Latest from The Spokesman-Review
“This week Congressman Raul Labrador voted to let America default on its debt for the first time in history, an act that would have plunged us back into recession. He has worked all week to find additional votes for the bill to ensure its passage and then turned around and voted against it. This vote is consistent with his history of flip flopping. At a recent interview on Meet the Press, Representative Raúl Labrador falsely claimed he supports closing loopholes saying, 'I am for getting rid of the loopholes'” — Idaho Democrats press release from Kevin Richert's blog. More here.
Question: Did newby Congressman Raul Labrador help or hurt himself with his no vote on the debt ceiling legislation?
Already the pundits predict a second major political meltdown when the Gang of 12 fails in their task to recommend the next major steps just as the holiday season descends on battle weary Americans who don’t seem to trust anyone on anything, especially when it comes to the economy and fiscal policy. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey finds broad support – as in 77 percent support – for the notion that Washington’s leaders “acted like spoiled children” in reaching the deal on debt and deficits. Trying to explain American politics to a British audience, historian Robert Dallek writes in the Daily Telegraph that, “something is at work here that makes you wonder if rational discourse is beyond the capacity of many American voters to understand”/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Post. More here.
Question: Describe the next financial crisis this country will face as a result of congressional/presidential squabbling?
Despite what some in the Tea Party may think, the deal reached between the President and leaders of Congress is a victory for the Tea Party. How can one tell? Easy - just look at the reaction from the left. Speaking for all but one member of the Congressional Black Causus (Rep. Allen West of Florida), Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) called the deal a “satan sandwich.” Paul Krugman, convinced that American democracy itself is threatened, wrote that President Obama surrendered to Republicans in a piece at The New York Times/Joe Newby, Spokane Conservative Examiner. More here.
- White House, congressional leaders reach debt ceiling deal/Washington Post
Question: Was the Tea Party the overall winner after the dust settled from the near debt ceiling train wreck?
It was difficult to catch any member of Congress on the television last week who wasn’t talking about doing what the American people want.
The American people, it seems, want them to cut the deficit, increase jobs, not to raise taxes and to balance the budget. Or to stimulate the economy, increase jobs, and make the wealthy pay their fair share. (You can guess which parties’ members say which.)
Just how members of Congress divine the wishes of the American people isn’t always clear. Elected officials dare not listen too closely to polls, for fear of being accused of holding their finger to the political winds and then being blown in that direction. It’s also possible to get just about any answer one desires from a poll by the way one words the questions.
There was a time when they’d check their mail. Not personally of course, but Washington is magnet for eager young interns who come hoping to change the world and get issued a letter opener and a desk in a small dark room. Later, interns would check voice mail and the fax machine.
In the 21st Century, they also check the congresspersons’ Facebook page, their Twitter account and the e-mail inbox, all of which provide more immediate communication than paper, pen, an envelope and a stamp ever could.
Except, of course, when cyberspace fails…
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who is often behind House Speaker John Boehner at public statements, was out front on CNN Thursday night being interviewed on the GOP plan by Piers Morgan.
Who? You know, the guy with the British accent who replaced Larry King. (He manages perhaps the worst pun ever on a serious subject in his introduction, but maybe that's what they mean by dry British wit. At least he doesn't wear a different pair of suspenders every night. Or should we say braces?)
Coming up on the tube: Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador's staff says he will be on “Meet the Press” this Sunday.
The current debt ceiling/deficit debate going on is important to be sure. I've been doing a lot of ranting and raving about it for days now. I must thank the former speaker, however, for adding some much needed levity with the comment, “What we’re trying to do is save the world from the Republican budget … We’re trying to save life on this planet as we know it today.” Oh, don't I wish! I wonder if she has a clue how idiotic that sounds. It's right up there with her comment when health care passed; she said we could then all read it and find out what was in it! To think this woman is one of the most powerful in the country/Dogwalk Musings. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Which statement made by one of the congressional partisans re: the debt ceiling showdown do you consider the silliest?
Freshman 1st District GOP Rep. Raul Labrador's vote is among a handful that will decide today's expected tally on House Speaker John Boehner's debt and deficit reduction bill, according to The Hill. “He's leaning no but he's still undecided at the moment,” said Labrador spokesman Phil Hardy Thursday morning. The vote is expected to begin about 3:45 p.m. Mountain Time. Idaho's 2nd District GOP Rep. Mike Simpson, a subcommittee chairman and close ally of Boehner, is expected to vote for the bill. Labrador is among a group of 39 House Republicans who pledged to oppose any bill that raises the debt ceiling unless it includes major cuts, spending caps and a balanced budget amendment. Boehner's bill doesn't include a balanced budget amendment/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: What should Raul do?
Does any serious person believe the United States should cease or delay paying its debts? Social Security? Military retirement? Only in Washington, D.C., where extremists in both parties torpedoed a bipartisan agreement between President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner to cut the deficit over 10 years by $4 trillion by slashing government spending, reforming entitlements and closing tax loopholes while simultaneously reducing federal tax rates. Sensible Republican House leaders who understand the need for compromise, including my former colleague, Mike Simpson, were unable to sell this agreement to their tea party base because it closed some of the most egregious tax loopholes like those which enable hedge fund billionaires and General Electric to pay little or no taxes on their annual earnings/Walt Minnick, Idaho Statesman guest column. More here.
Question: Who will blink?
House Speaker John Boehner (pictured in AP file photo) leveled tough words at fellow Republicans Wednesday, telling conservatives who are unhappy his bill doesn't go far enough to “Get your ass in line.” Boehner's admonishment came during a closed-door meeting, during which House GOP leaders sought to rally support for their debt bill, according to two Republican sources who attended the meeting. The Ohio Republican told members he was working hard and didn't want to turn around and not see an army behind him. House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia also said it was time to pull together and pass the House GOP debt bill, instead of feeding a storyline that pits Republican against Republican/Deirdre Walsh, CNN. More here.
Question: Will Boehner and mainstream Republicans be able to keep Tea Party Republicans in line long enough to forge a debt-ceiling compromise?
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner both suggested contacting Congress in speeches Monday.
That's fine. Contacting your congressperson is a right guaranteed under the First Amendment freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances. But exercising that right now may prove difficult.
One of the most common ways to send such a message is by e-mail, with a link found on a member of Congress's website. But Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' website was down for at least half of the day, her spokesman reported.
“There was too much traffic on account of the Boehner and Obama speeches,” Todd Winer said. “It pretty much crashed the system.”
Websites for Washington Reps. Doc Hastings, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dave Reichert and Adam Smith, and Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson were also down for much of the day.
Members of local progressive groups, including MoveOn.org, staged a protest outside McMorris Rodgers’ Spokane office at noon Tuesday. When one of the protesters told a McMorris Rodgers staff member her efforts to send an e-mail to either Boehner or Majority Leader Eric Cantor have been met with a “permanent failure” message, the staff member said GOP leadership e-mail servers had been down for more than a week.
Winer said he wasn’t aware of problems with leadership e-mail, and suggested calling Boehner or Cantor’s offices. A call to the speaker’s office was routed to patriotic music with an intermittent message to hold for a staff member who didn’t pick up for more than 10 minutes. A call to Cantor’s office asked the caller to leave a message, then connected to a voice mailbox that was full.
Kind of makes you wonder, though. Members of Congress say they are listening to the American people, and responding to their wishes. If the American people can't get their make their wishes known threw one of the easiest and most ubiquitous forms of instant communication, how can they back up that claim?
The late, great Senator from New York, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was asked back in 1993, when Congress was debating an earlier federal budget deal, if there “would be a fight until death” over taxes. Moynihan, intellect and wit in full flower, came back at NBC’s Tim Russert: “Fight until death over taxes? Oh no. Women, country, God, things like that. Taxes? No.” We may see a grand deal struck this weekend in the long running Washington drama over taxes, spending and debt and it is a safe bet no one will fight until death, even if the rhetoric makes all of what has been going on in the nation’s capitol sound like Armageddon. A deal must be struck. The only Armageddon here would be the shape of national and world economy should the United States of America default on its debt, even for a little while/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.
- Words from one of our job creators/Fort Boise
- Pend Oreille Bay Trail leaps forward/Susan Drumheller, ICL
- Raul Labrador's mistake updated/Idaho Conservative Blogger
Question: What would you fight to the death over?
Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo and five other senators unveiled their $4 trillion bipartisan deficit-reduction plan Tuesday to praise, if not immediate support, from both President Barack Obama and a number of senators from both parties. The so-called Gang of Six proposes to immediately cut $500 billion out of the federal budget, impose spending caps on federal agencies and eliminate many tax breaks in exchange for reduced income tax rates and dropping the $1.7 trillion alternative minimum tax — along the same lines of the 1986 tax reform measure signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. The deal calls for cuts to everything from Social Security and Medicare spending to the Pentagon, and eliminates $1 trillion in tax breaks over the next 10 years/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Are you impressed that Idaho's U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo is one of the Gang of 6 that's trying to lead Congress & President Obama out of debt ceiling wilderness?
Good morning, Netizens…
Do you, or anyone you know, have an in-depth understanding of how the debt ceiling works? I guess that requires some understanding of how our economy works or is dysfunctional.
David Horsey's cartoon depicts one view of the budget impasse, but I admit there are perhaps as many solutions to the mess we've gotten our economy into as there are problems that cry out to be solved.
On one hand we have the multi-millionaires and billionaires who ostensibly pay less taxes on their incomes than lower-to-middle class do, all under the belief that “trickle-down” economies work. Lots of people, including some of the legislators, all seem to believe trickle-down works, but over history I have yet to see how it works in reality. Some of the above are the same people who export most of our jobs to foreign countries, and these nifty offshore schemes cry out among the loudest for taxation.
Then we have the debt ceiling itself. Raising it is tantamount to giving the teenagers, who cannot manage their own personal lines of credit a new credit card, forgiving all their past exorbitant spending habits so they can purchase the (enter device(s) they really, really NEED). The Tea Partiers, on the other hand, are saying, tear up the credit cards, give back the spendy cars and pay the debts you've already accumulated; LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS. There is something to be said for living within our collective means.
We have a lot of name-calling being done on both sides of the political aisle. The US is in financial straits right now with unemployment still far too high, banks and other corporations hoarding their profits, false foreclosures, raising rates where ever they can, condemning any and all attempts to put regulations back in place, and we have these so called republicans doing absolutely nothing but condemning everyone who sides up against them as socialists or even worse, terrorists.
Somehow, out there on the fringe of our national picture, we have to bring back the jobs we have exported to foreign shores and put Americans back to work. All you have to do is look at the row upon row of shuttered factories and plants across the country to see how far we collectively have fallen. It's time to close the loopholes that allowed this travesty to happen, to put hard-working American workers back to work, and put America back into its former role as the manufacturing leader of the world.
Judging by the economic malaise where America currently finds itself, it is my considered opinion we need to expediently get this straightened out. Then tax the hell out of those responsible, who have profited so handsomely for their role(s) in our current position, including some of our elected officials for some of them have profited for their roles in creating the loopholes to begin with.
It's time to put some polish on the old Liberty Bell, and to do that we need some good old-fashioned elbow grease, not political malingering. Of course, your results and beliefs may differ.