Sequestration from Wall Street Journal
These are my news headlines for February 21st through February 22nd:
- With Axelrod At NBC News, The Marriage Of Media And Politics Becomes Complete – What’s more, Team Obama has declared it has no intention of dismantling its campaign apparatus post re-election. Put Axelrod in the catbird seat at a news outlet and the “narrative” continues. Combine that with Team Obama’s masterful manipulation of journalists, its command of social media, and an ugly picture emerges of a press indistinguishable from the political establishment.This has happened in banana republics, but never in a Western democracy. Already it’s making old-school journalists who value news gathering over politics, such as the New York Times’ Roger Cohen, ABC’s Ann Compton and the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, uncomfortable. The one thing that will stop it is a press that won’t cooperate. So where is that press?
- Budget hawks question Pentagon’s doomsday scenarios – But perhaps the biggest example of the Washington Monument maneuver is coming from the Defense Department, where it goes by another name. Over many decades of defense budget battles, the Pentagon has often used a tactic known as a “gold watch.” It means to answer a budget cut proposal by selecting for elimination a program so important and valued — a gold watch — that Pentagon chiefs know political leaders will restore funding rather than go through with the cut.So now, with sequestration approaching, the Pentagon has announced that the possibility of budget cuts has forced the Navy to delay deployment of the carrier USS Harry S. Truman to the Persian Gulf. With tensions with Iran as high as they’ve ever been, that would leave the U.S. with just one carrier, instead of the preferred two, in that deeply troubled region.
- What Unites Obama’s Coalition — and What Could Divide It – Overall, the survey put Obama’s approval rating at 51 percent — almost exactly replicating his share of the vote last November. For all of his key groups, his approval ratings today remain close to his vote shares against Republican Mitt Romney. The survey put his approval among African-Americans at 91 percent (compared to his vote of 93 percent in November), among Hispanics at 68 percent (compared to 71 percent in November), college-educated white women at 48 percent (compared to 46 percent), and adults ages 18 to 29 at 57 percent (compared to 60 percent). Considering that several percent of those in each group described themselves as undecided on Obama’s performance, those numbers suggest almost no change from his support in the election.
- Can Democrats Mess With Texas in 2016? – Can Democrats Mess With Texas in 2016? #tcot
- Noonan: Government by Freakout – The president’s sequester strategy is like Howard Beale in “Network”: “Woe is us. . . . And woe is us! We’re in a lot of trouble!”It is always cliffs, ceilings and looming catastrophes with Barack Obama. It is always government by freakout.
That’s what’s happening now with the daily sequester warnings. Seven hundred thousand children will be dropped from Head Start. Six hundred thousand women and children will be dropped from aid programs. Meat won’t be inspected. Seven thousand TSA workers will be laid off, customs workers too, and air traffic controllers. Lines at airports will be impossible. The Navy will slow down the building of an aircraft carrier. Troop readiness will be disrupted, weapons programs slowed or stalled, civilian contractors stiffed, uniformed first responders cut back. Our nuclear deterrent will be indefinitely suspended. Ha, made that one up, but give them time.Mr. Obama has finally hit on his own version of national unity: Everyone get scared together.
- Is President Obama overplaying sequestration hand? – President Barack Obama’s greatest adversary in the latest budget battle isn’t the Republican leadership in Congress — it’s his confidence in his own ability to force a win.He has been so certain of his campaign skills that he didn’t open a line of communication with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell until Thursday, a week before the spending ax hits. And when they did finally hear from Obama, the calls were perfunctory, with no request to step up negotiations or invitations to the White House.
- Why Obama and Rove Should Sit Down and Keep Quiet
- Fewer Americans Getting Health Insurance From Employer – Fewer Americans reported having employer-based health insurance in 2012 than did in 2008, 2009, and 2010, but at 44.5% it is unchanged from 2011. At the same time, more Americans continue to report having a government-based health plan — Medicare, Medicaid, or military or veterans’ benefits — with the 25.6% who did so in 2012 up from 23.4% in 2008.
