October 9, 2013 at 8:44 am #97842
President Obama delivers a statement and answers questions from the press on the government shutdown and the upcoming debt ceiling increase in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House. October 8, 2013.
As you make it through Hump Day, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful dayOctober 9, 2013 at 8:45 am #97843
Good Morning, EveryoneOctober 9, 2013 at 9:03 am #97844
40,000 New Yorkers have signed up for quality, low-cost health insurance in just a little over one week. http://www.healthbenefitexchange.ny.gov/news/press-release-ny-state-health-announces-exchange-has-signed-tens-thousands-new-yorkers-low-cost …
7:31 AM – 9 Oct 2013October 9, 2013 at 9:06 am #97845
Yet Another Poll Shows GOP Receiving Most Blame For Shutdown
Tom Kludt – October 9, 2013, 6:54 AM EDT
A web poll released Wednesday showed that Republicans continue to bear most of the blame for the government shutdown, the latest iteration of a clear and consistent trend.
The Associated Press-GfK survey showed that 62 percent of American adults primarily blame Republicans for the first shutdown since 1996, while about half pinned the blame on President Barack Obama or congressional Democrats.
And while 52 percent said that Obama is not cooperating enough with the GOP to end the shutdown, 63 percent said Republicans aren’t doing enough to cooperate with the president.
Republicans have assailed Obama for his refusal to negotiate the terms of a continuing resolution that would re-open the shuttered government. Obama, meanwhile, has said that he will negotiate but only after Congress passes a bill to fund the government.
Polls conducted before and after the shutdown have consistently shown that the public holds Republicans responsible for the situation.October 9, 2013 at 9:07 am #97846
Arizona law may restrict voting in local elections
By Reid Wilson, Published: October 9 at 6:00 am
Arizona residents who registered to vote using forms provided by the federal government will not be allowed to vote in state and local elections next year, according to an opinion issued by the state’s attorney general, setting up the possibility of a two-track electoral system that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and impact just a small handful of voters.
In a legal opinion [pdf] presented to Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R), Attorney General Tom Horne (R) said voters who registered using a federal registration form but failed to provide a document proving their citizenship are eligible to vote in federal elections, but not in state and local elections.
Horne also held that voters who registered using the federal form won’t be eligible to sign petitions for candidates or ballot initiatives.
The federal registration form, created as part of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, better known as the Motor Voter law, requires voters to certify, under penalty of perjury, that they are citizens eligible to cast a ballot.
But in 2004, Arizona voters passed Proposition 200, a measure that required voters to go farther than the federal rules and present proof of citizenship, such as a driver’s license number, a photocopy of a birth certificate or a passport. State-printed voter registration forms require that proof of citizenship; federal forms do not.October 9, 2013 at 9:08 am #97847
Paul Ryan’s Debt Limit Proposals Don’t Gut Obamacare
Tom Kludt – October 9, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday that President Barack Obama must “come to the table” in order to avert the looming fiscal crisis and that “both sides should agree to common-sense reforms of the country’s entitlement programs and tax code.”
But noticeably absent from Ryan’s proposals was any reference to the Affordable Care Act.
“The president is giving Congress the silent treatment. He’s refusing to talk, even though the federal government is about to hit the debt ceiling. That’s a shame—because this doesn’t have to be another crisis,” Ryan wrote in the Wall Street Journal. “It could be a breakthrough.”
Ryan’s proposals include requiring those who are “better off to pay higher premiums for Medicare” and reforming the Medigap plans “to encourage efficiency and reduce costs.”
And although he addressed the need for a “complete rethinking of government’s approach to health care,” Paul never explicitly called for changes to Obamacare, a pre-requisite to any deal for many conservatives on Capitol Hill. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) said earlier this week that any debt limit deal must delay or defund the Affordable Care Act.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said emphatically Tuesday that a “clean” debt limit increase — one without reforms attached — would be tantamount to “unconditional surrender” for Republicans.October 9, 2013 at 9:09 am #97848
GOP Rep: Obamacare A Bigger Threat Than Default
Tom Kludt – October 9, 2013, 7:27 AM EDT
For Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), every threat to the nation’s economy — including default — pales in comparison to the Affordable Care Act.
While many hardline conservatives in the Republican Party have sharply criticized the health care law, Broun’s rhetoric has been particularly apocalyptic. Echoing what he told National Review earlier this week, Broun told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday that “Obamacare is going to destroy everything that we know as a nation.”
