 7-19-11
  • House bill to limit aid to Pakistan, Palestinians: A House panel unveiled a bill Monday that would block US aid to Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority unless the Obama administration reassures Congress that they are cooperating in the worldwide fight against…. – AP, 7-18-11
  • Freshman House Republicans Worried About Debt, And Not Re-Election: The battle over raising the federal debt limit is different this time because a new class of lawmakers has fiscal policy in its sight…. – NYT, 7-17-11
  • Some G.O.P. Senators Hold Up Extension of Mueller’s F.B.I. Term: Though there was broad bipartisan acceptance of the idea to keep Mr. Mueller in place, Senate Republicans have thrown up a series of roadblocks to approving that proposal swiftly…. – NYT, 7-16-11
  • Mich. Democratic Rep. Kildee announces retirement: President Barack Obama also issued a statement, saying: “As a teacher, state legislator and congressman, Dale made fighting for the families he represents his top priority and worked to improve education in Michigan and across the nation. … – AP, 7-15-11
  • House passes energy bill $6B below Obama’s request: The Republican-crafted bill is almost $6 billion less than what President Barack Obama requested. The vote was 219-196 with almost every Democrat voting against it. Democrats objected to environmental cuts and a decision to take $1 billion…. – AP, 7-15-11
  • Dems, State Dept near resolution on Cuba money: A top Senate Democrat is close to ending his hold on $20 million that the administration had ticketed for a program to promote democracy in communist Cuba, a monthslong challenge to President Barack Obama with possible ramifications … – AP, 7-14-11
  • House increases money for nuclear waste review: The House on Thursday approved more money to review an application to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, deviating from the Barack Obama administration effort to kill the project. The 297-130 vote on an amendment…. – AP, 7-14-11
  • House votes to take EPA off clean water beat: Under the Obama administration, the EPA has placed the first-ever limits on nutrient-rich runoff in Florida, where phosphorus and nitrogen have led to harmful algal blooms. More recently, in January, the EPA revoked a crucial water permit for West … – AP, 7-13-11
  • House to vote to ban rules on new light bulbs: The Obama administration and environmentalists say new bulbs on the market will save American households billions of dollars in energy costs. The legislation, promoted by Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, is being considered under a procedure…. – AP, 7-12-11
  • Freshmen Republicans Push House Toward Right: Freshmen Republican in Congress veer to the right, but it may be at their political peril…. – NYT, 7-12-11
  • Ron Paul won’t seek congressional term in 2012: After serving almost 24 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Ron Paul told The Facts this morning he will not be seeking another term for the District 14 seat…. – thefacts.com, 7-12-11
  • House votes to halt gay unions on military bases: On a 236-184 vote, the House attached the measure to the defense spending bill, one of several steps the Republican-controlled chamber has taken this year to delay President Barack Obama’s new policy. Pentagon leaders have said they see no roadblocks…. – AP, 7-8-11
  • House presses ahead to complete $649B defense bill: The House is sending mixed signals on President Barack Obama’s military action against Libya, voting to prohibit weapons and training to rebels looking to oust Moammar Gadhafi but stopping short of trying to cut off money for American military action… – AP, 7-8-11
  • House backs negotiated Israel-Palestinian deal: The vote was 407-6 for the nonbinding resolution that also called on the Obama administration to consider suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority in light of the deal between the government and Hamas — considered a terrorist group by Israel…. – AP, 7-7-11
  • Senators propose immediate end to ethanol credit: If accepted by the House and the Obama administration, the compromise could provide a quick path to end the ethanol credit as part of budget negotiations between Congress and the White House. The Senate last month adopted an amendment to end the $5 credit…. – AP, 7-7-11
  • GOP pushes back on effort to limit kids’ food ads: House Republicans are siding with food companies resisting the Obama administration’s efforts to pressure them to stop advertising junk food for children. Some food companies say the government is going too far with guidelines…. – AP, 7-6-11
  • US Senate postpones Libya vote amid budget dispute: The US Senate has postponed a test vote on a resolution to give President Barack Obama limited authority to continue military action against Libya. Majority leader Sen. Harry Reid made the announcement on the Senate floor Tuesday…. – AP, 7-5-11
  • House panel to take up 3 trade agreements: House Republicans are bucking demands from the Obama White House to include renewal of a US job training assistance program in long-pending legislation providing free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. … – AP, 7-5-11
  • Republicans Boycott a Hearing on Trade: Senate Republicans blocked an initial hearing on three trade agreements, again halting the process despite an earlier agreement between the White House and House Republicans…. – NYT, 7-1-11

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

  • Justice Dept. Challenges Alabama Immigration Law: The Obama administration filed a complaint stating that the state law conflicts with federal law and undermines federal immigration priorities…. – NYT, 8-2-11
  • Judge: Time to unseal Nixon’s Watergate testimony: Thirty-six years after Richard Nixon testified to a grand jury about the Watergate break-in that drove him from office, a federal judge on Friday ordered the secret transcript made public. But the 297 pages of testimony won’t be available immediately, because the government gets time to decide whether to appeal…. – AP, 7-29-11
  • Health care lawsuit reaches Supreme Court: A conservative law firm asked the Supreme Court Wednesday to strike down the health care overhaul, challenging the first federal appeals court ruling that upheld President Barack Obama’s signature domestic initiative. … – AP, 7-28-11
  • Judge denies BP request for White House oil emails: A federal magistrate refused Wednesday to order the White House to provide BP PLC with emails by a former top adviser to President Barack Obama about the administration’s response to last summer’s massive Gulf oil spill. … – AP, 7-20-11
  • Obama to Support Repeal of Defense of Marriage Act: President Obama is supporting a bill to repeal a law that limits the legal definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman… – NYT, 7-19-11
  • More Legal Maneuvering in ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal: Is the new brief in the military case the right hand of the Department of Justice not knowing what the left hand is doing?…. – NYT, 7-18-11
  • California: Intent Sought on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’: A federal appeals court in California ordered the Obama administration to say whether it intends to continue to enforce the law that prohibits openly gay men, lesbians and bisexuals from serving in the military…. – NYT, 7-12-11
  • Texas executes Mexican despite White House plea: Mexico’s government, President Barack Obama’s administration and others wanted the Supreme Court to stay the execution to allow Congress time to consider legislation that would require court reviews for condemned foreign nationals who aren’t offered … – AP, 7-8-11
  • Court refuses to stop execution of Mexican: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stop Texas from executing a Mexican citizen convicted of raping and killing a 16-year-old girl despite calls from the Obama administration to halt the execution to avoid international…. – AP, 7-7-11
  • Ohio health care law opponents to file petitions: The amendment’s backers acknowledge that approval of the measure in November wouldn’t automatically exempt the state from the mandate in President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. But they say they hope to use the amendment to challenge the law…. – AP, 7-6-11
  • Obama Health Care Law Gets Support in First Appellate Review: The ruling, the first by a federal appeals court on the health care overhaul, affirmed a Michigan ruling that Congress can require that Americans obtain health insurance…. – NYT, 6-30-11
  • Blagojevich Is Convicted of Corruption in Retrial: A jury in Chicago convicted the former governor of Illinois, Rod R. Blagojevich, of nearly all the corruption charges against him…. – NYT, 6-28-11

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

    • Debt ceiling fix could mean problems for states AP, 7-31-11
    • Disappearance of ‘heroic’ deputy hits Wyoming town: President Barack Obama last week declared a major disaster in Wyoming because of spring and summer flooding. The declaration opened the way for the federal government to help the state pay for costs incurred from damaged roads, highways…. – AP, 7-30-11
    • Ohio health care question cleared for fall ballot: John Kasich has said he is proceeding with putting the health exchanges in place in Ohio despite his personal opposition to the Obama plan. Other provisions of the Affordable Care Act — including prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage … – AP, 7-26-11
    • Debt debate reverberates in state governments: As President Barack Obama and congressional leaders struggle to reach a debt-limit deal, state government leaders are bracing for the impact on their budgets and economies of a threatened Aug. 2 federal government default…. – AP, 7-22-11
    • Minnesota Governor Signs Spending Plan, Ending Shutdown: After a legislative session that dragged on late into the night, Gov. Mark Dayton of Minnesota on Wednesday signed new spending plans for the state, ending the longest and broadest shutdown in state history.
      Resolution of the impasse had come, at last, not as a pure victory for either Republicans (who wanted more cuts to solve the state’s $5 billion deficit) or for Democrats (like Mr. Dayton, who wanted to raise taxes on the wealthiest residents).
      Instead, leaders agreed to spend $35.7 billion over the next two years, which was more than Republicans had hoped to spend, by using borrowing maneuvers to come up with the last $1.4 billion. The state will delay payments to local school districts and borrow money against expected payments from the tobacco industry…. – NYT, 7-20-11
    • 51st state would be a red state: 51st state: thirteen conservative counties in California may look into separating from their blue state…. – CS Monitor, 7-12-11

“It’s not about 2016. It’s about the power of the passage of marriage equality. I’m not going to engage in this conversation or fuel this speculation.” — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

“Andrew Cuomo is seen as a civil rights leader and has millions of volunteers and millions of donors across the country who would instantly support him if he decides to run. He took a bold stand on a priority issue, made a commitment and delivered on it. Talk about motivating the base of a party.” — California-based gay rights leader Chad Griffin said.

    • Gay marriage legal in New York State after Senate passes historic bill 33-29: New York made history last night by becoming the sixth and largest state to legalize gay marriage. The state Senate passed the bill by a 33-29 margin and Gov. Cuomo quickly signed it five minutes before midnight. Now, the rush to the altar can begin in 30 days when the law takes effect…. – NY Daily News, 6-24-11
    • Cuomo’s win on marriage sparks presidential talk: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s successful push to legalize gay marriage in his state has made him a national hero to liberal voters and has sparked talk of a potential presidential bid for Cuomo in 2016. But Cuomo paired his quest for same-sex marriage with efforts to slash state spending and curb the power of public employee unions, suggesting a blend of fiscal prudence and progressivism on social issues could be a new Democratic model in tough economic times. Cuomo tried to tamp down talk about his presidential ambitions in a radio interview Monday, dismissing such talk as “silly” and disconnected from the importance of equal rights for gay couples…. – AP, 6-28-11

“This is an especially momentous and extraordinary time for us to meet. The historic vote in New York … I think gives such visibility and credibility to everything that so many of you have done for so many years. — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

  • Clinton hails NY legalization of gay marriage: The state of New York’s legalization of same-sex marriage marks a historic human rights victory that will give much-needed credibility and visibility to the international movement for equality for gays and lesbians, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday…. AP, 6-27-11

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • Julian E. Zelizer: Is Obama seizing the political center?: President Barack Obama has always been a lot more like President Bill Clinton than many of his supporters like to think…. – CNN, 7-25-11
  • Julian E. Zelizer: Don’t count Boehner out in debt crisis: As the nation gets closer to the brink of fiscal chaos, many pundits have been writing the political obituary for John Boehner’s term as Speaker of the House…. – CN. 7-18-11
  • Book Challenges Obama on Mother’s Health Care Fight: The book suggests that the president mischaracterized a central anecdote about Ann Dunham’s deathbed dispute with her insurance company…. – NYT, 7-14-11
  • The Obama Doctrine Revisited, Again!: The Obama-doctrine debate is back! Daniel Drezner — foreignpolicy.com blogger, Tufts professor, and author of Theories of International Politics and Zombies — brought it back from the dead last week in Foreign Affairs. Fareed Zakaria, in his regular column, tried to put a stake in its heart. But these doctrinal debates are hard to kill…. – NYT, 7-13-11
  • Julian E. Zelizer: President’s bully pulpit is not what it used to be: At key moments in his presidency, Barack Obama has struggled to win the support of the American people through the power of his oratory. The power of persuasion has traditionally been one of the most powerful weapons of the commander in chief…. – CNN, 7-11-11
  • Julian E. Zelizer: What happened to dealmakers in Congress?: The troubled negotiations over the debt ceiling have offered yet another reminder of the perilous state of Congress. Republicans and Democrats have found it to be virtually impossible to reach a deal…. – CNN, 7-5-11
  • Think Congress has a month to avert Debt Default Day? Think again: The House and the Senate are in session simultaneously only a few days between now and Aug. 2, when the US is expected to hit its $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. That’s not helpful, experts say. CS Monitor, 6-29-11
  • Top economist: Raise the debt ceiling or blow the recovery ‘out of the water’: The US economy will double its growth rate by the end of the year, if Congress raises the debt ceiling, says economic forecaster Mark Zandi. Otherwise, ‘we would be thrown into recession.’… – CS Monitor, 6-28-11
  • Julian Zelizer: War powers belong to Congress and the president: When presidents send American troops into military conflict, it usually seems as if Congress barely flinches. Presidents no longer request that Congress declare war. Members of Congress don’t insist that presidents ask them…. – CNN, 6-27-11

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: Fact Sheet on the Details of the Bipartisan Debt Deal

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline

Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline
  • Removes the cloud of uncertainty over our economy at this critical time, by ensuring that no one will be able to use the threat of the nation’s first default now, or in only a few months, for political gain;
  • Locks in a down payment on significant deficit reduction, with savings from both domestic and Pentagon spending, and is designed to protect crucial investments like aid for college students;
  • Establishes a bipartisan process to seek a balanced approach to larger deficit reduction through entitlement and tax reform;
  • Deploys an enforcement mechanism that gives all sides an incentive to reach bipartisan compromise on historic deficit reduction, while protecting Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries and low-income programs;
  • Stays true to the President’s commitment to shared sacrifice by preventing the middle class, seniors and those who are most vulnerable from shouldering the burden of deficit reduction. The President did not agree to any entitlement reforms outside of the context of a bipartisan committee process where tax reform will be on the table and the President will insist on shared sacrifice from the most well-off and those with the most indefensible tax breaks.
Mechanics of the Debt Deal
  • Immediately enacted 10-year discretionary spending caps generating nearly $1 trillion in deficit reduction; balanced between defense and non-defense spending.
  • President authorized to increase the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion, eliminating the need for further increases until 2013.
  • Bipartisan committee process tasked with identifying an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, including from entitlement and tax reform. Committee is required to report legislation by November 23, 2011, which receives fast-track protections. Congress is required to vote on Committee recommendations by December 23, 2011.
  • Enforcement mechanism established to force all parties – Republican and Democrat – to agree to balanced deficit reduction. If Committee fails, enforcement mechanism will trigger spending reductions beginning in 2013 – split 50/50 between domestic and defense spending. Enforcement protects Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries, and low-income programs from any cuts.
1. REMOVING UNCERTAINTY TO SUPPORT THE AMERICAN ECONOMY
  • Deal Removes Cloud of Uncertainty Until 2013, Eliminating Key Headwind on the Economy: Independent analysts, economists, and ratings agencies have all made clear that a short-term debt limit increase would create unacceptable economic uncertainty by risking default again within only a matter of months and as S&P stated, increase the chance of a downgrade. By ensuring a debt limit increase of at least $2.1 trillion, this deal removes the specter of default, providing important certainty to our economy at a fragile moment.
  • Mechanism to Ensure Further Deficit Reduction is Designed to Phase-In Beginning in 2013 to Avoid Harming the Recovery: The deal includes a mechanism to ensure additional deficit reduction, consistent with the economic recovery. The enforcement mechanism would not be made effective until 2013, avoiding any immediate contraction that could harm the recovery. And savings from the down payment will be enacted over 10 years, consistent with supporting the economic recovery.
2. A DOWNPAYMENT ON DEFICIT REDUCTION BY LOCKING IN HISTORIC SPENDING DISCIPLINE – BALANCED BETWEEN DOMESTIC AND PENTAGON SPENDING
  • More than $900 Billion in Savings over 10 Years By Capping Discretionary Spending: The deal includes caps on discretionary spending that will produce more than $900 billion in savings over the next 10 years compared to the CBO March baseline, even as it protects core investments from deep and economically damaging cuts.
  • Includes Savings of $350 Billion from the Base Defense Budget – the First Defense Cut Since the 1990s: The deal puts us on track to cut $350 billion from the defense budget over 10 years. These reductions will be implemented based on the outcome of a review of our missions, roles, and capabilities that will reflect the President’s commitment to protecting our national security.
  • Reduces Domestic Discretionary Spending to the Lowest Level Since Eisenhower: These discretionary caps will put us on track to reduce non-defense discretionary spending to its lowest level since Dwight Eisenhower was President.
  • Includes Funding to Protect the President’s Historic Investment in Pell Grants: Since taking office, the President has increased the maximum Pell award by $819 to a maximum award $5,550, helping over 9 million students pay for college tuition bills. The deal provides specific protection in the discretionary budget to ensure that the there will be sufficient funding for the President’s historic investment in Pell Grants without undermining other critical investments.
3. ESTABLISHING A BIPARTISAN PROCESS TO ACHIEVE $1.5 TRILLION IN ADDITIONAL BALANCED DEFICIT REDUCTION BY THE END OF 2011
  • The Deal Locks in a Process to Enact $1.5 Trillion in Additional Deficit Reduction Through a Bipartisan, Bicameral Congressional Committee: The deal creates a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Committee that is charged with enacting $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction by the end of the year. This Committee will work without the looming specter of default, ensuring time to carefully consider essential reforms without the disruption and brinksmanship of the past few months.
  • This Committee is Empowered Beyond Previous Bipartisan Attempts at Deficit Reduction: Any recommendation of the Committee would be given fast-track privilege in the House and Senate, assuring it of an up or down vote and preventing some from using procedural gimmicks to block action.
  • To Meet This Target, the Committee Will Consider Responsible Entitlement and Tax Reform. This means putting all the priorities of both parties on the table – including both entitlement reform and revenue-raising tax reform.
4. A STRONG ENFORCEMENT MECHANISM TO MAKE ALL SIDES COME TOGETHER
  • The Deal Includes An Automatic Sequester to Ensure That At Least $1.2 Trillion in Deficit Reduction Is Achieved By 2013 Beyond the Discretionary Caps: The deal includes an automatic sequester on certain spending programs to ensure that—between the Committee and the trigger—we at least put in place an additional $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction by 2013.
  • Consistent With Past Practice, Sequester Would Be Divided Equally Between Defense and Non-Defense Programs and Exempt Social Security, Medicaid, and Low-Income Programs: Consistent with the bipartisan precedents established in the 1980s and 1990s, the sequester would be divided equally between defense and non-defense program, and it would exempt Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, programs for low-income families, and civilian and military retirement. Likewise, any cuts to Medicare would be capped and limited to the provider side.
  • Sequester Would Provide a Strong Incentive for Both Sides to Come to the Table:  If the fiscal committee took no action, the deal would automatically add nearly $500 billion in defense cuts on top of cuts already made, and, at the same time, it would cut critical programs like infrastructure or education.  That outcome would be unacceptable to many Republicans and Democrats alike – creating pressure for a bipartisan agreement without requiring the threat of a default with unthinkable consequences for our economy.
5. A BALANCED DEAL CONSISTENT WITH THE PRESIDENT’S COMMITMENT TO SHARED SACRIFICE
  • The Deal Sets the Stage for Balanced Deficit Reduction, Consistent with the President’s Values: The deal is designed to achieve balanced deficit reduction, consistent with the values the President articulated in his April Fiscal Framework. The discretionary savings are spread between both domestic and defense spending. And the President will demand that the Committee pursue a balanced deficit reduction package, where any entitlement reforms are coupled with revenue-raising tax reform that asks for the most fortunate Americans to sacrifice.
  • The Enforcement Mechanism Complements the Forcing Event Already In Law – the Expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts – To Create Pressure for a Balanced Deal: The Bush tax cuts expire as of 1/1/2013, the same date that the spending sequester would go into effect. These two events together will force balanced deficit reduction. Absent a balanced deal, it would enable the President to use his veto pen to ensure nearly $1 trillion in additional deficit reduction by not extending the high-income tax cuts.
  • In Securing this Bipartisan Deal, the President Rejected Proposals that Would Have Placed the Sole Burden of Deficit Reduction on Low-Income or Middle-Class Families: The President stood firmly against proposals that would have placed the sole burden of deficit reduction on lower-income and middle-class families. This includes not only proposals in the House Republican Budget that would have undermined the core commitments of Medicare to our seniors and forced tens of millions of low-income Americans to go without health insurance, but also enforcement mechanisms that would have forced automatic cuts to low-income programs. The enforcement mechanism in the deal exempts Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare benefits, unemployment insurance, programs for low-income families, and civilian and military retirement.

