T wo and a half weeks into the government shutdown, and with a disastrous debt default mere hours away, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday finally reached for his one escape lever. The House on Wednesday is expected to vote on a bipartisan Senate-brokered bill to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. "We fought the good fight, we just didn´t win," Boehner said in announcing he would bring the bill for a vote, which should pass with support from Democrats and moderate Republicans. Though Republicans originally demanded a steep ransom, the inexorable path to Wednesday´s
Last month, I had the chance to walk along the beautiful National Mall in Washington, DC. The serene stretch of parkland from the Lincoln Memorial to the National World War II Memorial is my favourite part, and the weather´s autumnal perfection was enough to make me forget politics, despite my location. The week after I returned to New York, the Washington I had just left descended into a rank citadel of "shutdown" politics, with monuments closed off from public viewing and partisan posturing bringing all constructive debate to a halt. Since that so-called shutdown began, the mood in the United States has
Watching Barack Obama and his shutdown shenanigan theatre, I discovered I have something in common with our inchoate president -- we both want Americans to suffer. As a sociopathic solipsist, Obama is incapable of feeling anyone´s pain, and because of this, his goal has been to make this shutdown as agonizing as possible. Ted Cruz, an honorable man with conviction, thought he could force ObamaCare concessions from the administration using the continuing resolution as a cudgel. Boehner thought the debt ceiling offered better opportunities. They decided on the infamous "defund strategy."
Yeah. But is he a Negative or a Positive? The Positive presidents relished the job and the grand necessity to move events by persuading, cajoling, bargaining with and perhaps occasionally threatening other players in the political arena. The great Active-Positive presidents all had fun in the job. They showed a zest and enthusiasm that was infectious, not just with the American people but, more significantly, with members of Congress. We sure don’t see any of that with Obama. Edward Klein, a former New York Times Magazine editor and author of a book on Obama called The Amateur, has written that Obama “doesn’t
WASHINGTON — It may be one of the most serious missteps of the federal government shutdown. After weeks of planning, the nation’s spy chief sent home nearly three-quarters of the workers at the government’s intelligence agencies when faced with the partial shutdown. The move, James Clapper later admitted himself, put the United States at greater risk of terrorist attacks. He then reversed course and brought thousands of employees back to work. A review by McClatchy finds that lawmakers, former intelligence officials and national security experts say they were shocked that the administration furloughed the bulk of federal workers at 16 intelligence agencies,
The following list shows how lawmakers voted on the budget deal Wednesday: A "yes" vote is a vote to pass the measure. X denotes those not voting. SENATORS: Voting yes were 52 Democrats, 27 Republicans and 2 independents. Voting no were 0 Democrats and 18 Republicans. ALABAMA Sessions (R), No; Shelby (R), No. ALASKA Begich (D), Yes; Murkowski (R), Yes. ARIZONA Flake (R), Yes; McCain (R), Yes.
WASHINGTON -- The government reopened its doors Thursday after a battle-weary Congress approved a bipartisan measure to end a 16-day partial shutdown and avert the possibility of an economy-jarring default on U.S. obligations. Early Thursday, President Barack Obama signed the measure, which the House and Senate passed late Wednesday, ending a brawl with Republicans who tried to use the must-pass legislation to mount a last-ditch effort to derail the president´s landmark health care law and demand concessions on the budget. The White House directed all agencies to reopen promptly and in an orderly fashion. Furloughed federal employees across the country are expected
I’ve read about this in history books. It’s what happened to the Weimar Republic in Germany when its currency collapsed and anarchy followed. The result was Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. In the wake of the Great Depression, the wheels began to come off the Weimar Republic, a liberal democracy that had been in place since the end of World War One. In 1930 President Hindenburg assumed emergency powers. By 1933 three Chancellors had preceded Hitler and when the Nazi government took over it simply ignored Germany’s constitution.
