Budget, debt ceiling deal close, sources say

U.S. President Barack Obama (C) hosts a bipartisan meeting of Congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, January 13, 2015. Pictured (L to R) are Speaker of the House John Boehner, Obama, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc

Dealing?

There is panic over John Boehner’s looming departure from the House speakership, and according to one early report, it’s leading the White House to do really stupid shit.

While congressional aides cautioned that the deal was far from certain, and the White House and Treasury Department declined to comment, officials briefed on the negotiations said the emerging accord would call for cuts in spending on Medicare and Social Security disability benefits.

That’s the New York Times. CNN has a bit more detail and is less alarming.

The deal is expected to include $70 billion-$75 billion in increased spending for defense and domestic spending, sources said. That new spending would be offset by sales from the strategic petroleum oil reserve, use of public airwaves for telecommunications companies and changes to the crop insurance program—among other measures. Moreover, the deal would spread out increases in Medicare premiums over time so beneficiaries

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Morning Digest: GOP plan to travel back in time and kill Baby David Vitter almost succeeds

Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter

Louisiana Republican David Vitter

Leading Off:
LA-Gov: Whether Team Red likes it or not, Sen. David Vitter is their gubernatorial nominee. On Saturday, Louisiana voters went to the polls for the jungle primary and unsurprisingly, Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards grabbed the first runoff spot with 40 percent of the vote. However, Vitter only beat Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, a fellow Republican, 23-19 for the other runoff spot; GOP Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne took fourth place with 15 percent. The Vitter-Angelle battle was closer than most pollsters predicted: Only Market Research Insight showed Angelle within striking distance of Vitter in October.

Louisiana is a dark red state and Edwards won’t have an easy time winning on Nov. 21, but Vitter may have just what it takes to lose it all. The senator started 2015 with good favorable ratings, and it appeared that he’d put his

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McConnell’s big fat gift to David Vitter’s floundering gubernatorial bid

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) leaves the Senate floor on Capitol Hill in Washington May 7, 2015. The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to pass a bill giving Congress the right to review, and potentially reject, an international nuclear agreement

Sen. David Vitter, the noted philanderer, has an itty bitty image problem that’s become a real drag on his bid to become Louisiana’s next governor, reports the Washington Post:

The latest Louisiana State University poll finds he’s viewed favorably by 30 percent of voters and unfavorably by 41 percent. […] Now, even one-in-three Republicans have negative feelings about their senior senator.

So GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is giving Vitter the gift of a show vote on his pet bill that aims to defund sanctuary cities, places where city officials decline to fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities so immigrants won’t be afraid of local law enforcement. Vitter’s bill and others like it are a terrible idea, as this New York Times editorial fully explained over the weekend:

The laws are a class-action slander against an immigrant population that has been scapegoated for the crimes of a

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Dear GOP: You don’t even have a speaker. How can you demand entitlement cuts?

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) arrives to speak to the media about healthcare on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Before we talk budget negotiations, let’s remember that Republicans are in total disarray and don’t even have a House Speaker with whom to negotiate. Let’s also remember that the GOP still owns the Congress—even if they are exhibiting an epic failure in leadership—and failure to approve a budget by Dec. 11 that keeps the government funded will lie at their doorstep, full stop. So what do Republicans do? Kick off the budget discussions with demands for cuts in Social Security and Medicare. Burgess Everett reports:

Republicans are demanding changes to entitlement programs, a request that’s already been rejected by Democrats. Democrats want boosts in domestic spending without painful cuts, a nonstarter for the GOP. Meanwhile, there’s no House speaker scheduled to serve past October. […]
Congressional Republicans are trying to project confidence, particularly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose “no shutdown, no debt default” vows are paramount to

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The comical cult of Paul Ryan

Not since LeBron James announced “The Decision” to “take my talents to South Beach” have so many Americans waited with bated breath for one man to declare his intentions. Hoping for white smoke from the chimney of his Jaynesville, Wisconsin home, most Republicans and even some Democrats are hoping that Paul Ryan will decide to run for Speaker of the House of Representatives and thus save the GOP from itself.
While Mitt Romney’s 2012 running mate and current House Ways and Means Committee chairman remains huddled with family in his Badger State conclave, politicians and pundits sing Paul Ryan’s praises in almost hagiographic terms. Josh Marshall noted that “a defining principle of modern Republican ideology is that ‘Paul Ryan is awesome.'” Jonathan Chait argued that Ryan “is already the president of Republican America” because “no other figure within the party combines Ryan’s philosophical radicalism and tactical pragmatism.” While

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McConnell, Boehner can end GOP’s debt ceiling crisis with same clean bill they gave Bush

Current GOP leaders gave Bush

On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that the federal government will run out of cash on November unless Congress raises the debt ceiling to increase Uncle Sam’s borrowing authority. Under pressure from hard liners in his own party, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is returning to his role as hostage-taker, threatening to block the debt limit hike unless President Obama agrees to cuts in Medicare and Social Security spending. But a default by the United States, as outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) first warned in 2011, “would be a financial disaster, not only for our country but for the worldwide economy.”
Which is why Boehner and McConnell should simply do for President Obama what they did for President Bush. In November 2004, they gave Bush a “clean,” $800 billion boost in the debt ceiling with no strings attached. With the current annual budget deficits at an eight-year

Continue reading “McConnell, Boehner can end GOP’s debt ceiling crisis with same clean bill they gave Bush”

McConnell, Boehner can end GOP’s debt ceiling crisis with same clean bill they gave Bush

Current GOP leaders gave Bush

On Thursday, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned that the federal government will run out of cash on November unless Congress raises the debt ceiling to increase Uncle Sam’s borrowing authority. Under pressure from hard liners in his own party, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is returning to his role as hostage-taker, threatening to block the debt limit hike unless President Obama agrees to cuts in Medicare and Social Security spending. But a default by the United States, as outgoing House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) first warned in 2011, “would be a financial disaster, not only for our country but for the worldwide economy.”
Which is why Boehner and McConnell should simply do for President Obama what they did for President Bush. In November 2004, they gave Bush a “clean,” $800 billion boost in the debt ceiling with no strings attached. With the current annual budget deficits at an eight-year

Continue reading “McConnell, Boehner can end GOP’s debt ceiling crisis with same clean bill they gave Bush”