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Sunday
Apr172011

Tea Party: Cut Spending Before Raising Debt Ceiling

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Freshmen congressional members of the Tea Party say they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling without guaranteed structural changes to spending levels.

"The American people sent us here because in a large way they recoiled against a lot of this spending the President was putting upon us," Representative Joe Walsh, R-Ill., said. "If you're going to ask this Congress to support a raise in the debt ceiling, there's got to be something structural on the spending side."

Representative Steve Southerland, R-Fla., agreed that guarantees on spending cuts must be made to secure his vote.

"We've got to have some guarantees going forward … that if we raise that debt ceiling, that we get this economy on a trajectory to where we service our debt," Southerland said. "It's going to have to be a lot more than just sweetening it. It's going to have to be concrete."

Fears about catastrophic consequences, like those described by Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner in an interview on ABC’s This Week, shouldn’t drive the debt ceiling vote, according to Representative Allen West, R-Fla.

"I don't believe in leadership by fear and intimidation. I think that leaders have to come up with viable solutions," said West, who advocated for reducing corporate tax rates to spur growth and a trigger mechanism for automatic spending cuts, which President Obama also proposed last week.

On entitlement reform, Congresswoman Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., touted her support for Republican House budget committee chairman Paul Ryan's proposals to overhaul Medicare and Medicaid, disputing that it would increase costs for seniors.

Walsh said Republicans are leading on entitlement reform regardless of the political fallout, and that they have pushed President Obama to match their proposals.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr172011

Donald Trump: Political Sideshow or The Real Deal?

Mike Stobe/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Ever since Trump appealed to the "birther" movement by pushing President Obama to reveal his birth certificate, the real estate mogul has seen his poll numbers rise, elevating him to the top of the list of potential Republican candidates.

The latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey shows Trump tied at 19 percent with former Arkansas and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

"I don't even know if Donald Trump believes this stuff, but it's playing well," John Avlon, a columnist for The Daily Beast, told ABC News. "I think that actually should scare the hell out of the Republican Party right now."

Trump has indicated he may make an announcement regarding a future presidential run on the season finale of his show, The Apprentice, in May, but some question whether this may be a serious bid or simply a ploy to gain more media attention.

"Donald Trump's flirtation with a presidential campaign is all about Donald Trump," Todd Harris, a Republican strategist, said. "When you want to launch or make an announcement to run for the highest office in the land, if not the most important position in the world, if you want to do that on your reality TV show, it shows a lack of seriousness and frankly a disrespect for the office that he's pretending to want to seek."

But while some mainstream Republicans are labeling him a political sideshow, others think he could be the real deal.

At a rally in Florida on Saturday, the Tea Party crowd roared when Trump laid out his pro-life and anti-gun control message. Trump vowed to repeal "Obamacare" and stressed the importance of creating and keeping jobs in America.

Throughout his speech, Trump hammered on Obama's agenda, calling him the "worst president in the history of the United States." Trump took an additional swipe at former President George W. Bush, blaming the 43rd president for facilitating Obama's election.

"Whether you like him or not, George Bush gave us Obama, and I'm not happy about it," Trump said. "We have a disaster on our hands."

But one issue that abounded throughout Trump's speech -- his belief that he possesses the qualities necessary to lead a country he continually portrayed as on the decline.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr172011

Palin: 'All Aboard' Obama's 'Bullet Train to Bankruptcy'

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(MADISON, Wis.) -- Despite an overcast and snowy day, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin spoke outside the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison on Saturday to rally Tea Party members.

During her speech, Palin called out to the beltway GOP, telling them that she and the rest of the Tea Party will fight with them if they stand by their pledges, and then took swings at President Obama, saying he has increased American debt and mismanaged the recession.

“Hey media, it’s not inciting violence and it’s not hateful rhetoric to call someone out on their record,” Palin said.

“We’re flat broke and he thinks these solar shingles and really fast trains will magically save us,” she said. “So now he’s yelling ‘all aboard’ his bullet train to bankruptcy.”

In regard to Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, Palin said Obama “demonized the voices of responsibility with class warfare and with fear mongering.”

Palin also praised Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker, and the state's legislature for overcoming "death threats and thug tactics," to pass a controversial  bill that virtually eliminates public employees’ collective bargaining rights.

"You held your ground, your governor did the right thing, and you won," she said.  "He's not trying to hurt union members. Hey, folks, he's trying to save your jobs and your pensions!"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr162011

Georgia to Adopt Arizona-Style Immigration Law?

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said Friday that he will sign an Arizona-style immigration bill into law, fulfilling his campaign promise to protect American borders.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, approximately 425,000 undocumented people live in the state.

The new measure would make it so that police can verify immigration status when conducting certain criminal investigations.

The measure would also make it more difficult for undocumented people to get jobs. If signed into law, those who use fake documents to get jobs will face prison time. Employers must also verify that workers are legally able to be employed in the country.

Supporters of the bill say that by weeding out undocumented workers, it will make job attainment easier for Americans.