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: President Obama’s Statement to the Nation — Announces Reaching a Bipartisan Debt Deal with Congress

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

President Obama speaks in support of the bipartisan deal to reduce the deficit and raise the debt limit

Source: WH, 7-31-11

President Barack Obama makes a statement announcing a deal in the ongoing efforts to find a balanced approach to the debt limit and deficit reduction

President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House announcing a deal in the ongoing efforts to find a balanced approach to the debt limit and deficit reduction, July 31, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Tonight, President Obama spoke in support of a bipartisan deal to reduce the nation’s deficit and avoid default. It extends the debt limit to 2013, removing the cloud of uncertainty over our economy and ensuring that no one will be able to use the threat of default now or in only a few months for political gain. The bipartisan compromise assures that the United States meets its obligations – including monthly Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and the government contracts we’ve signed with thousands of businesses.

In order to receive the support from both parties — as the President has consistently stressed — the agreement has a few important elements:

  • A down payment on deficit reduction with historic long-term spending restraint: Nearly $1 trillion in spending cuts — done in a way to not harm the economic recovery, are balanced between domestic and pentagon spending, and protects critical initiatives like aid for college students;
  • Expedited process for balanced deficit reduction: Puts in place a longer term process for additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction through a committee structure that will put everything on the table, including tax and entitlement reform. To prevent either side from using procedural tricks to prevent Congress from acting, the committee’s recommendations will receive fast track authority, which means they can’t be amended or filibustered.
  • Sets the stage for a balanced package, including revenues: The American people and a growing number of Republicans agree that any deficit reduction package must be balanced and included revenue.
    • If the Committee does not succeed in meaningful balanced deficit reduction with revenue-raising tax reform on the most well-off by the end of 2012, the President can use his veto pen to raise nearly $1 trillion from the most well-off by vetoing any extension of the Bush high income tax cuts.
  • A proven enforcement mechanism: An enforcement mechanism that will compel painful enough cuts to both sides that it will force congress to act. Enforcement mechanisms by their very nature should include measures that neither side supports so as to ensure action.
    • If Congress fails to act, beginning in 2013 there will be $1.2 trillion in spending cuts through 2021 – 50 percent from domestic spending and 50 percent from defense spending.  Low income programs, including Medicaid, and Social Security and Medicare benefits would be exempted.  Medicare cuts would be capped, limited to the provider side.
  • Does not accept entitlement reforms without equal consideration of revenue raising tax reform, and ensures that low-income and middle class families are not forced to bear a disproportionate share of the burden from deficit reduction.

This fact sheet provides and even more comprehensive overview of the deal.

Here are President Obama’s full remarks:

Remarks by the President

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

8:40 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good evening.  There are still some very important votes to be taken by members of Congress, but I want to announce that the leaders of both parties, in both chambers, have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default — a default that would have had a devastating effect on our economy.

The first part of this agreement will cut about $1 trillion in spending over the next 10 years — cuts that both parties had agreed to early on in this process.  The result would be the lowest level of annual domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower was President — but at a level that still allows us to make job-creating investments in things like education and research.  We also made sure that these cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on a fragile economy.

Now, I’ve said from the beginning that the ultimate solution to our deficit problem must be balanced.  Despite what some Republicans have argued, I believe that we have to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share by giving up tax breaks and special deductions.  Despite what some in my own party have argued, I believe that we need to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to ensure that they’re still around for future generations.

That’s why the second part of this agreement is so important.  It establishes a bipartisan committee of Congress to report back by November with a proposal to further reduce the deficit, which will then be put before the entire Congress for an up or down vote.  In this stage, everything will be on the table. To hold us all accountable for making these reforms, tough cuts that both parties would find objectionable would automatically go into effect if we don’t act.  And over the next few months, I’ll continue to make a detailed case to these lawmakers about why I believe a balanced approach is necessary to finish the job.

Now, is this the deal I would have preferred?  No.  I believe that we could have made the tough choices required — on entitlement reform and tax reform — right now, rather than through a special congressional committee process.  But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need, and gives each party a strong incentive to get a balanced plan done before the end of the year.

Most importantly, it will allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America.  It ensures also that we will not face this same kind of crisis again in six months, or eight months, or 12 months.  And it will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy.

Now, this process has been messy; it’s taken far too long.  I’ve been concerned about the impact that it has had on business confidence and consumer confidence and the economy as a whole over the last month.  Nevertheless, ultimately, the leaders of both parties have found their way toward compromise.  And I want to thank them for that.

Most of all, I want to thank the American people.  It’s been your voices — your letters, your emails, your tweets, your phone calls — that have compelled Washington to act in the final days. And the American people’s voice is a very, very powerful thing.

We’re not done yet.  I want to urge members of both parties to do the right thing and support this deal with your votes over the next few days.  It will allow us to avoid default.  It will allow us to pay our bills.  It will allow us to start reducing our deficit in a responsible way.  And it will allow us to turn to the very important business of doing everything we can to create jobs, boost wages, and grow this economy faster than it’s currently growing.

That’s what the American people sent us here to do, and that’s what we should be devoting all of our time to accomplishing in the months ahead.

Thank you very much, everybody.

END
8:44 P.M. EDT

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: President Obama & Republican, Democratic Congressional Leaders Reach Debt Deal — House & Senate Votes Monday

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Time for Compromise

President Obama speaks in support of a bipartisan deal to reduce the nation’s deficit and avoid default.

President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press

White House Photo, Pete Souza, 7/31/11

JULY 31, 2011: PRESIDENT OBAMA & REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS REACH DEBT DEAL

  • President Obama Announces Debt Deal: Rundown of the Debt Debate 9:25 p.m. ET | President Obama announced Sunday evening that he had reached an agreement with party leaders in Congress that will cut the deficit, raise the debt ceiling and create a bipartisan, bicameral committee of members of Congress to identify further deficit cuts.
    The deal will cut $1 trillion from the deficit over ten years and allow President Obama to raise the debt ceiling in a series of steps that Congress could then vote against, but they would need a likely unattainable two-thirds majority in both chambers to reject the debt limit increase.
    The deficit reduction committee must identify a way to cut at least an additional $1.5 trillion from the deficit over the next ten years and then send that proposal to Congress by the end of the year. If it does not pass, there will be a series of automatic cuts in Medicare and defense and non-defense domestic spending. This measure is meant to force the committee to reach a workable agreement.
    “Is this the deal I would have preferred? No. I believe that we could’ve made the tough choices required on entitlement reform and tax reform right now, rather than through a special Congressional committee process. But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need and gives each party a strong incentive to get a balanced plan done before the end of the year,” President Obama said. “Most importantly it would allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America. It ensures also that we will not face this same kind of crisis in six months, or eight months or 12 months.”
    President Obama urged members of Congress to support the deal, but that support is not guaranteed. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, held a conference call Sunday evening to sell the deal to House Republicans. He used this slide show to make his case.
    The Senate will also have to vote to pass the plan, but the math is more uncertain in the House, where Democratic votes will be needed to pass a bill that some conservative Republicans will likely reject. The deal must be passed in both chambers before 12 a.m. Wednesday in order to avoid a default on the debt and an overnight reduction of 40 percent of government spending…. – PBS Newshour, 7-31-11
  • Obama, Congress reach a debt deal: Ending a perilous stalemate, President Barack Obama announced agreement Sunday night with Republican congressional leaders on a compromise to avoid the nation’s first-ever financial default. The deal would cut more than $2 trillion from federal spending over a decade.
    Default “would have had a devastating effect on our economy,” Obama said at the White House, relaying the news to the American people and financial markets around the world. He thanked the leaders of both parties.
    House Speaker John Boehner telephoned Obama at mid-evening to say the agreement had been struck, officials said.
    No votes were expected in either house of Congress until Monday at the earliest, to give rank-and-file lawmakers time to review the package. But leaders in both parties were already beginning the work of rounding up votes…. – AP, 7-31-11
  • It’s a deal: Obama, Congress will avert default: Ending a perilous stalemate, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders announced historic agreement Sunday night on emergency legislation to avert the nation’s first-ever financial default.
    The dramatic resolution lifted a cloud that had threatened the still-fragile economic recovery at home – and it instantly powered a rise in financial markets overseas.
    The agreement would slice at least $2.4 trillion from federal spending over a decade, a steep price for many Democrats, too little for many Republicans. The Treasury’s authority to borrow would be extended beyond the 2012 elections, a key objective for Obama, though the president had to give up his insistence on raising taxes on wealthy Americans to reduce deficits… – AP, 7-31-11
  • Obama announces deal reached to end debt crisis: President Barack Obama announced on Sunday that Democrats and Republicans leaders have reached an agreement to reduce the U.S. deficit and avoid default. Obama said the agreement will cut about $1 trillion over 10 years…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
  • Obama announces debt deal to end U.S. debt crisis: President Barack Obama said on Sunday that Democrat and Republican leaders have reached an agreement to reduce the U.S. deficit and avoid default, but it was not clear if the spending cuts were deep enough to stave off a credit rating downgrade.
    Obama said the agreement will cut about $1 trillion over 10 years and cuts would not happen so quickly that they would drag on the fragile U.S. economy. Another $1.2 trillion would be cut if a joint committee fails to find at least that much in budget savings.
    The deal would still have to be passed in the House and the Senate.
    U.S. S&P 500 stock futures bounced 1.4 percent and U.S. Treasuries futures slid on news of the deal. Gold and then yen also fell.
    Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s rating agencies indicated earlier that deficit-cutting measures of around $4 trillion would be enough for the U.S. to avoid losing its prized AAA rating…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
  • Leaders Report Accord on Debt Limit Increase: 9:05 p.m. | Updated Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress announced Sunday night that they have reached a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and avert a default.
    President Obama spoke moments later at the White House, telling reporters that “the leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid a default.”
    “My message to the world tonight is that this nation and this Congress are moving forward and we are moving forward together,” Senator Harry Reid of Nevada said from the floor of the Senate.
    Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader said “there is now a framework to review that will ensure significant cuts in Washington’s spending.”
    The announcement came even as House Speaker John A. Boehner was holding conference call with Republican House members.
    In the Senate, Mr. Reid called the deal a “historic bipartisan compromise” and said it is “remarkable” for what it does and for what it prevents: a “first-ever default on the full faith and credit of the United States.”
    “Sometimes it seems, our two sides disagree on almost everything,” he said. “But in the end, reasonable people were able to agree on this: The United States could not take the chance of defaulting on our debt.”
    “This is an important moment for our country,” Mr. McConnell said, adding later that “I think I can say with a high degree of confidence that there is now a framework to review that will ensure significant cuts in Washington spending. And we can assure the American people tonight that the United States of America will not for the first time in our history default on its obligations.”… – NYT, 7-31-11
  • White House, congressional leaders reach debt deal: Two days before the deadline for a possible U.S. government default, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders reached agreement Sunday on a legislative package that would extend the federal debt ceiling while cutting spending and guaranteeing further deficit-reduction steps.
    The proposed $3 trillion deal, which still requires congressional approval, brought some immediate relief to global markets closely watching the situation play out and a nation filled with anger and frustration over partisan political wrangling that threatened further economic harm to an already struggling recovery…. – CNN, 7-31-11
  • Leaders agree on framework of a deal to end the debt crisis: President Barack Obama and congressional leaders of both parties said late Sunday that they had agreed to a framework for a budget deal that would cut trillions of dollars in federal spending over the next decade and clear the way for an increase in the government’s borrowing limit.
    With the health of the fragile economy hanging in the balance and financial markets watching closely, the leaders said they would present the compromise to their caucuses Monday morning in hopes of narrowly averting a default before a Tuesday deadline.
    Obama spoke from the White House on Sunday night, telling reporters that “the leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid a default.”
    Just before Obama spoke on TV, the two Senate leaders, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, took the floor to endorse the pact as well.
    “I am relieved to say that leaders from both parties have come together for the sake of our economy to reach a historic, bipartisan compromise that ends this dangerous standoff,” said Reid, the majority leader.
    The agreement came after a day of wrangling over Pentagon cuts and must still be sold to the Senate and the House, with the House providing a particular challenge.
    As conversations flowed between the White House and Capitol Hill, Reid, the majority leader, publicly embraced the compromise that would tie deep spending cuts to a debt increase, though
    his plans to bring it to a vote as early as Sunday were put off as was a tentative meeting of Senate Democrats to review it…. – NYT, 7-31-11
  • Obama, Congress Reach Debt Deal: President Barack Obama on Sunday said that leaders of both parties have reached an agreement to lift the U.S. debt ceiling, reduce the federal deficit and avoid a U.S. credit default, an announcement welcomed in early trading on the Asia financial markets.
    Both the U.S. House and Senate were expected to meet Monday to discuss the details of the plan, which calls for increasing the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion through the end of 2012 along with $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction.
    “It will allow us to avoid default,” said Mr. Obama, who spoke at the White House … WSJ, 7-31-11
  • Parties agree to debt-ceiling deal, pending votes in Congress: Senate Majority Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Sunday night that they had come to an agreement on a deal that would raise the federal debt limit and reduce the deficit.
    In back-to-back speeches on the Senate floor, Reid (D-Nev.) called the compact an “historic, bipartisan compromise that ends this dangerous standoff,” while McConnell (R-Ky.) said there was now a framework in place to “ensure significant cuts in Washington spending.”
    “Sometimes it seems our two sides disagree on almost everything. But in the end, reasonable people were able to agree on this: The United States could not take the chance of defaulting on our debt, risking a United States financial collapse and a worldwide depression,” Reid said.
    Speaking from the White House, President Obama acknowledged that the “messy” fight over the nation’s debt and deficits has “taken far too long,” but he thanked leaders for finding “their way toward compromise” and urged Americans to continue putting pressure on lawmakers until the deal is voted out of Congress.
    The agreement “will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy,” Obama said.
    As the Senate leaders announced the accord, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) addressed his members on a conference call – briefing them on the outline of the plan.
    “There’s no agreement until we’ve talked to you,” Boehner told the members, according to excerpts of the conversation released by his office.
    All sides planned to meet Monday morning to go over details…. – LAT, 7-31-11
  • Obama, Boehner Announce Agreement to Raise Debt Ceiling, Avoid Default: It took the threat of economic collapse and a long, contentious negotiation — and there will still be votes in Congress before it’s truly done — but lawmakers from both parties and the White House have reached a deal to raise the nation’s credit limit — the debt ceiling — by $2.4 trillion, likely through 2012.
    President Obama made a hastily arranged address from the White House at 8:40 p.m. at the same time House Speaker John Boehner was pitching the deal to House Republicans on a conference call.
    “This will allow us to avoid default, allow us to pay our bills,” the president said.
    On the senate floor, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared alongside Majority Leader Harry Reid and seemed confident that the deal would gain enough support to pass through Congress.
    “We can assure the American people tonight that the United States of America will not for the first time in our history default on its obligations,” he said.
    Boehner told House Republicans, according to an account released by his office, that the framework he and the president have agreed upon is true to the principles of small government because it relies entirely on spending cuts, although it includes promises of entitlement and tax reform in the future…. – ABC News, 7-31-11
  • Obama Says Congressional Leaders Approve Debt-Limit Increase: President Barack Obama said tonight that leaders of both parties in the U.S. House and Senate had approved an agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and cut the federal deficit that must now be sold to Congress.
    “The leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default,” Obama said at the White House. “This compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit-reduction we need. Most importantly it will allow us to avoid default.”
    Congressional leaders are sifting through the details of the tentative bipartisan agreement to raise the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion, sufficient to serve the nation’s needs into 2013. They are preparing to sell to members the deal to cut $917 billion in spending over a decade, raising the debt limit initially by $900 billion, and to charge a special committee with finding another $1.5 trillion in deficit savings by the year’s end. They confront an Aug. 2 deadline for approval…. – Bloomberg, 7-31-11
  • Obama Announces Debt-Reduction Deal Approved by Senate, House Leaders: President Obama announced Sunday night that leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement on a debt-reduction deal that will “lift the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy.”
    According to the president, the deal means an immediate cut of $1 trillion over a 10-year period, followed by the creation of a committee to come up with additional cuts worth $1.5 trillion to be voted on by the end of the year.
    Each chamber will nominate lawmakers to the committee to report back in the fall. Tax hikes are not part of the package and a pledge for a Balanced Budget Amendment vote is.
    Obama said everything will be on the table and both parties will find some of the cuts objectionable.
    The Senate adjourned Sunday night without a vote on a debt reduction deal, but Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said that the parties are going to have to give ground and compromise so the country doesn’t default.
    “I am relieved to say that leaders from both parties have come together for the sake of our economy to reach a historic, bipartisan compromise that ends this dangerous standoff. The compromise we have agreed to is remarkable not only because of what it does, but because of what it prevents: a first-ever default on the full faith and credit of the United States,” Reid said.
    Reid and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will both present the agreement to their caucuses on Monday morning. Several objections are expected, including from Republican defense hawks who don’t want the military gutted and from the Congressional Black Caucus, which called the deal a “sugar-coated Satan sandwich.”
    House Speaker John Boehner told his Republican caucus on a Sunday night conference call that the deal isn’t done yet.
    “The press has been filled with reports all day about an agreement. There’s no agreement until we’ve talked to you,” he said.
    But Boehner of Ohio said the deal does not violate GOP principles. “We got 98 percent of what we wanted,” he said adding gthat the framework cuts more spending than it raises the debt limit. It also caps future spending to limits in the growth of government.
    “It would also guarantee the American people the vote they have been denied in both chambers on a balanced budget amendment, while creating, I think, some new incentives for past opponents of a BBA to support it,” Boehner said…. – Fox News, 7-31-11
  • Debt deal: Obama, Hill leaders break through: Facing the imminent prospect of default, the White House and congressional leaders reached a debt ceiling deal that gives President Barack Obama greater certainty in managing the Treasury’s borrowing needs while making a joint commitment to major deficit reduction without any explicit concessions by the GOP on new tax revenues.
    Obama announced the deal at 8:40 p.m. on live TV in the White House briefing room as Speaker John Boehner was simultaneously briefing his own Republican conference on the deal.
    “Is this the deal I would have preferred?” No,” Obama said. “We could have made the tough choices required on entitlement reform and tax reform right now rather than through a special congressional committee process. But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need … and ensures also that will we not face this same kind of crisis in six months or eight months or twelve months.”
    “Both parties gave more than they wanted,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in making the announcement on the Senate floor. “But that’s the essence of compromise.”
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a central player together with Vice President Joe Biden in the final talks, had been confident all of Sunday that a resolution was possible. But Boehner’s silence had remained a concern for the administration, having twice seen the Ohio Republican walk away from negotiations with the president.
    It was not until the evening that Boehner announced an 8:30 p.m. conference call with his members, and even then his staff said there had no agreement yet on a stubborn dispute over 2012 defense funding. But that issue was resolved finally when it appears the administration agreed to use a broader definition of security spending that also includes funding for Homeland Security, the State Department and foreign aid…. – Politico, 7-31-11
  • President Obama: Deal reached on debt crisis: President Barack Obama announced that an agreement with Republicans has been struck to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for $1 trillion in spending cuts over the next ten years.
    Mr. Obama said the deal will result in the lowest level of domestic spending since the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s, but still allow the U.S. to create jobs.
    Still clinging to his idea of a balanced approach, Obama said “we have to ask wealthiest Americans to give up tax breaks,” as well as make modest adjustments to entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
    The second part of the agreement reached was a previously mentioned bipartisan Congressional committee, which will report back by November with a proposal to further reduce the deficit. Their proposals will then be put in front of congress for up or down vote…. – CBS News, 7-31-11
  • Obama: Deal raises debt ceiling and reduces deficits: President Barack Obama announced Sunday an agreement with congressional leaders would extend the federal debt ceiling and reduce deficits.
    He said that, under the debt agreement reached by congressional leaders from both parties, which must still must be approved by lawmakers, a bipartisan commission would report back by November with suggested cuts and potentially revenue increases to address the nation’s budget deficit.
    “At this stage, everything will be on the table,” Obama said of this second round of cuts, which are in addition to an agreed-upon $1 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years.
    Obama said the debt reduction plan that’s been backed by congressional leaders – but that still must be approved by the House and Senate – “ensures that we will not face this kind of crisis in six months, in eight months, or in 12 months.”… – CNN, 7-31-11
  • Harry Reid Supports Debt Ceiling Compromise; Defense Cuts a Sticking Point: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesman says the majority leader has signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement “pending caucus approval,” but there’s nothing yet from Republicans.
    So, what’s the delay? There’s one last bone of contention.
    Republicans are objecting to the amount of defense spending cuts in the first year of the deal. This has nothing to do with the trigger — if further spending cuts are not enacted by Congress next year, the deal would mandate they occur. This disagreement has to do with how much of next year’s cuts will apply to defense.
    Reid is trying to put pressure on House Speaker John Boehner to give in on this last point by saying that everybody is now on board –- except for the Speaker…. – ABC News, 7-31-11

