White House Recap August 6-12, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — Standard & Poor’s US Credit Rating Downgrade & Celebrating Ramadan at the White House

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: AUGUST 5-12, 2011

President Barack Obama delivers a statement
White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 8/8/11

Weekly Wrap Up: Common Sense Solutions

Source: WH, 8-12-11

Download Video: mp4 (100MB) | mp3 (10MB)

Common Sense Solutions: On Monday, August 8th, President Obama addressed our nation’s credit downgrade and said that our nation’s problems are “eminently solvable.” He laid out steps Congress can take right now to jumpstart the economy. “Specifically, we should extend the payroll tax cut as soon as possible, so that workers have more money in their paychecks next year and businesses have more customers next year,” said the President. Watch the remarks.

Crisis in Africa: Right now, thousands of families are starving as a result of a famine caused by the worst drought in the Horn of Africa in 60 years. This week, Dr. Jill Biden led a delegation including former Senator Bill Frist and USAID Director Rajiv Shah to the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya where they witnessed the suffering first hand. If you are as touched by their plight as Dr. Biden and her team, there are many ways you can help,

New Fuel Rules: On Tuesday, President Obama announced historic new fuel efficiency standards for work trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles. These new standards will save American businesses approximately $50 billion over the life of the program, while reducing oil consumption by a projected 530 million barrels and greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by approximately 270 million metric tons. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood calls the new standards a “significant win.” On Thursday, the President travelled to Holland, MI where he visited an advanced battery plant making the batteries that will be needed to power these vehicles of the future and talked about his goal to see more products that are made in America sold around the world.

Celebrating Ramadan: The ninth month of the Islamic calendar marks Ramadan, a holy month of prayer and fasting for Muslims around the world. On Thursday night, the President marked this occasion at an Iftar dinner with Muslim-American members of Congress and diplomatic corps, as well as Muslim-American families. According to the CIA World Fact Book, there are approximately 1.8 million Muslims in the United States. Watch President Obama’s speech.

Bright Ideas: Thomas Edison would be amazed. The conventional light bulb now has some serious competition. Philips Lighting North America has invented a revolutionary 10-watt light emitting diode (LED) bulb. Phillips is the first winner of the Energy Department’s Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize(L Prize). The L Prize challenged the lighting industry to develop high performance, energy-saving replacements for conventional light bulbs that will save American consumers and businesses money.

Special Education: On Friday, the Department of Education announced more than $5 million in grants to 19 Parent Training and Information (PTI) Centers in 13 states and Puerto Rico. These centers will help parents understand their child’s disability early on and offer information on special education services and opportunities. For the full list of Education Department-funded special education parent information and training centers, visit www.parentcenternetwork.org

Political Buzz US Economy in Crisis August 11, 2011: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Makes Final Three Picks for the Congressional Super Committee; 12 Member Panel the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is Complete

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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

 

112TH CONGRESS

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named the last three House Democrats to the “Super Committee,” the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Choices:
Rep. James E. Clyburn (South Carolina)
Rep. Xavier Becerra (California)
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Maryland)

    • Pelosi names final members to debt supercommittee: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s appointment Thursday of three Democrats to Congress’ new debt-reduction supercommittee completes the roster of a panel whose members are already being tugged in competing directions.
      Pelosi selected Reps. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina and Xavier Becerra of California, who both are members of the party’s House leadership, and Maryland’s Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the Budget Committee. The choices bring racial diversity to the supercommittee because Clyburn is black and Becerra is Hispanic…. – AP, 8-11-11
    • Guide to the Super Committee: The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction — otherwise known as the “super committee” — is charged with putting a plan forward to cut at least $1.5 trillion from the U.S. deficit.
      Republican and Democratic congressional leaders were charged with picking the panel of 12, split evenly between the two parties. If the committee’s plan does not pass by a Thanksgiving deadline, automatic spending cuts of $1.2 trillion will go into effect…. – PBS Newshour, 8-11-11
    • Who’s who on Congress’s debt ‘super committee’: Congress has created a special super committee to find at least $1.2 trillion in US budget cuts. If the plan is voted down, automatic spending cuts are slated to occur. Here are the 12 lawmakers named to the super committee…. – CS Monitor, 8-11-11
    • Pelosi names party stalwarts to debt panel: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday announced the last three appointees to Congress’ Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, whose task to save $1.5 trillion over the next decade was already hard and now looks to get harder…. – SF Chronicle, 8-11-11
    • Super committee lineup finalized: Congress finalized the lineup of its super committee on deficit reduction Thursday, as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) named Reps. Jim Clyburn, Chris Van Hollen and Xavier Becerra to the 12-member panel…. – Politico, 8-11-11
    • Deficit: The swirling political pressures on the Gang of 12: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) has named the final three members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction — known in some circles as the “super committee” — and they’re all current or former members of the Democratic … – LAT, 8-11-11
    • Pelosi picks last names for debt ‘super-committee’: The House Democratic leader has named the final three members to a bipartisan “super-committee” tasked with finding a way out of the US debt crisis. Nancy Pelosi’s picks fill out the 12-member panel, split between Democrats and Republicans. … – BBC News, 8-11-11
    • Pelosi’s Picks Round Out Deficit Reduction Super Committee: Pelosi chose Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (South Carolina), the third-ranking member of House Democratic Leadership, Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Xavier Becerra (Calif.), and Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (Maryland). … – ABC News, 8-11-11
    • Super Congress: The Team Is Complete!: At long last, three Democrats from the House answered the old bridge troll’s questions correctly and have been admitted into that most hallowed institution, the Super Congress, which will save America from destruction…. – WSJ, 8-11-11
    • Interpreting the Deficit Supecommittee Selections: All Hope Is Not Lost: Now that House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has named Reps. Chris Van Hollen, Jim Clyburn and Xavier Becerra last three members of the “super-committee” tasked under the debt limit deal…. – Time, 8-11-11
    • Debt-panel picks spell likely entitlement fight: Entitlement programs are set to be an especially tough battlefield in the work of the new deficit-cutting congressional “super committee,” whose remaining members were named Thursday. … – CBS MarketWatch, 8-11-11

Congressional Republican leaders Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Minority Mitch McConnell name their Republican choices for the 12 person Congressional “Super Committee,” the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction that will be in charge of determining the $1.5 Trillion in budget cuts over the next 10 years. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid named three Democratic Senators to the committee on Tuesday. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will be naming the final three Democratic House Representatives to the committee by Tuesday, August 16, 2011.

Super Committee Co-Chairs:
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington)

Speaker John Boehner House Choices:
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas)
Rep. Dave Camp (Michigan)
Rep. Fred Upton (Michigan)

Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell Senate Choices:
Sen. Jon Kyl (Arizona)
Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio)
Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (Pennsylvania)

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Choices:
Sen. Max Baucus (Montana)
Sen. John Kerry (Massachusetts)
Sen. Patty Murray (Washington)

“My main criteria for selecting members was to identify serious, constructive senators who are interested in achieving a result that helps to get our nation’s fiscal house in order. That means reforming entitlement programs that are the biggest drivers of our debt, and reforming the tax code in a way that makes us more competitive and leads to more American jobs. The goal is to achieve a result that convinces Americans and the world that we’re committed as a nation to prosperity for all our citizens. — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

“The Majority Leader and I are committed to a regular order process, as outlined in the law, so that all members and committees will have input as this Joint Committee does its work. And from the conversations I’ve had with the other leaders of both parties, I can tell you there’s a strong commitment to having open hearings and a public process.” — Speaker John Boehner

“The simple truth is that if our budget was law today, it’s unlikely anyone would be talking about the United States being downgraded today. S&P said in its own report Friday that entitlement reform is the key to long-term financial stability. We passed a budget through the House in April that includes entitlement reform, and cuts more than $6 trillion. The Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama have prevented most of those reforms have happening, and that’s why we have a downgrade.” — Speaker John Boehner

“The selections to the super committee all have an eye toward politics and the 2012 election. All of the members selected are serious legislators, but also members who will have no problem protecting their party’s base … These selections do give the committee the ability to develop the savings required in the debt deal, but I still believe it is unlikely we get the grand bargain. — FBR Capital Markets policy analyst Ed Mills in a reference to presidential and congressional elections in November of next year.

