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Posts tagged ‘John Boehner’

Dems Hope to Force House Vote on Minimum Wage Hike.


House Democrats said Thursday they will try to highlight GOP resistance to a higher minimum wage with a tactical maneuver meant to bring new attention to an issue they consider a political winner.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said her party will push a “discharge petition” when Congress returns from its recess on Feb. 24. If Democrats can persuade roughly two dozen Republicans to sign the petition, it would force GOP leaders to allow a House vote on the wage issue.

Most Republican lawmakers oppose a higher minimum wage. They say it prompts employers to cut down on hiring, a claim Democrats dispute.

It’s by no means clear Democrats can collect enough signatures in the House, where they hold 200 seats to the Republicans’ 232. Three seats are vacant.

Pelosi’s announcement, at a House Democratic retreat in rural Maryland, might displease immigration reform advocates who want priority given to a discharge petition on that subject. Pelosi said a discharge effort may come later for immigration, but “right now we’re starting with the minimum wage.”

Democrats say most Americans favor both a higher minimum wage and sweeping changes to immigration laws. They say Republican leaders thwart the public’s will by refusing to allow House votes on these topics.

President Barack Obama and many congressional Democrats want to raise the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $10.10.

An AP-GfK Poll in January found 55 percent of U.S. adults favor an increase in the minimum wage. Just 21 percent oppose it, and 23 percent are neutral.

Democrats say it’s frustrating to see polls show widespread support for their proposals — including a higher minimum wage and an immigration overhaul — even as Republicans appear likely to retain their House majority and possibly gain control of the Senate in this year’s elections.

Some strategists want congressional Democrats to find new ways to underscore their differences with Republicans, and paint Republicans as obstructionists.

“The minimum wage is one of the illuminating contrasts we have,” Rep. Steve Israel, of New York, told reporters at the party’s retreat. He chairs the committee overseeing Democrats’ House races.

Earlier, Republicans dismissed the idea of Democrats getting enough petition signatures to force a House vote on a Senate immigration bill that would grant new pathways to legal status for millions of immigrants.

“This scheme has zero chance of success,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. “A clear majority in the House understands that the massive Senate-passed bill is deeply flawed.”

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said he believes nearly all House Democrats would sign a petition seeking a vote on a higher minimum wage. If all 200 Democrats did so, they would need 17 Republicans to join them.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Republicans Call Debt-Ceiling Vote ‘Missed Opportunity’ for Sanity.


Image: Republicans Call Debt-Ceiling Vote 'Missed Opportunity' for Sanity From left: Reps. Paul Ryan, Marsha Blackburn and Paul Broun

By Todd Beamon

House Republicans told Newsmax on Tuesday that they opposed Speaker John Boehner’s plan for a one-year extension of the nation’s borrowing limit without restrictions because it would not hold President Barack Obama and Democrats accountable to work toward greater fiscal responsibility.

“This is a missed opportunity,” said House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin. “We need to pay our bills today and make sure we can pay our bills tomorrow.

“I’m disappointed that the president and Senate Democrats refuse to get serious about our fiscal challenges,” Ryan said.

“Raising the debt ceiling without any guarantee of future spending cuts is irresponsible and only makes our nation’s debt problem worse,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn, of Tennessee.

Rep. Paul Broun, of Georgia, said he voted against the bill because “we cannot continue to fuel the president’s spending addiction by increasing our nation’s borrowing limit and leaving our children and grandchildren with bills they simply cannot afford to pay.”

The House vote on the “clean” spending bill was 221-201, with only 28 Republicans supporting the measure. Two Democrats, John Barrow of Georgia and Jim Matheson of Utah, joined the GOP in rejecting it.

The vote marked a dramatic shift from the confrontational fiscal approach of House Republicans over the past three years, culminating in October’s 16-day partial government shutdown, which cost taxpayers $1.4 billion.

Discussions this time had concerned linking the debt ceiling to defunding Obamacare — part of last year’s unsuccessful effort — or to a repeal of planned cuts in military pensions.

