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Posts tagged ‘Wisconsin’

Wyden Waiting in the Wings to Take Over Senate Finance.


Image: Wyden Waiting in the Wings to Take Over Senate Finance

 

By Elliot Jager

Sen. Ron Wyden is set to become the next head of the Senate Finance Committee if Montana Democrat Max Baucus retires as expected to become the next U.S. ambassador to China, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Oregon Democrat, respected in his party for his generally liberal views but described by Republicans as willing to reach accommodation across the aisle on economic issues, is expected to push for tax reform, which could include a substantial in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 24 percent, according to the Journal.

Bloomberg also reports another reason for Republicans to like him: he is “an ardent advocate of tax simplification,” favoring individual rates at 15, 25 and 35 percent.

Former New Hampshire Republican Sen. Judd Gregg, who worked with the 64-year-old Wyden on a tax reform measure some years back, told the Journal that Wyden has an “unrelenting positive outlook” on things and never gave up trying to hammer out a bipartisan bill even though it ultimately died without consideration.

Another House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, also said Wyden “understands that true bipartisanship builds on the best ideas from both parties.”

The Wisconsin Republican, who is likely to succeed Michigan Rep. Dave Camp as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, would have an opportunity to work with Wyden again next year if Republicans hold the House and Democrats hold the Senate. The two have worked in 2011 on Medicare reform plan, an effort that did not sit well with some of Wyden’s liberal colleagues, The Hill reported.

Wyden, however, has said that he has no plans to work with Ryan again on a Medicare reform effort, although the program remains one of his concerns. He reportedly believes that some effort has to be made to ensure that the program is more sustainable and more focused on chronic health problems.

“His big thing is that if you’re not talking about Medicare, you’re not talking about [fixing] the budget,” former Wyden aide Barbara Smith Warner told the Journal.

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Scott Walker: Primary Challenges Could Cripple GOP Bid to Take Senate.


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is considered a potential GOP candidate for president in 2016, said Republicans need to concentrate on defeating Democrats and capturing the Senate in 2014, not attacking fellow Republicans.

Walker made his remarks during a Saturday radio appearance on the The Mike Huckabee Show.

In introducing Walker, Huckabee lauded him as a conservative who doesn’t “tear down” other Republicans.

Walker noted that his new book “Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and A Nation’s Challenge” acknowledges Americans’ widespread frustration with the size and expansiveness of the federal government.

He said Republicans were able to implement “big bold reforms” in several Midwestern states including Wisconsin because they won governorships as well as legislatures enabling them to put a GOP “team in place.”

The situation in Washington was vastly different despite the efforts of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to push “true reform.” That’s because the Senate is controlled by the Democrats “and we still, unfortunately, for the next few years have a Democrat president,” the Wisconsin governor said.

Republican energies should be targeted, said Walker, “not on fighting Republicans” in House or Senate primaries but on overcoming Democrats in states like Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina and Alaska.

This year’s November elections offer a real chance to win the Senate and determine the future of the country, he told Huckabee’s audience.

“We need to elect Republicans to those spots,” said Walker.

None of the Republicans’ achievements at the state level— Michigan’s right to work laws, for example— could have been accomplished had Republicans not pulled together and won both the governorship and the legislature.

“We were able to put a team into place” because of the support of the Republican establishment, grass roots activists and the tea party, who were united on the objective of putting “power back in the hands of the people.”

Without Republican unity “we would have had tremendous difficulties if not an outright barrier to that kind of reform,” said Walker.

“The real answer is to not to go out and attack Republicans who try to push reform in the House or to try to defeat them in primaries. It’s to go out and win those winnable elections for the United States Senate,” he said.

“Then, after that, if a year from now, Republicans hold the United States Senate and they hold the House, if at that point we can’t get things done, then I think its legitimate to hold people in our own party accountable,” Walker said.

Walker said 2014 is “that all-important year. We get the Senate back. Then, two years later, we elect a Republican president. And it’s not just about winning elections at that point, it’s about truly reforming the federal government, reining in the debt, reining in the deficit.”

With Republicans in-charge on Capitol Hill and at the White House, “putting the power back in the hands of the American people” is “something we can do.”

But, only, said Walker, if Republicans don’t meanwhile “splinter off” in “many different directions.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Elliot Jager

Ralph Reed: Boycott A&E for ‘Anti-Christian Bigotry’.


Image: Ralph Reed: Boycott A&E for 'Anti-Christian Bigotry'

By Todd Beamon

Conservative political activist Ralph Reed on Thursday called on the 800,000 members of the Faith & Freedom Coalition to boycott the A&E Network until “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson is reinstated to the program.