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: Senate Minority Mitch McConnell’s Statement that Republicans Agreed on a Debt Deal with White House & Democrats

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

McConnell: Framework Now Exists to Prevent Default, Cut Washington Spending

Source: McConnell Senate, 7-31-11

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement on the Senate floor Sunday on a proposed framework to prevent default and reduce Washington spending:

“This is an important moment for our country. I appreciate the Majority Leader’s comments and want to say a few words to our colleagues who have been so patient over the past several days, and whose ideas and encouragement have been so helpful in getting us to this point.

“First of all, let me reiterate that before any agreement is reached, Republicans will meet to discuss the framework that the White House and the congressional leaders in both parties think would meet our stated efforts to cut spending more than the President’s requested debt ceiling increase, prevent a national default, and protect the economy from tax increases. And to that end, I would like to say to my Republican colleagues that we’ll be holding a conference meeting in the morning to discuss this framework and give everyone a chance to weigh in.

“But at this point I think I can say with a high degree of confidence that there is now a framework to review that will ensure significant cuts in Washington spending. And we can assure the American people tonight that the United States of America will not for the first time in our history default on its obligations.”

Campaign Buzz July 2011: Republican Presidential Candidates Take on the Debt Ceiling Crisis & Negotiations & Debate on Twitter — Michele Bachmann Enters the Race — Will Texas Gov. Rick Perry Run? — Tim Pawlenty Focuses on Iowa

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Representative Michele Bachmann spoke in Waterloo, Iowa, where she lived until age 12.

STATS & POLLS

Republican Presidential Candidates: Primaries 2012 — NYT

Democratic Nominee 2012: President Barack Obama’s Official Reelection Campaign Website — BarackObama.com

Republican National Committee

Democratic National Committee

  • Gallup Poll: Election 2012 — Track GOP Contender’s Images Week by Week — Generic Ballot Gallup
  • Gallup: Presidential Job Approval Gallup
  • Gallup Daily: Obama Job Approval: Each result is based on a three-day rolling average Gallup
  • Poll Watch: Polls and Related Articles From The New York Times NYT
  • Herman Cain wins straw poll of conservatives in Denver: Cain spoke to the Western Conservative Summit moments before the poll Sunday and drew the crowd to its feet with his life story and biting criticisms of President Barack Obama. With 508 people voting, 48 percent chose Cain as their favored presidential candidate… – AP, 7-31-11
  • Republican Voters Lack Enthusiasm for Presidential Contenders, Poll Shows: Republican voters are not satisfied with the candidates running for the Republican nomination for president and wish they had more choices, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll…. – NYT, 6-29-11
  • Tea Party Leaders Look to Bachmann, Paul and Perry: An informal straw poll of attendees at a FreedomWorks training session showed little enthusiasm for Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney…. – NYT, 6-27-11
  • 6 Candidates Bid for G.O.P. Iowa Straw Poll: Six Republican presidential campaigns offered bids for the best real estate at the Aug. 13 Iowa Straw Poll…. – NYT, 6-23-11

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Mitt Romney: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts mittromney.com

Rick Perry: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts rickperry.org

Ron Paul: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ronpaul2012.com

Herman Cain: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts hermancain.com

Michele Bachmann: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts michelebachmann.com

Newt Gingrich: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts newt.org

Jon Huntsman: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts jon2012.com

Rick Santorum: Speeches & News — Full Text & Transcripts ricksantorum.com

“Governor Pawlenty said in 2006, “‘The era of small government is over.’ ‘The government has to be more proactive and more aggressive.’ That’s the same philosophy that, under President Obama, has brought us record deficits, massive unemployment and an unconstitutional health care plan.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann, 7-25-11

“Congresswoman Bachmann has her facts wrong. The truth is that there is very little difference between Governor Pawlenty and Congresswoman Bachmann on their issue positions. The difference is that when Governor Pawlenty was scoring conservative victories to cut spending, pass market-based health care reform and transform a supreme court from liberal to conservative, and was elected twice in a very blue state, Congresswoman Bachmann was giving speeches and offering failed amendments.” — Alex Conant, Tim Pawlenty spokesman, 7-25-11

“Governor Pawlenty has changed his positions in recent years, but he can’t run from his big government record as governor of Minnesota that left the state’s budget in a multibillion dollar mess. That’s not executive experience we need.” — Alice Stewart Michele Bachmann spokeswoman, 7-25-11

“This is the same president who wants to slam Americans with tax hikes to cover his reckless spending, but has threatened to veto a bill proposing a balanced budget amendment. This is the same president who hasn’t put forward a responsible plan himself, but has rejected reasonable proposals that would tackle our debt. This is the same president who still refuses to understand that the American electorate rejected his big government agenda last November…. Thank you, GOP House leaders. Please don’t get wobbly on us now. 2012 can’t come soon enough.” — Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, 7-25-11

“I can no sooner separate my public life from my values — I can’t do that. But am I going to say that if you don’t believe this particular way, you’re wrong? Far be it from me. The idea that I have an idea about who’s going to go to heaven and who’s not, I don’t. That is way above my capability.” — Gov. Rick Perry in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader, 7-25-11

“I’m going to give him an F, and I’m not going to do it with any joy in my heart. Ultimately, I love my country more than I love the Republican Party. And I want the president to succeed because I want America to succeed. But he’s not succeeding, and this is not personal.” Senator Marco Rubio of Florida in an interview for the Daily Caller with Ginni Thomas, 7-18-11.

He’s “not ready to tell you that I’m ready to announce that I’m in….. I’m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do. This is what America needs. I’ll be real honest with you, I don’t wake up in the morning – never did and still don’t today – and say, ‘Gee, I want to be president of the United States.’” — Gov. Rick Perry, the Republican governor of Texas in an interview with the Des Moines Register, 7-18-11

“The people of America are desperate for positive change, and deserving of positive change, to get us off of this wrong track,I’m not so egotistical as to believe that it has to be me, or it can only be me, to turn things around. But I do believe that I can win.” — Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska, in a new article in Newsweek, 7-11-11

Michele Bachmann’s “record of accomplishment in Congress is nonexistent. We’re not looking for folks who just have speech capabilities. We’re looking for who can lead a large enterprise in a public setting and drive it to conclusion. I have done that, she hasn’t.” — Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” 7-11-11

“Voters will have to decide who is best equipped to lead our nation by looking at our records, as well as our vision for the nation. Instead of negativity, I want to focus on my accomplishments.” — Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota in a statement reported by Politico, 7-11-11

“I was called a radical because I’ve embraced the Ryan plan. Now if you take a look at the Ryan plan, there’s some pretty good fixes and solutions here. All I can say is, guilty as charged.” — Jon Huntsman, the former governor of Utah at an event in Florida, 7-11-11

“Our numbers will not be as good as we would like, and candidly, the consultants left us in debt. But every single week since they left we’ve been cutting down the debt, and we raise more than we spend in a week. — Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House told The Los Angeles Times, 7-5-11

“What we need in Washington is someone who knows the future is not big government.” — Representative Thaddeus McCotter, Republican of Michigan, announced on Saturday that he was running for president, 7-5-11

“If the Democrats are waiting for Mitt Romney to ease up on his criticism of President Obama’s economic record, it’s simply not going to happen” — Mitt Romney spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, 7-5-11

“Are you a flake? That would be insulting to say something like that. I’m 55 years old. I’ve been married 33 years. I’m not only a lawyer, I have a post-doctorate degree in federal tax law from William & Mary. I’ve worked in serious scholarship…. Of course, a person has to be careful with what their words are. And now I will have an opportunity to speak fully.” — Chris Wallace, Michele Bachmann appearing on Fox News Sunday, 6-27-11

“I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. I wouldn’t sign a bill like the one that was in New York…. I’m huggable and lovable. I am not abrasive at all. I — listen, I’m honest. And I wish we had more of it in politics. You know what people are tired of in politics? They’re tired of blow-dried — tested answers that are given by political consultants to politicians and everybody sounds the same.” — Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” 6-27-11=

“I won’t support any candidate who does not support balancing the budget. So for me, he’s out.” — Senator Jim DeMint, Republican of South Carolina, has said presidential candidates must sign a “Cut, Cap, Balance” pledge if they wish to have his support in the Republican primary. That apparently cuts out Jon M. Huntsman Jr., the former governor of Utah, who has said that he will not sign such pledges, 6-27-11

    • What Bill Clinton thinks of GOP 2012ers: Bill Clinton thinks Mitt Romney is much improved from his last presidential run, admits he kind of likes Jon Huntsman and says Michele Bachmann is looking like “a better candidate than he thought.
      The former president went on to say that he believes President Barack Obama will win in 2012 and outlined what he believes would be a winning argument…. – Politico, 7-4-11

“I’m always reluctant to say the strongest candidates, because I’m afraid I’ll kill ’em, and I don’t have the right to do that.”
But, y’know, I like the governors: I like Huntsman and Romney. Romney’s a much better candidate than he was last time, because he’s not apologizing for signing the health care bill. He’s got another creative way of saying we oughta repeal Obamacare, but that’s prob’ly the price of gettin’ the nomination.
Huntsman hasn’t said what he’s for yet, but I just kinda like him. [laughter] He looks authentic — he looks like a real guy. [laughter] I mean, a real human being. I like his family, I like his kind of iconoclastic way. And he was a pretty good governor. And he wasn’t a right-wing ideologue.
Bachmann’s been a better candidate than I thought she’d be, and I don’t agree with her on nearly anything. But she’s got a very compelling personal story, and she gotta lot of juice, and she turns [on] a lot of those anti-government crowd.”

“He [Barack Obama] can talk about what he did do. He took steps which avoided a depression. He saved the automobile industry — by not just bailing them out but by requiring a serious restructuring. … When he took office, we had 2 percent of the global market for the electric batteries that will power the next generation of all-electric cars and hybrid vehicles. And on Jan. 1 of this year, we had 20 percent of the global market.
He’s gonna have a lot to say about America’s role in the world. He’s been very tough in fighting terrorists. Long before Mr. bin Laden was dispatched, we had redeployed and had more drone attacks on terrorists, where they were really a problem for us — the Pakistan-Afghanistan almost borderless region and in Iraq.
So I think he’ll have a good record on national security. I think he’ll have a lot of things to point to on the economy. And I think his work in education has been laudable. … He’ll be able to paint quite a [pretty] picture.”

IN FOCUS: REP. MICHELE FORMALLY ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION

Des Moines Register Iowa Poll of likely 2012 caucus participants:
Mitt Romney: 23 percent
Michele Bachmann: 22 percent
Herman Cain: 10 percent
Newt Gingrich: 7 percent
Ron Paul: 7 percent
Tim Pawlenty: 6 percent
Rick Santorum: 4 percent
Jon Huntsman: 2 percent
Margin of error: 4.9 percentage points — Poll by Selzer and Co. of Des Moines

    • FACT CHECK: Bachmann bomblets raising eyebrows: Michele Bachmann’s claim that she has “never gotten a penny” from a family farm that’s been subsidized by the government is at odds with her financial disclosure statements. They show tens of thousands in personal income from the operation. … This was among the latest examples of how the Minnesota congresswoman has become one to watch — for inaccuracies as well as rising support — in the Republican presidential race…. – AP, 6-27-11
    • Outspoken Bachmann launches White House bid: Republican Michele Bachmann officially launched her White House bid on Monday, casting herself as hard-charging conservative capable of carrying the party into the 2012 election over a crowded field of GOP rivals so far treading lightly around the tea party favorite.
      On a sun-splashed morning in the yard of an historic mansion in Waterloo, the three-term Minnesota congresswoman insisted the nation can’t afford another four years of President Barack Obama and railed against debt, joblessness and the president’s sweeping health care law. She argued that she has the appeal to capture the GOP nod and oust the Democratic president.
      “Americans agree that our country is in peril today and we must act with urgency to save it,” Bachmann told the crowd of family, friends and supporters. “And Americans aren’t interested in affiliation; they are interested in solutions, and leadership that will tell the truth. And the truth is that Americans are the solution and not the government.”… – AP, 6-27-11
    • On Michele Bachmann announcement day, a tea party nod to Rick Perry: An informal poll of tea partyers gathered for training in Washington found the strongest support for a noncandidate, Rick Perry. Michele Bachmann came in a close second…. – CS Monitor, 6-27-11
    • Two key tests for Michele Bachmann and her presidential bid: Rep. Michele Bachmann announced her presidential candidacy Monday, saying she is a ‘bold choice.’ Can she win the Iowa caucuses? And can she broaden her appeal beyond the tea party?… – CS Monitor, 6-27-11
    • Bachmann Opens Campaign as Expectations Grow: Representative Michele Bachmann’s presidential candidacy, which she formally opened here on Monday, shakes up an already unsettled Republican field and creates one of the biggest tests yet for the breadth of the Tea Party movement’s appeal.
      As she returned to her childhood home in Waterloo, where she lived until the age of 12, Mrs. Bachmann asked voters to “make a bold choice” as they weigh the Republican contenders. She presented herself as a forceful conservative, unafraid to confront the party establishment and unwilling to compromise on its principles in her quest to win the nomination to challenge President Obama.
      “I seek the presidency not for vanity,” she said, “but because America is at a crucial moment.”… – NYT, 6-28-11
    • Will Michele Bachmann’s gaffes hurt her presidential candidacy?: Flaps about Michele Bachmann’s grasp of Colonial history or movie-star birthplaces probably won’t mean a lot to many voters. But her misstatements of fact about current political history could be a problem…. – CS Monitor, 6-28-11

“You have to say that she’s a phenomenon. Usually, at this early stage, it’s only people with name recognition who register [with voters], and she’s already got that. But it has happened so fast that she’s not been fire-tested. She will be now.” — Iowa pollster J. Ann Selzer

  • Michele Bachmann’s Moment: Can She Sustain It?: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) waves to a Waterloo, Iowa, crowd as she officially announces her intent to seek the Republican presidential nomination on June 27…. – NPR, 6-27-11

IN FOCUS: GOV. BUDDY ROEMER ANNOUNCES HIS PRESIDENTIAL BID

  • Election 101: Eleven facts about Buddy Roemer and his presidential bid: Charles “Buddy” Roemer is trying to stage a comeback. After nearly two decades out of office, the four-term congressman and one-time Louisiana governor declared his candidacy for president on Thursday in New Hampshire.
    An old-fashioned, charismatic Southern pol, the thrice-married, twice-divorced candidate may be hamstrung by his negligible name recognition, constituency, and funds…. – CS Monitor, 7-21-11
  • Buddy Roemer officially kicks off W.H. campaign: Buddy Roemer formally launched his presidential campaign on Thursday, trying to cast himself as a viable reform candidate instead of the quintessential long shot.
    The former Louisiana governor detailed his “Free to Lead” campaign theme: he’s promising to limit contributions he accepts to $100 per person, swear off PAC dollars and target the influence of Big Money on politics.
    “I have deliberately chosen a path requiring the help of many because that’s the way to win and, more importantly, that’s the way to get these mighty things done after the election,” Roemer told people gathered at Dartmouth’s Hanover Inn. “Stand with me against the special interests. Spread the word. It will change.”
    Roemer, who left office in 1992 after a single term as governor and three terms in Congress, also pitched himself as an experienced leader among a field of novices without the temerity to confront the real problems facing America.
    “We’re a nation at risk. Neither the president nor any of the other candidates for this office addresses or has solutions for the major problems facing America,” Roemer said…. – Politico, 7-21-11
  • Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer makes presidential bid official: Kicking off his presidential campaign in Hanover, N.H., former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer says he may be no one, but he’s the only one ready to fight a corrupt political system.
    Roemer, who’s been out of office for 16 years, officially launched his campaign Thursday at Dartmouth College. But he already has been campaigning hard in New Hampshire, going so far as to move to Manchester recently.
    Roemer is focusing on two issues: unfair trade practices and campaign finance…. – DesMoines Register, 7-21-11
  • David Peterson: Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer makes presidential bid official: David Peterson, an associate professor of political science at Iowa State University, said Roemer is a respected politician, but he has been out of office for almost 20 years.
    “He has no name recognition, no money, no ties to key parts of the party,” Peterson said. “Some (Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney) obviously have good shots at being president, so the answer is obvious. Some (Ron Paul, Gary Johnson) are running because they have issue positions that aren’t being heard otherwise,” Peterson said. “Some are running because their political careers are over and they think that raising their profile by running can increase their speaker fees. “I have no idea what category Roemer is in.” – DesMoines Register, 7-21-11

