Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beltway Blues: Spending, Guns, Jobs and Popcorn

"Popcorn and 3D glasses have supplanted cocktails at get-togethers at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave." | Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

"How House GOP spending cuts would add up to more spending later"(Ezra Klein-WaPo):
As the Associated Press reported, “every dollar the Internal Revenue Service spends for audits, liens and seizing property from tax cheats brings in more than $10, a rate of return so good the Obama administration wants to boost the agency’s budget.” It’s an easy way to reduce the deficit: You don’t have to cut heating oil for the poor or Pell grants for students. You just have to make people pay what they owe.

But deficit reduction is not the GOP’s top priority. It’s a bit lower on the list, somewhere between “get Styrofoam cups back into Congress” — an actual push the Republicans took up to thumb their nose at Nancy Pelosi’s environmental policies — and make “Sesame Street” beg for money. In fact, if you listen to Speaker John Boehner, he’ll tell you himself. “The American people want us to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending,” he has said. And that comment wasn’t a one-off: “Our goal is to cut spending,” he said in another speech. MORE....
"Obama Steers Clear Of Action On Guns" (AP):
Barack Obama once said it was a "scandal" that then-President George W. Bush didn't force renewal of a federal assault weapons ban. Now it's Obama himself who's steering clear of that and other politically sensitive gun-control measures, even while calling for a new discussion on weapons and "how we can keep America safe for all our people."

The president asked for the new conversation on gun safety in an opinion column in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' hometown paper, the Arizona Daily Star, over the weekend. He proposed strengthening and enforcing existing laws requiring gun sellers to perform background checks.

But to the disappointment of gun-control advocates, the president didn't mention the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 — when Congress failed to renew it — even though it barred sales of high-capacity magazines like the one used by Giffords' shooter, and even though Obama was once an outspoken supporter of the ban. MORE...
"Obama’s Heartland Strategy Takes Friendly Fire" (Carol E. Lee-Wall Street Journal):
A senior Michigan Democrat is taking President Barack Obama to task for not doing enough to promote jobs, just as the president’s political aides are gearing up to make the case for Mr. Obama’s re-election to industrial state voters.

Michigan Rep. John Conyers says Mr. Obama’s economic policies are not doing enough to help his state, despite the administration’s support for the federal bailouts of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC, and federal loans for advanced battery manufacturing and other ventures in the state. MORE...
"Obama's New Schmooze" (Amie Parnes-Politico):
“We live in times when politics are strained, so when you can get people together in a social setting, it’s always a good idea,” said Andrew Wilson, a spokesman for Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), who also attended the basketball party. Socializing outside the office “does carry into the day-to-day politics of legislating and governing,” Wilson said. MORE...

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