September 20, 2013 at 8:39 am #96859
A key focus of the Let’s Move! initiative is to make the healthy choice the easy choice for American families. Marketing and other sources of information can make it easier for families to make healthier choices, or act as a barrier to better choices. The White House Convening on Food Marketing to Children brings together a wide range of leaders working on this issue–from experts, advocates, and parents to food, beverage, media and entertainment companies to identify opportunities for action that ensure marketing supports the health of kids and families. September 18, 2013.
As you make it through the day, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful daySeptember 20, 2013 at 8:39 am #96860
Good Morning, EveryoneSeptember 20, 2013 at 8:53 am #96861
Shutdown proponent: ‘Shutdowns are not worth it’
By Steve Benen
Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:16 PM EDT
As far back as July, the Republicans’ government-shutdown scheme had three primary ringleaders: Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Yesterday, Cruz drew the ire of his conservative allies by saying something true: the Democratic-led Senate won’t go for the “defund Obamacare” plan, so the shutdown decision will likely fall on the House.
But if that put Cruz in the far-right doghouse, how will conservatives respond to this?
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the architect of the defund movement, said he hopes for an up-or-down vote in the Senate on ObamaCare funding.
Lee framed the possibility of a shutdown as President Obama’s problem. “Shutdowns are bad. Shutdowns are not worth it. This law is not worth causing a shutdown over,” he said.
Wait, what?September 20, 2013 at 8:57 am #96862
Feeding the base, starving the poor
By Steve Benen
Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:00 AM EDT
It wasn’t too long ago that the farm bill was one of those rare pieces of major legislation that Congress passed with relative ease. The left liked the provisions that helped low-income families put food on the table, the right liked the subsidies to the agricultural industry, and the bill usually sailed through both chambers with bipartisan support.
Then the radicalization of congressional Republicans set in, and what used to be easy became incredibly difficult.
To briefly recap, in July, after the Senate approved a bipartisan version, the House pushed its own right-wing alternative, which was almost laughably extreme. House Republicans pushed for $20 billion in food-stamp cuts, along with drug tests for recipients — because if you’re struggling to buy groceries in the wake of an economic crisis, conservative lawmakers believe you deserve to be treated as a suspected drug addict.
Much to the surprise of the GOP’s own leadership, that bill failed, not because it was too ridiculous, but because House Republicans concluded it just wasn’t punitive enough.
So, two months after passing a bill to help agribusinesses exclusively, the House GOP found time yesterday to pass an even more radical farm bill.
With only Republicans voting in support, the GOP-led House passed a bill Thursday to reduce spending for food stamps by $39 billion over 10 years.
The vote was 217-210. No Democrats voted for the measure.
Fifteen Republicans voted against the bill, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will result in the loss of benefits for an estimated 3.8 million people in 2014.
Morgan Whitaker explained that this House bill “creates new provisions that nearly double cuts, primarily by imposing new work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents between the age of 18 and 50, limiting them to three months of benefits in a three-year period unless they work part-time, or are in a job-training program. Currently, those recipients can obtain waivers during times of high unemployment.”September 20, 2013 at 8:58 am #96863
Claims that are true cannot be ‘mostly false’
By Steve Benen
Fri Sep 20, 2013 8:38 AM EDT.
In late August, the Washington Post ran a terrific report on Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) and his ties to the “fathers’ rights movement.” Of particular interest, Cuccinelli, now his party’s gubernatorial nominee, “introduced legislation on divorce law backed by national fathers’ rights groups,” which would have made it more difficult for women in unhealthy marriages to end their relationships.
Given that Cuccinelli is already struggling with women voters in the commonwealth, it hardly came as a surprise that his opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, quickly pounced and turned the story into a television ad. “If Cuccinelli had it his way, a mom trying to get out of a bad marriage, over her husband’s objections, could only get divorced if she could prove adultery or physical abuse or her spouse had abandoned her or was sentenced to jail,” the ad said.
Is the claim in McAuliffe’s ad true? Yes. Does PolitiFact understand this? No (via Jamison Foser).September 20, 2013 at 8:59 am #96864
Style Points and the Beltway Pundits’ Substance Deficit
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 | Posted by Spandan C at 4:06 PM
For some time now, the beltway media has been faulting President Obama on what he called out as “style points.” They charge that his style is inadequate for the political theater that is Washington, DC, and that such “style deficit” is the reason his second term agenda has been stuck in Congress. A piece by Lloyd Grove in The Daily Beast exemplifies the beltways bellyaching about style points, with a typically thick, dumb narrative.