So with the mid-October debt limit deadline looming, Broun said he’s prioritizing the economic ills.
“There are a lot of things that are going to affect our economy,” Broun told the New York Times in a story published Wednesday. “The greatest threat right now is Obamacare. It’s already destroyed jobs, it’s already destroyed our economy, and if it stays in place as it is now, it’s going to destroy America.”
The Times piece focused on a group of Republicans who have been dismissive of the threat of default. Obama called those default deniers “irresponsible” during a news conference on Tuesday.October 9, 2013 at 9:12 am #97849
By Steve Benen
Wed Oct 9, 2013 8:00 AM EDT
About an hour after President Obama held a pretty impressive press conference at the White House, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) hosted a much briefer event — 5 minutes compared to 68 minutes — in which he made several odd-but-important claims.
To be sure, much of the rhetoric was the usual nonsense, which has become little more than annoying background noise. The Republican leader said, for example, the president “refuses to negotiate,” which is largely the opposite of what Obama actually said. Boehner also gave a brief lecture on “the way our government works,” as if it’s normal for a major party to ignore election results, shut down the government, and threaten a sovereign debt crisis unless its demands are met.
I was particularly amused when the Speaker said, “This isn’t about me and frankly, it’s not about Republicans. This is about saving the future for our kids and our grandkids.” Apparently the fight has become about deficit reduction, despite the fact that the deficit has already been cut in half; despite the fact that Boehner has rejected a series of bipartisan measures that would reduce it further; and despite the fact that Boehner voted to add Bush’s two tax cuts, two wars, and a Wall Street bailout to the national charge card.
But that wasn’t the really funny part. This was:
“So the president’s position that, ‘Listen, we’re not going to sit down and talk to you until you surrender,’ is just not sustainable…. What the president said today was, if there is unconditional surrender by Republicans, he’ll sit down and talk to us.”
This is the argument that raises legitimate questions about whether Boehner is simply in over his head — it’s quickly becoming apparent that he’s simply not well suited for the office he currently holds and not at all prepared for the responsibilities that have overwhelmed him.October 9, 2013 at 9:15 am #97850
Shutdown Cancels Entire US Antarctic Research Program http://dlvr.it/46Dz5S
6:02 AM – 9 Oct 2013October 9, 2013 at 9:16 am #97851
Paul Begala @PaulBegala 11h
.@johnboehner has called 42 separate votes to repeal Obamacare. Why won’t he call one to fund the govt? #JustVoteOctober 9, 2013 at 9:17 am #97852
Default deniers complicate GOP extortion plan
By Steve Benen
Wed Oct 9, 2013 8:47 AM EDT
Following up on Rachel’s segment from last night — and for the love of all that is good in the world, I sure hope you watched the Moby Dick production — the world has a serious problem on its hands. More than a few congressional Republicans have convinced themselves that a sovereign debt crisis wouldn’t be so bad and Congress should feel free to ignore the debt-ceiling deadline.
To be sure, there were a handful of extremist lawmakers who made this argument in 2011, during the first-ever Republican debt-ceiling crisis, but they were considered strange policy freaks who were generally ignored.
Over the last two years, however, as the radicalism of extremist Republican politics has intensified, the argument has gone mainstream. Both the New York Times and Politico have lengthy reports this morning on the growing number of GOP lawmakers — some in the House, some in the Senate, some new to Congress, some who’ve had lengthy congressional careers — who genuinely seem to believe the crisis they’re creating on purpose won’t be “that bad.”
The evidence is overwhelming that their argument is, among other things, dangerously insane. What they’re suggesting — the Treasury can simply “prioritize” expenditures to prevent default on our debts — is illegal and literally impossible.
But looking at this genuine madness in the bigger picture, I have three questions I’d like the default deniers and the rest of the political world to consider as the crisis continues.October 9, 2013 at 9:26 am #97853
What the Tea Party is really afraid of: California
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 | Posted by Spandan C at 12:03 PM
Yeah, what he said.
This year, California’s deficit suddenly disappeared (thanks partly to voters hiking income taxes on the rich), we raised the minimum wage, made undocumented immigrants eligible for drivers’ licenses and law licenses, and passed new gun control measures. Well, not suddenly, really. You see, voters in last year’s elections in California cleaned out a certain political party. Having lost all of the statewide constitutional offices in 2010 (yeah, while the rest of the country was busy giving power to the GOP, we cleaned their clock here), they also lost their last leverage in state politics in 2012 – as voters gave Democrats a two-thirds majority in both houses of the state legislature, Republicans lost their last refuge to stop certain legislation.
