“Maybe you can do it once, maybe you can do it twice, but when start
making deals, when you have to get Democrats to pass the legislation,
you are not in power anymore.”
While coverage of the 2014 New Jersey Senate race thus far has centered on Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Roll Call notes a third Democrat is laying groundwork to run as well: Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).
Sources say Pallone is “all but certain” to run for Senate if Lautenberg retires in 2014.
Daily Beast: “Until last night, the conventional wisdom in Washington was that the Tea Party was on the wane … But after 85 House Republicans joined Boehner in raising taxes without spending reductions during the end game of Monday night’s fiscal-cliff negotiations, Tea Party leaders and conservative activists from around the country are dusting off their tri-corner hats and ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ signs, and now say that their members are as energized as they have ever been since the first Tax Day protests in 2009. And the Republican Party, they add, had better beware … Already, those outside the official party apparatus are considering primarying incumbents, in some cases taking on those they helped elect a mere two years ago.”
Said South Carolina GOP Chairman Chad Connelly: “If you think 2010 was the Tea Party Congress, just wait until 2014. You will see people even more angry and up in arms. I don’t think we have seen nothing yet.”
Walter Shapiro: “For all the unnecessary pyrotechnics, for all the missed opportunities over the past 18 months, rationality triumphed over ideological extremism in Washington this week. And if this precedent helps prevent America from defaulting on its debts when the government runs out of borrowing power in March, so much the better. But, in the interim, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner deserve muted, but sincere, applause for bringing the anti-tax Republicans back from the brink.”
President Obama ordered “that his signature be affixed to legislation that averts the bulk of the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ and prevents federal income tax rates from rising on the vast majority of Americans,” Politico reports.
“The official copy of the high-profile bill was signed at Obama’s direction with an autopen, a device that places a facsimile of a person’s signature on a document, a senior White House official told a pool reporter accompanying the president on the second leg of his winter break in Hawaii.”
Coming later this year: Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America by Dan Balz and James Silberman.
“More than 40% of the 82 incoming House freshmen had more debt than leftover cash in the bank, a USA Today analysis of final election reports shows. For more than two dozen of them, the unpaid bills topped $100,000 each. Seven of the 12 new senators showed debts on their Dec. 6 reports to the Federal Election Commission. As a result, newly elected lawmakers are bombarding their supporters with pleas for campaign money and holding rounds of fundraising dinners, breakfasts and receptions — even before they are sworn in Thursday.”
An exciting announcement.
First Read: “Yes, he’s the butt of jokes and The Onion parodies. But the guy delivered in reaching across the aisle. The whole point in Obama hiring Biden was to have him as his congressional go-to guy; For some reason, many in the West Wing are hesitant to let Biden be Biden and play this role until the very last minute. While Biden allowed himself to be rolled by staffers every now and then in the West Wing, in a second term (with his own eye on the Oval), we’re guessing Biden’s going to less inclined to take a backseat come March.”
“A holstered gun is not a deadly weapon… But anything can be used
as a deadly weapon. A credit card can be used to cut somebody’s throat.”
— New Hampshire state Rep. Dan Dumaine (R), quoted by the Concord Monitor, opposing a move to ban guns for the chamber floor.
After passage of the fiscal-cliff deal and the House’s inability to
pass a Hurricane Sandy relief package, First Read notes House Speaker John Boehner “finds himself boxed in
like never before.”
“Over the past few weeks, the Ohio lawmaker has been raked over the
coals by members of all stripes within his own party — first by those
seeking less spending in exchange for tax rate hikes, then by those
seeking more spending for disaster aid. The public thrashing came to a
head Wednesday when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie … blatantly accused
Boehner of political cowardice for pulling a supplemental aid package
for those affected by Superstorm Sandy.”
That said, it’s still likely that Boehner will be re-elected as speaker later today as the 113th Congress kicks off.
Interesting tidbit from the New York Times on the sale of Current TV:
“Mr. Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by Dec. 31, lest it be subject to higher tax rates that took effect on Jan. 1… But the deal was not signed until Wednesday.”
Coming soon: Panic 2012: The Sublime and Terrifying Inside Story of Obama’s Final Campaign by Michael Hastings.
Though the fiscal cliff deal has many “small victories” for President Obama, the New York Times says the agreement “also represents a substantial risk for the president.”
“Throughout the negotiations of the last two months, Mr. Obama pushed for a larger agreement, one that would have canceled other looming budget deadlines, starting with one on the debt ceiling. He and his aides saw the so-called fiscal cliff, with its trillions of dollars in scheduled tax increases that Republicans abhorred, as leverage to start fresh in a second term and avoid more deadline-driven partisan fights.”
“When House Republicans made it clear that they opposed a big deal, however, Mr. Obama decided to take the smaller deal, bank a series of victories and wait to fight another day… Without that larger agreement, Mr. Obama will be left to find solutions to future budget deadlines without the leverage that came with the prospect of automatic tax increases.”
The Cloakroom: Why the fiscal cliff deal is a big win for Democrats.
“We’re less on testosterone. We don’t have that need to always be confrontational. And I think we’re problem solvers, and I think that’s what this country needs.”
— Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), quoted by ABC News, on the record number of female senators in the 113th Congress.
Ezra Klein: “What’s the record of the 112th Congress? Well, it almost shut down the government and almost breached the debt ceiling. It almost went over the fiscal cliff (which it had designed in the first place). It cut a trillion dollars of discretionary spending in the Budget Control Act and scheduled another trillion in spending cuts through an automatic sequester, which everyone agrees is terrible policy. It achieved nothing of note on housing, energy, stimulus, immigration, guns, tax reform, infrastructure, climate change or, really, anything. It’s hard to identify a single significant problem that existed prior to the 112th Congress that was in any way improved by its two years of rule.”
An Obama administration official tells the Huffington Post that the president “plans to push for immigration reform this January. The official, who spoke about legislative plans only on condition of anonymity, said that coming standoffs over deficit reduction are unlikely to drain momentum from other priorities. The White House plans to push forward quickly, not just on immigration reform but gun control laws as well.”
“The timeframe is likely to be cheered by Democrats and immigration reform advocates alike, who have privately expressed fears that Obama’s second term will be drowned out in seemingly unending showdowns between parties. The just-completed fiscal cliff deal is giving way to a two-month deadline to resolve delayed sequestration cuts, an expiring continuing resolution to fund the government and a debt ceiling that will soon be hit.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) “is signaling that at least one thing will change about his leadership during the 113th Congress: he’s telling Republicans he is done with private, one-on-one negotiations with President Obama,” The Hill reports.
“During both 2011 and 2012, the Speaker spent weeks shuttling between the Capitol and the White House for meetings with the president in the hopes of striking a grand bargain on the deficit. Those efforts ended in failure, leaving Boehner feeling burned by Obama and, at times, isolated within his conference.”
Instead, he’ll try to “pass bills through the House that can then be adopted, amended or reconciled by the Senate.”