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Archive for December 13th, 2010

  • The final tally of today's tax vote in the Senate was 83 ayes to 15 nays. The only Republicans to vote nay: Coburn (Okla.), DeMint (S.C.), Ensign (Nev.), Voinovich (Ohio), and Sessions (Ala.). 

    The ball is now in Pelosi's court, and McConnell is warning House Democrats that if they make changes to the bill, "they will ensure that every American taxpayer will see a job-killing tax hike on January 1st."

    If many House Dems abandon Obama, there will be Republicans following suit and the deal will die.

    We can only hope.

  • Death and taxes, it is said, are life's only two certainties. But in the wake of President Obama's tax compromise with congressional Republicans, only death retains the status of certainty: The future for taxes has been left up in the air. And uncertainty is not a friend of investment, growth and job creation.
    The deal has several key features. It reduces payroll taxes, extends unemployment benefits and keeps current tax rates intact. So far, so good. But intermixed with the benefits are considerable costs of consequence. Given the unambiguous message that the American people sent to Washington in November, it is difficult to understand how our political leaders could have reached such a disappointing agreement. The new, more conservative Congress should reach a better solution.


    But, Mitt, Sarah Palin led on this and in any case it looks like a done deal.

  • President Obama's tax package easily cleared its first hurdle Monday, with the Senate voting overwhelmingly to move forward with the bill. But the real battle awaits in the House.

    The final Senate vote will not be known until at least Monday evening, because the vote is being kept open for several hours to accommodate senators whose travel was delayed by a Midwestern snowstorm. But with about two-thirds of the chamber voting, the measure had already passed the 60-vote threshold late Monday afternoon.

    The procedural vote clears the way for a final vote Tuesday on the package, which Obama negotiated with Republicans and which would prevent tax rate increases from hitting most American workers starting Jan. 1.

    And, unless the House messes around with the package, it will pass. Then ,on to the Omnibus Reconciliation bill which will end the lameduc session – probably.

  • Controversial Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who last month presided over the GOP's biggest electoral gains since 1938, will announce tonight that he is running for re-election, Fox News has learned from two RNC members.
    Now, this is surprising.

    Steele will have to make a good argument about the RNC debt though and his lack of funraising.

    Ending weeks of rumors that he would not seek a second term, Steele plans to throw his hat into the ring during a conference call with RNC members at 7:30 p.m. ET, the sources said. Steele is said to be amused by false reports of his retirement and intentionally kept his plans secret for the last month in order to flush out competitors for the post, Fox has learned.

    During Steele's tenure, Republicans picked up 63 House seats in last month's elections, the biggest gain in more than seven decades. But Steele has been dogged by criticism from some Republicans who see him as prone to missteps.

  • Former Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle is angling to lead the tea party movement heading into 2012.

    Angle over the weekend unveiled the Patriot Caucus, a PAC that she says has the support of tea party organizers in 15 states and which will "organize a ground game across most battleground states for the 2012 election cycle." The group plans to open offices in Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida and Nevada – states with early presidential primaries and caucuses – in early 2011.


    Yes and since she will probably not run for Senate in 2012, she can be ready to run for Harry Reid's seat in 6 years or for Congress.

  • Fixing California's budget mess would be a three-stage, multiyear process. The first would be cutting spending to close the current gap and doing so in a way that convinces voters that Brown and legislators are serious about the new reality.

    Stage two would be a 2011-12 budget that continues the spending cuts and asks voters for more revenues, possibly a limited extension of the $8 billion-plus in last year's temporary tax hikes that will soon expire.

    Were those two steps to avert fiscal disaster and improve voter confidence, stage three would be a massive restructuring of public finances, including a much-discussed "realignment" of state-local responsibilities to, bring governmental activities … closer to the people."

    We should, for instance, find out why, with 12 percent of the nation's population, we have 32 percent of its welfare cases, and why we're spending three times as much on prisons as Texas, which has almost as many inmates.
    Good luck with that, Jerry

  • With the uncertainty surrounding Virginia Sen. Jim Webb’s intentions and former Republican Sen. George Allen firing his first direct shot last week, Roll Call Politics has moved the Democratic seat into the more competitive Tossup category.
    When the politics team first ranked the race, it was in the Leans Democratic category. See all of our rankings here.
    Democrats could have a difficult time holding this seat even if Webb decides to run. In the past year, Republicans ended a streak of disappointing election cycles. The GOP swept the statewide offices in 2009 and won back three House seats in 2010.


    Another possible GOP gain in 2012

  • Norm Coleman — former U.S. senator from Minnesota, and now chairman of American Action Network and Forum, a key outside GOP group – is likely to enter the race for Republican National Committee chairman now that Michael Steele is expected to announce he will not seek reelection.

    “Norm is leaning towards running, based on his ability to raise money and act as a national surrogate,” a close source said.
    Certainly, the highest profile candidate so far.

  • Based on that record alone, one might think that Steele would be a shoo-in for another term. After all, few chairmen in history have seen their party's fortunes reverse in such a staggeringly short amount of time. But the fight against Steele, which began the minute he took office over other establishment favorites, has never been about results, or even necessarily what is best for the GOP. Instead it is another skirmish in a Republican civil war that still rages just underneath the party's cheerful veneer.
    Steele has done much to contribute to his bumpy, error-filled, sometimes embarrassing tenure. Fundraising problems and allegations of financial mismanagement have plagued him. Then came the various gaffes, about Rush Limbaugh, abortion, whether the GOP welcomed minorities.


    Michael Steele was successful but his time has come to move on.


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Looks like it.

The Obama White House has the votes to ratify the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia, with the Senate preparing for a vote this week, the Sun-Times has learned. The vote could come as early as Wednesday, after the vote on the tax package Obama negotiated with the Republicans. The Senate on Monday was advancing the tax legislation, with enough votes to end debate.

The New START vote will proceed because of a loophole in the Nov. 29 letter all 42 Republicans signed not to advance legislation until the tax deal and government funding bills are passed. The Senate is tentatively set to take up the funding measure at the end of the week.

No Cloture vote will need to be taken on a treaty as per Senate rules -as it goes up directly for a vote. But, the treaty must pass with 67 Senators voting in the affirmative.

My best bet is that this story is posturing (Obama does not have the votes yet) and that Senator Jim DeMint has some obstruction in mind – he opposes the treaty as negoatiated by President Obama.

Stay tuned…..


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Sarah Palin and Kate Gosselin from Kate Plus 8

Sarah Palin’s Alaska ratings are up.

TLC’s Sarah Palin’s Alaska rose with Kate Gosselin’s appearance, but perhaps not as much as TLC would’ve hoped.

Last week ‘Alaska’ averaged 2.78 million viewers, last night that increased to 3.1 million.


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It was just a matter of time, as I said during the ObamaCare debate.

A federal judge in Virginia has declared the Obama administration’s health care reform law unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson is the first judge to rule against the law, which has been upheld by two others in Virginia and Michigan.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed the lawsuit challenging the law’s requirement that citizens buy health insurance or pay a penalty starting in 2014.

He argues the federal government doesn’t have the constitutional authority to impose the requirement.

Other lawsuits are pending, including one filed by 20 states in a Florida court. Virginia is not part of that lawsuit.

I doubt the issue will be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court. Why?

The issue will be resolved in the new GOP Congress and the next President before ObamaCare EVER becomes fully implemented. Some reforms may remain but the main thrust towards “Socialized Medicine” is not playing well with American voters.


Here is the full text of the federal court opinion:

Commonwealth of Virginia v. Sibelius et al


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