TPM News

Congress And Obama Face New Budget Fights Reuters reports: " After a narrow escape from a potentially damaging government shutdown, even bigger budget fights lie ahead for President Barack Obama and leaders from both parties in Congress. Obama will offer a long-term plan for deficit reduction on Wednesday as the White House and Congress begin to pivot to looming fights on the 2012 fiscal year budget and on raising the $14.3 trillion limit on government borrowing authority. Those conflicts are likely to dominate the political agenda for the coming months and echo into Obama's 2012 re-election race, overshadowing Friday's 11th-hour deal to cut $38 billion in spending for the final six months of this fiscal year."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama will receive the presidential daily briefing at 10:30 a.m. ET. He will hold a meeting on Libya at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Read More →

Now that Republicans and Democrats have supposedly figured out how to fund the government through September, Congress' attention will turn to other issues, including the GOP's 10 year vision for the country: Paul Ryan's budget proposal, which includes Medicare privatization, severe cuts to Medicaid, and further tax breaks for the wealthy.

While the government teetered on the brink of a shutdown last week over short term funding, economists across the ideological spectrum weighed in on the GOP's long-term plan with negative reviews. The biggest shock came from high-profile economists with GOP leanings, who also criticized it on the merits.

"It doesn't address in any serious or courageous way the issue of the near and medium-term deficit," David Stockman told me in a Thursday phone interview. "I think the biggest problem is revenues. It is simply unrealistic to say that raising revenue isn't part of the solution. It's a measure of how far off the deep end Republicans have gone with this religious catechism about taxes."

Read More →

Ryan: Budget Deal 'Really Still A Drop In The Bucket' Appearing on Meet The Press, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said of the budget deal: "Well, we're here because the Democrats didn't pass a budget last year. I mean, for the first time since 1974, the House didn't even bother to try passing a budget last year. So that's why we're here. Now, I feel like we had a pretty good outcome. We represented one-third of the negotiators, but we got two-thirds of the spending cuts we were asking for. This is really still a drop in the bucket. We want to move from talking about saving billions of dollars to going on to saving trillions of dollars."

Plouffe: Ryan Plan 'Not Going To Become Law' Appearing on Meet The Press, White House senior adviser David Plouffe was asked whether Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget plan was dead on arrival. "It may pass the House. It's not going to become law," said Plouffe. "I--and I don't think the American people are going to sign up for something that puts most of the burden on the middle class, people trying to go to college, on senior citizens, while not just asking nothing of the wealthy, giving them at least a $200,000 tax cut. So that's a choice you're making."

Read More →

Obama: Budget Agreement 'Good News For The American People' In this weekend's YouTube address, President Obama promoted last night's budget agreement, which averted a government shutdown.

"This is an agreement to invest in our country's future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history. Like any compromise, this required everyone to give ground on issues that were important to them. I certainly did," said Obama.

"Some of the cuts we agreed to will be painful - programs people rely on will be cut back; needed infrastructure projects will be delayed. And I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances. But we also prevented this important debate from being overtaken by politics and unrelated disagreements on social issues. And beginning to live within our means is the only way to protect the investments that will help America compete for new jobs - investments in our kids' education and student loans; in clean energy and life-saving medical research.

"Reducing spending while still investing in the future is just common sense. That's what families do in tough times. They sacrifice where they can, even if it's hard, to afford what's really important."

Read More →

1||April 8, 2011: One month ago, a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck Japan, toppling buildings and unleashing a tsunami that caused widespread damage and claimed thousands of lives.

Shown here, students wearing face masks walk past the rubble of a ruined building in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

2||The 9.0 magnitude earthquake was the largest to hit Japan in recorded history.

The Joban Expressway near Naka, Ibaraki Prefecture, pictured shortly after the earthquake. ||n39/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

3||Members of the Self-Defense forces searched for the bodies of missing people on April 8 in Miyagi Prefecture. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

4||Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said that it was Japan's worst crisis since World War II. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

5||Workers are still struggling to stave off a disaster at the quake-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power reactor. The plant's cooling system was knocked offline by the quake, forcing workers to scramble to prevent a potentially catastrophic meltdown. ||UPI/Newscom &&

6||A first grader wears a face mask during a reception at a school in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, near the site of the damaged nuclear plant. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

7||Members of the Self Defense Forces temporarily buried bodies in Higashimatsushima, Miyagi, Japan. ||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

8||Over 10,000 people have been confirmed killed in the disaster. ||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

9||The tsunami washed ships ashore, including here in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. ||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

10||Some 16,000 people are still reported missing in Japan. ||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

11||Debris lies stacked inside of a home in Sendai. || Quirky China News/Splash/Newscom&&

12||Sendai was one of the hardest hit areas, with the tsunami nearly flattening some neighborhoods. ||Quirky China News/Splash/Newscom&&