Lost in the news shuffle of the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate this week was the story progressives are quite happy you likely missed. But the story is important to note now, especially since we are on the verge of a massive expansion of the welfare state. The Electronic Benefits Transfer system went down for a couple of days. The EBT system replaced food stamps with a debit card to remove the stigma attached to using food stamps and is “reloaded” with a recipient’s government allotment once per month. When the money is gone, it’s gone, until the next month.
No major legislation has ever been passed like Obamacare -- and I´m using the word "passed" pretty loosely. It became law without both houses ever voting on the same bill. (Say, is the Constitution considered "settled law"?) Not one Republican voted for it -- and a lot of Democrats immediately wished they hadn´t. Historically, big laws have been enacted with large, bipartisan majorities. In 1935, President Roosevelt enacted Social Security with a 372-33 vote in the House and 77-6 in the Senate. In 1965, Medicare passed in the Senate 70-24 and the House 307-116, with the vast majority of Democrats supporting this Ponzi
A deal ending the government shutdown was reached late last night when the Republican-controlled House approved a proposed package sent by the Democrat-led Senate. Democratic congressional leaders and pundits everywhere are declaring the event a victory for the president and the Democratic Party, as they claim credit for preventing a mythical government default and stabilizing the market. In reality, the GOP’s surrender has only made it seem doubtful that the party can intervene in a serious way to liberate Americans held hostage to the Democratic spending binge. Meanwhile, the Democrats have announced they will not negotiate. They will not be
Recently Mortimer Caplin announced his retirement at the age of 96. Caplin may have been the only IRS chief to appear on the cover of Time Magazine back when he was targeting JFK’s political enemies with audits as part of Kennedy’s “Ideological Organizations Project.” “I remember that the president made a speech and I got a call from the White House again,” Caplin would later write. “The right-wing organizations were believed to be overstepping their tax-exemption bounds.” There are always plenty of Caplins and Lois Lerners around to do the dirty work of the men on top, but what truly matters is
The bitter GOP defeat of 2012, when their opposition had never seemed more vulnerable, sparked a prolonged inquest on possible causes: media bias mutating into outright cheerleading, a flawed candidate, unpopular social issues, unfavorable demographics. Rather less was heard about the quality of Republican leadership. Let’s start with national chair Reince Priebus. All four campaign debates were moderated by partisan Democrats. One of them, Candy Crowley, knocked Romney off his balance with an ambush that stalled momentum he had developed in the first debate. Priebus stood passively by as the debates were rigged against his party’s candidates.
Twenty-seven Republican senators voted for Wednesday´s bill passed by the upper chamber to fund the U.S. government in a continuing resolution and extend the nation´s debt limit. Eighteen voted against the measure, and one was not present.
More than half of teenagers have been asked to take an explicit self-portrait on their mobiles, according to a survey which reveals the full extent of the ‘sexting’ menace in schools. The practice of swapping sexual images is now seen as ‘pretty normal’ by youngsters, with more than half saying they had received an intimate photo or video, and 40 per cent having taken one of themselves. Worryingly, many of the children polled by the charity ChildLine were happy to send revealing photos of themselves to strangers. (Snip) The survey of almost 500 children aged between 13 and 18 shows
A desperate father has been banned from seeing his young son for four years after he was found with an unloaded gun he legally owned in the back of his car among his possessions as he moved house. Brian Aitken was arrested in 2009 as he was moving back from Colorado to New Jersey to be near his child after a divorce. He was later convicted of possessing a gun and sentenced to seven years´ prison. (Snip) In his trial, Aitken explained he was in the process of moving from Colorado to New Jersey, which is an accepted exemption under
The National Park Service director told Congress on Wednesday that he had to shut down the open-air memorials on the Mall during the government shutdown because of terrorism, saying that closing them was the only way to protect them “in a post-9/11 world.” Director Jonathan B. Jarvis also said his agency had received intelligence showing an increased threat of danger since the shutdown began — though he would not tell two House committees what those warnings were. In a contentious hearing, Republicans accused Mr. Jarvis of making the shutdown as painful as possible for Americans. Democrats countered that the Republicans
