TPMDC Saturday Roundup

Obama: ‘No Silver Bullet’ For Gas Prices, ‘But There Are A Few Things We Can Do’
In this weekend’s YouTube address, President Obama discussed his administration’s response to high gasoline prices.

“Now, whenever gas prices shoot up, like clockwork, you see politicians racing to the cameras, waving three-point plans for two dollar gas,” said Obama. “You see people trying to grab headlines or score a few points. The truth is, there’s no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away.

“But there are a few things we can do. This includes safe and responsible production of oil at home, which we are pursuing. In fact, last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003. On Thursday, my Attorney General also launched a task force with just one job: rooting out cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, including any illegal activity by traders and speculators. We’re going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain. And another step we need to take is to finally end the $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies we give to the oil and gas companies each year. That’s $4 billion of your money going to these companies when they’re making record profits and you’re paying near record prices at the pump. It has to stop.”

Johanns: ‘The Idea Of Government Creating Jobs; Well, It Simply Misses The Point Entirely.’
In this weekend’s Republican address, Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) called for a smaller role for government in the economy and its affect on businesses, as the government tackles its debt.

“With debate in Washington focused on how best to address our nation’s growing debt, it’s important to remember the role it plays in our critical priority of job creation,” said Johanns. “Policymakers tend to toss out the term ‘job creation’ very broadly – it’s a very popular talking point.

“But what does it mean to create jobs? The claim is often made that new federal policies will create jobs and paychecks for Americans. The idea of government creating jobs; well, it simply misses the point entirely. That’s just not how we get our economic engine firing on all cylinders. Job creation in this country doesn’t start with government; it starts with our businesses, especially our small businesses.”

GOP To Make Hay In May Over Gas
Politico reports: “Republicans are getting ready to capitalize on record prices at the pump with a May focus on oil and gasoline. The government shutdown battle put the issue on the back burner even though prices at the pump have been rising steadily since February. Now, with President Barack Obama already on the defensive, the GOP is ready to pounce. House Republicans are planning bill introductions, hearings, markups and floor votes on legislation aimed at expanding domestic oil production in response to high gasoline prices.”

Republicans Facing Tough Questions Over Medicare Overhaul In Budget Plan
The Washington Post reports: “Anxiety is rising among some Republicans over the party’s embrace of a plan to overhaul Medicare, with GOP lawmakers already starting to face tough questions on the issue at town hall meetings back in their districts. House leaders have scheduled a Tuesday conference call in which members are expected in part to discuss strategies for defending the vote they took this month on a budget that would transform the popular entitlement program as part of a plan to cut trillions in federal spending.”

States’ New GOP Majorities, Governors Have Made Mark On A Wide Range Of Issues
The Washington Post reports: “As state legislatures adjourn over the coming weeks, new Republican majorities backed by GOP governors are leaving their mark with a wave of legislation that reaches far beyond the economic issues that dominated the midterm elections last fall. South Dakota passed the most restrictive abortion bill in the country, Wisconsin and Ohio moved to limit collective bargaining by public workers, and Kansas, Texas, South Carolina and Montana are on the brink of passing measures to impose strict photo ID requirements at the polls.”

Furor Over Air Controllers To Spill Into Congress
Reuters reports: “An uproar over lapses by U.S. air traffic controllers will spill into Congress where critics of organized labor see an unexpected opening to push their agenda into sweeping aviation legislation…Republicans see the furor as a way to force certain proposals into a final version of a $59 billion aviation bill that lawmakers will thrash out when Congress returns in May. These include proposals to privatize more airport towers, consolidate facilities and give FAA management more flexibility in running the sprawling air traffic system. All are part of a larger Republican effort to cut FAA spending by $4 billion.”