Political Headlines May 7, 2013: Mark Sanford Wins South Carolina Congressional Seat

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Mark Sanford Wins South Carolina Congressional Seat

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-7-13

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Mark Sanford has pulled off a political comeback some thought impossible….

Now Sanford is back, having retaken the South Carolina House seat he held in the 1990s. With 187 of 317 precincts reporting, Sanford led 54 percent to Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch’s 45 percent….READ MORE

Political Headlines May 7, 2013: Mark Sanford makes political comeback wins South Carolina House seat in special election

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Mark Sanford wins South Carolina special election

Source: WaPo, 5-7-13

Sanford voting in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Sanford voting in Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Mark Sanford won the South Carolina special election comfortably Tuesday, emerging victorious in a competitive race for what in normal circumstances is a safe Republican seat.

The former governor beat Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the sister of comedian Stephen Colbert Busch, for the state’s 1st congressional district.

In the end, Sanford won by nine points, 54 percent to 45 percent, according to the Associated Press’s tally….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 30, 2013: Ed Markey, Gabriel Gomez Win Senate Primaries in Massachusetts

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Ed Markey, Gabriel Gomez Win Senate Primaries in Massachusetts

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-30-13

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Republican businessman Gabriel Gomez are the winners in Tuesday’s primary for the special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated when John Kerry became Secretary of State….

Markey and Gomez will face off in the general election on June 25….READ MORE

Political Headlines November 28, 2012: Susan Rice Gains Little Ground on Day 2 With Skeptical Republican Senators

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Susan Rice Gains Little Ground on Day 2 With Skeptical Senators

Source: ABC News Radio, 11-28-12

Official White House photo by Pete Souza

Day two of Susan Rice’s charm offensive on Capitol Hill brought little support for the U.N. ambassador to become the next secretary of state if nominated by President Obama.

After meeting privately with Rice Wednesday morning, moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said she still had questions about the embassy attack in Libya that “remain troubling” and needed to be answered before she can support Rice for secretary of state….READ MORE

Campaign Headlines November 4, 2012: Mitt Romney Makes Last Push in Pennsylvania, Tries to Turn State Red

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Romney Makes Last Push in Pennsylvania, Tries to Turn State Red

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

With just more than 24 hours until voters can head to the polls in Pennsylvania, Mitt Romney made a last minute stop there on Sunday, drawing tens of thousands to a rally that his campaign hopes will push him to a win in a state they now see as an opportunity this Tuesday.

“This audience and your voices are being heard all over the nation,” said Romney.  “They’re being heard in my heart.  The people of America understand we’re taking back the White House because we’re going to win Pennsylvania!”…READ MORE

Campaign Buzz June 5, 2012: Mitt Romney Sweeps Tuesday 5 GOP Primaries with Wins in Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota & California

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: ROMNEY SWEEPS TUESDAY’S 5 GOP PRIMARIES IN MONTANA, NEW JERSEY, NEW MEXICO, SOUTH DAKOTA & CALIFORNIA

Romney sweeps 5 primaries; redistricting shakes up Congressional races: Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney picked up more ammo in his quest for the White House, sweeping primaries in Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota and California on Tuesday night…. – CNN, 6-6-12

 

  • Romney wins Republican primaries in 5 statesCBS News, 6-5-12
  • Republican Romney wins five more US state pollsAFP, 6-6-12
  • Five more states boost Romney delegate totalPhiladelphia Inquirer, 6-6-12
  • Romney sweeps primaries in 5 statesNews24, 6-6-12
  • Mitt Romney sweeps primaries in 5 states: The results aren’t surprising because the presidential candidate, who spent the day stumping for Latino support in Texas, has effectively claimed the nomination. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns in Fort Worth…. – LAT, 6-5-12
  • Romney wins Republican primaries in 4 states, adding to presumptive nominee’s delegates: Mitt Romney has won the Montana Republican presidential primary on his way to what could be a five-state sweep. Romney also won presidential primaries Tuesday in New Jersey, South Dakota and New Mexico. California is also holding a primary…. – WaPo, 6-5-12

Campaign Headlines May 29, 2012: Ted Cruz Tea Party Candidate Vies for Open Texas Senate Seat in Primary

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

IN FOCUS: TED CRUZ TEA PARTY CANDIDATE VIES FOR OPEN TEXAS SENATE SEAT IN PRIMARY

Tea partier Ted Cruz vies for open Texas Senate seat: Following Republican primary victories in Utah, Indiana, and Nebraska, the tea party movement is hoping for more good news on Tuesday in Texas, where Ted Cruz is taking on the Republican establishment in his campaign for the US Senate…. – ABC News, 5-29-12

  • Cruz confident he’ll earn runoff spot in GOP Senate race: Republican Senate hopeful Ted Cruz said the momentum of Tuesday’s primary election was with him this Memorial Day. He started campaigning in Richardson Monday morning, calling voters on the telephone from aboard a Tea Party… KHOU, 5-29-12
  • Much-watched Texas US Senate race may need runoff: The polls have opened in Texas for the primary election that’s a step leading to a new US senator for the state. Republican US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison is not seeking another term. Nine candidates are squaring … FOX 4 News, 5-29-12
  • Heated primary races await voters’ choice: Texas voters will at last troop to the polls Tuesday, after weeks of uncertainty and disputation over congressional and legislative redistricting, to cast ballots in the much-delayed primary elections. Voters will choose their nominees … Houston Chronicle, 5-27-12
  • Texas GOP Senate Primary: Big Spending, Big Fight for Conservative Crown: In Texas, the GOP primary to fill Kay Bailey Hutchison’s US Senate seat has become a costly and bitter fight that may not end today. Texas election code stipulates that candidates must receive at least 50 percent of the vote to win their party’s…. – ABC News, 5-29-12

Campaign Headlines May 22, 2012: Rep. Paul Ryan blames President Obama for Nation’s Economic Woes at Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library Speech “A Rendezvous with Reagan’s Legacy: Lessons for 2012”

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Rep. Paul Ryan
Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks Tuesday at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press / May 22, 2012)

Paul Ryan Says Romney Will ‘Save This Country’

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-22-12
Rep. Paul Ryan, one of the top contenders floated in GOP circles as a potential running mate to Mitt Romney, addressed a sold-out audience Tuesday evening at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library, telling the friendly audience that he believes Romney will “save this country.”
The 42-year-old Wisconsin Republican, who serves as chairman of the House Budget committee, delivered an address titled “A Rendezvous with Reagan’s Legacy: Lessons for 2012.”  In a speech where President Reagan was named at least a dozen times, Ryan contrasted the GOP’s proposals to reform entitlements and taxes with President Obama and the Democrats’ policies….READ MORE

IN FOCUS: REP. PAUL RYAN BLAMES OBAMA FOR ECONOMIC WOES IN REAGAN LIBRARY SPEECH

Possible VP pick pounds Obama on spending: Rep. Paul Ryan, a potential pick to join Mitt Romney’s presidential ticket, blamed President Barack Obama on Tuesday for anemic job growth and unchecked spending and debt that he said are pushing the nation toward decline…. – AP, 5-22-12

  • Paul Ryan coy on whether he’d join the GOP ticket: Rep. Paul Ryan, who is considered a contender to be Mitt Romney’s running mate, is predictably evasive in addressing the question during an appearance at the Reagan library in Simi Valley. Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) speaks Tuesday at the Reagan Library…. – LAT, 5-23-12
  • Paul Ryan goes into Obama attack mode at the Reagan library: Rep. Paul Ryan on Tuesday was the third Republican with vice-presidential buzz to speak at the Reagan library this election season. But his speech had a different purpose…. – CS Monitor, 5-23-12

Campaign Buzz May 22, 2012: Mitt Romney Sweeps Arkansas, Kentucky Primaries — Closer to Amassing Delegates Needed for GOP / Republican Nomination & Out Performs Obama

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Romney Wins Arkansas, Kentucky Primaries, Outperforms Obama in Both States

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-22-12

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mitt Romney’s victories Tuesday night in Arkansas and Kentucky may have been foregone conclusions, but besides two more batches of delegates on his way to the 1,144 he needs to clinch the Republican presidential nomination, they also gave him something else — bragging rights over President Obama.

In Kentucky, Romney, who is expected to clinch the nomination after the Texas primary on May 29, received a higher percentage of the vote in the Republican presidential primary than Obama received in the Democratic presidential primary. With 99.9 percent of precincts reporting, Romney had 67 percent of the vote, while Obama had 58 percent….READ MORE

IN FOCUS: ROMNEY SWEEPS KENTUCKY & ARKANSAS PRIMARIES

Romney inches closer to GOP nomination with sweep: Mitt Romney is creeping ever closer to ditching the ‘presumptive’ tag in his quest for the Republican presidential nomination. Romney swept the Kentucky and Arkansas Republican presidential primaries yesterday…. – AP, 5-23-12

  • Kentucky and Arkansas: Romney romps, Obama struggles, also rans remain also rans: With the presidential nominees of both parties already decided, it is tempting to forget that some states are still holding primaries. June 5th offers contests in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico…. – Washington Times, 5-23-12
  • Ky., Ark. primaries push Romney toward inevitable nomination: Tuesday’s presidential primaries in Kentucky and Arkansas served one major function: ensuring that Mitt Romney can lock-up the delegates he needs to secure the nomination when Texas votes next week…. – USA Today, 5-22-12
  • Sweep assures his GOP nod: Mitt Romney won all 42 delegates in Kentucky and 21 of 33 in Arkansas. He spent Tuesday evening fund-raising in New York…. – Philadelphia Inquirer, 5-23-12
  • Mitt Romney inches closer to GOP nomination with sweep: Mitt Romney speaks in Lansing, Mich. Romney is looking to pad his lead in the race for convention delegates in Republican presidential primaries Tuesday in Arkansas and Kentucky as he inches closer to the nomination he’s all but certain to win…. – Chicago Sun-Times, 5-23-12

Campaign Headlines May 22, 2012: Republican & Democratic Arkansas, Kentucky Presidential Primaries — Romney Set to Win — Obama may Lose Arkansas to TN Attorney John Wolfe

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Arkansas, Kentucky Primaries: What to Watch For

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-22-12

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Arkansas and Kentucky hold their state and presidential primaries on Tuesday.

A total of 81 delegates are at stake in the GOP presidential primaries, which will undoubtedly bring Mitt Romney much closer to, although still slightly short of, the 1,144 delegates he needs to clinch the GOP nomination.  Romney currently has 992 delegates, ABC News projects.

Mathematically speaking, Romney will not be able to hit the 1,144 mark on Tuesday.  That is expected to happen next week, when Texas holds its primary on May 29.

The races to watch on Tuesday will be the Democratic presidential primaries in Arkansas and Kentucky….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency April 3, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the Associated Press Luncheon Attacks GOP / Republican Budget as Radical & “Social Darwinism”

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama delivers remarks at the Associated Press Luncheon (April 3, 2012)President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Associated Press (AP) Luncheon at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., April 3, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Obama Calls G.O.P. Budget Plan ‘Social Darwinism’

Source: NYT, 4-3-12

President Obama delivered a speech attacking the Republican budget plan on Tuesday in Washington.

Luke Sharrett for The New York Times

President Obama delivered a speech attacking the Republican budget plan on Tuesday in Washington.

President Obama opened a full-frontal assault Tuesday on the budget adopted by House Republicans, saying it would greatly deepen inequality in the country….READ MORE

IN FOCUS: PRESIDENT OBAMA ATTACKS REPUBLICAN BUDGET IN SPEECH TO ASSOCIATED PRESS

Obama blasts Ryan, Romney, Republican budget USA Today, 4-3-12

Obama Calls G.O.P. Budget Plan ‘Social Darwinism’: President Obama delivered a speech attacking the Republican budget plan on Tuesday in Washington. President Obama opened a full-frontal assault Tuesday on the budget adopted by House Republicans, saying it would greatly deepen inequality in the country…. NYT, 4-3-12

  • Obama says election choice ‘unambiguously clear’: Making his case for re-election, President Barack Obama said Tuesday the nation must restore a sense of security for hard-working Americans and stand for a government willing to help those in hard…. – AP, 4-3-12
  • US election 2012: Barack Obama accuses Republicans of ‘social Darwinism’: President Barack Obama on Tuesday night accused the Republican party of trying to impose “social Darwinism” on America by slashing public spending and radically shrinking the scope of the US government…. – Telegraph.co.uk, 4-3-12
  • Obama Says Reagan Couldn’t Get Through GOP Primary: President Barack Obama says if President Ronald Reagan was running for president now, he “could not get through a Republican primary today.” Obama said during a question-and-answer session with newspaper editors on Tuesday…. – AP, 4-3-12
  • Obama: GOP ‘doubling down’ on faulty policies: President Barack Obama says a budget plan presented by House Republicans represents a “doubling down” on a failed economic policy. In a speech before newspaper executives, Obama says a $3.5 trillion budget plan pushed by House Republicans … – CBS News, 4-3-12
  • Obama attacks, mocks Romney and Ryan budget: President Barack Obama jumped fully into the 2012 race Tuesday, naming his likely Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, for the first time in an official presidential speech that accused the Republican establishment of embracing polices that threaten the … – Politico, 4-3-12
  • Obama: GOP budget a “Trojan horse”: Launching a broad argument for his re-election, President Obama on Tuesday delivered a scathing criticism of House Republicans’ proposed 2013 budget proposal…. – CBS News, 4-3-12
  • Obama Calls GOP Budget ‘A Trojan Horse…for Thinly-Veiled Social Darwinism…’: “Whoever he may be, the next president will inherit an economy that is recovering, but not yet recovered, from the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. Too many Americans will still be looking for a job that pays enough to cover their … – Fox News, 4-3-12
  • On primary day, Obama lambastes GOP budget plan as ‘Trojan horse’: President Obama launched an election-year broadside Tuesday against House Republicans — and particularly Rep. Paul Ryan — denouncing their $3.5 trillion budget plan as a “Trojan horse” and “radical” overhaul that is wrong for America…. – Fox News, 4-3-12

Three Charts Illustrating Two Different Visions for Our Nation

Source: WH, 4-3-12
The President believes this is a make or break moment for the middle class and those working to reach it.  That’s why he has put forward a blueprint for an economy built to last – one where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.

Today at the Associated Press Luncheon, the President discussed how his vision differs with the radical vision laid out in the House Republican Budget:

“This Congressional Republican budget, however, is something different altogether.  It’s a Trojan Horse.  Disguised as deficit reduction plan, it’s really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.  It’s nothing but thinly-veiled Social Darwinism.  It’s antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who’s willing to work for it – a place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class.  And by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last – education and training; research and development – it’s a prescription for decline.”

The President’s approach to reducing our deficit is a balanced approach that asks the wealthiest to pay their fair share, achieves significant health savings and enacts sensible spending cuts while making the investments we need to have a strong middle class.

Take a look at how the President’s approach and the Congressional Republican policies stack up side by side:

Side by Side – The President’s Budget vs. Republican Budget

It’s a test of fairness.  The Congressional Republican budget gives every millionaire and billionaire a tax cut of at least $150,000 paid for by ending Medicare as we know it and gutting programs that help the middle class and our economy.  This graphic shows just what that $150,000 means to those programs our economic recovery depends on:

The House Republican Budget – The Budget Fails the Test of Balance, Fairness, and Shared Responsibility

By standing by massive tax cuts we can’t afford paid for by the middle class and seniors, the Republican establishment has rubber stamped the economic policies of the past that caused the financial crisis in the first place.   Just take a look at how much the Republican policies of the past added to our deficit:

 Changes in Deficit Projections Since January 2001

At this critical moment for our economy and the middle class, the President will continue to stand by a policy of fairness that reflects our core values as a nation.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President at the Associated Press Luncheon

Source: WH, 4-3-12

Marriott Wardman Park
Washington, D.C.
12:35 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Please have a seat.  Well, good afternoon, and thank you to Dean Singleton and the board of the Associated Press for inviting me here today.  It is a pleasure to speak to all of you — and to have a microphone that I can see.  (Laughter.)  Feel free to transmit any of this to Vladimir if you see him.  (Laughter.)

Clearly, we’re already in the beginning months of another long, lively election year.  There will be gaffes and minor controversies, be hot mics and Etch-a-Sketch moments.  You will cover every word that we say, and we will complain vociferously about the unflattering words that you write — unless, of course, you’re writing about the other guy — in which case, good job.  (Laughter.)

But there are also big, fundamental issues at stake right now — issues that deserve serious debate among every candidate, and serious coverage among every reporter.  Whoever he may be, the next President will inherit an economy that is recovering, but not yet recovered, from the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression.  Too many Americans will still be looking for a job that pays enough to cover their bills or their mortgage.  Too many citizens will still lack the sort of financial security that started slipping away years before this recession hit.  A debt that has grown over the last decade, primarily as a result of two wars, two massive tax cuts, and an unprecedented financial crisis, will have to be paid down.

In the face of all these challenges, we’re going to have to answer a central question as a nation:  What, if anything, can we do to restore a sense of security for people who are willing to work hard and act responsibly in this country?  Can we succeed as a country where a shrinking number of people do exceedingly well, while a growing number struggle to get by?  Or are we better off when everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules?

This is not just another run-of-the-mill political debate.  I’ve said it’s the defining issue of our time, and I believe it. It’s why I ran in 2008.  It’s what my presidency has been about. It’s why I’m running again.  I believe this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and I can’t remember a time when the choice between competing visions of our future has been so unambiguously clear.

Keep in mind, I have never been somebody who believes that government can or should try to solve every problem.  Some of you know my first job in Chicago was working with a group of Catholic churches that often did more good for the people in their communities than any government program could.  In those same communities I saw that no education policy, however well crafted, can take the place of a parent’s love and attention.

As President, I’ve eliminated dozens of programs that weren’t working, and announced over 500 regulatory reforms that will save businesses and taxpayers billions, and put annual domestic spending on a path to become the smallest share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower held this office — since before I was born.  I know that the true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector, not Washington, which is why I’ve cut taxes for small business owners 17 times over the last three years.

So I believe deeply that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history.  My mother and the grandparents who raised me instilled the values of self-reliance and personal responsibility that remain the cornerstone of the American idea.  But I also share the belief of our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln — a belief that, through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.

That belief is the reason this country has been able to build a strong military to keep us safe, and public schools to educate our children.  That belief is why we’ve been able to lay down railroads and highways to facilitate travel and commerce.  That belief is why we’ve been able to support the work of scientists and researchers whose discoveries have saved lives, and unleashed repeated technological revolutions, and led to countless new jobs and entire industries.

That belief is also why we’ve sought to ensure that every citizen can count on some basic measure of security.  We do this because we recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any moment, might face hard times, might face bad luck, might face a crippling illness or a layoff.  And so we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee health care and a source of income after a lifetime of hard work.  We provide unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss and facilitates the labor mobility that makes our economy so dynamic.  We provide for Medicaid, which makes sure that millions of seniors in nursing homes and children with disabilities are getting the care that they need.

For generations, nearly all of these investments — from transportation to education to retirement programs — have been supported by people in both parties.  As much as we might associate the G.I. Bill with Franklin Roosevelt, or Medicare with Lyndon Johnson, it was a Republican, Lincoln, who launched the Transcontinental Railroad, the National Academy of Sciences, land grant colleges.  It was Eisenhower who launched the Interstate Highway System and new investment in scientific research.  It was Richard Nixon who created the Environmental Protection Agency, Ronald Reagan who worked with Democrats to save Social Security. It was George W. Bush who added prescription drug coverage to Medicare.

What leaders in both parties have traditionally understood is that these investments aren’t part of some scheme to redistribute wealth from one group to another.  They are expressions of the fact that we are one nation.  These investments benefit us all.  They contribute to genuine, durable economic growth.

Show me a business leader who wouldn’t profit if more Americans could afford to get the skills and education that today’s jobs require.  Ask any company where they’d rather locate and hire workers –- a country with crumbling roads and bridges, or one that’s committed to high-speed Internet and high-speed railroads and high-tech research and development?

It doesn’t make us weaker when we guarantee basic security for the elderly or the sick or those who are actively looking for work.  What makes us weaker is when fewer and fewer people can afford to buy the goods and services our businesses sell, or when entrepreneurs don’t have the financial security to take a chance and start a new business.  What drags down our entire economy is when there’s an ever-widening chasm between the ultra-rich and everybody else.

In this country, broad-based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a wealthy few.  It has always come from the success of a strong and growing middle class.  That’s how a generation who went to college on the G.I. Bill, including my grandfather, helped build the most prosperous economy the world has ever known.  That’s why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so they could buy the cars that they made.  That’s why research has shown that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run.

And yet, for much of the last century, we have been having the same argument with folks who keep peddling some version of trickle-down economics.  They keep telling us that if we’d convert more of our investments in education and research and health care into tax cuts — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger.  They keep telling us that if we’d just strip away more regulations, and let businesses pollute more and treat workers and consumers with impunity, that somehow we’d all be better off.  We’re told that when the wealthy become even wealthier, and corporations are allowed to maximize their profits by whatever means necessary, it’s good for America, and that their success will automatically translate into more jobs and prosperity for everybody else.  That’s the theory.

Now, the problem for advocates of this theory is that we’ve tried their approach — on a massive scale.  The results of their experiment are there for all to see.  At the beginning of the last decade, the wealthiest Americans received a huge tax cut in 2001 and another huge tax cut in 2003.  We were promised that these tax cuts would lead to faster job growth.  They did not.  The wealthy got wealthier — we would expect that.  The income of the top 1 percent has grown by more than 275 percent over the last few decades, to an average of $1.3 million a year.  But prosperity sure didn’t trickle down.

Instead, during the last decade, we had the slowest job growth in half a century.  And the typical American family actually saw their incomes fall by about 6 percent, even as the economy was growing.

It was a period when insurance companies and mortgage lenders and financial institutions didn’t have to abide by strong enough regulations, or they found their ways around them.  And what was the result?  Profits for many of these companies soared. But so did people’s health insurance premiums.  Patients were routinely denied care, often when they needed it most.  Families were enticed, and sometimes just plain tricked, into buying homes they couldn’t afford.  Huge, reckless bets were made with other people’s money on the line.  And our entire financial system was nearly destroyed.

So we tried this theory out.  And you would think that after the results of this experiment in trickle-down economics, after the results were made painfully clear, that the proponents of this theory might show some humility, might moderate their views a bit.  You’d think they’d say, you know what, maybe some rules and regulations are necessary to protect the economy and prevent people from being taken advantage of by insurance companies or credit card companies or mortgage lenders.  Maybe, just maybe, at a time of growing debt and widening inequality, we should hold off on giving the wealthiest Americans another round of big tax cuts.  Maybe when we know that most of today’s middle-class jobs require more than a high school degree, we shouldn’t gut education, or lay off thousands of teachers, or raise interest rates on college loans, or take away people’s financial aid.

But that’s exactly the opposite of what they’ve done.  Instead of moderating their views even slightly, the Republicans running Congress right now have doubled down, and proposed a budget so far to the right it makes the Contract with America look like the New Deal.  (Laughter.)  In fact, that renowned liberal, Newt Gingrich, first called the original version of the budget “radical” and said it would contribute to “right-wing social engineering.”  This is coming from Newt Gingrich.

And yet, this isn’t a budget supported by some small rump group in the Republican Party.  This is now the party’s governing platform.  This is what they’re running on.  One of my potential opponents, Governor Romney, has said that he hoped a similar version of this plan from last year would be introduced as a bill on day one of his presidency.  He said that he’s “very supportive” of this new budget, and he even called it “marvelous” — which is a word you don’t often hear when it comes to describing a budget.  (Laughter.)  It’s a word you don’t often hear generally.  (Laughter.)

So here’s what this “marvelous” budget does.  Back in the summer, I came to an agreement with Republicans in Congress to cut roughly $1 trillion in annual spending.  Some of these cuts were about getting rid of waste; others were about programs that we support but just can’t afford given our deficits and our debt.  And part of the agreement was a guarantee of another trillion in savings, for a total of about $2 trillion in deficit reduction.

This new House Republican budget, however, breaks our bipartisan agreement and proposes massive new cuts in annual domestic spending –- exactly the area where we’ve already cut the most.  And I want to actually go through what it would mean for our country if these cuts were to be spread out evenly.  So bear with me.  I want to go through this — because I don’t think people fully appreciate the nature of this budget.

The year after next, nearly 10 million college students would see their financial aid cut by an average of more than $1,000 each.  There would be 1,600 fewer medical grants, research grants for things like Alzheimer’s and cancer and AIDS.  There would be 4,000 fewer scientific research grants, eliminating support for 48,000 researchers, students, and teachers.  Investments in clean energy technologies that are helping us reduce our dependence on foreign oil would be cut by nearly a fifth.

If this budget becomes law and the cuts were applied evenly, starting in 2014, over 200,000 children would lose their chance to get an early education in the Head Start program.  Two million mothers and young children would be cut from a program that gives them access to healthy food.  There would be 4,500 fewer federal grants at the Department of Justice and the FBI to combat violent crime, financial crime, and help secure our borders.  Hundreds of national parks would be forced to close for part or all of the year.  We wouldn’t have the capacity to enforce the laws that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, or the food that we eat.

Cuts to the FAA would likely result in more flight cancellations, delays, and the complete elimination of air traffic control services in parts of the country.  Over time, our weather forecasts would become less accurate because we wouldn’t be able to afford to launch new satellites.  And that means governors and mayors would have to wait longer to order evacuations in the event of a hurricane.

That’s just a partial sampling of the consequences of this budget.  Now, you can anticipate Republicans may say, well, we’ll avoid some of these cuts — since they don’t specify exactly the cuts that they would make.  But they can only avoid some of these cuts if they cut even deeper in other areas.  This is math.  If they want to make smaller cuts to medical research that means they’ve got to cut even deeper in funding for things like teaching and law enforcement.  The converse is true as well.  If they want to protect early childhood education, it will mean further reducing things like financial aid for young people trying to afford college.

Perhaps they will never tell us where the knife will fall — but you can be sure that with cuts this deep, there is no secret plan or formula that will be able to protect the investments we need to help our economy grow.

This is not conjecture.  I am not exaggerating.  These are facts.  And these are just the cuts that would happen the year after next.

If this budget became law, by the middle of the century, funding for the kinds of things I just mentioned would have to be cut by about 95 percent.  Let me repeat that.  Those categories I just mentioned we would have to cut by 95 percent.  As a practical matter, the federal budget would basically amount to whatever is left in entitlements, defense spending, and interest on the national debt — period.  Money for these investments that have traditionally been supported on a bipartisan basis would be practically eliminated.

And the same is true for other priorities like transportation, and homeland security, and veterans programs for the men and women who have risked their lives for this country.  This is not an exaggeration.  Check it out yourself.

And this is to say nothing about what the budget does to health care.  We’re told that Medicaid would simply be handed over to the states — that’s the pitch:  Let’s get it out of the central bureaucracy.  The states can experiment.  They’ll be able to run the programs a lot better.  But here’s the deal the states would be getting.  They would have to be running these programs in the face of the largest cut to Medicaid that has ever been proposed — a cut that, according to one nonpartisan group, would take away health care for about 19 million Americans — 19 million.

Who are these Americans?  Many are someone’s grandparents who, without Medicaid, won’t be able to afford nursing home care without Medicaid.  Many are poor children.  Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s Syndrome.  Some are kids with disabilities so severe that they require 24-hour care.  These are the people who count on Medicaid.

Then there’s Medicare.  Because health care costs keep rising and the Baby Boom generation is retiring, Medicare, we all know, is one of the biggest drivers of our long-term deficit.  That’s a challenge we have to meet by bringing down the cost of health care overall so that seniors and taxpayers can share in the savings.