  • Six Republicans Named to Deficit Panel: The top Republicans in the House and the Senate appointed six more lawmakers on Wednesday to the bipartisan committee that is supposed to recommend steps to reduce federal budget deficits by at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years…. The panel, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, is supposed to come up with recommendations by Nov. 23…. – NYT, 8-10-11
  • Debt panel members prompt doubts: A conservative Texas Republican congressman has been chosen by House Speaker John Boehner to co-chair a powerful new committee tasked to find a bipartisan plan to slash the federal budget deficit by over $1 trillion…. – AP, 8-10-11
  • Six Republicans named to deficit super panel: Republicans named six members on Wednesday to a U.S. congressional deficit-reduction super committee that was set up to seek bipartisan agreement on taxes and government spending.
    The panel is known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and was established to find $1.5 trillion in additional budget savings over 10 years, but markets have been looking for signs that it may be able to do even more…. – Reuters, 8-10-11
  • Deficit panel will have GOP chairmen, freshmen: Republican leaders in Congress today chose a mix of party leaders, veteran committee chairmen and newcomers to serve on the special committee that will try to find another $1.5 trillion to cut from budget deficits…. – USA Today, 8-10-11
  • McConnell, Boehner Announce Super Committee Picks: Republican Congressional leaders announced Wednesday their selections for the powerful Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction charged with putting a plan forward to cut at least $1.5 trillion from the deficit, following Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s selection announcement Monday…. – PBS Newshour, 8-10-11
  • Republicans reveal picks for debt “super committee”: Republican leaders in the House and the Senate today announced their appointees to the 12-member, bipartisan congressional “super committee” charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings by Thanksgiving…. – CBS News, 8-10-11
  • John Boehner and Mitch McConnell’s super committee picks: The top Republican congressional leaders have appointed six members to the deficit reduction “super committee,” naming a half dozen lawmakers with conservative policy credentials to make up the GOP half of the panel charged reducing the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade…. – Politico, 8-10-11
  • Republican Super Congress Members: No Ryan, No Freshmen: Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have announced their selections of Republicans to staff the “Super Congress” mandated by the debt limit deal, and neither Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan nor any House freshmen members were chosen…. – American Spectator, 8-10-11

Political Buzz US Economy in Crisis August 10, 2011: Dow Again Plunges 520 Points

US ECONOMY IN CRISIS

THE HEADLINES….

Stocks plunge after another day of volatile trading: Stocks finished the day down sharply as sellers returned to the market in full force following Tuesday’s dramatic rebound.
The Dow Jones industrial average was down about 520 points, or 4.6 percent, putting the blue-chip index below the 11,000 level it had managed to break through during Tuesday’s rally. The Standard & Poor’s 500, a broader market measure, was down about 52 points, or 4.4 percent, while the Nasdaq, a more tech-heavy index, was down 101 points, or about 4 percent.

The plunge on Wall Street, which reached around 4 percent in late trading, drove home a powerful message to investors: That the rally of about 4.7 percent in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index and other indexes on Tuesday had no basis to last. — NYT, 8-9-11

  • Banks drag Wall Street lower on Europe debt: Fear returned to Wall Street on Wednesday, sending the S&P 500 to another 4 percent decline, triggered by worries that Europe’s debt crisis could engulf French banks and spill onto the U.S. financial sector.
    Trading was once again marked by sharp moves on heavy volume. For a fifth straight day, the Dow industrials fluctuated in a range of more than 400 points…. – Reuters, 8-10-11
  • Dow Closes Down 520 Points, Reverses Tuesday Gains: The rollercoaster stock market took another downward turn Wednesday, with the Dow closing down 520 points, wiping out Tuesday’s recovery from a 600-point dip on Monday…. – PBS Newshour, 8-10-11
  • Stocks Drop 4%, Dow Skids 500, Led by Banks: Stocks finished near session lows in choppy trading Wednesday, with the Dow and S&P wiping out all of the previous session’s gains led by financials, as investors continued to cautiously monitor developments in the European banks. … – CNBC.com, 8-10-11
  • Wall Street Loses Previous Day’s Gains: A major sell-off in the last minutes of today’s trading made the Dow Jones Industrial Average lose 520 points, making Wall Street lose the gains it earned yesterday. A few minutes before 4 p.m., the Dow fell about 150 points, making today’s total its ninth-largest loss in history. The S&P 500 fell 51 points and the technology-heavy Nasdaq also fell 101 points…. NY1, 8-10-11
  • Dow Declines 520 Points, Volatility Spikes: There was little to cheer in the market Wednesday, a day in which the Dow’s 4.6% decline negated Tuesday’s gains, gold prices surged and volatility spiked. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank 519.83 points to 10719.94. … – Barron’s, 8-10-11
  • Wall Street Veterans Struggle To Comprehend Recent Market Moves: The stock market’s steep declines have not only produced jittery daily gyrations and heightened volatility, but they have also stunned some of Wall Street’s well-known veterans. … – WSJ, 8-10-11

Political Buzz August 10, 2011: Republicans Leaders Mitch McConnell, John Boehner Name their Picks for the Congressional Super Committee “Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Named Three Democrats to the Committee on Tuesday

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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Clockwise, from top left: Jon Kyl, Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, Fred Upton, Jeb Hensarling and Dave Camp are shown in this composite. | AP Photos
Clockwise, from top left: Kyl, Portman, Toomey, Upton, Hensarling and Camp were selected by Republican leaders. | AP Photos

112TH CONGRESS

Congressional Republican leaders Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Minority Mitch McConnell name their Republican choices for the 12 person Congressional “Super Committee,” the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction that will be in charge of determining the $1.5 Trillion in budget cuts over the next 10 years. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid named three Democratic Senators to the committee on Tuesday. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will be naming the final three Democratic House Representatives to the committee by Tuesday, August 16, 2011.

Super Committee Co-Chairs:
Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas)
Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington)

Speaker John Boehner House Choices:
Jeb Hensarling (Texas)
Dave Camp (Michigan)
Fred Upton (Michigan)

Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell Senate Choices:
Jon Kyl (Arizona)
Rob Portman (Ohio)
Patrick J. Toomey (Pennsylvania)

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Choices:
Max Baucus (Montana)
John Kerry (Massachusetts)
Patty Murray (Washington)

“My main criteria for selecting members was to identify serious, constructive senators who are interested in achieving a result that helps to get our nation’s fiscal house in order. That means reforming entitlement programs that are the biggest drivers of our debt, and reforming the tax code in a way that makes us more competitive and leads to more American jobs. The goal is to achieve a result that convinces Americans and the world that we’re committed as a nation to prosperity for all our citizens. — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

“The Majority Leader and I are committed to a regular order process, as outlined in the law, so that all members and committees will have input as this Joint Committee does its work. And from the conversations I’ve had with the other leaders of both parties, I can tell you there’s a strong commitment to having open hearings and a public process.” — Speaker John Boehner

“The simple truth is that if our budget was law today, it’s unlikely anyone would be talking about the United States being downgraded today. S&P said in its own report Friday that entitlement reform is the key to long-term financial stability. We passed a budget through the House in April that includes entitlement reform, and cuts more than $6 trillion. The Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama have prevented most of those reforms have happening, and that’s why we have a downgrade.” — Speaker John Boehner

“The selections to the super committee all have an eye toward politics and the 2012 election. All of the members selected are serious legislators, but also members who will have no problem protecting their party’s base … These selections do give the committee the ability to develop the savings required in the debt deal, but I still believe it is unlikely we get the grand bargain. — FBR Capital Markets policy analyst Ed Mills in a reference to presidential and congressional elections in November of next year.

  • Six Republicans Named to Deficit Panel: The top Republicans in the House and the Senate appointed six more lawmakers on Wednesday to the bipartisan committee that is supposed to recommend steps to reduce federal budget deficits by at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years…. The panel, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, is supposed to come up with recommendations by Nov. 23…. – NYT, 8-10-11
  • Debt panel members prompt doubts: A conservative Texas Republican congressman has been chosen by House Speaker John Boehner to co-chair a powerful new committee tasked to find a bipartisan plan to slash the federal budget deficit by over $1 trillion…. – AP, 8-10-11
  • Six Republicans named to deficit super panel: Republicans named six members on Wednesday to a U.S. congressional deficit-reduction super committee that was set up to seek bipartisan agreement on taxes and government spending.
    The panel is known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and was established to find $1.5 trillion in additional budget savings over 10 years, but markets have been looking for signs that it may be able to do even more…. – Reuters, 8-10-11
  • Deficit panel will have GOP chairmen, freshmen: Republican leaders in Congress today chose a mix of party leaders, veteran committee chairmen and newcomers to serve on the special committee that will try to find another $1.5 trillion to cut from budget deficits…. – USA Today, 8-10-11
  • McConnell, Boehner Announce Super Committee Picks: Republican Congressional leaders announced Wednesday their selections for the powerful Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction charged with putting a plan forward to cut at least $1.5 trillion from the deficit, following Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s selection announcement Monday…. – PBS Newshour, 8-10-11
  • Republicans reveal picks for debt “super committee”: Republican leaders in the House and the Senate today announced their appointees to the 12-member, bipartisan congressional “super committee” charged with finding at least $1.2 trillion in budget savings by Thanksgiving…. – CBS News, 8-10-11
  • John Boehner and Mitch McConnell’s super committee picks: The top Republican congressional leaders have appointed six members to the deficit reduction “super committee,” naming a half dozen lawmakers with conservative policy credentials to make up the GOP half of the panel charged reducing the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade…. – Politico, 8-10-11
  • Republican Super Congress Members: No Ryan, No Freshmen: Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have announced their selections of Republicans to staff the “Super Congress” mandated by the debt limit deal, and neither Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan nor any House freshmen members were chosen…. – American Spectator, 8-10-11

Political Buzz US Economy in Crisis August 9, 2011: Dow Rebounds 429 Points After Federal Reserve Pledges to Keep Interest Rates Low Through 2013

POLITICAL BUZZ

US ECONOMY IN CRISIS

THE HEADLINES….