- H.R. 6684: Spending Reduction Act of 2012 – Legislative Digest – GOP.gov – RT @robertcostaNRO Text: the GOP’s sequester replacement, which was passed in Dec. 2012
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-02-21 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-02-21 #tcot
- Mark Levin schools Charles Krauthammer on why it’s not “honorable” for governors to expand Medicaid » The Right Scoop – – RT @trscoop: Mark Levin schools Charles Krauthammer on why it’s not “honorable” for governors to expand Medicaid
- A Tax By Another Name – Writing in the New York Times yesterday, Yuval Levin made the case for means-testing Social Security and Medicare. As you’d expect from Yuval the case is well made and elegantly thought-through. It’s also, if I may respectfully say so, misguided. Partly as a consequence of the refusal to make consumption take its fair share of the tax load, the US already taxes income on a pretty progressive basis (even more so, I suspect, if, just for the sake of argument, you excluded the very richest from the equation—highly taxed wage income generally makes up a lower percentage of their total take). Means-testing these two programs would only tighten the screws still further.
- Capitol Alert: Kristin Olsen to move to smaller office after failed GOP move – Kristin Olsen to move to smaller office after failed GOP move
- Charles Krauthammer: Immigration — the lesser of two evils – The president suggested he would hold off introducing his own immigration bill as long as bipartisan Senate negotiations were proceeding apace — until his own immigration bill mysteriously leaked precisely as bipartisan Senate negotiations were proceeding apace.A naked political maneuver and a blunt warning to Republicans: Finish that immigration deal in Congress, or I’ll propose something I know you can’t accept — and flog the issue mercilessly next year to win back the House.
- The 60th vote: Republican Richard Shelby to vote for cloture on Hagel; Update: Deb Fischer too? « Hot Air – Looks like Chuck Hagel is the next Sec Defense. Let the sequestration begin:
- 6 Questions for the Immigration Reformers – From border security to H1-B visas, much needs to be answered in the looming immigration debate.
- Obama reaches out to Boehner, McConnell as sequester cuts loom – The Hill – Obama symbolism over substance: #tcot
- DIGITAL 50: The Hottest People In Online Politics – Business Insider – DIGITAL 50: The Hottest People In Online Politics – Business Insider #tcot
- Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Dentist Acquitted and Wins $7.7 Million Judgment in New York Medicaid Fraud Case – Dentist Acquitted and Wins $7.7 Million Judgment in New York Medicaid Fraud Case
- Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Chicago’s Dental Health Safety Net on Verge of Collapse? – Chicago’s Dental Health Safety Net on Verge of Collapse?
- Ed Markey: Dred Scott = Citizen’s United – Flap’s Blog – Ed Markey: Dred Scott = Citizen’s United #tcot
- ‘The Great Sequester Panic’ – ‘The Great Sequester Panic’ #tcot
- The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors – NYTimes.com – The Benefits of Exercising Outdoors #tcot
- Smoking cessation in old age: Less heart attacks and strokes within five years – Smoking cessation in old age: Less heart attacks and strokes within five years #tcot
- Study disputes long-term medical savings from bariatric surgery – latimes.com – Study disputes long-term medical savings from bariatric surgery #tcot
- Harry Reid says he’ll run for re-election in 2016; won’t comment on Sandoval as opponent – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the capital press corps at the Nevada Legislature Wednesday night that he will seek re-election in 2016.The news conference came after he gave a speech to state lawmakers, like Reid does every legislative session.When asked if he would run for re-election, Reid said, “Sure, why not?”
When asked if he thought Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval would run against him, Reid said, “Oh, I don’t know.”
When asked if he could beat Sandoval, Reid said, “Hey, I don’t get involved in fights I don’t have to.”
When reminded that he was a boxer in his youth, Reid replied, “But I’m not stupid.”