But here’s the solution proposed by the Republicans in Washington, and embraced by most of their candidates for president:  Instead of being enrolled in Medicare when they turn 65, seniors who retire a decade from now would get a voucher that equals the cost of the second cheapest health care plan in their area.  If Medicare is more expensive than that private plan, they’ll have to pay more if they want to enroll in traditional Medicare.  If health care costs rise faster than the amount of the voucher — as, by the way, they’ve been doing for decades — that’s too bad.  Seniors bear the risk.  If the voucher isn’t enough to buy a private plan with the specific doctors and care that you need, that’s too bad.

So most experts will tell you the way this voucher plan encourages savings is not through better care at cheaper cost.  The way these private insurance companies save money is by designing and marketing plans to attract the youngest and healthiest seniors — cherry-picking — leaving the older and sicker seniors in traditional Medicare, where they have access to a wide range of doctors and guaranteed care.  But that, of course, makes the traditional Medicare program even more expensive, and raise premiums even further.

The net result is that our country will end up spending more on health care, and the only reason the government will save any money — it won’t be on our books — is because we’ve shifted it to seniors.  They’ll bear more of the costs themselves.  It’s a bad idea, and it will ultimately end Medicare as we know it.

Now, the proponents of this budget will tell us we have to make all these draconian cuts because our deficit is so large; this is an existential crisis, we have to think about future generations, so on and so on.  And that argument might have a shred of credibility were it not for their proposal to also spend $4.6 trillion over the next decade on lower tax rates.

We’re told that these tax cuts will supposedly be paid for by closing loopholes and eliminating wasteful deductions.  But the Republicans in Congress refuse to list a single tax loophole they are willing to close.  Not one.  And by the way, there is no way to get even close to $4.6 trillion in savings without dramatically reducing all kinds of tax breaks that go to middle-class families — tax breaks for health care, tax breaks for retirement, tax breaks for homeownership.

Meanwhile, these proposed tax breaks would come on top of more than a trillion dollars in tax giveaways for people making more than $250,000 a year.  That’s an average of at least $150,000 for every millionaire in this country — $150,000.

Let’s just step back for a second and look at what $150,000 pays for:  A year’s worth of prescription drug coverage for a senior citizen.  Plus a new school computer lab.  Plus a year of medical care for a returning veteran.  Plus a medical research grant for a chronic disease.  Plus a year’s salary for a firefighter or police officer.  Plus a tax credit to make a year of college more affordable.  Plus a year’s worth of financial aid.  One hundred fifty thousand dollars could pay for all of these things combined — investments in education and research that are essential to economic growth that benefits all of us.  For $150,000, that would be going to each millionaire and billionaire in this country.  This budget says we’d be better off as a country if that’s how we spend it.

This is supposed to be about paying down our deficit?  It’s laughable.

The bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission that I created — which the Republicans originally were for until I was for it — that was about paying down the deficit.  And I didn’t agree with all the details.  I proposed about $600 billion more in revenue and $600 billion — I’m sorry — it proposed about $600 billion more in revenue and about $600 billion more in defense cuts than I proposed in my own budget.  But Bowles-Simpson was a serious, honest, balanced effort between Democrats and Republicans to bring down the deficit.  That’s why, although it differs in some ways, my budget takes a similarly balanced approach:  Cuts in discretionary spending, cuts in mandatory spending, increased revenue.

This congressional Republican budget is something different altogether.  It is a Trojan Horse.  Disguised as deficit reduction plans, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.  It is thinly veiled social Darwinism.  It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who’s willing to work for it; a place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class.  And by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last  — education and training, research and development, our infrastructure — it is a prescription for decline.

And everybody here should understand that because there’s very few people here who haven’t benefitted at some point from those investments that were made in the ’50s and the ’60s and the ’70s and the ’80s.  That’s part of how we got ahead.  And now, we’re going to be pulling up those ladders up for the next generation?

So in the months ahead, I will be fighting as hard as I know how for this truer vision of what the United States of America is all about.  Absolutely, we have to get serious about the deficit. And that will require tough choices and sacrifice.  And I’ve already shown myself willing to make these tough choices when I signed into law the biggest spending cut of any President in recent memory.  In fact, if you adjust for the economy, the Congressional Budget Office says the overall spending next year will be lower than any year under Ronald Reagan.

And I’m willing to make more of those difficult spending decisions in the months ahead.  But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — there has to be some balance.  All of us have to do our fair share.

I’ve also put forward a detailed plan that would reform and strengthen Medicare and Medicaid.  By the beginning of the next decade, it achieves the same amount of annual health savings as the plan proposed by Simpson-Bowles — the Simpson-Bowles commission, and it does so by making changes that people in my party haven’t always been comfortable with.  But instead of saving money by shifting costs to seniors, like the congressional Republican plan proposes, our approach would lower the cost of health care throughout the entire system.  It goes after excessive subsidies to prescription drug companies.  It gets more efficiency out of Medicaid without gutting the program.  It asks the very wealthiest seniors to pay a little bit more.  It changes the way we pay for health care — not by procedure or the number of days spent in a hospital, but with new incentives for doctors and hospitals to improve their results.

And it slows the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission — a commission not made up of bureaucrats from government or insurance companies, but doctors and nurses and medical experts and consumers, who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best way to reduce unnecessary health care spending while protecting access to the care that the seniors need.

We also have a much different approach when it comes to taxes — an approach that says if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t afford to spend trillions more on tax cuts for folks like me, for wealthy Americans who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them, and that the country cannot afford. At a time when the share of national income flowing to the top 1 percent of people in this country has climbed to levels last seen in the 1920s, those same folks are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years.  As both I and Warren Buffett have pointed out many times now, he’s paying a lower tax rate than his secretary.  That is not fair.  It is not right.

And the choice is really very simple.  If you want to keep these tax rates and deductions in place — or give even more tax breaks to the wealthy, as the Republicans in Congress propose — then one of two things happen:  Either it means higher deficits, or it means more sacrifice from the middle class.  Seniors will have to pay more for Medicare.  College students will lose some of their financial aid.  Working families who are scraping by will have to do more because the richest Americans are doing less.  I repeat what I’ve said before:  That is not class warfare, that is not class envy, that is math.

If that’s the choice that members of Congress want to make, then we’re going to make sure every American knows about it.  In a few weeks, there will be a vote on what we’ve called the Buffett Rule.  Simple concept:  If you make more than a million dollars a year — not that you have a million dollars — if you make more than a million dollars annually, then you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do.  On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year — like 98 percent of American families do — then your taxes shouldn’t go up.  That’s the proposal.

Now, you’ll hear some people point out that the Buffett Rule alone won’t raise enough revenue to solve our deficit problems.  Maybe not, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.  And I intend to keep fighting for this kind of balance and fairness until the other side starts listening, because I believe this is what the American people want.  I believe this is the best way to pay for the investments we need to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class.  And by the way, I believe it’s the right thing to do.

This larger debate that we will be having and that you will be covering in the coming year about the size and role of government, this debate has been with us since our founding days. And during moments of great challenge and change, like the ones that we’re living through now, the debate gets sharper; it gets more vigorous.  That’s a good thing.  As a country that prizes both our individual freedom and our obligations to one another, this is one of the most important debates that we can have.

But no matter what we argue or where we stand, we have always held certain beliefs as Americans.  We believe that in order to preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own happiness, we can’t just think about ourselves.  We have to think about the country that made those liberties possible.  We have to think about our fellow citizens with whom we share a community.  We have to think about what’s required to preserve the American Dream for future generations.

And this sense of responsibility — to each other and our country — this isn’t a partisan feeling.  This isn’t a Democratic or Republican idea.  It’s patriotism.  And if we keep that in mind, and uphold our obligations to one another and to this larger enterprise that is America, then I have no doubt that we will continue our long and prosperous journey as the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

MR. SINGLETON:  Thank you, Mr. President.  We appreciate so much you being with us today.  I have some questions from the audience, which I will ask — and I’ll be more careful than I was last time I did this.

Republicans have been sharply critical of your budget ideas as well.  What can you say to the Americans who just want both sides to stop fighting and get some work done on their behalf?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I completely understand the American people’s frustrations, because the truth is that these are eminently solvable problems.  I know that Christine Lagarde is here from the IMF, and she’s looking at the books of a lot of other countries around the world.  The kinds of challenges they face fiscally are so much more severe than anything that we confront — if we make some sensible decisions.

So the American people’s impulses are absolutely right.  These are solvable problems if people of good faith came together and were willing to compromise.  The challenge we have right now is that we have on one side, a party that will brook no compromise.  And this is not just my assertion.  We had presidential candidates who stood on a stage and were asked, “Would you accept a budget package, a deficit reduction plan, that involved $10 of cuts for every dollar in revenue increases?” Ten-to-one ratio of spending cuts to revenue.  Not one of them raised their hand.

Think about that.  Ronald Reagan, who, as I recall, is not accused of being a tax-and-spend socialist, understood repeatedly that when the deficit started to get out of control, that for him to make a deal he would have to propose both spending cuts and tax increases.  Did it multiple times.  He could not get through a Republican primary today.

So let’s look at Bowles-Simpson.  Essentially, my differences with Bowles-Simpson were I actually proposed less revenue and slightly lower defense spending cuts.  The Republicans want to increase defense spending and take in no revenue, which makes it impossible to balance the deficit under the terms that Bowles-Simpson laid out — unless you essentially eliminate discretionary spending.  You don’t just cut discretionary spending.  Everything we think of as being pretty important — from education to basic science and research to transportation spending to national parks to environmental protection — we’d essentially have to eliminate.

I guess another way of thinking about this is — and this bears on your reporting.  I think that there is oftentimes the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they’re equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle, and an equivalence is presented — which reinforces I think people’s cynicism about Washington generally.  This is not one of those situations where there’s an equivalence.  I’ve got some of the most liberal Democrats in Congress who were prepared to make significant changes to entitlements that go against their political interests, and who said they were willing to do it.  And we couldn’t get a Republican to stand up and say, we’ll raise some revenue, or even to suggest that we won’t give more tax cuts to people who don’t need them.

And so I think it’s important to put the current debate in some historical context.  It’s not just true, by the way, of the budget.  It’s true of a lot of the debates that we’re having out here.

Cap and trade was originally proposed by conservatives and Republicans as a market-based solution to solving environmental problems.  The first President to talk about cap and trade was George H.W. Bush.  Now you’ve got the other party essentially saying we shouldn’t even be thinking about environmental protection; let’s gut the EPA.

Health care, which is in the news right now — there’s a reason why there’s a little bit of confusion in the Republican primary about health care and the individual mandate since it originated as a conservative idea to preserve the private marketplace in health care while still assuring that everybody got covered, in contrast to a single-payer plan.  Now, suddenly, this is some socialist overreach.

So as all of you are doing your reporting, I think it’s important to remember that the positions I’m taking now on the budget and a host of other issues, if we had been having this discussion 20 years ago, or even 15 years ago, would have been considered squarely centrist positions.  What’s changed is the center of the Republican Party.  And that’s certainly true with the budget.

MR. SINGLETON:  Mr. President, the managing director of the (inaudible) for continuation of United States leadership (inaudible) economic issues, and underscored the need for a lower deficit and lower debt.  How can you respond to that claim?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, look, she’s absolutely right.  It’s interesting, when I travel around the world at these international fora — and I’ve said this before — the degree to which America is still the one indispensable nation, the degree to which, even as other countries are rising and their economies are expanding, we are still looked to for leadership, for agenda setting — not just because of our size, not just because of our military power, but because there is a sense that unlike most superpowers in the past, we try to set out a set of universal rules, a set of principles by which everybody can benefit.

And that’s true on the economic front as well.  We continue to be the world’s largest market, an important engine for economic growth.  We can’t return to a time when by simply borrowing and consuming, we end up driving global economic growth.

I said this a few months after I was elected at the first G20 summit.  I said the days when Americans using their credit cards and home equity loans finance the rest of the world’s growth by taking in imports from every place else — those days are over.  On the other hand, we continue to be a extraordinarily important market and foundation for global economic growth.

We do have to take care of our deficits.  I think Christine has spoken before, and I think most economists would argue as well, that the challenge when it comes to our deficits is not short-term discretionary spending, which is manageable.  As I said before and I want to repeat, as a percentage of our GDP, our discretionary spending — all the things that the Republicans are proposing cutting — is actually lower than it’s been since Dwight Eisenhower.  There has not been some massive expansion of social programs, programs that help the poor, environmental programs, education programs.  That’s not our problem.

Our problem is that our revenue has dropped down to between 15 and 16 percent — far lower than it has been historically, certainly far lower than it was under Ronald Reagan — at the same time as our health care costs have surged, and our demographics mean that there is more and more pressure being placed on financing our Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs.

So at a time when the recovery is still gaining steam, and unemployment is still very high, the solution should be pretty apparent.  And that is even as we continue to make investments in growth today — for example, putting some of our construction workers back to work rebuilding schools and roads and bridges, or helping states to rehire teachers at a time when schools are having a huge difficulty retaining quality teachers in the classroom — all of which would benefit our economy, we focus on a long-term plan to stabilize our revenues at a responsible level and to deal with our health care programs in a responsible way.  And that’s exactly what I’m proposing.

And what we’ve proposed is let’s go back, for folks who are making more than $250,000 a year, to levels that were in place during the Clinton era, when wealthy people were doing just fine, and the economy was growing a lot stronger than it did after they were cut.  And let’s take on Medicare and Medicaid in a serious way — which is not just a matter of taking those costs off the books, off the federal books, and pushing them onto individual seniors, but let’s actually reduce health care costs.  Because we spend more on health care with not as good outcomes as any other advanced, developed nation on Earth.

And that would seem to be a sensible proposal.  The problem right now is not the technical means to solve it.  The problem is our politics.  And that’s part of what this election and what this debate will need to be about, is, are we, as a country, willing to get back to common-sense, balanced, fair solutions that encourage our long-term economic growth and stabilize our budget.  And it can be done.

One last point I want to make, Dean, that I think is important, because it goes to the growth issue.  If state and local government hiring were basically on par to what our current recovery — on par to past recoveries, the unemployment rate would probably be about a point lower than it is right now.  If the construction industry were going through what we normally go through, that would be another point lower.  The challenge we have right now — part of the challenge we have in terms of growth has to do with the very specific issues of huge cuts in state and local government, and the housing market still recovering from this massive bubble.  And that — those two things are huge headwinds in terms of growth.

I say this because if we, for example, put some of those construction workers back to work, or we put some of those teachers back in the classroom, that could actually help create the kind of virtuous cycle that would bring in more revenues just because of economic growth, would benefit the private sector in significant ways.  And that could help contribute to deficit reduction in the short term, even as we still have to do these important changes to our health care programs over the long term.

MR. SINGLETON:  Mr. President, you said yesterday that it would be unprecedented for a Supreme Court to overturn laws passed by an elected Congress.  But that is exactly what the Court has done during its entire existence.  If the Court were to overturn individual mandate, what would you do, or propose to do, for the 30 million people who wouldn’t have health care after that ruling?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, first of all, let me be very specific. We have not seen a Court overturn a law that was passed by Congress on a economic issue, like health care, that I think most people would clearly consider commerce — a law like that has not been overturned at least since Lochner.  Right?  So we’re going back to the ’30s, pre New Deal.

And the point I was making is that the Supreme Court is the final say on our Constitution and our laws, and all of us have to respect it, but it’s precisely because of that extraordinary power that the Court has traditionally exercised significant restraint and deference to our duly elected legislature, our Congress.  And so the burden is on those who would overturn a law like this.

Now, as I said, I expect the Supreme Court actually to recognize that and to abide by well-established precedence out there.  I have enormous confidence that in looking at this law, not only is it constitutional, but that the Court is going to exercise its jurisprudence carefully because of the profound power that our Supreme Court has.  As a consequence, we’re not spending a whole bunch of time planning for contingencies.

What I did emphasize yesterday is there is a human element to this that everybody has to remember.  This is not an abstract exercise.  I get letters every day from people who are affected by the health care law right now, even though it’s not fully implemented.  Young people who are 24, 25, who say, you know what, I just got diagnosed with a tumor.  First of all, I would not have gone to get a check-up if I hadn’t had health insurance. Second of all, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to get it treated had I not been on my parent’s plan.  Thank you and thank Congress for getting this done.

I get letters from folks who have just lost their job, their COBRA is running out.  They’re in the middle of treatment for colon cancer or breast cancer, and they’re worried when their COBRA runs out, if they’re still sick, what are they going to be able to do because they’re not going to be able to get health insurance.

And the point I think that was made very ably before the Supreme Court, but I think most health care economists who have looked at this have acknowledged, is there are basically two ways to cover people with preexisting conditions or assure that people can always get coverage even when they had bad illnesses.  One way is the single-payer plan — everybody is under a single system, like Medicare.  The other way is to set up a system in which you don’t have people who are healthy but don’t bother to get health insurance, and then we all have to pay for them in the emergency room.

That doesn’t work, and so, as a consequence, we’ve got to make sure that those folks are taking their responsibility seriously, which is what the individual mandate does.

So I don’t anticipate the Court striking this down.  I think they take their responsibilities very seriously.  But I think what’s more important is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to recognize that in a country like ours — the wealthiest, most powerful country on Earth — we shouldn’t have a system in which millions of people are at risk of bankruptcy because they get sick, or end up waiting until they do get sick and then go to the emergency room, which involves all of us paying for it.

MR. SINGLETON:  Mr. President, you’ve been very, very generous with your time, and we appreciate very much you being here.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much, everybody.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

END
1:35 P.M. EDT

 

Getting at the Facts

Source: WH, 4-6-12

On Tuesday, the President gave a speech in which he contrasted his vision for our economy – one where everyone pays their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules – with the Republican approach of giving massive tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires paid for by cuts to programs that the middle class and seniors depend on.

Congressman Ryan and his staff has since taken issue with some of the critiques the President made about the Republican approach.  We believe in backing up our facts – so here’s some further explanation of some of the core problems with the Ryan Republican Budget.

1. The Republican budget enacts a drastic, unspecified 19 percent cut in non-defense discretionary programs that help the middle class and help our economy grow.

The House Budget resolution includes a $1.060 trillion cut in non-defense discretionary spending, below the levels to which both Democrats and Republicans agreed in the Budget Control Act.  We did the math, and a $1.060 trillion cut to discretionary programs – as called for in the Republican budget – would amount to a 19 percent cut in non-defense discretionary spending.  By comparison, the cuts proposed in the House Budget resolution would be three times as great as the cuts required by the sequester and because of the lack of detail in the resolution, we are left to assume that they would be applied in the same arbitrary, across the board, manner.  The President carefully described the impact of those cuts if they were distributed across the board, and noted that protecting some places would require even deeper cuts in other places.

House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan’s office responded that considering the cut across-the-board wasn’t fair because “the House Budget Committee made dozens of specific assumptions to justify our numbers, and we made these assumptions public in the hundreds of pages of text we posted in plain view on the House Budget Committee’s website.”  But if you look at the report, it only includes a list of “illustrative policy options.”  But they’re just that—as you can see on page 30 of that same PDF: “this report offers a range of policy options to help demonstrate how the budget’s fiscal goals could be achieved.  These options are illustrative….”  So it’s not as though the House is taking ownership of these proposals—as President Obama has owned his specific ideas in each of his budgets.

What’s more, even if you look at the specific numbers in the House budget, you see that they aren’t very specific.  A Budget Resolution shows federal spending distributed across different categories of spending.  Most of the categories are specific—things like “Energy” or “Administration of Justice.”  But the House put 85 percent of their cuts into a category called “Allowances” (see page 16 of the same report).  That’s a great big “TBD.”  The 19 percent cut is calculated by taking the level Congress agreed to last summer in the Budget Control Act for non-defense discretionary programs in 2013 and subtracting the proposed $406 billion cap for 2014 in the House Republican Budget.  That’s a $95 billion cut that, when left undistributed, is a 19 percent cut to the 2012 level of services in every non-defense discretionary program.

And even if you were going to give the House Republican Budget credit for the 15% of their domestic discretionary cut which does fall into specific categories, you would have to make deeper cuts in other programs.  For example: the House said they don’t want to cut Veterans Benefits.  When we calculated the percentage cut in non-defense spending, we spread it across the entire discretionary budget, including Veterans programs.  If you took Veterans benefits out of the mix, the cuts to everything else would be a lot bigger.

The bottom line is that when a budget proposes cuts as vast and vague as this budget, the best way to illustrate its impact is to show the effects across the board. The Republican budget’s lack of specifics gives us no other choice.

2. The Republican approach would end Medicare as we know it.

Chairman Ryan’s team also disputes the President’s characterization that House Republican Budget would “end Medicare as we know it.”  But that’s exactly what would result from a plan that would voucherize the Medicare program beginning in 2023 and would reduce deficits only by shifting cost and risk onto America’s seniors.

First, they claim that the “second-lowest-cost private plan” (the benchmark at which Chairman Ryan would set the value of a senior citizen’s Medicare voucher) would provide the same benefits in a more cost-effective way than traditional Medicare.

  • But analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office on this topic in 2011 found something far different:  that private plans cost 39 percent more than traditional Medicare, in part because Medicare enjoys lower administrative costs and better purchasing power.  And the flip side is that, for those limited areas of the country where private plans are cheaper than traditional Medicare, premiums for seniors seeking to stay in traditional Medicare will rise as a result of the bidding program – upwards of 49 to 64 percent on average, according to 2006 CBO study of a similar proposal.  In other words:  In most of the country, private Medicare providers will cost more to deliver the same benefit as traditional Medicare.  And in those few places where that’s not true, the security of the traditional Medicare program will become a lot more expensive for seniors who wish to stay in it. While the exact numbers in Chairman Ryan’s current plan may differ from these previous studies, which had different details and different assumptions, the broad analysis would still apply to his current proposal.

Second, the Ryan team claims that, under their plan, the risk of private plans going up in price faster than the value of the Medicare voucher would not entirely fall on the beneficiary because Congress would be required to act.

  • The Ryan team does not even need to look beyond its own ranks to disprove this one.  According to testimony by House GOP Budget Committee staff, the Ryan budget would cap growth in the value of voucher payments to the rate of GDP growth plus 0.5 percent – a rate below the average annual growth of health care costs.  And when asked what would happen if competitive bids increased faster than that rate, Staff Director Austin Smythe testified: “The premium support payment would be capped at that level” – in other words, if the voucher’s value does not keep up with the cost of private plans, seniors will be expected to pick up the difference, a radical departure from the promise of the current Medicare program. Moreover, there is no way around this conclusion because under the Ryan Medicare plan just about the only cost to the government is what it pays for the voucher, so the only way to hit his Medicare growth rate target is to reduce the voucher and shift costs to seniors.

Third, the Ryan team claims that there will always be one health plan that is fully covered by the voucher and always one plan that costs even less.

  • But, after 2023, the first year their budget goes into effect, this just isn’t true.  While it is true that every newly eligible senior could choose a plan that was fully covered in that first year, even then that plan generally would not provide many of the benefits that Medicare beneficiaries have enjoyed from traditional Medicare.   And, after 2023, there is no guarantee that any plan – even those geared toward younger and healthier seniors – would be fully covered.  Because the voucher amount would not be based on the actual bids of private providers, but rather on a growth rate capped below the historical and projected growth of health care costs, there is simply no guarantee that the voucher will be able to keep up – with seniors on the hook if it does not.

The House Republican plan’s voucher is based on an spending  target with all of the risk falling on beneficiaries, which is a key reason that led Henry Aaron, one of the co-inventors of premium support, to write “current proposals are not premium support as [former Urban Institute President Robert] Reischauer and I used the term.”

Last, the Ryan team claims that private plans “cherry picking” the healthiest seniors away from traditional Medicare would be prohibited under their reforms because their plan includes risk-adjusting as an extra precaution against doing so.

  • For starters, the House Republican Budget does not provide any details that would allow one to judge if they contained even an attempt at serious regulations.  But even the best intentioned and implemented regulations and risk adjustment procedures would still fall well short of what is needed to prevent an adverse selection spiral from driving healthier seniors out of traditional Medicare and dramatically raising the costs for those who remain.  For example, a 2002 study published by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that if risk-adjustment were 50 percent effective (which is four times the effectiveness of risk adjustment in Medicare today [http://www.medpac.gov/transcripts/RiskAdj_Mar_2012.pdf] according to the non-partisan Medicare Payments Advisory Commission (MedPAC) that advises Congress), 76 percent of seniors would be pushed out of traditional Medicare by the 20th year of the program – effectively ending Medicare as we know it.

3. The Republican budget would mean 19 million Americans lose the health coverage they are already getting under current Medicaid

Finally, Chairman Ryan’s staff is disputing the President’s statement yesterday that the House Republican budget would take away health care for 19 million Americans.  Yet again, the Ryan team is missing the mark with their criticisms.  If anything, the President was conservative in his characterization of the effects of the House Republican Medicaid plan.

The President based his statement on a study by the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation.  That study found that, by block granting Medicaid, “the House Budget Plan would lead to . . .  19.4 million people being cut” from the program.

The reason is this:  The House Republican budget plan turns Medicaid into a block grant and indexes it to consumer prices, but without any adjustment for additional beneficiaries or health costs.  So if health care costs continue to rise faster than other prices, or if the aging population results in more elderly Medicaid enrollees, or if a future recession results in Americans losing their jobs and newly qualifying for Medicaid, the block grant structure proposed in Ryan’s budget would prevent the program from expanding to meet those needs.

Over the next decade, this structure would result in $800 billion in cuts to the Medicaid program as it currently exists, 34 percent less funding than is currently projected and a cut so deep that it would be impossible to achieve without denying care to many of the people who rely on Medicaid today.

And that’s just the Ryan plan’s cuts from the existing Medicaid program.

That same Kaiser study also found that the Ryan plan’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act would take away Medicaid coverage from the additional 17 million Americans who are slated to receive it when health reform goes into full effect.  As a result, according to Kaiser, counting the impact of the ACA as well as the block grant, the result would be a cut of 36.4 million enrollees, a reduction of 48 percent.

Jay Carney is the White House Press Secretary.

Campaign Buzz January 10, 2012: Mitt Romney Wins Republican New Hampshire Primary By Large Margin — Ron Paul Places Second

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Mitt Romney spoke during his primary night rally with members of his family at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H. More Photos »

IN FOCUS: MITT ROMNEY WINS NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY BY WIDE MARGIN — RON PAUL PLACES SECOND

10:20 AM ET 2:00
County Leaders
Size of Lead
Candidate Votes Percent
Mitt-romney_38
Mitt Romney 96,170 39.3%
Ron-paul_38
Ron Paul 55,903 22.9
Jon-huntsman_38
Jon Huntsman 41,194 16.8
Newt-gingrich_38
Newt Gingrich 23,070 9.4
Rick-santorum_38
Rick Santorum 22,914 9.4
Others_38
Others 5,276 2.2
Full Results » 97% reporting

Mitt Romney projected to win N.H. primary: Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will win the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, according to network projections.

Ron Paul projected to finish second in New Hampshire, AP says: Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) will finish second in New Hampshire’s Republican presidential primary, the Associated Press projects, with former Utah governor Jon Huntsman coming in third. Mitt Romney earlier was projected as winning the contest.

