Let's Make a Deal
Three members of New York City’s congressional delegation have signed on to a letter vowing not to back any White House bargain to avoid the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts known as the sequester that includes cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Both parties have been at an impasse over the cuts with Democrats favoring debt reduction through tax increases and Republicans wanting spending cuts. President Barack Obama has repeatedly expressed a desire to make a deal ahead of the March 1 deadline that includes both tax increases and proposals to reduce the costs of social programs. Now, Congressmen Jerry Nadler, Jose Serrano and Nydia Velazquez have all signed the pledge promising not to back any deal including the compromises being called for by the White House.
“Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are the great bedrocks of our middle class society and, together, constitute an essential safety net for millions of Americans,” Mr. Nadler said. “I will fight like hell against any deficit plan that cuts these programs or fails to address our immediate jobs problem. It is unconscionable for Republicans to ask those who can least afford it – seniors, kids, our most vulnerable families – to sacrifice even more and shoulder a disproportionate burden. I do not support anydeal that cuts Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits.”
Like other pro-Israel groups, the National Jewish Democratic Council has long been critical of former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel’s record on Mideast policy. However, with the news that President Barack Obama will nominate Mr. Hagel to be secretary of defense, the group is towing the party line and is now firmly in the pro-Hagel camp.
“President Barack Obama’s unprecedented pro-Israel credentials are unquestionable, and setting policy starts and stops with the President,” the NJDC said in a statement this morning. “While we have expressed concerns in the past, we trust that when confirmed, former Senator Chuck Hagel will follow the President’s lead of providing unrivaled support for Israel — on strategic cooperation, missile defense programs, and leading the world against Iran’s nuclear program.”
That statement is a sharp 180-degree turn from the NJDC’s past comments on Mr. Hagel.
Another day, another controversial soundbite from Vice President Joe Biden. Exactly one week after he caused a stir by suggesting Mitt Romney’s economic policies would enable banks to put people “back in chains,” Mr. Biden raised eyebrows this afternoon with a speech in Minneapolis likening Mr. Romney and his fellow Republicans to “squealing pigs.” Mr. Biden made his analogy when describing a series of achievements he believes the Obama administration has made in spite of “Republican obstructionism” including creating “200,000 brand new good paying jobs,” “rescu[ing] the automobile industry,” standing up to China and reforming the financial industry.
“Over the objection–though they sound like squealing pigs–over the objections of Romney and all his allies, we passed the toughest Wall Street regulations in history, turning Wall Street back into the allocator of capital it always has been and no longer a casino, and they want to repeal it,” Mr. Biden said.
The Romney campaign is jumping on reports the General Services Administration may have had widespread issues of wasteful spending and abuse of government funds at its conferences. In response to a comment made by the Republican chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. John Mica yesterday that his committee might need to investigate as many as 70 GSA conferences, Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul issued a statement describing the financial abuses by “bureaucrats in President Obama’s government” as “unacceptable.”
“Middle-class Americans are struggling to make ends meet–but bureaucrats in President Obama’s government have never had it so good. While the country has piled on record levels of debt, millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted on lavish parties and exclusive retreats. It’s unacceptable, and Americans deserve better from their government,” Ms. Saul said.
President Barack Obama’s bus tour of Pennsylvania and Ohio made a stop at Ziggy’s Pub and Restaurant in Amherst, Ohio this evening where he mingled with the patrons. According to the press pool report filed by The New York Times’ Mark Landler, the president suggested one of the bargoers ask for the channel to be changed on a pub TV that was showing Fox News:
“As he thanked the group for their support, one of them, Jeff Hawks, gestured to one of the TV’s and said, ‘You’re in a building that has Fox news on.’
Obama suggested that Hawks ask for it to be changed. ‘The customer is always right,’ he said.”
While on vacation at his home on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire Mitt Romney marched in a July 4th parade in Wolfeboro where his staff and supporters butted heads with people who were there backing President Barack Obama.
“Romney’s staff attempted to conceal Obama signs along the parade route, while Romney’s supporters in the crowd booed as the Obama campaign marched by–attempting to drown out Obama supporters who were chanting ‘Fighting for the middle class. Barack Obama has our back,’” an Obama supporter who was at the parade told The Politicker via email.
Mitt Romney had already settled into his status as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee long before his five state primary sweep last night and his wide lead in Empire State polls made his victory in New York a foregone conclusion. However, The Politicker still decided to stop by our local polling place in Times Square to see the democratic process at work in a place where the stakes might have been low, but at least one of the constituents was high.
On Sunday, as Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senator Chuck Schumer and over 400 other guests looked on, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell married John Banta, his partner of over three decades. For Mr. O’Donnell, the wedding was the culmination of a more-than-four-year fight—which included numerous lawsuits and the introduction of five bills to the State Legislature—that finally resulted in same-sex marriage’s finally being legalized in New York last June.
“I began this battle when Eliot Spitzer was elected governor,” Mr. O’Donnell told The Observer. “I used to wake up every day thinking about how many votes I had or didn’t have. Now it’s like, what do I do now?”