- 15 GOP senators call for Hagel to withdraw – POLITICO.com – RT @politico: 15 GOP senators call for Hagel to withdraw:
These are my news headlines for February 21st:
- Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us | TIME.com – 1. Routine Care, Unforgettable Bills
When Sean Recchi, a 42-year-old from Lancaster, Ohio, was told last March that he had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, his wife Stephanie knew she had to get him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Stephanie’s father had been treated there 10 years earlier, and she and her family credited the doctors and nurses at MD Anderson with extending his life by at least eight years.Because Stephanie and her husband had recently started their own small technology business, they were unable to buy comprehensive health insurance. For $469 a month, or about 20% of their income, they had been able to get only a policy that covered just $2,000 per day of any hospital costs. “We don’t take that kind of discount insurance,” said the woman at MD Anderson when Stephanie called to make an appointment for Sean.
- GOP Has Trouble Settling on Candidates Who Can Win – One of the interesting things about recent elections is that Republicans have tended to do better the farther you go down the ballot.They’ve lost the presidency twice in a row, and in four of the last six contests. They’ve failed to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, something they accomplished in five election cycles between 1994 and 2006.But they have won control of the House of Representatives in the last two elections, and in eight of the last 10 cycles.And they’ve been doing better in elections to state legislatures than at any time since the 1920s.
One reason for this is that, as I have written, Democratic voters are clustered in large metropolitan areas, which helps them in the Electoral College but hurts in legislatures with equal-population districts.
But there’s another reason, which has been particularly glaring in races for the U.S. Senate: candidate quality.
- The future of free-market healthcare – Over nearly a century, progressives have pressed for a national, single-payer healthcare system. When it comes to health reform, what have conservatives stood for?For far too long, conservatives have failed to coalesce around a long-term vision of what a free-market healthcare system should look like. Republican attention to healthcare, in turn, has only arisen sporadically, in response to Democratic initiatives.Obamacare is the logical byproduct of this conservative policy neglect. President Barack Obama’s re-election was a strategic victory for his signature healthcare law. Once the bulk of the program begins to be implemented in 2014 — especially its trillions of dollars in new health-insurance subsidies — it will become politically impossible to repeal. And as the baby boomers retire and Obamacare is fully operational, government health spending will reach unsustainable levels.The great irony of Obama’s triumph, however, is that it can pave the way for Republicans to adopt a comprehensive, market-oriented healthcare agenda. The market-oriented prescription drug program in Medicare has controlled the growth of government health spending. Similarly, conservatives can use Obamacare’s important concession to the private sector — its establishment of subsidized insurance marketplaces — as a vehicle for broader entitlement reforms.
- The Pro-Growth Sequester – The Obama administration is whipping up hysteria over the sequester budget cuts and their impact on the economy, the military, first providers, and so forth and so on. Armageddon. But if you climb into the Congressional Budget Office numbers for 2013, you see a much lighter and easier picture than all the worst-case scenarios being conjured up by the administration.For example, the $85 billion so-called spending cut is actually budget authority, not budget outlays. According to the CBO, budget outlays will come down by $44 billion, or one quarter of 1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP is $15.8 trillion). What’s more, that $44 billion outlay reduction is only 1.25 percent of the $3.6 trillion government budget.
- Ted Cruz knocks Obama on immigration – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) says President Barack Obama wants to “scuttle” immigration reform by injecting a path to citizenship into the debate so Democrats can keep the issue alive for political gain.“The president has been focusing on amnesty — a path to citizenship that skips ahead of the line,” the freshman tea party senator said Wednesday at a speech in Dallas, according to The Dallas Morning News. “That, he knows, is a position not supported by a great many Americans and not a position that will achieve bipartisan cooperation. It’s designed to scuttle the bill.”
- Foreign Buyers Hop on Rental Trend – US Masters, a real-estate investment trust that has raised $276 million, primarily from Australian retirees, is one of a handful of foreign firms that are betting on the U.S. housing recovery by buying houses at discount prices.The business of buying-and-renting houses, long dominated by local mom-and-pop investors, has morphed over the past two years into one of the hottest investments on Wall Street. Dozens of pension investors and private-equity firms, such as Blackstone Group LP BX -2.19% and Colony Capital LLC, are clamoring to buy homes in beaten-up markets, sometimes using money from foreign co-investors.