IN FOCUS: TEA PARTY EXPRESS HOSTS FIRST EVER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL TWITTER DEBATE

Full Text Transcript: Presidential Twitter Debate, 140townhall.com

  • GOP candidates debate on Twitter: What could they say in 140 characters?: Herman Cain got 4,500 retweets and Michele Bachmann got the most @ references. Does that make them the winners of the first Twitter-based debate, held among six Republican candidates?…. – CS Monitor, 7-20-11
  • Republicans Gather (Virtually) for Twitter Debate: A handful of Republican Presidential candidates took to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon and came up with 140-character answers to a wide range of questions during the first debate to be held on Twitter for the 2012 contest.
    Sponsored by theteaparty.net on a new platform, 140TownHall.com, the candidates made their opening statements in Twitter-size bites and then answered questions from S.E. Cupp, a conservative commentator, including several inquiries from Twitter users.
    While some argue that politicians can avoid tackling tough policy questions when they only have 140 characters to explain their positions, others say the strict limit forcing brevity and eliminates opportunities to obfuscate their messages…. – NYT, 7-20-11
  • Republican presidential field participates in first-ever Twitter debate: Six Republican presidential hopefuls are participating in the first presidential debate conducted through Twitter, outlining their agendas 140 characters at a time.
    Wednesday’s debate is sponsored by TheTeaParty.net and allows people to submit questions to the presidential candidates through the popular social media service.
    The online forum includes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter and Georgia businessman Herman Cain.
    Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and Texas Rep. Ron Paul declined to participate…. – AP, WaPo, 7-20-11

THE HEADLINES: RECAP JULY 2011

    • Perry’s Legion: The Folks Behind the Man: If Gov. Rick Perry decides to seek the presidency, he will be relying heavily on an inner circle of confidants…. – NYT, 7-31-11
    • Dem group raises $5M to counter Republican ads: 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…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • Niceness aside, Huntsman finds fault with rivals: But now, as Huntsman struggles against better-known opponents, he is both subtly and directly criticizing GOP front-runner Mitt Romney as well as the Democrat who named him US ambassador to China just a few years ago, President Barack Obama. … – AP, 7-31-11
    • Perry backs a constitutional limit on marriage: Perry said the stimulus and job creation efforts of President Barack Obama haven’t worked. “I think we poured about $4 trillion down that rat hole and government has not created a job,” he said…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • Tim Pawlenty aims for strong showing in Iowa: He was at ease in the midst of a 1500-mile Iowa campaign tour, playing a pickup hockey game, joking with audiences and sticking to his pitch: Republicans need to nominate as the challenger to Democratic President Barack Obama a pragmatic, swing-state … – AP, 7-30-11
    • Huntsman praises House for debt vote, dings rivals: Huntsman, Obama’s former ambassador to China and a veteran of three GOP administrations, says Obama has failed to lead the nation and he says his Republican White House rivals stood on the sidelines during the debate…. – AP, 7-29-11
    • Pro-Democratic outside groups raised $10M: Outside fundraising groups supporting President Barack Obama and Democratic candidates raised a combined $10 million during the first six months of 2011, providing the first glimpse into how Democrats intend to compete…. – AP, 7-29-11
    • Missed Out on a Washington Job? A Second Chance Glimmers: Texas Republicans who did not go to Washington in the Bush years may unexpectedly have another chance at the brass ring if Rick Perry runs for president and wins…. – NYT, 7-29-11
    • Texas Gov. Rick Perry Recovering From Back Surgery: As he travels across the country to gather momentum and donors for a possible presidential run, Gov. Rick Perry has let nothing slow him down. Not even spinal fusion surgery…. – NYT, 7-29-11

“They’re so addicted to the spending, they spend their time debating raising the debt ceiling instead of making cuts.” — Potential Republican presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry of Texas

    • Perry stresses personal opposition to gay marriage: Potential Republican presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry of Texas repeated his personal opposition to gay marriage in a speech to conservatives in Denver Friday…. – AP, 7-29-11
    • Huntsman: ‘Conservation is conservative’: “We will be judged by how well we were stewards of those (natural) resources,” said Huntsman, a veteran of three Republican administrations who until this spring was President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China. “Conservation is conservative. … – AP, 7-28-11

“I’m running for the presidency of the United States. My husband is not running for the presidency. Neither are my children. Neither is our business. I am more than happy to stand for questions on running for the presidency of the United States. I have no doubt that every jot and tittle of my life will be fully looked at and inspected prior to November of 2012.” — Rep. Michele Bachmann

    • Bachmann says she, not husband, running for office: She said President Barack Obama has misled the American people on when the government would run out of borrowing authority and has employed “scare tactics” that have needlessly spooked Wall Street…. – AP, 7-28-11
    • Pataki says GOP field lacking debt focus: Former New York Gov. George Pataki’s comments came after a roundtable discussion with top state officials Thursday at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College. Pataki, a three-term governor, says he’s seriously thinking about a run and will make a decision very soon…. – AP, 7-28-11
    • Perry for President Announcement Expected By End of August: Advisers and elected allies of Texas Gov. Rick Perry tell Whispers that the Republican will join the crowded field of presidential hopefuls by the end of August.
      Perry’s entry will be a “game changer,” said Mark Meckler, cofounder of the Tea Party Patriots, the nation’s largest umbrella group for the movement. “It changes the equation because he has a record to run on.” That record, added Meckler, is the “Texas miracle” of growth and economic prosperity.
      Associates say two things have slowed his jump into the race. First he wasn’t planning on getting in in the first place, expecting other like-minded governors, like Indiana’s Mitch Daniels or Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, to get in, or that Newt Gingrich would take off. [See a slide show of who’s in and out for the GOP in 2012. Perry’s sponsorship of “The Response” has also delayed his entry. That event takes place August 6 in Houston…. – US News, 7-28-11
    • Romney looks past primary, campaigns against Obama: Republican front-runner Mitt Romney is focused on a match-up against President Barack Obama. “The president when he was a candidate said that he was going to take China to the mat,” the former Massachusetts governor said Wednesday…. – AP, 7-27-11
    • Huntsman building big NH team, changing tone: With a laser focus on New Hampshire, President Barack Obama’s recently departed ambassador to China is quietly assembling what may end up being the largest paid GOP primary effort in the state’s history…. – AP, 7-26-11
    • Prospect of Extended Primary Season Alarms Republican Leaders: At least a half dozen states are threatening to defy party rules and move up their primaries…. – NYT, 7-26-11
    • Pawlenty says Bachmann gets her facts on him wrong: Wrote Bachmann: “That’s the same philosophy that, under President Obama, has brought us record deficits, massive unemployment, and an unconstitutional health care plan.” She refrained from such direct criticism of Pawlenty on Monday. … – AP, 7-25-11
    • Bachmann, Pawlenty debate conservative credentials: Later Sunday, Bachmann press secretary Alice Stewart reiterated her candidate’s earlier remarks, saying, “There is very little difference between Governor Pawlenty’s past positions and Barack Obama’s positions on several critical issues…. – AP, 7-24-11
    • Pawlenty: Obama not showing courage in debt crisis: GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty says President Barack Obama is showing no courage in the debt showdown. “If you’re the leader of the free world, would you please come to microphone and quit hiding in the basement about your proposals, and come on up and address the American people? Is he chicken?” the former Minnesota governor told CNN’s “State of the Union.”… – AP, 7-24-11
    • Herman Cain’s Bigotry: Herman Cain stands out in the field of Republican presidential candidates by using religious bigotry to gain political traction…. – NYT, 7-24-11
    • Enthusiasm for Perry at Iowa Event: Supporters of Rick Perry get a generally good response in Iowa, even though he is not officially a candidate…. – NYT, 7-24-11
    • Romney Seeing Smaller Pool of Donors: Though Mitt Romney has raised more money than the other Republican presidential hopefuls, he is still hampered in efforts to formally establish front-runner status…. – NYT, 7-23-11

“In just under three months Gov. Huntsman has returned from China, launched a campaign and created a strong infrastructure in the three early primary states. Now the campaign is moving into phase two, which will be more aggressive from a messaging and tactical standpoint, and Matt is prepared to take that on.” — Jon Huntsman campaign manager Susie Wiles

    • Campaign manager for GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman resigns: Republican Jon Huntsman’s campaign manager resigned Thursday only a month after the former Utah governor launched his presidential bid, raising fresh questions about the campaign’s prospects in a crowded GOP field.
      The campaign has struggled to gain traction, ranking in the single digits in early national polls as well as in surveys in early nominating states.
      Huntsman’s campaign said in a statement that campaign manager Susie Wiles would be replaced by Matt David, who had served as the campaign’s communications director. John Weaver, a senior Huntsman adviser, said Wiles was “vital in getting (the campaign) off the ground in such a short time-frame.”… – AP, 7-21-11
    • Huntsman’s Campaign Manager Resigns: Jon M. Huntsman Jr.’s campaign manager, Susie Wiles, has left the campaign and will be replaced by Matt David, the communications director…. – NYT, 7-21-11
    • Huntsman’s campaign manager resigns: Huntsman, who served as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China, opened his presidential campaign in June with a high-profile announcement at the same northern New Jersey park where Ronald Reagan launched his 1980 presidential run, with the Statue Liberty…. – AP, 7-21-11
    • As Rivals Stir, Romney Sticks to Playing It Safe: As the Republican presidential campaign intensifies, Mitt Romney’s determinedly low-key approach could be fraught with peril…. – NYT, 7-21-11
    • GOP presidential candidates join Twitter debate: You think presidential debates are challenging? Try limiting your answers to 140 characters.
      Six Republican presidential hopefuls traded tweets in the first presidential debate conducted through Twitter on Wednesday, outlining their agendas across the popular social media service…. – AP, 7-20-11
    • Iowa GOP straw poll means more to some than others: But Pawlenty, who says his campaign is more about substance than spitfire, has ratcheted up his tone lately, especially when challenging President Barack Obama. “He was in the United States Senate long enough to have a cup of coffee before it got cold.”… – AP, 7-20-11

“I’m not sure anybody can bridge both camps, but Perry has a chance” — Republican consultant Rich Galen

  • Analysis: Perry candidacy would reshape 2012 race: The likely entrance of Texas Governor Rick Perry in the 2012 Republican White House race promises to dramatically reshape the field, pushing aside lesser contenders and threatening early leader Mitt Romney.
    Perry, who last week said he felt “called” to a presidential run, is a staunch conservative with a Washington outsider’s political resume and a pro-business record of job growth during more than a decade as chief executive in Texas.
    A Perry candidacy could steal support from conservative Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann, replacing her as Romney’s top rival and potentially narrowing the gap between the party’s establishment center and right-wing activists…. – Reuters, 7-21-11
  • Perry courts potential fundraisers at LA meeting: Texas Gov. Rick Perry met privately Wednesday with potential fundraisers in Los Angeles as he neared a decision on whether to enter the 2012 presidential race…. – AP, 7-20-11
  • Republicans Are Signing Away the Right to Govern: Republican candidates are signing pledges that undermine the basic principle of a democratic government…. – NYT, 7-19-11
  • Christie’s answer to White House bid remains ‘no’: The first-term governor and GOP favorite continues to be talked about as a possible challenger to President Barack Obama, but his answer has consistently been “no.” Christie met with Langone and the others in Manhattan…. – AP, 7-19-11
  • Perry Eyes Religious Voters: Gov. Rick Perry has promoted his economic record in Texas, but if he runs for president, it is clear that he plans to appeal to social conservatives…. – NYT, 7-19-11
  • Rick Perry’s most rapt audience: Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney: A Perry candidacy for the 2012 GOP nomination could be devastating for conservative rival Michele Bachmann. Rick Perry would also be a bigger threat than Bachmann to moderate Mitt Romney…. – CS Monitor, 7-18-11
  • Is Obama Against Romney a Toss-Up?: Approached with sufficient caution, head-to-head polls can probably provide some insight as to how different types of Republican candidates would fare against President Obama…. – NYT, 7-19-11
  • Obama vs. Romney, an Early Skirmish: Two advisers do battle over economic policy via Twitter…. – NYT, 7-19-11
  • RNC raises $19 million, still owes $17.5 million: The RNC’s goal is to build up a fund to give to the party’s eventual presidential nominee who will face President Barack Obama and his deep- pocketed re-election campaign. The Democratic National Committee raised $38 million in the same April-to-June … – AP, 7-18-11
  • G.O.P. Chairman Questions Legality of Obama Campaign Video: Reince Priebus called for an investigation into whether the president broke the law by filming a fund-raising video in the White House…. – NYT, 7-18-11
  • GOP-leaning group targets House Democrats with ads: The ads target lawmakers on tax and spending issues and for their support of President Barack Obama’s policies, including the stimulus package passed in 2009. Crossroads is spending $1.4 million on the campaign, or a little more than $100000 per … – AP, 7-17-11
  • Obama Has Early Fund-Raising Lead for 2012 Elections: President Obama recruited about 150 new elite donors, who raised as much as a half a million dollars each…. – NYT, 7-17-11
  • Bachmann Off to Fast Start on Funds, but Plays Catch-Up: President Obama and Mitt Romney enjoy a big advantage in the size of their war chests for next year’s presidential race…. – NYT, 7-16-11
  • Obama releases names of top fundraisers: President Barack Obama’s campaign team has signed up an early wave of elite fundraisers who have collected at least $34.95 million combined since April, helping bankroll the president’s re-election bid…. – AP, 7-15-11
  • Pawlenty Filing Shows Money Raised Close to Home: Tim Pawlenty’s campaign filing on Friday suggests that he has has struggled to raise money nationwide…. – NYT, 7-15-11
  • Pawlenty Raises $4.5 Million for Race: Tim Pawlenty, the first to declare his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, will report raising $4.5 million when fund-raising numbers are due Friday…. – NYT, 7-15-11
  • Liberal group threatens to pull Obama support: A liberal group upset over potential cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security delivered pledges Friday to President Barack Obama’s national campaign headquarters threatening to pull its support…. – AP, 7-15-11
  • Obama Raises $47 Million for Campaign: The $86 million total breaks a record for a joint effort by a president and his party…. – NYT, 7-14-11
  • Palin to decide on White House bid by late summer: Palin told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Wednesday night that she thinks she could win a campaign against President Barack Obama, a sentiment first reported in a Newsweek cover story. Palin says she would campaign for a candidate with “good executive … – AP, 7-13-11
  • Obama Campaign Reports Big Fund-Raising Quarter: President Obama raised more than $86 million for his reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee in the last three months…. – NYT, 7-13-11
  • What Obama’s Numbers Don’t Tell Us: There’s much that will not be clear about President Obama’s fund-raising numbers until he files his formal paperwork to the Federal Election Commission some time before midnight on Friday…. – NYT, 7-13-11
  • Pawlenty’s Playbook for Skipping Marriage Pledge: The former governor of Minnesota on Wednesday offered a textbook, three-step process that he hopes will lessen the impact of his decision not to sign on to the Family Leader Marriage Pledge…. – NYT, 7-13-11
  • Herman Cain Can Sing!: Turns out, Herman Cain has a pretty good singing voice…. – NYT, 7-12-11
  • Presidential Candidates Warn About Debt Deal: As Republican leaders negotiate over the federal debt limit, the candidates are campaigning against an outcome that involves compromise…. – NYT, 7-10-11
  • Pawlenty Campaign Puts Hopes on Iowa: Tim Pawlenty’s path has been complicated by new faces, an unruly nominating contest and a handful of missteps…. – NYT, 7-10-11
  • Debt Deal Could Rewrite 2012 Political Calculus: A grand bargain that plays to the political center could reset the electoral playing field…. – NYT, 7-8-11
  • Pawlenty Runs on a Homespun Tale: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty brings a biographical peculiarity to his quest for the White House. Were he to win, he’d be the first president who had never lived outside his home state…. – WSJ, 7-7-11
  • Bachmann Says ‘No’ to Debt Limit Increase in First Ad: Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota released her first presidential television ad in Iowa, declaring that she will not vote to increase the nation’s debt ceiling…. – NYT, 7-7-11
  • Presidential election: Mitt Romney top GOP fundraiser, but behind 2007 pace: Mitt Romney took in more campaign funds than any other Republican during the second quarter of 2011, but not as much as he raised during the same period in the presidential election four years ago…. – CS Monitor, 7-6-11
  • Huntsman Stays on Message: Jon M. Huntsman Jr. campaigned in New Hampshire and kept his promise to keep it civil…. – NYT, 7-5-11
  • Thaddeus McCotter launches campaign for GOP presidential nomination: Thaddeus McCotter, a Livonia congressman, announced to a Michigan rock festival crowd Saturday he’s seeking the Republican nomination for president, saying the future of the country is not big government but self government.
    Joined on stage with his wife and two children (a third was at work — something, he said, all Americans should have the opportunity to do), McCotter laid out his principles of liberty, sovereignty, security and prosperity to a festival crowd of more than 400 people who were unsure about his presidential chances…. – The Detroit News, 7-5-11
  • Thaddeus McCotter jumps into presidential race. Thaddeus who?: US Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan says he’s running for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. His biggest challenge is name recognition…. – CS Monitor, 7-5-11
  • Gov. Rick Perry Breaks With His Former Patron, George W. Bush: Gov. Rick Perry’s criticisms of George W. Bush expose a long rivalry and the Republican Party’s rightward drift…. – NYT, 7-6-11
  • Gingrich Marches, Philosophically: Newt Gingrich, who has spent the last month trying to reassure supporters and donors that his campaign is alive and well, spent the Fourth of July campaigning…. – NYT, 7-5-11
  • Will Rick Perry join the presidential race?: Supporters are urging Texas Gov. Rick Perry to seek the GOP nomination for the 2012 presidential race. He’s fueled speculation by making high-profile appearances around the country…. – CS Monitor, 7-2-11
  • G.O.P. Candidates’ Fund-Raising Starts Slowly: The struggling economy and the absence of a clear front-runner might be taking a toll on campaign contributions…. – NYT, 7-1-11
  • Romney Blasts Obama as ‘a Failure’ on the Economy: Mitt Romney made a campaign stop outside a shuttered steel plant in Allentown, Pa., blaming its closing on the president’s economic policies…. – NYT, 7-1-11
  • Romney Video Attacks Obama on Stimulus and Economy: Mitt Romney visits a manufacturing plant that the economic stimulus plan did not save…. – NYT, 6-29-11
  • 2012 Republicans Ignore Each Other, for Now: The odd truth about this primary is that there really isn’t one yet, in contrast to this time four years ago…. – NYT, 6-29-11
  • Campaign Heats Up in Iowa as Obama and Republicans Call: President Obama returned to Iowa, the state that set him on a course to the White House, visiting an aluminum factory as Republicans criticized his economic and health care policies…. – NYT, 6-29-11
  • GOP 2012 race: Does it boil down to ‘purity’ vs. electability?: If the moderate Mitt Romney gets the nomination in the GOP 2012 race, the question is whether he could marshall the tea party movement’s energy…. – CS Monitor, 6-28-11
  • Running Against Bachmann Poses Challenges for Male Rivals: For the second time in four years, American voters will watch as a mostly male field engages, sometimes awkwardly and sometimes gingerly, with a female presidential candidate…. – NYT, 6-28-11
  • Michele Bachmann Opens Campaign as Expectations Grow: Michele Bachmann’s presidential candidacy, which she formally opened in Iowa on Monday, shakes up an already unsettled Republican field and tests the broader appeal of the Tea Party movement…. – NYT, 6-28-11
  • Will Romney Begin Attacking Bachmann Now?: Based on his experience with Mike Huckabee in 2007, could Mitt Romney wind up regretting not dealing with Michele Bachmann when he had the chance?… – NYT, 6-27-11
  • Bachmann Readies Presidential Campaign: Michelle Bachmann holds a rally in advance of announcing officially that she is running for president…. – NYT, 6-26-11