Opponents of the bill say it will promote racial profiling.

The adoption of such a law would inevitably throw the state into the center of the national debate about immigration.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr162011

Sarah Palin in Wisconsin: Walker 'Trying to Save Jobs, Pensions'

Spencer Platt/Getty Images (file)(MADISON, Wis.) -- Hundreds of Tea Party supporters gathered at the Wisconsin state capitol Saturday to hear from former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

“Hello Madison” Palin said, as she greeted the crowd. “You look good.”

A riled up Palin told the crowd that they are standing on the front lines in the battle for the country’s future. Earlier this year, Republican Gov. Scott Walker sparked a political uproar in Wisconsin when he enacted legislation with steep budget cuts and took away collective bargaining rights of public workers.

“This is where the line has been drawn in the sand and I am proud to stand with you today in solidarity,” Palin said.

Many Wisconsin workers and Democrats felt the legislation unfairly stripped union workers of their rights. Palin said that Walker is “not trying to hurt union members,” but “trying to save your jobs and your pensions.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr162011

Donald Trump's Advisor: Democrat Turned Trump Loyalist

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The man behind Donald Trump's possible 2012 presidential campaign is a registered Democrat who voted for Barack Obama in 2008. Not only that, but Michael Cohen, an executive at the Trump Organization who doubles as Trump's chief political advisor, once volunteered for 1988 presidential candidate Michael Dukakis and worked for a Democratic member of Congress.

But since Obama's election in 2008, he said he has grown disappointed with the president, so much so that he now describes himself as "offended" by the administration's agenda. America, Cohen said, has become a "third-world nation," echoing words that have become a familiar refrain of Trump's.

His distaste for Obama, and Trump's professed interest in pursuing the Republican nomination in 2012, led Cohen, businessman Stewart Rahr and other supporters to create "Should Trump Run?" as a way both to spark -- and gauge -- interest in a potential Trump presidential bid.

With Trump stoking new speculation about his political ambitions every day, Cohen said "the phones have not stopped ringing, the fax machine is off the hook" and his email inbox is clogged. More than a few of those messages have to do with the issue that has catapulted Trump into the headlines recently -- birtherism.

"I am certain that the president was born in Hawaii -- I really am," Cohen said. "I am most irritated with the fact that this president has been exceptionally secretive when it relates to any personal documentation about his past. If you run on a platform of transparency, you should be transparent."

Cohen was the aide who flew to Iowa in a private plane bearing Trump's logo to meet with Republican operatives there in March. He said he may make a similar trip to another crucial early nominating state -- New Hampshire -- in the weeks to come.

Cohen said he sees no conflict in his advocacy for Trump now and his past support for Obama.

"I'm prepared to put the fact that I voted for Obama to the side," he said. I'm more concerned now about my children, future grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and everybody's children and families. I'm more concerned about them than I am about party affiliation."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr162011

Obama's Weekly Address: GOP's Deficit Plan 'Is Wrong for America' 

Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- Continuing to draw comparisons between his plan and the Republican’s plan for deficit reduction President Obama says in his weekly address that the Republican’s proposal is “wrong for America.”
 
“One plan put forward by some Republicans in the House of Representatives aims to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next ten years,” Obama says, “But while I think their goal is worthy, I believe their vision is wrong for America.”
 
The president notes the “drastic cuts” in education, infrastructure, and clean energy within the Republican’s plan -- and highlights the changes to Medicare.
 
“It’s a vision that says that in order to reduce the deficit, we have to end Medicare as we know it, and make cuts to Medicaid that would leave millions of seniors, poor children, and Americans with disabilities without the care they need.”
 
The president says that it is not “right” to give $1 trillion in tax breaks to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.
 
“I don’t think it’s right to ask seniors to pay thousands more for health care, or ask students to postpone college, just so we don’t have to ask those who have prospered so much in this land of opportunity to give back a little more."
 
Senator Tom Coburn, M.D., R-Okla., a member of the “Gang-of Six” Senators working on deficit reform, says in the Republican’s weekly address that the president “failed to put a serious proposal on the table,” quipping that “what we need to avert a debt crisis is real leadership and specific solutions, not campaign style political attacks. “
 
“In his speech this week on the deficit, President Obama took us three steps backwards,” Coburn says, “Instead of describing the threat and bringing both sides together, the president attacked those who have a different vision of the government.”
 
By comparison President Obama touts that his approach is “balanced” and asks for all to “share in the sacrifice,” in reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years, as outlined in his speech at The George Washington University Wednesday.
 
The president says that they need an approach that “draws support from both parties,” and calls on both partied to “bridge those differences” and “work together and get this done.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr162011

GOP Weekly Address: Sen. Coburn Criticizes Obama's Fiscal Leadership

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In this week's Republican Address, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, challenged President Obama's leadership in developing a deficit reduction plan. 

Coburn said that, under the leadership of House Republicans, Congress is finally making significant cuts in federal spending.  Particularly concerning earmarks, Coburn adds that "Republicans have also changed the culture of Congress."