- Majority of U.S. citizens say illegal immigrants should be deported – More than half of U.S. citizens believe that most or all of the country’s 11 million illegal immigrants should be deported, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday that highlights the difficulties facing lawmakers trying to reform the U.S. immigration system.The online survey shows resistance to easing immigration laws despite the biggest push for reform in Congress since 2007.
- Missile Defense Tests Successful, but Future of Program in Doubt – The unanswered question is whether the Missile Defense Agency will be permitted to advance this space-based missile defense capability—whether through the STSS program or the PTSS program—to a deployed constellation at all. There should be little doubt that arms control advocates, both inside the Administration and out, are livid that this test took place at all, let alone that it was successful. This is because a space-based missile defense capability is incompatible with the Administration’s arms control agenda.
- Gov. Scott agrees to expand Florida Medicaid program – Gov. Rick Scott announced plans Wednesday to expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 900,000 more people under the federal health overhaul, a surprise decision from the vocal critic of President Barack Obama’s plan.Scott said he will ask the Legislature to expand the program under a bill that would expire in three years, after which it would require renewed legislative support. He’s the seventh Republican governor so far to propose expanding the taxpayer-funded health insurance program.
- Tea Party and Republican groups launch Hispanic outreach – Tea Party and Republican groups launch Hispanic outreach #tcot
- How former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. Spent His Campaign Funds – Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D) pleaded guilty today “to a conspiracy to siphon about $750,000 in federal campaign funds for their personal use,” the Chicago Tribune reports.”About 3,100 personal purchases were made on campaign credit cards, totaling $582,772.58… Prosecutors said $60,000 was spent on restaurants, nightclubs and lounges; $31,700 on personal airfare; $16,000 on sports clubs and lounges; $17,000 on tobacco shops; $5,800 on alcohol; $14,500 on dry cleaning; $8,000 on grocery stores and $6,000 at drug stores.””In one of the more exotic purchases, Jackson used campaign funds in the spring of 2011 to pay a taxidermist in Montana $7,058 for two mounted elk heads to be shipped to his office in Washington. This was the beginning of an FBI sting, according to court documents.”
- California Dept. of Transportation: ‘Be Sure to Black Out the ‘United States’ and [the] Motto’ | The Weekly Standard – California Dept. of Transportation: ‘Be Sure to Black Out the ‘United States’ and [the] Motto’
- Pentagon informs Congress of plans to furlough 800K civilians – Pentagon informs Congress of plans to furlough 800K civilians #tcot
- The sequester blame game – Much depends on the timing of any economic turndown. If it occurs this year, but is followed by improvement in 2014, the political consequences are not likely to be significant. If the economy is in trouble in mid-2014, then all bets are off. For this reason, among others, Republicans should reject out of hand the president’s efforts to postpone the sequester for a year. In any event, the sequester would make the Republicans a full partner with Obama when it comes to the state of the economy.In the end, though, Republicans are committed, as they should be, to cutting government spending. This is never a politically risk-free proposition. But it’s better to get a head start now, when blame might well be shared, than to save all the work for when (if) Republicans gain control of the government and will absorb all of the blame.JOHN adds: My own view is that Republicans should happily take credit for the spending cuts represented by the sequester. They aren’t anywhere near enough, but they are the most substantial spending cuts, I believe, in my lifetime. I think 75% of the population will be pleasantly surprised to learn that Congress is actually capable of cutting spending.
- The GOP’s astonishingly bad message on sequester cuts – None of which addresses the Republican problem on the sequester. If the problem is one of substance — that is, if GOP leaders truly believe the cuts threaten national security but are nevertheless supporting them — then Republicans have put themselves into an untenable situation. If, as is more likely, the problem is one of message — that is, if Republicans believe the cuts are not only manageable without threatening national security but are also desirable as a first step toward controlling spending — then the Boehner article is sending all the wrong signals.
