August 23, 2013

Boehner suggests short-term spending plan, but will it be enough for conservatives?

House Speaker John Boehner told Republicans Thursday night he would seek a short-term spending measure to keep the government open once the fiscal year begins Oct. 1--but many conservatives want defunding the 2010 health care law to be included.

Republicans are split over whether to stop the funding and risk a shutdown. No leadership decisions have been made about the funding.

Conservatives are watching closely. "Republicans in Congress promised to do everything possible to stop Obamacare and if they chicken out on this one last chance to block it, millions of conservatives will remember how they were betrayed by politicians who said one thing at home but did the opposite in Washington," said Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica, a conservative group.

"If we are going stop Obamacare it must be done now and the only option left is to pass a Continuing Resolution that funds everything but Obamacare."

According to someone familiar with the Boehner call, here's a summary of what was said:

Continue reading "Boehner suggests short-term spending plan, but will it be enough for conservatives?" »

July 22, 2013

Clinton far ahead among Democrats in NH primary poll; GOP field wide open

Former Secretary of State is far ahead of potential 2016 presidential rivals, according to a poll released Monday by New England College for NH Journal.

The survey found 65 percent of Democrats preferred Clinton, followed by "unsure" at 19 percent, Vice President Joe Biden at 8 percent and "favorite daughter" Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire at 6 percent. New Hampshire traditionally holds the nation's first presidential primary.

The Republican field is wide open. "Unsure" led with 20 percent. Next were Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul,  19 percent; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 17 percent; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, 13 percent and 2012 vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, at 9.5 percent.

According to NH Journal, "The NEC Poll uses Interactive Voice Response technology to enable high response, accurate data collection on political races, policy issues and commercial considerations. This poll was conducted across a random sample of registered voters from New Hampshire. For the presidential polls there were 333 responses and a margin of error of 5.37 percent for the Democratic Primary and 326 responses and a margin of error of 5.42 percebt for the Republican."

To read more:

June 14, 2013

Republicans like Ryan, Democrats like Christie

Republicans really like Paul Ryan. But Democrats like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Those are key findings of a new Gallup poll released Friday. It tested the public's view of five potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates: Ryan, the 2012 party vice presidential nominee; Christie; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

"The five Republican officeholders currently appear to meet two minimum factors for a successful presidential campaign: they are generally well-liked by the Republican rank-and-file, and are more liked than disliked by the larger general population," said an analysis by Gallup's Jeffrey Jones.

But, he said, Christie and Ryan offer "interesting contrasts."

His analysis: "Ryan's high favorability among Republicans but lower favorability among the general public would position him to do well in the Republican primaries, but perhaps make him a less formidable general election candidate.

"Christie, on the other hand, would appear to be a stronger general election than Republican primary candidate, given his lower favorability among Republicans but higher favorability among Democrats and Americans more generally."

Continue reading "Republicans like Ryan, Democrats like Christie" »

April 24, 2013

Reid pushes sequester replacement plan

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Wednesday pushed his plan to stop the automatic federal spending cuts that went into effect last month. But it was uncertain, and increasingly unlikely, the Senate will act until next month.

Reid made his case in his opening remarks to the Senate.

"We have seen the devastating impacts of these arbitrary budget cuts. Now it’s time to stop them," he said.  "Last night I introduced legislation that would roll back the sequester for the rest of the year. This bill would give Democrats and Republicans time to sit down at the negotiating table and work out an agreement to reduce the deficit in a balanced way."

Reid would pay for the restoration of funding with savings from the windown of the wars Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Before Republicans dismiss these savings, they should recall that 235 House Republicans voted to use these funds to pay for the Ryan Republican budget. They didn’t consider it a gimmick when it served their own purposes," Reid, D-Nevada, said.


April 10, 2013

Ryan: "I don't think we should talk about a grand bargain"

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, architect of the House of Representatives' Republican budget plan, was not optimistic Wednesday about a big budget deal.

"I don't want to foreclose any opportunities in the future by commenting on what the process should or should not be or the message that we get to getting something done.  That's point number one," he told reporters.

But, he added, "I guess point number two is I don't think we should talk about a grand bargain.  A grand bargain implies you could actually fix the entire problem.  Our budget does that.  It balances the budget.  It pays off the debt.  It saves Medicare from bankruptcy.  It reforms the tax system."

Ryan, though, thought "We're so far from that with what the president and the Senate has passed and the president has put out that I think we should rationalize our expectations to getting a down payment on the problem.  And the budget process is one of the great -- one of the many vehicles we could use to do that."

So, he said, "I don't think we should be talking about grand bargain because that implies the president and the Senate Democrats are ready to embrace fundamental entitlement reform, which they have shown absolutely no indication of doing so."

