The Hill

House Republicans may alter CR after Senate sends it back

Eric Cantor and John Boehner

It doesn’t sound like the legislative wrangling over the Continuing Resolution (CR) will be over once the Senate acts. The Hill notes that some House Republicans have indicated that they may amend the measure, sending it back to the Senate, further increasing the prospects over a government shutdown:

Senate Democrats have vowed to remove a provision in the House-passed continuing resolution (CR) that withholds money from President Obama’s healthcare law. If they send back a “clean” version, House leaders would have to decide whether to accept it, or amend it and send it back across the Capitol.

“I don’t think we’re going to accept a clean CR,” Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.) said.
[…]
“I don’t think that’s the end of the negotiations,” Boustany said. “We may have a shut down temporarily.”

Two members of the leadership team, Reps. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), said it was more likely the House would try to amend the spending bill rather than accept the Senate’s version.

“I think it’s more likely that we would edit that rebound and send something back over that was more in line with our values, and I don’t think a clean CR necessarily is that,” Southerland said.

Senate likely to strip language to defund ObamaCare

A procedural strategy being looked at by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would strike the language to defund ObamaCare out of the Continuing Resolution (CR), according to a report from The Hill:

Reid’s first move would be to schedule a vote to end debate on proceeding to the House continuing resolution. This would require 60 votes. Republican senators would vote to proceed to the bill because it would including the language to defund ObamaCare.

Then he would fill the amendment tree, defining what amendments could be considered in relation to the House legislation.

Reid would be sure that one of the pending amendments is a so-called “amendment to strike,” which would allow him schedule a future vote on stripping the language defunding ObamaCare and prioritizing debt payments.

Then Reid would schedule a vote to end debate on the House continuing resolution and proceed to final passage. This vote also requires 60 votes.
[…]
After this second cloture vote has passed, the pending amendments can be approved with a simple majority vote. At this point, Reid could strike the language defunding ObamaCare and prioritizing debt payments without having to rely on Republican votes. He could strike the language with Democratic votes alone.

Whip Count: Obama’s Syria war resolution headed for defeat

Editor’s note: Due to mounting opposition to military intervention, we’ve added the Senate numbers at the bottom of the page.

As it stands today, President Barack Obama’s push for military strikes against the Syrian government would lose — and it would lose in a very big way.

Looking at the various media outlets and blogs tracking the vote, most show a majority of the House of Representatives rejecting authorization of force against the Middle Eastern country. You can click on the links to see party breakdowns and more information.

The Hill Confirms GOP’s Image Problem

Republican Party

We’ve heard it before — Republicans have an image problem. There aren’t many who deny this, after a brutal election last year, and continued messaging problems this year. But with the fight over the FY 2014 budget still far from over and an important mid-term election next year, Republicans clearly have their work cut out for them.

And the problem Republicans have isn’t because of their ideas on fiscal matters. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Early last week, The Hill released a poll showing that voters actually responded well to the Republican budget message…as long as they didn’t know that it came from Republicans:

Respondents in The Hill Poll were asked to choose which of two approaches they would prefer on the budget, but the question’s phrasing included no cues as to which party advocated for which option.

Presented in that way, 55 percent of likely voters opted for a plan that would slash $5 trillion in government spending, provide for no additional tax revenue and balance the budget within 10 years — in essence, the path recommended by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week.
[…]
Only 28 percent of voters preferred this option, which reflects the proposal put forth by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last week.

An even stronger majority of respondents, 65 percent, said U.S. budget deficits should be reduced mostly by cutting spending rather than by raising taxes. Just 24 percent said the budget should be balanced mostly by increasing revenue.

Ron Paul to take his message to college campuses

Ron Paul

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who has long been a voice for fiscal conservatism and a sustainable foreign policy, may be leaving the Congress, but his isn’t done spreading his message. The Hill noted over the weekend that Paul will take his message to college campuses, hoping to popularize these views with young people:

In an interview with The Hill, the Texas Republican clearly indicated that he isn’t ready for the rocking chair.

The 77-year-old physician-politician said, “I’m excited about spending more time on college campuses, not less. College campuses will still be on my agenda. That’s where the action is.”

He added, “The young people don’t like the debt they are inheriting, the violation of their civil liberties. They don’t like the war and it’s a fertile field. The people up here sort of ignore them.”
[…]
He started drumming up collegiate interest during his first presidential bid for the GOP nomination in 2008, and built on the excitement in the 2012 primary. (Paul ran as the Libertarian Party presidential nominee in 1988.)

The GOP hasn’t been able to capitalize on the college vote but the libertarian Paul has connected with young voters.

Paul opted not to endorse GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who was badly beaten by President Obama by college-aged voters.

The retired obstetrician attributed the youth support of Obama to the president’s tone on avoiding war, calling him “the peace candidate.”

Independents in swing states key to a potential Romney win

This morning we ran through the current electoral vote count and what states were currently in play for both candidates. Some may be wondering what factors are driving the race right as Mitt Romney looks to be making substantial gains in swing states. Perhaps the most important voting bloc helping Romney in these important states is independents, as Christian Heinze notes over at The Hill:

Below, I’ve listed polls showing where the race is with indies, currently (based on polls where pollsters have made partisan breakdowns available).

a. Colorado = Obama won by 10% with indies in 2008.

