Archive for December, 2012

Your Daily Jolt: Boehner ‘they weren’t taking that out on me’

A few minutes ago, House Speaker John Boehner faced the press following last night’s Plan B Implosion and declared that he does not think that the conservative rebellion was about him, and he does not fear losing his gavel. Majority Leader Eric Cantor was standing just feet away and, based on the angle provided by CNN, did not appear to be holding a dagger.

“No, I’m not,” Boehner said when asked if he was concerned about his speakership. “You’ve all heard me say this and I’ve told my colleagues this: If you do the right things every day for the right reasons, the right things will happen. Though we were not able to get the votes last night … I don’t think, they weren’t taking that out on me. They were dealing with the perception that someone might accuse them of raising taxes.”

Last night’s non-vote leaves the fiscal cliff negotiations in limbo, and Boehner said he would continue to work with President Barack Obama but gave no specifics about meetings or phone calls or …

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Conservative rebellion sinks ‘Plan B’

Hot off the presses from the main site, figure it’s worth posting here too. It’s been a wild night in the Capitol:

By Daniel Malloy

WASHINGTON —

House Speaker John Boehner’s “fiscal cliff” backup plan fell apart Thursday night, and the U.S. House adjourned for Christmas, as his restive Republican caucus balked at a bill that would let taxes rise on income over $1 million.

Boehner intended to use the measure to pressure Democrats, who opposed it, to come up with a better deal. But in the end his forceful, personal appeals for the bill were not enough to bring 217 votes for passage.

Boehner has been personally negotiating with President Barack Obama on a larger deal to raise taxes, cut spending and reform entitlement programs — but he pursued the Republican-only “Plan B” as a fallback.

The gambit failed.

Now the House is not set to return before Dec. 27, and Boehner in a statement said the onus is on Obama to work with Senate Majority Leader Harry …

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Your Daily Jolt: State Senate special heating up

5:30 p.m. — This story has been updated after a conversation with Sean Jerguson to fully reflect his side of the case

The knives are out in the hurry-up special election between a pair of Republicans to replace Chip Rogers in the state Senate.

A supporter of North Fulton chamber executive Brandon Beach – who said she is acting independently – unloaded her opposition research on former state Rep. Sean Jerguson of Holly Springs this week.

Linda Flory of the Cherokee Coalition for Responsible Growth dug up a federal lawsuit filed against Jerguson for defaulting on a loan. Bank of the Ozarks (which took over the loan from a failed North Georgia bank) says Jerguson and his associates from Sapphire Pointe, LLC, owe more than $640,000 on a loan for a mobile home park in Polk County. In court papers Jerguson’s attorneys admit the group has not paid back the whole loan but dispute the amount.

In an interview Jerguson said Sapphire Pointe is doing fine as a business and had made …

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Boehner whipping Georgians on ‘Plan B’

As Georgia Republican Reps. Phil Gingrey, Jack Kingston and Paul Broun sat together on the House floor during a vote this evening, House Speaker John Boehner plopped down in the row behind them and gave them an earful. Boehner, viewed by this reporter through a door a few yards away, appeared pretty intense.

House Speaker John Boehner in June (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

John Boehner in June (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Gingrey said the Speaker was making “strong arguments” in favor of his “Plan B” on the fiscal cliff negotiations — a floor vote tentatively scheduled for Thursday to maintain the marginal income tax rates for earnings $1 million and less, as well as the estate tax rates.

“The Speaker feels very, very confident if we don’t do this it’s going to end up at the 250 mark [raising taxes on income above $250,000]. … He said that’s what his great fear is,” Gingrey said.

Still, the Republican from Marietta is unsure about voting effectively to allow some taxes to rise. “My powder’s dry,” Gingrey said.

Several Republican members of …

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‘Plan B’ Update: Norquist thumbs up; DeMint thumbs down

House Speaker John Boehner has gotten scattered grumbling from conservatives in his caucus over his leverage-seeking plan to vote on a proposal to extend marginal tax rates for all income at $1 million or below — allowing taxes to rise on income above that level. But Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist (you might have heard of him) has Boehner’s back — for now — in a way that likely seals Republican support for the measure. Hot off the presses from ATR:

ATR has consistently maintained that individual Members of Congress make a pledge to their constituents to oppose and vote against tax increases.  The House this week will vote on a tax bill.  This legislation—popularly known as “Plan B”–permanently prevents a tax increase on families making less than $1 million per year.  Republicans supporting this bill are this week affirming to their constituents in writing that this bill—the sole purpose of which is to prevent tax increases—is consistent with the …

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Your Daily Jolt: A long-term Democratic majority?

