The U.S. House returns to gridlocked action in D.C. this week. The top story, of course, is (yesterday's) State of the Union address. Ezra Klein's must-read-e'ery-day Wonkblog on WaPo reminds us, "Last year, for instance, Obama exhorted Americans to win the future by investing in scientific research, clean energy and infrastructure. But as Glenn Kessler details, Obama's proposals languished in the divided Congress. Instead, Congress spent much of its time almost letting the government shut down, almost defaulting on the national debt, and almost letting the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance expire." More Congress Links to come today (Wed.).Read Full Article
If this NYT report is accurate, then congressional Democrats, led by the Obama Administration, are lined up for another epic cave in. The Republicans, on the other hand, are looking poised to score yet another big victory. First, the Bush tax cuts extension, then the 2011 spending bill cuts, and now a debt-ceiling deal that would reduce the deficit entirely through cuts to social spending.Read Full Article
In my article yesterday refuting the claims Republicans are making in their attack ads alleging that conservative Democrats have liberal voting records, several people in the comments asked if I was going to address similar falsehoods in Democratic ads. I responded that of course I would if someone could show me an example of a Democratic attack ad that uses data to bolster lies. The suggestion was that I look at Obama's claim that the Chamber of Commerce is funding ads against Democrats with contributions from foreign entities. So let me address that.
Here's what we know about the Chamber:Read Full Article
In his State of the Union address, President Obama made a strong call for Congress to make earmarking more transparent. Instead, the House of Representatives has put in place new rules that bans most earmarking altogether. The new rules have lobbyists scrambling to figure out a work-around to make sure that their clients still get a piece of the money Congress appropriates, the New York Times reports:
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Jolted by a sudden tightening of the rules, lobbyists and military contractors who have long relied on lucrative earmarks from Congress were scrambling Thursday to find new ways to keep the federal money flowing. […]
Some firms talked of partnering with hospitals, universities and other nonprofit organizations in seeking federal money, an idea that Congressional officials said might not be allowed under the new rules. Others said they planned to become more aggressive about applying directly to the Pentagon and other federal departments and agencies, and not Congress, for grant money.
Last week, for more than an hour on national television, President Obama and members of Congress were engaged in an unscripted, off-the-cuff debate about the policy issues that affect us. A new coalition -- Demand Question Time -- wants to make this a regular feature of our democracy.Read Full Article
The White House today issued an 11-page Open Government Directive (.pdf) that directs federal agencies and departments on how to make government more transparent, participatory and collaborative.Read Full Article