Under the legislation, the debt ceiling would be suspended until March 15, 2015, allowing the government to keep borrowing beyond its current $17.2 trillion limit. Afterward, however, the new ceiling would equal the amount of debt the government has accumulated in total.

The Senate could vote as early as Wednesday on the legislation.

The vote even split the top GOP leadership, with Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California backing the measure.

But the House’s No. 4 Republican, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state, the highest-ranking GOP woman in the lower chamber, rejected the bill, along with Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma, chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, and Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“We can continue to ignore the problem of out-of-control spending, or we can address it,” McMorris Rodgers said. “Unfortunately, the Democrats who run Washington refuse to seriously address our crushing debt in any other way than higher taxes, which isn’t fair to those in eastern Washington and across America.

“If President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate refuse to address our spending addiction when a debt limit increase is requested, when will they?” McMorris Rodgers asked.

Lankford said, “I could not vote to increase our national debt ceiling because the legislation did not offer long-term spending reforms or a plan to prevent having this same debate in the future.”

“We must stop pretending our national debt is not a major issue even though it already exceeds a completely incomprehensible amount,” he added. “On behalf of my daughters and future generations, I will not support taking the easy road today but make it harder in the future,” Lankford said.

Said Walden, “Previous debt-limit negotiations have resulted in historic agreements that reduced spending. I stood ready to work in a bipartisan way on another such agreement, but the Democrats have been unwilling to discuss even modest proposals to reduce the deficit.”

In addition, the Club for Growth and other conservative groups had urged legislators to reject the measure.

“When we heard that House leadership was scheduling a clean debt-ceiling increase vote, we thought it was a joke,” the Club for Growth said on its website. “But it’s not. Something is very wrong with House leadership, or with the Republican Party.

“This is not a bill that advocates of limited government should schedule or support,” the club said.

The Senate Conservatives Fund said in a fundraising letter that Boehner should be replaced.

“Republicans are giving up because they know that winning is impossible when their leaders are determined to lose,” the group said on its website. “These leaders have telegraphed weakness to the Democrats and sabotaged conservative efforts so many times that Republicans now have no leverage.

“Unless we install a new leader who will actually go on offense, Democrats will never fear us and we will never have any leverage,” the group said.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Texas chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, told Newsmax that the House failed to “heed the warning that reaching the debt ceiling provides” and did not “use this speed bump on the road to national bankruptcy as an opportunity to deal with the root cause of our debt crisis: out-of-control spending.”

“By passing the unconditional increase in the debt ceiling that the president demanded, the answer to this question sadly appears to be no,” Hensarling said.

Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma noted how Obama has refused to negotiate with Republicans over the debt limit. He reiterated that position heading into this round of talks.

“Every negotiation requires a negotiating partner, but the president has remained intransigent and refused to find common-sense solutions,” Cole said. “I have shown time and again that I am willing to work in a bipartisan manner to solve our nation’s most pressing economic problems, and I will continue to do so.

“The legislation presented today is not that solution,” Cole said.

Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona said that “major reform is needed in an area that is swiftly consuming our GDP and is moving our entitlement programs toward insolvency. With today’s vote, we continue to show an addiction to spending and a negligence to address the root of our spending problems.”

Blackburn’s “Volunteer State” State colleague, Rep. Diane Black, was even more blunt.

“Our looming debt crisis threatens the security of the nation we leave behind for future generations,” she said. “Without needed reforms to address the drivers of our debt and deficits, the bill simply gives President Obama a blank check to continue borrowing against our children and grandchildren’s future.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Clean Debt-Limit Bill Passes House With Just 28 GOP Votes.


The House of Representatives narrowly approved a one-year extension of federal borrowing authority on Tuesday, agreeing to President Barack Obama’s demands to allow a debt limit increase without any conditions.

The 221-201 vote, carried mainly by Democrats, marked a dramatic shift from the confrontational fiscal tactics House Republicans have used over the past three years, culminating in October’s 16-day government shutdown.

