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
This may be a moment in Senate history, when a senator made a proposal that, when given an opportunity for a vote on that proposal, filibustered his own proposal…I don’t think this has ever happened before.Sen. Dick Durbin, after Mitch McConnell’s latest scheme blew up in his face. McConnell introduced legislation today that would allow the president to unilaterally raise the debt limit, suspecting that Democrats wouldn’t have the guts to vote for it. When it became clear that Democrats did indeed have the votes to pass the bill with a simple majority, McConnell filibustered it, preventing its passage. The United States Senate, ladies and gentlemen. source
» Question: If Boehner goes ahead with this, will anybody, Democrat or Republican, have any reason to believe he’s negotiating in good faith next time a deal needs to be reached? Obstructionism is one thing, but to make an agreement, pass that agreement in the form of legislation, and then attempt to get out of that agreement when things don’t go your way is another. Make no mistake; the debt ceiling will have to be raised again; we’re not sure how negotiations can even commence, let alone conclude, if this is how Boehner plans to go about things.
» The trade-off: “On the one hand, if policymakers leave current laws unchanged, the federal debt will probably recede slowly,” said CBO director Douglas W. Elmendorf. “On the other hand, changing current laws to let current policies continue … would boost the economy and allow people to pay less in taxes and benefit more from government programs in the next few years — but put the nation on an unsustainable fiscal course.” That’s a tough one, kids.
» The biggest cut? Presidential salary: If Paul were president, he would cut his salary to $39,000 — the median salary for U.S. citizens. That’s a big downgrade from the standard $400,000-per-year salary and actually less than we make from our job. That would be a huge symbolic gesture, if you ask us.