13||A crushed car stands propped against a building in Sendai. ||Quirky China News/Splash/Newscom&&

14||The force of the tsunami waves washed cars into a heap in Fukushima Prefecture.||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

15||||Quirky China News/Splash/Newscom&&

16||Japanese forces search for bodies in a flooded gutter filled with debris in the town of Shichigahama, Miyagi Prefecture. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

17||||Quirky China News/Splash/Newscom&&

18||A man stands beside a toppled building in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

19||||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

20||A few homes stand among the rubble of neighboring houses in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture ||n1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

21||A woman mourns at the funeral of a relative in Kesennuma Miyagi Prefecture. ||imago stock&people/Newscom&&

22||A member of Japan's Self-Defense Forces raking debris from a clogged gutter to aid in the search for missing bodies. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

23||The Japanese Coast Guard rescue a dog found found floating on a roof off the coast of Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture, on April 1. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

24||A family inspecting the remains of their home in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture. ||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

25||Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan inspecting a disaster area in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture on April 2. || jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

26||A man walking among the remains of destroyed homes in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. ||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

27||The earthquake split apart a road in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. ||jn1/ZUMA Press/Newscom&&

28||People dig through debris looking for their belongings in Watari, Miyagi Prefecture on April 7, nearly a full month after the disaster struck. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

29||A fishing boat washed ashore by the tsunami was lowered b a crane back into the water in Watari, Miyagi Prefecture, on April 7. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

30||A man rides a bicycle on a road in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture that was still flooded almost a month after the tsunami. ||Kyodo/Newscom&&

For Speaker John Boehner, the announcement of a deal funding the government caps one of the most dangerous period of his tenure as leader of his party, a long negotiation that tested his control of his members and his reputation with a general public that has yet to form a clear opinion on his leadership.

While he avoided a potentially disastrous shutdown, only time will tell whether he kept his hold on his party. Already some conservative Republicans are expressing their dismay at the deal.

"I think a lot of us are quite disappointed at the level," Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told TPM. "We really wanted more advancement on the life issue than was in the final package," Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) told reporters after the deal was announced. "I think there's a significant number of no votes."

But others expressed relief at the saga being over: "I think that you're going to see overwhelming support for this," Rep. Tim Griffin (R-AR) told TPM.

The dueling quotes reflect long-simmering tensions between veteran Republican legislators like Boehner and an emergent conservative grassroots that helped deliver a strong majority in 2010 only two years after landslide defeat. Balancing their needs against each other and the responsibilities of governing have proven an all-consuming task for the Speaker that has defined his tenure as leader of the House GOP.

Read More →

Now that the budget hijinks have come to a close and Washington has oh-so-narrowly averted a government shutdown, let the blame game begin.

Such high stakes political negotiations always involve some level of political fallout. As President Obama likes to say, no one ever gets 100 percent of what they want in a negotiation, and there's always room to complain. Democrats will no doubt have plenty to complain about when the finer details of Friday's deal reach the light of day.

Democrats managed to jettison the policy rider aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood, but they also caved to $6 billion more in overall spending cuts than they previously said they would tolerate. And the final stop-gap spending bill included language preventing D.C. from using tax dollars for abortions.

Read More →

They've got a deal!

Their negotiations have teetered erratically on the brink of collapse for weeks. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner have finally shaken hands on a spending bill to fund the government through September and avoid a government shutdown.

"We have agreed to an historic amount of cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year, as well as a short-term bridge that will give us time to avoid a shutdown while we get that agreement through both houses and to the President," read a joint statement from both leaders. "We will cut $78.5 billion below the President's 2011 budget proposal, and we have reached an agreement on the policy riders. In the meantime, we will pass a short-term resolution to keep the government running through Thursday. That short-term bridge will cut the first $2 billion of the total savings."

Read More →

The GOP's hardline stance on budget negotiations is proving increasingly brittle as more and more prominent Republicans express concern about shutting down the government rather than accepting a deal. Now two potential presidential candidates, both with impeccable social conservative credentials, are signaling that it's time to throw in the towel.

The most surprising is Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the head of the Tea Party caucus in the House and exactly the kind of popular right-wing politician that Boehner would fear alienating by announcing a compromise. In a post on RedState titled "Not a Big Enough Fight," Bachmann suggested on Friday that Republicans might be better served holding their fire now in favor of more significant battles down the road, like raising the debt limit and passing the 2012 budget. While not a direct call for surrender, it appeared to be an implicit signal that it's time to move on.

"We must answer the bell that was rung last November when the American people called us to fight for deep cuts in spending, for the full repeal of ObamaCare, for an end to taxpayer funding of abortion, and for a government that will live within its Constitutional boundaries," she wrote. "Those would be the kind of large-scale fights that could change the arc of history. Unfortunately, the fight that's happening today in Washington is not even close to being on the same scale."

Read More →