Markets close higher after a volatile day of trading: U.S. stock markets closed sharply higher after a volatile day of trading in which stocks swung wildly after the Federal Reserve said that it would keep interest rates low until mid-2013. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 4 percent, or 430 points, while the S&P 500, a broader measure of stocks, rose 4.8 percent, or 53 points.

Federal Reserve to keep interest rates unchanged; pledges to keep rates exceptionally low through mid-2013: The Federal Reserve pledged to keep its target for interest rates very low through at least mid-2013 following a policy meeting Tuesday, in an effort to support a faltering U.S. economy. This was the first time the Fed set a specific date for maintaining the low interest rates.
Three members of the Fed’s policymaking committee dissented from the decision to establish a date.

“To promote the ongoing economic recovery and to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at levels consistent with its mandate, the Committee decided today to keep the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent. The Committee currently anticipates that economic conditions–including low rates of resource utilization and a subdued outlook for inflation over the medium run–are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through mid-2013. The Committee also will maintain its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its securities holdings. The Committee will regularly review the size and composition of its securities holdings and is prepared to adjust those holdings as appropriate.”… — Federal Reserve Statement on Low Interest Rates

  • Dow Closes 429 Points Up: After a series of roller-coaster swings, the Dow closed up 429 points Tuesday after the Federal Reserve vowed to keep interest rates low for the next two years. The Dow climbed nearly 4%, biting a chunk out of Monday’s slide of more than 600 points… – New York Daily News. 8-9-11
  • US Stocks Move Higher In Final Hour Of Whipsawed Trading: US stocks rose after zigzagging in volatile trading Tuesday afternoon as investors digested the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates near zero for at least two more years… – WSJ, 8-10-11
  • The Fed Splits: There is more than meets the eye to the split at the Federal Reserve. There must be. The Fed’s statement Tuesday afternoon says that the majority “currently anticipates that economic conditions — including low rates of resource … – NYT, 8-9-11
  • Fed promises to keep rates low for at least 2 yrs: The Federal Reserve said on Tuesday it will keep interest rates near zero for at least another two years in a move that disappointed markets hoping for more direct action…. – Reuters, 8-9-11
  • Guided By The Fed, Funds Futures See Mid-2013 Rate Hike Very Unlikely: The Federal Reserve’s downbeat view on the economy caused fed-funds futures traders to see no chance for an initial funds rate increase until the middle part of 2013. … – WSJ, 8-9-11
  • Fed: Low rates to stay through at least mid-2013: The Federal Reserve on Tuesday expressed much more concern about the economic outlook and said it would hold interest rates at ultra-low levels “at least” through mid-2013…. – CBS MarketWatch, 8-9-11
  • US Stocks Climb Higher In Morning Trade As Fed Statement Looms WSJ. 8-9-11
  • US Stock Futures Bounce Sharply As Investors Await Fed WSJ, 8-9-11

Full Text US Economy in Crisis August 8, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Remarks to the Nation on S&P’s (Standard & Poor’s) Downgrade of the US Credit Rating from AAA to AA+ & Repercussions on the Economy

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 8/8/11

QUOTES

Remarks by the President

State Dining Room

1:52 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  On Friday, we learned that the United States received a downgrade by one of the credit rating agencies — not so much because they doubt our ability to pay our debt if we make good decisions, but because after witnessing a month of wrangling over raising the debt ceiling, they doubted our political system’s ability to act.  The markets, on the other hand, continue to believe our credit status is AAA.  In fact, Warren Buffett, who knows a thing or two about good investments, said, “If there were a quadruple-A rating, I’d give the United States that.”  I, and most of the world’s investors, agree.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have a problem.  The fact is, we didn’t need a rating agency to tell us that we need a balanced, long-term approach to deficit reduction.  That was true last week.  That was true last year.  That was true the day I took office.  And we didn’t need a rating agency to tell us that the gridlock in Washington over the last several months has not been constructive, to say the least.  We knew from the outset that a prolonged debate over the debt ceiling — a debate where the threat of default was used as a bargaining chip — could do enormous damage to our economy and the world’s.  That threat, coming after a string of economic disruptions in Europe, Japan and the Middle East, has now roiled the markets and dampened consumer confidence and slowed the pace of recovery.

So all of this is a legitimate source of concern.  But here’s the good news:  Our problems are eminently solvable.*  And we know what we have to do to solve them.  With respect to debt, our problem is not confidence in our credit — the markets continue to reaffirm our credit as among the world’s safest.  Our challenge is the need to tackle our deficits over the long term.

Last week, we reached an agreement that will make historic cuts to defense and domestic spending.  But there’s not much further we can cut in either of those categories.  What we need to do now is combine those spending cuts with two additional steps:  tax reform that will ask those who can afford it to pay their fair share and modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare.

Making these reforms doesn’t require any radical steps.  What it does require is common sense and compromise.  There are plenty of good ideas about how to achieve long-term deficit reduction that doesn’t hamper economic growth right now.  Republicans and Democrats on the bipartisan fiscal commission that I set up put forth good proposals.  Republicans and Democrats in the Senate’s Gang of Six came up with some good proposals.  John Boehner and I came up with some good proposals when we came close to agreeing on a grand bargain.

So it’s not a lack of plans or policies that’s the problem here.  It’s a lack of political will in Washington.  It’s the insistence on drawing lines in the sand, a refusal to put what’s best for the country ahead of self-interest or party or ideology.  And that’s what we need to change.

I realize that after what we just went through, there’s some skepticism that Republicans and Democrats on the so-called super committee, this joint committee that’s been set up, will be able to reach a compromise, but my hope is that Friday’s news will give us a renewed sense of urgency.  I intend to present my own recommendations over the coming weeks on how we should proceed.  And that committee will have this administration’s full cooperation.  And I assure you, we will stay on it until we get the job done.

Of course, as worrisome as the issues of debt and deficits may be, the most immediate concern of most Americans, and of concern to the marketplace as well, is the issue of jobs and the slow pace of recovery coming out of the worst recession in our lifetimes.

And the good news here is that by coming together to deal with the long-term debt challenge, we would have more room to implement key proposals that can get the economy to grow faster.  Specifically, we should extend the payroll tax cut as soon as possible, so that workers have more money in their paychecks next year and businesses have more customers next year.

We should continue to make sure that if you’re one of the millions of Americans who’s out there looking for a job, you can get the unemployment insurance that your tax dollars contributed to.  That will also put money in people’s pockets and more customers in stores.

In fact, if Congress fails to extend the payroll tax cut and the unemployment insurance benefits that I’ve called for, it could mean 1 million fewer jobs and half a percent less growth.  This is something we can do immediately, something we can do as soon as Congress gets back.

We should also help companies that want to repair our roads and bridges and airports, so that thousands of construction workers who’ve been without a job for the last few years can get a paycheck again.  That will also help to spur economic growth.

These aren’t Democratic proposals.  These aren’t big government proposals.  These are all ideas that traditionally Republicans have agreed to, have agreed to countless times in the past.  There’s no reason we shouldn’t act on them now.  None.

I know we’re going through a tough time right now.  We’ve been going through a tough time for the last two and a half years.  And I know a lot of people are worried about the future.  But here’s what I also know:  There will always be economic factors that we can’t control –- earthquakes, spikes in oil prices, slowdowns in other parts of the world.  But how we respond to those tests — that’s entirely up to us.

Markets will rise and fall, but this is the United States of America.  No matter what some agency may say, we’ve always been and always will be a AAA country.  For all of the challenges we face, we continue to have the best universities, some of the most productive workers, the most innovative companies, the most adventurous entrepreneurs on Earth.  What sets us apart is that we’ve always not just had the capacity, but also the will to act — the determination to shape our future; the willingness in our democracy to work out our differences in a sensible way and to move forward, not just for this generation but for the next generation.

And we’re going to need to summon that spirit today.  The American people have been through so much over the last few years, dealing with the worst recession, the biggest financial crisis since the 1930s, and they’ve done it with grace.  And they’re working so hard to raise their families, and all they ask is that we work just as hard, here in this town, to make their lives a little easier.  That’s not too much to ask.  And ultimately, the reason I am so hopeful about our future — the reason I have faith in these United States of America — is because of the American people.  It’s because of their perseverance, and their courage, and their willingness to shoulder the burdens we face -– together, as one nation.

One last thing.  There is no one who embodies the qualities I mentioned more than the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.  And this weekend, we lost 30 of them when their helicopter crashed during a mission in Afghanistan.  And their loss is a stark reminder of the risks that our men and women in uniform take every single day on behalf of their county.  Day after day, night after night, they carry out missions like this in the face of enemy fire and grave danger.  And in this mission –- as in so many others -– they were also joined by Afghan troops, seven of whom lost their lives as well.

