The Leader's Ledger

Posted by Jessica Straus on

Good morning,

Yesterday, the House passed our measure to prevent devastating defense cuts and reduce the deficit; once again leading the way with solutions that address our nation’s fiscal challenges. However, we’ve heard nothing but crickets from the White House. As the Washington Post writes this morning, “the President’s studied disinterest in the topic is disturbing. House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) hit the nail on the head in a written statement when he said, ‘Unfortunately, the President and his party seem to be choosing to sit idly by and let the devastating cuts in the sequester take effect, rather than putting forward a plan of their own or supporting ours. The House has offered a plan to protect our troops and maintain a robust defense community, and now the Senate must do the same.’ ”

Today In History: In 1981, Bob Marley, the soul and international face of reggae music, died in a Miami, Florida, hospital. He was only 36 years old.

Birthdays: Brian J. Walsh, Steven Moore, Martha Graham, Salvador Dali, Eric Burdon, Cory Monteith, Harriet Quimby, Irving Berlin

Here are the Top 5 things you need to know today…

1. State of Play: House Passes Measure To Prevent Devastating Defense Cuts & Reduce The Deficit, President “AWOL” On Path Forward To Avert Sequester. Now, the president doesn’t quibble with the impact of his cuts. He didn’t fire Panetta, so presumably he doesn’t think his defense secretary misled Congress on the severity of the cuts. He is just not willing to do anything about it. (I know, shocking, isn’t it, that our president wouldn’t want to lead on a critical issue?) The president’s studied disinterest in the topic is disturbing. House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) hit the nail on the head in a written statement when he said, “Unfortunately, the President and his party seem to be choosing to sit idly by and let the devastating cuts in the sequester take effect, rather than putting forward a plan of their own or supporting ours. The House has offered a plan to protect our troops and maintain a robust defense community, and now the Senate must do the same.” Washington Post

2. The Economy: Americans' Pessimism On Economy Growing, Two-Thirds Call The State of The Economy “Poor.” Americans are growing more pessimistic about the economy and handling it remains President Barack Obama's weak spot and biggest challenge in his bid for a second term, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. And the gloomier outlook extends across party lines, including a steep decline in the share of Democrats who call the economy "good," down from 48 percent in February to just 31 percent now. Almost two-thirds of Americans - 65 percent - disapprove of Obama's handling of gas prices, up from 58 percent in February. Nearly half, 44 percent, "strongly disapprove." And just 30 percent said they approve, down from 39 percent in February. These findings come despite a steady decline in gas prices in recent weeks after a surge earlier in the year. The national average for a gallon of gasoline stood at $3.75, down from a 2012 peak of $3.94 on April 1…The poll shows that optimism on an economic recovery earlier this year has all but stalled. The share of Americans describing the economy as "good" dropped 10 points since February, to 20 percent. Two-thirds see the economy as "poor" and about one in seven say it's somewhere in between. And just 22 percent say the economy got better in the past month, down from 28 percent saying so in February. AP

3. The Bumpy Road Ahead: Grim News For College Grads: Only Half Working Full Time, Faced With Less Pay & Deep Debt. For most recent college graduates, these are gloomy times. Only about half are working full-time, with the majority starting with less pay than expected while also dealing with huge student debts. Nearly six in 10 think they’ll end up less financially successful than their elders. It’s a pessimistic outlook from the subjects of a study from Rutgers University, which this spring surveyed hundreds of people who graduated between 2006 and 2011. About 12% are under- or unemployed (many of the rest are volunteers, in the military or still in school)…Four in 10 said they took the work just to get by. Even to get current jobs, a quarter of recent grads said they’ve had to look below their education level and outside their professional fields. Many have also had to accept less-than-optimal hours and go without health benefits. Los Angeles Times

4. Energy Focus: Rising Gas Prices Are Crippling Small Businesses. Soaring fuel prices have left many entrepreneurs and business owners like him facing the same troubling dilemma: Pass on the rising gas prices to customers and risk losing their business or absorb the costs and sacrifice profit margins?.. “If policymakers in Washington do not begin to embrace new energy policies, I believe you will begin to see an increase in small business failures,” Smith said. “Meeting obligations such as payroll, energy consumption and other overhead expenses with diminishing profits becomes unsustainable.” Gasoline prices have soared since the start of the year, rising 20 percent between January and early April. The national average currently sits at $3.76 per gallon, with forecasts calling for a slight increase to $3.79 over the summer (recently revised down from estimates of $3.95 per gallon). Washington Post

5. Keeping Tabs: Chairman Upton: Keystone Pipeline Will Bring Jobs, Greater Energy Independence. The Keystone XL pipeline is good news for jobs, energy security, and, yes, for the environment. Pipelines are the safest, most environmentally sound way to transport oil and gas -- much safer than with trucks, railways or ships. Keystone XL will adhere to new and stronger pipeline safety standards that were signed into law earlier this year, the product of legislation authored by myself and U.S. Rep. John Dingell, reflecting lessons learned from the devastating Enbridge spill here in Michigan two summers ago. The president wants to push this issue past Election Day, but our window of opportunity is closing. The stakes are too high for our economy and energy security for Congress not to act, which is why I will make it a priority to see that Congress creates an immediate path forward for Keystone XL. Detroit Free Press


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