Romney Wins New Hampshire G.O.P. Primary, Projections Show: Mitt Romney has won the New Hampshire Republican primary, projections show, achieving a sweep of the first two critical contests in the 2012 presidential race and boosting his chances at becoming his party’s nominee this fall.
The New York Times and other news organizations declared Mr. Romney the winner in the race just moments after the polls closed at 8 p.m. Eastern time, based on exit polls and early returns. The margin of his victory and the order of those behind him remain uncertain until more votes are counted.
Mr. Romney barely won Iowa’s caucuses a week ago, besting Rick Santorum by a mere eight votes out of more than one hundred thousand cast.
Mr. Romney’s second White House bid had been premised from the beginning on the idea that he could win in New Hampshire, a state he has all-but adopted as his own in the years since Senator John McCain dashed his hopes here…. – NYT, 1-10-12

“The president has run out of ideas. Now, he’s running out of excuses. And tonight, we’re asking the good people of South Carolina to join the citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of time.” — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“We have had a victory for the cause of liberty tonight.” — Rep. Ron Paul

“I say third place is a ticket to ride.” —former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman

“We have an opportunity to be the true conservative, the true conservative who can go out and do what’s necessary, not just to win this race— and we can win this race— but to be the conservative who understands that, at the foundation of our country, are institutions that are crucial for us to be a successful nation, families, families that are bonded together as the foundation, that instill virtue and faith in our children, to build strong communities and build a great nation from the bottom up.” — former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum

“We have an opportunity, I think, to unify the country around a message of jobs, economic growth and very dramatic programs.” — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich

“We’ve had enough of sending our kids and our money around the world to be the policemen of the world. It’s the time to bring them home.” — Ron Paul

“I believe that it will take someone who is capable of debating Barack Obama face to face, delivering the conservative message, winning the argument in order to overcome his billion-dollar machine.” — Newt Gingrich

“Thank you New Hampshire, tonight we made history! Tonight we celebrate; tomorrow we go back to work and take our message to South Carolina.” — Mitt Romney

  • BREAKING NEWS: CBS News projects Mitt Romney wins NH primary: CBS News projects Mitt Romney has won the New Hampshire Republican primary. They are basing their projection on early voting results, combined with exit polling data…. – WGME, 1-10-12
  • Mitt Romney wins New Hampshire Republican primary: Mitt Romney won New Hampshire’s Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, giving the former Massachusetts governor a sweep of the first two critical tests in the GOP nominating contest…. – WaPo, 1-10-12
  • ‘We made history’: Mitt Romney claims clear victory in New Hampshire primary – video: The GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney criticised Barack Obama in his victory speech at a primary night rally in Manchester, as the former Massachusetts governor vowed to get America working again. Ron Paul finished second in New Hampshire, with former Utah governor Jon Huntsman a disappointing third…. – The Guardian, 1-10-12
  • Romney wins NH primary; Paul in 2nd and Huntsman 3rd: Republican front-runner Mitt Romney captured the nation’s first primary election Tuesday, easily rebuffing aggressive attacks by a host of challengers…. – USA Today, 1-10-12
  • NH exit poll shows Romney forged broad GOP coalition, seen as best opponent: Mitt Romney performed strongly among conservatives and won decisive backing from voters worried about the economy and eager to vanquish President Barack Obama in this fall’s elections, propelling him to victory in Tuesday’s New Hampshire … – WaPo, 1-10-12
  • New Hampshire puts Romney in driver’s seat: Mitt Romney got virtually everything he needed out of the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night. He won a will move decisive victory that put him in a dominant position to win the Republican presidential nomination, and he on to South … – WaPo, 1-10-12
  • Mitt Romney: ‘Tonight we made history’: The only suspense at Mitt Romney’s headquarters on primary night was just how big his margin of victory in New Hampshire would be. The polls hadn’t even closed when the former Massachusetts Governor’s team began lining up the youthful … – LAT, 1-10-12
  • Reactions at the New Hampshire primary: Reactions at the New Hampshire primary: ___ “The president has run out of ideas. Now, he’s running out of excuses. And tonight, we’re asking the good people of South Carolina to join the citizens of New Hampshire and make 2012 the year he runs out of … – WaPo, 1-10-12
  • Santorum returns to the back of the pack in New Hampshire: What a difference a week and 1300 miles make: Rick Santorum, the Sleeveless Wonder who nearly took the Iowa caucuses out from under Mitt Romney, Tuesday came crashing back to Earth, as he was projected to finish fourth or fifth in New Hampshire… – LAT, 1-10-12
  • Biden tells New Hampshire Democrats that Obama will support the middle class: Targeting the Republican frontrunner, Vice President Joe Biden told New Hampshire Democrats on Tuesday that President Barack Obama would be an advocate for the middle class, casting Mitt Romney as someone who would side with the wealthy. … – WaPo, 1-10-12
  • Analysis: Mitt Romney’s victories will force his rivals to make crucial decision: Mitt Romney’s back-to-back victories in Iowa and New Hampshire will force his weak-but-still-standing GOP rivals to make a crucial decision: Keep eviscerating the man that many see as the inevitable nominee or temper their criticisms and … WaPo, 1-10-12
  • Paul says he’s ‘nibbling’ at Romney’s heels: Ron Paul took the stage in New Hampshire tonight to chants of “President Paul,” as he celebrated his second-place showing in the nation’s first primary. “We’re nibbling at his heels,” Paul said about primary winner Mitt Romney…. – USA Today, 1-10-12

Campaign Buzz October 22, 2011: Republican Bobby Jindal Reelected Governor of Louisiana in State Gubernatorial Election

Campaign Buzz October 22, 2011: Republican Bobby Jindal Reelected Governor of Louisiana in State Gubernatorial Election

CAMPAIGN 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. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ

Gov. Bobby Jindal re-elected

Gov. Bobby Jindal re-elected

Saturday, October 22, 2011 10:07 PM

MICHAEL DeMOCKER / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal thanks supporters during his re-election victory party at the Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge on Saturday, October 22, 2011.

GOVERNORSHIPS CANMPAIGNS & ELECTIONS: LOUISIANA REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR BOBBY JINDAL WINS RE-ELECTION

Louisiana Gov. Jindal declares victory in election: Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, seen as a rising star in the Republican Party, declared victory Saturday in his state’s gubernatorial election.
“You’ve chosen to give me another four years as your governor,” he told supporters less than an hour after polls closed. “We’ve got a lot more work to do over these next four years.”
Jindal had been viewed as a potential vice presidential contender in 2012 but has said he would serve out his term if re-elected…. – Reuters, 10-22-11

Gov. Bobby Jindal re-elected in landslide: Gov. Bobby Jindal rolled to easy re-election Saturday, defeating nine little-known and under-financed candidates in a record-setting landslide. Jindal’s total was hovering 68 percent on a day when turnout was considerably lighter than the 46.6 percent who voted in the 2007 statewide race, then the smallest turnout in the open gubernatorial primary era.
The outcome was so overwhelming that Jindal was able to deliver his victory speech a little more than 45 minutes after polls closed at 8 p.m…. – The Times-Picayune, 10-22-11

“Every time I run for governor the LSU Tigers win the national championship. I’m not putting any pressure on them. I’m just saying.
I am truly humbled, honored by the privilege you have bestowed on me.
Louisiana has made great strides in the last four years. Louisiana is on the move. Anything that happened wasn’t something I did. It was something we did as a state. … I mean all of us. I truly believe our best days are ahead of us. We’ve got a lot more work to do the next four years. I truly believe our best days are ahead of us. We’ve got a lot more work to do the next four years.” — Gov. Bobby Jindal

  • Jindal Wins Second Term as Governor of Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal easily coasted to a second term on Saturday, winning in a landslide after failing to attract any well-known or deep-pocketed opposition. Mr. Jindal, 40, a Republican, overwhelmed nine competitors in the race…. – AP, 10-22-11
  • Jindal poised to claim re-election win in Louisiana governor’s race: Bobby Jindal appeared poised for victory Saturday night, as early results looked promising for his re-election bid to a second term as Louisiana’s Republican governor. “You’ve chosen me to be your governor,” Jindal told supporters Saturday … – CNN, 10-22-11
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wins reelection: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) was easily reelected to a second term on Saturday avoiding a November runoff. Jindal was winning nearly 70 percent of the vote, according to the Associated Press, leading teacher Tara Hollis (D) among others. … – WaPo, 10-22-11
  • Louisiana Gov. Jindal wins re-election easily: Republican Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has easily coasted to a second term, winning in a landslide election after failing to attract any well-known or deep-pocketed opposition.
    The 40-year-old son of immigrants from India overwhelmed nine competitors in the open primary Saturday. In Louisiana, a candidate wins the race outright if he or she receives more than 50 percent of the vote…. – CBS News, 10-22-11
  • As polls open in Louisiana, Jindal seen as shoo-in: Voters headed to the polls on Saturday in Louisiana, where Republican Governor Bobby Jindal was expected to easily win reelection without having to compete in a run-off vote. Polls were due to stay open until 8 pm, when Louisiana voters … – Reuters, 10-22-11
  • Jindal likely to win second term in Louisiana: Louisiana voters head to the polls Saturday in the state’s gubernatorial primary, an election Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal is widely expected to win. The state holds a nonpartisan blanket primary…. – CNN International, 10-22-11
  • Louisiana voters to wade through lengthy ballot: While Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to coast to an easy re-election, lawmakers across the state are in tight contests with term-limited folks seeking to keep themselves in office by switching jobs and others long gone from the Legislature trying to … – WWL First News, 10-22-11
  • More candidates explain why they should be Governor: The race for governor includes nine candidates who are all trying to unseat current governor Bobby Jindal. In a recent poll those candidates combined getting less than ten percent. That compared to Jindal’s near 60 percent. … – WVLA-TV, 10-21-11
  • What’s on the ballot in Saturday’s elections: Despite a low-key contest for governor, the last few days of the fall campaign have picked up, and a higher than expected number of early votes cast may mean higher turnout Saturday for state and local elections…. – WWL, 10-20-11

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 14, 2011: GOP Presidential Candidate Gov. Rick Perry’s Speech on “Energizing American Jobs and Security” Plan

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Gov. Perry’s “Energizing American Jobs and Security” Plan Will Spark 1.2 Million Jobs, Reduce Dependence on Hostile Foreign Oil

Source: RickPerry.org, 10-14-11

As President Obama kills domestic jobs through aggressive regulations, Perry plan adds 1.2 million American jobs through safe and aggressive energy exploration at home

Gov. Rick Perry today unveiled his Energizing American Jobs and Security plan to spark 1.2 million American jobs, while reducing our nation’s dependence on energy from nations hostile to the U.S. Most of the plan can be implemented through executive branch action, without Congressional action and free of Washington gridlock. Gov. Perry announced his plan at the United States Steel Mon Valley Irvin Plant.

Gov. Perry’s full plan can be viewed at http://www.rickperry.org/energizing-american-jobs-html.

“This American jobs plan is based on a simple premise: Make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world,” said Gov. Perry. “We are standing atop the next American economic boom – energy – and the quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to deploy American ingenuity to tap American energy. But we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down.”

Gov. Perry’s Energizing American Jobs and Security plan is the first part of a broader package of economic reforms that he will present to the American people in the coming days. It will create jobs in every sector, reduce our nation’s dependence on hostile foreign oil, revitalize manufacturing and help contain the cost of electricity and fuel.

First, Gov. Perry will open several American energy fields for exploration that are currently limited, including those in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, the Mountain West region and the Northeast Marcellus Shale. These actions will generate billions of dollars in royalty payments that will help pay down our nation’s skyrocketing deficit. Perry also supports the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that will transport Canadian oil to U.S. coastal refineries.

The governor also noted the importance of having the states more involved in energy exploration, including decisions to not pursue development in certain valuable areas such as the Everglades or Yellowstone National Park. However, such instances should represent the exception, not the rule.

Second, the governor’s plan will eliminate activist regulations that are on the books and under consideration by the Obama Administration, which are estimated to destroy up to 2.4 million American jobs and add $127 billion in costs to electric providers and consumers. President Rick Perry will call for immediate review of such rules and implementation of cost-benefit analyses to determine their impact on American employers and the environment.

“If we face the facts, we know that none of these rules were needed to reduce emissions of the six principal pollutants by 50 percent since 1980,” Gov. Perry said. “And they are not needed now, especially as our economy hangs in a fragile balance between recovery and recession.”

The governor will also specifically remove the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gases, which was provided under a controversial ruling by a federal court without the approval of Congress.

Third, Gov. Perry pledged to work with Congress to dismantle the EPA in its current state and rebuild a scaled down agency focused on regional and cross-state issues, providing scientific research, environmental analysis and cost-comparison studies to support state environmental organizations. He said, “I reject the notion that Washington is more committed to environmental stewardship than state and local officials who must live with the consequences of their own environmental policies.”

Lastly, Gov. Perry will level the playing field among all energy producers, working with Congress to phase out direct subsidies and tax credits that distort the energy marketplace. He will however preserve tax incentives for research and development. Gov. Perry will also put an end to the Obama Administration’s agenda-driven hostility toward coal and natural gas, which provide roughly two-thirds of American electricity, noting that technologies in place today and currently under development can ensure cleaner development of conventional sources.

“I do not accept the false choice that we must pick between energy and the environment,” the governor said. “It is time for a balanced, pro-American, pro-jobs energy policy.

“The choice in this election is between two very different visions for our country. When it comes to energy, the president would kill domestic jobs through aggressive regulations, while I would create 1.2 million American jobs through safe and aggressive energy exploration at home. President Obama would keep us more dependent on hostile sources of foreign energy, while my plan would make us more secure by tapping America’s true energy potential. The president’s energy policies are driven by the concerns of activists in his party, while my policies are driven by the concerns of American workers without jobs.”

Gov. Perry concluded, “It’s time to end the over-regulation, excess litigation, and bureaucratic intimidation. Let’s get back to what works to get America working again: Make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world.”

Gov. Perry has a proven record of upholding responsible energy production while protecting both jobs and the environment. Rick Perry’s Texas is the nation’s number one job creator and number one energy producer, while successfully cleaning the air. Texas has reduced NOX emissions by 58 percent and ozone by 27 percent since 2000, more than any other state.

A summary of Gov. Perry’s “Energizing America: Jobs and Security” plan can be viewed at http://www.rickperry.org/energizing-american-jobs-and-security-summary and the full plan can be viewed at http://www.rickperry.org/energizing-american-jobs-html.

To view the governor’s remarks, please visit http://www.rickperry.org/news/pittsburg-gov-rick-perrys-full-remarks-on-energizing-american-jobs/.

 

Pittsburgh: Gov. Rick Perry’s Full Remarks on Energizing American Jobs

October 14, 2011 – U.S. Steel Mon Valley Irvin Plant, Pittsburgh

Thank you for joining me today. I want to say a special thanks to Jim Garraux and the men and women of US Steel for having us here today. It is great to be on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, a city built on the work, hopes and dreams of blue-collar American workers.

The central issue facing Americans is a lack of jobs.

Fourteen million Americans are without work. One in six Americans cannot find a full-time job.  Forty-five million Americans are on food stamps. And 48 percent of American households have at least one resident receiving government benefits.

Though our president has labeled Americans as soft, I believe our people have toughed it out the best they can. But they are looking for leadership and optimism, which are all too rare in Washington today.

What I am proposing today is the first part of an economic growth package that will rebuild the engine of American prosperity.

The plan I present this morning, Energizing American Jobs and Security, will kick-start economic growth and create 1.2 million jobs.

It can be implemented quicker and free of Washington gridlock because it doesn’t require congressional action. Through a series of executive orders, and other executive actions, we will begin the process of creating jobs soon after the inauguration of a new president.

There is, of course, an important role for Congress to play. And in a matter of days I will offer to the American people a broader package of economic reforms that I will take to Congress when I am elected President. My complete economic growth package will tackle tax reform, entitlement reform and real spending reductions in order to address our growing debt crisis.

But today I offer a plan that will create more than a million good, American jobs across every sector of the economy and enhance our national security, and the best news is it can be set in motion in my first 100 days.

My plan is based on this simple premise: Make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world.

We are standing atop the next American economic boom…energy.

The quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to deploy American ingenuity to tap American energy. But we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down.

My plan will break the grip of dependence we have today on foreign oil from hostile nations like Venezuela and unstable nations in the Middle East to grow jobs and our economy at home.

America has proven but untapped supplies of natural gas, oil and coal. America is the Saudi Arabia of coal with 25 percent of the world’s supply. Our country contains up to 134 billion barrels of oil and nearly 1.2 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas.

We have the resources we need to fuel our cars, our homes and our power plants. They can be found in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, New Mexico, Alabama, Kentucky throughout the American West and, of course, Alaska.

But President Obama and his over-reaching Environmental Protection Agency won’t allow American businesses and American labor to draw on even a fraction of this domestic energy from reserves on government-owned lands.

On one hand, the Obama Administration opposes fossil fuel development at home, and then on the other hand encourages countries like Brazil to drill offshore and sell it to American consumers, creating foreign jobs and foreign profits

That’s wrong. That’s hypocritical. That’s unfair. America should not be, and when I am president will not be, held hostage by foreign oil and federal bureaucrats.

The American economy should not be beaten into the ground when greater energy independence and lower energy costs lie right under American soil.

My plan will create jobs in every sector, revitalize manufacturing, and contain the cost of electricity and fuel through four concrete actions.

First, we will open several American oil and gas fields for exploration that are currently off limits because of political considerations. The current administration has restricted exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, and the mid-Atlantic.

In the Gulf of Mexico, the median time for review of permits for combined deepwater exploration and development has increased 400 percent, while deepwater exploration and development plan approvals have dropped by nearly 80 percent.

The Department of Interior has stopped off-shore exploration off the coast of Virginia over the objections of the Virginia congressional delegation, which has passed a bill in the House to achieve the will of their people. That bill is also supported by their Democratic senators, Webb and Warner.

With a series of executive orders and other executive actions, I will authorize the following:

I will work to open up Alaska’s abundant resources to oil and gas exploration, including the ANWR Coastal Plain and the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska. In this one instance, we will need congressional authorization. But it is worth it when you consider we will create 120,000 jobs.

We will initiate off-shore exploration in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off the northern and western coasts of Alaska. This will create 55,000 jobs.

We will resume pre-Obama levels of exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and create another 230,000 jobs.

I will support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to take Canadian Crude to coastal refineries, which would create 20,000 direct jobs for American workers.

We will begin tapping the energy potential of the American West, opening up federal and private lands for exploration in states like Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Colorado and Utah. Collectively, our western states have the potential to produce 1.3 million barrels of oil per day by 2020 and contain 87 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

They can produce more energy than what we import from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Venezuela and Russia combined!

And right here in Pennsylvania, and across the state line in West Virginia and Ohio, we will tap the full potential of the Marcellus Shale and create another 250, 000 jobs by getting the EPA out of the way.  While Marcellus shale is today’s opportunity, the deeper Utica shale formations offer equally vast potential with more jobs over the horizon for Pennsylvania and its neighbors.

The benefits of the boom in American natural gas production are also demonstrated in manufacturing and production. We see that right here at U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works Plant that employs more than three thousand workers, many of whom make the steel products other companies use to develop the Marcellus Shale today.

The face of manufacturing in industrial states has changed rapidly. Natural gas exploration is a game-changer that can bring new opportunities to replace the ones that have been lost. Development of natural gas will create jobs in the supply chain and lead to lower energy costs for manufacturers.

Western Pennsylvania is known for producing great quarterbacks I want Western Pennsylvania to Quarterback a new energy revolution that creates jobs all across America.

Not only will we create jobs by expanding energy exploration, we will use the revenues generated to pay down the deficit.

At the same time, where America has ecological treasures, like the Everglades or Yellowstone National Park, we will not explore for energy.

As we roll back federal control, we seek greater cooperation with the states. And if states oppose energy exploration, we will respect that decision. But these instances represent the exception, not the rule.

It is equally important that we take a second step: eliminate activist regulations already on the books and under consideration by the Obama Administration.

While President Obama has been very public about his newest jobs proposal, behind the scenes the permanent bureaucracy is working to grind the economy to a halt in pursuit of activist regulations. A raft of new rules and foot-dragging by the EPA and Interior Department are killing job creation.

Examples include the Utility Maximum Available Control Technology rule, the Boiler MACT rule, the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, the proposed Coal Combustion Residuals regulation and Section 316 (b) of the Clean Water Act.

These new rules alone could destroy up to 2.4 million American jobs by 2020 and add $127 billion in costs to electric providers and consumers. Under my plan, each of these rules would be subject to an immediate review with a cost-benefit analysis to determine the impact on American employers and the environment.

If we face the facts, we know that none of these rules were needed to reduce emissions of the six principal pollutants by 50 percent since 1980. And they are not needed now, especially as our economy hangs in a fragile balance between recovery and recession.

I will take another step important to economic growth: I will stop the EPA’s draconian measures related to the regulation of greenhouse gases.

When you consider that any carbon reduction will be offset by the increase of carbon emissions by developing nations like China and India, the EPA would tie our economy in knots and advantage our global competitors while realizing no global environmental benefits in the process.

The third part of my plan is to reform the bureaucracy, in particular the EPA, so that it focuses on regional and cross-state issues, providing scientific research, as well as environmental analysis and cost-comparison studies to support state environmental organizations. We will return greater regulatory authority to the states to manage air and water quality rather than imposing one-size-fits-all federal rules.

I reject the notion that Washington is more committed to environmental stewardship than state and local officials who must live with the consequences of their own environmental policies.

The fourth component of my plan is to level the competitive playing field among all energy producers.

As the governor of the nation’s leading producer of wind energy, I clearly believe there is an important role for green sources of energy as a part of our generation mix. The fact is, every energy producer receives incentives and subsidies that cost taxpayers and distort the marketplace.

My plan will stop the practice of Washington writing subsidy checks to any and all sectors of the energy industry. It will also stop industry-specific tax credits, phasing out both over a period of time, allowing the market time to adjust.

We will, however, preserve tax incentives for research and development.

We believe the best way to invest in emerging technology is to allow private industry the freedom to develop it. The shocking reality concerning Obama energy policy is high energy prices are not an accident, but intentional.

From an energy secretary who said he wanted European prices for fuel, to a president who said it was necessary to raise the price of electricity, this Administration has intentionally sought to make conventional generation from coal and natural gas more costly, taking more out of the pockets of American families.

And the reason why is they want to drive consumers to green energy. But we don’t produce enough green energy to fill the void, so the result is greater reliance on foreign sources of energy.

Increasing the use of green energy is a laudable goal. We have done it successfully in my state. But we have used renewable sources to expand the energy supply not replace conventional generation.

Natural gas and coal are responsible for roughly two-thirds of the electricity generated in this country. How can we have stable and affordable electricity when federal agencies target America’s top two fuel generation sources for electricity?

Hostility to coal is not confined to this Administration, it has wrongly been targeted by some members of my own party. I take a different view: I welcome the continued development of coal as an important part of job creation in America. Allowing industry to invest in research and development is the best way to pursue clean coal technology.

I do not accept the false choice that we must pick between energy and the environment. It is time for a balanced, pro-American, pro-jobs energy policy.

Technologies in place today, and under development, can ensure cleaner development of conventional sources.

The EPA’s war on American fossil fuel production comes despite the fact they can’t point to a single incident of unsafe hydraulic fracturing of natural gas. If they have their way in shutting down gas and coal production, the Obama legacy will be more than 2.4 million energy jobs lost in oil, gas and coal.

The choice this election is between two very different visions for our country.

When it comes to energy, the President would kill domestic jobs through aggressive regulations, while I would create 1.2 million American jobs through safe and aggressive energy exploration at home.

President Obama would keep us more dependent on hostile sources of foreign energy, while my plan would make us more secure by tapping America’s true energy potential.

His energy policies are driven by the concerns of activists in his party, my policies are driven by the concerns of American workers without jobs.

We must get America working again. A big part of the solution is under our feet and off our coast.

It can be done without being mired in Washington gridlock, because a president has all the authority he needs to rollback intrusive regulations, create energy jobs, and make our nation more secure.

Creating jobs in America is as simple as changing presidents. That is the choice facing Americans.

America needs jobs. America needs energy. America needs a “made in America” energy revolution.

I have the long-time experience and track record of success in this critical area for American jobs and economic growth to create a new wave of American independence – energy independence.

End the over-regulation. End the excess litigation. End the bureaucratic intimidation. Let’s get back to what works to get America working again.

Make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world.

Full Text October 15, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address at a GM Plant in Detroit, Michigan Highlights the Bipartisan Trades Bill Passed by Congress

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

From a GM plant in Detroit, President Obama highlights landmark trade agreements which will support American jobs, level the playing field for American workers and help us meet our goal of doubling our exports.

President Barack Obama tapes his Weekly Address
President Barack Obama tapes the weekly address, White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 10/14/11

Weekly Address: “Made in America”

Source: WH, 10-15-11

From a GM plant in Detroit, President Obama highlights the landmark trade agreements passed this week which will support tens of thousands of American jobs, level the playing field for American workers, and help us meet our goal of doubling our exports.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Working Together to Create Jobs

Speaking to the American people from Detroit, Michigan, President Obama highlighted the landmark trade agreements passed in a bipartisan way this week which will support tens of thousands of American jobs, level the playing field for American workers, and help us meet our goal of doubling our exports.  The President will continue to urge Congress to do more and pass the American Jobs Act so we can grow our economy and create jobs now.  Republicans in Congress will get a chance to support these common-sense measures or explain why they oppose providing tax breaks for working Americans, putting teachers, firefighters, and cops back to work, and repairing our crumbling infrastructure.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
October 15, 2011

I’m here in Detroit visiting workers at a GM plant in the heart of a resurgent American auto industry.  And I brought a guest with me – President Lee of South Korea.

We’re here because this week, Congress passed landmark trade agreements with countries like Korea, and assistance for American workers that will be a big win for our economy.

These trade agreements will support tens of thousands of American jobs.  And we’ll sell more Fords, Chevys and Chryslers abroad stamped with three proud words – “Made in America.”

So it was good to see Congress act in a bipartisan way on something that will help create jobs at a time when millions of Americans are out of work and need them now.

But that’s also why it was so disappointing to see Senate Republicans obstruct the American Jobs Act, even though a majority of Senators voted “yes” to advance this jobs bill.

We can’t afford this lack of action.  And there is no reason for it.  Independent economists say that this jobs bill would give the economy a jumpstart and lead to nearly two million new jobs.  Every idea in that jobs bill is the kind of idea both parties have supported in the past.

The majority of the American people support the proposals in this jobs bill.  And they want action from their elected leaders to create jobs and restore some security for the middle class right now.  You deserve to see your hard work and responsibility rewarded – and you certainly deserve to see it reflected in the folks you send to Washington.

But rather than listen to you and put folks back to work, Republicans in the House spent the past couple days picking partisan ideological fights.  They’re seeing if they can roll back clean air and water protections.  They’re stirring up fights over a woman’s right to make her own health care choices.  They’re not focused on the concrete actions that will put people back to work right now.

Well, we’re going to give them another chance.  We’re going to give them another chance to spend more time worrying about your jobs than keeping theirs.

Next week, I’m urging Members of Congress to vote on putting hundreds of thousands of teachers back in the classroom, cops back on the streets, and firefighters back on the job.

And if they vote “no” on that, they’ll have to tell you why.  They’ll have to tell you why teachers in your community don’t deserve a paycheck again.  They’ll have to tell your kids why they don’t deserve to have their teacher back.  They’ll have to tell you why they’re against commonsense proposals that would help families and strengthen our communities right now.

In the coming weeks, we’ll have them vote on the other parts of the jobs bill – putting construction workers back on the job, rebuilding our roads and bridges; providing tax cuts for small businesses that hire our veterans; making sure that middle-class families don’t see a tax hike next year and that the unemployed and our out-of-work youth have a chance to get back in the workforce and earn their piece of the American Dream.

That’s what’s at stake.  Putting people back to work.  Restoring economic security for the middle class.  Rebuilding an economy where hard work is valued and responsibility is rewarded – an economy that’s built to last.  And I’m going to travel all over the country over the next few weeks so that we can remind Congress that’s their job.  Because there’s still time to create jobs and grow our economy right now.  There’s still time for Congress to do the right thing.  We just need to act.

Thank you.

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 7, 2011: GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s Speech on Foreign Policy at The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina

 CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Text of Mitt Romney’s Speech on Foreign Policy at The Citadel

Source: WSJ, 10-7-11

Here is the text of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s speech on foreign policy as prepared for delivery Friday at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C.:

Mr. Romney: It’s a great honor to be in South Carolina, where patriotism is a passion that tops even barbeque and football.

And it’s a great honor to be here at the Citadel.