It came after House Republicans repudiated House Speaker John Boehner’s latest plan to link an increase in the $17.2 trillion borrowing cap to a repeal of planned cuts in military pensions.

Editor’s Note: These 38 Dates Are Key to Bagging $313,038 

Although Boehner called his decision to advance a “clean” debt-limit bill a “disappointing moment,” it sets aside a difficult and divisive issue until after the 2014 congressional elections in November, enabling Republicans to focus their campaign efforts on the rocky launch of Obama’s healthcare reform law.

Democrats provided most of the “yes” votes on the debt-limit increase, which was hastily attached to a measure to rename an air traffic control center in Nashua, N.H. There were 193 Democrats who voted yes, and just 28 Republicans, who wanted to pin blame on Obama’s refusal to negotiate.

“He will not engage in our long-term spending problem,” Boehner said earlier on Tuesday. “So, let his party give him the debt ceiling increase that he wants.”

The Democratic-controlled Senate is likely to begin consideration of the measure on Wednesday. Senate passage this week would buy financial markets considerable breathing room ahead of Feb. 27, when the U.S. Treasury expects to exhaust existing borrowing capacity, putting federal payments at risk.

Without an increase in the statutory debt limit, the government would soon default on some of its obligations and have to shut down some programs, a historic move that would likely cause market turmoil.

Stocks reacted mildly to news of the Republican decision to drop any conditions on the debt limit. Wall Street stocks rose for a fourth session as traders focused most of their attention on Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen’s first congressional testimony.

“It was a minor worry that an agreement wouldn’t come. It’s not a big plus [for the market], but I’m glad this happened,” said John Manley, chief equity strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in New York.

As stocks rose, bond prices retreated.

Republicans used the debt limit with great effectiveness in 2011 to gain budget concessions, when a bitter standoff led to a deal calling for $2.1 trillion in cuts to U.S. discretionary spending over a decade. The fight also cost the United States its top-tier credit rating from Standard & Poor’s.

But the wrenching two-week government shutdown and debt limit battle last October sapped the party’s enthusiasm for another major showdown.

Instead of seeking big cuts to the Social Security and Medicare benefit programs that Republicans blame for pushing up the debt, Boehner floated more modest proposed concessions, such as ordering approval of the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline and changes to Obamacare insurance provisions.

But they too failed to gain enough Republican support to overcome objections from Democrats.

The final plan to repeal cost-of-living cuts for non-disabled military retirees was doomed from the start, lawmakers said, as many conservatives objected to linking veterans to the debt ceiling, to cost offsets and other issues. Many simply wanted the big deficit reduction achieved in the past.

“If there’s something attached to the debt ceiling, it should be addressing the underlying problem, which is, we’re spending too much money,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, a conservative Republican from Ohio.

The 28 GOP members who voted to pass the bill were: John Boehner, Ohio; Ken Calvert, Calif.; Dave Camp, Mich.; Eric Cantor, Va.; Howard Coble, N.C.; Chris Collins, N.Y.; Charlie Dent, Pa.; Michael Fitzpatrick, Pa.; Michael Grimm, N.Y.; Richard Hanna, N.Y.; Doc Hastings, Wash.; Darrell Issa, Calif.; Peter King, N.Y.; Frank LoBiondo, N.J.; Kevin McCarthy, Calif.; Buck McKeon, Calif.; Pat Meehan, Pa.; Gary Miller, Calif.; Devin Nunes, Calif.; Dave Reichert, Wash.; Hal Rogers, Ky.; Peter Roskam, Ill.; Ed Royce, Calif.; Jon Runyan, N.J.; John Shimkus, Ill.; Chris Smith, N.J.; David Valadao, Calif.; and Frank Wolf, Va.

Two Democrats, John Barrow of Georgia and Jim Matheson of Utah, voted against the bill.

The episode showed that Boehner still has difficulty exerting control over his fractious caucus, in which conservatives backed by the tea party movement hold considerable sway.

