N2K Top 10: The Man; A Snowe Ball's Chance?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | 7:17 a.m.
- DON’T MESS WITH THE MAN. Tea party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., is pushing the 47-member Senate Republican Caucus to embrace a ban on earmarks. The caucus plans to vote next Tuesday, but DeMint has a problem: Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, likes earmarks and wants to keep them alive. Who’s going to win? According to National Journal’s Humberto Sanchez, one source estimates that McConnell already has 25 votes – a majority.
- A SNOWE BALL’S CHANCE? We hear that Dems are making new overtures to Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine to switch teams. They've tried before, but Snowe's 2012 primary prospects make taking another run at her now seem worth it.
- SHORT STOP. President Obama was forced to shorten the Indonesia leg of his Asia trip due to volcanic ash from Mount Merapi, which is wreaking havoc on air travel, so his morning schedule was adjusted to include on a brief visit to the Istiqlal Mosque and a speech at the University of Indonesia (NJ's Aamer Madhani questions whether Obama's outreach to the Muslim world is working). This morning he is en route to Seoul, South Korea, to attend the Group of 20 summit.
- DON’T ASK. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told National Journal that repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the military is “at least worth a shot” in the lame-duck session of Congress that starts next week. But lawmakers would have to hang around longer than some might like: The military’s study on the proposed repeal isn’t due till December 1.
- YOU’LL NEVER DRINK TEA IN THIS TOWN AGAIN. Republicans pushing for a balanced budget amendment may not be invited to any tea parties in the 112th Congress. Yes, the conservative movement rallied to slash government spending. But you can balance a budget with higher taxes. Ed Morrissey, the tea-party-supporting writer and radio host, told a forum at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday that many tea partiers might see a balanced-budget amendment as a “lever for higher taxes.”
- DISSONANCE. House Republicans believe they have the public behind them in their efforts to repeal the health care law. But while voters support the idea of repealing it, key components of the law remain overwhelmingly popular, according to the latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll.
- AMERICANS SOUR ON TRADE. A new poll from the Pew Center for the People and the Press finds that free-trade deals are anything but popular. Pew said 45 percent of Americans think such agreements have been bad for the United States, while 35 percent thought they have been good. Americans were especially down on trade agreements with China and South Korea -- bad news for President Obama, who hopes to close a deal with Korea this week.
- THE END OF COLLABORATION. At the Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh one year ago, the U.S. persuaded other major countries to embrace a coordinated approach to "balanced" and "sustainable" growth. But as leaders prepare for their summit Thursday in Seoul, tensions are high. The U.S. is under fire from Europe and Asia over the Fed's $600 billion easing strategy, but Germany and China are reverting to their old go-it-alone export strategies. G-20 outlook: thinly disguised feuding.
- UNDER THE INFLUENCE? A U.S. citizen from Pakistan who allegedly plotted to blow up Metro train stations pleaded not guilty in federal court Tuesday. A search warrant for Farooque Ahmed's home turned up several guns and ammunition, as well as writings by radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. U.S. officials have become increasingly concerned about al-Awlaki's ability to influence Americans to carry out terrorist attacks.
- WHO WILL NOTICE? Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch still rate U.S. Treasury securities AAA, despite the government’s soaring debt. But Dagong Global Credit Rating, a Chinese rating agency, has downgraded U.S. long-term debt from AA to A+. Dagong said its downgrade reflects the “drastic decline of the government’s intention of debt repayment.” Is anybody listening? Well, China is the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities, with $868.4 billion as of August.
Today’s Need-to-Know Video: Outlook for Lame Duck Session.