1.) NYT advises Dems to shut down the government and blame it on Republicans — “After letting a highly destructive budget fight fester far too long, the White House finally stepped in late last week to negotiate with the House, which wants to eviscerate nondefense spending,” bemoan the editors of the NYT. “Republicans claim they will not agree on a penny less than $61 billion, which is too little for some more aggressive freshmen. If the Democrats try to compromise on even half that amount, they will be still be doing enormous damage to many programs and threatening a recovery that is starting to show signs of real life.” The paper goes on to call the White House’s pathetic counter-offer of $6.5 billion “more sensible,” and adds, “Democrats are under no obligation to cut more.” If Republicans insist on making meaningful cuts, the paper suggests that Vice Pres. Joe Biden and Senate Democrats should facilitate a government shutdown themselves, and “then let the freshmen explain to an angry public why they closed the government’s doors to score ideological points.” Note to NYT editors: Next time, trying keeping your secret evil plans secret.
2.) Wisconsin Democrats may or may not return to Wisconsin, depending on how they feel, or whatever — “Democratic senators who fled Wisconsin to stymie restrictions on public-employee unions said Sunday they planned to come back from exile soon, betting that even though their return will allow the bill to pass, the curbs are so unpopular they’ll taint the state’s Republican governor and legislators,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Sen. Mark Miller said he and his fellow Democrats intend to let the full Senate vote on Gov. Scott Walker’s ‘budget-repair’ bill, which includes the proposed limits on public unions’ collective-bargaining rights.” Said one Democratic state senator, “I think we have to realize that there’s only so much we can do as a group to make a stand.” If the Democrats’ plan sounds too reasonable to be true, that’s because it likely is. Shortly after the WSJ article came out, Democratic Sen. Chris Larson updated his Facebook page from Illinois: “Dems will return when collective bargaining is off the table.”
3.) Obamacare waivers for everybody! — “HHS posted 126 new waivers on Friday, bringing the total to 1,040 organizations that have been granted a one-year exemption from a new coverage requirement included in the healthcare reform law enacted almost a year ago,” reports The Hill. According to the HHS spin machine, “the waivers have typically been granted to so-called ‘mini-med’ plans that offer limited annual coverage — as low as $2,000 — that would fall short of meeting the new annual coverage floor of $750,000 in 2011.” Among the shoe-string budget firms that couldn’t afford to meet Obamacare requirements are the Teamsters Union, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the Communications Workers of America, the Service Employees International Union, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which counts among its board members Obamacare Czar Nancy-Ann DeParle.
4.) Leg-humpers, not Tree-huggers, drive enviro policy — “K Street is the epicenter of a green-industrial complex, and ground zero might be the firm founded by Democratic revolving-door earmark lobbyist Steve McBee,” reports the Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney. “McBee, a former top staffer for Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and powerful House Appropriations Committee member Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., reportedly wrote key provisions in the stimulus bill to open the spigot of green corporate welfare. Also, he has hired up the Capitol Hill staff at the center of big environmental legislative pushes like cap and trade.” McBee really does love conserving all things green. Just ask any company that received a federally guaranteed loan after McBee successfully lobbied for the elimination of a down-payment requirement that helped eliminate the risk of default. You can start with Solyndra. After lowering the bar for loan guarantees, McBee helped Solyndra secure a half-billion dollar loan guarantee. A year later, the company’s auditors determined that “subsequent events raise questions about Solyndra was the right candidate to receive a loan guarantee in excess of half a billion dollars.”
5.) Schumer worried about TSA’s hiring standards — “Sen. Charles E. Schumer Saturday demanded that the Transportation Security Administration launch an investigation, after a TSA agent was arrested last week and accused of helping drug dealers evade security at Buffalo Niagara International Airport,” reports the Buffalo News. “How was she hired, and why was she trusted with the safety of so many innocent people?” Schumer wondered. “TSA owes everyone who flies through Buffalo Niagara International Airport and those who live in Western New York immediate answers.” Screeners have unnecessarily groped and stolen from passengers all over this great country. Arguably, the agency owes the rest of us some answers as well.
6.) Udall and Hatch are the new Starsky and Hutch — “In a major development on spending cuts, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado are introducing a proposal for a new congressional committee focused only on eliminating duplicative and wasteful government spending,” reports TheDC’s Jonathan Strong. “Udall’s backing of the ‘anti-appropriations committee’ is one of the most significant moves to embrace spending cuts by a moderate Democrat in the Senate and gives the proposal momentum and cover from potential critics, insiders say.” No one is more thrilled about this than Grover Norquist, who has been pushing for just such a committee since the dawn of time. “This is a huge step forward,” Norquist said. “Hatch has a history of being able to get Democrats. Udall – this is the kind of thing that could make his career as a moderate.”