- Video: John McCain Gets Testy With Arizona Voter Questioning Immigration Amnesty – Flap’s Blog – Video: John McCain Gets Testy With Arizona Voter Questioning Immigration Amnesty #tcot
- Mistake in First California Carbon Auction Raises Questions About Secrecy | KQED News Fix – Mistake in First California Carbon Auction Raises Questions About Secrecy
- Second cap and trade auction needs big bucks | news10.net – Second cap and trade California auction needs big bucks
- We predicted there was no tax ‘windfall’ | CalWatchDog – We predicted there was no California tax ‘windfall’
- The Morning Flap: February 20, 2013 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: February 20, 2013 #tcot
- A Mighty Wind by Ben Boychuk – City Journal – A Mighty Wind – California Flatulence Jokes
U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., listens to a question during a town hall, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, in Sun Lakes, Ariz. McCain defended his proposed immigration overhaul to an angry crowd in suburban Arizona in the latest sign that this border state will play a prominent role in the national immigration reform debate AP (Photo/Matt York)
These are my news headlines for February 20th:
- Obama’s sequestration strategy: Shame
- Anti-austerity strike to bring Greece to a standstill
- John Boehner: The President Is Raging Against a Budget Crisis He Created
- New Jersey Poll: Hillary Clinton edges out Chris Christie
- Despite Controversy, Hagel’s Archives Sealed Shut
- Tea partier weighs Mitch McConnell race
- Video: President Obama Speaks Out of Both Sides of Mouth on Sequester – Flap’s Blog – Video: President Obama Speaks Out of Both Sides of Mouth on Sequester #tcot
- McCain defends immigration plan to angry residents – During a heated town hall gathering in the Phoenix suburb of Sun Lakes, McCain said the border near Yuma is largely secure, but he said smugglers are using the border near Tucson to pump drugs into Phoenix. He said immigration reform should be contingent on better border security that must rely largely on technology able to detect border crossings.McCain said a tamper-proof Social Security card would help combat identity fraud, and noted any path to citizenship must require immigrants to learn English, cover back taxes and pay fines for breaking immigration laws.”There are 11 million people living here illegally,” he said. “We are not going to get enough buses to deport them.”
Some audience members shouted out their disapproval.
One man yelled that only guns would discourage illegal immigration. Another man complained that illegal immigrants should never be able to become citizens or vote. A third man said illegal immigrants were illiterate invaders who wanted free government benefits.
- Gingrich-less, super PAC is back – The super PAC that raised nearly $24 million to power Newt Gingrich into the White House is rebranding itself as a booster of the conservative ground game and, possibly, 2014 GOP Senate candidates.Only this time around, Winning Our Future won’t have the key piece of its brand — Gingrich, who isn’t at all involved in the super PAC.
- House Democrats Cash In With Online Fundraising Program – It’s usually easier to bring in big bucks when your party holds the speaker’s gavel. But last cycle, House Democrats crushed their competitors thanks to a dramatic spike in online fundraising.In the 2010 cycle, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $14.6 million online; in 2012 it took in $49.3 million — a total representing one-third of its revenue. In the previous two cycles, online donations accounted for 5 percent to 9 percent of the DCCC’s total haul, according to DCCC fundraising figures provided exclusively to CQ Roll Call.The online boom more than leveled the fundraising playing field for the minority party, allowing the campaign arm to raise $28 million more than its GOP counterparts last cycle.
- Marco Rubio: The Electable Conservative? – Some commentators have expressed surprise upon learning about the very conservative voting record of Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who delivered the Republican response to the State of the Union address last week.Since winning his Senate seat, Mr. Rubio has generally sided with other Republicans as part of a party that has steadily grown more conservative over the last three decades. (Mr. Rubio’s recent support for immigration reform is more of an exception than his usual rule of sticking to the party line.)Being reliably conservative, however, is hardly a liability for someone who might hope to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Indeed, one reason to watch Mr. Rubio carefully is that, among the candidates who will be deemed reliably conservative by Republican voters and insiders, he may stand the best chance of maintaining a reasonably good image with general election voters.