Every great university and college produces future engineers, doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs. Here at the Citadel, you do all that but you have another specialty – you produce heroes.  Over 1400 of your alumni have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere fighting the war against terrorism.  And sixteen have paid the ultimate price.

Since 1842, every tyrant, petty thug or great power that threatened America learned that if you wanted to take on America, you were taking on the Citadel.  That’s a line of heroes that’s never broken and never will be.

This is a true citadel of American honor, values and courage.

The other day I heard the President say that Americans had gone “soft.” I guess he wasn’t talking about how hard it is for millions of Americans who are trying to get a job or stretch a too small paycheck through the week.

As each of you looks beyond this great institution, to the life before you, I know you face many difficult questions in a world fraught with uncertainty.  America is in an economic crisis the likes of which we have never seen in our lifetime. Europe is struggling with the greatest economic crisis since the Cold War, one that calls into question the very definition of the European Union.

Around the world we see tremendous upheaval and change. Our next President will face extraordinary challenges that could alter the destiny of America and, indeed, the future of freedom.

Today, I want you to join me in looking forward. Forward beyond that next Recognition Day, beyond Ring Weekend to four years from today, October 7th, 2015.

What kind of world will we be facing?

Will Iran be a fully activated nuclear weapons state, threatening its neighbors, dominating the world’s oil supply with a stranglehold on the Strait of Hormuz?  In the hands of the ayatollahs, a nuclear Iran is nothing less than an existential threat to Israel. Iran’s suicidal fanatics could blackmail the world.

By 2015, will Israel be even more isolated by a hostile international community? Will those who seek Israel’s destruction feel emboldened by American ambivalence? Will Israel have been forced to fight yet another war to protect its citizens and its right to exist?

In Afghanistan, after the United States and NATO have withdrawn all forces, will the Taliban find a path back to power? After over a decade of American sacrifice in treasure and blood, will the country sink back into the medieval terrors of fundamentalist rule and the mullahs again open a sanctuary for terrorists?

Next door, Pakistan awaits the uncertain future, armed with more than 100 nuclear weapons. The danger of a failed Pakistan is difficult to overestimate, fraught with nightmare scenarios: Will a nuclear weapon be in the hands of Islamic Jihadists?

China has made it clear that it intends to be a military and economic superpower. Will her rulers lead their people to a new era of freedom and prosperity or will they go down a darker path, intimidating their neighbors, brushing aside an inferior American Navy in the Pacific, and building a global alliance of authoritarian states?

Russia is at a historic crossroads.  Vladimir Putin has called the breakup of the Soviet empire the great tragedy of the 20th Century. Will he try to reverse that tragedy and bludgeon the countries of the former Soviet Union into submission, and intimidate Europe with the levers of its energy resources?

To our South, will the malign socialism of Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, in tight alliance with the malign socialism of Castro’s Cuba, undermine the prospects of democracy in a region thirsting for freedom and stability and prosperity?

Our border with Mexico remains an open sore.  Will drug cartels dominate the regions adjoining the United States, with greater and greater violence spilling over into our country? Will we have failed to secure the border and to stem the tide of illegal immigrants? And will drug smugglers and terrorists increasingly make their way into our midst?

This would be a troubling and threatening world for America. But it is not unrealistic. These are only some of the very real dangers that America faces, if we continue with the feckless policies of the past three years.

But of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. This isn’t our destiny, it is a choice. We are a democracy. You decide. In this campaign for President, I will offer a very different vision of America’s role in the world and of America’s destiny.

Our next President will face many difficult and complex foreign policy decisions. Few will be black and white.

But I am here today to tell you that I am guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: This century must be an American Century. In an American Century, America has the strongest economy and the strongest military in the world. In an American Century, America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.

God did not create this country to be a nation of followers. America is not destined to be one of several equally balanced global powers.  America must lead the world, or someone else will. Without American leadership, without clarity of American purpose and resolve, the world becomes a far more dangerous place, and liberty and prosperity would surely be among the first casualties.

Let me make this very clear. As President of the United States, I will devote myself to an American Century. And I will never, ever apologize for America.

Some may ask, “Why America? Why should America be any different than scores of other countries around the globe?”

I believe we are an exceptional country with a unique destiny and role in the world. Not exceptional, as the President has derisively said, in the way that the British think Great Britain is exceptional or the Greeks think Greece is exceptional. In Barack Obama’s profoundly mistaken view, there is nothing unique about the United States.

But we are exceptional because we are a nation founded on a precious idea that was birthed in the American Revolution, and propounded by our greatest statesmen, in our fundamental documents. We are a people who threw off the yoke of tyranny and established a government, in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

We are a people who, in the language of our Declaration of Independence, hold certain truths to be self-evident: namely, that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. It is our belief in the universality of these unalienable rights that leads us to our exceptional role on the world stage, that of a great champion of human dignity and human freedom.

I was born in 1947, a classic baby boomer. I grew up in a world formed by one dominant threat to America: the Soviet Union and Communism. The “duck and cover” drills we learned in school during the Cuban Missile Crisis resulted from a threat by a known, identifiable enemy, with clear borders and established leaders. We needed spy planes to find the hidden missile bases in Cuba but we didn’t need them to find Nikita Khrushchev. President Reagan could negotiate with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and sign treaties for which each side could be held accountable. And when we caught the Soviets cheating, we could bring the world’s attention to their transgressions.

Today, our world is far more chaotic. We still face grave threats, but they come not from one country, or one group, or one ideology. The world is unfortunately not so defined.  What America and our allies are facing is a series of threatening forces, ones that overlap and reinforce each other.  To defend America, and to secure a peaceful and prosperous world, we need to clearly understand these emerging threats, grasp their complexity, and formulate a strategy that deals with them before they explode into conflict.

It is far too easy for a President to jump from crisis to crisis, dealing with one hot spot after another. But to do so is to be shaped by events rather than to shape events. To avoid this paralyzing seduction of action rather than progress, a President must have a broad vision of the world coupled with clarity of purpose.

When I look around the world, I see a handful of major forces that vie with America and free nations, to shape the world in an image of their choosing. These are not exclusively military threats.  Rather, they are determined, powerful forces that may threaten freedom, prosperity, and America’s national interests.

First, Islamic fundamentalism with which we have been at war since Sept. 11, 2001.

Second, the struggle in the greater Middle East between those who yearn for freedom, and those who seek to crush it.

The dangerous and destabilizing ripple effects of failed and failing states, from which terrorists may find safe haven.

The anti-American visions of regimes in Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba—two of which are seeking nuclear weapons.

And these forces include rising nations with hidden and emerging aspirations, like China, determined to be a world superpower, and a resurgent Russia, led by a man who believes the Soviet Union was great, not evil.

There is no one approach to these challenges. There is no Wall that the next President can demand to be torn down. But there is one unifying thread that connects each of these possible threats: when America is strong, the world is safer.

Ronald Reagan called it “Peace through Strength” and he was never more right than today. It is only American power—conceived in the broadest terms—that can provide the foundation of an international system that ensures the security and prosperity of the United States and our friends and allies around the world.

American strength rises from a strong economy, a strong defense, and the enduring strength of our values.  Unfortunately, under this President, all three of those elements have been weakened.

As President, on Day One, I will focus on rebuilding America’s economy.  I will reverse President Obama’s massive defense cuts.  Time and again, we have seen that attempts to balance the budget by weakening our military only lead to a far higher price, not only in treasure, but in blood.

My strategy of American strength is guided by a set of core principles.

First, American foreign policy must be prosecuted with clarity and resolve. Our friends and allies must have no doubts about where we stand. And neither should our rivals. If the world knows we are resolute, our allies will be comforted and those who wish us harm will be far less tempted to test that resolve.

Second, America must promote open markets, representative government, and respect for human rights. The path from authoritarianism to freedom and representative government is not always a straight line or an easy evolution, but history teaches us that nations that share our values, will be reliable partners and stand with us in pursuit of common security and shared prosperity.

Third, the United States will apply the full spectrum of hard and soft power to influence events before they erupt into conflict. Resort to force is always the least desirable and costliest option. We must therefore employ all the tools of statecraft to shape the outcome of threatening situations before they demand military action. The United States should always retain military supremacy to deter would-be aggressors and to defend our allies and ourselves.  If America is the undisputed leader of the world, it reduces our need to police a more chaotic world.

Fourth, the United States will exercise leadership in multilateral organizations and alliances. American leadership lends credibility and breeds faith in the ultimate success of any action, and attracts full participation from other nations. American leadership will also focus multilateral institutions like the United Nations on achieving the substantive goals of democracy and human rights enshrined in their charters.  Too often, these bodies prize the act of negotiating over the outcome to be reached.  And shamefully, they can become forums for the tantrums of tyrants and the airing of the world’s most ancient of prejudices: anti-Semitism. The United States must fight to return these bodies to their proper role. But know this: while America should work with other nations, we always reserve the right to act alone to protect our vital national interests.

In my first 100 days in office, I will take a series of measures to put these principles into action, and place America—and the world—on safer footing.

Among these actions will be to restore America’s national defense.  I will reverse the hollowing of our Navy and announce an initiative to increase the shipbuilding rate from 9 per year to 15.  I will begin reversing Obama-era cuts to national missile defense and prioritize the full deployment of a multilayered national ballistic missile defense system. I will order the formulation of a national cybersecurity strategy, to deter and defend against the growing threats of militarized cyber-attacks, cyber-terrorism, and cyber-espionage.

I will enhance our deterrent against the Iranian regime by ordering the regular presence of aircraft carrier task forces, one in the Eastern Mediterranean and one in the Persian Gulf region. I will begin discussions with Israel to increase the level of our military assistance and coordination. And I will again reiterate that Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is unacceptable.

I will begin organizing all of our diplomatic and assistance efforts in the greater Middle East under one official with the authority and accountability necessary to train all our soft power resources on ensuring that the Arab Spring does not fade into a long winter.

I will launch a campaign to advance economic opportunity in Latin America, and contrast the benefits of democracy, free trade, and free enterprise against the material and moral bankruptcy of the Venezuelan and Cuban model.

I will order a full review of our transition to the Afghan military to secure that nation’s sovereignty from the tyranny of the Taliban.  I will speak with our generals in the field, and receive the best recommendation of our military commanders.  The force level necessary to secure our gains and complete our mission successfully is a decision I will make free from politics.

And I will bolster and repair our alliances. Our friends should never fear that we will not stand by them in an hour of need. I will reaffirm as a vital national interest Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. I will count as dear our Special Relationship with the United Kingdom.  And I will begin talks with Mexico, to strengthen our cooperation on our shared problems of drugs and security.

This is America’s moment.  We should embrace the challenge, not shrink from it, not crawl into an isolationist shell, not wave the white flag of surrender, nor give in to those who assert America’s time has passed. That is utter nonsense. An eloquently justified surrender of world leadership is still surrender.

I will not surrender America’s role in the world. This is very simple: If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your President.

You have that President today.

The 21st century can and must be an American century. It began with terror, war, and economic calamity. It is our duty to steer it onto the path of freedom, peace, and prosperity. My hope is that our grandchildren will remember us in the same way that we remember the past generations of Americans who overcame adversity, the generations that fought in world wars, that came through the Great Depression, and that gained victory in the Cold War. Let future generations look back on us and say, they rose to the occasion, they embraced their duty, and they led our nation to safety and to greatness.

The Greatest Generation is passing. But as their light fades, we must seize the torch they carried so gallantly at such sacrifice. It is an eternal torch of decency, freedom and hope. It is not America’s torch alone. But it is America’s duty – and honor – to hold it high enough that all the world can see its light.

Believe in America.

Thank you, and God Bless the United States of America.

Full Text September 15, 2011: Speaker of the House John Boehners’ Jobs Speech at the Economic Club of Washington (Transcript)

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Boehner’s Jobs Speech

Source: NYT, 9-16-11

The following is a prepared text of Representative John A. Boehner’s speech about jobs to the Economic Club of Washington on Thursday, as provided by the House Speaker’s office:

 

House Speaker John A. Boehner spoke to the Economic Club of Washington about the Republicans' approach to creating jobs on Thursday.Stephen Crowley/The New York TimesHouse Speaker John A. Boehner spoke to the Economic Club of Washington about the Republicans’ approach to creating jobs on Thursday.

MR. BOEHNER: President Rubenstein, members of the board, honored guests — thank you for the opportunity to be here with you today to talk about jobs and the state of our nation’s economy.

We all know the economy is stalled, and it’s been stalled.  And it’s not because the American people have lost their way.  It’s because their government has let them down.

Last week the president put forth a new set of proposals.  The House will consider them, as the American people expect.  Some of the president’s proposals offer opportunities for common ground.

But let’s be honest with ourselves.  The president’s proposals are a poor substitute for the pro-growth policies that are needed to remove barriers to job creation in America…the policies that are needed to put America back to work.

If we want job growth, we need to recognize who really creates jobs in America.  It’s the private-sector.

This building is named in memory of President Ronald Reagan, who recognized that private sector job creators are the heart of our economy.  They always have been.

That was the America I was raised in.  My father and grandfather were small businessmen.  They ran a tavern in Cincinnati that my grandpa started in the 1930s.  I worked in that tavern growing up.

I ran a small business myself.  I know what it takes to meet a payroll, hire workers, and create jobs in the private sector.

There’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the economy that leads to a lot of bad decisions in Washington, D.C.

The reality is that employers will hire if they have the right incentives, but the incentives have to outweigh the costs.  Businesses are not going to hire someone for a $4000 tax credit if government mandates impose long-term costs on them that significantly exceed the temporary credit.  In recent years, such mandates have been overwhelming.

Private-sector job creators of all sizes have been pummeled by decisions made in Washington.

They’ve been slammed by uncertainty from the constant threat of new taxes, out-of-control spending, and unnecessary regulation from a government that is always micromanaging, meddling, and manipulating.

They’ve been hurt by a government that offers short-term gimmicks rather than fundamental reforms that will encourage long-term economic growth.

They’ve been hampered by a government that offers confusion to entrepreneurs and job creators when there needs to be clarity.

They’ve been undercut by a government that favors crony capitalism and businesses deemed ‘too big to fail,’ over the small banks and small businesses that make our economy go.

They’ve been antagonized by a government that favors bureaucrats over market-based solutions.

They’ve been demoralized by a government that causes despair when we need it to provide reassurance and inspire confidence.

My worry is that even after all of this, much of the talk in Washington right now is basically about more of the same.  More initiatives that seem to have more to do with the next election than the next generation. . .initiatives that seem to be more about micromanaging economic decisions than liberating them.

I think the American people are worried about this too.

I can tell you the American people — private-sector job creators in particular — are rattled by what they’ve seen out of this town over the last few years.

My worry is that for American job creators, all the uncertainty is turning to fear that this toxic environment for job creation is a permanent state.

Job creators in America are essentially on strike.

The problem is not confusion about the policies. . .the problem is the policies.

The anger many Americans have been feeling in recent years is beginning to turn into fear. . .fear of our future.

That bothers me, and it should bother all of us.

America is a land of opportunity.  Always has been.

Our economy has always been built on opportunity. . .on entrepreneurs, innovators and risk-takers willing to take a chance — because they’re confident if they work hard, they can succeed.

Over the past few years, government has made people less confident — not more confident — that they can succeed.

More and more Americans are realizing this, and they’re speaking out about it.

I’ve spent the past 4-5 weeks traveling through my district and across this country, listening to the people outside of Washington who are the key to making our economy work.

My message to Washington today on their behalf: this isn’t that hard.  We need to liberate our economy from the shackles of Washington.  Let our economy grow!

We need to trust in the good judgment of the American people.

The instinct in government, always, is to get bigger, more intrusive, more meddlesome.  And that instinct is directly at odds with the things that make the American economy move.

Job creation in America is facing what I would call a triple threat from government.  The first aspect of this threat is excessive regulation.

During the Joint Session of Congress last week, I hosted about a dozen job creators from the private sector in as my guests in the House gallery — all of them with a common story: they’re trying to help create more American jobs, but the government is getting in their way.

We all know some regulations are needed.  We have a responsibility under the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce.

There are reasonable regulations that protect our children and help keep our environment clean.

And then there are excessive regulations that unnecessarily increase costs for consumers and small businesses.

Those excessive regulations are making it harder for our economy to create jobs.

Over the last couple of months we’ve seen two vivid illustrations.

Last month federal agents raided the Gibson Guitar factories in Tennessee.

Gibson is a well-respected American company that employs thousands of people.  The company’s costs as a result of the raid?  An estimated $2-3 million.  Why?  Because Gibson bought wood overseas to make guitars in America.  Seriously.

The other example is in South Carolina, where the Boeing company recently completed a plant that will create thousands of new full-time jobs for American workers — only to be sued by a federal agency that wants to shut it down.

Let make sure I have this straight: under current rules, American companies are free to create jobs in China, but they aren’t free to create them in South Carolina?

At this moment, the Executive Branch has 219 new rules in the works that will cost our economy at least $100 million.

That means under the current Washington agenda, our economy is poised to take a hit from the government of at least $100 million — 219 times.

I think it’s reasonable to ask: is it wise to be doing all of this right now?

The current regulatory burden coming out of Washington far exceeds the federal government’s constitutional mandate.  And it’s hurting job creation in our country at a time when we can’t afford it.

Government’s threat to job creation has two other components.

One is the current tax code, which is discourages investment and rewards special interests.

It strikes me as odd that at a time when it’s clear that the tax code needs to be fundamentally reformed, the first instinct out of Washington is to come up with a host of new tax credits that make the tax code more complex.

The final aspect of the threat is the spending binge in Washington.  It has created a massive debt crisis that poses a direct threat to our country’s ability to create jobs and prosper.

There are some people in this town who still deny this. . .who still deny that the debt is a threat to jobs.

But if you talk to anybody outside of Washington who has to meet a payroll, they’ll tell you that out-of-control spending in Washington is one of the things that concerns them the most about our future.

In New York City back in May, I warned that if we don’t take action soon, the markets will do it for us.

Last month, the markets took action, in the form of a downgrade and the possibility of future downgrades that caused the markets to tumble.

It’s going to keep happening, until we act.

The responsibility for fixing this toxic environment for job creation is a bipartisan one.

The situation was created by Washington’s inability to let our economy work.

It was created by government intrusion and micromanagement.

We have a responsibility to work together in the coming months to remove these barriers and liberate our economy.

This is what the American people are demanding of us.

Everything we do in the weeks and months to come needs to start with asking: are we addressing these problems?  Or are we making them worse?

The Budget Control Act of 2011, signed into law last month, establishes a Joint Select Committee of Congress for the purpose of identifying $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction.

Many have expressed doubts about the Joint Committee’s chances of success.

The skepticism is understandable.  A Joint Select Committee is, after all, no substitute for a president who continues to control most of the arms of government.

But I think the Joint Select Committee has a huge opportunity.

It has a chance to lay the foundation for economic growth, by dealing with some of the obstacles that are standing in the way.

The Joint Committee’s mission is deficit reduction, and that has everything to do with jobs.

As the co-chairman of the Joint Committee, Jeb Hensarling, said last week at the Committee’s first meeting:

‘Our debt threatens our jobs. . .Speak to any Fortune 500 CEO or small business person.  It is clear that our debt hangs like the Sword of Damocles over their hiring decisions. . .It should be obvious that deficit reduction and a path to fiscal sustainability are themselves a jobs program.’

The Joint Select Committee can tackle tax reform, and it should.

It’s probably not realistic to think the Joint Committee could rewrite the tax code by November 23.  But it can certainly lay the groundwork by then for tax reform in the future that will enhance the environment for economic growth.

The Committee can develop principles for broad-based tax reform that will lower rates for individuals and corporations while closing deductions, credits, and special carveouts in our tax code.  And I hope it will.

Yes, tax reform should include closing loopholes.  Not for purposes of bringing more money to the government.  But because it’s the right thing to do.

And if we’re going to tackle tax reform, we should do it all.

Making short-term fixes in exchange for long-term flawed policy is not tax reform.

Tax reform should deal with the whole tax code, both the personal side and the corporate side, and it should result in a code that is simpler and fairer to everyone.

Tax increases, however, are not a viable option for the Joint Committee.

It’s a very simple equation.  Tax increases destroy jobs.  And the Joint Committee is a jobs committee.  Its mission is to reduce the deficit that is threatening job creation in our country.

We should not make its task harder by asking it to do things that will make the environment for job creation in America even worse.

I hope the president will meet this standard when he puts forth his recommendations for the Joint Committee next week.

When it comes to producing savings to reach its $1.5 trillion deficit reduction target, the Joint Select Committee has only one option: spending cuts and entitlement reform.

The Joint Committee can achieve real deficit reduction by reforming entitlements and taking real action to preserve and strengthen Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

There is a myth that spending reforms aren’t ‘real’ unless they happen this year.

That myth is built on a healthy skepticism that spending cuts made today are going to be implemented tomorrow.

But it is a myth nonetheless, and we need to make sure it doesn’t stop us from doing what needs to be done.

Most of the entitlement reforms in the House GOP budget are phased in over time.  And that’s the way the Joint Committee should do them as well.

Modest changes in spending programs today can have large effects tomorrow.

Gimmicks, however, are unacceptable.  As I told the president’s economic team during the debt limit negotiations: we’re just not doing that anymore.

Deficit reduction shouldn’t just be about quantity; it should be about quality.

A billion dollars in imaginary savings from war spending that was never going to happen is not the same as a billion dollars in savings that strengthens our entitlement programs.

There are plenty of skeptics about the Joint Select Committee’s ability to accomplish its mission, and that’s to be expected.

There are always skeptics.

There were skeptics last spring when I said in New York that we should have spending cuts larger than any debt limit hike we gave the president.

But it happened.

And this can happen, too.

The Joint Committee can succeed, and it must succeed.  And with success, it can help to lay the foundation for economic growth and job creation in America.

If the Joint Committee does its work correctly – addressing the structural problems in our entitlement programs that have put us in danger of more job-destroying downgrades, and setting the stage for fundamental tax reform that will help to support private investment – it will have begun to remove some of the biggest barriers to job creation that exist in our country today.

As the Joint Committee does its work, there is a lot of other work in Washington that also needs to be done.

As I mentioned earlier, there are 219 major regulatory actions in the works by the federal bureaucracy right now.  We know seven of them will each have an economic impact of $1 billion or more.

The biggest is an EPA rule that could have an impact of as much as $90 billion.

The president acted wisely by halting the implementation of this rule.  I would urge the White House to build on it by disclosing to the American people the cost estimates for the remaining 212 ‘economically significant’ rules it has planned.

I would also urge the president to call a Cabinet meeting, and tell every member of his Cabinet: ‘Until further notice, I don’t want anything that gets in the way of private-sector job creation.  And I want you to report back to me in a month with how you’ve done.’

The members of the president’s Cabinet are not doing their jobs if they aren’t constantly focused on removing impediments to job growth.

If they’re not focused on that, they should be fired.

In the House, Majority Leader Cantor has put together a fall legislative schedule that reflects the concerns we’ve heard from job creators across America about unnecessary federal regulations that are hampering job growth.

Earlier I mentioned the situation in South Carolina with Boeing.

Today the House is working on a measure that will prevent the federal government from meddling in that situation, and similar ones.

The Senate needs to follow the House in passing this bill, and we need to send it to the president’s desk.

The NRLB bill is one of a whole series of measures we’re working on this fall to reduce the burden of excessive regulation on job creators.

We’ll pass the REINS Act, which would require congressional review for any new regulation that has a major impact on the economy.  House committees have identified dozens of job-crushing regulations that are keeping our economy from producing jobs.

We’ll repeal the ‘3 percent withholding rule,’ which serves as an effective tax increase on those who do business with the government.

We’ll stop excessive federal regulations that inhibit jobs in areas as varied as cement and farm dust.

We’ll work on other reforms such as removing barriers to increased domestic energy production and removing barriers to trade, many of which are in the House GOP jobs agenda at Jobs.GOP.gov.

The United States Senate needs to act, too.  The Senate cannot continue to sit idle on jobs and the budget.

The House has passed an array of bills already this year to remove barriers to job creation, and those bills are piling up in the Senate.

The Senate hasn’t produced a budget, either.  It must.

There are a few other things I want to mention that we can do in the weeks and months ahead to free our economy and bolster confidence among our job creators.

One is very simple.  Both parties can boost confidence and reassure job creators by being clear: there will be no shutdown of the federal government, and we aren’t willing to default on our debt.  The United States will meet its obligations to its citizens and to its creditors.

In Congress, I’ve been clear about these goals since the day I was elected Speaker.  And we’ve been true to our word.

Another thing we can do is in the area of transportation and infrastructure.

I’m not opposed to responsible spending to repair and improve infrastructure.  But if we want to do it in a way that truly supports long-term economic growth and job creation, let’s link the next highway bill to an expansion of American-made energy production.

Removing some of the unnecessary government barriers that prevent our country from utilizing its vast energy resources could create millions of new jobs.

There’s a natural link between the two: as we develop new sources of American energy, we’re going to need modern infrastructure to bring that energy to the market.

We can also boost confidence and reassure job creators by sending a balanced budget amendment to the states.

One of the most important things we did in the Budget Control Act last month — in addition to requiring a vote in both houses of Congress this fall on a balanced budget amendment — was establish caps on future spending.

These caps are designed to hold back the growth of government while our economy expands and creates jobs.

To ensure those spending caps are set in stone, we should ratify a balanced budget amendment.

If the president truly wants to make a difference and change the dynamic in Washington, he should announce his support for a balanced budget amendment and call on the Congress to send one to the states without delay.

And lastly, if we want to create a better environment for job creation, politicians of all stripes can leave the ‘my way or the highway’ philosophy behind.

The all-or-nothing approach is not a workable mindset if we’re serious about getting our economy on its feet again.

Our economy is facing a broad-based, systemic crisis.

As such, it will require everyone coming to the table with their best ideas first and leaving politics at the door, with the courage to listen to each other’s critiques and questions.

It means ending the name-calling, the yelling, and the questioning of others’ motives.

Leadership is about ending that nonsense, buckling down, and getting to work.

Thomas Edison once said that ‘opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.’

We have an opportunity in front of us.  The trick is to recognize it, and believe in it, and act on it.

We know the challenges we face as a nation, and we have a chance to confront them.

If we put election-year politics aside this year and focus on our work, we’ll leave our country in a better place.

Getting it done will require a serious effort by both parties.

There are some in both parties who would rather do nothing.

They’d prefer to sit this one out, waiting to be dealt a better hand down the road, after the next election.

That’s not what I was elected to do.

This is the hand we’ve been dealt.

Instead of ducking from the challenge, we should rise to the occasion, and liberate our economy from the shackles government has placed on it.

I’m ready.  And for the sake of our country, and our economy – I hope all of us are ready.

Thank you for listening.  I look forward to your questions.”

