POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/3
The Daily Beast ranks the winners and losers of the new law to raise the debt ceiling and cut federal government spending.
“In the future, any president, this one or another one, when they request us to raise the debt ceiling, it will not be clean anymore. This is just the first step.”
— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), in an interview with Larry Kudlow, suggesting fights over the debt ceiling are the new normal.
CBS News: “Congressional redistricting has moved at a slow pace this year. We are more than half way through the calendar year, and far less than half of the states have completed the process, or are even on the verge of enacting a plan. So far, it looks like overall a draw between the two parties, but there’s a long way to go.”
For an update, check out the Washington Post‘s redistricting scorecard.
Just out: Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others by James Gilligan.
Washington Post: “What Gilligan found was that suicides and homicides started climbing to epidemic levels following the election of a Republican president. If that isn’t annoying enough to the Grand Old Party, he also discovered that the rates remained around epidemic levels throughout the time Republicans occupied the White House.”
“And what happened when a Democratic president toodled up to the White House gate in a moving van? Those epidemic levels of violence, according to Gilligan, began to reverse direction in the first year or two of a Democratic administration and the rates reached their lowest point in the last year or years of the Democratic term.”
The U.S. stock market reacted negatively to the newly-signed law to increase the federal debt ceiling and cut $2.1 trillion in spending. The S&P 500 was down more than 2.5%.
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Nevada finds Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) leading Rep. Shelley Berkley (D) by three points, 46% to 43%.
Fitch Ratings said the debt ceiling agreement means the risk of a sovereign default is “extremely low” and commensurate with a AAA rating, Reuters reports.
However, Fitch pointed out that without significant changes in fiscal policy the U.S. debt to gross-domestic product ratio “will reach 100 percent by the end of 2012, and will continue to rise over the medium term — a profile that is not consistent with the United States retaining its AAA sovereign rating.”
“After a relatively low-key start to his second presidential campaign, Republican front-runner Mitt Romney plans to pick up his pace this month as the 2012 sweepstakes intensifies, with a blitz of appearances in early voting states and a list of policy proposals,” the Washington Post reports.
“In what his top advisers described as a new phase of his campaign, Romney will focus almost exclusively on what he considers President Obama’s greatest vulnerability: the economy and job creation. Romney plans to continue his relentless assault on Obama while avoiding any engagement with his Republican opponents.”
Washington Post: “They memorize their credit card numbers and press the ‘donate’ button — sometimes several times a day — with an urge and a passion akin to an addict’s. This growing and seldom-noticed class of political donors — confirmed in recent campaign disclosure reports from presidential candidates — includes thousands of working-class Americans who give in small amounts repeatedly, in some cases compulsively.”
The New York Times looks at the people advising Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R).
“His closest advisers are a mix of family, longtime friends and close aides. They know his politics, his history, his strengths and weaknesses, what he eats for breakfast. As he decides whether to seek the presidency and how to proceed from there, Mr. Perry has been and will be relying on these confidants. ”
A new CNN poll finds that 77% of respondents said lawmakers who have dealt with the debt ceiling have acted like spoiled children. Just 17% believe the politicians have acted like responsible adults.
“I think this is a good result but a terrible process…I think as the world watched Congress step up to the edge of the abyss, it made them really wonder whether this place can work.”
— Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, in an interview with ABC News, noting he’s not sure if U.S. debt will avoid a downgrade by ratings agencies.
Senate GOP sources tell the Weekly Standard that senators who vote against the debt ceiling legislation today will be ineligible to serve on the so-called “supercommittee” for deficit reduction that the legislation creates.
“Excluding those who vote against the debt deal will ensure that some of the most fiscally conservative members of the Senate Republican caucus, including most of its freshmen, will be reading about the committee’s activities in the newspaper rather than guiding its decisions.”
Matt Taibbi: “The Democrats aren’t failing to stand up to Republicans and failing to enact sensible reforms that benefit the middle class because they genuinely believe there’s political hay to be made moving to the right. They’re doing it because they do not represent any actual voters. I know I’ve said this before, but they are not a progressive political party, not even secretly, deep inside. They just play one on television. For evidence, all you have to do is look at this latest fiasco.”
