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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Daily Political Wire 12-1-2010

George Wenschhof

10:00 AM Update: So much for cooperation -
a day after meeting with the president, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) unveils a letter signed by all 42 Republican Senators promising to block all legislation until agreement is reached on extension of the Bush tax cuts and an omnibus bill to continue funding of the government.

This means the DREAM Act, unemployment benefits extension, repeal of D.A.D.T., ratification of the START Treaty, to name a few, are all blocked until resolution on taxes are reached.

This is either a great political move by Republicans or, depending on how Democratic leaders respond, a move that could backfire on Republicans. Stay tuned.


Bipartisan Talks Take Place at White House -
yesterday, President Obama met with Congressional Leaders. The statements to the press from both sides indicated a hope to move forward in finding consensus to the country's problems.

The president created a committee to recommend quickly to Congress a solution to the expiring Bush tax cuts. Serving with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Budget Director Jack Lew will be two members appointed by Republican and Democratic Leaders. The committee will begin meeting today. has more here.

Look to see the deal be an extension of all the Bush tax cuts for two or three years. In return, Senate ratification of START and an extension of unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed. Progressives will not be happy as they will feel Obama sold out.


D.A.D.T. Report Recommends Repeal
- Defense secretary Robert Gates gave a summary of the report yesterday to the press. Basically, the report found a majority of military personnel did not have a problem with repeal. Gates, however, did caution against quick action, saying it would take some time for implementation of the change.

Meanwhile, opponents argue the survey did not specifically ask the question; "do you favor repeal?", and the survey only included 28% of military personnel. has more here.

A vote to repeal D.A.D.T. in the lame duck session of congress is still a question mark.


Unemployment Benefits expire for Millions -
at midnight, benefits for the long term unemployed expired. Another of the many bills facing gridlock in Congress as Republican and Democratic leaders can not agree on the way forward. You can read more here.


Deficit Reduction Commission Report Due today -
few substantive changes are expected from the early report issued by co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson. Their report caught fire from both Republican and Democrats which may indicate they are on the right track. Changes in medicare and social security are included in the many recommendations leading to a reduction of the debt by 3.9 billion by 2020.

For congress to consider a vote on the proposal 14 of 18 members of the committee have to be in agreement. The vote of the committee has been postponed until Friday and it is not anticipated the threshold of 14 votes will be met. has more here.


O'Malley to become Chair of Democratic Governors Association -
Today, in Washington, he will be voted in to chair. Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is currently serving as vice chair of DGA. Democrats currently hold 19 and Republicans 29 of the Governors with Minnesota undergoing a recount. So far, Republicans have gained six Governors in the mid term elections.

Only three states; Mississippi, Kentucky and Louisiana hold elections next year so Democrats will not be able to regain a majority.

However, this appointment of O'Malley will give him more national exposure as some wonder what is the future for O'Malley when his term as governor of Maryland expires in 2014. has more here.


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