While a lot of people would like to tell you that California has always been a liberal bastion, this was a fairly rapid turnaround. Just a decade ago, in 2003, Californians recalled a Democratic governor, and put in a popular Republican movie star in his place, who then won a big re-election in 2006. Some of the most ardent wingbat conservatives in Congress hail from California (ahem, Darrell Issa), as did GOP’s patron saint Ronald Reagan.
And so, California Republicans met for their convention in Anaheim this weekend, irrelevant as they are, and stuck between the the wingbat Tea Party conservatives and others who actually hope to win a statewide election in the state ever again. But California’s dramatic shift has happened because of some factors that are coming to the rest of America.
First, demography is destiny. California is not only a minority majority state, with Hispanics now equaling the Anglo population in the state, but we are also one of the most diverse. Our ethnic composition spans Anglos, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, African Americans, and nearly everything else you can think of.
The Republicans began their long decline with the state’s minority population with Pete Wilson and Proposition 187, which outlawed undocumented immigration from using state services, including outlawing children from going to school. It took a Democratic governor in 1999 to stop the appeals after a federal court overturned the law. Republicans didn’t learn their lesson though, as the following Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger turned back a Gray Davis era law to grant drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants.October 9, 2013 at 9:27 am #97854
The basic story: Democratic unity
By Jonathan Bernstein, Updated: October 8, 2013
Barack Obama gave a lengthy press conference today, and what was most notable about it wasn’t anything he said that was new — basically, he stuck to his line that he’ll negotiate anything as long as Republicans allow the government to reopen and raise the debt limit — but just how unified the Democrats remain. Here’s the core message he delivered:
[M]embers of Congress, and the House Republicans in particular, don’t get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs. And two of their very basic jobs are passing a budget and making sure that America’s paying its bills. They don’t also get to say, you know, unless you give me what the voters rejected in the last election, I’m going to cause a recession.
(J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)
We’re a week-plus into this shutdown, and I didn’t hear anything from the president which deviated, even a tiny bit, from what House and Senate Democrats are saying. Not only that, but there doesn’t seem to be any split between any of these Democratic politicians and Democratic activists, party-aligned interest groups and other party actors. They appear to be completely united on rejecting GOP “hostage-taking.”
That’s certainly not the case on the other side, where Republicans have turned on each other, sometimes bitterly so, and where party-aligned groups have regularly criticized Republican politicians in Congress, whether it’s the Chamber of Commerce rejecting the Republican approach or tea party groups that have been quick to criticize House Speaker John Boehner and pragmatic conservative Republican senators.
Why the Democratic unity? It seems pretty straightforward: Democrats agree that both the substance and the procedure of Republican requests is flatly unreasonable. It’s not spin. It’s not a bluffing negotiating position. It’s apparently the virtually unanimous reaction of Democrats at all levels.
And that, finally, is why Republicans are losing the shutdown fight, and are going to continue losing it. The only question has been how badly the nation will be hurt by it, and how long it takes for Republicans to accept that they’ve misplayed this horribly.October 9, 2013 at 9:28 am #97855
The Morning Plum: A clarifying moment of Washington dysfunction
By Greg Sargent, Updated: October 9, 2013
Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan have both published new articles that add up to a kind of closing argument against the White House as the crisis hits a climax. Both are usefully revealing. By eliding the core disagreement driving this standoff, both reveal just how weak the GOP case really is, in a manner only the most determined “both sides to blame” commentator could fail to appreciate.
Cantor’s piece describes the standoff as a “clarifying moment of Washington dysfunction.” He’s right. But it isn’t clarifying in the manner he claims it is.
Cantor’s and Ryan’s pieces call for Obama to negotiate with Republicans on entitlements and spending as a route to resolving the current crisis. Says Cantor: “The president not only has refused to negotiate on issues of debt and spending but also has mocked the very idea of engaging with Congress.” Cantor’s statement is false. Obama and Republicans don’t disagree over the need to negotiate on these issues. They disagree over the conditions under which these negotiations should proceed.
