It is welcome news that President Obama and Senator Reid finally stopped threatening to shut down the government, and cleared the bipartisan measure to keep the government running. Now it is time for the Senate to focus on passing a full year extension of the payroll tax cut to avert a tax increase on every American with a job. The House has passed the bipartisan Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act to extend the payroll tax cut, create jobs and help small business people. Senate Democrats need to join us to pass this responsible measure, rather than continuing to play politics and adding to the uncertainty on middle class Americans.
Today In History: In 1773, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians board three British tea ships and dump 342 chests of tea into Boston Harbor. The midnight raid, popularly known as the "Boston Tea Party," was in protest of the British Parliament's Tea Act of 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade.
Birthdays: Rep. C.W. Bill Young, William "Refrigerator" Perry, Lesley Stahl, Jane Austen, Beethoven, Jake Sherman and Christine Schaffer
Here is what’s in today’s Ledger …
State Of Play: Shutdown Averted – When Will The Senate Act On Payroll?
House and Senate Agree On Year End Plan Avoiding A Government Shutdown. After dropping minor policy prescriptions that President Obama opposed, members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees gave final approval to the plan … The White House initially had pushed Congress to delay the spending plan until the issue of the payroll tax was resolved, a move that raised the specter of a government shutdown … Linking the two measures only complicated the negotiations … The legislation will provide the full funding for the rest of fiscal 2012 for most of the government, including the Pentagon, the Education Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. Now that the spending deal has been clinched — votes are expected in both chambers Friday … The Washington Post
• How We Got Here - The White House & Senator Reid Nearly Forced A Government Shutdown In An Attempt To Gain Political Leverage. Capping a roller coaster week, House and Senate negotiators signed off Thursday night on a $1 trillion-plus, year-end spending bill, which the leadership expects to bring to the House floor as early as Friday to put to rest any threat of a government shutdown. … in recent days, it has been tossed about like a ragdoll among fighting children, even as Washington steamed toward a funding cutoff Friday night, when the latest stopgap resolution expires. The White House played no small part in this spat, dismissing the measure as “Washington’s business” and stalling action so as to gain leverage for Obama’s higher priority — extending the payroll tax holiday. Politico
The House Has Acted – When Will The Senate Act on the Bipartisan Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act that extends the payroll tax cut, creates jobs and helps small business?
State Of Play (2): Instead Of Focusing On Bipartisan Solutions, President Obama Focuses On The Campaign Trail
Dem Strategist: The President Should Be Focused On Working With Republicans To Find Areas Of Compromise. “[I] believe he should be less visible and focus more on substantive policies to fix our economy, get our fiscal house in order and improve the quality of life –specifically eschewing partisanship to find a compromise with Republicans to extend the payroll tax cut and extend unemployment insurance benefits,” Schoen said. The Hill
President Obama Puts Campaigning Ahead Of Finding Bipartisan Solutions. President Obama has not met with Republican leaders in Congress for 145 days, choosing instead to visit 20 states for 34 policy addresses and 34 campaign speeches. USA Today
• Opposition To The President Obama’s Economic Agenda Hardens: 60% Of Americans Disapprove Of President Obama’s Handling Of The Economy. The Associated Press
• Majority Of Americans Say President Obama Doesn’t Deserve Re-election. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed said the president should not get a second term in office – 43 percent said he should be reelected, according to the Associated Press-GfK poll. Politico
Background Noise? Americans May Tune Out Obama’s Media Blitz. Suddenly it seems President Obama is everywhere — again. In the last week, the president has been making the rounds on the tube, appearing on” 60 Minutes” —his seventh sit-down on the CBS news program since taking office. A day earlier, Obama didn’t just attend the Army-Navy game at FedEx Field, he stopped by the broadcast booth for an interview. And on Tuesday, television viewers in four swing state cities saw him in their living rooms once again when he participated in a string of interviews with local affiliates. … there are new risks in the most recent flurry of activity given the president’s dismal poll numbers and the reality that voters have been hearing from the president a lot over the past three years. As Obama tries to sell the public on his side of the negotiations on taxes and spending, he risks overexpose and his audience tuning him out as background noise. The Hill
ObamaCare Update: Support For ObamaCare Plummets As More Evidence Shows It Raises Costs and Eliminates Jobs
Only 29% Support The President’s Major Accomplishment. The poll found unpopularity for last year's health care reform bill, one of Obama's major accomplishments. About half of the respondents oppose the health care law and support for it dipped to 29 percent from 36 percent in June. Just 15 percent said the federal government should have the power to require all Americans to buy health insurance. Even among Democrats, the health care law has tepid support. Fifty percent of Democrats supported the health care law, compared with 59 percent of Democrats last June. Only about a quarter of independents back the law. The Associated Press
• Obamacare Regulations Are Raising Costs & Destroying Jobs. A small business health insurer broker testified today that Obamacare's Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) regulations has cut his revenues, forced many of his competitors out of business, and may end the small business insurance broker industry entirely. "This situation is not sustainable for much longer. I have, thus far, been able to hold on, but many thousands of other agents all across the country who are also working under these circumstances have become unemployed or underemployed, or have permanently left the industry," Colorado insurance broker Mitchell West told the House Small Business Committee. Independent insurance brokers like West help other small businesses find the best deal on health insurance for their workers. "They are providing valuable services to their client, not only in finding more affordable policies, but also serving as external human resource departments for small businesses," Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner testified. … Obamacare is regulating these small businesses out of existence by defining the commission they earn in as administrative overhead the purpose of calculating an insurance companies MLR. The Washington Examiner
Kudlow – By Delaying The Keystone Pipeline, President Obama Is Hurting Unemployed Workers and Alienating His Allies. Manufacturing workers. Construction workers. Truckers. Pipefitters. Plumbers. The Keystone opposition coming out of the White House is completely alienating all these people, the folks who work with their hands. And it’s these workers who have been decimated in the recession far more than any other group in the economy. David Barnett, the head of the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, told me on CNBC that unemployment is currently running at 20 to 25 percent in this blue-collar sector. He has repeatedly lobbied the White House to allow the Keystone pipeline to go through, and he notes high environmental standards in the work his men do. And yet even now, three years after the initial Keystone reviews began, the issue is still not resolved. How can you have a jobs bill without putting blue-collar workers back to work? Answer: stubborn ideological insistence. The Teamsters support the Keystone. So does the AFL-CIO. So do the machinists. And along with the plumbers and pipefitters, so does the Laborers’ International Union of North America. And we’re not just talking about the 20,000 jobs that would accrue directly from the pipeline, but the secondary and tertiary jobs from a long supply chain that total well over 100,000. National Review