So I’ve spoken to our generals in the field, as well as President Karzai.  And I know that our troops will continue the hard work of transitioning to a stronger Afghan government and ensuring that Afghanistan is not a safe haven for terrorists.  We will press on.  And we will succeed.

But now is also a time to reflect on those we lost, and the sacrifices of all who serve, as well as their families.  These men and women put their lives on the line for the values that bind us together as a nation.  They come from different places, and their backgrounds and beliefs reflect the rich diversity of America.

But no matter what differences they might have as individuals, they serve this nation as a team.  They meet their responsibilities together.  And some of them — like the 30 Americans who were lost this weekend –- give their lives for their country.  Our responsibility is to ensure that their legacy is an America that reflects their courage, their commitment, and their sense of common purpose.

Thank you very much.

END  2:03 P.M. EDT

 

President Obama on Common Sense Steps to Grow the Economy

Souce: WH, 8-8-11
Download Video: mp4 (100MB) | mp3 (10MB)

This afternoon, while speaking to the press from the State Dining Room, President Obama addressed the news from Friday that the United States received a downgrade by one of the credit rating agencies:

The fact is, we didn’t need a rating agency to tell us that we need a balanced, long-term approach to deficit reduction.  That was true last week.  That was true last year.  That was true the day I took office.  And we didn’t need a rating agency to tell us that the gridlock in Washington over the last several months has not been constructive, to say the least.  We knew from the outset that a prolonged debate over the debt ceiling — a debate where the threat of default was used as a bargaining chip — could do enormous damage to our economy and the world’s.  That threat, coming after a string of economic disruptions in Europe, Japan and the Middle East, has now roiled the markets and dampened consumer confidence and slowed the pace of recovery.

The President discussed the need to tackle our deficits over the long term through tax reform that asks those who can afford it to pay their fair share and modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare. Though the issues of debt and deficits have dominated much of the recent conversation in Washington, the most immediate concern of most Americans is job creation and growing our economy. That is why President Obama laid out some common sense steps that can be taken right away to spur economic growth such as extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance:

Specifically, we should extend the payroll tax cut as soon as possible, so that workers have more money in their paychecks next year and businesses have more customers next year.

We should continue to make sure that if you’re one of the millions of Americans who’s out there looking for a job, you can get the unemployment insurance that your tax dollars contributed to.  That will also put money in people’s pockets and more customers in stores.

In fact, if Congress fails to extend the payroll tax cut and the unemployment insurance benefits that I’ve called for, it could mean 1 million fewer jobs and half a percent less growth.  This is something we can do immediately, something we can do as soon as Congress gets back.

President Obama Delivers a Statement to the Press

President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press in the State Dining Room of the White House, Aug. 8, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Despite the economic hardship and challenges we face as a nation, the President is hopeful about our future:

No matter what some agency may say, we’ve always been and always will be a AAA country.  For all of the challenges we face, we continue to have the best universities, some of the most productive workers, the most innovative companies, the most adventurous entrepreneurs on Earth.  What sets us apart is that we’ve always not just had the capacity, but also the will to act — the determination to shape our future; the willingness in our democracy to work out our differences in a sensible way and to move forward, not just for this generation but for the next generation.

As the President said, there is no one who embodies these qualities of excellence more than our men and women in uniform. The President reflected on the 30 Americans who were lost in Afghanistan this weekend:

[N]ow is also a time to reflect on those we lost, and the sacrifices of all who serve, as well as their families.  These men and women put their lives on the line for the values that bind us together as a nation.  They come from different places, and their backgrounds and beliefs reflect the rich diversity of America.

But no matter what differences they might have as individuals, they serve this nation as a team.  They meet their responsibilities together.  And some of them — like the 30 Americans who were lost this weekend –- give their lives for their country.  Our responsibility is to ensure that their legacy is an America that reflects their courage, their commitment, and their sense of common purpose.

President Obama: Our Problems Are Eminently Solvable

Source: WH, 8-8-11

The President today outlined a series of steps Congress can take to quickly add momentum to our nation’s economic growth. Click on the links below to find out more about how each of these proposals can help propel our economy forward:

  • Extend the payroll tax cut so that middle class families have more money in their paychecks next year.  If you’ve got more money in your paycheck, you’re more likely to spend it, and that means businesses of all sizes will have more customers.  They’ll be in a better position to hire.

We also need to make sure that millions of workers who are still pounding the pavement looking for jobs to support their families are not denied needed unemployment benefits.

If Congress fails to extend the payroll tax and unemployment insurance it could mean one million fewer jobs and half a percent less growth.

  • Pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill. There are over a million construction workers out of work after the housing boom went bust, just as a lot of America needs rebuilding.  We can connect the two by helping private companies rebuild our roads and bridges and railways.
  • Pass the patent reform bill to give our entrepreneurs the chance to get their job-creating ideas to market faster by streamlining the patent process.
  • Pass the trade agreements that will help businesses sell more American-made goods and services to Asia and South America, supporting tens of thousands of jobs here at home.

Trade Adjustment Assistance Fact Sheet
South Korea Free Trade Agreement
Colombia Free Trade Agreement
Panama Free Trade Agreement

Political Buzz US Economy in Crisis August 7, 2011: Asian Markets Sink — Reactions to S&P, Standand & Poor’s Downgrade of US Credit Rating from AAA to AA+

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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

 

G7 says committed to ensure liquidity, support markets: The Group of Seven nations is committed to taking coordinated action to ensure liquidity and to support financial market functioning, financial stability and economic growth, G7 finance ministers and central bank governors said in a statement…. – Reuters, 8-7-11

“These actions, together with continuing fiscal discipline efforts will enable long-term fiscal sustainability. No change in fundamentals warrants the recent financial tensions faced by Spain and Italy. We welcome the additional policy measures announced by Italy and Spain to strengthen fiscal discipline and underpin the recovery in economic activity and job creation.” — G7 Statement

“It takes awhile. Our concerns are centered on the political side and on the fiscal side. It would take a stabilization of the debt as a share of the economy and eventual decline, and it would take, I think, more ability to reach consensus in Washington than what we’re observing now.” — John B. Chambers, the managing director of Standard & Poor’s

“Raising taxes is what ‘balanced plan’ means, that is plain to every American by now. The administration wants to raise taxes so they can permanently implant a larger level of spending. They have increased domestic discretionary spending 24 percent in two years. This is unthinkable. So we’ve got a problem — we’ve got to bring that spending down, not increase the burden on the private sector.” — Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee

“One has to find understandable their pessimism about our inability to come together on the most important issue facing our country, which is how do we create jobs. We need a balanced approach and the extremism, the Tea Party obstructionism here in Washington, is keeping us from restoring that balanced approach America has always used of investing in the future, investing in job creation, and also being fiscally responsible at the same time.” — Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association on the ABC program “This Week”

“Republicans are having to respond to this very, very strident group that is pulling them away and believes that compromise is a dirty word. That is a prescription for failure.” — David Axelrod, Obama’s longtime political adviser on the CBS program “Face the Nation”

“The Tea Party hasn’t destroyed Washington — Washington was destroyed before the Tea Party got there. The hope is that the Tea Party and middle-of-the-road people can find common ground to turn this country around before we become Greece. I hope we can.”
“People are not creating jobs in this country because they think Howard Dean is going to raise their taxes. If you want to create jobs, don’t raise anyone’s taxes. Try to lower spending like the Tea Party and other people up here want.” — Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina

“I think the Standard & Poor’s downgrade is a good thing because I think it underlines the fact that you cannot get out of this without raising revenues. You cannot get out of this without raising revenues. It is impossible, and the vast majority of the American people want us to raise revenues — particularly on all those gazillionaires the Republican tax cuts mostly benefit.” — Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee

“Clearly, I’m not very surprised by this downgrade. We more or less saw this coming because we’re on the wrong fiscal path. We’ll find out tomorrow what kind of spike in rates we’re going to get. But, obviously, not only does it hurt the federal government in its ability to close the deficits, but it hurts people. You know, car loans, home loans, all these things are going to go up. And so, it’s because Washington has not gotten its fiscal house in order. To me, this is more vindications of our action.” — Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee on “Fox News Sunday”

“I think it’s really — it’ll sound strange for me to say it — an outrageous move. The government can pay its debts. It’s legally obligated to do so. It’s got the wherewithal to do it. In a larger sense about the economy, I think the U.S. economy is in a perilous state. This recovery has been the worst from a severe recession since the Great Depression, but I am surprised S.& P. would play politics. The U.S. government can pay the interest and principle on the bonds.” — Steve Forbes, the chief executive of the company that publishes Forbes magazine and a former Republican presidential candidate on the CNN program “State of the Nation”

Candidates Give Obama an F for AA+ Rating: The Republican presidential candidates on Saturday seized on the first-ever downgrade of the nation’s credit rating as a new line of criticism against President Obama, suggesting that ultimate responsibility rested in the Oval Office even though the rating agency, Standard & Poor’s, cited the overall political gridlock in Washington as a major cause for its decision…. – NYT, 8-6-11

