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Mitch McConnell Supports President Obama’s Spending Policies

Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is going to extraordinary lengths to write President Obama a blank check to spend as much as he wants.

The vote started late, as Senate Republicans huddled behind closed doors. After meeting for roughly an hour in private, the conference still did not know whether it could conjure up the needed votes.

On the floor, the procedural vote ran on for another hour, with Republicans slow to offer support.

Cornyn and McConnell, who is the most vulnerable Senate Republican up for reelection in 2014, then voted to end the debate, making it clear the procedural motion would be approved.

After their dramatic votes, another group of Republicans met in a room off the Senate floor. They returned, and several switched their votes from no to yes.

Some members said they switched their votes to give cover to McConnell and Cornyn.

Remind me how we would be any better off with Mitch McConnell running a narrow Republican senate majority.

This seems more of an Obama than a Ryan Problem

Just caught this on AOL. Isn’t it the president’s job to reach out to the leaders of the opposition:

Screen shot 2013-03-10 at 5.05.43 PM

Do legacy media prefer stories about crazy Republicans to ones about Democratic incompetence?

Two days ago, the Washington Examiner’s Byron York reminded us of a Democratic failure our friends in the legacy media tend to neglect:

Lawmakers are required by law to pass a budget each year by April 15, but there’s no provision to punish them, or even slightly inconvenience them, if they don’t.  In [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid’s case, the Senate last passed a budget in April 2009, 1,351 days ago as of Wednesday.

Not quite sure how to refine a google news search to compare the number of articles written about and amount of broadcast “news” time devoted to Todd Akin’s crazy comments on rape and those on the failure of Reid’s Senate Democrats to meet their legal obligations in passing a budget.

Seems the Missouri Republican fit the legacy media narrative about Republicans being fringe characters, but somehow Mr. Reid’s inaction is at odds with their conviction about the Democrats being the more responsible party.

Just a thought.

Have politics of taxes changed in Democrats’ favor?

If politics of taxes have changed in the Democrats favor, as they seem to argue, why aren’t they willing to ask all Americans to pay a little more for the huge increases in spending President Obama has given us?  Instead, the Democrat so demagogued the tax issue, making it appear that he favors cutting middle class taxes (having even hinted in his reelection campaign that Republicans wish to increase such levies).

In her post earlier today, attempting to put a positive spin on the fiscal cliff deal, Jennifer Rubin also speculates about the politics of taxes:

Many on the left have seemed convinced lately that the politics of taxes had changed dramatically in their favor, and that the opportunity presented by the cliff could result in the kind of surge in revenue that could put off the coming fiscal crunch for years (until, they seem to think, it will just magically go away at some point) and so could save our entitlement programs from the need for reform. . . .

But that hasn’t happened here. This deal is projected to yield $620 billion in revenue over a decade—increasing projected federal revenue by about 1.7% over that time. And that’s about it. The Democrats have made the Bush tax rates permanent for 98 percent of the public, which Republicans couldn’t even do when they controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency.  . . .

[ellipses in original]  Read the whole thing.  Again this gets to the crucial point of the Democrats’ failure.  They want us to believe that we just need raise taxes on the rich in order to pay for all their programs, but the fact remains that they have increased federal spending without paying for it.

Obama’s Democrats are not willing to make the tough choices that, in the past, such increases entailed:  ask the American people to pay for them–with higher taxes.

And this from a president who faulted his predecessor for not paying for his policies.

NB:  After posting this, wonder if I should have changed the title to read, “The higher spending Obama (& his Democrats are unwilling to pay for).

RELATED: Has leverage switched to Republicans on spending cuts?

Now what they’ve raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans
what is the Democrats’ plan to address nation’s debt crisis?

Had I been a member of Congress, I would have voted against the fiscal cliff deal that passed the House earlier today.  Given the current political environment, I could accept the higher taxes on the “wealthiest Americans”, had Democrats finally agreed to real spending cuts.

But, they haven’t; they’ve just kicked the can down the road.  Democrats just aren’t willing to face the fiscal crisis facing our country, a fiscal crisis largely of their own creation.  (Until the election of a Democratic Congress in 2006, deficits had been declining for three successive years–a fact of which many Americans, including a good number of Republicans, remain ignorant.)