Campaign Buzz 2012 August 11, 2011: Campaign Game Changer — Texas Gov. Rick Perry Will Officially Announce He is Running for the Republican Presidential Nomination on Saturday in South Carolina

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Perry to focus on jobs

TEXAS GOV. RICK PERRY WILL ANNOUNCE HE IS RUNNING FOR THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION ON SATURDAY

Texas Governor Rick Perry will officially announce that he is running for the Republican Presidential nomination on Saturday in South Carolina

“He said, ‘You’ll do what’s right.’ He said, you don’t want to wake up when you’re 70 and go, ‘I wish I had tried that. I wish I had done that.'” — Gov. Rick Perry Perry of a June conversation with former president George W. Bush

“I’ve got a record. And that record, particularly when it comes to the most important issues in this campaign, which is creating the climate of America that gives incentives to job creators to risk their capital and create jobs for our citizens, I will put that up against anybody who’s running and particularly against this President we have today, whose jobs record is abysmal.” — Gov. Rick Perry

“This country’s begging for someone to lay out a vision of hope–real hope–and get America back working again….
I’ll put that record up against anybody that’s running, either on the Republican side or the Democratic side…. If you just want to look at the track record of when Mitt was the governor of Massachusetts versus my years being the governor of Texas, mine doesn’t need any propping up….
My hope is that in four years, people can take a look at what we’ve done in Washington, D.C., and they know that I’ve made Washington, D.C. less consequential in their lives” — Rick Perry in an interview Thursday with New Hampshire television station WMUR

Q&A: Rick Perry Is Ready to Run: Rick Perry is primed to announce his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on Saturday in South Carolina. TIME’s Mark Halperin caught up with the Texas governor in Austin and asked him about his feelings on a White House run, his conservative credentials and his rumored rocky relationship with the Bushes. Lightly edited highlights from their conversation follow…. – Time, 8-11-11

Perry near top of pack in GOP nomination battle: According to a CNN/ORC International poll, 15 percent of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP pick Perry as their first choice for their party’s nomination, just two points behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who’s making his second bid for the White House. Romney’s two point margin over Perry is within the survey’s sampling error …
The survey indicates that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who is making his third bid for the White House, are at 12 percent apiece. CNN, 8-11-11

Rick Perry strong in primary, weak in general election, poll finds: Rick Perry is just 3 percentage points out of first place in the GOP presidential primary, according to a McClatchy-Marist poll released this week. The national survey found Perry with 18 percent support, versus 21 percent for current front-runner Mitt Romney…. – Politico, 8-11-11

Before Declaring Rick Perry Polls 2nd: A key reason for Perry being the weakest opponent is that he’s weakest among independents.
Obama led Romney among independents by 41-35, a 6-percentage-point lead. The president led Pawlenty among the pivotal voting bloc by 49-37, a 12-point edge. Obama led Bachmann among independents by 46-34, also a 12-point advantage, and Perry by 49-30, a 19-point lead…. – McClatchy Newspapers, 8-9-11

Rick Perry May Challenge Mitt Romney’s Frontrunner Status: Texas Governor Rick Perry will seek the Republican presidential nomination. Mark Miner, Perry’s spokesman, confirmed Perry’s presidential intentions. “He will make a definitive announcement on Saturday for the race,” Miner said. However, when Perry’s spokesman was pressed to confirm the Texas Governor’s entry into the 2012 presidential race, he said “yes.”… – The State Column, 8-11-11

  • Perry to announce WH bid Saturday, reports say: Sounds like Rick Perry is still trying to take some attention from the happenings in Iowa. Hours before the big Republican debate in Ames tonight, Perry’s people are putting out the word that the Texas governor will indeed announce he is seeking the presidency in a speech at the Red State gathering in South Carolina on Saturday…. – USA Today, 8-11-11
  • CNN: Texas Gov. Rick Perry running for president: Texas Gov. Rick Perry will announce Saturday in South Carolina that he is running for president a Republican familiar with the plans told CNN. Previous reports had indicated that Perry would use a speech at the conservative Red State Gathering in South Carolina… – CNN, 8-11-11
  • CNN Poll: Perry Among the GOP Frontrunners: He’s not yet an official candidate, but a new CNN/ORC poll indicates that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is among the frontrunners for the GOP nomination. The poll, coming as GOP hopefuls convene in Ames, Iowa for a pivotal debate ahead of the Iowa straw poll…. – U.S. News & World Report, 8-11-11
  • Rick Perry on running for president: ‘This is what I’m supposed to be doing’: On the same day many of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination will compete in the Iowa Straw Poll, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will officially declare his candidacy Saturday, ending weeks of speculation…. – WaPo, 8-11-11
  • Texas Governor Perry to run for president: report: Texas Governor Rick Perry speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana June 18, 2011. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Texas Governor Rick Perry will announce on Saturday that he will run for the 2012 Republican nomination … – Reuters, 8-11-11
  • Its offical (sort of): Spokesman says Rick Perry is indeed running for president: We know this will shock you, but Rick Perry is running for president. After three months of deliberation, the Texas governor is a “go,” our Austin bureau colleague Peggy Fikac reports. Of course, it’s been the worst-kept secret in Texas for weeks. … – Houston Chronicle, 8-11-11
  • Exclusive: Gov. Rick Perry’s All In: Texas Gov. Rick Perry will make “a definitive announcement that he is in the 2012 race for the presidency Saturday,” aides told Fox News. The language is significant…. – Fox News, 8-11-11
  • Perry to announce presidential run Sat.: reports: Texas Gov. Rick Perry will announce on Saturday in South Carolina that he is running for president, reports said Thursday. Reports cited Perry’s spokesman saying the Republican governor will seek the Republican Presidential nomination…. – CBS MarketWatch, 8-11-11
  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry Jumps In Presidential Race: After months of speculation and prodding by Republicans, Texas Governor Rick Perry has officially entered the 2012 race. His spokesman, Mark Miner, told the Associated Press today that Perry is running for president. Perry will deliver a speech at the Red State gathering in South Carolina… — ABC News, 8-11-11
  • Bachmann, Perry to cross paths in Iowa as Texas governor makes debut trip in Iowa: Republican Michele Bachmann isn’t ceding ground in her Iowa birthplace to possible presidential rival Rick Perry. Bachmann announced Thursday that she will appear at a GOP fundraiser in Waterloo on Sunday, the same event that … – WaPo, 8-11-11
  • Iowa website adds Perry to campaign tracker: IowaPolitics.com keeps a handy tally of how much time Republican presidential hopefuls have spent in the state that opens the primary season, and there’s a new face on the list: Gov. Rick Perry…. – Austin American-Statesman, 8-11-11
  • Perry: I’m ‘supposed to’ run for president: Texas Gov. Rick Perry has decided he wants to be president and received advice from former President George W. Bush before reaching his conclusion, according to a new interview with TIME’s Mark Halperin…. – CNN, 8-11-11
  • Perry begins to fill in the blanks: Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) is about to take the plunge into the presidential race. There are, as with any candidate who’s not well known on the national stage, multiple questions. Can he debate? Does he have some policy chops? … – WaPo, 8-11-11
  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry banks on high-dollar donors: Texas Gov. Rick Perry, poised to enter the presidential race this weekend, is a fundraising powerhouse who has relied on a cadre of Republican mega-donors to collect more than $100 million for his three gubernatorial campaigns, state records show…. – USA Today, 8-11-11
  • Perry to focus on jobs: Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who’s set to announce his presidential bid Saturday, laid out his stance on one of the country’s top concerns: job creation. “This country’s begging for someone to lay out a vision of hope–real hope–and get … — CNN, 8-11-11
  • Perry prepares aggressive campaign in NH: While Texas Gov. Rick Perry prepares to declare his candidacy this weekend, behind the scenes his supporters are already planning an aggressive campaign schedule in the first-in-the-nation primary state. … – CNN, 8-11-11
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry to enter race for 2012 Republican nomination for President: Rick Perry’s entry into the GOP’s 2012 field is likely to reshape the contest for the nomination, experts say. Which GOP candidate would you like to see win the nomination? Texas Governor Rick Perry, a staunch conservative with a Washington outsider’s … – New York Daily News,8-11-11
  • Rick Perry’s path to the presidency: Ten steps on the road to 1600 Pennsylvania: After nearly three months of public posturing and private deliberation, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is finally a presidential candidate. A spokesman this afternoon confirmed the worst-kept secret in Texas: Perry will jump into a wide-open Republican race … – Houston Chronicle, 8-11-11
  • GOP insiders say Perry should do well in South Carolina: Texas Gov. Rick Perry will reshuffle the deck for Republican voters Saturday when he announces he is running for president during a visit to Charleston, SC “He’s the 800-pound gorilla who changes the whole makeup of the race,” said Dave Woodard, a Clemson University political scientist and sometimes Republican consultant. “There’s been such a ho-hum reaction to the (GOP) candidates so far. S.C. voters have been waiting for someone else to jump in.”… – Bellingham Herald, 8-11-11
  • 2012 campaign: Rick Perry, a Fred Thompson redux?: We all may remember (or, more likely, most of us don’t) Fred Thompson, the former senator from Tennessee who polled so well as a non-candidate that he belatedly jumped into the 2007-08 GOP primary race. Thompson’s campaign quickly stalled…. – LAT, 8-11-11

Political Buzz August 9, 2011: Wisconsin Recall Election Results, Republicans Retain 4 Senate Seats, Lose 2 to Democrats

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.

WISCONSIN RECALL ELECTION RESULTS

Scott Walker speaks at a press conference. | AP Photo
Placing Walker on the ballot in 2012 would require gathering 500,000 signatures. | AP Photo

STATE & LOCAL POLITICS

4 Wisconsin Republicans survive recall elections, GOP maintains control of state Senate: Four Republican state senators in Wisconsin survived recall challenges Tuesday, allowing the GOP to maintain its control of both houses of the state legislature as well as the governor’s mansion, the Associated Press projected. Two other Republican senators were recalled, losing to their challengers. The recall elections, orchestrated by labor leaders and their Democratic allies, followed Gov. Scott Walker’s move to strip public employee unions of most collective bargaining rights.

“I think setting aside me, if you went around and talk to the average voter, the best thing they like about today is the ads are gone. at least outside of these two remaining Senate districts,” Walker said. I’ve heard repeatedly from people who are just disgusted at all the ads, disgusted at all the money. They’re tired of seemingly year-round campaigning, and whether it’s a gubernatorial recall, any other recall, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of enthusiasm for having a whole ‘nother wave of ads and money come into the state of Wisconsin….. I think setting aside me, if you went around and talk to the average voter, the best thing they like about today is the ads are gone. at least outside of these two remaining Senate districts. I’ve heard repeatedly from people who are just disgusted at all the ads, disgusted at all the money. They’re tired of seemingly year-round campaigning, and whether it’s a gubernatorial recall, any other recall, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of enthusiasm for having a whole ‘nother wave of ads and money come into the state of Wisconsin.” — Gov. Scott Walker

“How can that be a win for Scott Walker when he loses two Republican seats?” — Mike Tate, chairman of the state Democratic Party.

    • Wis. GOP holds off Democrats in recall elections: Republicans held onto control of the Wisconsin Senate on Tuesday, beating back four Democratic challengers in a recall election despite an intense political backlash against GOP support for Gov. Scott Walker’s effort to curb public employees’ union rights.
      Fueled by millions of dollars from national labor groups, the attempt to remove GOP incumbents served as both a referendum on Walker’s conservative revolution and could provide a new gauge of the public mood less than a year after Republicans made sweeping gains in this state and many others…. – AP, 8-9-11

Wisconsin Recall: GOP Retains Senate Control ABC News, 8-10-11

  • In Wisconsin, a Big Recall Push Comes Up Short: Two Republican senators lost their jobs, but the party still controls the legislature and the governor’s office…. – NYT, 8-10-11
  • Walker recall expected to proceed: Democrats are forging ahead with efforts to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker next year, one day after losing four of six recall elections to oust GOP state senators.
    The Tuesday night losses left Democrats a single seat short of overturning GOP control of the state’s upper chamber, though Democratic officials and operatives on the ground insisted Wednesday that their two wins in Republican-leaning areas exposed Walker’s weaknesses…. – Politico, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin Democrats Vow Walker Recall Drive in 2012 After Ballot Failure: Wisconsin Democrats will extend their recall battle into next year with an effort to oust Republican Governor Scott Walker, possibly on Election Day 2012, the state’s party chairman said … – Blomberg, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin recall vote: What does it mean?: A victory for Republicans? Kinda. A plus for Democrats? Sorta. DCDecoder says that The Wisconsin elections offered neither a massive backlash to GOP policy nor strong support for those same policies…. – CS Monitor, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin recall: Conservatives win, liberals gain: There will be no magic potion, no instant formula for Democrats and progressives struggling to come back from their disastrous 2010 election losses…. – WaPo, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin Recall: Republican Win Seen as Coup Heading into 2012 Elections: As a result of the recent Wisconsin recall elections, quite possibly the most contentious in state history, Republicans managed to fend off the Democrats and hold onto their majority. … – International Business Times, 8-10-11
  • The Day After Wisconsin: Will Democrats Still Target Walker?: Dashing Democrats’ hopes of flipping Wisconsin’s state senate and overturning Gov. Scott Walker’s austerity measures, on Tuesday night Republicans retained four out of the six state senate seats that were up for recall…. – ABC News, 8-10-11
  • Wisconsin recall election 2011: Democrats fail to take Senate majority by one seat: Voters in Wisconsin recalled two of the six Republican State Senators in Tuesday’s recall elections, which left the Democrats one seat short of a majority in the Senate…. – WaPo, 8-10-11
  • Walker: Election Results Show Voters Want Bipartisanship: Gov. Scott Walker said he thinks Tuesday night’s recall elections show voters want more bipartisanship from their elected leaders. Walker said believes no matter which party is in control, voters want lawmakers to work together on jobs … – WISC Madison, 8-10-11
  • Recall results show voters want parties to work together, Walker says: Madison — Gov. Scott Walker said results from Tuesday’s recall elections show voters are on board with Republican efforts but that they want the two parties to work together…. – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8-10-11
  • Recall elections once again show Wisconsin’s purple pedigree: Democrats can take solace in the fact that Walker’s agenda is apparently only popular among conservatives. “The people have spoken.” That’s what both sides are saying about the recall elections. Democrats and Republicans will both claim vindication…. – Isthmus Daily Page, 8-10-11

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown August 6, 2011: Washington Post Analysis — The Reasoning Behind the Republican Showdown in the Debt Crisis — “Origins of the Debt Showdown”

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

FEATURES:

For the GOP, the debt showdown was a ‘leverage moment’:

Source: WaPo, 8-7-11

Origins of the debt showdown

The frantic showdown over the debt ceiling that played out in Washington, bringing the nation to the brink of default, looked like the haphazard escalation of a typical partisan standoff. It wasn’t.

Rather, it was the natural outgrowth of a years-long effort by GOP recruiters to build a new majority and reverse the party’s fortunes. That effort began before the economy collapsed in 2008, before the government bailouts that followed, before the tea party rose in response to push its anti-tax, anti-spending message.

The Washington Post reconstructs the Republican party’s transformation, and its impact on the nation’s economic course, through interviews with the leading participants during this summer’s drama and from earlier interviews, some of them recorded, at various points during the past 2 1/2 years….READ MORE

Political Highlights: Debt Ceiling Showdown 2011 Recap — President Obama Signs the Bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011 into Law Averting 1st Default in US History

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.

DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN 2011 RECAP: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/obamasigningdebtbill.jpg?w=500

IN FOCUS

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

How the Senate voted: 74-26 roll call Tuesday — the Senate passed Budget Control Act of 2011 —

YES: 45 Democrats and 28 Republicans
NO: 6 Democrats and 19 Republicans

How the House of Representatives voted: 269-161 roll call Monday — the House passed Budget Control Act of 2011 —

YES: 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans
NO: 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans

Resources on the Debate About the National Debt — White House

  • Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell and the making of a debt dealPolitico, 8-2-11
  • Obama Approval Drops to New Low of 40% Similar to his approval rating for handling the debt ceiling negotiations: President Obama’s job approval rating is at a new low, averaging 40% in July 26-28 Gallup Daily tracking. His prior low rating of 41% occurred several times, the last of which was in April. As recently as June 7, Obama had 50% job approval…. – Gallop, 7-29-11
  • Majority of Americans surveyed believe Congressional leaders behaved like spoiled children: Congressional approval ratings fell to a dismal 14% in the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corp. Survey released Tuesday. It showed a whopping 77% of people felt elected officials in Washington behaved mostly like “spoiled children” in the run-up to the vote.
    Only 17% of people surveyed believed the pols behaved like “responsible adults,” with 4% saying it was a mixture of both…. – NY Daily News, 8-2-11
  • Snapshot: Obama signs debt limit bill: Just hours ahead of a deadline to avert an unprecedented default, President Barack Obama, without public ceremony, signs a bill that raises the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and sets in motion a plan to reduce U.S. deficits over 10 years…. – Reuters, 8-2-11Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline — White House, 7-31-11 Timeline of the Debt Ceiling Negotiations — NYT, 7-31-11

    SNAPSHOT-U.S. lawmakers close to deal on debt: Here is what is happening on Sunday as lawmakers and the White House race to broker a deal to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion borrowing cap by Tuesday’s deadline and avoid default on obligations…. – Reuters, 7-31-11

    FACTBOX-Key elements of possible U.S. debt deal: U.S. lawmakers were working furiously on Sunday to hammer out details of a deal to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and put in place a deficit-reduction plan to help avert a potentially catastrophic debt default.
    Lawmakers, administration officials and aides have made clear that they have yet to agree on the final deal. But they did provide the following details of how the deal is taking shape…. – Reuters, 7-31-11

    FACTBOX-What’s ahead in the U.S. debt limit fight — Reuters, 7-30-11

    How Different Types of Republicans Voted on the Revised Debt Plan: Analysis of how different Republican blocs voted on the revised debt plan… – NYT

    Interactive Graphic: House Roll Call: Boehner’s Short-Term Debt Ceiling Increase — NYT

    Interactive Graphic: Comparing Deficit-Reduction Plans — NYT

    Timeline: How U.S. debt talks spiraled into crisis: The United States drifted closer to a credit rating downgrade and default on Wednesday as President Barack Obama’s Democrats and their Republican rivals worked on competing plans to cut spending and raise the debt ceiling. Following is a timeline of the U.S. debt debate… – Reuters, 7-30-11

    Factbox: Details of competing debt limit plans: House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid are pushing rival plans to raise the government’s borrowing limit before an August 2 deadline. Reid could modify his plan to attract Republican support once Boehner’s bill fails in the Senate. Here are details of the two plans… – Reuters, 7-28-11

    Factbox: House factions influence debt/deficit vote: On any major piece of legislation that moves through Congress, various factions within the House of Representatives and Senate can influence chances of success or failure.
    That has been especially true in the debate over raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit by August 2 in order to avoid a U.S. government default. Here is a rundown of the various factions — many overlap — and how they shaped the debate and how they might influence the final vote:

    TEA PARTY HOUSE CAUCUS…
    HOUSE REPUBLICAN STUDY COMMITTEE…
    THE TUESDAY GROUP…
    BLUE DOG DEMOCRATS…
    THE CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS…
    REPUBLICAN SENATOR JIM DEMINT…

    Reuters, 7-28-11

    Debt ceiling Q&A: How did we get here, what happens next?LAT, 7-28-11

    Debt ceiling poll: Voters with Obama: Most Americans would like to see a mix of spending cuts and tax increases be part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling, a new poll finds, aligning the majority with President Barack Obama’s position. Of those surveyed for a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday, 56 percent said they want to see a mix of approaches used in an agreement to raise the debt ceiling. The poll was conducted overnight Monday, as Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) voiced their views on the impasse in negotiations in back-to-back televised primetime speeches.
    Just 19 percent of Americans said they favor a plan like Boehner’s, which would rely solely on spending cuts to existing programs to reduce the deficit. Twelve percent said they would prefer a plan to reduce the deficit only by raising taxes.
    Americans’ blame for the impasse is spread all around, though is particularly strong against congressional Republicans, with 31 percent of those surveyed saying they are responsible for it. Twenty-one percent blamed Obama and nine percent blamed congressional Democrats…. – Politico 7-26-11

    New polls confirm Obama’s Democratic base crumbles: …”More than a third of Americans now believe that President Obama’s policies are hurting the economy, and confidence in his ability to create jobs is sharply eroding among his base,” the Post reports.
    Strong support among liberal Democrats for Obama’s jobs record has plummeted 22 points from 53% down below a third. African Americans who believe the president’s measures helped the economy have plunged from 77% to barely half.
    Obama’s overall job approval on the economy has slid below 40% for the first time, with 57% disapproving. And strong disapprovers outnumber approvers by better than two-to-one. – LAT, 7-26-11

    INFOGRAPHIC: Where does our national debt come from?: One of the fundamental things to understand when considering the debate about reducing our national debt is how we accumulated so much in the first place.
    To explain the impact various policies have had over the past decade, shifting us from projected surpluses to actual deficits and, as a result, running up the national debt, the White House has developed a graphic for you to review and share. – WH, 7-26-11

  • Factbox: How the Obama/Boehner debt talks unraveled: President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner had agreed on the rough outlines of a far-reaching budget deal that would allow the United States to avert an imminent default before Boehner broke off talks on Friday.
    Here is a summary of what the two sides had agreed upon, where they had differed, and how things fell apart… – Reuters, 7-24-11
  • Timeline: How the debt talks spiraled into crisis: With financial markets on edge, White House officials and Republican leaders scrambled to reassure them that the United States will avert default and lift its $14.3 trillion borrowing limit before August 2. Following is a timeline of the U.S. debt debate…. – Reuters, 7-24-11
  • Debt Ceiling for Dummies: Why Compromise Is so NecessaryHuff Post, 7-24-11
  • SCENARIOS-Options for raising the U.S. debt limit: Democrats and Republicans in Congress, unable to compromise on how to cut budget deficits and raise U.S. borrowing authority, are now working on their own, competing bills. With nine days’ left until the United States runs out of money to pay all its bills after Aug. 2, the two parties were rushing to get their respective bills moving through Congress this week.
    Here are some scenarios for raising the debt limit by the early August deadline to avoid a potentially crippling government default:
    AN ALL SPENDING CUTS, NO REVENUES PLAN…
    A SHORT-TERM DEBT LIMIT INCREASE…
    BLEND THE TWO IDEAS?…
    MCCONNELL “FALLBACK” PLAN…
    TALKS RESUME…
    OBAMA INVOKES THE CONSTITUTION… – Reuters, 7-24-11President Obama USA Today Exclusive Op-ed: Go ‘big’ on debt deal: For years now, America has been spending more money than we take in. The result is that we have too much debt on our nation’s credit card — debt that will ultimately weaken our economy, lead to higher interest rates for all Americans, and leave us unable to invest in things like education, or protect vital programs like Medicare.
    Neither party is blameless for the decisions that led to this debt, but both parties have a responsibility to come together and solve the problem. That’s what the American people expect of us. Every day, families are figuring out how to stretch their paychecks a little further, sacrifice what they can’t afford, and budget only for what’s truly important. It’s time for Washington to do the same…. – USA Today, 7-21-11
  • Poll: Sharp Partisan Divide Over Debt Ceiling Deal: With the deadline to broker a debt ceiling deal fast approaching, Americans are craving a solution but remain strongly divided along party lines over how to achieve it, according to a CNN/ORC poll released today.
    The poll finds 64% of Americans want a package that includes both spending cuts and tax increases, although the partisan divide is clear: 83% of Democrats and nearly two-thirds of independents support this combined approach, while only 37% of Republicans say they agree. A majority of Republicans and self-described tea party supporters support a plan that only includes spending cuts…. – NY Daily News, 7-21-11
  • ‘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, 7-20-11
  • Latest developments in debt ceiling standoff: Congress has until Aug. 2 to raise the federal borrowing limit or the government will run out of money and possibly default on its debt. House Republicans say they won’t raise the debt limit without equal spending cuts. President Barack Obama and Democrats insist that higher revenues must be included.
    Monday’s developments: Obama says the two sides are “making progress” in negotiations. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says the Senate will meet each day until the issue is resolved.
    What’s Next: Republican House to vote Tuesday on bill to cut and cap spending and require that Congress pass a balanced budget amendment before the debt ceiling can be raised. While the bill is unlikely to pass the Democratic Senate, Obama threatens to veto it. – AP, 7-18-11
  • McConnell Offers Three-Stage Debt-Limit ‘Last Choice’ Option: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell proposed a “last choice option” for increasing the U.S. debt limit in three stages in case President Barack Obama and Congress can’t agree on a deficit-reduction plan.
    McConnell’s plan would let the president raise the limit, while accompanying it with offsetting spending cuts, unless Congress struck down his plan with a two-thirds majority. The debt-ceiling increase could occur without the companion spending cuts, McConnell said.
    Don Stewart, a spokesman for McConnell, said the plan would allow Obama to raise the debt limit while putting the onus on him and congressional Democrats for any failure to cut spending. At the same time, Republicans wouldn’t have to agree to tax increases.
    The proposal is “not my first choice,” McConnell said, adding that he wanted to show the financial markets that the U.S. will not default on its debts. He said he continues to seek a broader deal to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit with congressional Democrats and the White House. “We’re certainly not going to send a signal to the markets and the American people that default is an option,” he said…. – Bloomberg, 7-12-11
  • Timeline: Debt debate, 7-11-11: President Barack Obama and top lawmakers will meet again Monday in search of a deal on slashing the U.S. budget deficit and raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling before the United States defaults.
    Obama wants to strike a deal well before August 2, when the Treasury Department says it will no longer be able to honor its obligations and issue new bonds without breaching the limit that Congress set on how much the United States can borrow.
    Republican and Democratic lawmakers say any increase must include measures to ensure the country’s debt remains at a sustainable level. The debt-reduction debate is a sharp shift for Washington, which less than a year ago was focused on additional deficit spending to lower the unemployment rate.
    Following is a timeline of the debate…. – Reuters, 7-11-11
  • Factbox: What’s on the table in debt talks: President Barack Obama and congressional leaders resume their White House talks on Monday to see if they have the makings of a deal to trim budget deficits and avert a looming default.
    The Treasury Department has warned it will run out of money to cover the country’s bills if Congress does not raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by August 2.
    Although Democrats and Republicans agree on the need for trillions of dollars in budget savings, they remain sharply divided about how to get there.
    Following is a summary of the debate… – Reuters, 7-11-11
  • Bruce Bartlett: Five myths about the debt ceiling: In recent months, the federal debt ceiling — last increased in February 2010 and now standing at $14.3 trillion — has become a matter of national debate and political hysteria. The ceiling must be raised by Aug. 2, Treasury says, or the government will run out of cash. Congressional Republicans counter that they won’t raise the debt limit unless Democrats agree to large budget cuts with no tax increases. President Obama insists that closing tax loopholes must be part of the package. Whom and what to believe in the great debt-limit debate? Here are some misconceptions that get to the heart of the battle….

    1. The debt limit is an effective way to control spending and deficits.
    2. Opposition to raising the debt limit is a partisan issue.
    3. Financial markets won’t care much if interest payments are just a few days late — a “technical default.”
    4. It’s worth risking default on the debt to prevent a tax increase, given the weak economy.
    5. Obama must accept GOP budget demands because he needs Republican support to raise the debt limit….

    WaPo, 7-7-11

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

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.

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell are pictured. | AP Photo composite by POLITICO

IN FOCUS AUGUST 1-2, 2011: DEBT CEILING CRISIS AVERTED HOUSE & SENATE PASS BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE BILL — PRESIDENT OBAMA SIGNS BUDGET CONTROL ACT OF 2011 INTO LAW

 

  • 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
  • Full Text of the Budget Control Act of 2011 — PDFHow the Senate voted: 74-26 roll call Tuesday — the Senate passed Budget Control Act of 2011 —

    YES: 45 Democrats and 28 Republicans
    NO: 6 Democrats and 19 Republicans

    How the House of Representatives voted: 269-161 roll call Monday — the House passed Budget Control Act of 2011 —

    YES: 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans
    NO: 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans

    Resources on the Debate About the National Debt — White House

  • Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell and the making of a debt dealPolitico, 8-2-11
  • Obama Approval Drops to New Low of 40% Similar to his approval rating for handling the debt ceiling negotiations: President Obama’s job approval rating is at a new low, averaging 40% in July 26-28 Gallup Daily tracking. His prior low rating of 41% occurred several times, the last of which was in April. As recently as June 7, Obama had 50% job approval…. – Gallop, 7-29-11
  • Majority of Americans surveyed believe Congressional leaders behaved like spoiled children: Congressional approval ratings fell to a dismal 14% in the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corp. Survey released Tuesday. It showed a whopping 77% of people felt elected officials in Washington behaved mostly like “spoiled children” in the run-up to the vote.
    Only 17% of people surveyed believed the pols behaved like “responsible adults,” with 4% saying it was a mixture of both…. – NY Daily News, 8-2-11
  • Snapshot: Obama signs debt limit bill: Just hours ahead of a deadline to avert an unprecedented default, President Barack Obama, without public ceremony, signs a bill that raises the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and sets in motion a plan to reduce U.S. deficits over 10 years…. – Reuters, 8-2-11

SENATE VOTES ON DEBT DEAL — PRESIDENT OBAMA MAKES STATEMENT & SIGNS DEBT BILL INTO LAW RAISING THE DEBT CEILING

Obama signs debt-ceiling deal into law: President Obama has signed into law the bill raising the federal debt ceiling just hours before the Treasury said it could begin running out of money to pay the government’s bills, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

President Obama says work not done: After the Senate passed the debt deal and removed the threat of default the day the Treasury was expected to run out of funds, President Obama told the American people from the Rose Garden that “the next phase” of the process involved such things as entitlement and tax reform, extended unemployment benefits and middle-class tax cuts.
He urged Congress to tackle those issues when it returns from its August recess.
“Voters may have chosen divided government, but they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government,” Obama said. “They want us to solve problems.”
The president added “While deficit reduction is part of that agenda, it is not the whole agenda.”