“Phil Robertson’s suspension is a brazen act of anti-Christian bigotry,” Reed, the coalition’s chairman, said in a statement.

ObamaCareYou Can Win With The Facts 

Robertson was placed on indefinite suspension by the cable network on Wednesday after he compared homosexuality to having sex with animals in a published magazine interview.

But Robertson has since received broad support from conservatives and Republican politicians ranging from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

In the interview, Robertson “never represented his views and values as being those of A&E or the producers of ‘Duck Dynasty,’ ” Reed said. “He was specifically asked about his views on sin and God’s best plan for humanity — and he answered honestly, forthrightly, even directly.

“His comments were based on his faith in God, not animus directed at gays or others who might be different from him,” Reed added.

“To suspend Robertson under these circumstances is sanctioning him for holding Christian faith and beliefs — and it is a sign of a broader intolerance, bigotry, and discrimination against Christians that has no place in America.”

The coalition’s boycott efforts will also include telephone calls, email blasts, mailings, and text messages. Member are urged to write A&E executives to protest the suspension.

Reed said that he, too, wrote network officials over the matter.

“Sadly, A&E is in danger of destroying one of the most-valuable franchises in the television industry and offending 40 million Americans in the process,” Reed said. “If its management is smart, they will move swiftly to repair the damage before it is too late.”

ObamaCare: 
You Can Win With The Facts 

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Gov. Walker’s ‘Third Way’ Medicaid Plan Criticized as 2016 Maneuver.


Image: Gov. Walker's 'Third Way' Medicaid Plan Criticized as 2016 Maneuver

By Melissa Clyne

 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed “third way” Medicaid option to make sure his state’s residents have insurance coverage is a maneuver some political pundits claim is designed to lay the groundwork for a 2016 presidential bid by the Republican.

Walker’s plan to turn down federal dollars offered to expand Medicaid coverage in the Badger State would actually increase its rolls by more than 80,000 adults, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Currently, Wisconsin offers one of the most sweeping Medicaid programs in the country, covering adults making up to twice the federal poverty level. The proposed Walker plan would cover only those earning at or below the poverty level — $11,490 annually for a single person — freeing up money to open enrollments, which have been frozen since 2009, when spending caps forced the suspension of new enrollees.

The move, which could help raise his profile during a presidential run, allows Walker to tout the conservative position of opposing Obamacare while appealing to a broader base of voters concerned with getting healthcare coverage.

Walker’s political capital increased after surviving a 2012 recall election brought on by Democrats angry over Walker’s decision to limit the collective bargaining rights of state employees.

Medicaid expansion became optional under a 2012 Supreme Court ruling. The federal government has guaranteed financing states’ expansion costs through 2016 and at least 90 percent afterward.

But some GOP governors, including Rick Perry of Texas, don’t trust the promise. Perry rejected the expansion, arguing that states would ultimately get stuck footing the bill. Ohio’s John Kasich is taking the federal money while governors in Pennsylvania and Tennessee have tried to get the federal Medicaid money but use it to expand private coverage, the Journal reported Wednesday.

Though Walker’s plan reduces the number of Wisconsin residents who would qualify for Medicaid, the 77,000 people losing coverage would qualify for subsidies with monthly premiums less than $20, Kaiser Health News reports.

“You’re going to hear some detractors claim that moving people to the private market or to the exchanges isn’t affordable,” Walker says. “I think most people would find it hard to imagine that with the tax subsidies, that $19 a month is somehow not affordable. I think it is.”

Walker’s “third way” option “allows him to combat criticism either for accepting the federal money or blocking a Medicaid expansion,” according to the Journal.

“In our state, we didn’t take that false choice,” Walker said. “We picked a third option. For the first time in our state’s history, everyone in poverty will be covered.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Paul Vallely: Military Benefit Cuts in Budget Deal ‘Atrocious’.


Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely says budget cuts that trim the benefits of military retirees are “atrocious,” especially considering the vast waste of money in Washington.

“It is atrocious, and somebody told me yesterday, it’s like we’re living in the Twilight Zone in Washington, D.C. What is wrong with these people?” Vallely told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“With all the billions of dollars of waste in the government . . . All the agencies that are just burning money like mad . . . I mean, this is a travesty of justice,” he said Wednesday.

Story continues below video.

Vallely was critical of Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, who were instrumental in putting together the bipartisan budget deal that passed the House last week.

“What is Paul Ryan doing? Patty Murray? [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid? The vast majority of them have never served in the military, do not understand what military families go through,” he said.

“I mean, someone’s got to finally stand up and put this down. This is just terrible.”

The cuts may see military personnel losing up to a full percentage point from their cost-of-living raises when they retire. That would mean a more than 20 percent reduction in retiree pensions over 20 years.