“Republicans can’t unite behind one plan, and so as long as we do that, we’ll not be influencing the outcomes of issues like this,” said Republican Rep. Kevin Brady, of Texas.

Conservative groups that egged on Republicans in the October shutdown fight over Obamacare funding urged members to vote against the debt-limit increase.

“Something is very wrong with House leadership, or with the Republican Party. This is not a bill that advocates of limited government should schedule or support,” the Club for Growth said.

Some Republicans wanted the debt-limit issue behind them so they could focus on more productive issues such as next year’s annual spending bills and bashing Obama’s healthcare law, which they have repeatedly tried to repeal.

“If you spend the money, you’ve got to pay the bill,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, who voted for the increase.

Republican House leaders led off a news conference on Tuesday with five lawmakers complaining about the latest Obamacare mandate delay for medium-size companies.

In a somewhat cryptic sign that Boehner himself may be relieved to put the debt limit behind him, he walked out of the news conference singing the opening words to “Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah,” the marquee song from the 1946 Disney film “Song of the South.”

Editor’s Note: These 38 Dates Are Key to Bagging $313,038 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Ex-G.W. Bush Aide Wallace: Boehner Deserves Medal of Freedom.


House Speaker John Boehner pushed through Tuesday’s debt ceiling vote to keep Republicans from being falsely blamed for gumming up the government and enable them to keep their eyes on the prize: the 2014 elections, says Nicolle Wallace, former communications chief for President George W. Bush.

“The truth is the Republicans . . . will be judged by too many voters as responsible for these things,” Wallace told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“We have such important elections on the horizon; these midterm elections are much more important for our party than theirs, we have much more at stake.

“We have seen the wreckage caused by having . . . an extreme progressive liberal in the Oval Office. Our only recourse, now, is to further solidify our majority in the House and to try to take back the Senate, and it matters how our party is viewed when it comes to these big Washington food fights,” she said Tuesday.

Story continues below video.

Wallace, who was also senior adviser for the John McCain-Sarah Palin campaign, said Boehner should get an award for his Herculean work in keeping a turbulent party together.

“John Boehner deserves whatever that highest civilian honor is, the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Wallace said.

“He has a very difficult job . . . He is there not just to pass laws, but to keep the government running and to get things done. I admire every step he’s taken; even during the government shutdown last fall, through all of this, he’s been strong and he’s been honest.

“He’s in a really tough position, and I don’t think ‘sympathy’s’ the right word because I don’t pity him at all, I admire him, but I have a lot of empathy with what he’s wrestling with.”

See “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann

Allen West: New Obamacare Delay Unfair to Individuals.


Image: Allen West: New Obamacare Delay Unfair to Individuals

By Todd Beamon

The latest delay in Obamacare proves that “big government does not work — and we see it happening right here,” former Florida congressman Allen West told Newsmax TV on Tuesday.

“The president always talks about fairness and fair share and inequality,” West told John Bachman on “America’s Forum” on Newsmax TV. “Then, why is he continuing to grant all of these delays and waivers and exemptions to unions, to cronies, to employers, big businesses?

“Why not the same to the individual American citizen, when they see their wages being depressed, they are out of work, they don’t see any future and hope? Mr. President, you talk about fairness. What about fairness to the individual American?”

Story continues below video.

On Monday, the Obama administration delayed another part of the Affordable Care Act, this one affecting companies with 50 to 99 employees. The companies will not face a tax penalty until 2016 for not providing workers with health insurance.

Last July, the employer mandate for Obamacare was delayed until next year, even though individuals face a tax penalty for not having health coverage this year.

The latest delay marked the eighth one-year extension of mandates to President Barack Obama’s signature domestic legislation since it was signed into law in 2010, according to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service. The report was provided to Newsmax by the office of GOP Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.

West, who is a retired Army lieutenant colonel, is among many Republicans who have long charged that Obamacare is unworkable and should be repealed.

