Because the sequester is (and is likely to continue to be) very ill-defined in the minds of most Americans, the politics of it will devolve into a popularity contest between the major players. Which gets us to the fact that Obama is at (or close to) his high-water mark in terms of job approval, while Congress sits in political reporter/used car salesman territory.The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, theorizing that there’s no way possible way Congress can win the sequester battle against President Obama. The thinking here is is based on three premises: One, that Obama believes the sequester ultimately will not be avoided, because Congress is dysfunctional and if they could have struck a deal on these cuts, there wouldn’t have been a sequester to begin with; two, that effects of the sequestered cuts will be felt by many Americans once they come into effect; and three, that Obama is significantly more popular than Congress. Given these three assumptions, it seems reasonable enough to conclude that if the sequester happens, Congress—and the GOP-led House of Representatives—will be blamed by the American public. It’s not a bad theory, though it’s still quite speculative given the assumptions. More information on the sequester here. source
Last week, Republicans and Democrats talked about remembering 9/11 and unity all across the nation, and all that patriotic stuff, and now we’re getting this thrown on our lap.John Feal, founder of the FealGood Foundation advocacy group • Responding to the news that more than $38 million in previously approved spending, from the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, could be cut as a result of budget sequester legislation passed last summer. John Feal, a construction worker who lost half his foot in the Ground Zero cleanup efforts, is particularly incensed because the funds were already paid for by leveling a new 2 percent tax on certain foreign companies that receive federal contracts. “This is unacceptable,” said Feal, adding, “[It’s] just another slap in the face from Washington, D.C.” source
Get rid of ObamaCare! Now! It’s a really good idea … if your plan is to do the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve on controlling the deficit. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday said ObamaCare will actually work to shrink, not enlarge, our fiscal budget headache.More details from the CBO here. Important story for truth. (via hypervocal)
Maybe the debt ceiling was the wrong place to pick a fight, as it related to trying to get our country’s house in order…maybe that was the wrong place to do it.GOP Senator Bob Corker • In a shockingly frank admission that the Republicans overplayed their obstructionist hand. The phrase “pick a fight” implies antagonism for antagonism’s sake which, if one reflects on the Republican party’s behavior over the last three years, would seem an appropriate implication. Another Senate Republican, Lindsey Graham, had a similar confession: “Our problem is we made a big deal about this for three months…we’ve got nobody to blame but ourselves.” Yes, indeed. These confessions bode well for the prospects of a deal passing the Senate, but the House remains another question entirely. source (via • follow)
I’ve reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.President Obama • Toward the end of a budget meeting with Republicans. It’s not clear what policy he won’t yield on, but from the texture of the debate thus far, we’re guessing it’s the inclusion of revenue increases in the deal to raise the debt-ceiling.source (via • follow)
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» So, what the hell can John Boehner do now? This recent analysis, if it’s both correct and widely disseminated, could have huge implications for the GOP going forward. Since becoming Speaker of the House, the contortions Boehner has made to try to appease the Tea Party contingent have been obvious and striking — it’s clear that his fiscal conservatism is less their sort and more that of establishment Republicanism, by which I mean he doesn’t really care about spending cuts in any significant measure. The $38 billion figure itself was but a minute fraction of the federal deficit, and Boehner looks really ineffective after if these numbers stick. Will the Republican and Tea Party marriage begin to splinter over news like this?