TPM News

The White House rejected Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) "Path to Prosperity" budget blueprint for fiscal 2012 Tuesday, arguing that it unfairly guarantees the prosperity of wealthy millionaires while overburdening seniors and the poor.

While President Obama is committed to dramatically reducing the country's long-term deficit, White House spokesman Jay Carney said, Ryan's plan is exactly the wrong approach.

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The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's initial analysis of the House GOP budget released today by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is filled with nuggets of bad news for Republicans.

In addition to acknowledging that seniors, disabled and elderly people would be hit with much higher out-of-pocket health care costs, the CBO finds that by the end of the 10-year budget window, public debt will actually be higher than it would be if the GOP just did nothing.

Under the so-called "extended baseline scenario" -- a.k.a. projections based on current law -- debt held by the public will grow to 67 percent of GDP by 2022. Under the GOP plan, public debt would reach 70 percent of GDP in the same window.

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It's looking like the alleged vandalism of Wisconsin State Sen. Dan Kapanke's (R) car may not have been as bad as people were led to believe. In fact, it may not even have been vandalism at all.

Kapanke, one of the Republicans being targeted for recall by Democrats in the wake of Gov. Scott Walker's (R) newly-passed law curtailing public employee unions, had previously said his car's windshield was smashed in Madison, allegedly on March 9 -- the day that the bill was passed. He has also stated that he has received death threats, and that nails were scattered on his driveway back home.

Now, the Capital Times reports that police who inspected the vehicle have characterized the damage to his windshield as only a crack, consistent with a stone that would have been picked up in the tire of another car and then thrown behind.

A Kapanke staffer told the paper that lawmakers were asked to report anything out of the ordinary to the Senate Chief Clerk or the Capitol Police, and that the environment around the Capitol was tense at the time.

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After a White House meeting with President Obama Tuesday, leaders on Capitol Hill and their aides made it clear that they've reached an impasse in the spending cut fight, and see no way around it.

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will put their heads together this afternoon in a private meeting at the Capitol to try to find common ground. And Obama, wading deeper into the government shutdown thicket than ever before, said at an unscheduled press conference that he'd bring the two leaders back to the White House Wednesday if they can't come to an understanding tonight.

But both Republicans and Democrats say it's not looking good.

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President Obama strongly scolded congressional Republicans on their failure so far to reach a budget compromise that would avert a government shutdown by the end of the week, instructing them to start acting like "grown-ups" and to stop playing political games.

"We don't have time for games," he told reporters during a rare appearance in the White House briefing room. "We don't have time to score political points."

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Newt Gingrich hasn't officially thrown his hat into the 2012 race, but if he were to get in, and indeed win the Republican presidential nomination, he wouldn't get much of a home state advantage in a general election against President Obama, according to a new PPP poll.

In that poll of registered voters, Obama topped Gingrich 46%-45% in a head-to-head matchup in Georgia, the state Gingrich represented for two decades in the House. Further, 50% said they didn't think Gingrich should run for president in the first place, while only 31% said he should.

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House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's plan to end Medicare and Medicaid as we know them might be slow to accrue supporters within his own party, but Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), a key swing vote in the Senate, indicated to TPM on Tuesday he was at least open to the idea.

"Listen, everything is on the table right now and the people understand everything is on the table," he said when asked by TPM if he had concerns about privatizing and cutting Medicare. "People recognize that we're in a financial emergency and as a result of that to say that something is not on the table is really irresponsible and I'm thankful that we have people like Congressman Ryan working and coming up with a plan."

Nonetheless, Brown suggested Republican leaders' efforts would be better spent preventing a government shutdown this week than debating new entitlement plans.

"I'm appreciative that they're finally taking debt and deficit and spending cuts seriously, but let's be real: we should be focusing on funding the government," he said. "It's great to talk about next year, but how about this week? How about getting the leadership together and just focusing on funding the government and doing what the American people expect us to do?"

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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) suggested Tuesday he doubts the spending cut fight will be resolved before funding for the government expires on April 8. If he's right, either some emergency legislation will need to pass to keep the lights on, or the government will shut down, he said.

Asked at his weekly Capitol briefing whether he'd be prepared to expedite passage of a bipartisan spending deal if one is reached, Cantor objected to the premise. "I don't know that that hypothetical is even applicable, given where we are in the current negotiations," he said. "I don't think that that's even a likelihood and that there would be some need for a bridge to get there."

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Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, who served as governor of Virginia from 2006-2010, has officially kicked off his much-expected campaign for Senate, for the seat held by retiring Dem Sen. Jim Webb.

In a YouTube video, Kaine touts his accomplishments as governor, saying he attracted business to the state and was praised for his fiscal management.

"I'm running for the United States Senate because America has big challenges," says Kaine. "And I'm convinced that Virginia has answers to help strengthen our nation."

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