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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

 
Off And Running

by digby

AP just reported that Coakley has conceded. There you have it.

And AP also just reported this:

President Barack Obama is likely to name a special commission to come up with a plan to curb the spiraling budget deficit under an agreement forged with top Capitol Hill Democrats.

No. 2 House Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland predicts Obama would name the deficit panel by a presidential order and that Congress would at the same time strengthen so-called pay-as-you-go budget rules designed to make it more difficult to pass legislation that would increase the deficit.

The twin developments come as the Senate is about to take up a bill to permit the federal government to issue the bonds required to fund government programs and prevent a first-ever default on obligations. Budget hawks have held the measure hostage seeking the anti-deficit steps.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic infighting over demands by moderates to turn over some of Congress' decision-making power on taxes and spending programs to a special deficit commission is complicating prospects for a must-pass borrowing bill headed for the Senate floor.

The legislative minuet is blending brinksmanship with hard bargaining as the White House summoned top House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for a meeting Tuesday to try to figure out how to pass legislation to permit the federal government to issue the bonds required to fund government programs and prevent a first-ever default on obligations.

Moving to increase the so-called debt limit is a major source of anxiety for Democrats, and moderates in both House and Senate have responded with demands for action on the deficit as a condition of voting for it. The debt limit legislation - likely to exceed $1 trillion - could come to the floor as early as Wednesday.

Senators such as Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., want to create a bipartisan deficit commission whose findings would be awarded a mandatory up-or-down vote after this year's election. They're using their votes to increase the debt limit as leverage to win a separate vote on the plan.

Conrad's deficit commission plan, however, appears to be sinking after assaults from interest groups on both right and left. Conservatives worry about their ability to stop tax hikes; liberal groups fret they wouldn't be able to block cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

The predicted reverberations are already being felt. Chris Matthews is already going on about deficits being the most important problem in the whole wide world and how his daughter is really worried about government spending and taxes.

And the Democrats are subsequently making it much more difficult to fix the economy by playing into this deficit propaganda themselves. I suppose the only good thing we can take from it is that they may have allayed the move to have congress do it and give it the force of law. But it's not good.


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