Vallely, chairman of Stand Up America and a Fox News military analyst, says lawmakers should concentrate on cutting from the “billions of dollars of waste throughout all of the other government agencies.”

“They won’t address most of those. Again, they must be in the Twilight Zone. I can’t figure out any other reason. It has no logic to it,” Vallely said.

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

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Bill Hoffmann

Sen. Johnson Says He’ll Support Ryan-Murray Budget Deal.


Image: Sen. Johnson Says He'll Support Ryan-Murray Budget Deal

By Lisa Barron

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin says he will support the bipartisan budget bill negotiated by fellow Badger State legislator Rep. Paul Ryan and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.

“The budget deal struck by Paul Ryan and Patty Murray is no ‘grand bargain,’ but I credit Paul with understanding that a grand bargain is not possible at this point in time,” the tea party-backed senator said in a statement Sunday, reports the Huffington Post.

“Although I disagree with a number of provisions in the bill, on balance the good outweighs the bad. As long as the Senate does nothing to worsen the bill, I intend to support it,” he added.

The move comes just a few days after Johnson called the bill “more of a Patty Murray budget,” arguing it did not offer long-term solutions.

“The real problem is President Obama and Democrats in the Senate and House, they don’t want to fix the long-term problems,” Johnson told MSNBC last week. “That’s the situation Paul was in, trying to negotiate something. I don’t want to shut down the government. They do enough harm to our economy. We don’t need to do shutdowns to increase the plan,” he said.

Meanwhile, no Senate Democrat has publicly stated opposition to the deal, while GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senate GOP Whip John Cornyn of Texas, both of whom face challengers in next year’s primaries, have indicatedthey will vote against it, reports The Hill.

The bill is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate Tuesday.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Paul Ryan: Keep Conservative Debate Within ‘Family’.


Image: Paul Ryan: Keep Conservative Debate Within 'Family'

By Newsmax Wires

Rep. Paul Ryan says he was frustrated with conservative groups that protested the bipartisan budget deal he helped engineer.

The House Budget Committee chairman tells NBC’sMeet the Press” that these groups are “very important elements” of the conservative movement. But the Wisconsin Republican says such discussions should be kept “within the family.”

Ryan says he and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio were frustrated that the groups voiced opposition to the budget agreement before it had been reached.

The 2012 GOP vice presidential candidate says he shares the same goals as the groups — trying to balance the budget and pay off debts without raising taxes. But Ryan says they sometimes differ on tactics.

Ryan says the compromise agreement is an important first step.

“Government has to function, and we saw the specter of two possible government shutdowns in 2014, one in January and one in October,” Ryan said. “It’s not good for the country. It adds more instability to the economy.”

The budget deal, likely to win Senate approval this week following House passage on Dec. 12, would avoid a partial government shutdown when spending authority expires Jan. 15. It funds the government for the 2014 fiscal year that began Oct.1 and for the 2015 fiscal year.

The agreement lessens the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration by $40 billion in the 2014 budget and by $20 billion in fiscal 2015. It sets spending at about $1.01 trillion for this fiscal year, higher than the $967 billion required in a 2011 deal that set sequestration in place.

The deal would cut the deficit by $23 billion and cancel planned cuts to doctors’ Medicare reimbursement rates. It doesn’t extend emergency benefits for 1.3 million unemployed workers.

“Getting a budget agreement that reduces the deficit without raising taxes and prevents two government shutdowns from occurring in 2014, in my opinion, is the right thing to do and it’s a good thing to do,” Ryan said on NBC.

Shutdown’s Impact

A 16-day partial shutdown starting Oct. 1 resulted from an impasse between President Barack Obama and Republicans who demanded changes to his 2010 health-care law as a condition for funding government operations. The shutdown took at least $24 billion out of the U.S. economy, according to Standard & Poor’s.

The budget agreement was crafted by a bipartisan committee led by Ryan and Senator Patty Murray, a Washington state Democrat.

“One of the things we had to learn to do is to listen to each other and to respect each other and to trust each other,” Murray, who leads the Senate Budget Committee, said on the NBC program.

Some of Ryan’s fellow Republicans balked at the deal because of the additional spending it allows by easing the automatic cuts. Still, the Republican-controlled House passed the accord 322-94, with majority support from both parties. The Democratic-led Senate will begin considering the measure on Dec. 17, with a final vote later in the week.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada predicted strong Democratic support for the budget deal.

“We’ll get our votes,” Reid said in an interview for Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt” airing this weekend. “It would be suicide if the Republicans didn’t pass it,” Reid said.

The White House supports the bill, according to a statement of administration policy released Dec. 11.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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