How does Mr. Rubio’s conservatism compare to the other men and women who might seek the Republican nomination in 2016 — and to other candidates, like Mitt Romney, that the G.O.P. has nominated recently?
- Video: Chris Christie Says HE Doesn’t Agree with Cuomo 98 Per Cent of the Time – Flap’s Blog – Video: Chris Christie Says HE Doesn’t Agree with Cuomo 98 Per Cent of the Time #tcot
- The California Flap: February 19, 2013 – Flap’s California Blog – The California Flap: February 19, 2013
- N.J. Gov. Christie in La Jolla, Romney sons join the party | UTSanDiego.com – N.J. Gov. Christie in La Jolla, Romney sons join the party
- California inmates renew demands – latimes.com – California inmates renew demands
- Jerry Buss dies at 80; Lakers owner brought ‘Showtime’ success to L.A. – latimes.com – Jerry Buss dies at 80; Lakers owner brought ‘Showtime’ success to L.A.
- California’s Tobacco Control Program generates huge health care savings, study shows – California’s Tobacco Control Program generates huge health care savings, study shows #tcot
- States worry about rate shock during shift to new health law – Los Angeles Times – States worry about rate shock during shift to new health law #tcot
- When to Retire a Running Shoe – NYTimes.com – When to Retire a Running Shoe #tcot
- The Morning Flap: February 19, 2013 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: February 19, 2013 #tcot
Simpson and Bowles
These are my links for February 19th:
- New Bowles-Simpson deficit plan would cut $2.4 trillion – Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson proposed a new framework Tuesday to cut the country’s debt by $2.4 trillion over the next decade.Bowles and Simpson were the co-chairmen of President Obama’s bipartisan fiscal commission in 2010, and their recommendations came to serve as a yardstick for other debt-reduction proposals.
- Obama, the puppet master
- Obama blackmails tax payers while blaming Republicans –
- Tea Party challenger to McConnell emerging – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) could see a primary challenge from local businessman Matt Bevin, who sources say is reaching out to Tea Party groups in the state to gauge support for a 2014 Senate run.Sarah Duran, president of the Louisville Tea Party, told The Hill that Bevin had been in touch with her over the phone to discuss his run multiple times over the past few weeks, and that he met with the group two weeks ago to discuss his interest in the race.
- GOP senators waiting for Obama outreach
- Colorado Democrat: Women Don’t Need Guns If They ‘Feel Like They’re Going To Be Raped’ –
- Obama leak lets ‘Gang of Eight’ look tough on immigration | WashingtonExaminer.com – RT @ByronYork: New: Obama leak lets ‘Gang of Eight’ look tough on immigration.
- Twitter / Flap: Way to go @LizMair! We need … – Way to go @LizMair! We need to see you on the Tee Vee much more!
- Sessions: “The leaked plan is little different in its substance from the Gang of 8 plan” | WashingtonExaminer.com – Sessions: “The leaked plan is little different in its substance from the Gang of 8 plan” | #tcot
- Sessions: “The leaked plan is little different in its substance from the Gang of 8 plan” | WashingtonExaminer.com – Sessions: “The leaked plan is little different in its substance from the Gang of 8 plan” #tcot
- Why is Obama threatening to release his own immigration plan? – The brutal truth, as some Republicans aren’t shy about noting, is that Obama’s bill isn’t all that different from Rubio’s. And to the extent that it is different, Democrats and their immigration-lobby allies will go on agitating to make the final product more like O’s bill if/when it passes. He can live, happily, with Rubio’s bill as law. On the other hand, If Obama talks up his own bill and ends up polarizing the issue until the compromise falls apart, great! He’ll happily use that as leverage for the “GOP hates Latinos” talking point in 2014. Realistically, the only way he’ll have a truly consequential second term is if Democrats can take back the House; that’s what his gun-control campaign right now is all about, and that’s what the fate of things like cap-and-trade rests on. If Republicans hang onto the House next year, O’s last two years will be spent mired in lame-duck misery. If they don’t, he’ll be the rare president who ends eight years in office with a flurry of significant “achievements.” I think Obama would be willing to trade that legacy for the legacy of having passed comprehensive immigration reform with GOP help, especially given what it means for Democratic electoral gains long-term, but if he does get the House back in 2014 then he can pass immigration reform — and an assault-weapons ban, and cap-and-trade — later. The only true disaster scenario for him is if immigration talks collapse now and the GOP holds the House in 2014 anyway. That’s quite possible, and maybe even probable, and that’s why he’s not being more aggressive right now in trying to sabotage the negotiations.