As of five years ago, Sen. Coburn says, Congress approved the passage of 14,000 pork projects worth $29 billion.  Now, the senator says, Congress is on target to have zero earmarks.

While Sen. Coburn expresses an enthusiasm for the progress that has already been made to cut government spending, he calls out President Obama for having "failed to put a serious proposal [to reduce the deficit] on the table."  Coburn said that "real leadership" that will bring Congress together is needed to solve the looming debt crisis.

Responding to Obama's speech this week on fiscal policy, Coburn says, "Instead of describing the threat and bringing both sides together, the president attacked those who have a different vision of the government."

He later adds, "What we need to avert a debt crisis is real leadership and specific solutions, not campaign style political attacks."

Sen. Coburn praised House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan on his development of a spending plan that he says will save $6.2 trillion over 10 years.  House Republicans passed the measure Friday afternoon.

Sen. Coburn, who is also a medical physician, also addresses the health care debate, saying that Medicaid -- as it currently stands -- often creates disaster for patients and physicians, and that reform is necessary to "liberate citizens from failing programs that deny them choice, dignity and care."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr152011

Top Dem Says They Will Retake the House in 2012

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Paul Ryan and his Budget, which would change the face of Medicare, will be the cornerstone of Democrats election strategy in 2012, according to Rep. Steve Israel, the Democrat in charge of taking back the House in 2012, who appeared on ABC’s Top Line Friday.

Israel distilled Democrats’ message into what a likely campaign ad would be.  

“Well all we have to do is use the ad Republicans used against Democrats,” he said. “They ran these ads saying I'm going to come to Washington to protect Medicare and we're going to remind the American people they lied about us, all we have to do is tell the truth about them. And the truth is in today's vote to terminate the Medicare guaranteed benefit. All we have to do is tell the truth and we'll win the House back.”

Republicans passed Ryan’s sweeping and controversial budget proposal Friday afternoon. It would cut corporate taxes, drastically alter Medicare for those under 55, and impose more than $5 trillion in cuts to government spending.

“Every budget is about a bottom line and the bottom line in the Ryan budget is that if you earn over a million dollars a year you get a $100,000 tax cut and if you're a senior on Medicare you lose your guaranteed Medicare benefit and your medical costs go up $12,000 dollars. So if you're a millionaire you win the lotto. If you're a senior, you lose your Medicare,” said Israel,  D-N.Y.

“We're going to hold every single Republican accountable for choosing to protect the special interest and turning their back on America's senior citizens by terminating their Medicare benefit,” he said.

It was pointed out to Israel that Democrats fell prey to  a similarly Medicare-centric strategy employed by Republicans in 2010. They argued to great effect that Democrats’ health reform law is paid for largely by money taken from Medicare reforms. So we asked Israel: Is it intellectually dishonest to complain, as Democrats do,  that Republicans unfairly used Medicare cuts in the name of health reform against Democrats in 2010 and then turn around and use proposed Medicare reform in the name of deficit reduction against Republicans in 2012?

“If there's any hypocrisy at all in this, if there's any intellectual dishonesty at all in this it is those Republicans who came to Congress by complaining about Medicare cuts and then didn't just cut it, ended it. And we're going to hold them accountable for that hypocrisy,” said Israel.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr152011

Obama Issues 'Signing Statement'; Won’t Abide by Provision in Budget Bill

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- In a statement issued Friday evening, President Obama took issue with some provisions in the budget bill -- and in one case simply says he will not abide by it.

Last week the White House and congressional Democrats and Republicans were involved in intense negotiations over not only the size of the budget for the remainder of the FY2011 budget, and spending cuts within that budget, but also several GOP “riders,” or policy provisions attached to the bill.

One rider -- Section 2262 -- de-funds certain White House adviser positions -- or “czars.” The president in his signing statement declares that he will not abide by it.

“The President has well-established authority to supervise and oversee the executive branch, and to obtain advice in furtherance of this supervisory authority,” he wrote. “The President also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it. Legislative efforts that significantly impede the President's ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers by undermining the President's ability to exercise his constitutional responsibilities and take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Therefore, the president wrote, “the executive branch will construe section 2262 not to abrogate these Presidential prerogatives.”

In other words: we know what you wanted that provision to do, but we don’t think it’s constitutional, so we will interpret it differently than the way you meant it.

Another rider bans the use of federal funds to transfer detainees from Guantanamo to foreign countries unless certain conditions are met.

“Requiring the executive branch to certify to additional conditions would hinder the conduct of delicate negotiations with foreign countries and therefore the effort to conclude detainee transfers in accord with our national security,” the president wrote.

Another rider denies the ability of the Obama administration to prosecute Gitmo detainees in criminal court.

“The prosecution of terrorists in Federal court is a powerful tool in our efforts to protect the Nation and must be among the options available to us,” the president wrote. “Any attempt to deprive the executive branch of that tool undermines our Nation's counterterrorism efforts and has the potential to harm our national security.”

The president said in his statement he will work with Congress to repeal those provisions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio