The Note: Getting To ‘Yes’: Can GOP Leaders Get Their Members To The Altar?

Jul 27, 2011 9:07am

Jm9mPTA= The Note: Getting To ‘Yes’: Can GOP Leaders Get Their Members To The Altar?


By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone) and AMY WALTER (@amyewalter)

House Speaker John Boehner was forced to take his debt plan back to the drawing board last night after a government estimate found that it did not cut as much as Boehner originally proposed.

Boehner directed his staff to find $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, an amount that would exceed the increase in the debt limit under his plan.

“Congressional staff are looking at options to adjust the legislation to meet our pledge,” the House Speaker said last night. “This is what can happen when you have an actual plan and submit it for independent review — which the Democrats who run Washington have refused to do.”

Finding more to cut is the easy part, but finding the votes to pass the plan is a lot harder.  

Democrats claim to have counted 18 Republican “no” votes based on public statements, and a Republican vote counter tells ABC’s Jonathan Karl that there are at least 30 House Republicans who are either firmly “no” or leading that way.

Karl adds that the biggest challenge for Speaker Boehner is not just that the total spending cut figure from the Congressional Budget Office is only $850 billion. The bigger problem is that the cuts for next year are only $7 billion compared to the 2011 budget. And there's one other thing:  Conservatives fear that the deficit reduction committee created by the Boehner bill could come back with a plan that includes tax increases.

There’s an irony in all of this: The very lawmakers that would have been willing to go along with compromise were moderate Republicans taken out by Democrats during the 2006 election cycle and moderate Blue Dogs taken out by Republicans in 2010.

Even if Boehner can find the votes to get his plan out of the House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said yesterday that the plan is “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

“Speaker Boehner's plan is not a compromise,” Reid said. “It was written for the tea party, not the American people.”

BOTTOM LINE: Here's why it's almost impossible for there to be any “winner” in this battle over the debt ceiling. For all the talk of the consequences of inaction on raising the ceiling and dealing with our deficit  — default, downgrade, disaster, etc — there's been no articulation of what the consequence of success will be. For the vast majority of Americans who place jobs over all other economic concerns, there's nothing in any "deal" that's going to help them.

Once again, Washington and the White House has to make the case to the public that while things are bad now – they could be so much worse. That's cold comfort to the unemployed worker or the family with a mortgage that's underwater.


ABC’s Jonathan Karl’s “Good Morning America” report on the latest efforts to stave off default on Aug. 2: and ABC’s Bianna Golodryga on what would happen if America's credit score is downgraded:


DUCK, DODGE AND DEBT. By now all of the major candidates for the Republican presidential nomination have taken a position on House Speaker John Boehner’s debt plan, except that is, for front-runner Mitt Romney.

“Gov. Romney thinks President Obama’s leadership has been an historic failure,” Romney’s campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement yesterday. “He applauds Leader Boehner for standing firm against raising taxes when our nation can least afford them.”

But the Romney campaign — and Romney himself — stopped short of an outright endorsement. Instead, his campaign released a web video this morning titled, “Take China To The Mat,” which criticizes President Obama for not being tough enough on China. And Romney campaigns today in Ohio where if he doesn’t address the debt issue head on, he’s likely to get peppered with questions about it.

Nevertheless, most of his GOP counterparts have already been more definitive.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, while expressing support for Boehner’s proposal in principle, announced that last night that he opposed it.

“Speaker Boehner has now put forth two plans; that would be exactly two plans more than what the President has offered,” Pawlenty said in a statement. “I am for the plan that will cut spending, cap it, and pass a balanced budget amendment, but unfortunately this latest bill does not accomplish that.”

While campaigning in Iowa yesterday Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., reiterated her refusal to vote for any proposal that includes an increase in the debt ceiling, saying of Boehner’s plan: “the premise is wrong.”

 “This Republican will not vote to raise the debt ceiling,” Bachmann said. “My colleagues will have to come to their own conclusion.”

Jon Huntsman, however, signed on to Boehner’s proposal this week. “The plan proposed by Speaker Boehner and House Republican Leadership is a good first step to deal with our national debt and is in line with the principles I have laid out since the beginning of this debate: cuts commensurate with any increase in the debt ceiling, tangible steps towards a balanced budget amendment, and no tax increases,” Huntsman said. “President Obama should sign on to this plan instead of demanding over $1 trillion in tax hikes and a politically convenient timetable.”

ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”:  ABC’s Jonathan Karl and Amy Walter hear from Republican Congressman Frank Guinta of New Hampshire. Guinta is a member of the Budget Committee and voted for the “Cut, Cap and Balance” bill. Also on the program, Club for Growth Chris Chocola, a group that has been pushing for the “Cut, Cap and Balance” principles. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.

“TOP LINE” REPLAY: REP. MICK MULVANEY. The freshman representative from South Carolina told ABC’s Top Line that he sees the threat of default looming over the debt debate as a red herring. “I'm not too concerned about volatility in the market,” he said. “I think that most people recognize that there won't be a default and the interest will get paid. … [Treasury Secretary] Timothy Geithner can come out in five minutes and say, ‘I'm going to pay the interest on the debt,’ and then all the volatility in the markets goes away and we can focus on the real issue underlying the problem which is the spending.”


RICK PERRY WATCH: THE TEXAN TAKES ON OBAMA. ABC’s Arlette Saenz reports:  Texas Governor Rick Perry labeled President Obama’s address to the nation Monday night as “condescending,” saying he heard the president tell the public they “wouldn’t understand” the debate over the debt ceiling. “Mr. President, Americans are paying attention, and they do know what they’re talking about, and they do realize that what you want to do is raise taxes, spend more, put America further in debt,” Perry said in a speech in Amarillo, Texas on Tuesday. “And that’s not what they want to do."

Perry delivered his speech at a ceremonial signing of the Texas state budget, which slashed $4 million from public education and cut funding for social services.   Perry also signed a balanced budget amendment, which requires the legislature to evaluate budget shortfalls every two years. His speech came on the same day the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas announced Texas added 262,000 jobs between June 2009 and June 2011, accounting for half of the country’s 524,000 added jobs.

Meanwhile, a pro-Perry ad sponsored by GrowPAC will hit Iowa airwaves urging voters to write-in the Texas governor's name in the Aug. 13 straw poll. “Texas Governor Rick Perry has a proven track record of controlling spending and creating jobs.  He succeeded in Texas by believing in less government, not more," the ad reads.  "At the Ames Straw Poll write in Rick Perry, he can win and make America secure again." Watch the ad:  



SARAH PALIN COMPLAINS OF ‘MORE OBAMA DRAMA.’ “Sarah Palin weighed in on the debt debate again on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News show tonight, calling President Obama’s handling of the situation ‘more Obama drama,’” ABC’s Sheila Marikar notes. “‘Scaring the American people is exactly what President Obama is doing in that bizarre speech he gave last night,’ she said. ‘He’s getting pretty good at this fear mongering.’ Palin characterized the Aug. 2 deadline as ‘looming, but it’s not Armageddon, it’s not life or death.’ Her solution to the problem? ‘It’s the spending, stupid,’ she said. ‘President Obama does not know what he is doing when we ask him to lead us out of this situation we’re facing with bankruptcy.’ The former Alaska governor stood by the Republican leadership, saying, ‘I do respect Speaker Boehner’s efforts in trying to negotiate with jello,’ as Boehner characterized talks with President Obama almost two weeks ago.”

HERMAN CAIN TO HOLD MUSLIM ROUNDTABLE. “The Daily Caller has learned that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain will host a roundtable discussion with American Muslim leaders within the next seven days,” The Daily Caller’s Jamie Weinstein reports. “Cain campaign spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael said he reached out to a group of Muslim leaders for a discussion about religion and politics. Several leaders agreed, she said, though the campaign is not ready to specify which of them are on board. She also said the campaign was not ready to provide the exact date of the meeting or where it would take place. The announcement comes in the wake of several statements by Cain in recent months that seemed to paint the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO as hostile to Muslims. … Cain also spoke out earlier this month against the planned construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tenn.”