The president’s zigzagging policy on Syria, the Larry Summers nomination debacle, and Monday’s partisan budget speech at the very moment that the nation was reeling from a madman’s shooting spree at the Washington Navy Yard, are only the latest manifestations of a mystifying paradox: Barack Obama, so surefooted when it comes to the politics of campaigning, often seems flatfooted when it comes to the politics of governing.
Oh, right. The president’s “zigzagging” on Syria – you know, that thing that got him what he wanted – and what the civilized world wanted – a full disarmament of Syria of its chemical weapons, without having to fire a single shot. A “nomination debacle” where there was no actual nomination. And the president’s speech drawing the nation’s attention to the fact that a fringe controlling the Republican party is trying extortion by holding hostage the full faith and credit of the United States in order to reach their extremist goals. Yeah, such flatfooted-ness.
The only paradox here is how seemingly smart people go to the beltway to become self-important village idiots.September 20, 2013 at 9:00 am #96865
Ted Cruz unmasks his own confidence game
By Greg Sargent, Updated: September 19, 2013
Right now, House Republicans and Senate conservatives are in the midst of a full blown war over who will get saddled with the blame when Republicans ultimately admit they don’t have the leverage to defund Obamacare.
It’s unclear how exactly we’ll get to that inevitable point or how much blood will be left on the floor along the way or who will end up spilling most of it. But one thing that seems clear is that the scam perpetrated by Senate conservatives is running out, and Ted Cruz is the reason why.
The short version of what’s happening is that House Republicans finally agreed to give Senate conservatives what they wanted — a bill funding the government at sequester levels while defunding Obamacare. Whereupon Cruz immediately allowed that Republicans won’t be able to get it through the Senate, and renewed the demand that House Republicans (who, after all, are in the majority) keep up the fight. House Republicans understandably erupted in fury last night, accusing Cruz of surrendering and of engaging in a bad faith effort to deflect blame on them for the inevitable failure of a scheme that was always going to fail anyway.
Here’s Ted Cruz trying to clean up the mess on Hannity last night, arguing that he and his fellow defund-Obamacare charlatan Mike Lee will keep the fight going as long as they can:
“I guarantee you one thing, Mike and I are going to fight with every breath in our body,” Cruz said. “As Churchill said, we will fight on the beaches, we will fight in the streets, we will fight at every step to stop the biggest job killer in America.”
Now, historians would probably see Cruz’s comparison of his vow to resist Obamacare to Winston Churchill’s call for full resistance to the Nazis as a tad strained. But that aside, this raises a number of interesting questions.
We know Senate Democrats will probably take the House CR and strip out the defunding of Obamacare in hopes of kicking it back to the House. But as Brian Beutler lays out, there are a number of procedural moves Senate Republicans can take to stall or slow this process — such as a Rand Paul-style drone filibuster — and conservative activists will presumably be expecting them to pull out all the procedural stops. As Beutler notes, if they don’t this whole thing will be exposed as the scam it always wasSeptember 20, 2013 at 9:04 am #96866
Coming Up: John Boehner’s Inevitable Surrender to Barack Obama
Thursday, September 19, 2013 | Posted by Spandan C at 10:18 AM
Right now, if you listen to most outlets, House Republicans are itching for a fight with President Obama in which they are prepared to threaten a government shutdown and a US default if their radical fringe does not get its demand of defunding Obamacare. And they very well might be. The media chatter also seems to indicate, however, that their leadership is being dragged along with the crazies, albeit kicking and screaming. This is where I part ways with the so-called analysts. I see things in a different light. I see John Boehner beginning the process, once again, to painstakingly cave to President Obama in the government funding and debt ceiling fights.
The headline reports have been that Boehner is relenting to the pressure created by right wing groups and … well, okay, just right wing groups… to tie defunding of the Affordable Care Act with the must-pass Continuing Resolution (CR) to keep the government funded past the end of this month. He even scheduled a vote tomorrow to do just that. But the devil, as always, is in the details. As the process is detailed, this is nothing more than another meaningless vote, and the GOP leadership is prepared to fold in the end.
The first attempt comes Friday, when the House is scheduled to vote on a plan to fund government operations past Sept. 30 that would also eliminate money for the Affordable Care Act.[...]
Senate Democrats have pledged to reject any effort to disable the health care law. They are likely to strip away the health care provision from the House bill and send the measure back to the lower chamber. Once that happens, GOP leaders would be faced with the choice of risking a government shutdown, or passing a temporary spending plan with the help of House Democrats.
Well, duh. Boehner is going to give the Teabaggers a vote to tie Obamacare to the government funding bill, making their idiotic brains think that they are being given a chance to shut down the government, and then when the bill gets back from the Senate without the provision, he is going to say ‘look, we tried,’ and surrender quietly. The exact same thing is likely to happen with the debt ceiling, in less than a month.
