Political Musings August 27, 2014: McConnell continues opposition to unemployment extension at Koch brothers event

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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McConnell continues opposition to unemployment extension at Koch brothers event

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY recently spoke on June 15, 2014 at a summit hosted by the Koch brothers in Dana Point, Calif. which included an audience of millionaires and billionaires as part his campaign for reelection as…READ MORE

Political Musings May 16, 2014: Senate tax cuts extenders planned to join unemployment extension filibustered 53-40

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Tax cuts extenders planned to join unemployment extension filibustered 53-40

By Bonnie K. Goodman

It now does not matter if the unemployment benefits extension bill was added to the Senate business tax cuts extenders bill, because the on Thursday, May 15, 2014 Republicans filibustered the bill, blocking it from advancing from the debate stage…Continue

Political Musings April 3, 2014: Senate passes unemployment benefits extension with 61-38 procedural test vote

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The Senate passed a second procedural vote 61 for and 38 against on Wednesday, April 2, 2014 ending the filibuster and debate and advancing the long-term jobless unemployment benefits extension bill to a full and final vote. Six Republicans…READ MORE

Political Musings February 7, 2014: Boehner says immigration reform unlikely in 2014 cites trust issues with Obama

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Political Musings December 12, 2013: Rare display of bipartisanship, House passes bipartisan budget bill 332-94

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In a rare instance of bipartisanship the House of Representatives passed Thursday evening, Dec. 12, 2013 by a large majority the two-year budget bill 332 to 94 making sure at least for the near future there will be no…READ MORE

Political Musings November 22, 2013: Senate Democrats go extreme pass nuclear option preventing filibusters for nominees

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Senate Dems go extreme pass nuclear option preventing filibusters for nominees

By Bonnie K. Goodman

After earlier this week the Senate Republicans blocked President Barack Obama’s third judicial nominee for the Washington D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, prompting Senate Democrats to invoke on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 what is called the “nuclear option”….READ MORE

Political Musings July 24, 2013: President Barack Obama to press economic agenda reset button in Knox College speech

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Obama to press economic agenda reset button in Knox College speech (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

United States President Barack Obama will begin a renewed focus on the economy and the middle class in what the White House is billing as a major policy address on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois…

Political Headlines April 11, 2013: Kentucky Democrat Says Progress Kentucky Recorded Mitch McConnell Campaign Strategy Session

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Ky. Dem Says Progress Kentucky Recorded McConnell

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-11-13

T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

The secret recording of a Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell campaign strategy session was allegedly made by two members of Democratic super PAC Progress Kentucky, a longtime Democratic operative charged Thursday.

Jacob Conway, who is on the executive committee of the Jefferson County Democratic Party in Kentucky, told that Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison admitted to him that they made the tape on Feb. 2. Conway said one of the men held the elevator while the other stood by the door of McConnell’s office and recorded the conversation….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 9, 2013: Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign alleges it was bugged, seeks FBI investigation

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McConnell campaign alleges it was bugged, seeks FBI investigation

Source: NBCNews.com, 4-9-13

Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign has asked federal authorities to help it identify the source of a recording of private strategy sessions earlier this year….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 27, 2013: Ashley Judd Passes on Senate Bid in Kentucky

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Ashley Judd Passes on Senate Bid in Kentucky

Source: NYT, 3-27-13

After a high-profile flirtation with a Senate race, the actress Ashley Judd said she would not seek the 2014 Democratic nomination to run against Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 8, 2013: Rand Paul’s Near 13-Hour Filibuster Receives Mixed Reviews & Criticism from Sens. John McCain & Lindsey Graham

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Rand Paul’s Near 13-Hour Filibuster Receives Mixed Reviews

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-7-13

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid praised Sen. Rand Paul’s stamina and conviction after his nearly 13-hour filibuster, but some of Paul’s Republican colleagues were less than impressed with the Kentucky senator’s marathon effort….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 1, 2013: Without Budget Deal, Sequester Spending Cuts to Take Effect

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Without Budget Deal, Cuts to Take Effect

Source: NYT, 3-1-13

Speaker John A. Boehner spoke to reporters outside the White House after meeting with President Obama on Friday.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Speaker John A. Boehner spoke to reporters outside the White House after meeting with President Obama on Friday.

