Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

The Conscience Caucus opens

The Conscience Caucus opens up a Kentucky chapter with the arrival of freshman Rep. Geoff Davis (R).

An article in Saturday's Cincinnati Enquirer reports: "Davis has said he will not support Bush's plan to allow workers to invest a percentage of their payroll taxes into self-directed personal investment accounts."

Says spokesperson Jessica Towhey: "Geoff Davis is against private accounts. He is also for no decrease in benefits and no increase in payroll taxes."

Towhey includes the obligatory note that Davis is waiting to see the president's actual plan before making a final judgment. But from the looks of it, we see no choice but to slot Davis as Loud and Proud.

Sen. Reid says that

Sen. Reid says that Senate Faction is no more?

Key passages from the early afternoon update from CQ Today that has the Hill atwitter ...

Not a single Senate Democrat will support President Bush’s proposal to divert a portion of the Social Security payroll tax to personal investment accounts, Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday.

If he is right, Bush’s plan will be dead on arrival in the Senate, where a supermajority of 60 votes will be needed to overcome a filibuster by opponents. Republicans have 55 seats.

...

“We want to make sure that the American people understand that we’re not for benefit cuts and we’re not for privatization,” Reid said. “There’s no crisis in Social Security.”

...

Reid said he had private commitments from all 44 Senate Democrats that they would not support diverting payroll tax revenues into private accounts, the key facet of Bush’s plan. The Democratic staff on the Senate Finance Committee has come to the same conclusion, based on polling Democratic members and their staffs.

Some Senate Democrats, including Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, have said publicly they are open to considering a Social Security overhaul, including personal accounts, though they have not committed themselves either way. But “add-on” personal accounts, which a number of Republicans also favor, would supplement Social Security benefits and would not draw from payroll tax revenues for financing — keeping these senators within their pledges to Reid.


When you add in the Loud and Proud <$NoAd$> Snowe and Specter, plus the almost-sure-to-defect Chafee, 50 votes in the Senate looks like a challenge in itself ...

Rep. Gene Taylor D

Rep. Gene Taylor (D) of Mississippi, standing tall, walks right out of the Faction. We don't have a 'Loud and Proud!' category for Democrats opposing President Bush's Social Security phase-out plan. But if we did, Rep. Taylor would be in it today.

Take a look at the new statement up today on Rep. Taylor's website.

Ill see your mumbo

I'll see your mumbo and raise you a jumbo: President releases unofficial dates for bamboozlepalooza tour ...

THURSDAY: Fargo, ND; Great Falls, MT, Omaha, NE.

FRIDAY: Little Rock, AR, Tampa, FL.

Look at who represents the Tampa area, read this article, look at the Conscience Caucus and then tell me whether Sen. Nelson (D) has anything to do with the president's trip to Florida.

Late Update: This Florida blogger, who knows the terrain, provides more details.

Yep I think weve

Yep, I think we've got another Loud and Proud Republican on our hands.

According to the Anchorage Daily News, Rep. Don Young (R) of Alaska "ridiculed the president's assertions about a Social Security crisis" in a "wide-ranging interview session with Alaska reporters in his House office" on Monday. And just two days before the release of the president's new Social Security speech code no less!

Later down in the piece comes the following ...

Young scoffed at President Bush's claims that Social Security needs an immediate fix.

"We do have a slight problem," he said. "I think there's a possibility of a problem 45 years from now."

And Young said he remained "very unsold" on Bush's solutions to privatize Social Security.

"I'm not overly confident the average American knows how to invest in stocks," he said. "I don't want Wall Street involved in this."

Young said he would support making current individual retirement accounts more attractive through tax-law changes.


You kinda get the sense he's not on <$NoAd$>board with phase-out, right?

[ed.note: A special note of thanks to TPM reader DD for the tip.]

The latest from the

The latest from the Center for American Progress ...

From the people who bring you The Progress Report – the daily electronic newsletter the National Review calls "the most aggressive, most energetic opposition research in politics" – comes Thinkprogress.org, a new blog ready to revolutionize the world of research-intensive rapid response. Debuting in tandem with the State of the Union address on Feb. 2, Thinkprogress.org will give journalists and the public real-time access to American Progress’s highly regarded rapid response operation for the first time ever. And in honor of the launch, American Progress CEO John Podesta will be a guest blogger, providing live commentary throughout the entire State of the Union address.


That should be <$NoAd$>interesting.

LiveWire