“The Republicans in this debt debate fought like wolves or alley thugs, biting and scratching and using blades and rocks and shards of glass and every weapon they could reach.”
“The Democrats, despite sitting in the White House, the most awesome repository of political power on the planet, didn’t fight at all. They made a show of a tussle for a good long time — as fixed fights go, you don’t see many that last into the 11th and 12th rounds, like this one did — but at the final hour, they let out a whimper and took a dive.”
While it’s a relief to many in Congress that the debt ceiling bill is on its way to becoming law, Jill Lawrence reminds us of the next phase — “the one with the holiday deadlines — in which a 12-member bipartisan committee of senators and House members is supposed to come up with $1.5 trillion in further deficit reduction.”
“A word to future supercommittee members as you ponder how to proceed: You’re starting out in a deep hole. The public has been focused to an unusual degree on Congress for the last several weeks. The result is rock-bottom approval ratings and an image nobody wants to own.”
National Journal finds that House members from more competitive districts were more likely to vote for the debt-ceiling increase last night, while members from safe seats provided most of the votes against the package.
In fact, there was a clear relationship between the political safety of districts and the level of support for the bill: “The further a member’s district is from the political center, the more likely it is that he or she opposed the compromise.”
A new National Journal Congressional Connection Poll finds 31% of Americans said that their member of Congress deserves reelection but 53% said it was time for a new person.
“This is a figure that should give all members of Congress pause regardless of party. Before the 2010 election, which swept 87 new members into Congress, 58% of likely voters responded to a CBS News/New York Times survey that it was time for a new person. Granted that poll was right before the election and measured likely voters as opposed to all adults. Still, it’s a worrisome sign for members of Congress and a sign that the public is deeply dissatisfied with their performance in ways that echo that historic election.”
C-SPAN has the remarkable video of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) returning to the House of Representatives last night to a standing ovation from her colleagues.
Daily Beast: “Giffords’ appearance in the House, where she was led through a side entrance by John Boehner, and was accompanied to her seat by her friend and colleague, Rep. Deborah Wasserman-Schultz, came as a surprise to most of her colleagues. They, along with much of the country, had wondered when, if ever, Giffords would return to the chamber. The story of her recovery from the damage caused by a 9-mm bullet passing through her brain has been a saga of soaring hopes, and the sobering reality of a long, grueling rehabilitation.”
“When you look at this final agreement that we came to with the White House, I got 98 percent of what I wanted. I’m pretty happy.”
— House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), in an interview with CBS News, on the bill to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
A new Quinnipiac survey of Pennsylvania voters conducted before the debt limit deal shows President Obama with an upside down approval rating, at 43% approving and 54% disapproving. Even more worrying for the president is how he fares against potential Republican presidential candidates.
While Obama leads Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), the poll shows him in a statistical tie with Mitt Romney, who he trails 44% to 42%, and Rick Santorum, who he leads 45% to 43%. The results show a significant weakening in Obama’s position in June, with a nine point shift in favor of Romney and Santorum.
With the debt ceiling deal through the House and likely to pass quickly in the Senate today,Chris Cillizza notes some lessons learned from the negotiations over the past few months.
Most surprising: “Nancy Pelosi=relevant: Talk that Pelosi was largely irrelevant in the debt ceiling fight misses the mark in one significant way. She was able to keep her Democratic caucus entirely unified against House SpeakerJohn Boehner’s compromise bill on the debt ceiling, forcing him to first postpone a vote and then cobble together a majority by adding conservative candy that made the bill even less palatable as a middle ground. Then Pelosi made another power play, this one with the White House as she refused to say on Sunday whether or not she could deliver the necessary Democratic votes for the compromise. Message(s) sent.”
Most worrisome: “This is the beginning, not the end: What the debt ceiling fight amounted to was the first major skirmish of the 2012 election. It’s now obvious just how differently the two parties see the way forward when it comes to healing the economy. That’s a good thing for voters since the choice in 2012 will be crystal clear.”