Mayor Michael Bloomberg chided Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this morning after the lawmaker acknowledged Senate Democrats have abandoned their efforts to pass new legislation expanding background checks for gun purchases this year.
Mr. Reid reportedly told a pro-gun-control group this week that the legislation, which was proposed in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, would be placed on the back-burner as Congress shifts its focus to budget battles.
Earlier today, President Barack Obama gathered with the majority and minority leaders of both houses of Congress to move forward in avoiding automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set to occur at the end of the year. Although Democrats and Republicans have, at times, seemed to have irreconcilable differences in the process, the various elected officials walked out of the Roosevelt Room with an optimistic outlook that a compromise would be reached.
“I can only echo the observations of the other leaders that it was a constructive meeting. We all understand where we are….We are prepared to put revenue on the table provided we fix the real problem,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, according to a White House pool report. “Most of my members, I think without exception, believe that we’re in the dilemma we’re in not because we taxed too little but because we spent too much.”
At an event in South Carolina today, Mitt Romney rebuffed the repeated questions the Obama campaign has raised about him not revealing more than two years of his tax returns by claiming he’s paid at least a 13 percent tax rate for the past decade.
“I did go back and look at my taxes, and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. So I paid taxes every single year,” Mr. Romney said.
Obama campaign national press secretary Ben LaBolt was asked how the campaign would respond to Mr. Romney’s claim on a press conference call with reporters this afternoon. Mr. LaBolt’s answer was simple. He said Romney should “prove it” by releasing more of his returns.
In a press availability with reporters this afternoon Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shot down a reporter’s question using some rather colorful language.
“I don’t want to answer that question. That’s a clown question bro,” Mr. Reid said eliciting laughs.
Cries For Help
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced this morning that his chamber would postpone a vote on PIPA, the controversial legislation to curb online piracy.
“In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT I.P. Act,” Mr. Reid said in a statement today.
The legislation under question had been the subject of furious protest. Earlier this week, hundreds marched on the offices of Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer to protest the bill, and websites like Wikipedia and Craigslist went dark. The bill has been opposed by the tech industry, but pushed by the film and recording industries, who say that piracy costs them billions of dollars a year.
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked top Senators to help defeat a bill that he said would compromise his ability to fight crime. Mr. Schneiderman wrote a letter to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in which he urged them “to oppose the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act” because it would increase violence and make it easier for gun traffickers to do business in the Empire State.
Representative Jerry Nadler thinks there’s a “high likelihood” of a complete breakdown in negotiations between House Republicans and the president over the debt ceiling, and he thinks the Democrats’ best option at this point is to push the president to solve the problem unilaterally, since Speaker John Boehner is still trying to rustle the votes for a debt ceiling deal that the president and Senate have already declared a non-starter.
“I really think there’s a very high likelihood of a total impasse here, which would be catastrophic,” Nadler told me this morning. “And so we have to push the 14th Amendment, and make room for the 14th Amendment.”
After a press conference on E-Z Pass fees this afternoon, Senator Chuck Schumer talked a little bit about his recent trip to China, where he met with some of the top American business leaders in the region to talk trade policy.
“We talked about currency, we met with the American Chamber of Commerce,” said the Read More