“It happened on your watch, Mr. President. You were AWOL. You were missing in action…. I’m calling on the president of the United States to come back to the White House, address the American people before the markets open on Monday and give us his positive plan for putting the ratings back up to the AAA rating…. Last night, we had our day of reckoning. Eventually it hits the fan…. “The responsibility is of those in Washington, D.C., who put the deal together. But the real problem in all of this is that President Obama has failed to give leadership on this issue.” Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota representative and Tea Party caucus leader

“What we should be talking about is downgrading Barack Obama from president of the United States.” — Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota campaigned in Grinnell on Saturday

    • At a glance: The US credit downgrade: Markets around the world are set to react Monday to the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating Friday. A look at the downgrade, why it happened and what it means:
      WHAT HAPPENED:
      Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s lowered the U.S. government’s credit rating for the first time Friday, from the top AAA rating to AA+. That affects long-term debt, which means government securities that have terms of more than one year.
      WHY THE DEBT WAS DOWNGRADED:
      S&P blamed political deadlock in Washington that threatens to keep the country from dealing effectively with its debt.
      WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE GOVERNMENT:
      In theory, a lower credit rating should lead to higher interest rates for U.S. debt. Buyers of government securities can demand higher rates because the lower rating means they are taking on more risk. In reality, Treasury bonds will still be considered among the safest and most liquid investments in the world, and any rise in rates is likely to be muted…. – AP, 8-7-11
    • Asian stock markets sink after US credit downgrade: Asian stocks nose-dived Monday as the first-ever downgrade of the U.S. government’s credit rating jolted the global financial system, reinforcing fears of a rapid slowdown in economic growth.
      Oil prices extended recent sharp losses, trading below $84 a barrel on expectations that weaker global growth will crimp demand for crude. The dollar was lower against the yen and the euro.
      Among the major Asian markets, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng tumbled 4 percent to 20,100.20 and South Korea’s Kospi crumpled 6.7 percent to 1,814.100. Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average dropped 2.5 percent to 9,067.88.
      Futures pointed to losses on Wall Street when it opens Monday. Dow futures were off 258 points, or 2.3 percent, at 11,144 and broader S&P 500 futures shed 28.8 points, or 2.4 percent, to 1,169.00.
      “It’s not Armaggedon, but it feels like it,” said Hong Kong-based analyst Francis Lun, adding that he foresees the territory’s Hang Seng index to sink below 19,000 — a decline of a further 5 percent — before making any kind of comeback…. – AP, 8-8-11
    • Asian stocks slide after US debt downgrade: Asian stocks fell on Monday after last week’s historic downgrade of the United States’ credit rating, which compounded concerns over the world’s biggest economy as well as the global outlook.
      The falls were echoed by big losses in oil while gold surged to another record as investors moved out of risky assets…. – AP, 8-8-11
    • Geithner says he will stay at Treasury: Timothy Geithner has told President Barack Obama that he will remain on the job as Treasury secretary, ending speculation he would leave the administration…. – AP, 8-7-11
    • U.S. Stock Futures Fall on S&P Downgrade: U.S. stock futures declined, following the biggest weekly drop in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since 2008, amid concern that a downgrade of the nation’s credit rating by S&P may worsen an economic slowdown.
      S&P 500 futures expiring in September declined 2.1 percent to 1,172.3 at 7:03 a.m. in Tokyo. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures lost 253 points, or 2.2 percent, to 11,149.
      The downgrade threatens to extend a rout in U.S. stocks that wiped out $1.94 trillion in market value and erased the S&P 500’s gain for the year. S&P lowered the U.S. long-term rating one level to AA+ after markets closed on Aug. 5 while keeping the outlook at “negative” as the ratings company becomes less confident Congress will end Bush-era tax cuts or tackle entitlements…. – Businessweek, 8-7-11

“This is a problem that has to be addressed by the full spectrum of political parties. You’ve got a position here where the debt is on a rising share if you measure it against GDP. The plan that has been put forward and we think will be adopted gets you part of the way there but it doesn’t get you all the way there. And we don’t see in the next few years a consensus forming that will get you the rest of the way.” — John Chambers, chairman of Standard & Poor’s sovereign debt committee

  • S&P’s Chambers Says U.S. Debt Problems Need Bipartisan Solution: U.S. lawmakers need to come together as they did for a 1980s overhaul of Social Security and compromise on the medium-term consolidation of the country’s fiscal position, said John Chambers, chairman of Standard & Poor’s sovereign debt committee…. – Bloomberg, 8-7-11
  • G7 gives first sign ready to battle crisis: Political and financial leaders gave their first sign of readiness to battle a debt crisis gone global when the European Central Bank signaled on Sunday it would start buying Italian and Spanish debt, a critical move to quell a bond rout that has rocked financial markets.
    The European Central Bank decision would be aimed at calming markets grown increasingly doubtful about Europe’s ability to deal with its debt issues, a strikingly parallel concern to that which led ratings agency Standard & Poor’s to knock U.S. debt down from “risk free” AAA status to AA-plus.
    Meanwhile, finance chiefs from Group of Seven industrial nations were to confer by telephone late on Sunday– and possibly issue a statement afterward — to try to soothe anxious investors after a week in which $2.5 trillion of market value was wiped out…. – Reuters, 8-7-11
  • Dollar Weakens to Record Versus Franc as S&P Lowers U.S. Rating: The dollar dropped to a record low against the Swiss franc and fell for a second day versus the yen after Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the U.S. added to concern the fiscal health of the world’s biggest economy is slipping.
    The greenback weakened against the euro before the Federal Reserve meets tomorrow on monetary policy after S&P cut the U.S. one level on Aug. 5. The euro also advanced after the European Central Bank signaled it’s ready to start buying Italian and Spanish bonds to curb the region’s debt crisis. The yen gained against most major peers as Asian shares slid for a fifth day, supporting demand for Japan’s currency as a refuge…. – Bloomberg, 8-8-11
  • U.S. 10-Year Treasury Yield Retraces Decline: Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds retraced early losses Monday to rise above Friday’s closing levels, despite the unprecedented downgrade by Standard & Poor’s of its rating on U.S. government debt.
    Analysts said a pledge early Monday from the Group of Seven industrialized nations to prevent market volatility, along with concerns about the euro-zone debt crisis and the possibility of a global economic downturn, was keeping demand for Treasurys strong…. – WSJ, 8-8-11
  • What the Move on U.S. Credit Means for Everyday Investors: The move by Standard & Poor’s to cut the U.S. credit rating to double-A-plus added more uncertainty to global markets already buffeted by concerns over debt crises and slowing economic growth. Here are answers to some of the most important questions facing investors…. – WSJ. 8-7-11
  • How to Get That AAA Rating Back: Reagan inherited economic problems and fixed them. Obama’s strategy is to blame Bush and Standard & Poor’s…. – WSJ, 8-7-11
  • S&P executive: 1 in 3 chance of future downgrade: A top political adviser to President Barack Obama blamed the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating on tea party Republicans, whom he said were unwilling to compromise on how to reduce the federal debt.
    Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the decision by the Standard & Poor’s credit agency to downgrade the U.S. from AAA to AA+ for the first time was strongly influenced by weeks of standoff between Democrats and Republicans over the debt…. – AP, 8-7-11
  • Greenspan sees stock market drop after downgrade: Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan says he expects the stock market slide to continue in the wake of a decision by credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the U.S. credit rating.
    Appearing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Greenspan said markets will take time to bottom out and that he expects a negative reaction on Monday to the S&P action…. – AP, 8-7-11
  • Kerry, McCain say bipartisan work needed post-S&P downgrade, differ on who to blame: Two senators and former presidential candidates say Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating speaks to the need for more bipartisan compromise — but they also say the blame lay with the other party.
    John Kerry was the Democratic nominee for president in 2004, and John McCain was the Republican nominee in 2008.
    Appearing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Kerry called S&P’s decision a “tea party downgrade.” The Massachusetts Democrat says he believes that tea party supporters in the House are holding up progress.
    McCain says he too would like to see more cooperation, but the Arizona Republican says President Barack Obama is at fault. McCain says the president failed to lead and did not present a clear plan during the debt-ceiling debate…. – AP, 8-7-11

Political Features August 6, 2011: John Mariotti: Barack Obama, A Failed Presidency — The American Problem

POLITICAL FEATURES

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Source: Forbes, 8-6-11

President Barack Obama meets with Congressiona...Few Americans needed Standard & Poor to confirm the mismanagement of the United States government and its finances.  The downgrading of American credit will raise interest rates on America’s huge debt and ultimately on all Americans.  Popular polls say that most Americans blame Congress—but that’s too simplistic.  As much as Barack Obama would like to shift that blame onto Congress, the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of President. It is first and foremost a leadership problem that is crippling America—and the leader is President Barack Obama—not the many members of Congress.