CAMPAIGN 2012: ANALYSTS &S HISTORIANS COMMENTS

  • Politico Arena: Daily Debate with Policymakers, Opinionshapers & Academics Politico
  • Christopher Arterton: Analysis: Can Romney capitalize on weak jobs numbers?: “It (the poor jobless report) makes Obama look vulnerable and therefore within the Republican party they get more serious about putting up a serious contender,” said Christopher Arterton, a political scientist at George Washington University who has consulted for Democratic candidates. “Romney has a flavor of being a serious contender and somewhat more moderate,” he said…. – Reuters, 7-8-11
  • Julian Zelizer: Analysis: Can Romney capitalize on weak jobs numbers?: “This is Obama’s greatest vulnerability. It’s his losing war, the economy and unemployment,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor at Princeton University….
    “Republicans really don’t have their alternative — including Romney — to what the president has done,” Zelizer said. “Budget cuts are popular, but I don’t think they are enough of an answer,” he said. “People see jobs going to other countries. I don’t see how cutting Social Security is going to solve that problem,” he said of the retirement program…. – Reuters, 7-8-11
  • Richard Eichenberg: Analysis: Can Romney capitalize on weak jobs numbers?: “Candidate qualities do play a role,” said Richard Eichenberg, a political scientist at Tufts University which is near Boston, noting the former Massachusetts governor’s difficulties connecting with voters.
    “The Democrats will challenge Romney’s credentials as an economic steward, primarily because of his experience as a venture capitalist,” Eichenberg said…. – Reuters, 7-8-11
  • Will Rick Perry join the presidential race?: Supporters are urging Texas Gov. Rick Perry to seek the GOP nomination for the 2012 presidential race. He’s fueled speculation by making high-profile appearances around the country.
    “Thompson didn’t want to run that hard, and he wasn’t the best candidate,” says Julian Zelizer, a presidential historian at Princeton University. General Clark had never run for office before, and “was kind of an eclectic choice.”… – CS Monitor, 7-2-11

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Backs Debt Deal — Senate Vote Sunday Evening

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) speaks to reporters as he leaves after meeting with House Democratic leadership on the debt ceiling crises on Capitol Hill in Washington July 31, 2011. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

JULY 31, 2011: HARRY REID BACKS DEBT DEAL, SENATE VOTE SUNDAY EVENING

“Senator Reid has signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement pending caucus approval.” — Harry Reid Spokesman Adam Jentleson

“I’ve had, for the information of senators, a number of conversations in the last hour with people downtown – and the arrangement that is being worked on with the Republican leader and the administration and others is not there yet…. We’re hopeful and confident it can be done. As soon as it is done, I’ll let my caucus know.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Reid says hopes to hold Senate debt vote tonight: Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on Sunday he hopes to hold a Senate vote tonight on an emerging deal to raise the U.S. debt ceiling.
Asked if the Senate would vote tonight on the plan, Reid said “we hope to” as he left a meeting with other congressional Democratic leaders… – Reuters, 7-31-11

 

  • Reid says he has signed onto a debt ceiling deal: The Senate’s top Democrat said Sunday that he has signed onto a debt ceiling deal with President Barack Obama and Republican leaders, pending approval of his caucus.
    The statement from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, was the first confirmation of a pending deal after legislative leaders dropped hints all day that an agreement was close… – CNN, 7-31-11
  • Reid Backs Debt Deal and Hopes for Sunday Night Debt Vote: 5:29 p.m. | Updated A spokesman for Senator Harry Reid said the Senate majority leader has “signed off on the debt-ceiling agreement pending caucus approval.”
    Mr. Reid, a Nevada Democrat, also raised the possibility that his chamber might vote as early as Sunday night on a yet-to-be-announced debt ceiling compromise designed to avert a potential economic crisis this week. When he emerged from a two-hour meeting with other Democratic lawmakers and was asked whether the Senate would vote on a deal Sunday.
    “I hope so,” he told a swarm of reporters.
    A Sunday vote seemed unlikely just a few hours earlier as top lawmakers and the White House continued to work behind closed doors to finalize a debt agreement that would cut spending by more than $2.5 trillion and raise the debt ceiling into 2013…. – NYT, 7-31-11
  • Amid New Talks, Some Optimism on Debt Crisis: New budget talks between top Congressional Republicans and President Obama made progress late Saturday, suddenly stirring optimism that a last-minute deal could be reached to avert a potential federal default that threatened significant economic and political consequences.
    After a tense day of Congressional floor fights and angry exchanges, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, called off a planned showdown vote set for after midnight, but said he would convene the Senate at noon on Sunday for a vote an hour later. He said he wanted to give the new negotiations a chance to produce a plan to raise the federal debt limit in exchange for spending cuts and the creation of a new Congressional committee that would try to assemble a long-range deficit-cutting proposal.
    “There are many elements to be finalized and there is still a distance to go before an arrangement can be completed,” said Mr. Reid, who just a few hours earlier had played down talk of any agreement. “But I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work.”
    Mr. Reid’s announcement set off an almost audible sigh of relief on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers and their aides had been bracing for an overnight clash over the debt following a day that had seen a heated House vote and lawmakers trudging from office to office in search of an answer to the impasse…. – NYT, 7-31-11
  • White House, GOP race toward debt compromise: Just two days before the federal government’s Aug. 2 deadline to avoid economic default, lawmakers and White House negotiators are scrambling to hammer out an agreement for raising the debt ceiling – but despite talk of an impending deal, leading Democrats say they’re “not there yet.”
    Just minutes after Senate Republicans voted to block Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Democratic bill to raise the nation’s borrowing limit on Sunday, lawmakers turned their focus to ongoing negotiations between President Obama and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who are working on a deal that would extend the debt limit through 2012 and cut up to $3 trillion in spending during the next 10 years.
    That deal proposes $3 trillion in cuts that would come in two waves. The first wave would include $1 trillion in reductions. A bipartisan “super congressional committee” would then need to determine the second round of cuts by Thanksgiving of 2011. If Congress failed to agree on that second round of cuts, automatic “trigger” cuts would be made.
    McConnell said Sunday afternoon that negotiators were “really, really close to an agreement,” but leading Democrats maintain that the deal is “not there yet.”… – CBS News, 7-31-11
  • ‘Really close’ to debt deal as deadline nears: 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. Yet he and others stressed that no compromise had been sealed, just two days before a deadline to raise the federal debt limit and enable the government to keep paying its bills.
    As contemplated under a deal that McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden were negotiating, the federal debt limit would rise in two stages by at least $2.2 trillion, enough to tide the Treasury over until after the 2012 elections…. – AP, 7-31-11
  • Political left and right decry debt-ceiling deal: Signs are emerging that a possible compromise to raise the debt ceiling doesn’t pass muster with those on the political left or right…. – USA Today, 7-31-11

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: Debt Talks Continue — Debt Deal Between Obama White House & Mitch McConnell, Republicans Leaders “Really, Really, Close” — Senate Republicans Vote Down Harry Reid’s Debt Bill 50-49

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Philip Scott Andrews/The New York Times

Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky walked to the Senate floor on Sunday.

JULY 31, 2011: DEBT TALKS CONTINUE — DEBT DEAL BETWEEN MITCH MCCONNELL, REPUBLICAN LEADERS & WHITE HOUSE CLOSE AT HAND — SENATE REPUBLICAN’S DEFEAT HARRY REID’S DEBT BILL

Harry Reid’s debt deal defeated: As expected, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s deal to raise the debt ceiling by $2.2 trillion was defeated in the Senate on Sunday afternoon.
But Senate leaders and the White House continued on Sunday to craft the outlines of a deal to avoid default on Aug. 2 that seemed to be gaining momentum.

Senate Blocks Reid’s Debt Ceiling Bill: As last-ditch budget talks between top Congressional Republicans and President Obama continued on Sunday, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, convened the Senate at noon, then moved to a symbolic procedural vote on his own proposal for raising the debt ceiling. Senate Republicans have been filibustering that plan, which House Republicans rejected on Saturday, and the procedural vote on breaking the filibuster fell 10 votes short of the 60 votes needed under Senate rules…. – NYT, 7-31-11

“I believe there will be a strong bipartisan support for this. Again, this deal has not been finalized yet, but I think we’re very, very close to something that I could comfortably recommend to my members, and I believe the Democratic leadership will be doing the same…. I’m sure there will be both Democrats and Republicans who in the end find the agreement wanting in one way or another…. My party controls only a portion of government. There’s only so much you can achieve when you don’t have the leverage of power.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday morning

“There are still elements to be resolved…. We are cautiously optimistic.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

“The enforcement mechanism has to be strong enough to compel both parties. We’re talking about a variety of options.” — White House political adviser David Plouffe, on ABC’s “This Week.”

“We haven’t even seen it yet. (Senate Majority Leader Harry) Reid and Democrats in the Senate have not signed off on this deal. We don’t even know what all the details are. So we’re not yet ready to try and urge anybody to be for it…. The key with the trigger is one word: Equality. It should be equally tough on Democrats and Republicans.” — Senator Chuck Schumer

“Discussions are underway on legislation that will cut government spending more than it increases the debt limit, and advance the cause of the balanced budget amendment, without job-killing tax hikes. Those talks are moving in the right direction, but serious issues remain. And no agreement will be final until members have a chance to weigh in. I would expect a conference call for members later this afternoon.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner email to House Republicans

“Discussions are moving in the right direction, but serious issues remain. And no agreement will be final until members have a chance to weigh in.” — A House Republican leadership aide

  • SNAPSHOT-U.S. lawmakers close to deal on debt: Here is what is happening on Sunday as lawmakers and the White House race to broker a deal to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion borrowing cap by Tuesday’s deadline and avoid default on obligations…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
  • FACTBOX-Key elements of possible U.S. debt deal: U.S. lawmakers were working furiously on Sunday to hammer out details of a deal to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and put in place a deficit-reduction plan to help avert a potentially catastrophic debt default.
    Lawmakers, administration officials and aides have made clear that they have yet to agree on the final deal. But they did provide the following details of how the deal is taking shape…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
  • Reid: ‘cautiously optimistic’ on US debt deal: U.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said on Sunday he was “cautiously optimistic” that Congress can reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling, but several issues still must be settled.
    “We are cautiously optimistic. There are a number of issues that need to be resolved,” Reid said in remarks on the Senate floor…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
  • Reid: ‘We still have a ways to go’: Reporters caught Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid walking from his office to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office on the House side. His message: There’s not a deal yet, but getting one before the Aug. 2 deadline is in sight.
    “We don’t have the content of what the trigger would be,” he said. “We have a few things we’re still working on and there simply not done yet.”
    When asked if he’s closer to a deal, Reid replied, “Well, closer than yesterday, but we still have a ways to go.”… – MSNBC, 7-31-11
  • Senators Hold Out Hope for Debt Measure Compromise: For once in the long debate on lifting the nation’s debt ceiling, Democrats and Republicans are talking about progress finding a compromise. The Senate is expected to vote on a measure Sunday that would lift the ceiling while calling for $3 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years…. – Portfolio, 7-31-11
  • McConnell: Boehner, Obama ‘wasted’ a week: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took a little swipe Sunday at House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Barack Obama, charging they both “wasted” a week by chucking bombs at each other. “We kind of wasted a week throwing volleys at each other across the Capitol,” McConnell said on “Fox News Sunday.” The deal, he says, was essentially at hand a week ago… – Politico, 7-31-11
  • ‘Really close’ to debt deal as deadline nears: 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. Yet he and others stressed that no compromise had been sealed, just two days before a deadline to raise the federal debt limit and enable the government to keep paying its bills.
    As contemplated under a deal that McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden were negotiating, the federal debt limit would rise in two stages by at least $2.2 trillion, enough to tide the Treasury over until after the 2012 elections…. – AP, 7-31-11
  • Senate Blocks Reid’s Debt Ceiling Plan; Talks Continue: Last-ditch budget talks between top Congressional Republicans and President Obama continued on Sunday, as the top Senate Republican and Democrat both expressed optimism that a $3 trillion deal could be reached to avert the economic and political calamity of a potential federal default.
    But without a compromise in hand, the divided Senate could not break a filibuster and went wearily into recess while the leaders resumed their search for something that could pass.
    Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, had convened the Senate at noon, then moved to a procedural vote on his own proposal for raising the debt ceiling. Senate Republicans had been filibustering that plan, which House Republicans rejected on Saturday, and the vote on breaking the filibuster fell 10 votes short of the 60 votes needed under Senate rules. Even so, Mr. Reid said before the cloture vote that he was “cautiously optimistic” that an agreement could be reached today that would make it possible for the Senate to amend his bill and gain bipartisan approval in both chambers…. – NYT, 7-31-11
  • Senate Defeats Reid Plan; Leaders Work to Finalize Deal Today: After the Senate voted this afternoon to defeat Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to increase the debt limit, Congressional leaders and staff are continuing to work out the final details of a bipartisan agreement to raise the debt ceiling that can pass through Congress before a lurking financial crisis is fully upon the country.
    The Senate voted largely down party lines to block legislation proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., that would raise the debt limit by $2.4 trillion and cut spending by $2.4 trillion. The House voted Saturday afternoon to defeat legislation crafted after the Reid bill’s language.
    The cloture vote to end a GOP filibuster failed 50-49 and required 60 votes to pass. Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts was the only Senate Republican to vote with the Democrats…. – ABC News, 7-31-11
  • Senate Negotiators Scramble to Finalize Debt Deal After Reid Bill Tanks: Senate leaders scrambled to finalize an emerging compromise on the debt ceiling Sunday, with pressure building to produce a bill that can somehow sail through both chambers in the next two days.
    Congress is running out of time for do-overs, with lawmakers facing an Aug. 2 deadline to either raise the debt cap or face the possibility of default.
    The Senate, after voting against House Republicans’ proposal Friday night, effectively killed Democratic Leader Harry Reid’s counterproposal Sunday afternoon. Sixty votes were required to advance the proposal, and it fell far short in a 50-49 roll call. While the test vote was expected to fail, the outcome stressed how important it is for the latest round of talks to produce a viable alternative.
    Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said talks are proceeding at a furious pace, with Vice President Biden deeply involved…. – Fox News, 7-31-11
  • Senate conservatives say they don’t plan to delay consideration of debt-limit deal: 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.
    But conservatives, including members of the Tea Party Caucus, say they do not plan to blow up the floor proceedings in protest of a deal that does not include passage of a balanced budget amendment… – The Hill, 7-31-11
  • Griping begins as debt deal specifics emerge: Members of Congress from both parties fear their leaders may have conceded too much ground in an emerging deal to raise the debt ceiling, a sign of how difficult it’ll be for a sweeping plan to be signed into law before the government begins to default on its debt later this week…. – Politico, 7-31-11
  • Outcry From the Left Precedes Debt Deal: Liberals began tearing into President Obama and Democrats on Sunday, accusing them of caving to Republican demands even before final details of a debt ceiling agreement have been announced…. – NYT, 7-31-11
  • Senate shelves Reid bill as final debt-ceiling plan comes into focus: The Senate floor during a procedural vote on a Democratic plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
    The Senate failed to advance debt-ceiling legislation moved by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, even as lawmakers say progress is being made on a final agreement that they hope can pass before the Aug. 2 deadline to avoid a federal default.
    The vote, initially planned for late Saturday, ultimately proved inconsequential, with leaders working to agree on terms of a new plan. The Senate could return to vote on it Sunday evening if an agreement is reached.
    “We’re cautiously optimistic,” Reid said earlier of talks with his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. But he added: “As we know, one problem can stop the whole agreement from going forward.”
    Reid said he’s also spoken with Vice President Joe Biden, who is playing a key role in the frenetic final days before the nation could lose the authority to continue borrowing money to pay its bills…. – LAT, 7-31-11
  • Debt Deal Appears to Be At Hand: 1:40 p.m. ET | The Senate blocked a final vote on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s original debt limit bill Sunday afternoon, while negotiations over a final deal continue among congressional leaders and the White House.
    Sen. Reid’s bill will be used as the legislative vehicle to enact whatever deal might be reached. Reid said he was confident a deal could be reached, but that it was not done yet.
    The measure needed 60 votes to proceed, but the vote was 50 to 49.
    11:05 a.m. ET update from David Chalian | A deal between President Obama and bipartisan congressional leaders on raising the nation’s debt limit and averting the risk of default appears to be at hand.
    According to congressional leaders of both parties and senior White House officials, the finishing touches on an agreement to reduce the deficit and raise the debt ceiling before a Tuesday deadline are being hammered out Sunday morning with an expected agreement slated to receive a vote in the Senate in the afternoon…. – PBS Newshour, 7-31-11
  • Compromise Debt Deal in Sight: With the risk of a government default less than three days away, congressional leaders on Sunday said they were getting closer to a deal that raises the government’s borrowing limit and resolves the federal debt crisis.
    “I can pretty confidently say this debt-ceiling increase will avoid default,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said Sunday on CNN.
    The White House and congressional leaders are scrambling to agree on a deal before Aug. 2 to raise the U.S. federal borrowing limit. Follow developments in Washington and reaction globally here.
    Sen. Charles Schumer, a top Democrat from New York, also speaking on CNN, said there was no “final agreement” but that default was “far less of a possibility now than it was even a day ago.” He added, “If there’s a word right here that would sum up the mood, it’s ‘relief.’ “
    Washington leaders face a Tuesday deadline by which the nation’s $14.29 trillion borrowing limit needs to be increased so the government can meet its financial obligations.
    The framework emerging over the weekend likely would allow an immediate increase to the debt ceiling, lasting through the end of 2011, accompanied by government spending reductions of roughly $1 trillion over 10 years.
    To get through 2012, Congress would form a special committee made up of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans to negotiate up to $2 trillion in additional cuts as part of a package containing a further debt-ceiling increase…. – WSJ, 7-31-11
  • Debt-limit agreement begins to take shape: Senate leaders said Sunday that they are nearing agreement on a debt-limit increase of up to $3 trillion that would include many of the ideas both Democrats and Republicans have floated in recent weeks to try to rein in future spending.
    “There is no agreement that has been made, but we’re optimistic one can be,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said on the chamber floor as he opened up a rare Sunday session.
    He said there are plenty of outstanding issues, but he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the outlines include a multi-step, long-term debt increase of about $3 trillion, a vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and a special committee to propose future deficit reduction.
    That committee’s report would come to both chambers under expedited rules that would ensure a vote…. – Washington Times, 7-31-11
  • Debt Limit Agreement ‘Very Close’ to Coming Together: President Obama and congressional leaders are “very close” to reaching a compromise to raise the nation’s debt limit before the August 2 deadline.
    “We’re very close” to a debt limit deal, said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
    The sticking points in negotiations were over tax increases. Republicans would not support a bill that had tax increases, or revenue increases eliminating tax deductions. Democrats would not support a bill that did not include revenue increases. Democrats also said they would not support a bill that made cuts to entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security). President Obama wanted a debt limit increase large enough that it would not have to be increased again until after the 2012 elections. Tea Party Republicans said they wanted Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment before the debt ceiling was increased.
    The compromise that is reportedly being worked on would give Republicans what they want (no tax increases), Democrats what they want (no cuts to entitlements), and Obama what he wants (a limit that will last past 2012)…. – Christian Post, 7-31-11
  • McConnell: “Very close” on deal to avoid default: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Sunday that Republicans and White House negotiators were “very close” to a deal on raising the debt ceiling and that an agreement that would prevent the nation from defaulting on its loans was “just within our reach.”
    In an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” McConnell expressed confidence that Congress and the White House could reach a compromise before the Tuesday’s deadline and that “we’ll avoid default, avoid raising taxes and begin to get the government’s house in order by dealing with our biggest problem, which is that we’ve been spending entirely too much.” “We’ve come a long way,” he told CBS’ Bob Schieffer.
    Republicans and Democrats are negotiating a deal that would extend the debt limit through 2012 and cut up to $3 trillion in spending over the next 10 years…. – CBS News, 7-31-11
  • Reid: Cautiously optimistic on debt limit deal: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he’s cautiously optimistic that President Barack Obama and congressional lawmakers will come to a deal on raising the debt limit. But the Nevada Democrat emphasizes that no agreement has been reached.
    Reid’s Republican counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell, also says that negotiators are close to an agreement.
    The Senate takes a test vote at 1 p.m. Sunday to move the debate forward…. – AP, 7-31-11
  • Debt Deal ‘Near’; Members Still to be Consulted: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives on Capitol Hill for a postponed vote on the debt ceiling on July 31, 2011 in Washington, D.C.
    Under the threat of a catastrophic U.S. default in three days, congressional leaders and the White House neared agreement Sunday on a plan to lift the debt ceiling and slash $2.8 trillion from the federal deficit in two stages.
    With a final deal expected to be in place as early as Sunday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said negotiators are “very, very close” to a deal. Both McConnell and a House GOP leadership aide warned that any agreement will need to be run by members first. Republican members of the Senate were set to meet in the early afternoon…. National Journal, 7-31-11
  • Debt deal still has ‘serious issues,’ says John Boehner: Speaker John Boehner emailed his House Republican colleagues Sunday afternoon acknowledging momentum in negotiations with the White House over a deficit reduction package, but we warned that “serious issues remain.” The Ohio Republican told lawmakers to expect a conference call Sunday afternoon.
    “Discussions are underway on legislation that will cut government spending more than it increases the debt limit, and advance the cause of the balanced budget amendment, without job-killing tax hikes. Those talks are moving in the right direction, but serious issues remain. And no agreement will be final until members have a chance to weigh in. I would expect a conference call for members later this afternoon,” the email to House Republicans read.
    Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) kept the House in session this weekend, with lawmakers staying in Washington awaiting a deal. The House was in on Saturday, and is in a pro forma session Sunday with no votes. The message from Boehner indicates that he will unveil the framework of some compromise this afternoon. It’s also the first indication from Republican leadership that a deal is in the offing…. – Politico, 7-31-11
  • Senate GOP votes to watch in debt-limit drama: Getting any kind of deal to raise the debt limit in the Senate is tricky because 60 votes are needed to break logjams.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., controls 53 votes: 51 Democratic senators and independents Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has 47 GOP senators in his caucus.
    There are at least two groups — moderates and Tea Party supporters — within the Senate GOP to watch as the drama over raising the debt limit continues to unfold:
    Moderates: Sens. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine declined on Saturday to sign a letter opposing Reid’s plan to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion in borrowing authority. Brown and Snowe are facing potentially tough re-election fights in 2012…. USA Today, 7-31-11
  • White House: “We don’t have a deal” on debt bill: A top White House official says “we don’t have a deal” between President Obama and Republicans in Congress to avoid a crippling default.
    But senior White House adviser David Plouffe tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that both sides are generally in agreement on an emerging package that would cut the deficit in two stages, with key details still being worked out.
    Plouffe suggests that negotiations are still focused on how to compel Congress to approve a deficit-cutting plan of tax and entitlement reform later this year.
    Mr. Obama is adamant that the nation’s debt limit be extended into 2013 without being tied to that vote. Republicans want the debt limit to be the “trigger” to force Congress to act…. – CBS News, 7-31-11
  • House Republican to Obama: Stop Tweeting About the Debt Ceiling: A top House Republican mocked President Obama for trying to leverage his Twitter bully pulpit to pressure Congress into approving a debt-limit deal.
    The president took directly to Twitter on Friday to urge followers to inundate Congress with calls for a bipartisan compromise. The plan may have backfired — while some followers indeed voiced their concerns to Congress, tens of thousands cut ties with the president’s Twitter account after being inundated with his messages,
    Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the House Republican whip, urged the president to take a different approach.
    “You cannot be the leader of the free world and sit on the sidelines and tweet and think you’re going to get the job done,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” …
    “We have been out front negotiating, “McCarthy said…. – Fox News, 7-31-11
  • Senate debt vote delayed, but Harry Reid optimistic: A vote is set for around midday Sunday, as the Senate majority leader speaks of a ‘move toward cooperation and compromise.’… – LAT, 7-31-11