“Is this the law of the land, or it is just some imperial edict that can be changed willy-nilly by the stroke of a pen or the use of a cellphone?” he asked Newsmax. “We continue to see these changes to employer-based mandates. But the one that is most important: Why not a delay for the individual mandate?

“This was truly rammed down the throats of the American people,” West added. “In the world of academics, theory works very well — but when it comes to practical application, now you see things falling apart.”

Republican disunity is keeping the party from taking the lead in the Obamacare debate, he said.

“That’s the problem with the Republican Party: You cannot get them to come out as unified messengers on major policy issues. Right now, the Republican Party needs a singular voice, a true leader.”

That’s not, however, House Speaker John Boehner.

“He’s supposed to be the third in line to the presidency,” West said of the Ohio Republican. “Any time the president gets up and gives a press conference or something like that, John Boehner should be up there giving the counterargument.

“John Boehner should be up there saying: ‘Here’s our plan. The president keeps talking about we don’t have a plan.’ His denial of us not having a plan does not mean that’s true — and he should be able to articulate that plan step by step.

“The key thing is, in a constitutional republic, a law is supposed to be applicable to everyone,” West said. “That’s why I say this is not the law of the land. This is just an edict that can continually be changed and manipulated according to politics.

“That’s a great point to bring up with this president and his administration. This is not applicable to everyone — and we need to have a law that is applicable to everyone.

“If this law cannot be applicable to everyone, then we need to scrap it.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Senate Conservatives Fund Wants Boehner to Resign.


House Speaker John Boehner must be ousted, the Senate Conservatives Fund says.

The Washington Times reports the group, a super-PAC founded by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, plans to put the pressure on GOP lawmakers by keeping track of which ones back their efforts to boot the Ohio Republican.

The group’s decision comes amid anger that GOP leaders are gearing up to support a bill increasing the nation’s borrowing limit without any givebacks.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama’s Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll 

In an email to supporters, reported by The Washington Post, the fund said, “Republicans are giving up because they know that winning is impossible when their leaders are determined to lose. These leaders have telegraphed weakness to the Democrats and sabotaged conservative efforts so many times that Republicans now have no leverage. There’s only one solution.

“John Boehner must be replaced as Speaker of the House.”

The email went on to say that Boehner “has chosen to ignore us and help President Obama enact his liberal agenda.”

“Unless we install a new leader who will actually go on offense, Democrats will never fear us and we will never have any leverage,” it continued.

On Tuesday, Boehner allowed a vote on a raise in the debt limit without any conditions. It passed by 20 votes with all but two Democrats supporting it. However Boehner was joined by just 27 of his Republican colleagues in favor of the bill.

Boehner’s decision ignored factions of his party that called for tying the measure to defunding of Obamacare and including benefits for military retirees.

The mission of the Senate Conservatives Fund is to elect “true conservative leaders.”

Related articles:

  • Senate Conservatives Fund Leader Stirs Up Republican Anger
  • DeMint Turns His Senate Conservatives Fund Into Super-PAC

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Bill Hoffmann

Boehner Stalls Immigration Bill Citing Lack of Trust in Obama.


House Speaker John Boehner said it would be difficult to pass an immigration bill because fellow Republicans don’t trust President Barack Obama to implement the law, a position that shrinks chances for House action this year.

“There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws,” Boehner told reporters in Washington today. “And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”

Boehner released a framework last week for immigration revisions that dropped a number of aspects of the bipartisan bill passed by the Senate last year.

Some House Republicans, including those who supported the Senate’s approach, resist moving immigration legislation that risks dividing the party and overshadowing their election-year message of curbing Obama’s health-care law.

Boehner said Obama could improve relations with the House by urging the Senate to pass a quartet of bills, including two that the president has said he’d veto. The bills would provide flexible hours to working parents, divert taxpayer funds now used for political conventions, provide job training and allow natural gas pipelines.

“The president is asking us to move one of the biggest bills of his presidency, and yet he’s shown very little willingness to work with us on the smallest of things,” Boehner said.

 

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

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