Politics

Inside the House Energy and Commerce Committee

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April 17, 2013, 9:41 a.m.

The Obama ad­min is “con­sid­er­ing a range of new meas­ures to boost eco­nom­ic growth” in­clud­ing “tax cuts” and a “new na­tion­wide in­fra­struc­ture pro­gram.” The WH eco­nom­ic team has “met fre­quently in re­cent days to list ways to bol­ster the strug­gling re­cov­ery.” On the list of pos­sible ac­tions: ad­di­tion­al tax cuts for small busi­nesses, pos­sible payroll tax cuts for busi­ness and in­di­vidu­als. Ef­forts to boost growth “have taken on ur­gency” as the eco­nomy has shown signs of flag­ging and is among voters’ chief con­cerns (So­lomon/Weis­man, Wash­ing­ton Post, 9/1).

Wash­ing­ton Post’s Ger­son writes, “This is a pres­id­ent who has lost con­trol of his pub­lic mes­sage” on the eco­nomy. “It wanders un­leashed from park to al­ley, stop­ping to sniff every cable news story along the way. Some blame a polit­ic­al and com­mu­nic­a­tions team that is re­act­ive and un­dis­cip­lined. But there is an­oth­er pos­sib­il­ity. Per­haps the pres­id­ent doesn’t talk about job cre­ation be­cause he doesn’t have much to say” (9/1).

VP Biden, on the polit­ics of the eco­nomy: “Our over­whelm­ing fo­cus is to make sure we con­tin­ue the tax cuts for the middle class. And we provide ad­di­tion­al tax cuts for small busi­nesses that ac­tu­ally hire people. That’s what we hope when the con­gress comes back in ses­sion. The Re­pub­lic­ans will stop fili­bus­ter­ing the tax cut for small busi­nesses and the sen­ate for small busi­ness. … We hope the Re­pub­lic­ans will be­gin to join us. Pete Ses­sions, the Con­gress­man who is in charge of the reelec­tion ef­forts in the House, said that ‘when we take con­trol, if we take con­trol, we’re go­ing to go back to the same, ex­act agenda we had be­fore.’ That’s the agenda that drove us in­to a deep re­ces­sion. That is no an­swer. The an­swer is to do what we’ve done in Ir­aq, be­gin to co­oper­ate. And provide for the in­cent­ives for small busi­nesses. Cut taxes for the middle class. And con­tin­ue to try to stim­u­late the eco­nomy” (“Good Morn­ing Amer­ica,” ABC, 9/1)

Three Big Chess Pieces

Obama is “at­tempt­ing a triple play this week” that has eluded his pre­de­cessors for the past two dec­ades: Is­raeli-Palestini­an peace, Ir­aq and Ir­an — “in hopes of cre­at­ing a vir­tu­ous cycle in a re­gion prone to down­ward spir­als.” His­tory “shouts” that “all the odds are agi­anst him.” But WH of­fi­cials “eager to show con­crete pro­gress on the hard­est for­eign policy chal­lengers” con­tend Obama “has changed the polit­ic­al cli­mate in all three aren­as and has the best shot in years at cre­at­ing pos­it­ive and in­ter­lock­ing res­ults.” Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel: “There are three big chess pieces here, and in each of those places we are now poised for suc­cess. Vic­tory be­gets vic­tory, and suc­cess will be re­in­for­cing” (Sanger, New York Times, 9/1).

New York Times’ Fried­man writes, “Obama is em­bark­ing on something I’ve nev­er seen be­fore — tak­ing on two Mis­sions Im­possible at the same time…The guy’s got au­da­city. I’ll provide the hope. But kids, don’t try this at home.” Obama, Hil­lary Clin­ton, Is­raeli PM Ben­jamin Net­an­yahu, Palestini­an Pres­id­ent Mah­moud Ab­bas, and the newly elec­ted lead­ers of Ir­aq “need to now raise their games to a whole new level to seize this mo­ment” — or “their op­pon­ents will” (8/31).

The Pres­id­ent That Nev­er Sleeps

Obama is “step­ping up his fun­drais­ing” for Dems hold­ing an event in New York City 9/22 to raise money for the DSCC and DCCC. For $15.2K donor will be al­lowed to at­tend the din­ner and get a “pres­id­en­tial photo re­cep­tion” (Bres­na­han, Politico, 9/1).

Rais­ing The Red Flag

The Obama ad­min “form­ally chal­lenged” a court or­der bar­ring the fed­er­al gov’t from fund­ing em­bryon­ic stem cell re­search. DoJ spokes­per­son Tracy Sch­maler: “The gov­ern­ment is seek­ing a stay of the court’s in­junc­tion to pre­vent the ir­re­par­able harm and fin­an­cial harm that could oc­cur if these lifesav­ing re­search pro­jects are forced to ab­ruptly shut down. The great po­ten­tial for sig­ni­fic­ant ad­di­tion­al med­ic­al break­throughs is at risk if this re­search is hal­ted pending the ap­peals pro­cess” (Stein, Wash­ing­ton Post, 9/1).

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