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Statement on the Senate Floor asks Repubicans to Compromise — As Mitch McConnell Claims Deal with Obama White House is Close at Hand

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Reid: Compromise Is The Only Path Forward

Those Who Have Said They Will Never Compromise on Any Terms Should Think About Who Their Stubbornness Will Hurt


Source: Reid.Senate.gov, 7-31-11

July 31, 2011

Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding what is at stake with a default. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“As the clock ticks down to August 2, I want to remind everyone within the sound of my voice what is at stake in this debate.

This very moment, millions of Americans seniors worry that their next Social Security check might not come on Wednesday.

Middle-class families wonder whether their retirement accounts will be wiped out by an economic collapse brought on by a default on this nation’s debt.

And active duty military personnel – including many who are risking their lives for our great nation – worry whether they will receive their paychecks.

The Associated Press reported that Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited with troops serving in Afghanistan yesterday. And the soldiers Admiral Mullen talked to weren’t asking about military strategy or how a troop drawdown in Afghanistan would affect them.

They asked whether they would get paid if Republicans force the U.S. government to stop paying its bills.

In a region that has been wracked by violence and plagued by suicide bombers this month, they wondered how they would take care of their families if their checks stopped coming next month.

Let me read you a little bit of that Associated Press story.

‘A half a world away from the Capitol Hill deadlock, the economy and debt crisis are weighing heavily on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

‘And the top question on their minds Saturday even as bombings rocked the city around them, was one the top U.S. military officer couldn’t answer.

‘Will we get paid?’

Admiral Mullen told them he didn’t know the answer to their question, but that either way those soldiers must continue to work every day.

This is unacceptable.

In a country as rich and powerful as ours, men and women with bombs going off around them shouldn’t worry whether this country will leave them high and dry.

This afternoon, I ask those who have said they will never compromise on any terms to think about who their stubbornness will hurt.

I have spoken to the Vice President this morning. He is hopeful, as I am, that we are close to an agreement with Republican leaders.

The framework of this agreement is based on some new ideas and some old ones. After speaking to Republican Leader Mitch McConnell this morning, I would say we are both cautiously optimistic we will reach a conclusion soon.

There are a number of major issues yet to be resolved in these ongoing discussions. Each of them must be resolved before we will have a final agreement.

But we must get something done as quickly as possible, and I believe all sides are aware of the urgency.

It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives wasted all of last week on legislation they knew would never pass the Senate – and, in fact, barely passed the House with only Republican votes.

Democrats have said all along that we would never agree to a short-term arrangement that would put our economy at risk and force Congress into another debt ceiling showdown in a few weeks.

I have always said the long-term approach taken by the Senate legislation was absolutely necessary. We must give the financial markets confidence this country will not shirk its obligations now or in the future.

There are still elements of the agreement to be resolved, and Democrats are watching the process closely.

I am satisfied the compromise being discussed at the White House adopts the Senate’s long-term approach, which will give the economy the certainty it needs.

It is also crucial the agreement being crafted set on us on the path to fiscal restraint.

I believe the settlement must include thoughtful constraints on spending. The 12-member commission I conceived to recommend additional deficit reduction measures this year will be key to that effort.

Sen. McConnell and I agree Congress owns the responsibility to set this country on the path to fiscal sustainability. This commission will assure we undertake that responsibility.

When I conceived of this commission, I knew it was important that it achieve real results. And it will be essential to choose members with open minds willing to consider every option – even when those options are tough pills to swallow for both parties.

Cooperation is the only way forward. This is what Andrew Carnegie once said about the virtue of compromise:

‘I shall argue that strong men… know when to compromise and that all principles can be compromised to serve a greater principle.’

But perhaps President Abraham Lincoln said it best when he said this:

‘Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.’”

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown July 31, 2011: Debt Negotiation between Republicans & the Obama White House Progresssing — Mitch McConnell Announces they are Very Close to a Deal

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

McConnell: 'We're very close' to a deal

 

JULY 31, 2011: PROMISING DEBT PLAN NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN REPUBLICAN LEADERS & OBAMA WHITE HOUSE — SENATE MINORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL ANNOUNCES BEING CLOSE TO A DEAL

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says Congress, White House “very close” to deal: With the default deadline two days away, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday morning that Congress and the White House were “very close” to a framework for a deal that he could recommend his members support.
The deal would contain $3 trillion in spending cuts and no tax increases.
“We’ll avoid default,” McConnell said. “We’re not going to have default.”

“You’ll see that this is a process that could get him (President Obama) past the election. We’re working on the combinations that will get us there. I’m particularly appreciative that we’re now back talking to the only person in America who can sign something into law and that’s the president of the United States.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on CNN’s State of the Union

“If there’s a word that would right here that would sum up the mood, it would be relief. … default is far less of a possibility now than it was a day ago.” — Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

“There are many elements to be finalized and there is still a distance to go before an arrangement can be completed. But I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work…. I’m glad to see this move toward cooperation and compromise. I hope it bears fruit” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

    • McConnell: ‘We’re very close’ to a deal: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that a deal to raise the debt ceiling is “very close.” Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the Kentucky senator said Republicans and Democrats “made dramatic progress” Saturday over a $3 trillion package of spending cuts that would not include tax increases.
      McConnell said he is “very very close to being able … to recommend to my members that this is something that they ought to support.”… – CNN, 7-31-11
    • McConnell says U.S. deficit deal is “very close”: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Sunday that U.S. deficit negotiations are “very close” to a $3 trillion deal to raise the federal debt limit.
      McConnell told CNN he hoped the deal would come soon and was confident that it would not raise taxes but set the stage for further deficit reductions down the road.
      He said he expected a deal that he could recommend would win “a significant percentage” of Republican support…. – Reuters, 7-31-11
    • Senate To Hold Afternoon Vote On Possible Debt Solution: Lawmakers in Washington, D.C. appear to be making progress on a solution to the nation’s debt crisis as Tuesday’s deadline draws closer.
      Officials close to the talks say the White House and Republican leaders in Congress are nearing a last-minute agreement to avoid the first U.S. default in history.
      The plan under discussion would raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit by about $2.4 trillion and enact spending cuts of a slightly larger amount in two stages.
      The deal would also require Congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, but not require its approval.
      At the request of the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed off a test vote on his debt limit bill from 1 a.m. until this afternoon.
      The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has already voted against the measure.
      Senator Charles Schumer reportedly warned that there is still much discussion to be done, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say a deal appears to be in sight…. – NY1 News, 7-31-11
    • McConnell Sees Deal “Very Close”; Focus Is on Triggers for Cuts: Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said Sunday morning that he is “very close” to recommending to his members that they sign on to a debt deal with President Obama and the Democrats.
      Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Mr. McConnell said the deal includes as much as $3 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years, with much of that decided later this year by a joint congressional committee.
      “What conservatives want to do is cut spending,” he said. “We’ve come a long way. This agreement is likely to encompass up to $3 trillion is spending cuts.”
      In addition, Mr. McConnell said the agreement would allow votes in Congress on a balanced budget amendment.
      Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a top Democrat in the Senate, cautioned that “there is no final agreement. No one has signed off on a final agreement.”… – NYT, 7-31-11
    • Obama aide, GOP leader say they are close to debt deal: President Obama and congressional Republicans are close to nailing down a debt ceiling deal just two days before a possible government default, negotiators said today.
      White House adviser David Plouffe told NBC’s Meet The Press that “we don’t have deal,” but there has been progress and “today is a critical day.”
      Over on CNN’s State of the Union, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said “we’re very close” and “had a very good day yesterday.”
      With details still to be worked, the proposed agreement in general includes a short-term increase in the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling; a second debt limit hike would depend on a debt reduction plans to be recommended by a special congressional committee.
      Plouffe said the committee would look at “our entire deficit reduction problem,” including tax reform and new government revenues…. – USA Today, 7-31-11
    • Debt deal negotiators getting close: The White House and Republican leaders are closing in on a debt ceiling deal giving President Barack Obama greater certainty in managing the Treasury’s borrowing needs while making a joint commitment to major deficit reductions without any explicit concessions by the GOP on new tax revenues.
      Both sides stress that nothing is yet final, but the contours suggest a more practical approach by Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to achieve many of the party’s goals without pushing Obama and the nation into default.
      Quoting a figure of $3 trillion though declining to provide details, McConnell confirmed Sunday morning on CNN’s “State of the Union” that both sides were close to a deal. “We’ve made dramatic progress in that direction,” he told Gloria Borger.
      Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), speaking on the same CNN show, also said a deal was close, “If there’s a word that would right here that would sum up the mood, it would be relief. … default is far less of a possibility now than it was a day ago.”… – Politico, 7-31-11
    • McConnell says very close to deal on debt ceiling: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says negotiators are “very close” to nailing down an agreement that would avert a default of the nation’s debt obligations.
      McConnell tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that lawmakers are looking at a $3 trillion package that would raise the debt ceiling in two stages through the elections next year.
      McConnell says he is hopeful he will soon have a deal that he can recommend to his fellow Republicans.
      On the Democratic side, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York cautions that “there is no final agreement” and that much remains to be discussed…. – AP, 7-31-11
    • U.S. lawmakers ‘very close’ to debt deal, Senate Republican leader says: The top Republican in the Senate said Congress and the White House were very close to a deal on raising the limit on U.S. borrowing that would avert an unprecedented default on America’s debt, ending one of the nastiest partisan fights in recent memory.
      Senate Majority Leader Mitchell McConnell said he was very close to being able to recommend the tentative agreement to Republicans in the upper chamber. It would, he said, likely extend U.S. borrowing authority, which expires on Tuesday, beyond the 2012 presidential and congressional elections, a fundamental demand of President Barack Obama.
      At the same time, the agreement would include none of tax increases Mr. Obama has sought and Republicans had steadfastly rejected. It also includes, he said, the requirement that both houses of Congress vote on a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. That outcome of that vote, however, would have no effect on raising the debt limit…. – AP, 7-31-11

Senate debt vote delayed in quest for elusive compromise: The Senate’s top Democrat sounds a newly optimistic tone as a key test vote is delayed to midday Sunday, but is Congress now too partisan to settle on any middle ground?… – LAT, 7-30-11

  • Senate debt vote delay is sign of hope: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is in active negotiation with the White House on a debt ceiling deal, and Democrats agreed late Saturday night to postpone a partisan-tinged cloture vote to give time for both sides to find a compromise.
    “There are many elements to be finalized, and there is still a distance to go before any arrangement can be completed,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “But I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work.”
    “I’m glad to see this move toward cooperation and compromise. I hope it bears fruit.”
    Just hours before Reid had sparred on the floor with McConnell over the seriousness of his efforts, and Reid’s change of tone — and tactics — suggested that real progress had been made. “We’re getting close,” said one GOP leadership aide, with knowledge of the discussions.
    “In the category of getting serious, I have spoken to both the president and the vice president within the last hour,” McConnell had told reporters earlier in day in a joint appearance with Speaker John Boehner. “We are now fully engaged, the speaker and I, with the one person in America out of 307 million people who can sign a bill into law. I’m confident and optimistic that we’re going to get an agreement in the very near future and resolve this crisis in the best interests of the American people.”
    Boehner echoed McConnell’s statement, saying he believed that “we are going to be able to come to some sort of agreement.” But the speaker appears to have had no contact himself with President Barack Obama Saturday, while McConnell spoke to the president and reached out to Biden, after which the two men engaged in at least four back-and-forth phone calls through the day…. – Politico, 7-30-11
  • Optimism starting to creep into debt crisis: New budget talks between top congressional Republicans and President Barack Obama made progress late Saturday, suddenly stirring optimism that a last-minute deal could be reached to avert a potential federal default that threatened significant economic and political consequences.
    After a tense day of congressional floor fights and angry exchanges, Sen. Harry Reid, the majority leader, called off a planned showdown vote set for after midnight but said he would convene the Senate at noon Sunday for a vote an hour later. He said he wanted to give the new negotiations a chance to produce a plan to raise the federal debt limit in exchange for spending cuts and the creation of a new congressional committee that would try to assemble a long-range deficit-cutting proposal.
    “There are many elements to be finalized and there is still a distance to go before an arrangement can be completed,” said Reid, who just a few hours earlier had played down talk of any agreement. “But I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work.”
    Reid’s announcement set off an almost audible sigh of relief on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers and their aides had been bracing for an overnight clash over the debt following a day that had seen a heated House vote and lawmakers trudging from office to office in search of an answer to the impasse…. – NYT, 7-31-11

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown July 30, 2011: Reid Delays Senate Vote to Sunday Afternoon — Obama, White House Restart Negotiations with Democratic & Republican Senate & House Leaders, Progressing towards Debt Deal

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency

Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, walked with Senator Charles Schumer, left, and Senator Patty Murray, right, on Capitol Hill on Saturday.

