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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

CPAC Conference Highlights "Wacko Birds" in Republican Party - If there was any doubt about the huge amount of discord within the Republican Party, the three-day Conservative Political Action Conference should put it to rest.
The suburban Washington gathering of the most conservative elements of the GOP this week featured speaker after speaker picking fights with other Republicans and offering criticisms — sometimes indirect and often direct — of party figures such as Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Karl Rove, former president George W. Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Most of the speakers urged Republicans not to change but rather to double down on conservative principles. They included keynote speaker Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a leader of the new generation of Republicans whom McCain recently labeled “wacko birds.”  The Washington Post has more here.


Van Hollen: Job Creation, Not Deficit Reduction, Is Immediate Priority - As both the House and Senate work on budget blueprints for the new fiscal year, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, emphasized on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday that for his party “our priority is job growth”.

“Right now our big problem is to sustain the economic recovery. We’ve seen momentum in the job market and the last thing we want do right now is to put the brakes on that,” Van Hollen told NBC’s David Gregory. “In fact one half of this year’s deficit is due to unemployment.”  NBC News has more here.


Senator Corker: GOP Would Consider Revenue in Exchange for Entitlement Reform -A key Senate Republican conceded on Sunday that his party may be open to increasing taxes in exchange for a grand deal on cutting entitlement spending.

“I think Republicans if they saw true entitlement reform would be glad to look at tax reform that generates additional revenues, and that doesn't mean increasing rates that means closing loopholes, that also means arranging our tax system so that we have economic growth,” Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. has more here.


Senator Durbin: Open to Entitlement Reform, Slams Ryan Budget - While suggesting Democrats were open to reforming Medicare and other entitlements, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin also took some shots Sunday at Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, saying it would eliminate Medicare.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Durbin said that once the Senate passes the budget resolution fashioned by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), “we’re going to move to the next stage, and that is the grand bargain stage.”

“That is what the president is trying to set up, both sides sitting down on a bipartisan basis, not eliminating Medicare, as I’m afraid the Paul Ryan budget would do, but making sure that it’s going to survive for generations to come, putting revenues on the table that are fair and won’t penalize the working people across America and making sure it’s a balanced approach,” the Democratic senator from Illinois said. has more here.


Continued Israeli Settlements Complicate Peace Efforts - Israel’s building of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and West Bank territories seized during the 1967 war has been a longstanding friction point between Jerusalem and Washington.

With President Obama scheduled to visit this week, the government has postponed action on several East Jerusalem projects, to make sure there are no awkward events like when Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived in 2010 and was greeted by an announcement of 1,600 new units.
“It is all part of the plan, part of the scheme, to undermine the two-state solution and East Jerusalem being the capital,” said Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, on Thursday during a tour for foreign diplomats intended to highlight the issue ahead of Mr. Obama’s visit.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and most of the leaders in his new coalition, as well as the mayor of Jerusalem, have steadfastly maintained Israel’s right to build anywhere in the city, though its 1967 annexation of the Arab areas has not gained international acceptance. The NY Times has more here.
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