I haven’t been following the debate as closely as I normally follow political issues because, well, I’m on vacation and would rather spend time with my family or read a book on Hawai’ian mythology than follow politics, especially given the media coverage of this issue.

President Barack Obama effectively took us to the cliff and many in the media are giving him a free pass.  We are here because he and his Democrats ramped up spending in the first two years of his term when his party had large majorities in both houses of Congress and now are effectively asking Republicans to join them in paying for his spending spree.

And as they ramped up spending, Obama Democrats, to borrow an expression, gave us a vast expansion of the federal government they didn’t pay for.

Their fiscal irresponsibility notwithstanding, thanks in large part to the slanted coverage of the fiscal cliff negotiations — and to Speaker John Boehner’s reluctance to make the Republican case to the public — Democrats won this thing.  And not just legislatively.

But, should Republicans play their cards right, it could well prove to be a Pyrrhic victory.  In the 2012 election, Obama really only had one big issue which seemed to resonate with voters, that of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans.  He no longer has that issue and he hasn’t even begun his second term.

In a great piece on the left and the cliff, Yuval Levin concludes with the crucial questions, “Now they have gotten their tax increase, and what has it gained them but the prospect of an even slower economy? What’s their game plan?

Exactly.  What is their plan? (more…)

Boehner makes a counteroffer; where’s the president’s?

Is this now the second counteroffer the House Speaker has offered the White House?

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sent the White House what his office is describing as a fresh offer to stave off the tax hikes and spending cuts set to take place at the end of the year.

“We sent the White House a counter-offer that would achieve tax and entitlement reform to solve our looming debt crisis and create more American jobs,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “As the Speaker said today, we’re still waiting for the White House to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make as part of the ‘balanced approach’ he promised the American people. The longer the White House slow-walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff.”

Emphasis added.  Yes, what cuts has the White House identified?

Interesting that the only motion we’re seeing is on the Republican side.  Neither the president nor his Democrats have yet to make a serious offer.

Obama meets with Boehner;
will his Democrats make a counteroffer?

For the first time in more than three weeks,” reports David Kerley of ABC OTUS news, “President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met face-to-face today at the White House to talk about avoiding the fiscal cliff.” Emphasis added.

It’s about time.

Wonder why the president dilly-dallyed so long, delaying this meeting.  This appears to be the first time since the election that the president met alone with the top Republican in Washington.

If he had been more serious about avoiding the fiscal cliff, he would have met more regularly with Boehner and other congressional leaders.  And have countered the Republicans’ offer made earlier this month.

The article goes on to note that “some Republicans were showing more flexibility about approving higher tax rates for the wealthy, one of the president’s demands to keep the country from the so-called fiscal cliff — a mixture of across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts that many economists say would send the country back into recession.”  Kerley did not indicate what some of the president’s other demand were.

And now that Republicans are showing some flexibility about raising taxes, will Democrats show some sincerity about cutting spending–and not just cuts from increases anticipated by the president’s past budgets, but real cuts.

As one Democrat put it, “spending is the biggest part of this problem, and the biggest part of that problem is the fact that healthcare is growing at a faster rate than GDP.”  And this even after Democrats passed (what they called) the Affordable Care Act.

SOMEWHAT RELATED: WH Running Out Clock on Fiscal Cliff Negotiations? FYI, that article was posted before the Boehner/Obama meeting, but I read it only after posting this post.

Obama doesn’t want to avoid the “fiscal cliff”;
he wants to politicize it

Democrats and the media may be trying to make Grover Norquist a fall guy in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, but at least that fan of small government gets what’s going on, telling Aaron Task of Yahoo! Finance:

I didn’t think this was case three weeks ago but do now think [President] Obama has decided to drive country over the fiscal cliff and blame the Republicans. . . . I spoke with people today — not are only there no [private] meetings going on, there are none planned . . . .

No meetings planned?  But, aren’t meetings one way opposing parties resolve their differences?  Well, the president for “the first time in days” did talk with Boehner by phone.  And Republican leaders do want to sit down with the president to talk specifics, but no meeting appears forthcoming.

If President Obama and Democrats really wanted to get something done, he would be working on an offer to counter that Speaker Boehner put forward instead of criticizing and taunting Republicans in public fora.