No matter how many speeches he makes, the conclusion is clear: Obama’s greatest failure is spending America into enormous deficits, and being clueless about how to get the economy to recover.  His speeches, riddled with “I” and “We” are mostly serving to indict him for his failings.  Appearing on TV more than any other sitting president, Barack Obama is constantly “explaining” why things aren’t working, when he should be working on what to do different and better.

Instead he is “campaigning,” which is the only thing he knows how to do reasonably well.  But he can’t fix the economy; he has neither the experience nor the knowhow to do it.  His failed, misguided policies have only exacerbated the size of his mistakes and shortcomings.

—————————————————-

“I didn’t say ‘Change we can believe in tomorrow.,.’ I didn’t say, ‘Change we can believe in next week…’  “We knew this was going to take time.”  —Barack Obama, Aug. 4, 2011.

“When Presidents talk like that, they’re saying: ‘This isn’t working’.”  —Peggy Noonan, WSJ, Aug. 6, 2011

READ MORE

Full Text US Economy in Crisis August 6, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Discusses the Economy

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

QUOTES

President Barack Obama tapes his Weekly Address
White House Photo, Samantha Appleton, 8/5/11

 

Weekly Address: Getting the Economy Growing Faster

Source: WH, 8-6-11

President Obama outlines a number of steps that can be taken right away to create jobs and help grow the economy.

 

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Creating Jobs and Getting All Americans Back to Work

WASHINGTON—In this week’s address, President Obama called on Democrats and Republicans to work together to grow the economy and get Americans back to work.  The President has outlined a number of steps Congress can take right now to spur growth and create jobs, including extending tax cuts for working and middle class families, cutting red tape to encourage new businesses to grow and hire, passing trade deals that will support tens of thousands of jobs, and giving our out-of-work construction workers opportunities to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Washington, DC

This week, Congress reached an agreement that’s going to allow us to make some progress in reducing our nation’s budget deficit.  And through this compromise, both parties are going to have to work together on a larger plan to get our nation’s finances in order.  That’s important. We’ve got to make sure that Washington lives within its means, just like families do.  In the long term, the health of our economy depends on it.

But in the short term, our urgent mission has to be getting this economy growing faster and creating jobs.  That’s what’s on people’s minds; that’s what matters to families in this country.  And the fact is, this has been a tumultuous year for the economy.  We’ve weathered the Arab Spring’s effect on oil and gas prices.  The Japanese earthquake and tsunami’s effect on supply chains.  The economic situation in Europe.  And in Washington, there was a contentious debate over our nation’s budget that nearly dragged our country into financial crisis.

So our job right now has to be doing whatever we can to help folks find work; to help create the climate where a business can put up that job listing; where incomes are rising again for people. We’ve got to rebuild this economy and the sense of security that middle class has felt slipping away for years.  And while deficit reduction has to be part of our economic strategy, it’s not the only thing we have to do.

We need Democrats and Republicans to work together to help grow this economy.  We’ve got to put politics aside to get some things done.  That’s what the American people expect of us.  And there are a number of steps that Congress can take right away, when they return in September.

We need to extend tax cuts for working and middle class families so you have more money in your paychecks next year.  That would help millions of people to make ends meet.  And that extra money for expenses means businesses will have more customers, and will be in a better position to hire.

Yesterday, I proposed a new tax credit for companies that hire veterans who are looking for work after serving their country.  We’ve got a lot of honorable and skilled people returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and companies that could benefit from their abilities. Let’s put them together.

We need to make sure that millions of workers who are still pounding the pavement looking for jobs are not denied unemployment benefits to carry them through hard times.

We’ve got to cut the red tape that stops too many inventors and entrepreneurs from quickly turning new ideas into thriving businesses – which holds back our whole economy.

It’s time Congress finally passed a set of trade deals that would help displaced workers looking for new jobs, and that would allow our businesses to sell more products in countries in Asia and South America – products stamped with three words: Made in America.

And we ought to give more opportunities to all those construction workers who lost their jobs when the housing boom went bust.  We could put them to work right now, by giving loans to companies that want to repair our roads and bridges and airports, helping to rebuild America.

Those are a few commonsense steps that would help the economy.  And these are ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans in the past.  So I’m going to keep calling on both parties in Congress to put aside their differences and send these bills to my desk so I can sign them right away.  After all, both parties share power.  Both parties share responsibility for our progress.  Moving our economy and our country forward is not a Democratic or a Republican responsibility; it is our responsibility as Americans.

That’s the spirit we need in Washington right now. That’s how we’ll get this economy growing faster and reach a brighter day.

Thanks for listening, and have a great weekend.

Full Text US Economy in Crisis August 6, 2011: Republican GOP Candidates React to S&P’s Downgrade of US Credit Rating from AAA to AA+

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

QUOTES

GOP candidates react to credit rating downgrade

Source: USA Today, 8-6-11
JON HUNTSMAN

“Out-of-control spending and a lack of leadership in Washington have resulted in President Obama presiding over the first downgrade of the United States credit rating in our history.

“For far too long we have let reckless government spending go unchecked and the cancerous debt afflicting our nation has spread.

“We need new leadership in Washington committed to fiscal responsibility, a balanced budget, and job-friendly policies to get America working again.”

MICHELE BACHMANN

“Tonight’s decision by S&P to downgrade our credit rating to AA+ is a historically significant and serious event for the United States. The United States has had a AAA credit rating since 1917.

“That rating has endured the great depression, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the terrorist attacks on 9/11. This president has destroyed the credit rating of the United States through his failed economic policies and his inability to control government spending by raising the debt ceiling.

“We were warned by all of the credit agencies that a failure to deal with our debt would lead to a downgrade in our credit rating, but instead he submitted a budget that had a $1.5 trillion deficit and then requested a $2.4 trillion blank check. President Obama is destroying the foundations of the U.S. economy one beam at a time.

“I call on the president to seek the immediate resignation of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and to submit a plan with list of cuts to balance the budget this year, turn our economy around and put Americans back to work.”

NEWT GINGRICH

“The Obama disaster continues,” he said in a Twitter message at 8:54 p.m. “Highest food stamp level and lowest credit rating in history in the same 24 hours.”

MITT ROMNEY

“America’s creditworthiness just became the latest casualty in President Obama’s failed record of leadership on the economy.

“Standard & Poor’s rating downgrade is a deeply troubling indicator of our country’s decline under President Obama.

“His failed policies have led to high unemployment, skyrocketing deficits, and now, the unprecedented loss of our nation’s prized AAA credit rating. Today, President Obama promised that ‘things will get better.’

“But it has become increasingly clear that the only way things will get better is with new leadership in the White House.”

HERMAN CAIN

“On Tuesday, April 19, 2011, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner promised that America faced ‘no risk’ of a credit downgrading. Less than six months later, he is proven shamefully wrong. As I have feared for months, the S&P has chosen to downgrade America’s credit rating from AAA, which we have always enjoyed, to AA+.

“Perhaps this is because the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats never once demonstrated a willingness to propose its own ideas for meaningful spending cuts, something credit agencies signaled were necessary to redeem America’s financial standing in the world.

“As a corporate executive, I’ve rescued companies from the brink of bankruptcy and returned them to profitability. That involved balancing budgets or even creating them in the first place, something that the Democratic leadership in Congress hasn’t done for 828 days. If I couldn’t run companies without budgets, how can the government?

“I also had to make tough budgetary cuts to save companies. Leadership is about doing what’s right, even when it’s difficult. But somehow, that sort of idea was never floated among those within the Obama Administration.

“Now, Americans are fearful for their retirements and for their children’s educational savings. This is a country known for dreamers and innovators, for thinkers and doers. And now, we are a nation living in fear.

“This is a sad day for America. Such a rating is unfitting of the greatest and most prosperous nation the world has ever known. And such a weak leader is, as well.”

RON PAUL

“We have just learned that for the first time in our history, the United States’ top credit rating has been downgraded by credit rating agency S&P.

“We were told by proponents of increasing the debt ceiling that a credit downgrade would come if we didn’t raise the limit, but the opposite was true.

“The ratings agencies had been warning us for some time that it is imperative upon the U.S. government to get its fiscal house in order and tackle its debt and deficit problem by taking serious steps.

“Unfortunately, the game in Washington has been one of partisan blaming and bipartisan out-of-control spending.

“America has been dealing with this severe economic crisis for years because the Washington establishment failed to focus on the true issues at hand: a declining dollar and out-of-control spending.

“Last November, millions of frustrated Americans let it be known that they wanted our debt crisis solved and our spending problem to end. They sent a group of new lawmakers to Washington to end business as usual.

“But the old crowd of elites still refuses to budge on doing everything it takes to get us out of this hole they’ve dug. Instead of real substantial budget cuts, we get minor or ‘fake’ cuts and budget tricks that may or may not happen far off into the future. We get a Congress that abdicates its responsibility to an unconstitutional ‘Super Congress’ with the power to make things worse than they already are.