- Sessions: “The leaked plan is little different in its substance from the Gang of 8 plan” – Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., may have quickly denounced the immigration plan President Obama leaked this weekend, but most conservatives see little difference between Rubio’s efforts and Obama’s framework. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee released the following statement on the leaked Obama plan today:The release of the President’s immigration plan is more than a misstep or clever political maneuver. It is a dramatic disclosure of his real immigration ideology and goals. The plan grants amnesty on day one while making hollow promises of future enforcement that will never occur. The plan is a giveaway for the special interests and the open borders lobby. This president will never dedicate himself to enforcing the law, and this plan offers only further proof of that.It is plain what is happening. The special interests are again in the White House, demanding and getting their favors granted, while American workers and the public interest are again locked out.
- Immigration reform groups use low-key strategy against Rubio amnesty – Immigration reform groups are responding cautiously to the Feb. 14 revelation that Sen. Marco Rubio’s aides apparently tried to portray them as left-wing, anti-Christian misanthropes.Their low-key response has helped tamp down the potential conflict with Rubio, who is working with seven other senators on a controversial rewrite of the nation’s immigration laws.The senator’s spokesman, Alex Conant, also downplayed the revelations sketched in the Washington Post’s article.
- Immigration Double Kabuki – Maybe there is some Beltway logic to this story that I don’t understand. Here’s the situation: Obama wants an immigration bill. He knows that if he comes down heavily on one side Republicans might get their backs up and oppose whatever he proposes. So he is giving the Senate “negotiators” space. I understand that much. Never mind that the Senate “Gang of 8? negotiators are seven amnesty-first supporters plus Marco Rubio, who is also an amnesty-first supporter (if he wasn’t he wouldn’t have Cesar Conda as his chief of staff). Let’s assume for now that if these eight Friends of Amnesty can come up with a deal the rest of the Senate can pretend it’s a “bipartisan compromise,” at least until the public finds out what is in it.
- Obama’s Amnesty Bill = Rubio’s Amnesty Bill – Over the weekend, the White House leaked parts of a proposed amnesty bill to USA Today’s Alan Gomez. Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, described the proposed bill as a backup plan in case the Senate doesn’t act. Unlike the Schumer/Rubio amnesty plan, the administration bill contains no enforcement “triggers” that would have to be met before the amnestied illegals could move from green card lite to full green-card status. Rubio said the bill would be “dead on arrival” if it were to be introduced, while Paul Ryan said it would take things “in the wrong direction.”The “backup plan” stuff is nonsense — the point of leaking the bill is to enable Rubio to say that his amnesty plan is waaay different from the dastardly Obama plan, even though they’re identical in the only respect that matters: amnesty immediately for all illegal aliens, with work cards, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, the right to travel abroad and return, etc. The president has repeatedly said he wants to stand back and let Congress come up with a bill because if he were to send one to Congress it would be toxic for Republicans — i.e., those Republicans who desperately want to sell out their constituents by backing amnesty but are afraid of the voter backlash. The Rubio and Ryan criticisms of the proposed bill sound almost as though they were scripted by Schumer and White House to make the Senate Gang of Eight scheme seem more palatable to such Republicans.