Most recent polls: Romney +4%, Obama +1%, Romney +4%

b. Florida = Obama won by 9% with indies in 2008.

Voters feel that Obama has changed America for the worse

Polls may show him in a tight race with Mitt Romney, but a new survey from The Hill doesn’t paints a less than flattering picture of how voters view the “change” President Barack Obama has brought. According to the poll, a majority of Americans believe that Obama has changed the country for the worse:

Two-thirds of likely voters say President Obama has kept his 2008 campaign promise to change America — but it’s changed for the worse, according to a sizable majority.

A new poll for The Hill found 56 percent of likely voters believe Obama’s first term has transformed the nation in a negative way, compared to 35 percent who believe the country has changed for the better under his leadership.

The results signal broad voter unease with the direction the nation has taken under Obama’s leadership and present a major challenge for the incumbent Democrat as he seeks reelection this fall. 
[…]
It found 68 percent of likely voters — regardless of whether they approve or disapprove of Obama — believe the president has substantially transformed the country since his 2009 inauguration.

Over at QandO, my friend Bruce McQuain gives his two cents on what the poll means in terms of the race for the White House:

People are not happy with the current situation in the country (with good reason) and for the most part think 4 years is enough time to change it if a president is capable of doing so.  It hasn’t happened.  In fact, for at least 14.9% of the working population it has gotten worse (as reflected in the U6 unemployment/underemployment number).

That’s a huge number.

Voters aren’t sold on Gingrich’s moon colony

While Newt Gingrich has high aspirations to start an American colony on the moon (or something), a recent poll from The Hill shows that voters are, well, not as far out there as the former Speaker:

Newt Gingrich’s proposal for a lunar colony still has a long way to go before it meets with voters’ approval.

The Hill Poll found that just 1 in 5 likely voters support the idea of a permanent American base on the moon. By contrast, 64 percent are opposed to the idea.

Gingrich said on Jan. 25 that there would be a permanent U.S. base on the moon by the end of his second term, if he were elected president.

He has defended the idea since then, arguing that the United States should pursue bold projects. He has implied a parallel between his belief in this realm and the actions of past presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, who advocated, respectively, for a transcontinental railroad and a manned mission to the moon.

For someone that gained so much support from conservative and Tea Party-minded voters, Gingrich is sure willing to spend a lot of money to see his odd and, frankly, aburd proposal come to fruition. But Gingrich’s high hopes for a moon colony has given the cast from Saturday Night Live some fodder:

The Hill names House GOP members that fight for limited government

It’s no secret that House Republican leadership, who often have to be prodded to stand on principle, has had issues with some members of their caucus. While they are often portrayed negatively by the media, many of us view them as the conscience of the Republican Party at a time when it would be easy to just “make a deal” with the White House and avoid big political fights.

The Hill recently went through a series of votes on key issues — ranging from the renewal of the PATRIOT Act to the government shutdown— and named off the dozen members who have consistantly stood for limited government values:

House Republican leaders had an extremely difficult time uniting their members in 2011, but some were far more exasperating than most.

But surprisingly, the most consistent GOP defectors during the last year were not freshmen, according to an analysis conducted by The Hill.

Veteran rank-and-file Republicans, not members of the historic class of 2010, have proven to be a greater challenge to keep in line.

The Hill’s review found that only two of the 12 biggest defectors in the House Republican Conference are freshmen: Reps. Justin Amash (Mich.) and Jeff Duncan (S.C.).

The other 10 are Reps. Ron Paul (Texas), Timothy Johnson (Ill.), Connie Mack (Fla.), Tom McClintock (Calif.), Tom Graves (Ga.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Jason Chaffetz (Utah), Steve King (Iowa), Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and Joe Wilson (S.C.). All 12 legislators consistently opposed their leaders at key moments during the House GOP’s first year back in the majority since 2006.

Ron Paul is rising in Iowa

While many observers are focused on Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, who appear to be the main obstacles to Mitt Romney winning the Republican primary, Ron Paul is making his own push in Iowa and New Hampshire. Brent Budowsky offers his two-cents on the state of Paul’s campaign over at The Hill’s Pundits Blog:

There are now multiple polls that show Ron Paul has gained support and has a legitimate chance to come in first or second in Iowa and New Hampshire. I would now call Ron Paul one of three front-runners in both Iowa and New Hampshire alongside Mitt Romney and a third candidate, currently Newt Gingrich. If Ron Paul wins Iowa, which he might, all bets are off. Also, most analysts miss the fact that many states have open systems where independents, and in some cases Democrats, can vote for a Republican nominee. This could give a further boost to Paul.

It is now time to give Ron Paul the attention he deserves in debates and throughout the political community.
[…]
The campaign gets very interesting if Newt Gingrich joins Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Donald Trump in collapsing, which would give Paul a head-to-head contest with Romney.

I am not predicting Ron Paul is nominated, I am suggesting he deserves to be treated with the respect of now being a serious contender to win first or second place in Iowa and New Hampshire. I have always predicted that Paul will ultimately be one of three finalists for the Republican nomination, which will become a three-person race, with Ron Paul one of the three.


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