Category Archives: Deficit Reduction

What Happens Now: Senate Defeats Ryan’s $6.2 Trillion Deficit Cut by Gregory Hilton

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the House Budget Committee, holds a copy of his “Path to Prosperity” budget proposal. The $6.2 trillion reduction was defeated in the Senate earlier today.

The Senate today defeated the Ryan budget on a 57 to 40 vote. The “Path to Prosperity” deficit reduction plan had earlier passed the House and it would have reduced the deficit by $6.2 trillion over a decade. The most controversial part of the Ryan plan involved Medicare. Continue reading

If You Don’t Balance The Budget Your Fired by Gregory Hilton

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) is shown this afternoon in the dining room of the Executive Mansion in Madison. He is holding one of the six pens he used to sign the first bill to take back power from greedy public employee unions. Continue reading

The Government Shut Down: We Need Another Daniel Webster by Gregory Hilton

This note was written in 1996. Ted Kennedy's brother John F. Kennedy devoted a chapter to Webster in "Profiles in Courage." JFK also chaired the committee which selected Webster as one of the five greatest Senators of all time. The other Senators were Henry Clay (KY), John C. Calhoun (SC), Robert LaFollette (WI) and Robert Taft (OH). Their portraits are on display in the Senate Reception Room.

The major issue on Capitol Hill this week is Friday’s expiration of the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. If the debt is not cut or the ceiling raised, the government would have to be shut down on March 4th. The situation is similar to the 1995 confrontation between President Clinton and Speaker Gingrich when the government was shut down twice. Continue reading

Democratic Caucus Rejects Minor Spending Cuts: “We Have Got to Stop This Insanity Now” by Congressman John Adler (D-NJ)

Editorial Note: Freshman Congressman John Adler (D-NJ) and three of his colleagues were rebuked yesterday by a unanimous vote in the House Democratic Caucus. Adler was joined by Reps. Gary Peters (D-MI), Jim Himes (D-CT) and Peter Welch (D-VT) and they were seeking to eliminate $1.4 billion in spending which had been placed on top of President Obama’s budget request. Continue reading

The Third McCain/Coburn Stimulus Report: $700,000 to Study How Cocaine Affects Monkeys & $1.9 Million for Ants by Gregory Hilton

This morning Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released their third report on Stimulus spending, and it took the White House only two hours to respond. The McCain/Coburn report is entitled Summertime Blues: 100 Stimulus Projects that Give Taxpayers the Blues. It highlights “questionable Stimulus projects that are wasteful, mismanaged, and overall unsuccessful in creating jobs.” Continue reading

Gov. Phil Bredesen (D-TN): The Political Cost for Democrats of this Spending is Going to be Huge

Editorial Note by Gregory Hilton: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged today that Republicans could win back control of the House of Representatives. If he wants to know why a backlash has developed, an excellent person to consult is retiring Governor Phil Bredesen (D-TN). Continue reading

The 2010 GOP Outlook: Happy Days Are Here Again by Gregory Hilton

PHOTO CAPTION: The President and the Secretary of State are shown celebrating in the White House Situation Room on March 21, 2010. They had just been told the health care reform bill had won a final passage victory by a vote of 219 to 212. The National Security Advisor, General Jim Jones USMC (Ret), is in the foreground.

The U.S. elections are still five months away. While the political outlook could change significantly during that time, the GOP continues to have impressive poll numbers across the nation. The GOP support scores have surged in the three months since Congress passed the health care reform bill without a single Republican vote.
National support for the bill has increased since March from 39% to 45%, but approval numbers in the battleground districts continue to be dismal for the Democrats. In stark contrast to the 2006 and 2008 elections, Democrats are suffering voter backlash on major issues.
The public is now focused on the economy, jobs and deficit spending, and the Obama honeymoon appears to be over. The poor economy resulted in a 2008 Democratic landslide and it is now fueling the 2010 GOP surge.
Previous voter concerns regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, global warming and social issues have faded. In addition to health care, the $862 billion stimulus and the $3.6 trillion omnibus 2010 budget are proving to be highly unpopular. The major recent developments include:
Democrats control the House of Representatives by a 257 to 178 margin, but the polling averages now show a huge drop in support for the majority party. If the election was held today the Democrats would have a slim 201 to 199 lead, with 35 districts in the undecided category.

  • Democrats were able to pass health care because of their 60 seat super majority in the U.S. Senate. They lost that status days later with the upset victory of Senator Scott Brown (R-MA). If the election was held today, the GOP would gain seven additional seats and the new breakdown would be 52 Democrats and 48 Republicans. Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) tactic of running the upper body with a series of cloture votes would no longer work if the GOP gains strength. Democrats in the 112th Congress will have to compromise with Republicans.
  • Probably the best news for the GOP is that they are now winning or are tied in gubernatorial elections in 7 of the 8 largest states. These states represent 48% of the American population and in 2008 they were firmly in President Obama’s column. A switch of even one of these states would be a significant boost to the GOP’s prospects of gaining a 2012 majority in the electoral college.
  • Republicans have nominated controversial candidates in Kentucky and Nevada, and the Senate elections in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Colorado and Missouri are all close. The good news for the GOP is that independent voters are continuing to break in their direction.
  • It is difficult to see how Democrats will turn the present situation around because so much of the focus is on the deficit. GOP candidates are emphasizing that interest payments on the debt this year are $202 billion, but that will rise to over $700 billion by 2019. An additional $500 billion a year in interest expense would total more than the combined federal budgets this year for education, energy, agriculture, transportation, commerce, homeland security and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.