JULY 30, 2011: OBAMA, WHITE HOUSE RESTARTS NEGOTIATION WITH SENATE/HOUSE DEMOCRATIC & REPUBLICAN LEADERS — REID DELAYS SENATE DEBT PLAN VOTE UNTIL SUNDAY

Reid delays debt vote: Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid announced late Saturday that negotiations with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the White House had made enough progress that he would delay consideration of his own legislation to avert the debt crisis. Rather than a 1 a.m. Sunday vote, Reid said he would give the negotiators room to maneuver and set a 1 p.m. Sunday vote on his bill — which McConnell has already assured would be defeated.

“I’m glad to see this move toward cooperation and compromise. I hope it bears fruit. I’m confident that a final agreement that will adopt the Senate’s long-term approach, rather than the short-term Band-Aid proposed by the House of Representatives, will move forward.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

“I’m confident and optimistic that we’re going to get an agreement in the very near future and resolve this crisis in the best interest of the American peopl. Our country is not going to default for the first time in history. We have now, I think, a level of seriousness with the right people at the table we needed…. We’re going to get a result.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky

“I just spent two hours with the president, the vice president and the agreement is not in a meaningful way. The Republicans still refuse to negotiate in good faith.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada

Speaker Boehner: Time for President Obama to Tell Us His Plan for Ending this Crisis: In a press conference with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) today, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) highlighted the House-passed Budget Control Act – which was negotiated with the bipartisan leadership of the Senate – and said it is time for President Obama and Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) to outline their plan for ending this debt crisis
“Today’s vote on the House floor indicates there’s bipartisan opposition to Senator Reid’s proposal. The House yesterday sent our second bill to end this crisis to the Senate. It’s a reasonable, responsible approach that will end this crisis, get our economy moving again and get Americans back to work.
The only thing standing in the way of the House proposal over in the Senate is the president and Senator Reid. It’s time for them to tell us what they’re for, time to tell us how they’re going to get us out of the cul-de-sac that they’ve driven our country into. So we’re hoping that we’ll hear from them soon about their plan for how we end this crisis.” —

  • Senate delays key debt vote until Sunday: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Saturday delayed a test vote on the Democratic debt limit increase plan until 1 p.m. EDT Sunday to give negotiators more time to work out a deal.
    In brief remarks on the Senate floor, Reid, a Democrat, said that negotiations between congressional leaders and the Obama administration were ongoing, but that there was “still a distance to go” before a deal might be reached…. – Reuters, 7-30-11
  • Senate Delays Vote as Debt Talks Progress: The Senate will delay a crucial vote on the Democratic debt ceiling bill until 1 p.m. Sunday as both Democratic and Republican lawmakers said a potential compromise was in the works that would avert a federal default after midnight on Tuesday.
    The delay averts a 1 a.m. legislative showdown Sunday morning in the Senate, and all-night wrangling that Democrats had threatened on Friday. And it suggests that the looming deadline is working to press both sides toward a last-minute agreement.
    Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, announced just after 10 p.m. Saturday that White House officials had urged him to give more time for negotiations to continue.
    “I believe we should give everyone as much room as possible to do their work,” Mr. Reid said on the Senate floor before adjourning until Sunday afternoon.
    The delay came as Republican lawmakers expressed optimism that talks begun on Saturday with President Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and others were leading toward an agreement. And Mr. Reid said he, too, was now confident that a deal is within reach…. – NYT, 7-30-11
  • Reid: Debt negotiations underway at White House: After weeks of intense partisanship, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders made a last-minute stab at compromise Saturday night to avoid a government default threatened for early next week.
    “There are many elements to be finalized…there is still a distance to go,” Majority Leader Harry Reid cautioned in dramatic late-night remarks on the Senate floor.
    Still, his disclosure that “talks are going on at the White House now,” coupled with his announcement that progress had been made, offered the strongest indication yet that an economy-crippling default might be averted.
    White House officials had no immediate comment.
    Nor was there any immediate reaction from Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker John Boehner, Obama’s principal Republican antagonist in a contentious era of divided government.
    There were no details immediately available on what the terms might be of any compromise…. – AP, 7-30-11
  • Saturday’s debt-ceiling surprise: GOP and Obama are talking again: After a rancorous day in which Republicans vented their anger at the Senate and President Obama, GOP leaders said they are in talks with the president and that ‘the country is not going to default.’
    There were signs of movement toward a potential resolution of the federal government’s debt ceiling crisis after both the House and Senate met in unusual Saturday sessions notable for partisan fireworks.
    House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D) of California and Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada were called to the White House for a 3:30 p.m. meeting about debt-ceiling negotiations with President Obama.
    At about the same time on Capitol Hill, House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky gave a press conference and expressed optimism about reaching a settlement that would keep the nation from being unable to borrow enough to pay its bills.
    Senator McConnell said that he had spoken to both Mr. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden “in the last hour,” and that the White House was “now fully engaged” in conversations with the two Republican leaders about the debt-ceiling crisis. Speaker Boehner said he and McConnell were “both confident” they could “end this impasse.” McConnell added, “Our country is not going to default. We are going to get a result.”… CS Monitor, 7-30-11
  • Last-minute debt deal still eludes Congress: In public, at least, neither Democrats nor Republicans show much inclination to work out an accord as the clock ticks toward a federal default.
    Efforts to reach a last-minute deal to stave off a potentially disastrous federal default remained at an impasse Saturday as House Republicans engaged in some psychological warfare and their colleagues in the Senate seemed poised to block a key vote on a bid by Democrats to raise the debt ceiling.
    With just days to go until the federal government’s authority to borrow money expires, neither Democrats nor Republicans showed much inclination to bridge their differences and hammer out a deal.
    Instead, the action — at least the events playing out in public view — suggested that partisan distrust remained as high as ever. The House convened only to take a purely symbolic thumbs-down vote on a debt plan crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), even though that plan hasn’t yet cleared the Senate…. – LAT, 7-30-11
  • In Senate, bitter debate but little agreement on Democratic debt plan: With the deadline for a debt limit increase inching perilously closer, Congress remained deadlocked Saturday over how to avoid a crisis as both houses spent the day publicly mired in often tart, even defiant partisan votes and rhetoric.
    Privately, the White House was talking to leaders of both parties – but those leaders had sharply different views about the outlook.
    “The process has not been moved forward during this day,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, after he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., met with President Barack Obama for nearly 90 minutes.
    But House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio told a news conference he was “confident that we’re going to be able to come to some agreement with the White House and end this impasse.”
    And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that he spoke to Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday afternoon, and added that “we are now fully engaged, the speaker and I,” with Obama.
    “Our country is not going to default for the first time in history,” said McConnell, R-Kentucky. “We have now, I think, a level of seriousness with the right people at the table we needed…. We’re going to get a result.”
    Reid, D-Nevada, with fellow senators huddling around him and watching intently, took to the Senate floor to dispute McConnell’s account with a harsh tone rarely used to discuss the opposition’s tactics in the genteel Senate. Reports a deal could be close are “not true,” Reid said.
    With McConnell standing a few feet away, Reid charged the GOP leaders were “holding meaningless press conferences.”
    And, Reid said, “I just spent two hours with the president, the vice president and the agreement is not in a meaningful way. The Republicans still refuse to negotiate in good faith.”
    McConnell swung back, saying, “I think we’ve got a chance of getting there. What I think is not helpful is the process we’re going through here on the Senate floor … .”
    The day began when the Republican-run House of Representatives voted 246-173 to reject a new Reid plan that would reduce deficits by more than $2.2 trillion over 10 years and raise the debt limit in three stages.
    The Senate debated the plan throughout the day Saturday, and scheduled a post-midnight vote on whether to cut off debate. The vote was expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed, since 43 Republicans sent Reid a letter saying they opposed the measure…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 7-30-11
  • Democrats, GOP Disagree on Whether a Debt-Limit Deal Is Near: With the nation only three days away from facing its first-ever financial default, congressional Republican and Democratic leaders couldn’t even agree on whether a deal to end the debt crisis is close.
    House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Saturday that they are confident they can reach a deal with the White House to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit to allow the government to keep paying all of its bills.
    At a news conference held just minutes after the GOP-led House defeated a Democratic debt-limit bill, McConnell said he had spoken with President Obama and Vice President Biden in the past hour.
    “I’m confident and optimistic that we’re going to get an agreement in the very near future and resolve this crisis in the best interest of the American people,” he said.
    “Our country is not going to default for the first time in history,” McConnell said.”We now have a level of seriousness with the right people at the table. ….We’re going to get a result.”
    Boehner added he’s also confident of an agreement with the White House “to end this impasse.”
    But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid disputed their account on the Senate floor after meeting with the president and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi at the White House.
    “Republican leaders still refuse to negotiate in good faith,” Reid said, explaining that they still refuse to consider including new revenues in any deal and only want to slash entitlement programs.
    Republican leaders “should know that merely saying you have an agreement in front of television cameras doesn’t make it so.”
    McConnell responded that he’s more optimistic than Reid and that the only way to get to an agreement before Tuesday is through the president.
    “We need to be in a position where all of us in the leadership can come back here and say that we think we reached a framework of an agreement that we can recommend to our members,” he said. “So that’s what I’m working on and I’m not interested in scoring any political points. I’m interested in getting an outcome for the American people. And the only way that can be done is with the president of the United States.”
    Earlier Saturday, the House defeated Reid’s bill that would raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit by $2.4 trillion while cutting spending by $2.2 trillion. But the Senate hasn’t voted on the bill yet and is planning a test vote in the wee hours of Sunday morning to break a GOP filibuster…. – Fox News, 7-30-11
  • Debt deal not close, Senator Reid says: Republicans and Democrats are not close to a deal to raise the debt ceiling despite what Republican leaders may say, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said on Saturday.
    “It’s fair to say that the engagement there is not in any meaningful way,” Reid said on the Senate floor shortly after returning from a meeting with President Barack Obama. “Republican leaders still refuse to negotiate in good faith.”… – Reuters, 7-30-11
  • McConnell says he’s spoken to Obama ‘within last hour’: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Saturday afternoon that he had talked to President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden “within the last hour” and is “confident and optimistic” that there will be an “agreement within the very near future.” A national default “is not going to happen,” McConnell said.
    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also expressed optimism that an agreement is near. “In spite of our differences, we’re dealing with reasonable, responsible people,” Boehner said…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • Obama huddles with Democrats in hunt for debt deal: US President Barack Obama held an urgent White House summit with key Democratic allies Saturday as his Republican foes said fever-pitch efforts to avert a disastrous debt default would soon pay off.
    “That’s not true,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, pouring cold water on the upbeat Republican message after talks with Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
    With three days before a midnight Tuesday deadline, Obama stayed largely out of sight but warned in his weekly address that “very little time” remains to reach a deal to raise the $14.3 trillion dollar US debt ceiling…. – AFP, 7-30-11
  • Reid and Pelosi head to White House for debt meeting: A White House official says President Barack Obama will meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi at the White House at 3:30 pm to receive an update on the situation in the House and Senate…. – CNN, 7-30-11

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown July 30, 2011: Reid v. McConnell — Senate Republicans Rally Against Reid’s Debt Ceiling Plan — Congress Votes 246-173 Against Reid Plan — President Obama & Sen. Jon Kyl’s Weekly Addresses Focus on Debt Crisis

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Philip Scott Andrews/The New York Times
Senator Mitch McConnell and Speaker John A. Boehner spoke at a press conference on Saturday.

JULY 30, 2011: REID V. MCCONNELL — PARTISAN VOTES IN SENATE & HOUSE CONTINUE IMPASSE IN DEBT CEILING CRISIS — CONGRESS VOTES 246 TO 173 AGAINST REID DEBT PLAN –

House GOP rejects Reid debt-ceiling bill: Republicans in the House of Representatives have rejected a bill that mirrors a proposal by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) to raise the debt ceiling through 2012, a symbolic gesture of disapproval as the Senate continues to debate Reid’s measure and discuss a possible compromise.

Reid plan in jeopardy: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delivered a letter Saturday afternoon to Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), signed by 43 Republicans, declaring that Reid’s debt-limit legislation was unacceptable. Needing 60 votes to clear a filibuster hurdle, Reid’s current draft is assured of failure in a 1 a.m. vote Sunday. McConnell demanded that President Obama re-engage in negotiations. “It isn’t going to pass, let’s get talking to the administration,” McConnell said Saturday in a floor speech.

“The only possible justification for a $2.4 trillion increase in borrowing authority is to allow the President to avoid any accountability for these issues before his 2012 election. It is by constantly putting off these tough decisions that we have found ourselves with a national debt nearly equal to the size of our gross domestic product. The time for action is now, we cannot wait until we accumulate another $2.4 trillion in debt.” — Mitch McConnell, 43 Senators Sign Letter Opposing The Reid Bill

“It must have the support of both parties that were sent here to represent the American people – not just one faction of one party. There are multiple ways to resolve this problem. Congress must find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House. And it’s got to be a plan that I can sign by Tuesday.” — President Barack Obama in his Weekly Address

“Republicans in the House of Representatives just spent precious days trying to pass a plan that a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate had already said they wouldn’t vote for. It’s a plan that wouldn’t solve our fiscal problems, but would force us to relive this crisis in just a few short months. It would hold our economy captive to Washington politics once again. If anything, the past few weeks have demonstrated that’s unacceptable….
Look, the parties are not that far apart here. We’re in rough agreement on how much spending we need to cut to reduce our deficit. We agree on a process to tackle tax reform and entitlement reform. There are plenty of ways out of this mess. But there is very little time.” — President Barack Obama in his Weekly Address

“We start from the understanding that the reason the debt ceiling is a problem is because of runaway Washington spending. So, Republicans have been united in the belief that raising the debt ceiling without making significant spending reductions would be irresponsible…
“The simple fact is, in order to afford the kind of government this President wants, taxes would have to be increased dramatically – and for middle income Americans, not just on the wealthy.” – — Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) in the Republican Weekly Address

“Republicans believe we must solve our debt crisis – and we believe we can solve it if Democrats will work with us. No one will get everything they want, and we can’t solve all of our problems at once, but surely we can reach an agreement that will increase the debt ceiling, impose accountability, and begin reducing the size of our federal government.” — Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) in the Republican Weekly Address

“I stuck my neck out a mile to try to get an agreement with the president of the United States. I stuck my neck out a mile, and I put revenues on the table in order to try to get an agreement to avert us being where we are. But a lot of people in this town can never say yes. I have offered ideas. I have negotiated. Not one time, not one time, did the administration put any plan on the table. All they would do is criticize what I put out.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