Dems want Republicans to agree to reopen the government at sequester levels, and to avert the threat of default, before entering into these negotiations. They don’t believe the threat of widespread harm to the country should give Republicans unilateral leverage in those negotiations — not just because it will be used to force unilateral concessions from Dems, but because it will legitimize such tactics as conventional Washington negotiating tools and make default, and immense damage to the country, more likely later.
By contrast, Republicans will only agree to have these negotiations in a context where a government shutdown and the threat of default do give them that added leverage. This is an objective statement of the GOP position. Dems have offered Republicans the negotiations they want, once those conditions are lifted. Republicans have refused. Therefore, their position is that conditions which continue to threaten widespread destruction, giving them leverage, must remain for any talks to proceed.
The key tell is that Cantor and Ryan don’t directly defend this position. They elide it. To be sure, both repeat the claim there have been negotiations attached to debt ceiling hikes in the past. But as Jonathan Chait explains, that isn’t the same as dangling the actual threat of default and untold economic havoc as a way to extract massive one-sided concessions. Republicans cannot defend this tactic because they will not acknowledge they are actually employing it. John Boehner already allowed in March that the debt ceiling will and must be raised, because: ”I’m not going to risk the full faith and credit of the federal government.” But on ABC on Sunday, when Boehner was pressed on whether he’d actually allow default if Dems didn’t give him what he wants, he repeatedly fudged, saying he would not allow a vote on a ”clean” debt limit bill. What happens if default is the only other option? We just don’t know.October 9, 2013 at 9:29 am #97856
Obamacare Improvement Act of 2017
Posted by Richard Mayhew at 6:29 am .
Let us make the following assumptions about a potential Obamacare Improvement Act of 2017:
•The exchange and Medicaid coverage expansion both go live on 1/1/14
•There are known and unknown glitches with both programs
•On Jan. 21, 2017, Democrats control at least one veto point (The Senate is the easiest veto point. The 2016 terrain is very favorable for Democrats to add a significant number of seats in blue and purple states from the Tea Bagger wave of 2010)
•We’re living in a more rational political universe where trade-offs can occur.
The strongest assumption leading to an Obamacare Improvement Act of 2017 is that by then “fuck you, I’ve got mine” will work in our favor. The weakest assumption is the “rational” political universe.
People will be used to buying insurance on the Exchange/Marketplace. People will be used to getting tax subsidies. People will be used to not having a panic attack when a round of lay-offs are announced for the one member of the family who has employer sponsored group insurance coverage. Obamacare will be status quo. Inertia and tweaking works in favor of improvement.
So what would such an act look like?
I think we can divide the changes into four major categories. Bug fixes, cost sharing, pilot projects being brought to scale and coverage expansion.
The first and I think the easiest set of changes to incorporate will be bug fixes. There are four notable bugs at the moment. The first is Congressional staffers have to go on Exchange for their insurance, but there was ambiguity as to whether or not their employer contribution followed them to the Exchange. OPM made a rule saying the premium subsidy from the employers followed the employees. A simple fix could clarify this. Another example is clergy can’t apply subsidies to some church sponsored plans that don’t qualify as adequate coverage for Obamacare regulations. Sen. Coons and Sen. Pryor have a bill to tweak the regulation. The bug that will get the most headlines over the next three years is the family coverage glitch. Right now, if an employer offers “affordable” insurance to the employee but not the family, the family is unable to get subsidies on the Exchange. That needs to change. The final issue is PPACA was passed with the assumption that all states would quickly expand Medicaid and therefore individuals who made less than 100% FPL would never see the Exchange and thus should not receive subsidy. Tweaking that language so that anyone who qualifies for the Exchange can get subsidy is a straightforward fix. There are other small known issues. There will be a laundry list of other issues that pop up during the next three years that can be fixed.
Currently subsidies are on a sliding scale up to 400% FPL. The maximum the second lowest silver policy can cost is 9.5% of modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). In most cases this works out very nicely. However there are a few corner cases where the second lowest silver for an individual who makes just more than 400% FPL is significantly above 9.5% of FPL. Good social welfare policy making should not have explicit or implicit marginal tax rates of several thousand percent. That messes up work incentives a bit. The policy change should be subsidies apply to any and all situations regardless of income to bring the cost of the second lowest silver down to 9.5% of MAGI. If that means someone with an income of 512% FPL gets a $1,200 subsidy, oh well, they need it.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.