DEBT DEBATE SHOWS PERILS OF BIPARTISANSHIP. “Ending the debt ceiling stalemate in Washington will require some bipartisanship. Neither side has the votes to pass their plan without help from the other party before an Aug. 2 deadline. But it has become politically perilous to work across the aisle. Just ask Sen. Richard Lugar, who is the longest-serving federal lawmaker in Indiana history, and who is in the fight of his political life,” ABC’s Shushannah Walshe reports. ‘In Indiana, state treasurer Richard Mourdock, who’s hoping to unseat 35-year incumbent Lugar, is hoping to use the gridlock to his advantage. Mourdock is zeroing in on Lugar’s relationship with President Obama, which Mourdock calls ‘a burr in the saddle of every Republican paying attention.’ Mourdock is also accusing Lugar of not acting quickly enough to back the conservative cut, cap and balance proposal that passed the House, but failed in the Senate last week. ‘I was stunned that he was the last of the Republican senators to get on board with the cut, cap and balance,’ Mourdock told ABC News. ‘The day before it went to Harry Reid, Lugar suddenly said, ‘Yeah, me too’ and jumped on to co-sponsor.’ … The Lugar camp says it’s just not true that the senator was late to sign on to cut, cap and balance, and that Lugar has been involved throughout the year on spending issues.”

RACE TO REPLACE ANTHONY WEINER HIJACKED BY FORMER NY MAYOR. “Assemblyman David I. Weprin, the Democratic candidate to replace former Representative Anthony D. Weiner in a special election on Sept. 13, is a Modern Orthodox Jew who keeps kosher, observes the Sabbath and has been to Israel at least eight times. So it comes as a surprise that, at this early stage of the short campaign, New York’s Ninth Congressional District finds itself talking about an unlikely subject — whether Mr. Weprin, who is unabashedly pro-Israel, is the best pro-Israel advocate,” The New York Times’ Ashley Parker writes. “On Monday, former Mayor Edward I. Koch, a Democrat, endorsed the Republican candidate in the race, Bob Turner, a retired cable television executive, at a press conference at which he stood next to an Israeli flag. Mr. Koch has acknowledged that Mr. Weprin is a strong supporter of Israel, but argued that the election of Mr. Turner would serve as a rebuke to Mr. Obama for saying that Israel’s pre-1967 border should be the basis for a peace agreement. … But Mr. Koch said that although he and Mr. Weprin had similar political ideals, he had concluded that Mr. Weprin could not be ‘an effective messenger’ to Mr. Obama. … What did Mr. Weprin think of the former mayor’s concern? ‘My first thought is to quote one of Mayor Koch’s famous lines: ‘That’s ridiculous!’ It’s just absurd.’… The district is about one-quarter Jewish. And Jewish voters are expected to be particularly important in the special election, which is likely to have low turnout, said Jerry Skurnik, a partner at Prime New York, a political consulting firm. Mr. Skurnik said that Jewish voters tended to vote in higher percentages than the general population, and he estimated that Jewish voters made up 30 percent to 35 percent of active voters in the district.”  



@mkady: CBO says Reid debt plan saves $2.2 trillion or nearly three times Boehner plan. Seems Senate drafters used some CBO tricks to get better #

@russellberman: RT @iswanTheHill: The Hill is keeping a Whip List on Boehner's debt plan, now set for a vote Thursday.

@ryanbeckwith: The ethical issues raised by @MicheleBachmann's note from her doctor about her migraines.

@TheLloydGrove: "A little bit of fine tuning"–@JonHuntsman explaining why he fired his campaign manager #huntsman

@KObradovich: Pawlenty: I believe I’m the one candidate in the race who can genuinely … unite the whole party. #iacaucus



(all times local)

* Mitt Romney tours American manufacturer and delivers remarks at 1:30 p.m. in Pataskala, Ohio.

* Tim Pawlenty stops in to the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa at 7:15 a.m. He hosts a meet-and-greet in Story City at 11 a.m. At 1 p.m., he attends a meet-and-greet in Huxley. At 6 p.m., he will stop by the Ankeny Town Hall.

* Herman Cain speaks with voters at The Barley House in Concord, noon.

* Rick Santorum holds a town hall meeting in Onawa, Iowa at 7:30 a.m. and one in Missouri Valley at 9:20 a.m. He visits visit the Republican Party booth at the Pottawattamie County Fair in Council Bluffs at 11 a.m. Then Senator Santorum and the entire Santorum Family will be the featured guests at a house party in Des Moines at 6 p.m. as part of his Santorum Family Tour.

* Newt Gingrich will visit and tour Genesis Shelter in Atlanta, Ga. at 10 a.m. In the afternoon, he will meet with phone bank volunteers reaching out to voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina at Newt 2012 HQ.

* Jon Huntsman heads to New York for fundraising.

 The Note Futures Calendar:


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