Hence begins the song and dance and the pretzel moves for John Boehner’s next surrender to Barack Obama. The president is not budging an inch from his position that he will not give into the Tea Party’s extortion attempts. He has made it abundantly clear that it is dangerous to allow economic terrorists within the Republican Party to hold hostage the normal operations of the government or our ability to pay the bills on the money Congress has already spent.September 20, 2013 at 9:05 am #96867
By Greg Sargent, Updated: September 19, 2013
Another key finding from this week’s Washington Post/ABC News poll:
Do you think the Republican leaders in Congress are doing too much, too little, or about the right amount to compromise with Obama on important issues?
Too much: 10
Too little: 64
About the right amount: 23
An astonishing 72 percent of independents say Republican leaders are doing too little to compromise.September 20, 2013 at 9:06 am #96868
No more magical thinking about the presidency
By Jonathan Bernstein, Updated: September 19, 2013
It’s an annual ritual: we get to late summer, something goes wrong for Barack Obama, and the press piles on. This time it’s Syria — Obama is getting widely criticized for vacillation and changes of course.
The criticism, in turn, has also produced a good discussion of how to go about criticizing a president. Here’s a rule of thumb: If you want to criticize Obama’s handling of process, then make sure you do it right. Don’t turn process criticisms into an excuse for mind-reading or magical versions of the presidency.
One question that’s attracted a lot of attention is whether a president should be criticized on process and theatrics or whether the primary focus should be on the outcomes he produces. David Ignatius today broke with much of the D.C. punditry and argued that the commentators’ obsession with appearances of vacillation — and lack of leadership — is out of touch with how the public views these matters.
In my view it’s fair to criticize a president’s handling of process. Process analysis can often illuminate what’s really going on; after all, policy outcomes are often driven by not just what the president wants, but what others in the system want, and how the president went about dealing with getting his way in the face of opposition.
The problem arises when process analysis is infected with magical thinking and outright wrong assumptions about how the presidency really works. For instance, one fallacy occurs when presidents assume a George W. Bush model in which the key question is only whether the president is able to get his way on his first impulse — as if that’s unquestionably a good thing.
Another problem arises when analysts get process completely wrong. See, for example, a Politico article called “What’s Wrong With President Obama?” We get process criticism on Syria and on the Fed chair choice with a bald assertion that if only Obama was tougher, something would have been better (it’s not clear exactly what, or how). Which rapidly turns to mind reading:September 20, 2013 at 9:09 am #96869
* House Republicans vote to cut $39 billion from food stamps, slashing aid to some four million Americans, and the GOP “rebrand” proceeds apace. Harry Reid’s statement:
“House Republicans’ vote to deny nutrition assistance to hungry, low-income Americans is shameful. The Senate will never pass such hateful, punitive legislation.”September 20, 2013 at 9:40 am #96870
Some in GOP willing to endure government shutdown to defund Obamacare
By DAVID M. DRUCKER | SEPTEMBER 19, 2013 AT 3:47 PM
Congressional Republicans’ willingness to risk a government shutdown to defund Obamacare could squander their single biggest political asset heading into the 2014 elections: the party’s unified opposition to this increasingly unpopular law.
House Republican leaders calmed a brewing intraparty divide this week when they announced support for a budget bill that would keep the government running beyond the Sept. 30 deadline, but eliminate funding for implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The legislation is set for a vote Friday and the overwhelming GOP support it is expected to have should quiet a sharp disagreement over the tactics of defeating Obamacare that has engulfed Republicans for weeks.
But the reprieve is likely temporary. The issue is sure to resurface early next week, when the Democratic Senate takes up the budget bill.
The Senate is expected to strip the Republican bill’s Obamacare provision, replace the money for its implementation and return the legislation to the House, putting back in Republican hands the responsibility for passing a budget bill or allowing the government to shut down on Oct. 1.
Neither House Republicans committed to defunding nor pragmatists worried that a shutdown will backfire politically have figured out what to do when the Senate and President Obama inevitably reject the defunding provision and the government shuts down. One option is an alternative House bill that doesn’t defund Obamacare but would delay its implementation for a year. Republicans bent on defunding, however, have so far showed little enthusiasm for a delay.
“I think we have a united front, not just among conservatives, but among the majority of our conference, to really fight for this thing,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a House leader of the defund movement. “Going back on my word, to allow Obamacare to be implemented, is not something that I can do, nor many in our conference can do.”September 20, 2013 at 9:41 am #96871
Senate sees way forward on funding bill
By Alexander Bolton - 09/19/13 03:17 PM ET
Senators have identified a legislative strategy to fund the federal government without forcing Republicans to vote against language to defund ObamaCare.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has not confirmed what procedural path he will choose but colleagues say he is likely to use an “amendment to strike” to kill the House-originated language to defund the new healthcare law while keeping the government funded.
