‘02/‘08 NH-01 candidate/ex-HHS Commis. John Stephen (R) has raised $89K more than Gov. John Lynch (D) “since the primary.”
Stephen’s campaign said 10/13 he had raised almost $221K since the Sept. 14 primary. Lynch reported raising $132K. Stephen “outspent Lynch during the period” — $435K to $376K by Lynch. Stephen also has more CoH, $322K to Lynch’s $294K (AP, 10/13).
Want More On This Race? Check out the Hotline Dashboard for a comprehensive rundown of this race, including stories, polls, ads, FEC numbers, and more!
Just Not Enough
State House and Senate GOPers “failed in their attempts to get the Legislature to reconsider part of a parole law that passed last session” (Schoenberg, Concord Monitor, 10/14).
The issue “has become a dominant one” in the GOV race (See 10/13 story for more) where “two conservative groups” have already bought $450K in attack ads critical of Lynch’s support for the law. Stephen “called for repeal of the entire law but supported this GOP legislative maneuver” (Landrigan, Nashua Telegraph, 10/14).
Two “statewide groups of law-enforcement officials weighed in on opposite sides” of the contest this week.
The NH Assn. of Chiefs of Police on 10/12 endorsed Lynch for re-election, in what Lynch’s campaign described as the group’s first GOV endorsement in memory. The same day, Stephen was endorsed by the NH Sheriffs Assn. All nine elected sheriffs in the state are GOPers (the sheriff’s office in Rockingham Co. is currently vacant) (Leubsdorf, Concord Monitor, 10/14).
Already, the smart money in Washington is betting that the congressional super committee created by this week’s debt-ceiling deal to develop a plan for taming the long-term federal deficit will stalemate along party lines and fail.
No one has won much money lately betting against failure in Washington. But each party has powerful incentives to seize the opportunity this committee offers to set the nation on a sustainable fiscal path through paired entitlement and tax reform. “There is real potential for a win-win agreement for both sides,” said one senior White House official closely involved in the negotiations.
(PICTURES: Who Might Be On the Super Committee)
That potential exists because the super committee represents the one ray of light in the sordid debt-ceiling struggle. The battle set an ominous precedent. Since 1940, Congress has raised the debt ceiling almost 100 times. It’s fair to say that at each of those moments, a majority of senators or House members had at least one important beef with the president. But never before had that majority been as willing as House Republicans were this year to risk the nation’s credit rating to press their demands.
Although the creation of the super committee doesn’t justify this quantum leap in political combat, it does open a window for progress. Under the deal President Obama signed on Tuesday, the top four Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress will each appoint three members to a special committee that must recommend by November 23 at least $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction through 2021. If a majority of committee members endorse a proposal, that plan is guaranteed a floor vote in both chambers by December 23 without amendment or Senate filibuster.
Those rules provide this group with vastly more leverage to stabilize the nation’s finances than any previous commission has possessed. The procedures effectively preempt a minority veto — either through the Senate filibuster or the informal House rule that legislation reaches the floor only if a “majority of the majority” party supports it. Because a majority proposal from the committee could be passed with any combination of Republican and Democratic votes, it provides a unique opportunity for the center of both parties to impose a balanced solution on the ideological vanguard of left and right.
The first indications aren’t encouraging that Congress will seize this opportunity. House Speaker John Boehner has ruled out appointing to the super committee anyone who might consider raising taxes; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been almost as Shermanesque. Democratic leaders haven’t signaled as much rigidity, but unless Republicans on the panel are willing to raise revenue, the Democratic appointees won’t entertain entitlement reform. That would produce stalemate — and a fallback to the blunderbuss $1.2 trillion in defense and domestic spending cuts that the deal established as a backstop.
The wagering in Washington is that each party will find stalemate safer than rattling their base by accepting more taxes or entitlement cuts. And that wager might be right. However, there are two good reasons for each party to reconsider that calculation. One is policy. The other is politics.
The political incentive for bold action is self-preservation. It turns out that Americans don’t care much for the spectacle of their leaders negotiating at gunpoint. In the United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll released this week, the share of adults who said their member of Congress deserved reelection was lower than it was before the 2006 and 2010 landslides that flipped control of the House. Congressional approval ratings also are well below their meager levels in 2006 and 2010. Likewise, Obama’s approval ratings in some surveys this week reached their nadir.
No one can predict how such all-points discontent will affect 2012. But like Florida homeowners boarding up before a hurricane, both parties may find it prudent to fortify their position with a serious accomplishment such as a balanced long-term deal on the deficit.
The policy reason for avoiding stalemate is that the outlines of a plan that could win majority congressional support are clear. Three bipartisan efforts — the Simpson-Bowles and Domenici-Rivlin commissions, and the “Gang of Six” Senate process — all offered blueprints that linked entitlement reform with the closing of enough tax loopholes to lower tax rates and reduce the deficit. Even the Boehner-Obama talks covered similar ground. “Every serious effort has had the same frame,” says Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who helped launch the Gang of Six.
The biggest risk for the super committee is that Boehner and McConnell will ensure deadlock by appointing only members unalterably opposed to raising taxes. Stalemate on the super committee, however, would deny Republicans the heat shield of Obama signing serious entitlement reform (such as raising the Medicare eligibility age) and expose them to the danger that he will veto an extension of the Bush tax cuts when they expire on December 31, 2012, even if he loses the election. All of this may not be enough to persuade congressional GOP leaders to appoint committee members open to a big compromise that lastingly defangs the deficit threat. But it should be.
What We're Following See More »
"Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward turned down President Donald Trump's offer to be national security adviser Thursday, depriving the administration of a top candidate for a critical foreign policy post days after Trump fired Michael Flynn." Among the potential reasons: his family, his lack of assurances that he could build his own team, and that "the White House seems so chaotic."
"The House passed a resolution Thursday re-opening the door for states to block Planned Parenthood from receiving some federal funds. The measure, which passed 230-188, would reverse a last-minute rule from the Obama administration that said conservative states can't block the women's health and abortion provider from receiving family planning dollars under the Title X program."