President Obama took a swipe at the Hard Right on Monday, accusing tea-party-aligned House Republicans of gambling with the nation’s economy by threatening to shut down the government unless Obamacare is defunded.
In a sprawling economic speech, Obama called on Congress to avert a government shutdown by passing a budget, and he insisted he would brook no wrangling over a raise in the debt ceiling. Obama said such a shutdown, or even the possibility of default, would damage the still-fragile economic recovery.
Specifically, the president went after Republicans who say they won’t vote for any budget deal that does not nullify the Affordable Care Act. “I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can’t get 100 percent of what it wants,” Obama said. “That’s never happened before, and that’s what happening right now.”
Obama appealed to the rest of the Republican Party for help in brokering a budget compromise, challenging members to break with those calling for defunding Obamacare.
“Are some of these folks so beholden to one extreme wing of their party that they’re willing to tank our whole economy?” he said. “Are they willing to hurt people?”
By going after one GOP “faction” and appealing to the other, Obama is seeking leverage in a tactical dispute that has vexed Republicans all summer. In one camp are legislators — headlined by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas — who are insisting that the party shut down the government unless funding is stripped for the health care law. Other Republicans, including much of the party’s leadership, say they too want to defund the health care law, but they see connecting Obamacare to a government shutdown as too politically risky.
In seeking to further divide the camps, Obama is hoping to avert a government shutdown while also achieving some Democratic policy aims, such as rollbacks of the sequester-induced spending cuts that Obama on Monday said were hurting economic growth.
The government’s current budget is set to expire Oct. 1. If Congress cannot pass a budget before then — a possibility that seems increasingly likely as days dwindle on the legislative calendar — it has the option forestall shutdown by passing a short-term extension.
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When it comes to name-calling among America's upper echelon of politicians, there may be perhaps no greater spat than the one currently going on between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump. While receiving an award Tuesday night, she continued a months-long feud with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Calling him a "small, insecure moneygrubber" who probably doesn't know three things about Dodd-Frank, she said he "will NEVER be president of the United States," according to her prepared remarks."We don't know what Trump pays in taxes because he is the first presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims." It follows a long-line of Warren attacks over Twitter, Facebook and in interviews that Trump is a sexist, racist, narcissistic loser. In reply, Trump has called Warren either "goofy" or "the Indian"—referring to her controversial assertion of her Native American heritage.
The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."
"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
"Speaker Paul Ryan is changing the rules of how the House will consider spending measures to try to prevent Democrats from offering surprise amendments that have recently put the GOP on defense. ... Ryan announced at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning that members will now have to submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are pre-printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides." The change will take effect after the Memorial Day recess.