Just minutes after the Senate voted to reopen the government and raise the nation’s debt ceiling, President Obama on Wednesday night said the heavy lifting is by no means over. “There’s a lot of work ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that’s been lost over the last few weeks. We can begin to do that by addressing the real issues they care about,” Mr. Obama said during remarks in the White House press briefing room. “With the shutdown behind us and budget committees forming, we now have the opportunity to focus
The deal reached by Congress on Wednesday to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling averts a financial catastrophe but leaves the weakened U.S. economy facing new threats. The agreement will send about 450,000 federal employees back to work and restart paychecks for the 1.3 million employees who stayed on the job during the shutdown. Getting those salaries back in circulation will help economic growth, particularly in the Washington area. More important, the threat of a default on the national debt has been avoided, along with the recession and financial crisis that may have accompanied a failure to
Start learning Mandarin, kids. “In fact, there are things that we know will help strengthen our economy that we could get done before this year is out,” said Obama from the White House briefing room. “We still need to pass a law to fix our broken immigration system. We still need to pass a farm bill. And with the shutdown behind us and budget committees forming, we now have an opportunity to focus on a sensible budget that is responsible, that is fair, and that helps hard working people all across this country. And we could get all these things
The government shutdown ended on a surreal and chilling note. Minutes before the House finished voting for the Senate compromise, a stenographer was pulled out of the chamber while yelling about conspiracies. A few people physically removed her from the chamber and took her to an adjacent elevator. She continued to yell. They were followed by a crowd of reporters and members of Congress, including Representatives Al Green (D., Texas) and Louie Gohmert (R., Texas). It took a few moments for the elevator doors to open, so the people who removed her from the chamber held her against the elevator
Newark — Newark Mayor Cory Booker is the next U.S. senator from New Jersey. The Associated Press has projected that Booker, a Democrat, will prevail over Republican Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota. When the results are certified, Booker, 44, will become the first African-American ever elected to statewide office in New Jersey. Booker was heavily favored to win the race from the beginning, but Lonegan gained in the polls late in the race. As the polls tightened, Booker became more aggressive and started highlighted Lonegan’s stridently conservative remarks, hoping they’d alienate New Jersey’s traditionally Democratic voters.
On Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) ripped into the GOP establishment for cutting a deal on the government shutdown and debt ceiling, stating, “The Washington establishment has cut a deal.” He added, “The focus is and should be on the substance of providing real relief for the American people. This deal doesn’t do that, and that’s why I intend to vote no.” The question, of course, is whether Cruz’s strategy ever could have worked at all. The original strategy, to fund the government in whole except for Obamacare, then attempt to create public pressure to force a Democratic Senate and
Mitch McConnell is taking criticism for a provision in the Senate compromise bill that allocates almost $3 billion for a project the Minority Leader previously has backed for a dam and lock project on the Ohio River. The dam project reportedly would benefit Kentucky as well as Tennessee and Illinois. As Eliana Johnson reports, this provision has been characterized as the “Kentucky kickback.” Eliana also notes that there has been pushback against the criticism. For one thing, McConnell apparently did not request that funding for the dam be included in the legislation. Rather, the request came from Lamar Alexander of
Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the National Security Agency and the head of U.S. Cyber Command, will step down sometime in the spring, according to a Pentagon spokeswoman. The official said Alexander´s decision has "nothing to do" with the leaks by former government contractor Edward Snowden, which unveiled new details about federal surveillance programs and sparked a public backlash against the agency. Alexander, who took the helm of the NSA in 2005, is the longest serving director in agency history. Reuters reported Wednesday that Alexander will leave by March or April, and his top deputy, Chris Inglis, will retire
In a bookend of sorts to his 21-hour “filibuster” against the Affordable Care Act, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) spoke for just under 10 minutes Wednesday evening in opposition to an imminent Senate vote that would reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling to avoid default. Cruz denounced the Senate deal as “terrible,” saying it will do nothing to help the “millions of Americans who are hurting because of Obamacare.” Speaking for the “American people,” Cruz said the Senate deal “embodies everything that frustrates” them about the “Washington establishment.” The majority of the speech centered around Cruz’s opposition to the health