Congress approves debt deal, averts U.S. default: The Senate approved a plan, 74 to 26, Tuesday that will increase the federal debt ceiling just hours before the Treasury said it could begin running out of money to pay the government’s bills.
The measure now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it shortly. The plan will cut the national debt by at least $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years with no immediate provision for tax increases.

Senate begins vote on debt deal: Approval would send the measure to President Obama and immediately grant the Treasury $400 billion in additional borrowing authority, just hours before a midnight deadline.

 

  • Full Text of the Budget Control Act of 2011 — PDFHow the Senate voted: 74-26 roll call Tuesday — the Senate passed Budget Control Act of 2011 —

    YES: 45 Democrats and 28 Republicans
    NO: 6 Democrats and 19 Republicans

    How the House of Representatives voted: 269-161 roll call Monday — the House passed Budget Control Act of 2011 —

    YES: 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans
    NO: 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans

    “It was a long and contentious debate. And I want to thank the American people for keeping up the pressure on their elected officials to put politics aside and work together.” — President Barack Obama

    “We have seen in the past few days that Washington has the ability to focus when there is a timer ticking down and when there is a looming disaster. It shouldn’t take the risk of default, the risk of economic catastrophe, to get folks in this town to get together and do their jobs. Our economy didn’t need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis to make things worse.” — President Barack Obama

    “It may have been messy. It might have appeared to some like their government wasn’t working. But, in fact, the opposite was true. The push and pull Americans saw in Washington these past few weeks was not gridlock. It was the will of the people working itself out in a political system that was never meant to be pretty…. It was a debate that Washington needed to have.” — — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    The bill passed by the House last night isn’t the bill we’d write if conservatives ran Washington, but it’s a step in the right direction. When I went to NY & said we wouldn’t pass a debt limit increase without spending cuts larger than the hike, skeptics said we were crazy. We’ve proven the skeptics wrong. When Americans stay engaged in their government, there’s no limit to what can get done. Keep up the fight. — Speaker of the House John Boehner

    “Never again will any president from either party be allowed to raise the debt ceiling without being held accountable for it by the American people. And in addition to that, without having to engage in the kind of debate we just went thorough. This kind of discussion isn’t something to dread. It’s something to welcome.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    “The American people want to see accountability and cooperation in Washington. And they want to see that we’re working to get our fiscal house in order. This legislation doesn’t get us there. But for the first time in a long time, I think we can say to the American people that we’re finally facing in the right direction.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    “It is the beginning of a process where we are going to change a system in this town. And it also, I think, sends a signal that we can work together to try and produce results.” — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

    “It’s hard to believe that we are putting our best foot forward with the legislation that comes before us today. I’m not happy with it, but I’m proud of some of the accomplishments contained in it.” — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

    “There is great incentive created in this committee to deal with tax reform. It is certainly our expectation that that product will include revenue as well as other areas of finding deficit reduction.” — Speaker of the House Jay Carney

    “I believe the joint select committee can in fact produce real cuts in spending.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

    Senator Tom Coburn: Why I voted against the debt deal”: “The real debt crisis is not a debate that has been imposed on Washington by Tea Party activists. It is a crisis Washington has imposed on the American people through laziness.” — WaPo, 8-2-11

  • Snapshot: Obama signs debt limit bill: Just hours ahead of a deadline to avert an unprecedented default, President Barack Obama, without public ceremony, signs a bill that raises the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and sets in motion a plan to reduce U.S. deficits over 10 years…. – Reuters, 8-2-11
  • Debt Bill Becomes Law; Default Averted: The Senate voted Tuesday to raise the government’s debt ceiling and cut trillions of dollars from its spending, finally ending a fractious partisan battle just hours before the government’s borrowing authority was set to run out.
    The bill, which passed 74 to 26 after a short debate devoid of the oratorical passion that had echoed through both chambers of Congress for weeks, was signed by President Obama later on Tuesday.
    A few minutes after the vote, President Obama excoriated his Republican opposition for what he called a manufactured crisis that could have been avoided. “Voters may have chosen divided government,” he said, “but they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government…. – NYT, 8-2-11
  • Fitch: US Debt deal alone won’t sustain AAA rating: The bill to raise the country’s borrowing limit and prevent a possible U.S. debt default passed in Congress. But it not enough for the U.S. to maintain its coveted AAA debt rating, according to Fitch Ratings.
    On Tuesday, Fitch said the agreement was an important first step but “not the end of the process.” The rating agency wants to see a credible plan to reduce the budget deficit.
    David Riley, managing director at Fitch, told The Associated Press: “There’s more to be done in order to keep the rating in the medium-term.”… – AP, 8-2-11
  • Senate passes, Obama signs debt limit bill: President Obama signed a bill to raise the nation’s borrowing limit on Tuesday, just hours after the Senate voted 74-26 in favor of the deal that will cut government spending by trillions and effectively raise the debt ceiling through the end of 2012…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • President Obama Signs Debt Deal as Next Fight Looms: Hours before the U.S. faced a first-ever default, President Obama signed into law a compromise deal that averts a crisis by raising the debt limit, but signaled that he will not abandon his stalled efforts to raise taxes on the wealthy.
    “It’s an important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means, yet it also allows us to keep making key investments in things like education and research that lead to new jobs and assures that we’re not cutting too abruptly while the economy’s still fragile,” Obama said in a statement from the White House Rose Garden before signing the bill.
    Moments before his remarks, senators voted 74 to 26 to pass the Budget Control Act, the last hurdle for the controversial measure that was first approved by the House Monday night, making a $2.4 trillion down-payment on the federal deficit over the next 10 years.
    Obama’s signature ends a bruising Washington-made crisis that has gripped the country and lifts what the administration has called a “cloud of uncertainty hanging over the economy.”… – ABC News, 8-2-11
  • With debt debate over, Obama urges focus on jobs: President Obama marked the end of the “long and contentious” debt-limit debate Tuesday afternoon, lamenting that the “manufactured crisis” has stunted the economic recovery and promising a return to a jobs-focused agenda.
    The president spoke from the Rose Garden moments after the Senate gave final approval to the deal by a vote of 74-26. The House had voted for it by a surprisingly comfortable 269-161 margin on Monday.
    Obama signed the measure more than an hour after the Senate vote, ensuring that the nation is able to continue borrowing money to pay its bills.
    The president called the deficit-reduction measures paired with the debt-limit increase an “important first step to ensuring that as a nation we continue living within our means.” But he also said he would continue to fight for a “balanced” approach when Congress continues the debate this fall.
    “I’ve said it before, I will say it again: We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have born the biggest brunt of this recession,” he said…. – LAT, 8-2-11
  • Obama says more needed to boost U.S. economy: President Barack Obama said on Tuesday a just-passed bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and cut spending was a first step toward ensuring the United States lives within its means but that more was needed to rebuild the world’s largest economy.
    Speaking at the White House, Obama made clear he expects tax reform to emerge from deliberations by a new committee of Democrats and Republicans to be established by the legislation and that a “balanced approach” in which the wealthier pay more taxes is needed for more deficit reduction.
    Obama, a Democrat, said uncertainty from the bitter debt debate had been an impediment to business but the economic recovery also suffered from unforeseen problems such as the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
    Obama urged Congress to pass stalled trade bills and said he wants tax cuts for the middle class and unemployment benefits extended.
    “Both parties share power in Washington. And both parties need to take responsibility for improving this economy,” Obama said shortly after the Senate passed the debt bill and sent it to him for signing into law.
    “I’ll be discussing additional ideas in the weeks ahead to help companies hire, invest and expand.”… – Reuters, 8-2-11
  • Obama hails passage of debt limit compromise: President Obama hailed a hard-fought, last-minute deal to avert economic catastrophe Tuesday, saying a compromise to cut spending and increase the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit marked an “important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means.”
    The bill, he said, was the outcome of a “long and contentious debate” to avoid a man-made economic disaster that he described as creating “unsettling” economic uncertainty. He said that while voters chose divided government, “they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government.”
    “It shouldn’t take the risk of default, the risk of economic catastrophe, to get folks in this town to get together and do their jobs,” the president said. He added: “Our economy didn’t need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis to make things worse.”
    Mr. Obama plans to sign the legislation in a closed-door ceremony Tuesday afternoon. It will effectively increase the nation’s borrowing authority through the end of next year and promises more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years.
    Now that the debt limit fight is effectively over, Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats say they will pivot to a focus on jobs and the economy, which they say should be Congress’ top priority.
    “We’ve got to do everything in our power to grow this economy and put Americans back to work,” Mr. Obama said Tuesday. He called on Congress to extend middle class tax cuts and unemployment benefits, pass trade deals and plow money into infrastructure when it returns from its August recess…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • Obama signs debt-limit bill into law: The Senate passed a landmark plan to raise the federal debt limit and reduce government spending Tuesday, ending a partisan stalemate that threatened to plunge the nation into default and destabilize the world economy.
    The measure was approved by a vote of 74 to 26. It promptly went to President Obama, who signed it into law, giving the government the money to pay its bills ahead of a midnight deadline.
    Speaking in the White House Rose Garden after the Senate vote, Obama called the legislation “an important first step” in ensuring that the nation lives within its means, and he said it avoids “cutting too abruptly while the economy is still fragile.” He vowed to keep working for a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction that includes “reforming our tax code so that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations pay their fair share.”
    The Senate vote came a day after the House voted 269 to 161 to pass the plan, as recalcitrant Republicans and disappointed Democrats rallied around calls to avert the nation’s first default and rein in ballooning deficits. The measure immediately grants the Treasury $400 billion in additional borrowing authority, with more to follow…. – WaPo, 8-2-11
  • Debt ceiling bill passes Senate, 74-26: Treasury won an immediate reprieve of $400 billion in new borrowing authority Tuesday, as the Senate gave final approval to a hotly contested debt and deficit-reduction agreement hammered out with the White House Sunday night.
    The bipartisan 74-26 roll call followed a 269-161 vote in the House Monday evening and the bill will be quickly signed by President Barack Obama, ending an unprecedented, hard-edged political struggle that pushed the nation to the brink of default.
    Indeed, the stakes were far larger than the April shutdown fight, and more than any single event this year, the debt ceiling fight captured all the power—and critics would say extreme risk-taking—of the anti-government backlash that fueled the GOP’s gains in the 2010 elections…. – Politico, 8-2-11
  • Done Deal Senate Passes Debt Ceiling Bill 74-26: Members of the Senate this afternoon approved a bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, narrowly avoiding the nation’s first-ever default.
    The bill garnered broad bipartisan support in today’s 74-26 vote. The House passed the measure yesterday by a vote of 269-to-161, with only two members of the city’s congressional delegation supporting it.
    The bill now heads straight to President Barack Obama’s desk for signing…. – NY1, 8-2-11
  • Senate Passes Debt Plan to Avert Default: The Senate put an end to months of partisan impasse on Tuesday, passing a landmark budget agreement to raise the debt ceiling and sending the measure to the White House for President Obama’s signature — just hours before the government’s borrowing authority was set to run out at midnight.
    The bipartisan vote was 74 to 26 , a margin that belied the intensity of a fight that has left both parties bruised and exhausted.
    With the ambivalent support of Congressional leaders in both parties and Mr. Obama, the compromise, which passed the House with bipartisan support on Monday night, averts a potential default on the government’s debt and provides for increases in the debt ceiling to be phased in, with compensating budget cuts, lasting beyond the 2012 elections. Enactment of the legislation would signal a pronounced shift in fiscal policy, from the heavy spending on economic stimulus and warfare of the past few years to a regime of steep spending cuts aimed at reducing the deficits — so far, without new revenues sought by the White House…. – NYT, 8-2-11
  • Senate passes debt deal: The Senate approved — and President Obama is likely to sign — $2.4 trillion in budget cuts and a roughly equal amount of additional debt capacity, ending months of gridlock.
    The 74-26 Senate vote came just in time to avoid an unprecedented default that Treasury officials predicted could happen if Congress didn’t raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit by today.
    The debt drama wasn’t a one-act play. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said it would be the “template” for all future debt limit increases…. – USA Today, 8-2-11
  • Senate approves bill to raise debt ceiling; sends to President Obama: The Senate voted on Tuesday to approve a deal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, voting 74-26 for a bill that would cut government spending by trillions and effectively raise the debt ceiling through the end of 2012. The bill will now be sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign it immediately.
    The bill was brokered Sunday night in last-minute negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders.
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a key player in the negotiations, and Majority Leader Harry Reid,D-Nev., both backed the bill – paving the way for its easy passage in the Senate.
    The six Democrats who voted against the measure on Tuesday were sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Tom Harkin (Ia.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.). Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who caucuses with Democrats, also voted against the measure.
    Nineteen Republican senators voted against the bill…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • Debt battle set to draw to close, for now: The United States is poised to step back from the brink of economic disaster on Tuesday when a bitterly fought deal to cut the budget deficit is expected to clear its final hurdles.
    Just hours before the Treasury’s authority to borrow funds runs out — risking a damaging U.S. debt default — the Senate and President Barack Obama are expected to approve a deal to cut a bulging deficit and lift the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling enough to last beyond the November 2012 elections.
    The bill overcame its biggest obstacle late on Monday when the Republican-led House of Representatives passed the measure despite noisy opposition from both conservative Tea Party members, who wanted more spending cuts, and liberal Democrats angered by potential hits to programs for the poor.
    The vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate, due to take place at noon EDT, is expected to be less dramatic. If approved, Obama would sign the bill into law shortly afterward.
    That would mark the end of a fierce partisan battle that has paralyzed Washington for weeks and spooked investors already nervous about a weak U.S. economy and Europe’s sovereign debt woes…. – Reuters, 8-2-11
  • Senate expected to vote in favor of debt-limit bill: The Senate is set to vote this afternoon on the bill to raise the debt limit that the House approved Monday. Senators are expected to approve it and then send the bill to President Barack Obama for his signature.
    With a strong backing from Democrats, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the House on Monday approved raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
    The Senate is expected to approve it at noon today, and President Barack Obama is prepared to sign it almost immediately, averting the prospect of an unprecedented default…. – AP, 8-2-11
  • House Approved Debt Bill Faces Final Hurdle: The Senate today is expected to sign off on a compromise bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and avoid the country’s first ever default on its bills.
    The House passed the measure yesterday by a vote of 269-to-161, with only two members of the city’s congressional delegation supporting it.
    Once approved, the bill will head straight to President Barack Obama’s desk for signing.
    The measure allows for a $2.4 trillion increase to the debt ceiling, but also slashes about $2 trillion from the federal budget. It also means Congress doesn’t have to deal with the debt ceiling again until 2013.
    Many Republicans say it still does not cut enough spending, while many Democrats slammed the deal because it does not include tax hikes…. – NY1, 8-2-11
  • Republicans Turn to Dealmaker McConnell for Compromise: While Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell stayed out of the spotlight during much of the negotiations over the U.S. debt limit, the deal that’s headed for approval by Congress today has his fingerprints all over it.
    Those who have worked with McConnell say that is typical of the lawmaker from Kentucky, a tight-lipped veteran of 26 years in the Senate who says little in public while wielding broad power behind closed doors.
    He “tends to be underestimated by the press, because they don’t see him doing things,” said former Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican and longtime ally. “He’s not at the microphones all the time, so they underestimate his capacity to do things. And he’s the last person in the Senate you want to underestimate.”
    The deficit-reduction deal that is set for a Senate vote today is largely a product of direct negotiations among McConnell, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi…. – Bloomberg, 8-2-11
  • Senate to Vote on Debt-Ceiling Bill: The Senate is expected at noon Tuesday to sign off on a bipartisan agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling and cut as much as $2.4 trillion from budget deficits, after the House passed the measure 269-161 last night.
    The deal is the product of one of the most ferocious fights ever over government spending and political brinksmanship that caused economic uncertainty and continues to threaten the nation’s prized AAA credit rating. Its passage through the Senate makes it likely that Congress won’t break Tuesday’s deadline set by the Treasury Department after which the nation could run out of money to pay all of its bills.
    WSJ’s Alan Murray and Joe White join the News Hub panel to discuss Monday evening’s House vote to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, and look ahead to Tuesday’s vote in the Senate. WSJ Photo.
    Passage in the House came despite the opposition of both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats, both of whom balked at the deal reached over the weekend between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders.
    However, the agreement was expected to obtain the 60 votes needed for it to pass the Senate, paving the way for Mr. Obama to sign it into law Tuesday afternoon…. – WSJ, 8-2-11
  • Senate poised to pass debt deal despite criticism from left, right: The Senate will vote at noon Tuesday to approve a bipartisan deal to raise the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion and send it President Obama before the 11:59 p.m. deadline.
    The deal is expected to attract strong support from mainstream senators on both sides of the aisle while the chamber’s most liberal and conservative members will vote no.
    It passed the House easily Monday evening by a vote of 269 to 161.
    Wall Street, however, did not seem impressed by the deficit-reduction package, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 0.75 percent and the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell by 1 percent Tuesday morning.
    Senators from both parties lined up to praise and criticize the agreement…. – The Hill, 8-2-11
  • Obama, GOP brace for ‘Super Committee’: It’s a bird … it’s a plane … It’s Super Committee!
    As President Obama prepares to sign the debt ceiling agreement later today, lawmakers are already positioning themselves for the special congressional committee that will be assigned to look for $1.5 trillion in debt reduction over the next ten years.
    Some observers are joking about whether members of so-called “Super Committee” will don capes and costumes with dollar sign logos, but the political parties are preparing another serious battle over the topics that dominated the debt ceiling debate: Taxes, spending, and the scope of government.
    Obama and aides said they will continue pushing the idea that any debt reduction plan must be “balanced,” including not only spending cuts but more taxes from the nation’s wealthiest Americans.
    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said “it’s going to be pretty hard” for the committee to recommend taxes, and suggested that GOP appointees would block such a move…. – USA Today, 8-2-11
  • Obama shifts to the right: President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks from White House briefing room, Sunday, July 31, 2011 in Washington, about a deal being reached to raise the debt limit. (AP)
    The most distressing outcome of the deficit hysteria gripping Washington may be what Barack Obama has revealed about himself. It was disconcerting to watch the president slip-slide so easily into voicing the fallacious economic arguments of the right. It was shocking when he betrayed core principles of the Democratic Party, portraying himself as high-minded and brave because he defied his loyal constituents. Supporters may hope this rightward shift was only a matter of political tactics, but I think Obama has at last revealed his sincere convictions. If he wins a second term, he will be free to strike a truly rotten “grand bargain” with Republicans—“pragmatic” compromises that will destroy the crown jewels of democratic reform.
    The president has done grievous damage to the most vulnerable by trying to fight the GOP on its ground—accepting the premise that deficits and debt should be a national priority. He made the choice more than a year ago to push aside the real problem—the vast loss and suffering generated by a failing economy…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • Debt ceiling agreement a fair compromise?Politico Arena, 7-31-11
  • Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell and the making of a debt deal: Almost as abruptly, the compromise started coming together. What happened during a weekend of frenzied negotiations to salvage the deal is a tale of cataclysm narrowly averted, a historic debt-reduction plan that satisfies none of its signatories and a lesson on how even the most dysfunctional political system can be made functional through the injection of fear, finesse and Joe Biden’s old friendships…. – Politico, 8-2-11
  • Pols all ‘look like idiots’ during debt crisis, but President Obama takes biggest hit of them all: There are no real winners in the debt-crisis debacle, and in such moments the leader of the country absorbs a larger hit than most.
    The tawdry spectacle of governmental paralysis, engineered by take-no-prisoner Tea Party newbies and abetted by Republicans fearful of crossing them, is more reminiscent of a banana republic.
    “We all look like idiots,” a dismayed Democratic Party elder complained as Congress lurched toward sidestepping a financial meltdown. “The extremists have taken over the system. This is not a good omen for anyone.”
    President Obama, least of all.
    Obama got less than a half loaf, but came away with some positives from the shotgun-wedding compromise. He pushed back the next debt extension donnybrook to 2013, guaranteeing this summer’s legislative chaos won’t be rerun during next year’s campaign.
    He also averted an even bigger embarrassment – America didn’t, on his watch, default on its debt obligations for the first time in history.
    But even Obama loyalists on Capitol Hill privately say he didn’t exactly burnish his leadership credentials in this process. “At the end of the day, voters expect their President to bring people together,” one of them said. “He hasn’t been able to on this.”…. – NY Daily News, 8-2-11

AUGUST 1, 2011: HOUSE VOTES 269-161 FOR DEBT CEILING BILL — GABRIELLE GIFFORDS’S FIRST VOTE IN HOUSE SINCE BEING SHOT — SENATE VOTES NEXT — DEFAULT AVERTED

How they voted: The 269-161 roll call Monday by which the House passed the compromise bill to raise the debt ceiling and prevent a government default.

YES: 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans.
NO: 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans.

House approves raise in federal debt ceiling; bill goes to Senate: The House approved a bill Monday night that raises the federal debt limit and cuts discretionary spending by $1 trillion over the next 10 years, a key step toward averting a government default. The 269 to 161 vote sends the bill to the Senate, which is likely to consider the plan Tuesday — the day that the Treasury has said it would begin running short of cash to pay the nation’s bills. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords cast her first vote in the House since being shot in January, voting yes.

I would like to say this bill solves our problem. It doesn’t. It’s a solid first step.” — Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R) of Texas, the House Republican Conference chairman

“Although not perfect, [it] will begin to change the culture here in Washington.” — House majority leader Eric Cantor (R) Virginia

“Beginning to take steps toward fixing our fiscal problems will in fact provide more confidence for employers in America.” — Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio

“The Capitol looks beautiful, and I am honored to be at work tonight… I had to be here for this vote. I could not take the chance that my absence could crash our economy. I have closely followed the debate over our debt ceiling and have been deeply disappointed at what’s going on in Washington. After weeks of failed debate in Washington, I was pleased to see a solution to this crisis emerge.” — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona

“Gabby is voting to support the bipartisan debt-ceiling compromise. This is a huge step in her recovery, and an example of what we all know — she is determined to get better, and to serve CD8 and our nation. This vote — expected to be very close — was simply too important for her to miss.” — Gabrielle Gifford’s Facebook Page

“There isn’t a name that stirs more love, more admiration, more respect, more wishing for our daughters to be like her than the name of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Thank you, Gabby.” — Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader

“That’s why I’m here. Nancy [Pelosi] was kind enough to call me.”…
When I went up, she said, ‘Joe. I said, ‘Now we’re both members of the Cracked Head Club.’ You know, I had two craniotomies. For real. They literally took the top of my head off. Twice. Now, the wags in Delaware, when the second operation occurred, wrote and said, ‘Well, it’s because they couldn’t find a brain the first time!’
She and I just commiserated about the steps to recovery. Hers, much more consequential. But it scares the living devil out of you when you’re recovering from a serious operation or injury to your head. But it comes back. And knowing people who’ve been through it and came back was helpful, for me anyway. You know what I mean?
She’s remarkable. She’s remarkable. Will matters. Will matters. I tell you what, she’s the embodiment of a strong, strong woman. Think about what that woman has been through, and think about her determination.
It’s really good. Here I am hugging Gabby and Michele Bachmann. Seriously. I’m being literal. Sure! I like Michele Bachmann. For real. We’re all standing there around and Michele walks up to see Gabby because she cares about her… There is a basic humanity here, man. It matters, between people. I know that sounds corny.”…
He then recalled what he said was one of the most emotional moments he ever saw. Hubert Humphrey, the former vice president and US senator from Minnesota, was dying of cancer and made an appearance on the Senate floor. “He could hardly walk. He walked into the well. And Barry Goldwater got out of his seat, hugged him in the well, and the both embraced each other for a good three minutes, crying. These were arch, arch, arch ideological enemies. There’s a lot of humanity left here.” — Vice President Joe Biden Boston Globe, 8-1-11

House approves debt deal a day before deadline – Reuters, 8-1-11

 