  • The Weekend Word: Rejection NYT, 7-30-11
  • FACTBOX-What’s ahead in the U.S. debt limit fight — Reuters, 7-30-11
  • Stalemate as Congress Wrangles Over Debt Crisis: Congressional leaders fought, huddled with President Obama and hinted at an emerging bipartisan deal to end the federal fiscal crisis in a tense Saturday on Capitol Hill, but the stalemate over raising the debt limit persisted just days from a potential default.
    In the most vivid illustration yet of the confusion surrounding the debt crisis, the two leading Congressional Republicans announced that they had reopened fiscal talks with the White House in a last-ditch drive to come to terms, only to have the top Senate Democrat leader quickly dismiss the idea that a breakthrough was at hand.
    In the wake of the House’s sharp rejection of a Democratic proposal to raise the debt limit, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader and a linchpin in efforts to reach a deal, said he and Speaker John A. Boehner were “now fully engaged” in efforts with the White House to find a resolution that would tie an increase in the debt limit to spending cuts and other conditions…. – NYT, 7-30-11
  • House Rejects Reid Debt Ceiling Proposal: The Republican-controlled House on Saturday dismissed a new proposal by Senate Democrats to end the fiscal crisis before the Senate even voted on it, deepening the ongoing federal budget stalemate.
    In an effort to send a message to Senate leaders of both parties, the House voted 173 to 246 against the proposal by Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, to show it had no future in the House.
    During a heated debate, Republicans and Democrats traded accusations over who would be responsible for a government default if no compromise was reached by next Tuesday, with Republicans defending the plan they sent to the Senate on Friday only to see it rejected almost immediately.
    On Twitter, Speaker John A. Boehner called the Senate measure “DOA” and a “non-starter in the House.” Republicans also said the $2.5 trillion in savings in the measure were illusory…. – NYT, 7-30-11
  • House rejects Reid’s debt plan: The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has rejected the debt ceiling plan proposed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.
    The plan was rejected in a sharply polarized 173-246 vote. Republicans unanimously opposed the measure while most Democrats backed it.
    GOP leaders conducted the vote on Reid’s bill under rules requiring a two-thirds majority for passage, thereby ensuring its defeat…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • 43 Senate Republicans oppose Dem debt bill: Forty-three Senate Republicans say they oppose Democratic leader Harry Reid’s bill to cut spending and raise the nation’s borrowing authority.
    In a letter released Saturday, the GOP lawmakers said the bill “completely fails” to address the nation’s fiscal imbalance and relies on gimmicks to cut spending. Reid’s measure would raise the debt limit by up to $2.4 trillion…. – AP, 7-30-11
  • All Senate Republicans oppose Democratic debt bill: All 43 Republicans in the U.S. Senate have signed a letter, released on Saturday, saying they will not vote for a Democratic plan to raise the debt limit in a sign that the measure does not have the support it needs to advance in Congress.
    Democrats need at least seven Republican votes to clear a procedural vote in the 100-seat chamber. That vote is scheduled for 1 a.m. EDT (0500 GMT) on Sunday…. – Reuters, 7-30-11
  • Senate Wrangles Before Debt Vote: The high-stakes debate over raising the U.S. debt limit remained deadlocked Saturday afternoon, as both Democrats and Republicans considered their next moves less than four days before the U.S. could begin defaulting on some obligations.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) has scheduled a series of votes beginning Sunday morning at 1 a.m. on his proposal to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, though whether or not he can garner the 60 votes necessary to move forward with the bill remains in question….
    Mr. McConnell, speaking just after Mr. Reid, countered that Mr. Reid should abandon his legislation. He and 42 other Republican senators sent a letter to the majority leader saying they oppose the Reid measure.
    “It will not pass the Senate, it will not pass the House, it’s simply a non-starter,” Mr. McConnell said.
    House Republicans, meanwhile, scheduled a symbolic midafternoon vote on Mr. Reid’s proposal, which is likely to be voted down by House lawmakers. A House GOP leadership aide said the Senate was wasting time by focusing on Mr. Reid’s “doomed bill.”… – WSJ, 7-30-11
  • House set to reject Reid debt plan as endgame nears: The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is set to reject Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plan to raise the nation’s debt ceiling Saturday — partisan payback for the Democratic-controlled Senate’s rejection of Speaker John Boehner’s plan Friday night.
    The twin votes are a likely prelude to a long weekend of furious back-room negotiations between congressional leaders looking for a way to end a tense political standoff and avoid a potentially catastrophic federal default next week…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • Congressional leaders struggle to work out bipartisan debt deal: With just three days to go before Congress’s deadline to raise the debt ceiling and avoid sending the country into default, leaders continued to struggle Saturday to work out a bipartisan deal that can pass both chambers and be signed into law by President Obama.
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) delivered a letter Saturday afternoon to Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), signed by 43 Republicans, declaring that Reid’s debt-limit legislation was unacceptable.
    Needing 60 votes to clear a filibuster hurdle, Reid’s current draft is assured of failure in a 1 a.m. vote Sunday. McConnell demanded that President Obama re-engage in negotiations. “It isn’t going to pass,” McConnell said Saturday in a floor speech. “Let’s get talking to the administration.”… – WaPo, 7-30-11
  • Senate headed for critical debt vote Sunday: The Senate is driving toward a climactic and dramatic vote at 1 a.m. Sunday that could determine whether a bipartisan deal to raise the nation’s legal borrowing limit is possible or a government default is likely….
    Speedier action would require unanimous agreement from all senators, including conservatives who have vowed not to raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval of a balanced budget amendment to the constitution, and it wasn’t clear that would be forthcoming.
    Senators instead moved forward with an alternative advanced by Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), which would raise the debt ceiling through the 2012 election, but they hoped to amend the bill in coming days if a bipartisan compromise is reached.
    Now, Senate rules require a full day in between Reid introducing the measure Friday night and a vote to cut off debate, leading to a key vote early Sunday.
    Closing debate will require the approval of 60 senators, meaning Reid will require at least seven Republican votes to clear that hurdle.
    If the measure cleared that hurdle, the final passage would require a simple majority of senators to send the bill to the House. Without unanimous agreement, however, it would require an additional 30 hours of debate for that final vote, meaning 7:30 a.m. Monday would be the earliest a final vote could happen.
    Then, the measure would return to the House on Monday, where it would face a final critical vote — with the outcome deeply uncertain, as world markets watch nervously…. – WaPo, 7-30-11
  • Washington’s warring weekend: Dueling votes, parties and loyalties: Warring House and Senate votes late Friday set up a tense weekend of confrontation — and what the White House hopes are still meaningful negotiations — before markets reopen Monday, one day before the threat of default….
    Much depends still on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is deeply worried by the prospect of default and has had a running series of conversations with Vice President Joe Biden to try to defuse the crisis. McConnell was frozen in place out of loyalty to Boehner during the House debate but even after, Democrats complained that he was restraining his rank-and-file members from participating in talks.
    “There is a growing sentiment by senators on both sides of the aisle to sit down and reach a reasonable compromise to save our economy from the disaster that awaits us,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) “What these senators on the Republican side are waiting for is a permission slip from Sen. McConnell.”
    That would be a vintage McConnell approach, but aides to the Republican leader said he is fully prepared to begin talks with Reid and others, as long as President Barack Obama is also represented at the table.
    There’s been bad blood between McConnell and Reid after a falling out last weekend over debt talks also involving Boehner. But McConnell’s office expressed confidence that a deal could yet be reached with the White House represented…. – Politico, 7-30-11
  • Debt Deadlock: The Road Ahead: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says the White House must be present if there are negotiations toward a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, according to Democratic and Republican sources familiar with the situation.
    If those talks get going, Democratic officials maintain things could move quickly because a lot of the details were hashed out over nearly two months of deficit talks between Vice President Joe Biden and congressional leaders, as well as during negotiations on a grand bargain between President Obama and the congressional leadership…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • Harry Reid debt ceiling bill to be targeted by House on Saturday: Reid and other Senate Democratic leaders have already declared the Boehner plan dead-on-arrival in the Senate.
    In order to show Reid’s package would face a similar fate in their chamber, House Republicans will do force a vote on Saturday.
    The Nevada Democrat’s package, which includes a single debt limit hike, is likely to see support from House Democrats, but little from the GOP…. – Politico, 7-30-11
  • Obama pressures Congress for debt deal: President Barack Obama struck an urgent tone in his weekly address Saturday, telling members of Congress that he needs a debt ceiling deal on his desk before next week’s deadline.
    “Congress must find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House,” Obama said. “And it’s got to be a plan that I can sign by Tuesday.”
    Obama’s remarks come one day after the House voted along party lines to pass a Republican-sponsored debt plan. The bill was tabled without a vote in the Democratically-controlled Senate.
    In his address, Obama said that that such maneuvers weren’t helpful in staving off a debt crisis…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • GOP lays out consequences of missing debt deadline — Jon Kyl Republican Weekly Address: With Congress and the White House still at odds on raising America’s debt ceiling, Republicans used their weekly address to illustrate the dire risks of missing next week’s deadline for reaching a deal….
    Kyl cited debt crises spreading across Europe as examples of what could happen if politicians don’t strike a deal before early next week.
    Kyl criticized the way Democrats were approaching the debt ceiling negotiations, saying they had failed to recognize the opportunity to cut spending…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • Moody’s: Boehner and Reid bills won’t cut it: Neither of the debt ceiling bills before Congress would meaningfully alter the country’s debt trajectory and thus won’t bolster the United States’ chance of preserving its AAA rating, a key rating agency said Friday.
    “Reductions of the magnitude now being proposed, if adopted, would likely lead Moody’s to adopt a negative outlook on the AAA rating,” Moody’s Investors Service said…. – CNN, 7-30-11
  • Reid and McConnell: The Senate’s odd couple: By all measures, Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are worlds apart when it comes to their politics. But there’s at least one thing solidifying their relationship.
    “Both are institutionalists at heart,” said Jim Manley, a former spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Reid, a Nevada Democrat. “They come from completely different ideologies but both have the respect from their caucus.” He added that while they’re not the best of friends, their bond is strong… – CNN, 7-30-11
  • Analysis: Debt mess shows Washington’s awful side: There is no changing how Washington works. It doesn’t. Even if a bitterly divided Congress and President Barack Obama avoid a U.S. debt default by striking a last-second deal, as all sides expect, plenty of damage has been done.
    People are disgusted. Confidence in the political system is tanking. Nothing else is getting done in Washington. The markets are spooked. The global reputation of the United States has slipped.
    And the real kicker? This whole wrenching effort to shrink the debt may actually increase the debt.
    Any emergency deal may not be broad enough to prevent the major credit rating agencies from downgrading the United States as a rock-solid investment. That, in turn, could increase the cost of borrowing for the government (hence more interest and debt), not to mention for everyone else.
    The spectacle has brought Washington to its knees. Obama went on TV before the nation and called it a circus. One lawmaker felt compelled to apologize to the American people…. – AP, 7-30-11
  • The Debt-Limit Hobbits The GOP fantasy caucus is empowering Nancy Pelosi: Political logic and perhaps even common sense seem to be prevailing within the House GOP after Thursday’s debt-ceiling vote was postponed—at least among most of the caucus. The shame is that the debt-limit absolutists have weakened Speaker John Boehner’s hand in negotiating a final bill with Senate Democrats.
    At the most practical level, Mr. Boehner’s plan is better than the one Harry Reid supports in the Senate. This remains true of the revisions Mr. Boehner released yesterday, though the irony is that it is less credible and weaker politically than the previous version. The concession the holdouts demanded, and got—a balanced budget amendment—ensures that it cannot pass the Senate. The best but unlikely scenario is that the bill otherwise remains intact…. – WSJ, 7-30-11
  • For Reid, Durbin, and Obama, a (very) partisan record on debt ceiling: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has frequently accused Republicans of playing partisan politics in the debt ceiling crisis… A look at Reid’s record, however, shows that in the last decade his own voting on the issue of the debt ceiling is not only partisan but perfectly partisan. According to “The Debt Limit: History and Recent Increases,” a January 2010 report by the Congressional Research Service, the Senate has passed ten increases to the debt limit since 2000. Reid never voted to increase the debt ceiling when Republicans were in control of the Senate, and he always voted to increase the debt ceiling when Democrats were in control.
    At look at the number-two Democrat in the Senate, Richard Durbin’s record shows that he, too, has voted along absolutely partisan lines. In the last decade, Durbin never voted to increase the debt ceiling when Republicans were in control and always voted to increase the debt ceiling when Democrats were in control. As for Obama, there were four votes to raise the debt ceiling when he was in the Senate. He missed two of them, voted no once when Republicans were in charge, and voted yes once when Democrats were in charge… – Washington Examiner, 7-30-11
  • Debt-ceiling crisis: Why won’t Republicans compromise?: The hardcore Republican debt hawks fueled by November’s tea party victories say that Congress has historically gone back on promised spending cuts. So far, they are refusing to budge without some guarantee that the cuts will actually materialize…. – CS Monitor, 7-30-11
  • Houses passes Boehner’s debt deal, but at what price?: …But the price Boehner has paid for his victory may be bigger than he hoped for or predicted. The speaker at times look liked he was a hostage of his 87-member, tea party inspired freshmen class. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) threatened to overshadow him. Senate Republican leaders have already acknowledged that the Boehner plan can’t pass that body, and even if it did, Obama would greet it with a veto. That leaves Boehner with a weakened negotiating hand heading into showdown with Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Politico, 7-29-11

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 30, 2011: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell & 43 Senate Republicans ALL Signed a Letter to Harry Reid & Senate Democrats Vowing to Vote Their Debt Ceiling Bill

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS:

43 Senators Sign Letter Opposing The Reid Bill

The following letter is signed by 43 Republican Senators. In it they encourage the Majority Leader ‘to abandon this reckless proposal and instead pursue a more responsible course of action.

The full text of the letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid is below. Click HERE to view the pdf.

July 29, 2011

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
United States Senate
S-221 Capitol Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0001

Dear Leader Reid:

We are writing to let you know that we will not vote for your $2.4 trillion debt limit amendment which, if enacted, would result in the single largest debt ceiling increase in the history of the United States.  In addition to this unprecedented increase in borrowing authority, your amendment completely fails to address our current fiscal imbalance and lacks any serious effort to ensure that any subsequent spending cuts are enacted.

The plan you have proposed would not alter the spending trajectory that is putting our economy and national security at risk.  In return for an unprecedented $2.4 trillion debt limit increase, your amendment reduces spending by less than $1 trillion over the next decade.  Setting aside the $200 billion shortfall between the CBO scored savings and the $2.4 trillion debt limit increase, identified by the Congressional Budget Office, most of the proposal’s alleged savings are based on a false claim of credit for reductions in war-related spending that were already scheduled to occur.  This amendment proposes no change to our military posture and, for that reason, these savings are the sort of widely ridiculed accounting gimmick that breeds cynicism about our ability to tackle our fiscal challenges.  The only possible justification for a $2.4 trillion increase in borrowing authority is to allow the President to avoid any accountability for these issues before his 2012 election.  It is by constantly putting off these tough decisions that we have found ourselves with a national debt nearly equal to the size of our gross domestic product.  The time for action is now, we cannot wait until we accumulate another $2.4 trillion in debt.

For all of these reasons, we must oppose your unprecedented $2.4 trillion debt limit amendment.  Given the nation’s enormous future spending challenges, it would be irresponsible to give the President this unprecedented additional borrowing authority without requiring the enactment of significant spending reductions and reforms.  We urge you to abandon this reckless proposal and instead pursue a more responsible course of action that would rein in spending, reassure the financial markets, and help promote private sector job growth.

Sincerely,

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell                 Republican Whip Jon Kyl
Senator Lamar Alexander                                  Senator Kelly Ayotte
Senator John Barrasso                                       Senator Roy Blunt
Senator John Boozman                                      Senator Richard Burr
Senator Saxby Chambliss                                  Senator Daniel Coats
Senator Tom Coburn                                         Senator Thad Cochran
Senator Bob Corker                                          Senator John Cornyn
Senator Mike Crapo                                          Senator Jim DeMint
Senator Michael Enzi                                         Senator Lindsey Graham
Senator Chuck Grassley                                    Senator Orrin Hatch
Senator Dean Heller                                          Senator John Hoeven
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison                           Senator James Inhofe
Senator Johnny Isakson                                     Senator Mike Johanns
Senator Ron Johnson                                        Senator Mark Kirk
Senator Mike Lee                                             Senator Richard Lugar
Senator John McCain                                        Senator Jerry Moran
Senator Rand Paul                                             Senator Robert Portman
Senator James Risch                                          Senator Pat Roberts
Senator Marco Rubio                                         Senator Jeff Sessions
Senator Richard Shelby                                      Senator John Thune
Senator Patrick Toomey                                     Senator David Vitter
Senator Roger Wicker

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 30, 2011: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Calls for Vote on Harry Reid Flawed Debt Ceiling Bill

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS:

McConnell Calls for Vote Today on Flawed Reid Bill

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement on the Senate floor Saturday in which he called for a vote today on the Democrats’ flawed debt limit increase proposal:

“I don’t blame anybody for being confused about what’s been going on in Congress this week. But I’d like to take a moment to explain what’s going on right now.

“Last night, the Democrats who control the Senate proposed a bill that would lead to the largest debt ceiling increase in the history of the United States, and which completely ignores the roots of this crisis.

“This bill has one goal: to get the President through his next election without having to have another national debate about the consequences of his policies.

“The President wants to make sure this kind of debate doesn’t happen again — even as he gets Democrats in Congress to give him permission to add trillions more to the debt.

“That’s what the Reid bill does.

“It isn’t going anywhere.

“Senate Republicans refuse to go along with this transparently political and deeply irresponsible ploy to give the President cover to make our debt crisis even worse than it already is.

“And 43 of us have now signed a letter to the Majority Leader pledging that “we will not vote for your $2.4 trillion debt limit amendment which, if enacted, would result in the single largest debt ceiling increase in the history of the United States”.

“Moreover, we will soon know with certainty that this bill can’t pass the House of Representatives.

They’ll be voting on this proposal this afternoon.

“And I’m certain it will fail there as well.

“So, since there is no possibility that this bill will be enacted into law, I’ve suggested to the Majority Leader that he hold the vote on it here right now.

“Let’s not waste another minute of the nation’s time on this reckless piece of legislation that we know won’t pass.

“Earlier this week, the Majority Leader told the Speaker of the House he was wasting the nation’s time by proceeding with a bill that Senate Democrats had pledged to block…a bill that the Majority Leader himself helped put together, but which he decided to oppose after the President said he didn’t like it.

“So the question now is this: why would the Majority Leader waste the nation’s time by refusing to vote on his own bill, which we also know will fail? Why wouldn’t he take his own advice and get it over with?

“Well, the answer is obvious: Democrats are running out the clock. They want to delay the hard work of negotiation until the August 2 deadline they’ve been warning us about all summer.

“The Democrat’s entire strategy this week has been to run out the clock so the nation focuses more on the August 2 deadline than on their own failure to do something about the underlying problem.

“Republicans have now passed two pieces of legislation that would put us on the path to fiscal sanity.

Democrats have spent the last few weeks time figuring out how to avoid it

“Democrats have spent their time talking about the Tea Party instead of talking about a solution. They have done absolutely nothing but stand in the way of a meaningful solution to this crisis … and criticize Republicans for having the audacity to suggest that we balance the books.

“So now we’re reduced to this: they won’t even allow a vote on their own bill.

“They’re delaying the inevitable so they can avoid doing anything responsible.

“And it’s indefensible.

“So once again, I would ask the Majority Leader to let us vote on his legislation.

“Let’s get this irresponsible bill that we know will fail come up for a vote.

“So we can get down to the real work of negotiating a solution to this crisis.

“With the President.

“The lesson from last weekend is that anything the two parties agree to here doesn’t mean a thing if the President decides he doesn’t like it; that Democrats will abandon their own agreements if the President doesn’t support them.

“We don’t have time for that to happen again.

“Republicans have proposed solution and after solution to this crisis. It’s time Democrats propose one of their own.”

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 30, 2011: Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Statement on Senate Floor on the Necessity for Republicans & Democrats to Cooperate on a Debt Deal before Deadline

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Harry Reid: Republicans Must Work With Democrats On The Only Option Left To Avert Default, Save Our Economy

Source: Reid.Senate.gov, 7-30-11

July 30, 2011

Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the only viable debt ceiling compromise to avert a default. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Republicans leaders in the House of Representatives wasted this week pursuing a right-wing proposal they knew from the start could not pass the Senate.

From the very beginning the Speaker’s Band-Aid approach was fatally flawed – it would have put us back in this incredible position, fighting the clock to prevent financial collapse, in just a few weeks.

It was a concession to Tea Party extremists, yet it barely passed the House yesterday with only Republican votes. And it failed on a bipartisan basis last night in the Senate.

But knowing all along that this radical legislation – which was neither balanced nor bipartisan – would not and could not pass in our chamber, Democrats have been working on a true compromise in the Senate.

We have solicited ideas from our Republican friends and colleagues. Let it never be said that Democrats in the Senate were afraid to compromise. We welcome it.

As recently as yesterday morning I asked my friend, the Senate Minority Leader, to help make this Senate compromise more palatable to Republicans. Yet we have heard nothing from the Republican leader.

My friend, Sen. McConnell, did not answer the call to negotiate yesterday or any other day this week. He did not come to the table on behalf of his caucus with ideas to improve a proposal already cut from Republican cloth.

But Democrats are still willing to sit down and negotiate. My door is still open.

I appreciate that several of my Republican colleagues have reached out to me over the last few hours, hoping to reach a compromise. Senate Democrats welcome their input and look forward to working with them on a path forward.

But my friend, the Republican leader of the Senate, must come forward as well.

The two parties must work together to forge an agreement that preserves this nation’s economy. We will need the help of reasonable Republicans – including Sen. McConnell – to get this done.

But unbelievably, another filibuster stands in our path.

The Republican filibuster has become routine. From the smallest measure to the greatest matter of national importance, they stall and delay and use every procedural trick in the book to keep this body from doing its job.

But a filibuster at this late hour, and when so much is at risk, is irresponsible. It puts our economy at risk.

A majority vote was good enough for the Speaker’s proposal in the House of Representatives yesterday, but Republicans believe it isn’t good enough for the Senate today.

Rather than filibuster, I ask that my Republican colleagues work with Democrats to make our proposal better.

We have offered a reasonable, rational way for Republicans to help us avert default. Let me tell you about it.

This amendment was written by Democrats with both parties’ principles in mind. It would:

•    Avert default while cutting about $2.4 trillion from the deficit over a decade.  It includes no revenues, a concession to House Republicans.
•    It establishes a Joint Congressional Committee to find additional savings this year, and guarantees that committee’s recommendations will see an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.
•    And literally every single spending cut in it has been voted for or endorsed by Republicans in both houses of Congress.

We have made several changes to make this proposition amenable to our Republican colleagues. We have:

•    Improved the program integrity language to allow more savings by combating government waste and fraud.
•    Removed a measure that would have raised revenue by selling spectrum, which would have caused a Blue Slip process in the House.
•    Added a process conceived of by my friend, Sen. McConnell, to allow two additional votes over the next year and a half – two motions of disapproval – before the President may raise the debt ceiling.

This proposal also protects Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. But as you can see, this amendment was designed to appeal to our Republican colleagues as well as to Democrats.

As I said, we are willing to listen to ideas from the other side to make this proposal better. But time is short.

Already the economy has gone from bad to worse. Stocks continued a weeklong slide yesterday.

I know my Republican colleagues love this country. I believe they want to do what is best for our economy.

That is why together we must avert a default that would jeopardize veterans’ benefits, seniors’ Social Security payments and checks for troops on the front lines. It would also effectively raise taxes on every American family and business, increasing the cost of everything from groceries to the mortgage.

And so I urge them to join me to move forward the only true compromise plan left – in fact, the only option left at all – to save this country from default.”

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