April 03, 2013

It's a five way scramble for 2016 GOP presidential nomination

The battle for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination is too close (let alone too early) to call.

"There is no frontrunner now," said a Quinnipiac University national survey released Wednesday.

The leader is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, with 19 percent. Trailing are Rep. Paul Ryan, the 2012 vice presidential nominee, at 17 percent, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, 15 percent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 14 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 10 percent.

But there is this potentially good news for Christie and Bush: By a 59-23 percent margin, Republicans say they prefer a governor with experience. Republicans also get higher marks than Democrats on handling the deficit,though Democrats fare better on health care, same-sex marriage and immigration.

To read more:


April 01, 2013

Democrats blast 17 GOP congressmen for budget votes

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Monday launced online ads aimed at 17 Republican congressmen it considers vulnerable.

The ads blast the lawmakers for backing the House of Representatives Republican budget last month, a budget that would change the current Medicare system in 10 years and require big cuts in federal spending--but without raising taxes.

Still, said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in a statement, “Republicans say this budget is the best way to communicate their ‘governing philosophy,’ so we’re telling the people what that means: more for millionaires and corporate special interests, less for the middle class and seniors."

Continue reading "Democrats blast 17 GOP congressmen for budget votes" »

March 16, 2013

Ryan outlines House budget plan; vote due next week

The House of Representatives plans to debate and vote on a Republican-authored 10 year budget plan next week, and Saturday, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan made the case for the proposal in the weekly Republican address.

The plan is expected to get virtually no Democratic support, particularly since it dramatically cuts projected domestic spending and endorses changes in Medicare.

Ryan offered this account of his plan:"

Next week, the House of Representatives will vote on a plan to improve the lives of American families by balancing the budget in ten years.

“How do we do it?  Well, it’s pretty simple: we stop spending money we don’t have.  Historically, we’ve paid a little less than one-fifth of our income in taxes to the federal government each year.  But the government has spent more—a lot more.  And the results are plain to see: despite the President’s promise, the stimulus didn’t work.  Today, 46 million people are living in poverty, the highest in a generation.  One in seven workers either can’t find a job or works only part time."

He urged the White House to work with him.

"So today," Ryan said, "We invite President Obama to do what President Clinton did—to work with Republicans in Congress to balance the budget.  He can join in the effort, or he can choose the status quo.  But he must choose."

To see Ryan's remarks:


March 15, 2013

Romney urges conservatives to learn from his mistakes

Mitt Romney came to the conservative political action conference Friday to remind them he'd stand with them, and to urge them to learn from successful governors.

Romney, once regarded as a center-right governor of Massachusetts, told the conservatives, "you were there from the very start and made a difference for me. Your campaign gave me that early boost.  You worked on the front lines promoting my campaign.  You made calls.  I owe to each of you and appreciate your support and help through that campaign."

 He was somewhat reflective.

"We've lost races before in the past.  But those setbacks prepared us for larger victories.  It's up to us to make sure that we learn from our mistakes and my mistakes and that we take advantage of that learning to make sure that we take back the nation, take back the White House, get the Senate and put in place conservative principles," Romney said.

He offered this advice:

"Now, as someone who just lost the last election, I'm probably not in the best position to chart the course for the next one," Romney said.

"But that being said, let me offer this advice.  And perhaps because I'm a former governor, I would urge us all to learn lessons that come from some of our greatest success stories.  And that's 30 Republican governors across the country.

"They're winning elections, but more importantly, they're solving problems, big problems, important problems."

Here's more of Romney's remarks:

Continue reading "Romney urges conservatives to learn from his mistakes" »

March 12, 2013

Obama meets with Senate Democrats, has little to say

President Barack Obama didn't have much to say after his Capitol meeting with Senate Democrats, but Democrats were feeling good about the session.

"Hello, everybody," Obama said as he left the Capitol to a throng of nearly 200 reporters.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was more descriptive.

"This week we're seeing a revealing contrast.  The president's reaching out to Republicans in the Senate, and in the Senate we're working out a bill, bipartisan fashion, to advance a compromise that will fund the government and protect middle- class families," Reid, D-Nevada, said, referring to legislation to keep the government funded through Oct. 1.

But, he said, "on the other side of the building, House Republicans are moving further away from the compromise.  House Republicans are advancing the Ryan Republican budget that's even more extreme than the propaganda we've seen in the past.'

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unveiled a budget Tuesday that cuts spending dramatically over 10 years, changes the Medicare program after 2024 and has no new taxes.

Obama plans to meet with House Republicans Wednesday.



"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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