  • WaPo, 8-2-11
  • House OKs debt; Giffords brings down the House: Crisis legislation to yank the nation past the threat of a historic financial default sped through the House Monday night, breaking weeks of deadlock. The rare moment of cooperation turned celebratory when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords strode in for the first time since she was shot in the head nearly seven months ago.
    The vote was 269-161, a scant day ahead of the deadline for action. But all eyes were on Giffords, who drew thunderous applause as she walked into the House chamber unannounced and cast her vote in favor of the bill.
    A final Senate sign-off for the measure is virtually assured on Tuesday. Aside from raising the debt limit, the bill would slice federal spending by at least $2.1 trillion, and perhaps much more.
    “If the bill were presented to the president, he would sign it,” the White House said, an understatement of enormous proportions…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • House Passes Deal to Avert Debt Crisis: After months of partisan impasse, the House on Monday approved a budget agreement intended to head off a potential government default, pushing Congress a big step closer to the conclusion of a bitter fight that has left both parties bruised and exhausted. Despite the tension and uncertainty that has surrounded efforts to raise the debt ceiling, the vote of 269 to 161 was relatively strong in support of the plan, which would cut more than $2.1 trillion in government spending over 10 years while extending the borrowing authority of the Treasury Department. It would also create a powerful new joint Congressional committee to recommend broad changes in spending — and possibly in tax policy — to reduce the deficit.
    Scores of Democrats initially held back from voting, to force Republicans to register their positions first. Then, as the time for voting wound down, Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, returned to the floor for the first time since being shot in January and voted for the bill to jubilant applause and embraces from her colleagues. It provided an unexpected, unifying ending to a fierce standoff in the House.
    The Senate, where approval is considered likely, is scheduled to vote at noon on Tuesday and then send the measure to Mr. Obama less than 12 hours before the time when the Treasury Department has said it could become unable to meet all of its financial obligations…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Debt-ceiling bill clears House. Now, hopes that Round 2 will be better: With the House passing a debt-ceiling bill Monday, and end of the debt crisis is in sight. But more cutting lies ahead, and both sides are hopeful they’ll get more of what they want…. – CS Monitor, 8-1-11
  • Debt deal easily clears House, final passage likely: Congress was poised to send President Obama a compromise deficit-reduction package topping $2 trillion Tuesday, just hours before the nation could run out of borrowed money to pay its bills.
    After months of bitter partisan wrangling, the House on Monday easily approved the landmark measure raising the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit by a 269-161 vote. The Senate is expected to approve it at noon Tuesday, and Obama is prepared to sign it almost immediately, averting the prospect of an unprecedented default…..
    Republican leaders boasted that they got two-thirds of the spending cuts they sought, leading GOP House members to vote 174-66 in favor of the bill. Democrats who split 95-95 on the measure were left to highlight the cuts they averted…. – USA Today, 8-1-11
  • Debt deal clears House on 269-161 vote; Senate passage expected Tuesday: A bipartisan bill to increase the nation’s debt limit and cut as much as $2.4 trillion in government spending passed the House of Representatives, overcoming the key hurdle on the road to averting an unprecedented federal default.
    The legislation, which passed Monday evening by a relatively comfortable 269-161 margin, came after a weekend of tense meetings, exhausted staff discussions and, in the end, a compromise worked out at the highest levels of government. If passed by the Senate on Tuesday, which is widely expected, it will end a months-long standoff between a new Republican House majority, which refused to pass an increase without a deficit reduction package, and the Democratic majority in the Senate and President Barack Obama…. – Bellingham Herald, 8-1-11
  • House passes debt ceiling agreement; Senate vote expected Tuesday: The U.S. House on Monday passed the debt-ceiling deal worked out by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders, sending it to the Senate for consideration a day before the deadline for the government to face possible default.
    A Senate vote was expected Tuesday, according to multiple Senate leadership aides from each party…. – CNN, 8-1-11
  • Pelosi rallies Dems to help pass debt plan: House minority leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco provided 95 Democratic votes – half of her caucus – to approve a $2 trillion-plus, 10-year debt-reduction package Monday that helped make up for a slew of defections by Tea Party-backed Republicans.
    Pelosi urged Democrats to swallow hard on the package, which did not include new taxes as they had wanted, to save the nation from a potentially calamitous cash shortfall. The final vote was 269 to 161, with 66 Republicans voting no on grounds that the spending cuts did not go deep enough.
    Rep. Gabrielle Giffords,the Arizona Democrat shot in the head by a gunman in January, made a dramatic entrance onto the House floor to cast her vote for the deal…. – San Francisco Chronicle, 8-1-11
  • House Passes Compromise Debt Bill: 7:42 p.m. | Updated The House of Representatives approved the debt ceiling bargain negotiated over the weekend by President Obama and leaders from both parties, sending the measure to the Senate. Final approval that could come Tuesday.
    Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, told his colleagues that the Senate will take up the debt bill at noon on Tuesday, just hours before the midnight deadline when the nation’s borrowing authority will run out.
    The final vote was 269 to 161, with 66 Republicans and 95 Democrats voting no. Many Democratic lawmakers joined dozens of Tea Party-backed Republicans in calling it a bad deal for the country. But the complicated legislation to raise the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion earned the support of members from both parties to win approval.
    Senators said they planned to take up the legislation as soon as Monday evening or Tuesday, hours before a deadline that might have led to a federal default.
    The passage came in dramatic fashion as Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, made her first appearance back in the chamber since she was shot in the head by an assailant during a meet and greet in her district. Members in both parties stood up for a long and enthusiastic standing ovation for Ms. Giffords, who entered dressed in a teal shirt and with her brown hair trimmed short. She has been recuperating since the shooting and it had been unclear when she would return…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Giffords Returns, as Does Unity, Briefly: With two minutes to go and roughly 20 votes needed to pass a bill to raise the nation’s debt limit, a smattering of applause rippled from a corner of the House chamber. After a few seconds of confusion, a flash of teal jacket could be seen almost floating among a sea of Democrats.
    There she was, Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, appearing unexpectedly Monday evening to cast one of the last votes needed to send the measure over the top.
    The full chamber erupted in loud applause as Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House whip, flicked his eyes from the vote board to Ms. Giffords. It was the first time she had been in the chamber since she was critically injured in an assassination attempt in January in Tucson…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Rep. Giffords casts debt-limit vote on House floor: As minutes remained on a critical vote to raise the debt limit, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords burst onto the House floor Monday and cast a “yes” vote, the first time the Arizona Democrat had voted since a gunman shot her in the head at a political event in Tucson seven months ago.
    Lawmakers, tense after weeks of contentious negotiations, erupted into applause as Giffords entered the chamber accompanied by her close friend and colleague Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and her husband, space shuttle astronaut Mark Kelly. Giffords waved and said, “Thank you” as her colleagues gave her a standing ovation.
    Giffords, who wore glasses and a teal blazer, turned to watch the tally as voting ended on the debt-ceiling compromise package….
    Vice President Biden said Pelosi told him earlier Monday that Giffords would return to the House. “That’s why I’m here,” Biden said…. – USA Today, 8-1-11
  • Julian Zelizer on House Debt Deal Vote: Many bills that eventually take on big issues start as a modest, first step, says Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University, citing the 1957 civil rights bill, which disappointed most of its supporters for not going far enough to redress the nation’s record on civil rights.
    President “Lyndon Johnson pushed back against liberals saying, ‘If I can get Southerners to vote for something, you can do more down the road,’ ” he says.
    “The debt deal is trying to give some assurance that it’s a first step and will continue,” he adds. “The legislation is vague enough about this new committee that everyone can look at it and think that the committee will later give them what they want.”… – CS Monitor, 8-1-11
  • Deal Was Forged Over Choices and Chinese Food: Last Friday night, President Obama called Speaker John A. Boehner just after the Republican House leader had gotten his rebellious Republicans, on the third effort, to pass legislation to address the debt crisis.
    “Congratulations on finally getting your bill through,” Mr. Obama said, according to a Democrat familiar with the conversation. “You know you’re not going to get through the Senate, so now we need to focus on a solution.”
    Roughly 48 hours later, at 8:15 on Sunday night, the president again called Mr. Boehner from the Oval Office.
    “Do we have a deal?” Mr. Obama asked, then stopped abruptly. His senior advisers, standing nearby, gathered that Mr. Boehner had interrupted the president, and they braced for confirmation of the worst in Mr. Obama’s next words. Instead, there was relief.
    “Congratulations to you, too, John,” Mr. Obama finally said….. – NYT, 8-1-11

AUGUST 1, 2011: BIPARTISAN OPPOSITION TO DEBT DEAL — CONGRESS FIRST TO VOTE ON DEBT DEAL THEN THE SENATE

Budget Office says debt deal will save at least $2.1 trillion: The Congressional Budget Office confirmed Monday that the debt-reduction deal struck by the White House and congressional leaders would cut deficits by at least $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years, if lawmakers approve the plan later Monday.
The independent budget analysts reconfirmed that it contains up front savings of $917 billion, the same level as initially proposed in legislation offered by House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) last week, and it credited President Obama and the leaders with at least $1.2 trillion in savings for the follow-on work to be done by a special committee.

“Despite what some Republicans have argued, I believe that we have to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share by giving up tax breaks and special deductions. Despite what some in my own party have argued, I believe that we need to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to ensure that they’re still around for future generations. That’s why the second part of this agreement is so important.” — President Barack Obama

“I am relieved to say that leaders from both parties have come together for the sake of our economy to reach a historic, bipartisan compromise that ends this dangerous standoff. The compromise we have agreed to is remarkable not only because of what it does, but because of what it prevents: a first-ever default on the full faith and credit of the United States.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

We got 98 percent of what we wanted… It would also guarantee the American people the vote they have been denied in both chambers on a balanced budget amendment, while creating, I think, some new incentives for past opponents of a BBA to support it.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

“There is nothing in this framework that violates our principles. It’s all spending cuts. The White House bid to raise taxes has been shut down…. Now listen, this isn’t the greatest deal in the world. But it shows how much we’ve changed the terms of the debate in this town.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

“I became convinced that even though my friend, [majority leader Reid], and I would love to work this out, we can’t do it by ourselves. It has to have the only person who can sign something into law. There are 307 million Americans, but only one can sign something into law.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Reid says debt limit vote in Senate by Tuesday: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that debt limit increase legislation would be completed in the Senate by Tuesday. “This vote could happen either tonight or tomorrow,” Reid said on the Senate floor. – Reuters, 8-1-11

Highlights of the bipartisan debt-ceiling deal — LAT

 

  • For debt-ceiling deal to become law, what needs to happen by Tuesday: Selling the debt-ceiling deal to a critical mass of lawmakers is a formidable political reach. Many conservatives say the deal doesn’t go far enough, while some liberals say the richest Americans should have to pay more taxes…. – CS Monitor, 8-1-11
  • Several Steps Remain Before the Debt Ceiling Is Raised: During the next 60 hours, the legislative leaders who shook hands with each other must sell the deal to their wary members, something that could still pose a thorny political challenge.
    And then — with the Tuesday deadline for a default looming — they must turn the “framework” into legislative language and pass it through both chambers of Congress — not an easy task for institutions, especially the Senate, which are not known for moving with haste…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • House begins debate on debt limit compromise: Congress has started debating the debt limit compromise negotiated by President Barack Obama and Republican leaders.
    The GOP-run House began considering the bill less than a day after the White House and top lawmakers reached agreement on a dispute that had locked them in deadlock for months…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • House begins debate on debt limit compromise: Congress has started debating the debt limit compromise negotiated by President Barack Obama and Republican leaders.
    The GOP-run House began considering the bill less than a day after the White House and top lawmakers reached agreement on a dispute that had locked them in deadlock for months…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • Pleasing Few, Debt Deal to Go to Vote: Democratic and Republican leaders in the Congress began making their final arguments on behalf of Sunday’s debt ceiling deal to skeptical members in advance of votes in both chambers that could come as early as Monday afternoon.
    With only one day left before Tuesday’s looming deadline that carries the threat of a federal default, Vice President Joseph R. Biden arrived at the Capitol for back-to-back, closed-door meetings with Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate. Republicans in the House and Senate also huddled in advance of the votes.
    The last-minute wrangling on Monday morning reflected the lack of enthusiasm for the debt deal as lawmakers, party activists and pundits expressed relief but little excitement for a compromise that appears to have left few partisans eagerly promoting the deal as the one that they wanted.
    On the Senate floor on Monday, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said, “People on the right are upset. People on the left are upset. People in the middle are upset.” But he called it a “remarkable agreement which will protect the long-term health of our economy.”
    Mr. Reid said that the Senate is likely to take a final vote on passage of the deal later today. Republican aides in the House said that voting could begin as early as 2 p.m., though neither chamber had yet told members exactly when to expect final votes on the legislation.
    Most of the leading 2012 Republican presidential candidates weighed in Monday in opposition to the debt ceiling deal, saying that it does too little to address the nation’s spending problem. Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, said the deal “opens the door to higher taxes and puts defense cuts on the table..”… – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Debt deal: $32.4 billion per page: The debt framework President Obama and congressional leaders reached Sunday night runs 74 pages long, and could authorize as much as $2.4 trillion in new debt — or $32.4 billion per page.
    That debt increase will get the country through the 2012 election, both sides said, but it does not bring to an end the sea of red ink that will continue to wash over the federal government for the foreseeable future.
    In the near term, the bill sets budget numbers for 2012 that would require a real cut of $7 billion in discretionary spending from 2011 levels, though that’s $25 billion less than projected spending would have been had it kept pace with inflation.
    Over the long term, the deal could lead to as much as $2.4 trillion in lower-than-projected spending over the next decade, which also works out to about $32.4 billion per page in lower spending — if all of the conditions are met. But during those 10 years, that still means the country could pile up another $10.4 trillion in new debt, which would leave the government well more than $20 trillion in debt by the end of the decade…. – Washington Times, 8-1-11
  • Obama: Debt debate will continue: President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign e-mailed a brief address from the president, describing the recent battle with Republicans as a phase in a long-running effort to forge a “balanced” debt reduction package that includes new tax revenue as well as budget cuts.
    “This chapter is over. That work and that debate continue. This has been a tense debate because the stakes were so high.”
    Though grateful that the agreement heads off a government default, Obama said the agreement is “far from satisfying” and he will urge a new special congressional committee to cut federal debt with taxes as well as less spendng. “The ultimate solution must be balanced,” Obama said…. USA Today, 8-1-11
  • House vote first test of debt-ceiling bill: The first test of legislation to raise the nation’s debt ceiling comes in the House, which plans to vote Monday evening on the plan agreed to by party leaders Sunday.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate would work to take up the plan Monday as well, though that would be a challenge given traditional delaying tactics that may be employed.
    Passage in either chamber is far from assured. Some Republicans are objecting to the possibility of steep cuts in defense spending, while others continue to oppose any debt-ceiling increase. Liberal Democrats think the so-called compromise was more like a cave-in…. – LAT, 8-1-11
  • House Debt Vote Expected Monday Afternoon: The House of Representatives could begin voting as early as 2 p.m., Eastern time, on the debt ceiling compromise announced by President Obama and Congressional leaders on Sunday night, a House leadership aide said.
    In a brief message on Twitter, Erica Elliott, the press secretary for Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, the majority whip, announced the tentative schedule.
    It was not immediately clear when the Senate might vote on Monday…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • Debt-Limit Deal to Get Congress Vote Today: Congressional leaders, leaving no extra time before a default threatened for tomorrow, are racing to push through a compromise sealed with President Barack Obama last night to raise the U.S. debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion and slash government spending by $2.4 trillion or more. The House plans votes today and the Senate may follow suit to consider the agreement reached during a weekend of negotiations that capped a months-long struggle between Obama and Republicans over raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. Megan Hughes reports on Bloomberg Television’s “First Look.” (Source: Bloomberg)
    Congressional leaders, leaving no extra time before a default threatened for tomorrow, are racing to push through a compromise sealed with President Barack Obama last night to raise the U.S. debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion and slash government spending by $2.4 trillion or more.
    The House plans votes today and the Senate may follow suit to consider the agreement reached during a weekend of negotiations that capped a months-long struggle between Obama and Republicans over raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.
    Both parties were working to sell the deal to their rank and file — meeting resistance from social liberals who fault it for failing to increase taxes and from fiscal conservatives who say it’s insufficient to rein in the debt…. – Bloomberg, 8-1-11
  • House races toward Monday debt ceiling vote: The House is racing toward a Monday evening vote to raise the debt ceiling, as congressional leaders furiously round up the votes necessary to push the plan through before Tuesday’s deadline.
    Senate leaders plan to take up the bill shortly after, where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says enough votes will be lined up for the bill to pass.
    House leaders are still gauging support for the measure. House Republicans will meet at 12:30 and House Democrats are caucusing with Vice President Joe Biden — who got a standing ovation when he walked into the meeting today.
    Biden laid out in candid terms what the White House had to do to get a deal.
    “Elections have consequences,” Biden told Senate Democrats, according to a senator in the room. The vice president characterized the fight as a hostage situation, saying Republicans have a “gun to their heads,” the source said…. – Politico, 8-1-11
  • Debt-ceiling compromise: Now, it’s time to find the votes: Vice President Joe Biden will meet Monday with the Senate and House Democratic caucuses while Republican leaders also huddle to gauge support for the debt-ceiling plan negotiators agreed to Sunday.
    The legislative path for the bill was still somewhat unclear as individual members study the details. No votes had been scheduled yet in either the House or Senate on Monday, but could be added once party leadership takes the temperature of their respective caucuses. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told members Sunday night that the bill would move quickly to the floor, perhaps as early as Monday afternoon…. – LAT, 8-1-11
  • House to vote before Senate on raising debt ceiling: The House of Representatives will vote before the Senate on the bipartisan plan to raise the debt ceiling, according to two House GOP leadership sources…. – CNN, 8-1-11
  • House vote could be squeaker: A Democratic official involved in the effort to secure the votes in the House and Senate for the debt deal says there is more concern about the vote tally in the House than the Senate, where it looks like it will get the 60 votes needed without much drama.
    In the House, Democrats who favor the deal are concerned about a very close vote – maybe a squeaker.
    Vice President Joe Biden will meet with the House Democratic caucus at noon to answer questions, soothe concerns, and help shore up reluctant Democrats.
    Even though Biden is coming over to meet with Democrats and has planned to come out to the media stakeout afterwards, it’s unclear from Democratic aides at this point how many of the Democratic leaders, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, will stand with Biden and say they will support the bill…. – CNN, 8-1-11
  • The debt ceiling battle at a glance:

    A compromise agreement to raise the nation’s borrowing limit has been reached The House and Senate are expected to vote today The House Speaker says the agreement does not violate Republican principles Some Senate Democrats are grumbling, an aide says, but the chamber is expected to approve the deal

    President Obama and congressional leaders have agreed to a plan that would lift the nation’s credit limit and avoid an unprecedented default on its debt, which could have widespread economic ramifications ranging from higher interest rates to a predicted stock market crash. Congress still must approve the deal by Tuesday. Here’s the situation at a glance… – CNN, 8-1-11

  • Democrats seem to end up on short end of the deal: The deal struck by the White House and congressional leaders to raise the nation’s debt ceiling has the feel of a classic compromise, full of give and take.
    There is no requirement for a balanced budget amendment, no second showdown over the nation’s borrowing limit before the 2012 elections and, according to some conservatives, not nearly enough in cuts.
    But for weeks and months Republicans have warned Democrats they would only accept a deal that cut spending without raising taxes.
    And the deal that faces a final congressional vote Monday does exactly that. The deal includes $1 trillion in cuts over 10 years. It sets up a congressional committee that could consider tax reform as it seeks a strategy for deeper debt reduction. On Monday, the Congressional Budget Office confirmed that the deal would cut deficits by at least $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years…. – WaPo, 8-1-11
  • Obama, Boehner Suffering ‘Monday Morning Hangover’: President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, did something most considered a long shot – they agreed on a budget deal and the talking points that go with it.
    But the Monday morning hangover plaguing Obama and Boehner as a result of Sunday night’s celebration may last longer and produce bigger headaches than either anticipated.
    Vice President Joe Biden was dispatched to the Capitol early Monday to meet with Democratic lawmakers in both the House and Senate to convince lawmakers the latest deal is the way to go. Republicans were also huddling to see if they have enough votes for a Monday afternoon roll call.
    Reid took to the senate floor Monday morning, calling the weekend deal a “remarkable agreement which will protect the long-term health of our economy.”
    “People on the right are upset. People on the left are upset. People in the middle are upset,” said Reid in his remarks.
    President Obama, seemingly tired and frustrated after a tense round of negotiations, called reporters together saying the compromise “allows us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America.”… – Christian Post, 8-1-11
  • Debt Deal: Some Read It and Weep, Others Swallow Hard and Nod: Liberals and conservatives woke up on Monday morning and began assessing the last-minute debt ceiling deal reached by leaders in Washington over the weekend.
    Many liberals are grousing about President Obama’s willingness to abandon some of the things he had demanded. Some conservatives are griping that the deal doesn’t do enough to cut spending. And some members of both parties are declaring the deal good enough, if not exactly great…. – NYT, 8-1-11
  • McCain says he’ll ‘swallow hard’ and support deal: Sen. John McCain says he’ll vote for compromise legislation averting a government default, although “I will probably have to swallow hard.”
    The Arizona Republican who lost to Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election says he’s concerned about the impact of the deficit-reduction deal on defense spending.
    But McCain also tells CBS’s “The Early Show” that officials in Washington realized “we were not going to let the government shut down.”… – AP, 8-1-11
  • Sen. Marco Rubio will vote against debt ceiling deal: The South Florida Congressional delegation says it will likely approve the tentative deal struck Sunday night to raise the debt ceiling but Sen. Marco Rubio is a holdout…. – Miami Herald, 8-1-11
  • GOP presidential hopefuls unhappy with debt-ceiling deal: Some of the Republicans who want to kick President Obama out of office next year are sounding off today with their opposition to a deal the White House reached with congressional leaders to raise the debt ceiling…. – USA Today, 8-1-11
  • Romney opposes debt deal: Mitt Romney said Monday he opposes the compromise to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, becoming the second Republican presidential contender to oppose a deal backed by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders in both parties.
    The plan, which supporters say is needed to avert a looming fiscal crisis, opens the door to tax increases and defense cuts, the former Massachusetts governor said in a statement.
    “President Obama’s leadership failure has pushed the economy to the brink at the eleventh hour and 59th minute,” Romney said. “While I appreciate the extraordinarily difficult situation President Obama’s lack of leadership has placed Republican members of Congress in, I personally cannot support this deal.”
    The statement represents the most substantive comment to date from Romney, the early frontrunner in the Republican presidential field, who has largely avoided weighing in on daily developments in the high-stakes debate. The issue, as the nation’s economy in general, is likely to dominate the 2012 contest…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • Debt and budget bill saves more than $2T: A new study says the debt and budget bill backed by President Barack Obama and congressional leaders would save taxpayers at least $2.1 trillion over the coming decade.
    The Congressional Budget Office analysis says the initial down payment of spending cuts — tight “caps” on the operating budgets of Cabinet agencies like the departments of Defense and Education — would produce more than $900 billion in savings over 10 years…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • Congressional Leaders to Pitch Debt-Reduction Compromise to Caucuses: Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers of Congress will meet with their caucuses Monday for a hard sell of a compromise debt-reduction package that gives President Obama up to a $2.5 trillion hike in the debt limit as long as lawmakers can find an equal or greater amount in spending cuts.
    But even if they can’t come up with solutions, the cuts will be found for them.
    Obama announced Sunday night that leaders of both parties in both chambers reached an agreement on a debt-reduction deal that will “lift the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy” and prevent the nation from potentially defaulting on the U.S.’s financial obligations…. – Fox News, 8-1-11
  • Congress moving quickly on debt and spending deal: Congress is moving quickly on an agreement to avert a potentially devastating default on U.S. obligations, with legislation that mixes a record increase in the government’s borrowing cap with the promise of more than $2 trillion in spending cuts.
    After a tense weekend of bargaining, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders announced the agreement Sunday night, providing an instant boost to Asian financial markets and a huge dose of relief to an administration and Congress frazzled by months of partisan warfare and the chance that a default could send the still-fragile economy into recession.
    The Senate seems likely to vote first on the measure while House GOP leaders work to assemble support for it. Democratic votes are certain to be needed to pass the measure in the Republican-dominated House, just as Republicans will be needed to clear the measure through the Democratic Senate. Liberal Democrats were already carping that Obama had given away too much to GOP leaders…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • Obama announces budget deal: President Barack Obama, addressing the nation Sunday, announced a bipartisan, bicameral deal to end a dangerous impasse over raising the debt ceiling, marking the start of a process to avert a catastrophic national default on Tuesday.
    A somber Obama — decrying a process that has been “messy” and has “taken far too long” — made his announcement moments before House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took the two-part package of $2.5 trillion in cuts to a skeptical GOP conference. The agreement came after a day of frenzied negotiations over “triggers” that will be used to determine the make-up of the final $1.5 trillion in cuts.
    “We’re not done yet,” Obama told a smattering of reporters gathered in the White House briefing room. “Despite what some Republicans have argued I believe we have to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share … and despite what some in my own party have argued I believe that we need to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to assure that they’re still around for future generations,” he said, acknowledging the opposition of tea party conservatives and liberal Democrats…. – Politico, 8-1-11
  • Analysis: Bipartisan debt-limit deal means bipartisan opposition for Obama, Boehner: 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.
    But it marks an accomplishment nonetheless between a Democratic president elected in 2008 and the Republicans who, Obama memorably said, handed his party a “shellacking” at the polls two years later.
    The tea party conservatives won’t like it, regretting it doesn’t cut spending by more. “Someone has to say no, I will,” Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said in a statement emailed from Iowa Sunday night, where she was courting Republicans for her 2012 presidential bid.
    Neither will the liberal Democrats, unhappy that it cuts at all. “This deal weakens the Democratic Party as badly as it weakens the country. We have given much and received nothing in return,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
    Which means that Obama and his principal Republican antagonist, Speaker John Boehner, will share responsibility for passing it in the House…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • US debt limit really doesn’t limit debt: The federal debt limit is a triumph of false advertising. It doesn’t really limit the national debt. Whenever the false ceiling has been reached, it has been raised — forcing unpopular votes in Congress, but not the really hard ones it would take to cut spending, raise revenues and balance budgets.
    Ranting about the debt is easier than taming it. So the same political theatrics are played over and over again. The debt limit has been raised 78 times since 1960. The current hassle over No. 79 is more contentious and divisive than the previous rounds because of hardened lines in Congress, not only between Democrats and Republicans but within their rosters, especially on the GOP side where about 80 freshmen sent by tea party voters consider compromise a crime.
    The hypocrisy of the whole process was summed up by an expert witness, Barack Obama, now the president championing a debt limit increase, when he tried to explain his own vote as junior senator from Illinois to oppose the raise then-President George W. Bush sought…. – AP, 8-1-11
  • Obama: We have a deal: The nation’s top lawmakers and President Obama announced late Sunday they have reached a deal to raise the debt ceiling and dramatically curb federal spending.
    “I want to announce that the leaders of both parties, in both chambers, have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default,” Obama said Sunday night.
    Obama said that while the process was messy, and had taken far too long, the nation would, in the end, avoid a costly default and economic catastrophe.
    A short time before Obama spoke, Sens. Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell said that a framework had been agreed to…. – CNN Money, 8-1-11

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown August 2, 2011: President Obama’s Statement on Congress Passing the Compromise Debt Ceiling Bill — The Budget Control Act of 2011

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

Putting Americans Back to Work: President Obama Speaks on the Debt Compromise

President Obama delivers remarks

President Obama spoke from the Rose Garden after the Senate vote on the debt ceiling bill on Tuesday. More Photos »

Source: WH, 8-2-11

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (81MB) | mp3 (8MB)

 

This afternoon, Congress approved a compromise to reduce the deficit and avert a default that would have devastated the economy. Speaking from the Rose Garden,  President Obama thanked the American people for reaching out to their elected officials during the debate, and stressed that this compromise guarantees more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction, and will ensure that as a nation we live within our means, while still making key investments in things that lead to new jobs, like education and research.

The President noted that this is just the first step, and that both parties must work together on a larger plan for the long-term health of our economy:

And since you can’t close the deficit with just spending cuts, we’ll need a balanced approach where everything is on the table.  Yes, that means making some adjustments to protect health care programs like Medicare so they’re there for future generations. It also means reforming our tax code so that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations pay their fair share. And it means getting rid of taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas companies, and tax loopholes that help billionaires pay a lower tax rate than teachers and nurses.

I’ve said it before; I will say it again: We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have borne the biggest brunt of this recession.  We can’t make it tougher for young people to go to college, or ask seniors to pay more for health care, or ask scientists to give up on promising medical research because we couldn’t close a tax shelter for the most fortunate among us.  Everyone is going to have to chip in.  It’s only fair.  That’s the principle I’ll be fighting for during the next phase of this process.

President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Rose Garden after passage of the debt ceiling billPresident Barack Obama makes a statement to the media in the Rose Garden of the White House after House and Senate passage of the debt ceiling bill, Aug. 2, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

In the coming months, President Obama will continue to fight for what matters most to the American people: new jobs, higher wages and faster economic growth. And when Congress gets back from recess, the President will urge them to take bipartisan, common-sense steps to help put Americans back to work.

So, we’ve seen in the past few days that Washington has the ability to focus when there’s a timer ticking down, and when there’s a looming disaster.  It shouldn’t take the risk of default -– the risk of economic catastrophe -– to get folks in this town to work together and do their jobs.  Because there’s already a quiet crisis going on in the lives of a lot of families, in a lot of communities, all across the country.  They’re looking for work, and they have been for a while; or they’re making do with fewer hours or fewer customers; or they’re just trying to make ends meet.  That ought to compel Washington to cooperate.  That ought to compel Washington to compromise, and it ought to compel Washington to act.  That ought to be enough to get all of us in this town to do the jobs we were sent here to do.  We’ve got to do everything in our power to grow this economy and put America back to work.

Political Buzz Debt Ceiling Showdown August 2, 2011: D-Day, Done Deal — Senate Passes Debt Bill 74-26 — President Obama Makes Statement to the Nation & Signs Debt Bill into Law Raising the Debt Ceiling Limit

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

IN FOCUS

President Obama speaks from the Rose Garden at the White House after final passage of a debt-ceiling increase in Congress on Tuesday.