Senate sources say Reid is likely to bring the House continuing resolution, which includes language to defund ObamaCare and to prioritize debt payments if the nation hits its debt limit, to the Senate floor.
Reid’s first move would be to schedule a vote to end debate on proceeding to the House continuing resolution. This would require 60 votes. Republican senators would vote to proceed to the bill because it would including the language to defund ObamaCare.
Then he would fill the amendment tree, defining what amendments could be considered in relation to the House legislation.
Reid would be sure that one of the pending amendments is a so-called “amendment to strike,” which would allow him schedule a future vote on stripping the language defunding ObamaCare and prioritizing debt payments.
A Senate Democratic aide characterized the amendment to strike as a substitute amendment that would allow Reid to replace the House language with a “clean” proposal to fund the government beyond September.
“It would be a substitute amendment,” the aide said. “There’s just a bunch of stuff we’d want to get rid of.”
Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/323447-senate-sees-a-way-forward-on-government-funding-bill#ixzz2fRLM5h00
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on FacebookSeptember 20, 2013 at 9:42 am #96872
Red State Democrats Oppose Republican Effort To Defund Obamacare
Posted: 09/19/2013 4:51 pm EDT | Updated: 09/19/2013 11:53 pm EDT
While pushing an effort to defund Obamacare or risk a government shutdown, congressional Republicans have insisted they might have some unlikely allies on their side: Senate Democrats up for reelection in red states.
But at least two of those Democrats, Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Pryor (Ark.), laughed off the suggestion Thursday that they would vote for a continuing resolution that permanently strips the Affordable Care Act of its funding.
“We’re not going through another [vote to repeal Obamacare], 43rd or 44th — no,” Begich told reporters on Capitol Hill. “Do I have issues with Obamacare? Yes. We’ve proposed multiple amendments and ideas to fix it, to make it better and take out things that aren’t working … but we’re not going through this process.”
When The Huffington Post asked Begich to respond to the idea that Democrats facing tough reelection battles in conservative states might favor House Republicans’ strategy, which ties Obamacare funding to a continuing resolution to keep the government running past Sept. 30, Begich laughed and shook his head.
“No — I think those guys over there should focus on what the American people want, and that is a budget done,” he said. “Quit playing with the continuing resolution, putting the debt at risk, and causing this great economy that’s moved in the right direction to falter again.”
Pryor also told HuffPost he didn’t favor the approach. “No, I just don’t,” he responded with a smile.
“We voted on Obamacare … and it’s the law of the land. It’s been through the Supreme Court,” Pryor said. “It’s not perfect, but let’s work to make it better.”September 20, 2013 at 9:45 am #96873
September 20, 2013 7:33 AM
A Lifeline for Boehner?
By Martin Longman
Noam Scheiber has been providing solid prognostication on the budget/debt ceiling fiasco and he is perturbed to discover a possible kink in his analysis. Might the administration offer John Boehner a lifeline at just the moment that he’s about to slip beneath the sands?
Scheiber’s predictions have been predicated on a confluence of perverse interests. The Tea Party wants a government shutdown either because calling for one is good for fundraising or because their heat-fevered brains are malfunctioning. Speaker Boehner wants a government shutdown because only the blunt force of outraged public opinion has any hope of breaking the heat-fever that has infected his caucus. Congressional Democrats want a government shutdown because it is possibly a prerequisite for turning enough red districts blue that they can have a positive midterm election next year. And the White House wants a government shutdown because there is no deal on offer that they are ready to accept to prevent one.
But maybe that analysis is a little too pat. I can, for example, give counterexamples that argue exactly the opposite. The Tea Party is doing great right now, making money hand over fist, running the show, making the Speaker dance to their tune. Why would they want to have their bluff called and become the skunk in the room? They can only be the purist anti-Washington brigades for freedom so long as the Establishment is ignoring them. When the Establishment adopts their strategy and swiftly falls on its face, that can’t be a good thing for the Tea Party. As to the Speaker, no one has been more transparent than Boehner about his distaste for a government shutdown. He hasn’t wanted one and, if he wants one now, it is only in the most grudging sense. The Congressional Democrats have the most to gain and the least to lose from a government shutdown, but they also care about the bottom line. They want to turn off the sequester. If that could be accomplished without a government shutdown, they’d likely take it. Finally, the White House doesn’t want to be seen as transparently rooting for a government shutdown, so they must produce some narrative that explains how they envision a shutdown being avoided. And that narrative can’t involve making any concessions on the debt ceiling.
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