Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer on Monday said the pledge from the Grover Norquist-led "Americans for Tax Reform" remains "very important" to the GOP.
Spicer told MSNBC's Chuck Todd that the pledge reminds Congressional Republicans -- some of whom have expressed misgivings toward Norquist's anti-tax demands in recent days -- of the job that they are expected to address:
“ I think it's very important...I think it’s important for them to remember the problem that we have, which is a spending problem. And frankly I think we look at it in terms of any family, if your family is going into debt, the first thing you do is say, ‘Dad, go out and get a second job and raise more revenue for the family.’ You look at the family budget and say, ‘Where do we cut? How do we get back?’ Once that’s all done thoroughly, then I think you look and say, ‘Okay, we’re still a little short to pay down the debt. How do we bring in more revenue? So I think before -- for a lot of these members of Congress who have committed to saying the problem is spending, we need to reform our out-of-control entitlements, that's where the re focus should be.
Activist Grover Norquist on Monday responded to the growing list of Republican lawmakers who suggested in recent days that they are not beholden to their anti-tax pledges, which they signed at the behest of his group "Americans for Tax Reform."
In an interview with CNN's Soledad O'Brien, Norquist specifically took aim at Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who on Sunday said a pledge "you signed 20 years ago, 18 years ago, is for that Congress." Norquist said that King and others expressed similar openness to raising tax revenues during the debt ceiling debate, while quibbling with the New York Congressman's interpretation of the pledge:
“Look, Soledad, as you know, the people making this case, the two senators and the congressman that were put forward, they all said that two years ago when we were arguing over the debt ceiling limit, so their position hasn’t changed. And during the debt ceiling limit, we cut spending, we didn’t raise taxes, so other Republicans did not listen to Peter King and others and say, ‘Oh, let’s go raise taxes.’ They’re speaking for themselves. I do want to correct one thing. Peter King knows, Congressman Peter King of New York knows full well that the pledge he signed and others have is for while you’re in Congress, not a two-year period."
Virginia's Democratic Senator-elect Tim Kaine said the recent triumphs of his party cement the Commonwealth's status as a battleground, but he's not ready declare it a blue state quite yet.
In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch that ran Sunday, Kaine said Virginia has emerged as a "front-rank, center-stage, spotlight-on battleground state" that can no longer be taken for granted by either party:
We’re a forward-focused state now. We’re not people’s museum piece anymore. And there were many who had an inaccurate impression of who Virginia was. And I think what these results showed is just this: We’re a front-rank, center-stage, spotlight-on battleground state. We’re not a blue state. I don’t think we’re going to be a blue state anytime soon. But we are no longer the irrelevant state that neither Republicans nor Democrats need to come to. …I think it should be an enormous source of pride for Virginians, whatever party they are.
Americans are acutely aware of the consequences of the government falling off the so-called "fiscal cliff," according to a poll from CNN and ORC International released Monday.
The poll shows that two-thirds of American adults believe the country would face a serious crisis if a deal isn't struck between both parties by the end of the year, which would automatically trigger a raft of spending cuts and tax increases. Moreover, 77 percent of Americans believe their own personal financial situation would be adversely affected if the government goes off the fiscal cliff.
The poll was conducted Nov. 16-18 using live phone interviews with 1,023 adult Americans. It has a margin of error of three percentage points.
As the holiday shopping season kicked off in earnest on Friday, Walmart workers across the country staged a protest to demand higher wages and better health care. OUR Walmart, an organization supported by the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) union, said that employees in as many as 100 cities throughout the United States took part in the "Black Friday" demonstration.
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday had tough words for much of the European Union after talks ended without a new seven-year budget. The impasse stems from disagreement over deep spending cuts, something Cameron and other leaders have advocated.
“Brussels continues to exist as if in a parallel universe,” Cameron said during a news conference, a reference to the EU's central headquarters. Cameron argued that the rejection of efforts to trim bureaucratic costs is “insulting to European taxpayers.”
Leaders of the European Union on Friday fell short in an effort to produce a new seven-year budget for the financially troubled coalition, Reuters reports. The end of the negotiations comes on the heels of calls by Britain and others for sweeping spending cuts, a proposal rejected by most countries. Talks will resume in early 2013.