December 11, 2013
"Senate Republicans scrubbing the Ryan-Murray budget deal have come across a little-noticed provision that will limit the GOP's ability to block tax increases in future years," National Review
"The bill includes language from the Senate Democrats' budget to void a budget 'point of order' against replacing the sequester cuts with tax increases. The process is quite complicated, but in practice it grants Harry Reid the authority to send tax increases to the House with a bare majority, rather than the 60 vote threshold that would be required under the point of order."
Former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) "has toyed with running for the Granite State's Senate seat. But only in the last two weeks have many GOP leaders there begun taking Brown seriously. Whereas before they saw a fallen political star desperate for attention, they now see a possible first-tier contender genuinely contemplating a campaign," National Journal
: "But here's the thing: It doesn't matter what the New Hampshire GOP says, or even what Brown himself says. The surest indicator of Brown's political ambitions is what Roger Ailes, the Fox News chief and the man who writes Brown's paycheck, decides to do with his contract."
"Republicans are so nervous about Staten Island Rep. Michael Grimm's re-election chances that they've quietly reached out to former GOP Congressman Vito Fossella -- who quit five years ago after confessing to having a secret second family -- to make a comeback for his old seat," the New York Post
"Grimm is currently the subject of an ongoing Justice Department probe that centers on whether his campaign solicited illegal donations from foreigners during his 2010 campaign."
reports Grimm bashed the report and other "baseless rumors."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will vote against the deal brokered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), the Daily Caller
"While the budget proposal is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, McConnell joins a growing list of Republican senators -- including Marco Rubio of Florida, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Rand Paul of Kentucky -- who oppose the deal."
: "Somewhere in this chain of colossal, consequential screwups, there are surely a few people who deserve to be fired. The White House tends to dismiss such criticism. Indeed, Obama aides pride themselves on rising above it, viewing it as politically motivated or, when proffered by administration allies, derived from a crude desire for retribution. There might, at times, be truth to that. But firing and replacing underperforming staff is also a key element of effective management."
"Of late, President Obama has shown a worrying preference for ad hoc, patchwork solutions. The White House recognizes that its health-care law hasn't been well executed. That's why it has been throwing new staff at the problem. But the new arrangements are temporary."
"It may be time once again for senators to pull out the cots," Roll Call
"The Senate looked poised for an all-night session Wednesday to work through the process of confirming an assortment of President Barack Obama's nominees to posts ranging from federal judgeships to the top official at the Department of Homeland Security."The Hill
: "Senate Republicans will hold the floor throughout the night, speaking out against Reid's use of the nuclear option."
looks at gun legislation passed since the Newtown massacre last year.
: "Optimists are presenting the very small budget deal agreed to by both parties as a new day in Washington, a down payment that can clear the way for further dealing down the road. In truth, it's the end of the road, a small salvage operation for a grand failure of governance and political strategy stretching over three years."
"The parties have reached a deal because the cuts to next year's budget run so deep that Republicans themselves cannt tolerate them. The budget process in the House simply collapsed because even conservatives couldn't implement the slated levels of spending. The impasse threatened to require more temporary votes to keep the government open, and possibly another shutdown, which is the GOP's worst nightmare. And so Ryan and Murray scrounged together enough savings to offset the cost of a small two-year fix. But since the savings they agreed upon were, by definition, the most agreeable cuts, any future deals will become much harder. The low-hanging fruit is all gone."
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) "is up with her first ad
, and it's about the health-care law. It stresses her work -- and sometimes tough talk to the president -- to fix the law to make sure Obama's promise that people who like their insurance can keep it," NBC News
"The ad, to air in key markets around the state, highlights the hurdle the law presents for Democratic incumbents running in red states."
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) that had sought to overturn the 2010 House censure of the New York congressman for financial wrongdoing, the AP
The judge ruled that Rangel's demands implicate "insurmountable separation-of-powers barriers" to the court's authority.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TV) announced that his chief of staff, Ryan Loskarn, is being put on leave over allegations involving child pornography, National Journal
Said Alexander: "I am stunned, surprised and disappointed by what I have learned."
The Daily Show
interviews redistricting guru Kimball Brace on "the art of gerrymander
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) blasted conservative groups criticizing the bipartisan budget deal, Politico
Said Boehner: "They're using our members and they're using the American people for their own goals. This is ridiculous."
"Boehner's comments came after House Republicans huddled behind closed doors for more than an hour to discuss the deal. Ryan made the same argument inside the meeting that he's made publicly: This is a deficit reduction bill. Rep. Hal Rogers, the appropriations chairman, voiced support for the deal."
"But others weren't ready to back the agreement, reflecting the challenge ahead for House GOP leaders as they try to move the bill by the end of the week."
