POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 1/3
BuzzFeed: “For Democrats, there may be few things more entertaining than watching the Republican Party self-destruct and fight with itself these last few weeks. But it may be time to put away the party favors – because a Democratic internal war may be on the way.”
“Just as Republicans were so divided over taxes – from failing to pass their own “Plan B” bill last week, to their leaders splitting votes on last night’s legislative package – Democrats are about to endure an emotional debate about one of their own bedrock principles: the protection of programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) “is signaling that at least one thing will change about his leadership during the 113th Congress: he’s telling Republicans he is done with private, one-on-one negotiations with President Obama,” The Hill reports.
“During both 2011 and 2012, the Speaker spent weeks shuttling between the Capitol and the White House for meetings with the president in the hopes of striking a grand bargain on the deficit. Those efforts ended in failure, leaving Boehner feeling burned by Obama and, at times, isolated within his conference.”
Instead, he’ll try to “pass bills through the House that can then be adopted, amended or reconciled by the Senate.”
A filibuster reform proposal — sponsored by Senators Carl Levin, Chuck Schumer, John McCain, and others — is so weak that one of the leading reformers in the Senate, Jeff Merkley, tells Greg Sargent he will vote against it if it comes to the floor.
Said Merkley: “If Levin-McCain comes to the floor in its current form, I’ll vote against it. I’ll certainly encourage others to oppose it.”
“That Merkley is sounding the alarm in this fashion suggests the prospects for real filibuster reform may be very bleak. If Merkley can round up some liberal votes against the final package, that might not stop it from passing, but it could cast real doubt on the seriousness of the proposal.”
Donald Trump blasted Republicans by tweeting that they “may be the worst negotiators in history.”
The Week reviews the most interesting political races to keep an eye on this year.
The Hill: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a joint statement saying it was ‘inexcusable’ that the House wasn’t voting on a bill. The Senate has already approved a bill providing the states hit by Sandy with $60.4 billion. Just before noon, the White House weighed in with a statement from President Obama… In response to the pressure, Boehner will meet Wednesday afternoon with GOP lawmakers from the effected states.”
Said Obama: “When tragedy strikes, Americans come together to support those in need. I urge Republicans in the House of Representatives to do the same, bring this important request to a vote today, and pass it without delay for our fellow Americans.”
National Journal has a great tick tock of the fiscal cliff deliberations.
“This is the story of Plan O – the congressional Republicans’ failed attempt to meet the challenge of Obama’s victory. It begins in September and ends in the fiasco of the Christmas season, when the speaker was repudiated by his own troops and had to pull his last, desperate solution from the House floor, leaving Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to cut the best deal he could with dramatically diminished leverage.”
“In the end, despite all the planning and forethought, Boehner would stand almost helplessly by as the nation plunged off the fiscal cliff, and a bipartisan coalition of Democrats and centrist Republicans voted to give Obama the big tax hikes he demanded on the wealthy. House Republicans saw the worst of all worlds: they failed to save tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, put no new checks on government spending, and showed themselves a fractious and disorganized opposition party, the governance of which in the new Congress will prove to be a serious test.”
“Of course, wingnuttery nowadays is entirely dependent on the asinine belief that widespread conspiracies are a daily occurrence. These folks believe that thousands of scientists worldwide have been in cahoots for decades to perpetuate the false claim that global warming is real for no other reason than a vague hatred of capitalism, and that not one has ever thought to blow the whistle on this evil scheme. But riddle me this, wingnuts: If Secretary Clinton is such an evil mastermind that she can repeatedly bend so many people to her will with full confidence that not a one will ever blow the whistle, why couldn’t she just get up and say whatever the hell she wants under oath if she did testify? … So many questions. But in the meantime, the reality-based community wishes Hillary Clinton a speedy recovery.”
Scott LeMieux: “It’s like 1990s-vintage Clinton derangement.”
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) “went to war with his Republican colleagues on Wednesday after leaders spiked a Hurricane Sandy relief bill, calling on New Yorkers to stop all donations to GOP House members,” Politico reports.
Said King: “These Republicans have no problem finding New York when they’re out raising millions of dollars. They’re in New York all the time filling their pockets with money from New Yorkers. I’m saying right now, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes one penny to congressional Republicans is out of their minds. Because what they did last night was put a knife in the back of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans. It was an absolute disgrace.”
He added: “As far as I’m concerned, I’m on my own. They’re going to have to go a long way to get my vote on anything.”
Breitbart News claims at least 20 House Republicans have banded together in an effort to unseat House Speaker John Boehner from his position when it comes up for a vote tomorrow.
Joshua Spivak: “Boehner will probably be burning up the phone lines this weekend, as he works to solidify the votes for his re-election as speaker. Despite his recent legislative failure and his perceived shaky hold over his caucus, Boehner seems to be in a strong position to retain his job. But, if he’s thinking at all about history, he would be right to take any ouster attempt seriously.”
“While Democrats frantically try to block Scott Brown from going back to the U.S. Senate, there are also increasing fears he could pose an even bigger threat as the next Massachusetts governor,” the Boston Herald reports.
“Republicans close to the departing U.S. senator said he’s itching to go back to Washington to replace John Kerry, but Democrats are buzzing more about a potential Brown gubernatorial campaign in 2014. It may be tempting for Brown to run in a special election against a vulnerable Rep. Edward J. Markey, but he should reject the easy play and go for the job that really matters — running the state of Massachusetts.”