“The American people realize that our nation can no longer afford to stay on this same path of reckless spending and follow the status quo of Washington. They will not tolerate any further ineffective stimulus schemes that do nothing to help our economy and actually do the opposite to the tune of trillions of dollars in money being spent and printed, and millions of people remaining unemployed and without much economic stability or security.

“If Washington refuses to take heed, there is little cause for optimism.

“Growing inflation, rising gasoline and food prices, and trillion-dollar budget deficits will all soon seem like minor issues if our nation does not immediately change our monetary and spending policies.

“We must take bold actions to reduce out-of-control government spending, and get the federal government out of the way of small business and entrepreneurs so that they can start hiring again.

“If elected President, I pledge to veto any unbalanced budget and to balance the federal budget in the first year of my term. I will fight to reduce taxes and remove unconstitutional regulations so that businesses can hire, Americans can get back to work, and our economy can truly recover.”

RICK SANTORUM

“If this downgrade holds, then it’s another example in a long line of examples of the President’s failure of leadership. Is anyone surprised at this point? There are 14 million people out of work and looking to the White House for answers – but they are receiving nothing but a blank stare.

“The markets are scared and the credit downgrade has happened because the President and this Congress continue to address the symptoms and not the disease.

“This nation is spending more money than it takes in and the world knows it – now, it’s time to show the world that the United States has the fortitude and resolve to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to stop out of control spending and shrink the scope of government once and for all. The deal the President cut with Congress was supposed to avoid this downgrade but all it did was once again kick the can down the road.

“President Obama and his Administration have been a failure.

“I understand the US Treasury is going back to Standard and Poors to say that a two trillion dollar mathematical error by S&P contributed to the downgrade. So, in addition to blaming President Bush for all of its problems, now the White House is blaming S&P – but this happened on the President’s watch – and he has to deal with it. I guess President Obama is left to cling to the ‘hope’ that a mathematical error caused this. Is that the “hope” the President was talking about?

“Folks, an AA rating should be so far in our rear view mirror that no mathematical error should affect it.

“Tonight, I’m saddened for the millions out of work – but I’m hopeful that I will replace Barack Obama as President and get this country and its economy moving again.”

TIM PAWLENTY

“This is a sad moment for the United States, but it’s a reflection that our country is in trouble. President Obama is inept when it comes to creating the conditions or job creation and economic growth. It’s time for a new direction and a new President.”

“The S&P downgrade blemishes our free Republic’s revolutionary experiment in liberty and self-government; consequently, it heartens tyrants and terrorists.

THADDEUS MCCOTTER

“We must reject recriminations, and unite to squarely face and fully conquer the fiscal challenge that threatens our prosperity and security.

“For as this downgrade underscores, only by restructuring big government into citizen-government will we keep our nation the world’s leading economy and affirm American exceptionalism throughout the 21st Century.”

Political Buzz US Economy in Crisis, August 6, 2011: S&P (Standard & Poor’s) Downgrades United States Credit Rating from Coveted AAA to AA+ Friday After Debt Bill & Repeated Warnings — US has Maintained AAA Rating since 1917

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.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

S&P rating downgrade

These 15 countries (and the Isle of Man) have the world’s highest credit rating, AAA from both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. The U.S. lost that high standing Friday, when S&P downgraded it to a AA+ rating. (Note: New Zealand has also been downgraded from AAA to AA)

THE HEADLINES….

S&P downgrades U.S. credit rating: The United States credit rating was downgraded for the first time Friday night, after a bipartisan debt deal signed into law this week failed to assuage concerns about the nation’s growing spending, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Standard & Poor’s said it was reducing the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA for the first time since it began assigning grades to countries in 1941. The credit rating agency warned several times this year that unless the government took steps to tame its debt, it could face a downgrade.

U.S. Long-Term Debt Downgraded by Standard & Poor’s: Standard & Poor’s removed the United States government from its list of risk-free borrowers on Friday night, citing concern about the rising burden of long-term federal debt.
The ratings agency had threatened the downgrade if the government did not act to reduce the federal debt by at least $4 trillion over the next decade. Earlier this week, Congress instead passed a plan to reduce the debt by at least $2.1 trillion.
Two other ratings agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, both have said that they have no immediate plan to downgrade the country’s credit rating, giving the government more time to make progress on debt reduction. The split verdict limits the impact of the S.&P. downgrade as many consequences would only be triggered by a reduction by at least two agencies.

“The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.” — S&P

“The political brinkmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.”… – S&P

“The dysfunctional status of Washington has resulted in the first ever downgrade of the credit rating of the United States’ debt by Standard and Poor’s. Only time will tell whether this will have an adverse effect on prevailing interest rates paid on new U.S debt. If it does, it will only serve to compound our current economic challenges and longer-term fiscal outlook.” — Former Comptroller General David Walker.

“The action by S&P reaffirms the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that combines spending cuts with revenue-raising measures like closing taxpayer-funded giveaways to billionaires, oil companies and corporate jet owners. This makes the work of the joint committee all the more important, and shows why leaders should appoint members who will approach the committee’s work with an open mind — instead of hardliners who have already ruled out the balanced approach that the markets and rating agencies like S&P are demanding.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“This is a wake-up call for Washington to get serious about fixing our debt problem. Many of us have long argued that Congress must make the hard choices to address this issue immediately, and I can only hope this helps others in Washington and around the country understand our urgency. Substantial, meaningful reform that results in a pro-growth tax system, entitlement reforms and spending reductions must be implemented as soon as possible.” — Republican Sen. Chris Chambliss of Georgia.

“The deal Congress just passed over conservative objections has already had its obvious effect, the loss of America’s credibility around the world. The deal was not a serious attempt to solve our spending and debt problem, it was a political solution meant to kick the can down the road. The only real solution to our spending and debt crisis was Cut, Cap & Balance that the president rejected out of hand.” — Republican Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

“As S&P stated, ‘The transparency and accountability of institutions bear directly on sovereign creditworthiness because they reinforce the stability and predictability both of political institutions and the political framework.’ The American people are watching to see if the bipartisan Joint Committee will develop a plan to responsibly reduce the deficit in a balanced way while promoting economic growth and creating jobs.” — House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

“Tonight’s decision by S&P to downgrade our credit rating to AA+ is a historically significant and serious event for the United States. The United States has had a AAA credit rating since 1917. That rating has endured the great depression, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the terrorist attacks on 9/11. This president has destroyed the credit rating of the United States through his failed economic policies and his inability to control government spending by raising the debt ceiling.” — GOP presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman.

“America’s creditworthiness just became the latest casualty in President Obama’s failed record of leadership on the economy. Standard & Poor’s rating downgrade is a deeply troubling indicator of our country’s decline under President Obama. His failed policies have led to high unemployment, skyrocketing deficits, and now, the unprecedented loss of our nation’s prized AAA credit rating.” — GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor.

    • GOP candidates react to credit rating downgrade: Standard & Poor’s, a major investment consulting agency, downgraded the United States from its top status on Friday night, saying that the dependability of US policy making had reached a significant low. … – USA Today, 7-29-11

AAA to AA+: Here come the battery jokes! — CNN Money, 8-6-11

“They’ve changed the US from AAA to AA. All this time and they didn’t realise they were using the wrong batteries.”…
“Until today I didn’t even know America ran on batteries, never mind what size.”…
“Until today I didn’t even know America ran on batteries, never mind what size.”…
“Caught a just downgraded AA+ 11-inch Maine bass. Gotta cross to Canada across lake for AAA fish!” — Economist Nouriel Roubini

