Nancy Pelosi has appointed the following House Dems to the Benghazi committee: Elijah Cummings of Maryland, Adam Smith of Washington, Adam Schiff of California, Linda Sanchez of California, and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.
GOP House Speaker John Boehner is going to bring a “clean” debt ceiling bill up for a vote tonight. He’s counting on almost all Dem support to pass it, with maybe 16-20 Republicans.
Meanwhile, Heritage Action and Club for Growth are telling members to vote no and promising to “score” the vote, which means it will count against them in their final grade if they vote yes. The Senate Conservatives Fund (an outside Tea Party group, not an official Senate group) is calling for Boehner to be replaced as Speaker. I guess they’d rather have the world financial system collapse. It does feel as if we now have three major parties — Democrats, Republicans, and Anarchists.
Nancy Pelosi told House Dems “don’t gloat.” With the complete impasse on minimum wage, unemployment benefits, tweaking Obamacare, equal pay for women, job equality for gays, immigration, etc., there’s really nothing to gloat over.
President Obama was supposed to meet with Reid, McConnell, Pelosi, and Boehner at the White House at noon. That meeting has been postponed, so Senate negotiations can continue. It’s not a bad sign, talks have not collapsed.
Reid says he’s “very optimistic” on a deal this week to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling. If Reid is happy with the deal, I’ll probably be happy with the deal.
From “The Republicans’ Moment of Truth,” Michael Tomasky, The Daily Beast:
“So this all falls entirely on the shoulders of McConnell and Boehner. Obama…has done plenty of compromising, especially for the guy who won the election. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are behind him. So the Democrats are ready to play ball.
“The only thing the Republicans are ready to play, as usual, is roulette, with the cocked gun against the country’s temple, unfortunately, and not their own. It’s worth taking a moment in this context to consider: Never have the priorities for survival and success of a major party’s Washington politicians been so utterly at odds with the priorities required for the country’s survival and success. These Washington Republicans represent the one-third of the country that hates government, despises Obama, and considers obstruction victory.
“The rational two-thirds wants compromise, good-faith bargaining, higher taxes on the wealthy, a reasonably strong safety net, and lower defense spending. But the obstructionist one-third wants the opposite. McConnell and Boehner aren’t ideologically committed to that one-third in the way that Jim DeMint and Paul Ryan are, but so far, they have never once stood up to it for the country’s sake. We’ll find out this weekend who they really are.” Emphasis added.
President Obama’s meeting with congressional leaders at the White House today reminds me of that bumper sticker, “Jesus is coming — look busy.”
The Prez is having a meeting tomorrow at the WH with Boehner, Pelosi, Reid, and McConnell. Don’t get your hopes up…
But don’t really worry either. If we get something by the end of January, the economy will be okay.
From “Let Them Eat Crab Cake,” Maureen Dowd, NYT:
“He seemed to have bought into the warped canard that some conservatives inside and outside of Congress have pushed, that the president and Nancy Pelosi were nefariously hooking people on unemployment benefits so they’d get addicted and vote Democratic to keep the unemployment benefits flowing like crack.
“It’s literally rich: Willard, born on third base and acting self-made, whining to the rich about what a great deal in life the poor have.
“We thought Romney was secretly pragmatic, but turns out that he’s secretly cruel, a social Darwinist just like his running mate.
“You’d assume that it would be hard now for Romney to resume bashing President Obama for demonizing and pandering on class warfare, with lines like he’s been using on the trail: ‘he and his allies are pushing us all even further apart by dividing us into groups.’
“But, even as Mitt was spitefully demonizing and dividing in Boca, he remained cardboard-cutout un-self aware, musing: ‘The thing which I find most disappointing about this president is his attack of one America against another America.’ This is the absolute height of cluelessness.
If Europe’s leaders don’t set policy at the top soon, the street is going to take over, and panic and fear will dictate events, not elected officials.
Spain is experiencing a run on its banks (either moving money from weak banks to stronger ones or out of the country entirely) that is only going to gain more momentum, and Spain’s deposit insurance system is bankrupt. There is still time for Europe to offer European-wide deposit insurance that would quell this run before it becomes a full-blown panic. Of course, Germany doesn’t want to do this.
European leaders have to decide if they want to cut Greece loose, but try to save other countries like Spain. That’s the first decision. Are you going to try to save everyone, are you going to try to save everyone but Greece, or are you going to let the whole thing go to hell?
Europe could offer euro-zone deposit insurance to everybody in the euro zone or dump Greece and offer it to the remaining countries.
Europe could offer euro-zone bonds guaranteeing countries’ debt to everybody or dump Greece and offer them to the remaining countries.
But Europe’s leaders are in a state of paralysis, which in itself is a form of decision-making, an abdication of control and responsibility.
Greece has become an excuse for not addressing the problems of other weak periphery countries, like Spain and Italy. But ignoring these problems doesn’t make them go away. Not deciding becomes a decision.
We saw what happened in this country when events overtook our leaders in September 2008, and our entire financial system was brought to the brink of collapse. We saw Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson go down on his knees, begging Nancy Pelosi to stay in bailout talks after the Republicans walked out. For Paulson, the arrogant former head of Goldman Sachs and the quintessential Master of the Universe, to be brought to such a shocking state tells you how close we came to tipping over the edge, how close we came to another depression.
Europe is on its knees, and Angela Merkel is on her way out of the room.