But, I would wager the Democrats will present no counteroffer this week.

And with Obama’s apparent unwillingness to meet with Republicans to work out a compromise, it’s not just Grover Norquist who thinks Obama is trying to blame the GOP.   Even an AP reporter gets the president’s game:  “Presidential aides have even encouraged speculation that Obama is willing to let the economy go over the ‘fiscal cliff’ if necessary and gamble that the public blames Republicans for any fallout.”*

LIke Charles Krauthammer said, the president’s stance on these negotiations is all about playing politics and not about governing the country.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

* (more…)

Not a single Senate Dem supports Obama’s “fiscal cliff” proposal?

Just caught this from Jennifer Rubin:

Don Stewart, communications director for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), emphasizes that the president, in all likelihood, lacks the support among Democrats to pass his wish-list. He tells me, “To date, not a single Senate Democrat has come forward to endorse the President’s job-killing tax hike and bizarre request for a permanent authority to raise the debt ceiling whenever he wants for as much as he wants.”

RELATED: Reid Won’t Allow Vote on Obama’s Fiscal Cliff Plan

Obama’s “balanced” approach (to fiscal cliff) includes more spending

President Obama, as Fred Barnes reports in the Weekly Standards, has touted his “‘balanced’ approach to averting the fiscal cliff“, that is, a package which includes tax hikes as well as spending cuts.

Yet, the proposal Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner showed to House and Senate leaders failed to include any significant cuts, but did, in addition to higher taxes on “on wealthy Americans as well as higher taxes on capital gains and dividends“, it also included a “multiyear stimulus package with at least $50 billion for the 2013 fiscal year.” (The proposal even includes $600 billion in revenue “from unspecified revenue sources.”)  Among the other proposal, there is a promise, at some future date, to try to find $400 billion in savings from Medicare and other social programs.

In short, it includes no specific spending cuts.

No wonder Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “burst into laughter” when Geithner outlined the proposal.  He said “nothing good” was “happening” in the negotiations because Obama was unwilling to “embrace serious spending cuts.

As Charles Krauthammer put it, “there not only are no cuts in this, there’s an increase in spending with a new stimulus” (at 0:28 in the video at the link).

And they called Obama the grown-up in the room?  He — and his team — are not behaving like grownups.  They’re not putting forward a serious plan to address the nation’s debt problem.

Will the legacy even report how laughable this proposal is–at a time of record deficits and the president paying lip service to spending cuts, he offers a plan that increases federal spending?

He seems to be counting on something which carried him through the presidential campaign — media cover.  Don’t count on it.   (more…)

Nancy Pelosi’s Spendthrift Record as Speaker

Just caught this in a Washington Examiner editorial on Nancy Pelosi’s determination to stay on as House Democratic Leader:

Just look at Pelosi’s record as speaker. When she first took the gavel on Jan. 3, 2007, the federal government was on track to spend just $2.7 trillion that year. The federal deficit was a mere $160 billion, and the cumulative national debt was $8.7 trillion. Only 7 million Americans were unemployed, and the nation’s unemployment rate was just 4.6 percent.

Four short years later, when Pelosi handed the gavel back to the Republicans, the country looked a bit different. Spending had soared to $3.6 trillion. The federal deficit was $1.3 trillion, and the national debt was $14 trillion. Fourteen million Americans were unemployed, and the unemployment rate had almost doubled to 9.1 percent.

Wonder why Democrats don’t hold this politician to account for her record.

Does the president have an actual plan to avoid the fiscal cliff?

I’ve been traveling all day and haven’t have had as much time as I would like to check the blogs — or the news.  I’m now in Cincinnati with my family and expect to have far less blogging time over the next few days.

I did buy a Wall Street Journal at LAX and have had time to skim the Yahoo! and Huffington Post (AOL) headlines as well as those on Instapundit and other favorite blogs.  And as I read about the president insisting on a $1.6 trillion tax hike (on the rich — or so he says), I keep looking for other specific details about his plan to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Then, just before hitting the hay, I caught this on Jennifer Rubin’s blog

The press likes to paint House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as a prisoner of his base. But in fact he was elected by unanimous vote and boldly put a grand bargaining offer on the table. That is far more than Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has done, and much more than the president has done (at least in public). So where are the stories about the left-wing base blocking progress on a deal? I imagine left-leaning media editors and reporters would be flabbergasted by the notion.

Emphasis added.  So, Boehner has put an offer on the table.   And it doesn’t seem that either Senate Democrats or the president have followed suit.

Perhaps, Rubin is mistaken and the president has put a plan on the table.  If you are aware that he has, please provide a link to a blog post/article which provides the details of that plan.

If he hasn’t, how then can he negotiate in good faith when one party has put its cards on the table — and he has not.

Obama’s deficits & the restraining influence of a Republican Congress

Looking at the recently released Congressional Budget Office tally on the FY 2012 budget, the editors of the Wall Street Journal find the feds the feds rolling up

. . . another $1.1 trillion deficit for the year that ended September 30, which was the biggest deficit since World War II, except for each of the previous three years. President Obama can now proudly claim the four largest deficits in modern history. As a share of GDP, the deficit fell to 7% last year, which was still above any single year of the Reagan Presidency, or any other year since Truman worked in the Oval Office.

Now take a gander at this chart they provide beginning with FY 2007, the last year that had a budget passed by a Republican Congress and signed by a Republican president:
As point of reference, the federal budget deficit for the preceding fiscal year, 2006, was $248 billion.  In other words, while the divided Congress of then-President Bush’s first two years in office  ramped up spending, the more Republican 109th Congress exercised greater fiscal discipline.

Only with the election of a Democratic Congress in 2006, responsible for passing the FY 2008 budget, did spending start to increase and deficits burgeon.  As the chart shows, we wouldn’t see any decline in the deficit until FY 2012, the first year in which a Republican chamber of Congress had a hand since FY 2007.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  ILoveCapitalism says it’s

Worth repeating that FY2009 belongs to Obama because His signature is on it, not Bush’s. The Democrat Congress held it back from Bush’s signature, so that Obama could increase the spending, when He took office in early 2009.

Consider that notion repeated.

John Boehner’s Marker

It is not often that I strongly disagree with Bruce.  No, we should not give the Democrats what they want on the economy.  It’s going to be bad enough that they pretty much got what they wanted during Obama’s first two years in office.

And we’re only beginning to see the consequences of that legislation, with Obamacare causing businesses to restructure their workforces and Dodd-Frank threatening the survival of community banks.  And then there’s the additional burden of the numerous regulations the Obama administration has been pushing.

People will soon see the damage wrought by Democratic policies.  We don’t want to make it even more difficult for our friends out of work and struggling to survive.

What House Speaker Boehner needs to do is not give Obama what he wants, but instead lay down a marker to show where Republicans stand.  And not yield.  And we know tax increases only give Washington politicians excuses not to cut spending.

The Ohio Republican said on Wednesday that “the GOP won’t accept tax increases, though it will accept changes that eventually would increase revenue through a more efficient tax code.”  He must know that if he yields, some conservatives will clamor for new leadership.

When Boehner wins on this, he will give conservatives something to cheer about, to show that conservatives can stand up to the reelected president and remain a potent force even after the disappointing results of last week’s election.  The Democrat will know that the Republican Speaker is no push-over, keeping him on his toes.

Right now, Republicans should not give Democrats what they want in order to weaken the economy.  They should stand firm on principle in order to show their supporters than they mean to stand up to Obama’s job-killing policies. (more…)

The dismal state of the United States Senate

Under the leadership of Harry Reid, the United States Senate was the real graveyard for reform.  The Republican House passed numerous bills to facilitate job growth which the Senate failed to take up.  And the Democratic-controlled chamber hasn’t passed a budget in 3 1/2 years.

And Americans vote to reward them by sending two more Democrats to the United States Senate.  And it looks like ol’ Harry will keep his job.

Hey, Harry, Where’s the Budget?

Found this on Facebook:

So, will our legacy media will ever get around to covering Reid’s do-nothing Democratic Senate?

The do-nothing Democratic Senate’s dubious record

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:25 am - August 15, 2012.
Filed under: Congress (112th),Congress (general),Media Bias

Take a gander at how Yahoo! spins the report on this being “the least productive legislative year in the post World War II era“:

Unlike the 80th Congress which Harry Truman dubbed a “do-thing” legislature, the current Congress is divided, with Republicans controlling only the House, hence the Yahoo!’s editors choice to blame the absence of productivity on that chamber.  (As if legislative productivity were necessarily a good thing.)

The real story of the 112th Congress is, however, not the Republican House’s dubious record, but the Democratic Senate’s inaction.

As “Doug Heye, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.,” observed, “citing over 30 economic measures the House has passed that have fizzled in the Democratic-run Senate ‘at the behest of a president who is presiding over the worst economic recovery in history.'”  Interesting that the article’s only reference to the Democratic Senate is in a quote from a Republican.

Do wonder if Yahoo! ever led with reports of the Democratic Senate’s dubious record, failure to pass a budget in over 1,200 days.  Or their failure to take up the jobs bills passed by the Republican House.

Harry Reid’s real (partisan) goal
& why the Democratic Senate remains a do-nothing chamber

This following paragraph in Charlie Mahtesian’s post yesterday in Politico both gets at why Harry Reid chose to make his outlandish allegation against the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and what motives the Senate Democratic leader:

POLITICO’s Manu Raju wrote Friday that Reid remained unruffled by the flap, and “has calculated that the frenzy created by his charge has accomplished exactly what he sought to do: Turn the focus back onto the GOP nominee’s unreleased tax returns.”

The Democrat just wants to keep the Republican’s taxes in the news, that is, keep the focus off  the president’s record and on trivia about his rival.  And the Senate Democratic leader sees his real goal to play a hatchet man in the presidential race rather than to move legislation in the Senate, the legislative chamber to which he was elected.

But, in leveling the unfounded accusation, he further polarizes that chamber, making it increasingly difficult to moving legislation.  And shouldn’t moving legislation be the priority of the Senate Majority Leader?

But, well, the 112th Senate, a Democratic Senate hasn’t acted on 32 job bills passed by the Republican House nor has it passed a budget in three-and-one-half years.

Ed Morrissey links a report indicating “that the White House had to have approved this line of attack“.  His real goal is not then to run the Senate but to play a hatchet man in the presidential race.

And it may work.

In so acting in order to to advance Obama’s campaign goals, Harry Reid has further antagonized Senate Republicans, making it increasingly unlikely that he will be able to improve upon the do-nothing record he has accumulated as Senate Majority Leader these last 19 months.

Do wish the legacy media would detail Harry Reid’s real record running the Senate rather than his wild accusations helping out the president’s campaign.

Reid spokesman won’t deny pederast accusations

Is refusal to answer a question about allegations against you (or the individual you represent) an admission of guilt?  If so, then, there may well be more to the allegations of Harry Reid’s pederasty.  Note, the conditional here.  We still don’t know that it’s true.  We’re far from certain about this.  But now the Senate Democratic Leader’s office won’t address the allegations.  How does that look?

As you know by now,” writes Drew M. at Ace of Spades, “when baseless but serious charges are laid against a powerful political figure, it is the responsibility of the maligned individual to prove their innocence.”  And when that blogger “requested comment from Harry Reid’s office on the swirling charges that someone said they heard from someone that Harry Reid is pederast,” he received this terse response which he characterizes as “chilling”:


Drew asks us to “note the non-denial. Based on the rumors we’ve all heard, we can only conclude that at best questions of Reid’s abuse remains an open question.”

Read the whole thing.

Addressing the Harry Reid Pederasty Rumors

Via e-mail and from a number of sources on the web, I have heard that Harry Reid is a pederast!  Now, do I know that that’s true?  Well, I’m not certain.  But obviously he won’t address those allegations. How would it look?

It is a concern as Ace notes, “millions of parents in DC and Nevada send their sons to school every day without knowing whether Harry Reid is, or is not, a pederast.

I don’t think the burden should be on those making the accusations.  The burden should be on Mr. Reid. He’s the one they’ve alleged to have engaged in pederasty. Why hasn’t he addressed the allegations?

Until the Senate Democratic Leader addresses the rumors of his pederasty, we really won’t be sure.  Let’s hope our friends in the legacy media investigate this question to end this uncertainty and resolve the issue.