After an Oval Office meeting, Speaker John A. Boehner reported little progress, saying the discussion about new revenue “is over.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines March 1, 2013: President Barack Obama, Congressional Leaders Fail to Avert Sequester Spending Cuts

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Obama, Congressional Leaders Fail to Avert Sequester Cuts

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-1-13

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President Obama and congressional leaders failed to reach a breakthrough to avert a sweeping package of automatic spending cuts, setting into motion $85 billion of across-the-board belt-tightening that neither had wanted to see.

Obama met for just over an hour at the White House on Friday with Republican leaders House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic allies, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Vice President Joe Biden….READ MORE

Full Text Political Headlines February 26, 2013: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Remarks on the Senate Floor on the Sequester — Smarter Cuts, Not Tax Hikes

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Smarter Cuts, Not Tax Hikes

Source: McConnell.Senate.gov, 2-26-13

“I’d like to say a word about the sequester.

“The President’s top aides proposed the sequester as a way of helping the White House avoid a debt-limit debate during last-year’s campaign.

“In essence, the deal we struck was that, in exchange for avoiding a second vote before the election, the debt limit would be paired with spending cuts only, and would not involve a tax increase.

“The President had more than a year and a half to revisit his proposal and work with us to prevent it. He obviously thought his time and energies would be better spent elsewhere.

“In fact, I note that today he’s off campaigning again in Virginia instead of working with us to resolve the issue.

“So here we are.

“The President’s been running around acting like the world’s going to end because Congress might actually follow through on an idea he proposed and signed into law – all the while pretending he’s somehow powerless to stop it.

“Well, it’s time to put the record straight. And as someone who was personally involved in the 2011 budget talks, I think I’m uniquely qualified to do it.

“On the question of who came up with the idea in the first place, it originated, as I just noted, in the White House. I was less than 100 yards from this very spot when Vice President Biden called me at my desk to lay it out. He explained the sequester in exquisite detail, and then, as has been reported, the administration stubbornly stuck by those details throughout the negotiations, refusing any effort by Republicans to adjust its design in any way.

“More important than who came up with the idea of the sequester, however, is the fact that the bipartisan agreement that included it and that brought us to this point envisioned $2.1 trillion in spending cuts. Let me say that again: Democrats and Republicans agreed to $2.1 trillion in cuts as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act.

“So we can all go back and talk about what might have been, or what the President wanted or now wants. But let’s be clear about the facts.

“Those cuts were to come in two steps.

“First, through an immediate $900 billion spending reduction in the form of budget caps, and then by an additional $1.2 trillion in cut to be achieved one of two ways: either by the so-called Supercommittee or, if that failed, through the President’s sequester proposal – meaning automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense programs.

“And while the President tried repeatedly to make tax hikes a part of the backup plan, he ultimately gave up on that in exchange for avoiding a second vote on the debt limit before the election. The President made a deliberate decision, in other words, to give up on getting any tax hikes – or revenue enhancements, or whatever the White House wants to call it – as part of the negotiations over the sequester mechanism.

“He made the calculation that avoiding a second vote on the debt limit before the election was more important. So any effort to bring taxes into the picture now is just a ploy to move the goal posts, as the primary chronicler of this whole episode, Bob Woodward, has noted.

“Of course, the White House has tried to refute these historical facts, but it hasn’t gotten anywhere.

“As the Chairman of the Finance Committee helpfully reminded us last week, ‘The President is part of the sequester’ because ‘the White House recommended it … and so now we’re feeling the effects of it.’

“So it’s time for the administration to at least accept reality so we can all move forward and focus on what the White House is actually doing right now. It’s asking the American people for permission to break its own word on spending.

“We reached an agreement to cut $2.1 trillion in government spending over 10 years, and we intend to keep our word.