President Obama speaks from the Rose Garden at the White House after final passage of a debt-ceiling increase in Congress on Tuesday. (Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Images)

SENATE PASSES DEBT DEAL 74-26 — PRESIDENT OBAMA MAKES STATEMENT & SIGNS DEBT BILL INTO LAW RAISING THE DEBT CEILING

This video image provided by Senate Television shows the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, after the Senate has approved an emergency bill to avert a first-ever government default with just hours to spare. | AP Photo

Obama signs debt-ceiling deal into law: President Obama has signed into law the bill raising the federal debt ceiling just hours before the Treasury said it could begin running out of money to pay the government’s bills, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

President Obama says work not done: After the Senate passed the debt deal and removed the threat of default the day the Treasury was expected to run out of funds, President Obama told the American people from the Rose Garden that “the next phase” of the process involved such things as entitlement and tax reform, extended unemployment benefits and middle-class tax cuts.
He urged Congress to tackle those issues when it returns from its August recess.
“Voters may have chosen divided government, but they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government,” Obama said. “They want us to solve problems.”
The president added “While deficit reduction is part of that agenda, it is not the whole agenda.”

Congress approves debt deal, averts U.S. default: The Senate approved a plan, 74 to 26, Tuesday that will increase the federal debt ceiling just hours before the Treasury said it could begin running out of money to pay the government’s bills.
The measure now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it shortly. The plan will cut the national debt by at least $2.1 trillion over the next 10 years with no immediate provision for tax increases.

Senate begins vote on debt deal: Approval would send the measure to President Obama and immediately grant the Treasury $400 billion in additional borrowing authority, just hours before a midnight deadline.

 

  • Full Text of the Budget Control Act of 2011 — PDFHow the Senate voted: 74-26 roll call Tuesday — the Senate passed Budget Control Act of 2011 —

    YES: 45 Democrats and 28 Republicans
    NO: 6 Democrats and 19 Republicans

    How the House of Representatives voted: 269-161 roll call Monday — the House passed Budget Control Act of 2011 —

    YES: 95 Democrats and 174 Republicans
    NO: 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans

    “It was a long and contentious debate. And I want to thank the American people for keeping up the pressure on their elected officials to put politics aside and work together.” — President Barack Obama

    “We have seen in the past few days that Washington has the ability to focus when there is a timer ticking down and when there is a looming disaster. It shouldn’t take the risk of default, the risk of economic catastrophe, to get folks in this town to get together and do their jobs. Our economy didn’t need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis to make things worse.” — President Barack Obama

    “It may have been messy. It might have appeared to some like their government wasn’t working. But, in fact, the opposite was true. The push and pull Americans saw in Washington these past few weeks was not gridlock. It was the will of the people working itself out in a political system that was never meant to be pretty…. It was a debate that Washington needed to have.” — — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    The bill passed by the House last night isn’t the bill we’d write if conservatives ran Washington, but it’s a step in the right direction. When I went to NY & said we wouldn’t pass a debt limit increase without spending cuts larger than the hike, skeptics said we were crazy. We’ve proven the skeptics wrong. When Americans stay engaged in their government, there’s no limit to what can get done. Keep up the fight. — Speaker of the House John Boehner

    “Never again will any president from either party be allowed to raise the debt ceiling without being held accountable for it by the American people. And in addition to that, without having to engage in the kind of debate we just went thorough. This kind of discussion isn’t something to dread. It’s something to welcome.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    “The American people want to see accountability and cooperation in Washington. And they want to see that we’re working to get our fiscal house in order. This legislation doesn’t get us there. But for the first time in a long time, I think we can say to the American people that we’re finally facing in the right direction.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

    “It is the beginning of a process where we are going to change a system in this town. And it also, I think, sends a signal that we can work together to try and produce results.” — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor

    “It’s hard to believe that we are putting our best foot forward with the legislation that comes before us today. I’m not happy with it, but I’m proud of some of the accomplishments contained in it.” — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

    “There is great incentive created in this committee to deal with tax reform. It is certainly our expectation that that product will include revenue as well as other areas of finding deficit reduction.” — Speaker of the House Jay Carney

    “I believe the joint select committee can in fact produce real cuts in spending.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner

    Senator Tom Coburn: Why I voted against the debt deal”: “The real debt crisis is not a debate that has been imposed on Washington by Tea Party activists. It is a crisis Washington has imposed on the American people through laziness.” — WaPo, 8-2-11

  • Snapshot: Obama signs debt limit bill: Just hours ahead of a deadline to avert an unprecedented default, President Barack Obama, without public ceremony, signs a bill that raises the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and sets in motion a plan to reduce U.S. deficits over 10 years…. – Reuters, 8-2-11
  • Debt Bill Becomes Law; Default Averted: The Senate voted Tuesday to raise the government’s debt ceiling and cut trillions of dollars from its spending, finally ending a fractious partisan battle just hours before the government’s borrowing authority was set to run out.
    The bill, which passed 74 to 26 after a short debate devoid of the oratorical passion that had echoed through both chambers of Congress for weeks, was signed by President Obama later on Tuesday.
    A few minutes after the vote, President Obama excoriated his Republican opposition for what he called a manufactured crisis that could have been avoided. “Voters may have chosen divided government,” he said, “but they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government…. – NYT, 8-2-11
  • Fitch: US Debt deal alone won’t sustain AAA rating: The bill to raise the country’s borrowing limit and prevent a possible U.S. debt default passed in Congress. But it not enough for the U.S. to maintain its coveted AAA debt rating, according to Fitch Ratings.
    On Tuesday, Fitch said the agreement was an important first step but “not the end of the process.” The rating agency wants to see a credible plan to reduce the budget deficit.
    David Riley, managing director at Fitch, told The Associated Press: “There’s more to be done in order to keep the rating in the medium-term.”… – AP, 8-2-11
  • Senate passes, Obama signs debt limit bill: President Obama signed a bill to raise the nation’s borrowing limit on Tuesday, just hours after the Senate voted 74-26 in favor of the deal that will cut government spending by trillions and effectively raise the debt ceiling through the end of 2012…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • President Obama Signs Debt Deal as Next Fight Looms: Hours before the U.S. faced a first-ever default, President Obama signed into law a compromise deal that averts a crisis by raising the debt limit, but signaled that he will not abandon his stalled efforts to raise taxes on the wealthy.
    “It’s an important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means, yet it also allows us to keep making key investments in things like education and research that lead to new jobs and assures that we’re not cutting too abruptly while the economy’s still fragile,” Obama said in a statement from the White House Rose Garden before signing the bill.
    Moments before his remarks, senators voted 74 to 26 to pass the Budget Control Act, the last hurdle for the controversial measure that was first approved by the House Monday night, making a $2.4 trillion down-payment on the federal deficit over the next 10 years.
    Obama’s signature ends a bruising Washington-made crisis that has gripped the country and lifts what the administration has called a “cloud of uncertainty hanging over the economy.”… – ABC News, 8-2-11
  • With debt debate over, Obama urges focus on jobs: President Obama marked the end of the “long and contentious” debt-limit debate Tuesday afternoon, lamenting that the “manufactured crisis” has stunted the economic recovery and promising a return to a jobs-focused agenda.
    The president spoke from the Rose Garden moments after the Senate gave final approval to the deal by a vote of 74-26. The House had voted for it by a surprisingly comfortable 269-161 margin on Monday.
    Obama signed the measure more than an hour after the Senate vote, ensuring that the nation is able to continue borrowing money to pay its bills.
    The president called the deficit-reduction measures paired with the debt-limit increase an “important first step to ensuring that as a nation we continue living within our means.” But he also said he would continue to fight for a “balanced” approach when Congress continues the debate this fall.
    “I’ve said it before, I will say it again: We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have born the biggest brunt of this recession,” he said…. – LAT, 8-2-11
  • Obama says more needed to boost U.S. economy: President Barack Obama said on Tuesday a just-passed bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and cut spending was a first step toward ensuring the United States lives within its means but that more was needed to rebuild the world’s largest economy.
    Speaking at the White House, Obama made clear he expects tax reform to emerge from deliberations by a new committee of Democrats and Republicans to be established by the legislation and that a “balanced approach” in which the wealthier pay more taxes is needed for more deficit reduction.
    Obama, a Democrat, said uncertainty from the bitter debt debate had been an impediment to business but the economic recovery also suffered from unforeseen problems such as the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
    Obama urged Congress to pass stalled trade bills and said he wants tax cuts for the middle class and unemployment benefits extended.
    “Both parties share power in Washington. And both parties need to take responsibility for improving this economy,” Obama said shortly after the Senate passed the debt bill and sent it to him for signing into law.
    “I’ll be discussing additional ideas in the weeks ahead to help companies hire, invest and expand.”… – Reuters, 8-2-11
  • Obama hails passage of debt limit compromise: President Obama hailed a hard-fought, last-minute deal to avert economic catastrophe Tuesday, saying a compromise to cut spending and increase the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit marked an “important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means.”
    The bill, he said, was the outcome of a “long and contentious debate” to avoid a man-made economic disaster that he described as creating “unsettling” economic uncertainty. He said that while voters chose divided government, “they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government.”
    “It shouldn’t take the risk of default, the risk of economic catastrophe, to get folks in this town to get together and do their jobs,” the president said. He added: “Our economy didn’t need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis to make things worse.”
    Mr. Obama plans to sign the legislation in a closed-door ceremony Tuesday afternoon. It will effectively increase the nation’s borrowing authority through the end of next year and promises more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years.
    Now that the debt limit fight is effectively over, Mr. Obama and Congressional Democrats say they will pivot to a focus on jobs and the economy, which they say should be Congress’ top priority.
    “We’ve got to do everything in our power to grow this economy and put Americans back to work,” Mr. Obama said Tuesday. He called on Congress to extend middle class tax cuts and unemployment benefits, pass trade deals and plow money into infrastructure when it returns from its August recess…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • Obama signs debt-limit bill into law: The Senate passed a landmark plan to raise the federal debt limit and reduce government spending Tuesday, ending a partisan stalemate that threatened to plunge the nation into default and destabilize the world economy.
    The measure was approved by a vote of 74 to 26. It promptly went to President Obama, who signed it into law, giving the government the money to pay its bills ahead of a midnight deadline.
    Speaking in the White House Rose Garden after the Senate vote, Obama called the legislation “an important first step” in ensuring that the nation lives within its means, and he said it avoids “cutting too abruptly while the economy is still fragile.” He vowed to keep working for a “balanced approach” to deficit reduction that includes “reforming our tax code so that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations pay their fair share.”
    The Senate vote came a day after the House voted 269 to 161 to pass the plan, as recalcitrant Republicans and disappointed Democrats rallied around calls to avert the nation’s first default and rein in ballooning deficits. The measure immediately grants the Treasury $400 billion in additional borrowing authority, with more to follow…. – WaPo, 8-2-11
  • Debt ceiling bill passes Senate, 74-26: Treasury won an immediate reprieve of $400 billion in new borrowing authority Tuesday, as the Senate gave final approval to a hotly contested debt and deficit-reduction agreement hammered out with the White House Sunday night.
    The bipartisan 74-26 roll call followed a 269-161 vote in the House Monday evening and the bill will be quickly signed by President Barack Obama, ending an unprecedented, hard-edged political struggle that pushed the nation to the brink of default.
    Indeed, the stakes were far larger than the April shutdown fight, and more than any single event this year, the debt ceiling fight captured all the power—and critics would say extreme risk-taking—of the anti-government backlash that fueled the GOP’s gains in the 2010 elections…. – Politico, 8-2-11
  • Done Deal Senate Passes Debt Ceiling Bill 74-26: Members of the Senate this afternoon approved a bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, narrowly avoiding the nation’s first-ever default.
    The bill garnered broad bipartisan support in today’s 74-26 vote. The House passed the measure yesterday by a vote of 269-to-161, with only two members of the city’s congressional delegation supporting it.
    The bill now heads straight to President Barack Obama’s desk for signing…. – NY1, 8-2-11
  • Senate Passes Debt Plan to Avert Default: The Senate put an end to months of partisan impasse on Tuesday, passing a landmark budget agreement to raise the debt ceiling and sending the measure to the White House for President Obama’s signature — just hours before the government’s borrowing authority was set to run out at midnight.
    The bipartisan vote was 74 to 26 , a margin that belied the intensity of a fight that has left both parties bruised and exhausted.
    With the ambivalent support of Congressional leaders in both parties and Mr. Obama, the compromise, which passed the House with bipartisan support on Monday night, averts a potential default on the government’s debt and provides for increases in the debt ceiling to be phased in, with compensating budget cuts, lasting beyond the 2012 elections. Enactment of the legislation would signal a pronounced shift in fiscal policy, from the heavy spending on economic stimulus and warfare of the past few years to a regime of steep spending cuts aimed at reducing the deficits — so far, without new revenues sought by the White House…. – NYT, 8-2-11
  • Senate passes debt deal: The Senate approved — and President Obama is likely to sign — $2.4 trillion in budget cuts and a roughly equal amount of additional debt capacity, ending months of gridlock.
    The 74-26 Senate vote came just in time to avoid an unprecedented default that Treasury officials predicted could happen if Congress didn’t raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit by today.
    The debt drama wasn’t a one-act play. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said it would be the “template” for all future debt limit increases…. – USA Today, 8-2-11
  • Senate approves bill to raise debt ceiling; sends to President Obama: The Senate voted on Tuesday to approve a deal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit, voting 74-26 for a bill that would cut government spending by trillions and effectively raise the debt ceiling through the end of 2012. The bill will now be sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign it immediately.
    The bill was brokered Sunday night in last-minute negotiations between the White House and congressional leaders.
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., a key player in the negotiations, and Majority Leader Harry Reid,D-Nev., both backed the bill – paving the way for its easy passage in the Senate.
    The six Democrats who voted against the measure on Tuesday were sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Tom Harkin (Ia.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.). Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who caucuses with Democrats, also voted against the measure.
    Nineteen Republican senators voted against the bill…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • Debt battle set to draw to close, for now: The United States is poised to step back from the brink of economic disaster on Tuesday when a bitterly fought deal to cut the budget deficit is expected to clear its final hurdles.
    Just hours before the Treasury’s authority to borrow funds runs out — risking a damaging U.S. debt default — the Senate and President Barack Obama are expected to approve a deal to cut a bulging deficit and lift the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling enough to last beyond the November 2012 elections.
    The bill overcame its biggest obstacle late on Monday when the Republican-led House of Representatives passed the measure despite noisy opposition from both conservative Tea Party members, who wanted more spending cuts, and liberal Democrats angered by potential hits to programs for the poor.
    The vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate, due to take place at noon EDT, is expected to be less dramatic. If approved, Obama would sign the bill into law shortly afterward.
    That would mark the end of a fierce partisan battle that has paralyzed Washington for weeks and spooked investors already nervous about a weak U.S. economy and Europe’s sovereign debt woes…. – Reuters, 8-2-11
  • Senate expected to vote in favor of debt-limit bill: The Senate is set to vote this afternoon on the bill to raise the debt limit that the House approved Monday. Senators are expected to approve it and then send the bill to President Barack Obama for his signature.
    With a strong backing from Democrats, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the House on Monday approved raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
    The Senate is expected to approve it at noon today, and President Barack Obama is prepared to sign it almost immediately, averting the prospect of an unprecedented default…. – AP, 8-2-11
  • House Approved Debt Bill Faces Final Hurdle: The Senate today is expected to sign off on a compromise bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and avoid the country’s first ever default on its bills.
    The House passed the measure yesterday by a vote of 269-to-161, with only two members of the city’s congressional delegation supporting it.
    Once approved, the bill will head straight to President Barack Obama’s desk for signing.
    The measure allows for a $2.4 trillion increase to the debt ceiling, but also slashes about $2 trillion from the federal budget. It also means Congress doesn’t have to deal with the debt ceiling again until 2013.
    Many Republicans say it still does not cut enough spending, while many Democrats slammed the deal because it does not include tax hikes…. – NY1, 8-2-11
  • Republicans Turn to Dealmaker McConnell for Compromise: While Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell stayed out of the spotlight during much of the negotiations over the U.S. debt limit, the deal that’s headed for approval by Congress today has his fingerprints all over it.
    Those who have worked with McConnell say that is typical of the lawmaker from Kentucky, a tight-lipped veteran of 26 years in the Senate who says little in public while wielding broad power behind closed doors.
    He “tends to be underestimated by the press, because they don’t see him doing things,” said former Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican and longtime ally. “He’s not at the microphones all the time, so they underestimate his capacity to do things. And he’s the last person in the Senate you want to underestimate.”
    The deficit-reduction deal that is set for a Senate vote today is largely a product of direct negotiations among McConnell, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi…. – Bloomberg, 8-2-11
  • Senate to Vote on Debt-Ceiling Bill: The Senate is expected at noon Tuesday to sign off on a bipartisan agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling and cut as much as $2.4 trillion from budget deficits, after the House passed the measure 269-161 last night.
    The deal is the product of one of the most ferocious fights ever over government spending and political brinksmanship that caused economic uncertainty and continues to threaten the nation’s prized AAA credit rating. Its passage through the Senate makes it likely that Congress won’t break Tuesday’s deadline set by the Treasury Department after which the nation could run out of money to pay all of its bills.
    WSJ’s Alan Murray and Joe White join the News Hub panel to discuss Monday evening’s House vote to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion, and look ahead to Tuesday’s vote in the Senate. WSJ Photo.
    Passage in the House came despite the opposition of both conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats, both of whom balked at the deal reached over the weekend between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders.
    However, the agreement was expected to obtain the 60 votes needed for it to pass the Senate, paving the way for Mr. Obama to sign it into law Tuesday afternoon…. – WSJ, 8-2-11
  • Senate poised to pass debt deal despite criticism from left, right: The Senate will vote at noon Tuesday to approve a bipartisan deal to raise the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion and send it President Obama before the 11:59 p.m. deadline.
    The deal is expected to attract strong support from mainstream senators on both sides of the aisle while the chamber’s most liberal and conservative members will vote no.
    It passed the House easily Monday evening by a vote of 269 to 161.
    Wall Street, however, did not seem impressed by the deficit-reduction package, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 0.75 percent and the Standard & Poor’s 500 fell by 1 percent Tuesday morning.
    Senators from both parties lined up to praise and criticize the agreement…. – The Hill, 8-2-11
  • Obama, GOP brace for ‘Super Committee’: It’s a bird … it’s a plane … It’s Super Committee!
    As President Obama prepares to sign the debt ceiling agreement later today, lawmakers are already positioning themselves for the special congressional committee that will be assigned to look for $1.5 trillion in debt reduction over the next ten years.
    Some observers are joking about whether members of so-called “Super Committee” will don capes and costumes with dollar sign logos, but the political parties are preparing another serious battle over the topics that dominated the debt ceiling debate: Taxes, spending, and the scope of government.
    Obama and aides said they will continue pushing the idea that any debt reduction plan must be “balanced,” including not only spending cuts but more taxes from the nation’s wealthiest Americans.
    House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said “it’s going to be pretty hard” for the committee to recommend taxes, and suggested that GOP appointees would block such a move…. – USA Today, 8-2-11
  • Obama shifts to the right: President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks from White House briefing room, Sunday, July 31, 2011 in Washington, about a deal being reached to raise the debt limit. (AP)
    The most distressing outcome of the deficit hysteria gripping Washington may be what Barack Obama has revealed about himself. It was disconcerting to watch the president slip-slide so easily into voicing the fallacious economic arguments of the right. It was shocking when he betrayed core principles of the Democratic Party, portraying himself as high-minded and brave because he defied his loyal constituents. Supporters may hope this rightward shift was only a matter of political tactics, but I think Obama has at last revealed his sincere convictions. If he wins a second term, he will be free to strike a truly rotten “grand bargain” with Republicans—“pragmatic” compromises that will destroy the crown jewels of democratic reform.
    The president has done grievous damage to the most vulnerable by trying to fight the GOP on its ground—accepting the premise that deficits and debt should be a national priority. He made the choice more than a year ago to push aside the real problem—the vast loss and suffering generated by a failing economy…. – CBS News, 8-2-11
  • Debt ceiling agreement a fair compromise?Politico Arena, 7-31-11
  • Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell and the making of a debt deal: Almost as abruptly, the compromise started coming together. What happened during a weekend of frenzied negotiations to salvage the deal is a tale of cataclysm narrowly averted, a historic debt-reduction plan that satisfies none of its signatories and a lesson on how even the most dysfunctional political system can be made functional through the injection of fear, finesse and Joe Biden’s old friendships…. – Politico, 8-2-11
  • Pols all ‘look like idiots’ during debt crisis, but President Obama takes biggest hit of them all: There are no real winners in the debt-crisis debacle, and in such moments the leader of the country absorbs a larger hit than most.
    The tawdry spectacle of governmental paralysis, engineered by take-no-prisoner Tea Party newbies and abetted by Republicans fearful of crossing them, is more reminiscent of a banana republic.
    “We all look like idiots,” a dismayed Democratic Party elder complained as Congress lurched toward sidestepping a financial meltdown. “The extremists have taken over the system. This is not a good omen for anyone.”
    President Obama, least of all.
    Obama got less than a half loaf, but came away with some positives from the shotgun-wedding compromise. He pushed back the next debt extension donnybrook to 2013, guaranteeing this summer’s legislative chaos won’t be rerun during next year’s campaign.
    He also averted an even bigger embarrassment – America didn’t, on his watch, default on its debt obligations for the first time in history.
    But even Obama loyalists on Capitol Hill privately say he didn’t exactly burnish his leadership credentials in this process. “At the end of the day, voters expect their President to bring people together,” one of them said. “He hasn’t been able to on this.”…. – NY Daily News, 8-2-11

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown August 2, 2011: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Senate Floor — Bipartisan Debt Ceiling Bill Will Slow Down ‘Big Government Freight Train’

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS

McConnell: Bipartisan Agreement Will Slow Down the “Big Government Freight Train’

Source: McConnell.Senate.gov, 8-2-11

Aug 02 2011

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement on the Senate floor Tuesday regarding the Senate vote on the Budget Control Act that will prevent default, cut Washington spending:

“Over the past few weeks, Congress been engaged in a very important debate. It may have been messy. It might have appeared to some like their government wasn’t working.

“But, in fact, the opposite was true.

“The push and pull Americans saw in Washington these past few weeks was not gridlock. It was the will of the people working itself out in a political system that was never meant to be pretty.

“You see, one reason America isn’t already facing the kind of crises we see in Europe is that presidents and majority parties here can’t just bring about change on a dime, as much as they might like to from time to time. That’s what checks and balances is all about. And that’s the kind of balance Americans voted for in November.

“The American people sent a wave of new lawmakers to Congress in last November’s election with a very clear mandate: to put our nation’s fiscal house in order. Those of us who’d been fighting the big-government policies of Democrat majorities in Congress welcomed them into our ranks. Together we’ve held the line. And slowly but surely, we’ve started turning things around.

“That’s why those who think that no problem is too big or too small for government to solve are worried right now. They’re afraid the American people may actually win the larger debate we’ve been having around here about the size and scope of government; and that the spending spree may actually be coming to an end. They can’t believe that those who’ve stood up for limited government and accountability have actually changed the terms of the debate in Washington.

“But today, they have no choice but to admit it.

“Now, I know that for some of my colleagues reform isn’t coming as fast as they would like. I understand their frustration. I too wish we could stand here today enacting something much more ambitious. But I’m encouraged by the thought that these new leaders will help lead this fight until we finish the job. And I want to assure you today that although you may not see it this way, you’ve won this debate.

“In a few minutes, the Senate will vote on legislation that represents a new way of doing business in Washington.

“First, it creates an entirely new template for raising the nation’s debt limit. One of the most important things about this legislation is the fact that never again will any President, from either party, be allowed to raise the debt ceiling without being held accountable for it by the American people and without having to engage in the kind of debate we’ve just come through.

“This kind of discussion isn’t something to dread; it’s something to welcome. And while the President may not have particularly enjoyed this debate, it was a debate that Washington needed to have.

“As for the particulars, this legislation caps spending over the next 10 years, with a mechanism that ensures that these cuts stick. It protects the American people from a government default that would have affected every single one of them in one way or another. It puts in place a committee that will recommend further cuts and much-needed reforms. It doesn’t include a dime in job-killing tax hikes at a moment when our economy can least afford them. And, crucially, it ensures the debate over a balanced budget amendment continues, and that it gets a vote.

“This is no small feat when you consider that just last week the President was still demanding tax hikes as a part of any debt ceiling increase, and that as recently as May, the President’s top economic advisor said it was `insane’ for anybody to even consider tying the debt ceiling to spending cuts. It’s worth noting that two and a half months later, that advisor is no longer working at the White House and the President is now agreeing, as a condition of raising the debt ceiling, to trillions of dollars in spending cuts.

“Let me be clear: the legislation the Senate is about to vote on is just a first step. But it’s a crucial step toward fiscal sanity, and it’s a potentially remarkable achievement given the lengths to which some in Washington have gone to ensure a status quo that’s suffocating growth, crippling the economy, and imperiling entitlements.

“We’ve had to settle for less than we wanted, but what we’ve achieved is in no way insignificant. And we did it because we had something Democrats didn’t. Republicans may only control one half of one third of the government in Washington. But the American people agreed with us on the nature of the problem. They know that government didn’t accumulate $14.5 trillion in debt because it didn’t tax enough.

“And if you’re spending yourself into oblivion, the solution isn’t to spend more, it’s to spend less.

“Neither side got everything it wanted in these negotiations. But I think it was the view of those in my party that we’d try to get as much spending cuts as we could from a government we didn’t control. And that’s what we’ve done with this bipartisan agreement.

“This is not the deficit reduction package I would have written. The fact that we’re on pace to add another $7 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years is nothing to celebrate. But getting it there from more than $9 trillion the President continued to defend until recently, is no defeat either. And slowing down the big-government freight train from its current trajectory will give us the time we need to work toward a real solution, or give the American people the time they need to have their voices heard.

“So much more work remains. And to that end, our first step will be to make sure that the Republicans who sit on the powerful cost-cutting committee are serious people who put the best interests of the American people, and the principles that we’ve fought for throughout this debate, first.

“But before we move on to the next steps, I would like to say a word about some of those who made today’s vote possible.

“I’ll start with Speaker Boehner.

“It should be noted that he helped set the terms of this debate by insisting early on that he’d oppose any debt limit that didn’t include cuts that were greater than the amount the debt limit would be raised. And he stuck to his guns. The Speaker and I have worked shoulder to shoulder over the past few months, and it’s been a pleasure. He’s been a real partner. We wouldn’t be here without him.

“So I want to thank the Speaker and the entire Republican Leadership in the House for standing on principle, and I want to thank my Republican colleagues in the Senate for their determination and their ideas and their support. We wouldn’t be here without them either. And I want to thank my friend, the Majority Leader, for his work in getting this agreement over the finish line. We may disagree a lot, but I hope everyone realizes it’s never personal. And I think today we can prove that when it comes down to it we’ll come together when a larger good is at stake.

“I also want to thank the President, the Vice President, and everyone on their staffs who believed, as we did, that despite our many differences, we could all agree that America would not default on its obligations. It’s a testament to the good will of those on both sides that we were able to reach this agreement in time. Neither side wanted to see a government default. I’m pleased we were able to work together to avoid it.

“This bill does not solve the problem. But it forces Washington to admit that it has one. And it puts us on the path to recovery. We’re nowhere near where we need to be in terms of restoring balance. But there should be absolutely no doubt about this: we have changed the debate. We’re headed in the right direction.

“How’d it happen? Because the American people demanded it.

“So, in the end, we’re back to where we started. The only reason we’re talking about passing legislation that reins in the size of Washington instead of growing it is because the American people believed that they could have a real impact on the direction of their government. They spoke out, and we heard them. And it’s only through their continued participation in this process, and lawmakers who are willing to listen to them, that we’ll complete the work we’ve begun. As Winston Churchill once said, `Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; [and] courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.’

“I can’t think of a better way to sum up this last year and, in particular, these last few months, in Washington than that.

“The American people want to see accountability and cooperation in Washington. And they want to see that we’re working to get our fiscal house in order. This legislation doesn’t get us there. But for the first time in a long time, I think we can say to the American people that we’re finally facing in the right direction. And for that, we have them to thank.”

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