On Tuesday, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI-1) announced a two-year budget agreement that could potentially offer a respite from the fiscal fights of the past few years. But many conservative House Republicans are already balking at the deal because it breaks the spending caps called for under the sequester. Some conservative groups, such as Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth, have already come out in opposition, offering threats to GOP incumbents who vote for it.
Our bet is that the bill will pass, perhaps handily. But legislative politics is trickier in some ways than electoral politics because the number of "voters" is far smaller, and they are all highly informed and strategic in their thinking. Therefore, let's suppose the Crystal Ball is wrong in its prediction of passage. How would the budget compromise be defeated in Congress?
At present, there are 432 members in the U.S. House. While the special election to replace now-Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) took place on Tuesday and saw Katherine Clark (D) duly elected, she hasn't been seated yet. It's also unlikely that Rep. Mel Watt (D, NC-12) will vote considering he was just confirmed in the Senate as the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. This means that we can expect about 430 votes on the Murray-Ryan deal, as Speaker of the House John Boehner (R, OH-8) may not vote (the speaker rarely votes, although he did vote for the deal to end the shutdown). For simplicity's sake, let's just say 216 votes are needed to stop the deal. more >>
During his eulogy for South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, President Obama may have promoted his own political positions by connecting them to Mandela's achievements. Christian leaders denounced him for possibly turning the solemn remembrance of a great man into a political plug.
"Again, the president seeks to divide rather than unite — even a eulogy of a foreign leader is used to promote his agenda; it's all about him and he turns everything into a campaign speech," Janice Crouse, senior fellow at Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute, told The Christian Post in an interview on Wednesday. "No wonder Americans are weary of everything and everybody in Washington — with this president, it's all politics, all the time," Crouse quipped.
Obama's speech began focused on Mandela, discussing his achievements and how the great South African leader wanted to be remembered. But toward the end, he strayed from historical remembrance to hot-button political issues. "There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba's legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality," Obama declared. more >>
Even as ObamaCare is trying to self-destruct, its advocates suggest a détente in which "Republicans recognize the conservative nature of the law," in the words of Austin Frakt in Bloomberg News.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), they point out, incorporates some ideas from a Heritage Foundation proposal and a law promoted by Mitt Romney. Those are not, however, conservative ideas, much less good ideas, and are not a "sound chassis" for anything.
There is nothing conservative about the forcible redistribution of wealth. And even Wall Street Occupiers should be against redistributing people's earnings to Big Insurance, Big Pharma, Big Hospitals, Big Data Mining, and nameless unaccountable bureaucrats in the vast, ever-expanding realm of Kathleen Sebelius. more >>
When presidents give speeches, the affair is choreographed like a Broadway production. The message is not just the words of the speech, but where it is given and who happens to be the chosen audience.
So it was not by accident that President Obama chose a theater in a poor black neighborhood in Washington, DC, where the average income is barely half the national average, to speak this week about economic opportunity and fairness.
What exactly was the President trying to achieve by sharing with a low-income black audience that "today's CEO now makes 273 times more" than the average worker? more >>
Tourism officials in Northern Ireland announced HBO's hit show "Game of Thrones" may do more than mesmerize viewers with adult themes and political intrigue – they're planning on using it to draw visitors.
"Northern Ireland's Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster announced the tourism strategy Wednesday but gave no details," The Associated Press reported. Much of the HBO TV series is filmed in Northern Ireland, since the fictional Westeros fits with its historic landscape of castles and rugged coastlines.
"Game of Thrones" follows the book series, "A Song of Ice and Fire," by American author George R.R. Martin. Set in a fictional medieval fantasy land, it centers around the themes of adventure and political intrigue, dragons and zombies, sex and violence. more >>
An evangelical financial organization has released on Wednesday the findings of its fourth annual "State of Giving" report, which notes that giving to member groups has increased over the past two years.
Among their findings, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability found that annual monetary giving to ECFA-accredited organizations increased 6.4 percent between 2011 and 2012.
ECFA also found a 1.7 percent overall increase in contributions to ECFA member groups from 2010 to 2011, as well as a 5.8 percent overall increase from 2011 to 2012. more >>