Emory University political science professor Alan Abramowitz, a frequently cited scholar of presidential politics, has written a 31-page analysis of Barack Obama’s victory to be presented next month at the annual Southern Political Science Association meeting entitled: “The Emerging Democratic Presidential Majority.” According to an early copy provided to Jolt, Abramowitz concludes thusly:

The structural advantages that Republicans enjoy in House and Senate elections would appear to guarantee the party’s continued competitiveness in congressional elections for many more election cycles.  As a result, divided government will probably be a persistent feature of American politics for some time.  And at the state level, Republicans are likely to remain the dominant party in most of the South as well as a number of sparsely populated, predominantly rural states that are relatively insulated from the demographic and cultural trends affecting the rest of the country.  …

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Video: Jack Kingston spars with MSNBC host on gun control

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Let no one say Savannah Republican U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston hides in a conservative media bunker. Today he had a tough interview with MSNBC host Thomas Roberts on the subject of gun control in light of Friday’s tragedy in Connecticut. Kingston said gun control laws should be under discussion, but the discussion should also include mental illness and other aspects of mass shootings.

A key moment comes around the 7:30 mark, after Kingston describes mass shootings in Europe that occurred in spite of strict gun laws:

Roberts: So there’s nothing we can do? …. We need to just be complacent in the fact that we can send our children to school to be assassinated?

Kingston: Thomas, I think one of the problems we have on the gun control debate is it immediately starts dividing people into: ‘You disagree with me, therefore you are the enemy.’ I’ve opened up by saying let’s put gun control up for …

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Your Daily Jolt: Close to a fiscal cliff deal?

With Christmas one week from today, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner appear to be nearing a fiscal cliff deal. Some details from the Associated Press:

[Obama offered] to drop his long-held insistence that taxes rise on individuals earning more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000. He is now offering a new threshold of $400,000 and lowering his 10-year tax revenue goals from the $1.6 trillion he had argued for a few weeks ago.Obama’s move follows concessions by Boehner on higher tax rates for the wealthy.

In the new proposal, Obama abandoned his demand for permanent borrowing authority. Instead, he is now asking for a new debt limit that would last two years, putting its renewal beyond the politics of a 2014 midterm election.

And in a move sure to create heartburn among some congressional Democrats, Obama is proposing lower cost-of-living increases for Social Security beneficiaries, employing an inflation index that would have …

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A blink on the fiscal cliff: Boehner proposes tax hike on millionaires

We have a blink from the Republican side. From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — Signaling new movement in “fiscal cliff” talks, House Speaker John Boehner has proposed raising the top rate for earners making more than $1 million, a person familiar with the negotiations said. President Barack Obama, who wants higher top rates for households earning more than $250,000, has not accepted the offer, this person said.

The proposal, however, indicated progress in talks that had appeared stalled. The person would only discuss the plan on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

As part of a broader budget deal, Boehner is still seeking more spending cuts than Obama has proposed, particularly in mandatory health care spending. Boehner has asked for a long-term increase in eligibility age for Medicare and for lower costs-of-living adjustments for Social Security.

Boehner’s tax proposal was first reported by Politico.

A Boehner aide would not comment …

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Obama, Isakson, Lewis, Reed react to Conn. shooting

Our elected leaders are struggling to deliver their thoughts on the unthinkable today after the horrific school shooting in Connecticut. The video above is President Barack Obama fighting tears while giving a statement in the White House briefing room. Below some reaction from the Georgia delegation.

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson:

I am terribly saddened to learn of the shootings today at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. I ask all Georgians to join me in praying for the victims and the families affected by this horrendous tragedy.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Atlanta:

I am incredibly grieved by this horrible tragedy.  As one who has experienced violence and even terrorism in my life, I deeply regret that young innocent children were killed and that their families and the people of Newtown, Connecticut must face this violence in their communities.  My heart weeps at the senselessness of this atrocity.

This time of year is special for the children of this nation.  They are …

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