Re: Mr. Jentleson's Email Earlier Today
As Senate Democrats take to the floor today in a charade to criticize House Republicans for their job-creation efforts, let’s reacquaint ourselves with their failure of a record….
The Do-Nothing Senate: Senate Secretary’s Report Finds Reid’s Senate To Be The “Laziest” In Twenty Year. “For those who need proof that the Senate was a do-nothing chamber in 2011 beyond the constant partisan bickering and failure to pass a federal budget, there is now hard evidence that it was among the laziest in 20 years. In her latest report, Secretary of the Senate Nancy Erickson revealed a slew of data that put the first session of the 112th Senate at the bottom of Senates since 1992 in legislative productivity, an especially damning finding considering that it wasn’t an election year when congressional action is usually lower. (Paul Bedard, “Report: Democrat-Controlled Senate Laziest In 20 Years,” The Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” Blog, 2/16/12)
Number Of Public Laws Pass In 2011 By Democrat Senate Is The Second Lowest In Twenty Years. “On the passage of public laws, arguably its most important job, the Senate notched just 90, the second lowest in 20 years… (Paul Bedard, “Report: Democrat-Controlled Senate Laziest In 20 Years,” The Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” Blog, 2/16/12)
No Budget – Three Years Running: In a stunning backtrack that virtually guarantees Congress for the third year will be unable to produce a budget, Senate Democrats’ top budget writer Tuesday canceled this week’s expected votes on a 2013 fiscal blueprint. (Stephen Dinan, “Democrats Punt On Senate Budget Bill For Third Year,” The Washington Times, 2/17/12)
Leader Reid Forbids Chairman Conrad From Bringing A Budget To Senate Floor: “On Tuesday, Mr. Reid declined to answer specific questions about his strategy but told reporters…” (Stephen Dinan, “Democrats Punt On Senate Budget Bill For Third Year,” The Washington Times, 2/17/12)
Reid’s Leadership Has Focused On Preventing Action, Not Taking It. “Mr. Reid's energies have been exercised largely to prevent action, not take it. Remember Mr. Obama's jobs bill, and how he called on Congress to "pass this bill now"? When Senate Republicans pushed for a vote, Mr. Reid responded by changing the rules of the Senate to prevent one.” (Editorial, “The Do-Nothing Senate,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/14/11)
Bipartisan Bills Passed By The House & Supported By White House Languish In Senate Under Reid. “Over in the House, meanwhile, Republicans have been a hive of activity. Currently some 30 pro-growth bills languish in Mr. Reid's do-nothing Senate, lest the buck ever be passed to the president's desk. These include measures reflecting proposals endorsed by the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness—ranging from regulatory reform and tax simplification to reducing our dependence on foreign sources of energy.” (Editorial, “The Do-Nothing Senate,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/14/11)
Senate Democrats Don’t Even Know What The White House Jobs Agenda Is – Nor Do They Care. “In the meantime, several Senators confessed to Roll Call that they don’t know what is on the to-do list anyway, despite several speeches in which Obama has urged his followers to tweet, call, write and email lawmakers urging them to take it up. (Steven T. Dennis, “Obama’s ‘To-Do’ List Finds Few Takers,” Roll Call, 5/29/12)
Senate Dem: Wait… He Wants The ‘To-Do’ List Done Now?.... It’s Not Even Summer Yet. “What time frame did he put on that to-do list?” When told the president said the to-do list could be done “now,” Casey joked, “Now is a very expansive term. It’s not even the summer yet.“ (Steven T. Dennis, “Obama’s ‘To-Do’ List Finds Few Takers,” Roll Call, 5/29/12)
Why The Obstructionism? – Reid Is Protecting Vulnerable Members And His Leadership Post Instead Of Growing Economy & Getting Americans Back To Work. “Why does the majority go to all this trouble? The simple answer is to protect its members from tough votes.” (Brian Reardon & Eric Ueland, “The Surprising Truth About Senate Obstructionism,” The Wall Street Journal, 6/4/12)
From: Jentleson, Adam (Reid)
Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2012 11:19 AM
Subject: Heads up -- Leader floor speeches at 11:30
Heads up: At 11:30 am today, Senate Democratic leaders will take to the floor to criticize Republicans for blocking efforts to address the challenges we face as a nation and declaring that “serious legislating is all but done until after the election.” The leaders will focus on Republicans’ willingness to sideline middle-class families’ economic interests in the service of what Senator McConnell described as their “single most important” goal of defeating President Obama.
Eric Cantor: Congress goes from policy to politicking
Serious legislating is all but done until after the election, so House Republicans are left to do little more than position themselves on the so-called fiscal abyss of expiring tax rates, government funding and borrowing limit.
First it was Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who declared that Washington should get to work on the mess of issues that will surface during the lame-duck session, blaming Democrats for fiddling as the nation’s finances worsen.