    • Ouch! U.S. booted from Triple-A debt club CNN Money, 8-6-11
    • Barack Obama under fire as blame game follows US credit downgrade: Left and right turn on president, raising questions over his chances of winning the White House again… – Guardian, UK, 8-6-11
    • S&P downgrades US credit rating from AAA: The United States has lost its coveted top AAA credit rating. Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s on Friday downgraded the nation’s rating for the first time since the U.S. won the top ranking in 1917. The move came after Congress haggled over budget cuts and the nation’s borrowing limit — and failed to cut enough government spending to satisfy S&P. The issue has contributed to convulsions in financial markets.
      The drop in the rating by one notch to AA-plus was expected. The three main credit agencies, which also include Moody’s Investor Service and Fitch, had warned during the budget fight that if Congress did not cut spending far enough, the country faced a downgrade. S&P said that it is making the move because the deficit reduction plan passed by Congress on Tuesday did not go far enough to stabilize the country’s debt situation. Moody’s said Friday it was keeping its AAA rating on the nation’s debt, but that it might still lower it…. – AP, 8-5-11
    • U.S. sources: S&P focused too much on debt-limit politics: Standard & Poor’s focused too much on the messy political process leading to a debt-limit hike and made a $2-trillion error in its calculations about U.S. finances, sources familiar with the discussions claimed on Friday night.
      The error was centered in the ratings agency’s estimates of discretionary spending and was pointed out by Treasury and it raised questions about S&P’s credibility, the sources said…. – Reuters, 8-5-11
    • S& P’s Analysis Was Flawed by $2 Trillion Error, Treasury Says: The Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating was flawed by a $2 trillion error, according to a Treasury Department spokesman.
      S& P lowered the nation’s AAA credit rating one level to AA+ yesterday, after warning on July 14 that it would reduce the ranking in the absence of a “credible” plan to lower deficits even if the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit were lifted. The outlook was kept as “negative.”
      The ratings company said that the deficit-cutting plan signed by President Barack Obama this week after months of wrangling with Congress falls short of what “would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics.”
      The Treasury disagreed with S& P’s assessment and judged the analysis was carried out hastily, said a person familiar with the matter who declined to be identified because the discussions were private.
      The ratings firm erred in estimating discretionary spending levels at $2 trillion higher than what the Congressional Budget Office estimates, the person said…. – Bloomberg, 8-5-11
    • Obama briefed on S&P downgrade before leaving White House: President Barack Obama was briefed in advance on Friday on Standard & Poor’s intention to downgrade the United States’ top-notch AAA credit rating and has continued receiving updates from top aides, an administration official said.
      Obama left the White House for the Camp David presidential retreat outside Washington in late afternoon just hours before S&P’s announcement. “He was briefed before he left for Camp David and has been receiving updates through the night,” the official said…. – Reuters, 8-6-11
    • US loses AAA rating for first time: Standard & Poor’s has cut the US credit rating for the first time in history, saying the country’s politicians are increasingly unable to come to grips with its massive fiscal deficit and debt load.
      S&P cut the US rating from its top-flight triple-A one notch to AA+, and added a negative outlook to it, saying there was a chance it could be downgraded again within two years if progress is not made cutting the huge government budget gap. amp; It was the first time the US was downgraded since it received an AAA rating from Moody’s in 1917; it has held the S&P rating since 1941…. – AFP, 8-5-11
    • S&P Strips U.S. of Top Credit Rating: Unprecedented Downgrade Comes After Last-Minute Standoff; Treasury Says Decision Is ‘Flawed by a $2 Trillion Error’
      A cornerstone of the global financial system was shaken Friday when officials at ratings firm Standard & Poor’s said U.S. Treasury debt no longer deserved to be considered among the safest investments in the world.
      S&P removed for the first time the triple-A rating the U.S. has held for 70 years, saying the budget deal recently brokered in Washington didn’t do enough to address the gloomy long-term picture for America’s finances. It downgraded U.S. debt to AA+, a score that ranks below Liechtenstein and more than a dozen other countries, and on par with Belgium and New Zealand.
      The unprecedented move came after several hours of high-stakes drama. It began in the morning, when word leaked that a downgrade was imminent and stocks tumbled. Around 1:30 p.m., S&P officials notified the Treasury Department that they planned to downgrade U.S. debt and presented the government with their findings. Treasury officials noticed a $2 trillion error in S&P’s math that delayed an announcement for several hours. S&P officials decided to move ahead anyway, and after 8 p.m. they made their downgrade official…. – WSJ, 8-5-11
    • S& P downgrades U.S. credit rating for first time: Standard & Poor’s announced Friday night that it has downgraded the United States credit rating for the first time, dealing a huge symbolic blow to the world’s economic superpower in what was a sharply worded critique of the American political system.
      Lowering the nation’s rating one-notch below AAA, the credit rating company said “political brinkmanship” in the debate over the debt had made the U.S. government’s ability to manage its finances “less stable, less effective and less predictable.” It said the bi-partisan agreement reached this week to find $2.1 trillion in budget savings “fell short” of what was necessary to tame the nation’s debt over time and predicted that leaders would have no luck achieving more savings later on.
      The decision came after a day of furious back-and-forth between the Obama administration and S&P. Government officials fought back hard, arguing that S&P made a flawed analysis of the potential for political agreement and had mathematical errors in its initial analysis, which was submitted to the Treasury earlier in the day. The analysis overstated the U.S. deficit over 10 years by $2 trillion. “A judgment flawed by a $2 trillion error speaks for itself,” a Treasury spokesperson said Friday…. – WaPo, 8-5-11
    • S&P Cuts US Credit Rating For First Time In Modern History: Standard & Poor’s took the unprecedented step of downgrading the U.S. government’s “AAA” sovereign credit rating Friday in a move that could send shock waves through global financial markets and potentially undermine world economic growth.
      In a press release, S&P, cut its top-notch long-term credit rating for the U.S. Treasury’s debt to AA+ with a negative outlook. It is the first time in modern history that one of the three main ratings firms has stripped the U.S. of its coveted AAA rating.
      S&P warned last month that if the U.S. government didn’t approve a credible medium-term plan to shrink its fiscal shortfall, it would downgrade the rating even if Congress approved a debt deal that raised the Treasury’s borrowing limit. On Tuesday, just in time for a deadline to avoid default, U.S. lawmakers passed a bill increasing the U.S. debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion. However, the amount of planned quid- pro-quo deficit cuts ran to $2.4 trillion, well short of the $4 trillion that S&P had suggested was needed to put the nation’s fiscal house in order.
      Some market participants have warned that the tepid pace of economic recovery means that even deeper fiscal cuts may be needed to reduce the share of public debt to U.S. gross domestic product, a closely watched gauge of a nation’s fiscal health…. – WSJ, 8-5-11
    • S&P downgrades U.S. credit rating: The agency says the level of cuts in the debt ceiling compromise ‘falls short’ and that intense partisanship in Washington hurts prospects for a solution.
      Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. government’s credit rating Friday for the first time in history, saying the recent plan worked out to raise the federal debt ceiling “falls short” of what’s needed to stabilize the nation’s longer-term finances.
      The credit rating agency also said the partisan stalemate that put the U.S. on the brink of default this week did not bode well for efforts to reduce the nation’s soaring debt…. – LAT, 8-6-11

“On one hand, there is a case to be made that the madness of the right has made America a fundamentally unsound nation. And yes, it is the madness of the right: if not for the extremism of anti-tax Republicans, we would have no trouble reaching an agreement that would ensure long-run solvency,” he said, referring to protracted negotiations on the US debt ceiling in which conservative Republicans insisted on deep budget cuts.
“it’s hard to think of anyone less qualified to pass judgment on America than the rating agencies. The people who rated subprime-backed securities are now declaring that they are the judges of fiscal policy? Really?” — Liberal economist Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize winner, in the New York Times

    • US media concerned over rating downgrade: US commentators have expressed concern on Standard & Poor’s decision to cut the US credit rating, with some blaming the setback on conservative Republicans…. – AP, 8-6-11

“No risk,” Timothy Geithner told Fox Business at the time. When asked whether S&P was wrong and that the U.S. would keep its top credit rating, Geithner said, “Absolutely”

    • Republicans Want Geithner to Walk The Plank After Credit Downgrade: With the U.S. losing its Triple-A credit rating for the first time ever, Republican lawmakers and presidential contenders are calling on President Obama to fire Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Fox News, 8-6-11
    • After Downgrade, Debt Panel May Be Congress’s First Test: Friday’s downgrade of U.S. government debt raises pressure on a special “super committee” that lawmakers formed this week to try—once again—to reach a far-reaching budget deal. How Washington’s political culture responds to that charge could be one of the more important repercussions of the downgrade, outside the reactions of financial markets. And the special debt committee stands as the capital’s first test: Will lawmakers and the administration redouble their efforts to reach a broad budget-cutting deal or again descend into squabbles?… – WSJ, 8-6-11
    • S&P downgrade of US credit rating sends clear message to Congress: shape up: S&P, one of the three major credit-rating firms, downgraded its rating for US debt Friday night – a move that has the potential to further sppok global markets and drive up borrowing costs in the US. The reason for the downgrade, S&P said, was congressional dysfunction…. – CS Monitor, 8-6-11

“Americans expect to be No. 1 at everything… a great insult and humiliating to the country…. If this brings rising interest rates on credit cards and mortgages, it is going to send a political shockwave throughout the system, and there will definitely be a ‘throw-the-bums-out’ mentality.” — Republican strategist Ron Bonjean.

“Most people understand the inability to satisfy the bond-ratings agencies was not Obama’s alone… Congress gets much more than half of the blame for this. Blame generally falls on the president when something like this happens.” — Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey

  • S&P Downgrade May Cloud Obama Re-Election Bid Even as It Damages Congress: The downgrade of the U.S.’s AAA credit rating by Standard &’ Poor’s darkens President Barack Obama’s re-election chances while also damaging members of Congress from both parties as they prepare for the 2012 campaign, political analysts said.
    With Obama’s job-approval rating at 48 percent and an all- time high of 82 percent of Americans giving Congress negative marks in a New York Times/CBS News Poll taken this week, the downgrade will hurt the president and lawmakers by fueling economic uncertainty, possibly raising interest rates and wounding national pride, analysts said.
    S&P’s move deals a blow to Obama’s political standing by giving Republican presidential candidates the chance to attack him for being the first U.S. president to preside over a downgrade, said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey…. Bloomberg, 8-6-11

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
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