"A handful of Republican Party officials is quietly advancing a new batch of rules aimed at streamlining a chaotic presidential nominating process that many party insiders viewed as damaging to the their campaign for the White House in 2012," multiple GOP sources told CNN
"In a series of closed-door meetings since August, handpicked members of the Republican National Committee have been meeting with party Chairman Reince Priebus in Washington to hash out details of a sweeping plan to condense the nominating calendar, severely punish primary and caucus states that upend the agreed-upon voting order and potentially move the party's national convention to earlier in the summer, with late June emerging as the ideal target date."
Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC) "was confirmed to a top housing finance post Tuesday after Senate Democrats cleared a path for him by changing filibuster rules that Republicans had used to block his confirmation," the Charlotte Observer
: "Watt's departure from the district will kick off a frenzy among Tar Heel State Democrats looking to succeed him in the safe Democratic seat he has held for two decades."
The special election will probably take place on previously scheduled election dates, which would mean a primary in February, with a runoff on May 6.
: "Given the conservative reaction
last night to the budget deal agreement
between Sen. Patty Murray (D) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R), here's a
prediction: You're going to see more Democrats vote for it than
Republicans. Think about that for a second: More Democrats will vote for
Paul Ryan's compromise than Republicans."
has the latest enrollment details which all show signs of progress.
The Boston Globe
notes that very few voters actually took part in the special election
yesterday that sends Katherine Clark (D) to Congress.
"Turnout was a dismal 13 percent, which appeared to set a record for
voter apathy in the state's recent US House races. The previous
low-water mark was the October 2001 special election that Stephen F.
Lynch won with a 17 percent turnout."
"It's a familiar tale: Negotiators strike a fiscal deal, conservative
lawmakers express resistance, conservative groups threaten primary
opposition and headaches ensue for Republican leadership trying to get
something through Congress."National Journal
"Whether the deal holds up could play out quickly. The House is
expected to adjourn for the year on Friday, and leaders there are moving
for floor action on the measure as early as Thursday. Ryan may face the
most immediate challenge, meeting behind closed doors Wednesday morning
to explain the agreement to skeptical House conservatives, many of whom
have voiced opposition to any deal that raises spending levels."
"Newly declassified documents show Tuesday that former CIA Director
Leon Panetta revealed secret information to Zero Dark Thirty
scriptwriter Mark Boal when Panetta gave a speech at CIA headquarters
marking the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Panetta said through a
spokesman that he didn't know Boal was in the room."
"Republican primary challengers are lining up to take on sitting
senators next year in eight of the 12 races involving sitting GOP
senators, gunning for party leaders like Mitch McConnell in Kentucky,
veterans like Thad Cochran in Mississippi and Pat Roberts in Kansas and
deal-makers like Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. Texas Sen. John
Cornyn became the latest target."
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) touted the budget agreement
he reached with Democrats as the first "divided government budget agreement since 1986," Politico
Said Ryan: "As a conservative, I deal with the situation as it exists. I deal with the way things are, not necessarily the way things I want them to be. I've passed three budgets in a row that reflect my priorities and my principles and everything I wanted to accomplish. We're in divided government. I realize I'm not going to get that. So I'm not going to go a mile in the direction I wanted to go to, but I will take a few steps in the right direction. This agreement takes us in the right direction, from my perspective, for the very reasons I laid out before."
: Does the budget deal signal a more productive Congress?
comments on President Obama's handshake with Cuban President Raul Castro.First Read
: "But here's probably the best way to view it: Would you greet (or shake hands with) an estranged family member at a memorial service for a loved one? Or do you go out of your way to snub that person? In other words, is that day about you and your conflict? Or about that loved one who's being memorialized lying in a casket?"
"When you dent a president on honesty and straightforwardness, you have done major damage that can be difficult and time-consuming to repair."
-- GOP pollster Bill McInturf, quoted by the Wall Street Journal
, noting "a clear parallel to sentiment toward President George W. Bush at the same point in his second term."
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll
finds the federal health-care law "is becoming a heavier political burden for President Barack Obama and his party, despite increased confidence in the economy and the public's own generally upbeat sense of well-being."
"Disapproval of Mr. Obama's job performance hit an all-time high in the poll, at 54%, amid the flawed rollout of the health law. Half of those polled now consider the law a bad idea, also a record high."
Said pollster Fred Yang: "The president is being weighed down by one issue, his health-care law. It's probably fair to say that as goes health care, so goes the Obama presidency for the next year."The Fix
: "After weeks filled with nothing but bad news for President Obama, there have been some reasons for optimism in recent days. But even if Obama has moved past the lowest low of his presidency, there is no way around the reality that his image has been badly damaged since he triumphed at the polls last fall."Wonk Wire
: Views of Obamacare improve slightly.