Then, in recent weeks, allies of Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) began quietly reminding players in the Capitol that he wasn’t in favor of a grand compromise — he thinks an election is required to solve differences between Democrats and Republicans.
And on Tuesday, Cantor all but predicted 2012 substantively over. The Senate isn’t passing spending bills and is not talking about working to blunt the automatic defense cuts. The two sides remain too far apart on taxes and entitlements. The rest of the year, Cantor said, will likely be about sending “signal[s] that we’ve actually gotten with the reality here, that we have huge problems to deal with.”
In other words, Republicans want to show the direction the GOP will take if it’s in power.
Cantor’s candid comments show how confident he is that his party will not only win House again, but the election will bring a Republican president and GOP Senate. The Virginia Republican said he was “bullish” that Republicans would keep the House and Mitt Romney would win his home state of Virginia.
“I think you take the sort of elements — that redistricting helped us, our candidates … the members in the more swing seats are doing well,” he said.
The comments — delivered to four reporters, in the presence of three aides, over a bowl of M&M’s and pretzel twists — again serve to highlight the heavy political cloud that’s descended on Capitol Hill. And it represents a new phase for Cantor, who has spent the bulk of 2012 working across the aisle on small-bore legislation, avoiding the rough-and-tumble of political gamesmanship.
Cantor was more open than usual in discussing the prospects of an all-Republican Washington in 2013, one with a narrow Senate majority and Romney in the White House. He said Republicans could bypass the Senate’s cumbersome filibuster requirements “to fix the problem” of the nation’s finances by using the “reconciliation” process on tax bills, which require only a simple Senate majority.
“I definitely think that is a challenge, because it depends how strong those 52 votes are in the Senate,” he said, answering a hypothetical about a two-seat Senate majority. “I think that we’ve learned by what the Democrats did when they came in and controlled everything, we’ve also learned by the years in which we controlled everything, that you have to have an open process. You have to allow for all sides to have their say. And I think that what we would try to do is, we would set up a reconciliation process to fix the problem.”
Of course, Republicans are preparing for the Supreme Court’s health care ruling. If the law is overturned, Cantor said the party will have legislation ready.
“Well, we are, I think, united, if there’s not a full overturn of the law, that we will put a repeal measure on the floor to totally repeal ‘Obamacare,’” Cantor said.
But Republicans “don’t accept the denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions,” a sign that they’re sure to keep some of the popular elements in place.
And if Eric Holder doesn’t deliver documents to Capitol Hill explaining the Fast and Furious operation, Cantor said he’s ready to hold the attorney general in contempt of Congress, stepping up the fight with the nation’s chief law enforcement official.
“We remain committed to moving on this contempt issue if the Justice Department, the administration and Holder continue to withhold the information we ask for,” Cantor said.
Cantor also tried to set aside speculation about his own political future: He said he isn’t running for governor in Virginia in 2013, when his old statehouse deskmate Bob McDonnell is term-limited.
“No,” he replied when asked. “That’s a whole other discussion. Interesting stuff going on there.”
He would not elaborate.
The last time Cantor engaged in Washington warfare was in December, and he was stumbling out of a year of brawling over the national debt and government spending.
He was staring at rough poll numbers, and his operation even held a focus group in the district to gauge what Virginians thought of him. What followed were six months of small-ball politics — a ban on insider trading on Capitol Hill, a small-business package and the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. All of them garnered President Barack Obama’s signature.
But life won’t be that easy for Cantor going forward. He wants Congress to work to blunt automatic cuts to defense spending, keep in place the Bush tax cuts, all while plugging the nation’s $15 trillion debt.
Hurdles remain: Democratic insistence on higher taxes and Republican unwillingness to add revenue to a major deficit deal. Cantor is clearly banking on victory.
“Mitt Romney has offered a completely different view of how we tackle these really tough issues than the status quo that’s being pushed by Harry Reid and Barack Obama,” Cantor said. “They’re backing away, saying, ‘I’m wiping my hands of it, sequestration occurs, whatever goes on defense-wise will have to go on. We don’t fix the disproportionate problem of the entitlement — unfulfilled obligations in the future. Let it all go.’ And again, Mitt Romney says, ‘Wrong, we’re going to go and generate growth in the economy, we’re going to try to lead and fix these problems, please join us in doing that.’”
One thing Cantor isn’t interested in: Bowles-Simpson, a bipartsian deficit-reduction plan authored by former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.).
“Bowles-Simpson sounds good when you say it fast, OK?” Cantor said. “And that’s really to me what Bowles-Simpson is, it sounds good when you say it fast. And if you look at exactly what you say, Bowles-Simpson starts with an additional almost $2 trillion in” new taxes, Cantor said.