Next Tuesday evening, President Barack Obama will deliver his fourth State of the Union address — and hopefully, his last. While we don’t yet know the themes and issues that Obama will discuss, we got a hint of what is to come in the Republican response as House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels will counter Obama’s address:
In a statement, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) praised Daniels as “a fierce advocate for smaller, less costly and more accountable government” and said that he “has the record to prove it.”
“For making tough choices and keeping his promises, Mitch Daniels is the right choice at the right time to deliver the Republican response to President Obama’s address,” Boehner added.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called Daniels “an eloquent spokesman for limited government” and said that he “knows that President Obama’s three-year experiment in big government has made our economy worse and our future more uncertain, and he knows that Americans want a government that’s simpler, streamlined and secure.”
“He is a forceful advocate of pro-growth policies like fundamental tax reform, regulatory reform and energy security,” McConnell said. “And he is the right choice to explain the challenges we face and to outline a hopeful, common-sense vision for moving America forward by growing the economy, not the national debt.”
The heat is certainly on Attorney General Eric Holder over the botched “Fast and Furious” operation, in which the ATF allowed guns to walk across the border into the hands of Mexico’s most fierce drug dealers.
Back in October, 10 Arizona Sheriffs called for Holder to resign over the operation, which was based in their state, arguing that the ATF’s actions have put those they are tasked with protecting at unnecessary risk:
That movement has grown since then. Today, more than 50 members of Congress have called for Holder’s resignation based on inconsistencies in his testimony on the issue. Some members have even floated the possibility of impeachment for officials over the operation, which many believe was hatched to build support for gun control.
President Barack Obama spent yesterday day in Ohio slamming Republicans for not backing his latest gimmick stimulus “jobs” proposal. As his backdrop, the White House used a bridge that connects Ohio (House Speaker John Boehner’s state) to Kentucky (Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s state) that isn’t large enough to handle traffic demand as an example of a project that his proposal would tackle. Well, there’s a problem…that bridge isn’t “shovel ready”:
[Obama] headed out to one today which he’s described as a “bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America.” It is on a busy trucking route, spanning the Ohio River between Covington, Ky., and Cincinnati.
It’s the Brent Spence Bridge. It doesn’t really need repairs. It’s got decades of good life left in its steel spans. It’s just overloaded. The bridge was built to handle 85,000 cars and trucks a day, which seemed like a lot back during construction in the Nixon era.
Today, the bridge sort of handles more than 150,000 vehicles a day with frequent jam-ups.
So, plans are not to repair or replace the Brent Spence Bridge. But to build another bridge nearby to ease the loads.
But here’s the problem, as John Merline graphically notes here, that could screw up all those envisioned photo op shots of the Democrat and the traffic:
There was a breakthrough of sorts yesterday with the Gang of Six, a bipartisan group of Senators, that agreed to $3.7 trillion deficit reduction plan that they believe can break a filibuster in the chamber. The proposal was viewed favorably by President Barack Obama. Even Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, had nice things to say about it.
With House Republicans planning to bring the “Cut, Cap and Balance” - a plan that would cut the deficit in half, cap spending at 18% of GDP and impose a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) - later today, President Barack Obama promised that he would veto it should it clear the Senate and come to his desk.
It’s hard to imagine that Obama would actually veto this plan should it pass, but the hurdle for “Cut, Cap and Balance” is the Senate. While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who promised yesterday to keep the chamber in session until the debt ceiling is raised, may allow it to come up for a vote, the numbers just aren’t there to push it through. Still, Republicans in the Senate - including Mike Lee (R-UT), who just put out a new book on the need for the BBA - are making the case for passage:
“Only by restricting its Constitutional authority to engage in deficit spending will you get Congress to stop doing it or at least stop doing it to the reckless degree it has been,” Lee said.
One of the brains behind the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, Lee and his allies are pushing hard for Congress to adopt a balanced budget amendment, which would prevent Congress from spending more than it gets in revenue.
Lee says now is the best time to pass such a measure, because while America is close to the breaking point, the country is not there yet.
There was little news on the budget and debt ceiling front over the weekend. In fact, Republicans didn’t pay much attention to President Barack Obama’s demand for a solution to the stalemate by this past Saturday. Of course, the only solution the White House wants is one that involves tax hikes, which Republican have rejected; as Dan Mitchell says, Obama is only “flexible” is he gets what he wants.
The questionable McConnell plan, which has upset conservatives, still may be part of the deal that is worked out between the White House and Republicans. However, that deal isn’t going to prevent agencies from downgrading the nation’s credit rating.
The call for tax hikes has become all too frequent of a rallying point for the Left during this public debate. And while Obama would have us believe that 80% of Americans support such a move to solve the debt problem, such a claim is blatantly false:
I caught this on Twitter late last night (can’t remember who posted it, sorry), but it just about sums the debt ceiling debate.
Yesterday was another fun day of watching President Barack Obama and Democrats and Republicans slam each other over the failures to get a budget deal put together, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) trying to incite panic by dishonestly claiming that if a debt ceiling increase wasn’t passed it would mean “no school for children.”
Other myths concerning default have been frequently repeated by the White House and Democrats, including the bluff on holding Social Security payments to seniors. Veronique de Rudy recently cleared the air on some of these and noted steps that could be taken to avoid default even though it may not be easy:
For weeks now, Republicans have stood firm on the idea that any increase in the debt limit should be accompanied by significant spending cuts. Democrats have offered up what they felt were significant, and the Republicans have said “nope…not enough”. Now, Mitch McConnell is offering up a compromise that will lose any good will they’ve built with their base. He wants to let President Obama raise the debt ceiling at will.
Courtesy of RedState:
Mitch McConnell is right now talking about making a historic capitulation. So fearful of being blamed for a default, McConnell is proposing a compromise that lets Barack Obama raise the debt ceiling without making any spending cuts at all.
McConnell’s idea is to make the debt ceiling automatic unless Congress, by a 2/3 vote blocks the increase. Oh yes, he put a salve on it by dressing it up in tough talk that, to quote the Wall Street Journal, “[a] ‘eal solution’ to U.S. fiscal problems isn’t possible as long as President Barack Obama remains in office.” So since no “real solution” is possible, McConnell proposes to go Pontius Pilate and wash his hands of spending, blaming Obama while doing nothing himself.
Now, I’ve said before that they should just do away with the debt ceiling. After all, if they can raise it whenever they want, it’s not much of a barrier to increasing debt. However, to hand this power over exclusively to the President?
Yesterday was one of the most interesting days we’ve seen during this debate between Republicans and the Obama Administration. With Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner warning that Congress only has a few days to increase the debt ceiling, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered a peculiar proposal:
McConnell’s proposal would authorize Obama to raise the debt ceiling in three steps, and would not require any corresponding spending cuts.
Under the legislation, Congress could only block Obama’s requests by passing resolutions of disapproval, which would have to be supported by two-thirds of both the Senate and House to overcome an expected presidential veto.
McConnell described his proposal as a “last choice option” to avoid a national default if Congress fails to reach a compromise to raise the debt limit by Aug.
McConnell’s plan would benefit Republicans politically by placing the responsibility for raising the debt limit almost entirely with Obama. It would allow Republicans in both chambers to vote en masse against it without causing a national economic catastrophe.
It could also hurt Senate Democrats by forcing them to support several hikes to the debt ceiling ahead of an election in which they must defend 23 seats, though Republicans expect centrist Democrats would be able to vote against the requests, given the high threshold for overriding a veto.