“Should these cuts be implemented in a smarter way? Absolutely. But the President and his cabinet secretaries had a year and a half to think about that. They can’t just show up now at the last minute and expect the American people to bail them out of their own lack of responsibility.

“We can either secure those reductions more intelligently, or we can do it the President’s way with across-the board cuts. But one thing Americans simply will not accept is another tax increase to replace spending reductions we already agreed to.

“It was my hope that the Supercommittee would have succeeded. The Senators I appointed took that assignment very seriously. They put real skin in the game, because they wanted it to work. They didn’t like the sequester idea. And had the President engaged in a serious and supportive way at that time, the Supercommittee may very well have succeeded. He chose to campaign, and I’d argue, undermine the process instead.

“But even after the Supercommittee failed, Republicans continued to work to find another way to achieve these cuts. We repeatedly called for replacing the sequester with smarter cuts, rather than tax hikes, according to the original pact. House Republicans passed two bills to do just that. But again, instead of engaging with us, the President just set up more roadblocks.

“For more than a year, he resisted and dismissed every Republican attempt at a compromise. He refused to offer any kind of reasonable alternative, and he even threatened to veto other proposals aimed at averting the sequester. And now, here we are, with the President presenting the country with two options: Armageddon or a tax hike.

“Well, it’s a false choice, and he knows it. But then, the President’s a master at creating the impression of chaos as an excuse for government action. Do nothing. Fan the flames of catastrophe. Then claim the only way out is more government, in the form of higher taxes.

“Look: the choice we face isn’t between the sequester and tax hikes. Remember, we’re only talking about cutting 2 to 3 percent of the budget. Any business owner or middle-class parent will tell you it’s completely ridiculous to think Washington can’t find a better way to cut 2 to 3 percent of the federal budget at a time when we’re $16 trillion in debt.

“Every single working American had to figure out how to make ends meet with 2 percent less in their paychecks last month when the payroll tax holiday expired. Are you telling me Washington can’t do the same? It’s absurd.

“There’s no reason in the world these cuts need to fall on essential services or emergency responders. After all, even with the sequester, Washington will be spending more than when President Obama got here. We’re only talking about cutting a tenth of what the President spent on the stimulus bill.

“Enough.

“Step one in this process of getting to a serious solution is to end the White House’s denial of historical reality. We’re starting to get there, slowly but surely.

“More important, though, is the next step: that’s when the President and his Democrat allies actually come to the table and negotiate in a serious way, without gimmicks and without games on how best to reduce Washington spending. So let’s please shelve the tax hikes and the endless campaigning.

“Finally, I think there’s an even larger point to be made here. The President’s been going around warning of utter chaos if the sequester takes effect. And while I agree that those cuts could be made in a smarter way, and don’t like the fact that they fall disproportionately on defense, what does it say about the size of government that we can’t cut it by 2 to 3 percent without inviting disaster? Doesn’t that make our point? Hasn’t government gotten too big if just cutting the overall budget by a couple percentage points could have that kind of impact?

“Personally, I don’t believe the world will end if the President’s sequester takes effect. But our country would be much better served if the Democrats who run Washington would get off the campaign trail and work with us to trim the budget in a more rational way.

“Americans are tired of the manufactured crises. I know my constituents in Kentucky are. They’re just tired of it. They want us to work together, and Republicans are ready to do just that.”

Political Headlines January 24, 2013: Senate Leaders Harry Reid & Mitch McConnell Strike Filibuster Deal to Pass Bills Faster

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Senate Leaders Strike Deal to Pass Bills Faster

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-24-13

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Tired of D.C. gridlock? Check this out: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell struck a tentative agreement on a set of procedural changes that could allow bills to get through the Senate at a somewhat faster pace.

The party leaders were running the deal by their members at policy lunches Thursday.

There is an important caveat – these changes will fall short of the major reforms that Democrats like Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Jeff Merkely, D- Ore., had pushed for.  The minority party will still be able to filibuster and require 60 votes on any piece of legislation. But if these changes are enacted the minority party – and more importantly individual senators – would have less power to slow legislation down by insisting on 30 hours of time before votes on procedural motions….READ MORE

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